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Talk & Listen -- Parenting & Autism

Posted by Brian Spence on Nov 15, 2016 8:00:00 AM

Parenting, Autism, Behavioral HealthCommunication. It's the basis of every relationship. Watching our children grow and learn to speak is one of the great joys of parenthood. But for parents of autistic children, communication is not a given. Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder for which there is no cure. A child’s ability to communicate will vary, depending upon his or her intellectual and social development. Some children will acquire language while most others will have difficulty to one degree or another.

Researchers in England have developed a training to help parents improve communication with their impaired children.

The Pre-school Autism Communication Trial was designed to help parents develop more effective ways to interact with their children.

They believe that this treatment should be initiated as soon as a diagnosis is made. The children in the trial were between two and five. Because parents know their children best, they are taught to recognize the subtle cues peculiar to their child's own comprehension and level of impairment. Among other exercises, there is a focus on increasing shared attention through eye-gaze, sharing, showing and giving.

Speech Pathologists have traditionally assessed kids with ASD and devise treatment plans and therapies conducted in periodic sessions. The PACT treatment has the advantage of being a constant therapy in the home, used by parents as primary care-givers. Using these tools to enhance communication may improve some symptoms.

Six years after the initial study, they saw "a sustained decrease in severity". Although this is not a cure, results were encouraging and researchers hope to expand the treatment into schools. Early intervention is essential for good outcomes.

Dorothy Bishop, professor of developmental neuropsychology at the University of Oxford, observed, "For parents of children with autism, even a modest reduction would be worthwhile."

Many Behavioral Health jobs are available, including working with the autistic. Contact us for help in finding your ideal position.


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Topics: Behavioral Health, Mental Health

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