Autism Therapy Albany, NY
Autism is a broad spectrum of disorders that responds to different types of treatment. Each person with autism has unique needs. With the proper treatment, many patients with autism are able to lead healthy balanced lives.
Autism therapy is available at Evolve Psychiatry in Albany and the surrounding area. If you or your child’s symptoms are causing distress, know that you do not have to go through this alone. Psychiatrists are trained professionals in mental health and can help make a proper diagnosis. Call us today at (518) 675-3097 to schedule an appointment or learn more about our services.
Understanding Autism Therapy
Since autism refers to a broad range of conditions, there is no definitive form of autism therapy. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, "several interventions have been developed and studied for use with young children." Such interventions may help alleviate symptoms. They may also help improve one's cognitive ability and daily living skills while maximizing one's ability to function and participate in society.
Autism exists on a spectrum of behaviors, meaning there are various forms of autism, with people exhibiting signs differently. Autism may affect one's behavior, cognitive ability, and social communication. As such, treatment plans must usually be multidisciplinary and highly individualized to the patient. In the case of children, treatment plans may also require parent-mediated interventions to target the child's unique needs.
Behavioral intervention strategies typically focus on developing social skills, especially when the patient is at a young age where they would typically be gaining these skills naturally. They also focus on reducing restricted interests, along with repetitive and challenging behaviors. Some children may also find occupational and speech therapy helpful, with social skills training and medication often becoming necessary as they get older. It is important to remember that there is no single "best" treatment or intervention, as every patient is a unique individual with different needs. Factors to consider include age, challenges, differences, and strengths.
Furthermore, parents and caregivers should keep in mind that children with autism are just as capable of becoming physically sick or injured as neurotypical children. As such, regular medical and dental exams should be part of every child with autism's treatment plan. In many instances, it can be difficult to tell if a child's behavior is related to autism or is caused by a separate health condition. Regular physical examinations can help clear up any confusion while also ensuring that the child is in optimal physical and mental health.
“Since autism refers to a broad range of conditions, there is no definitive form of autism therapy.”
Benefits of Autism Therapy
There are several behavioral and communicative approaches that may help patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by providing structure, direction, and organization. Family participation may also play a part. One of the most popular approaches is applied behavior analysis (ABA), which tracks and measures a patient's progress as it encourages positive behaviors and discourages negative behaviors.
ABA may be supplemented with other therapies, such as assistive technology, "floortime" (a developmental, individual differences, relationship-based approach), occupational therapy, social skills training, and speech therapy. Assistive technology refers to any technological device that can "assist" people with ASD in communicating and interacting with others.
Floortime centers on emotional and relational development, along with how the patient processes sensory details. With occupational therapy, patients are taught skills that help them live as independently as possible. Social skills training does exactly what the name suggests, as does speech therapy.
According to the Autism Spectrum Disorder Foundation (ASDF), autism is more common than many may believe. Numbers of those diagnosed increases annually, with one out of every 68 children being diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. In the past, these children and their families were left with little to no professional support. Fortunately, today, autism therapy is more extensive than ever.
Studies have shown that early intervention in children with autism can improve their overall development and that those who receive autism-appropriate education and support at key developmental stages are more likely to integrate better into neurotypical society than their "untreated" counterparts. This entails gaining essential social skills in particular.
Autism therapy also helps parents of children with autism know how to best support their child mentally, emotionally, and physically throughout the key developmental stages. Early preparation and intervention can help make parents more aware of their role both emotionally and mentally.
Regardless of the age one seeks treatment, autism therapy can provide a patient with, as stated by the ASDF, "the potential for a better life." For instance, occupational therapy can help improve one's attention span and stamina, ability to transition to new activities, play skills, ability to express one's need for personal space, responses to stimuli (especially touch), motor skills, ability to control one's aggression and other maladaptive behaviors, and interactions between oneself and others (especially their caregivers).
Additionally, ABA therapy may help patients improve their language and communication skills, attention, memory, academics, and focus. It can also decrease the rate of problem behaviors overall. Floortime's primary goal is to help the child reach six key milestones:
- Self-regulation and interest in the world
- Intimacy, or engagement in relationships
- Two-way communication
- Complex communication
- Emotional ideas
- Emotional thinking
Patients with autism may also find that assistive technology increases their level of independence, participation with daily tasks and routines, access to materials, and opportunities for inclusion with peers. It may also improve one's sense of self and self-esteem, communication skills, and ability to demonstrate skills and competencies. In general, assistive technology makes it possible for patients with autism to engage in meaningful activities.
