Autism: Early Intervention

Choosing therapies and intervention strategies for your autistic child, needs to be done systematically because doing too much when the child is not ready can lead to major anxiety and behaviour.  In fact it can have the total opposite result to the ones desired.  In the same breath not doing enough can hinder your child’s educational growth permanently. 

Understanding Early Childhood Development and what skills a normal developing child needs to have at what age should be each parent’s point of reference.  Understanding the core developmental areas which include social and emotional development, cognitive and perceptual development as well as physical development is vital. 

Auxiliary learning areas need also be taking into consideration as they include traditional curricula, which covers language and literacy, numeracy, knowledge and skills, as well as, the creative arts.

A successful Autism Early Intervention Program will therefore address a wide variety of development aspects.  It will address autism specific development delays that your child has as well as their age appropriate development challenges.

Autism is a Spectrum Disorder and the truth is that some children diagnosed will gain access to a mainstream educational environment, some will go on to have degrees, get married and have families of their own but there is also a percentage of Autistics that will remain non-verbal and fully dependent on their families for the rest of their life.

Our best advice for any parent of a newly diagnosed child is to research the Grade 000 to Grade 3 Curriculum guidelines in South Africa.  To understand the National Educational Curriculum and to fully grasp the severity of their child’s development delay. 

It is vitally import for parents to not solely rely on doctors and therapists as none of them will ever know your child as well as you do and to ask yourself:  “where is my child, what is his/her challenges holistically and what does he/she need to learn before they will be able to go to Grade 1”

Knowing what a child needs in order to entre Grade 1 is only step 1.  Once you as the parent have established where your child is developmentally and what development delays your child has then you need to move into a phase of learning everything there is to know about autism and about how and autistic child learns.  Topics that we would like to suggest you research would include:

  • How does the autistic child learn?
  • Writing skills development  problems related to Autism
  • Generalisation in Autism
  • Language processing difficulties / Receptive language development
  • Expressive language development
  • Motor skills development and how it relates to Speech development
Ilse Kilian-Ross
ilse@amazingk.co.za

Ilse Kilian-Ross is the owner of Amazing K, a registered ECD and Partial Care Facility in Johannesburg. Amazing K is a private adhd school, autism school and therapy centre for children from age 2 years where learners receive the best of both the schooling and therapy world. The autism school offers Individualized Education Programs, ABA, Speech- and Augmentive Alternative Communication (AAC) therapy as well as a full and adapted Academic Curriculum.