Fort Myers ABA therapists

Fort Myers ABA Therapists Adhere to Best Autism Treatment Practices – Both Time-Tested, Evolving

Fort Myers ABA therapists at FOCUS know that in terms of specialties in medical study, autism is relatively new. The condition wasn’t even named in medical literature until the 1930s. The child psychiatrist credited with discovering it would later say, “I didn’t discover autism. It was there before.” But because this overall lack of awareness of the condition – even in the medical community – means still today that for as many strides as we’ve made, there is still so much we don’t know – namely, its causes or why autism rates have risen so sharply since the 1960s (now at 1 in every 59 children and 1 in 38 for boys).

What our ABA therapists can say with confidence is that early intervention with a combination of pediatric therapies – specifically ABA (applied behavioral analysis), occupational therapy, speech therapy and sometimes physical therapy – has thusfar proven the most effective in helping children diagnosed with autism catch up to their peers to the greatest extent possible.

ABA Therapists: FOCUS’ Collaborative Approach has Proven Most Effective

ABA, and the methods studied and practiced by our Fort Myers ABA therapists, specialists and RBTs (registered behavior technicians), are considered the”gold standard” when it comes to autism therapy. In the simplest terms, ABA is a rewards-based system for the goal of behavior modification. Parents use it all the time without even realizing (example: You’ll get dessert if you finish your broccoli). Our Fort Myers ABA therapists can explain we use the same basic principle, but uniquely tailored to each child, meeting them at their skill level to teach appropriate behaviors and minimize inappropriate or unhealthy behaviors. (This individualized plan approach is critical because as the saying goes, “If you’ve met one person with autism… You’ve met one person with autism.” What is motivating or consequential for one child may be totally irrelevant and ineffective for another. That’s why it’s so important to have ABA therapists who aren’t just trained, but passionate about what they do, committed to never giving up in identifying those missing puzzle pieces that are going to make it “click” for each child. 

FOCUS Therapy in Lee County supports a holistic, collaborative approach to therapy for children with autism. By having all of these therapy services under one roof, we not only save parents a lot of time and gas money, we promote teamwork among therapists of different disciplines working with the same child. We get to know you and your family better. Where it’s beneficial, there are even opportunities to co-treat. This consistency and cohesion helps kids to feel more comfortable faster, allowing for more expedient progress and faster generalization of skills taught by our Fort Myers ABA therapists and others.

New Research May Further Improve Early Detection, Treatments for Children with Autism 

Like many medical professionals, ABA therapists receive continuing education – especially critical in this field because the medical science is still evolving and being fine-tuned. For instance, a recent study published in Brain, a Journal of Neurology, earlier this year discovered that lack of interest in social interaction – a red flag for autism spectrum disorder – found physiological differences in the so-called “rewards circuit” of the brain that we know to make socializing enjoyable. The structure and function of this brain circuit, identified as the mesolimbic reward pathway, was fundamentally different on MRI scans.

Researchers theorized the reason children with autism have a difficult time identifying and responding appropriately to social cues is because this unique brain wiring means they simply don’t feel such interactions as rewarding as their typically-developing peers. If a child doesn’t find socializing as pleasurable, he’s going to be more likely to avoid it, and then miss out on all the complex skills that develop as a result.

Stanford University School of Medicine researchers were however careful to point out they couldn’t say with certainty the brain differences actually cause lack of interest in social interaction. The children who underwent scans between 7 and 9, and study authors said it’s possible those reward systems didn’t develop normally due to years of missing out on social interactions. More research will be needed to verify or disprove the hypothesis.

Also important: None of this means children with autism are unable to learn social skills. They absolutely can! It takes time. It’s may not be easy. But our Fort Myers ABA therapists believe it is 100 percent worth it.

FOCUS offers ABA therapy for children in Fort Myers and throughout Southwest Florida. Call (239) 313.5049 or Contact Us online.

Additional Resources:

Kids with Autism Show Impaired Reward Circuit, July 19, 2018, By Judy George, MedPage Today

More Blog Entries:

ABA Therapists Talk Major Meltdown Management, Sept. 5, 2018, FOCUS Fort Myers ABA Therapists Blog

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