Finally, social skills training can be especially useful for individuals with autism who tend to self-isolate, be with people outside of their own age group, find it challenging to make eye contact with others, cannot engage with other people, react aggressively when approached, have a hard time sharing or conversing with others, have boundary issues, or are too accommodating. Speech therapy may also help patients learn how to articulate well, communicate both verbally and nonverbally (and understand verbal and nonverbal communication), and initiate communication. It can also help patients learn the appropriate time and place to communicate something, exchange ideas, develop conversational skills, and develop relationships. Patients are likely to learn self-regulation and enjoy interacting with peers as a result.
“There are several behavior and communication approaches that may help patients with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by providing structure, direction, and organization.”
Levels of Autism Spectrum Disorder
ASD is a condition that affects both behavior and communication, with the autism spectrum referring to the broad range of potential levels of ability, differences, and skills that persons with autism may possess. These differences are often present from early childhood and may impact daily functioning. In general, persons with autism may find it difficult to communicate and interact with others, perform repetitive behaviors, and have difficulty functioning in many areas of life.
According to MedicalNewsToday, autism used to be diagnosed according to four different subtypes. Nowadays, however, it is classified "as one broad category with three different levels to specify the degree of support an autistic person needs." These levels indicate the patient's strengths and limitations regarding their abilities to communicate and adapt to new situations. They also measure the patient's ability to expand beyond their restricted interests and manage daily life overall. Patients with ASD level 1 require minimal support and may be said to have "high-functioning" autism, while patients with ASD level 3 require substantial support and may be said to have "low-functioning" autism.
Level 1 ASD
Level 1 ASD is the most "high-functioning" form of autism and also the mildest. Children with level 1 ASD may have trouble communicating appropriately with others, and they may not understand how to say the right thing at the right time or read non-verbal cues. Additionally, they may be inflexible in certain ways and have difficulty going from one activity to the next. They may also have problems with organization and planning, which keeps them from being fully independent.
Level 2 ASD
Patients with level 2 ASD require substantial support and will likely have more noticeable problems with verbal and social communication than those diagnosed with level 1 ASD. They will also find it more difficult to change focus and may get upset when moving from one activity to the next. These patients also tend to have a very narrow scope of interests and may engage in maladaptive, repetitive behaviors.
Level 3 ASD
Finally, patients with level 3 ASD will have many of the same behaviors as those with level 1 and level 2 ASD, but to a more severe extent. They may find it extremely difficult to function due to problems expressing themselves both verbally and nonverbally. They will also likely have issues interacting socially and dealing with changes in focus or location, and they may engage in repetitive behaviors. These patients' ability to speak intelligibly is quite limited, and they will rarely initiate interactions. Any interactions they do initiate are likely to be seen as awkward. As such, patients with level 3 ASD are likely to respond only to very direct social approaches from other people.
Find the Right Level of Professional Support
The ASD levels of support can be useful in indicating how severe a person's ASD is. However, they also come with noticeable limitations. Since they may be lacking in nuance, they can be subjective — and the DSM-5 does little to offer any specificity. As such, it may be difficult to understand the types of support indicated or situations in which support is necessary. Additionally, persons with ASD may "shift levels" as they undergo autism therapy which helps them manage their symptoms (such as poor social skills) and comorbidities (such as anxiety or depression). Consequently, individuals should be aware that the ASD levels are best used to determine what types of services and support would serve a patient best — not to predict changes or account for nuances in personality and behavior.
“ASD is a condition that affects both behavior and communication, with the autism spectrum referring to the broad range of potential levels of ability, differences, and skills that persons with autism may possess.”
Check out what others are saying about our mental wellness on Yelp: Autism Therapy in Albany, NY
What to Expect from Autism Therapy
Autism therapy is a process — not a single treatment. In fact, many patients benefit most from a combination of different treatment modalities. As mentioned earlier, these treatment modalities include ABA, assistive technology, "floortime," occupational therapy, social skills training, and speech therapy. There are three different types of ABA: discrete trial training (DTT), early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI), and early start Denver model (ESDM).
