What is Autism Day Treatment?
I think it's safe to say that every parent wants what is best for their child especially when it comes to obtaining necessary treatment for a special needs child. Children of all ages can benefit greatly from the structured learning environment that day treatment provides.I have witnessed and played an active role in child progress through day treatment, and though naturally each child learns at his or her own pace, it is nothing short of life-changing.
Recent studies show that 25-40 hours of treatment per week is highly effective and yields excellent results. This translates to 5-8 hours per day of therapy founded on the principles of behavior analysis, and there is so much that can be accomplished in an 8 hour day versus 8 hours per week of therapy. Life skills such as toileting, eating skills, transitioning from one activity or place to another, peer interaction and social skills are some of the things that can be taught and learned more effectively. Day treatment also provides individuals with autism with a schedule or routine that many of them prefer. It also allows ample time to work on problem behaviors.
Who benefits from day treatment?
Individuals of any age and functioning level from infant through adulthood who have an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or other developmental delay can benefit from day treatment. There are programs designed to target the specific needs of infants and toddlers, school aged children, teens and adults. From an infant learning to communicate with gestures and sounds to an adult learning vocational tasks, day treatment is an option for all ages.
Day treatment prepares school aged children to transition to school with a shadow when they are ready. They learn play skills and social skills through shaping and positive reinforcement. They are also taught functional communication and more.
What skills can be taught?
Each individual has different areas that need work, therefore day treatment is as unique as the individual receiving it. Some examples of skills taught are fine motor skills such as handwriting and putting pegs in a pegboard and gross motor skills such as running and jumping. Peer interaction and social skills is an important skill taught so that clients learn how to greet someone by waving and/or saying hi. Adults learn how to start and maintain a conversation. All ages learn things like how to play games together, whether it's taking turns playing board games or playing basketball. For some, learning to tolerate peers by sitting calmly next to them is a goal. Whatever an individual's goals are, they can be met and achieved through intensive day treatment.