Setting Expectations

Setting Expectations

As a parent of a child with autism, all of your hopes and expectations for your child’s future are placed in a state of uncertainty to a greater degree than most other parents. A multitude of questions spring forward recurrently among parents with children with ASD, including what their academic future will be like, what kind of occupational or vocational training will available to them, and even how functional they will be?

 Many of the answers to these questions vary greatly and deeply depending on the efficacy of the treatment methods you are using with your child. There are some general guidelines as to what treatment plans can have the most effect on your child’s development. Most parents share the goal of wanting to see their child mainstreamed in education or occupation, in short, aiming towards their child is “normal”.

Striving for normalcy and mainstreaming is often considered an excellent baseline goal for parents to strive for. However, parents should understand is that there are no valid, effective means to actually end autism or rid your child of Autism Spectrum Disorder. It is important to understand that what the most effective treatments do is make the disorder’s symptoms manageable and mitigate impairments so that your child is able to function in social and real-world contexts comparatively well.

There is no cure for autism; in fact, thinking that there is a cure tends to skew a parent’s expectations. While it is true that with the right therapy or combinations of treatments, many symptoms can be alleviated, but most children with ASD will continue to have symptoms for the rest of their lives.

Barring association with other genetic or biological disorders, Autism Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the most effective means of mainstreaming children with ASD and seeing effective strides toward efficient transitioning and seeing more typical behaviors and mindset in your child’s personality.

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Being an RBT for me was extremely fun because where were you going to find a place where you can be completely silly without having to worry what people thought about you? This was the only job that made me feel like I could make a dramatic difference while being myself.

I also liked to be surrounded by people that had the same goals of wanting to help kids and the teamwork made the job much easier and more enjoyable.

Change and progress was the ultimate goal for our kiddos. The early intervention program was seriously only a miracle because I saw changes in the kiddos that from day one, you wouldn’t even recognize who they were.

Changes from being able to utter 3-4 words where they can only make a syllable from when they started, the behavior decreases in which kiddo that used to engage in 30-40 0 self-harm to only half, learning how to wait during games, table work where they use to swipe and drop to the floor if they had to.

My favorite was when the parents would tell us what amazing progress they were making at home. I used to tear up and felt for these parents so much because it was already difficult for them and now, they can trust and rely on ABA and the therapists knowing their goal was ours.

By Emma Rogers, BA, RBT

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