Assistive technology involves the use of any technological device that helps people with ASD communicate and interact with others. Floortime focuses on feelings and sensory details, along with developing relationships with caregivers. Occupational therapy may teach patients how to bathe, dress, eat, and relate to others, while social skills training helps teach children the necessary skills in interacting with others.
ABA starts with an assessment to determine which specific goals will be beneficial to the patient. This assessment usually occurs at home, with the analyst asking the parent or caregiver what the child can and cannot do well. Once they have completed the assessment and reviewed reports and parent input, the analyst will begin to develop a treatment plan. Each ABA therapy session will look different depending on the patient's unique needs. However, therapy usually lasts for at least one hour, with the first few sessions centering around fun and play rather than working toward specific goals. Once the patient has become more comfortable with the therapist and the ABA therapy environment, they can begin the "work." Demands will be kept to a minimum before slowly increasing, and reinforcers will be used to reward appropriate behavior.
There are several types of assistive technology (AT) for autism, usually divided into groups: low-tech, mid-tech, and high-tech.
- Low-tech AT: Encompasses technology that requires no electricity (such as picture boards or sensory balls)
- Mid-tech AT: encompasses technology that is relatively inexpensive and easy to operate (such as battery-operated sensory toys)
- High-tech AT: Encompasses all sorts of digital technology (such as augmentative communication technology)
AT's may be used for communication, learning and executive functioning, social skills and communication, sensory challenges, and safety. Furthermore, floortime is a type of therapy that takes place in a calm environment — such as in the patient's home or a professional setting. Each session ranges from two to five hours a day, including training for parents and caregivers.
Vitally, it also includes interaction with the child. Since this type of therapy is relationship-based, the parent or caregiver must join in the child's activities during the session. Begin by letting the child lead. Then, engage the child in increasingly complex interactions. Occupational therapy may use a variety of strategies to help a child better respond to their environment.
These may include physical activities, play activities, adaptive strategies, and developmental activities. Social skills training for autism often involves participation in social skills groups, where persons with autism of all ages practice their social skills with each other or their peers. Finally, speech-language pathologists can work closely with a patient's family, school, and other members of the treatment team whether the patient is nonverbal or simply has trouble with speech. In certain cases, they may introduce alternatives to speech, such as electronic "talkers," picture boards with words, signing, or typing.
“Autism therapy is a process — not a single treatment.”
Questions Answered on This Page
Q. What are some of the benefits of autism therapy?
Q. What are the different levels of autism?
Q. What can I expect from autism therapy?
Q. What happens with continued autism treatment?
People Also Ask
Continued Autism Treatment
Since autism therapy is such a personalized process, it is difficult to make any generalizations about treatment. The duration of treatment and the number of sessions necessary varies depending on the patient's needs and capabilities, as well as their level of functioning. Certain patients may also have related medical conditions that require further treatment or medication.
Ultimately, what is best for a patient is up to that patient, their family, and their caregivers. Working closely with a healthcare provider can help make sure that treatment is as safe and effective as possible.
“Ultimately, what is best for a patient is up to that patient, their family, and their caregivers.”
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. When is the best time to start ABA therapy?
A. When it comes to ABA therapy, the earlier you start, the better. Patients may be as young as two years old to see significant improvements in various areas of deficit.
Q. Is autism therapy covered by health insurance?
A. Each insurance plan is different and covers different services. We can work together with you to help you better understand what is and is not covered under your plan.
Q. What causes autism spectrum disorder (ASD)?
A. It is generally believed that autism spectrum disorder is caused by a combination of genetic, biological, and environmental factors. There are several genes that are thought to contribute to how ASD develops. Additionally, scientists are studying abnormal brain development during the first few months of life to determine whether structural abnormalities are caused by genetic and/or environmental factors. In general, however, it is not currently possible to identify one exact cause of autism.
Q. How is ASD diagnosed?
A. There is no blood test that can diagnose autism spectrum disorder. Instead, any diagnosis must be made based on behaviors and observation. To be diagnosed with autism, patients must display pathological deficits in social communication and social interaction. They must also display both restrictive and repetitive behaviors.
