Early Intervention is the key to Managing Autism

Did you know that your toddler has incredible brain plasticity? The first three years of human life are most conducive to nurturing language and social abilities in your little ones. While cognitive growth is effortless for a typical toddler, it can be quite challenging for a neurodiverse child with ASD in their later years.  This reason is enough for parents and teachers to harness this golden phase of growth and development in children.  

What Does Early Intervention Mean? 
Early intervention means using “therapy services to enhance a child’s ability to interact with others and the environment; these everyday experiences and interactions are essential for optimal child development,” says Anne Zachry, PhD, Associate Professor of occupational therapy at The University of Tennessee Health Science Center. 

It becomes essential for us to provide intervention as soon as the assessments are conducted, and ASD is identified in a child. Early identification of autism can help children receive timely intervention, develop communication skills, and manage sensory experiences and behaviours, leading to improved quality of life both now and in the future. These interventions can be therapies, at-home activities and psychoeducation.  

Provision of Early Intervention (EI) can help the child be on par with his peers, engage in healthy social behaviour and better regulate their tantrums when faced with discomfort or triggers.  

Why is Early Intervention critical? 
Early autism detection plays a crucial role in enabling children to build behavioural, social, and self-regulatory capabilities that improve physical and cognitive health 

ASD affects every child differently meaning the care that is to be provided to the child can be better determined by using reliable tools for assessments. These assessments help us in providing appropriate care and intervention for the symptoms shown by the child.  

The M-CHAT-R assessment helps in screening the level of risk of developing ASD in a child as young as 16 months to 30 months of age. Such screening tests help in identifying the risk of having other developmental delays/disorders as well.  It shows that with appropriate intervention, we can combat these delays, so they don’t go on to develop full-blown diagnoses of ASD or other developmental delays.  

The Stigma Around Autism Detection 
Many parents, across different countries, hold a lot of stigma against ASD such as viewing it as a disappointment, inconvenience and shame. This stigma around Autism often keeps parents away from seeking a diagnosis or getting proper intervention for the child, possibly ailing the child’s development significantly.  

According to Harvard Health Publishing (2021), Neurodiversity, commonly used in the context of ASD, describes the idea that people experience and interact with the world around them in many ways; there is no one “right” way of thinking, learning, and behaving, and differences are not viewed as deficits. The concept of Neurodiversity aims to reduce the stigma around individuals with Autism and promotes the acceptance of such individuals. 

How Can You Best Address Autism?  
Early intervention gives enough room for parents to understand the situation and its associated therapeutic interventions. Reaching out to your family doctor or a paediatrician for some advice or support, in case of disruptive behaviours or developmental delays can help in providing early intervention and getting the necessary diagnosis.  

Some early signs of Autism include, but not limited to, are: 

  • Not responding to one’s name 
  • Avoiding eye contact with people around them 
  • Throwing tantrums in case they do not like a particular taste, smell or a sensation 
  • Repetitive behaviours like rocking their body, flapping their arms, etc.  
  • Not smiling at people or not interacting with others when interacted with
  • Repeating phrases repeatedly  

Available therapies for ASD 
Autism intervention focuses on helping the child effectively manage the symptoms and help the child in functioning independently. It becomes essential for us to provide intervention as soon as the assessments are conducted, and ASD is identified in a child. EI can help effectively manage and potentially reduce the symptoms of a child who has a high risk of developing autism. 

ASD varies widely in presentation and severity, making accurate evaluation essential for implementing individualized treatment plans that cover: 

  • Occupational therapy  
  • Sensory Integration 
  • Speech therapy 
  • Behavioural therapy with Applied Behavioural Analysis (ABA) 
  • Social and emotional learning skills
  • Skill building
  • Cognitive learning
  • Augmented reality therapy 

Success stories of people with ASD
Today we see a lot of professionals come out and openly talk about their experience with living with ASD. Popular speaker Kerry Magro once said, “My Autism will never define the wonderful human being that I am”. He has learnt how to deal with his autism and believes that it has gotten him where he is today, he says, “I realized lots of practice, patience, perseverance and my acceptance of my Autism has gotten me where I am today and will guide me in the future.”  

Renowned animal behaviourist, Temple Grandin, has also been diagnosed with Autism. Grandin’s mother suspected that she might be autistic at a very young age and provided the necessary available intervention. Today she is known for her work and contribution towards animal psychology and as an autism advocate pushing towards necessary intervention and resources for the same.  

Our founders’ son, Ram, who also was diagnosed with Autism, with Early Intervention has learnt to live an independent life while working as a full-time corporate employee in Amazon. 

From these examples, we can see that provision of early intervention for an individual who has been diagnosed with ASD or has the risk of developing ASD, can benefit immensely to function independently on par with a neurotypical in society.   

CognitiveBotics and Early Intervention
We, CognitiveBotics, aim at making early intervention a lot more accessible to every parent and child through our app. CognitiveBotics is a comprehensive AI-powered eLearning platform tailored for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  

We believe, our platform can complement your child’s therapy sessions to create a holistic learning experience and stand as a testament to fostering broader social transformation through extensive support and care.