Q. What are some telltale signs of ASD?
A. There are three main types of autism symptoms: communication, obsessive-compulsive behavior, and social. Persons with ASD may:
- Avoid or refrain from keeping eye contact
- Not engage in pretend play by 30 months of age
- Not notice when others are hurt or sad by 24 months of age
- Not play simple interactive games by 12 months of age
- Not play turn-taking games by 60 months of age
- Not point or look at what others point to by 18 months of age
- Not respond to name or show facial expressions by nine months of age
- Not share interests with others by 15 months of age
- Have trouble empathizing with others or talking about one's own feelings by 36 months of age or older
- Show little interest in peers
- Use little to no gestures by 12 months of age
Examples of obsessive-compulsive (or restricted and/or repetitive) behaviors or interests may include:
- Flapping hands, rocking one's body, or spinning one's self in circles
- Getting upset by minor changes
- Having obsessive interests
- Having to follow certain routines
- Having unusual reactions to sensory triggers
- Hyper-focusing on certain parts of objects
- Lining up objects and getting upset when order is changed
- Playing with toys the same way every time
Most persons with ASD also have other characteristics, which may include:
- Anxiety, stress, or excessive worry
- Delayed cognitive or learning skills
- Delayed language skills
- Delayed movement skills
- Epilepsy or seizure disorder
- Gastrointestinal issues (e.g., constipation)
- Hyperactive, impulsive, and/or inattentive behavior
- Lack of fear or more fear than expected
- Unusual eating and sleeping habits
- Unusual mood or emotional reactions
However, it is essential to note that the above list is not exhaustive. Additionally, persons with ASD might not have any of the above behaviors.
Change Is Possible – Call Us Today
Life isn't always easy. Are you struggling? Are you looking for a highly personalized and professional approach tailored to your individual needs? Instead of waiting around, call us today. You should know that there is hope for a better tomorrow.
- Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition (ADOS-2)
- The Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule, Second Edition is a standardized assessment tool that professionals use to aid in the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) in children and adults.
- Behavioral therapy
- Clinical psychotherapy that uses techniques derived from behaviorism and/or cognitive psychology.
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy is a form of psychological treatment that helps patients become aware of inaccurate thinking to view situations more clearly and respond to them more effectively.
- A neurotransmitter is a chemical messenger that transmits signals between neurons and specific cells in the body.
Call Us Today
Autism spectrum disorder is a unique and complex condition that deserves personalized treatment. We at Evolve Psychiatry can help. Call us today at (518) 675-3097 to schedule an appointment or learn more about our services.
Helpful Related Links
- Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. 2022
- American Psychiatric Association (APA). American Psychiatric Association (APA). 2022
- Psychology Today. Psychology Today. 2022
- The American Board of Professional Psychology. The American Board of Professional Psychology. 2022
- The American Journal of Psychology. The American Journal of Psychology. 2022
- The National Association of Behavioral Healthcare. The National Association of Behavioral Healthcare. 2022
About our business and website security
- Evolve Psychiatry was established in 2014.
- We accept the following payment methods: American Express, Cash, Check, MasterCard, and Visa
- We serve patients from the following counties: Albany
- We serve patients from the following cities: Albany, Troy, Saratoga Springs, Schenectady, Cohoes, Watervliet, and Colonie
- Norton Safe Web. View Details
- Trend Micro Site Safety Center. View Details
Back to top of Autism Therapy
What Is The Goal Of Psychiatric Treatment?
Psychiatric care can help unlock the mysteries of the human brain. A psychiatrist can help to navigate through the muddy waters of mental illness by getting to the root of the chemical imbalances that might exist. By using a combination of medical diagnosis and talk therapy to figure out why a person may be suffering…
Four Reasons To Consider A Visit To A Psychiatrist
Some people may feel trepidation at the thought of visiting a psychiatrist, but such a visit can be just as vital for a person’s mental health as a physician is for physical health. There are many different possible scenarios for why a person should consider scheduling an appointment with a psychiatric professional.Mental health issues can…
How A Psychiatrist Can Help You
A psychiatrist can help patients with mental problems. But, many other healthcare professionals also treat mental illnesses. Many people with mental health problems are usually not sure who to talk to. If you do not know what type of medical doctor to see, you are not alone. This guide will provide valuable information on how…
Explore additional topics covered on our website:
Call Us Today
Scan here to call Evolve Psychiatry on mobile