10 Major Benefits of an Autism Spectrum Disorder Specialist
If your child has an autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, you want to take advantage of as many resources as you can. One of those essential tools is an autism spectrum disorder specialist.
These trained and certified service providers work inside and out of schools to assist children (and adults) with ASD. Your child might already interact with one on a regular basis.
In this article, we’ll go over the benefits of an autism spectrum disorder specialist. With these key points in hand, you can make the most educated decisions when it comes to choosing resources for your child.
What is an Autism Spectrum Disorder Specialist?
An autism spectrum disorder specialist is a unique type of applied behavior analyst.
Applied behavior analysis, or ABA, is a kind of therapy that focuses on how behaviors change — and more specifically, how they’re affected by our environment.
In this case, behavior refers to all of the skills required to interact with others through speech, play, and work.
ASD specialists aren’t the only kind of applied behavior analysts: there are also ABA therapists who work with the general population.
But ASD specialists work only with children and adults who have autism spectrum diagnoses.
The role of an autism spectrum disorder specialist can vary based on where they work and their key areas of focus.
For example, many ASD specialists work exclusively with children, and they often work in schools.
Top 10 Benefits of an Autism Spectrum Disorder
Now we know what an autism spectrum disorder specialist does — but what are the biggest benefits of working with a person like this?
Below are what we consider the 10 biggest benefits of working with an autism spectrum disorder specialist.
1. Reducing Anxiety
Anxiety comes hand-in-hand with autism spectrum disorder. ASD specialists use sensory and speech therapy, games, and exercises to reduce that stress as much as possible.
2. Increasing Positive Behaviors
An applied behavioral analyst works to change certain behaviors. This includes increasing positive behaviors, like greeting a peer or paying attention to a speaker.
3. Decreasing Challenging or Interfering Behaviors
Likewise, an autism spectrum disorder specialist will strive to decrease negative behaviors. This includes mood instability and meltdowns. An ASD specialist will use various therapy methods to achieve this goal.
4. Improving Physical Fitness
One of the best ways to decrease stress, increase positive behaviors, and reduce interfering behaviors is through physical activity.
An autism spectrum disorder specialist might engage a child in fitness games or challenges, which will lead to better health, higher self-esteem, and other benefits.
5. Succeeding in School
An autism spectrum disorder specialist helps children with ASD succeed in elementary school, middle school, and high school subjects.
Often, a young child with ASD only needs a little bit of added support in school to succeed in subjects like arithmetic and handwriting.
And a little extra help in these skills can go a long way in boosting a child’s confidence.
6. Early Detection
One of the most important benefits that an autism spectrum disorder specialist offers is early detection and diagnosis.
Detection and diagnosis rates for ASD have risen rapidly over the past decade, largely due to better training in fields like applied behavior analysis.
With an early diagnosis, your child can start getting the care he or she needs as soon as possible.
7. Specialized Therapy
No two people with autism spectrum disorder are exactly alike. Autism spectrum disorder specialists identify the precise needs of each child and adult they work with.
If your child needs extra help with meltdowns, that can be the primary focus of therapy. If a child doesn’t need much help in that area, the therapy can focus on other things.
With educational systems being mostly one-size-fits-all, this tailored and holistic approach is crucial for children with ASD.
8. Long-Term and Short-Term Goals
People with autism spectrum disorder and their families can find themselves bouncing from one doctor or therapist to another. With each new referral, you have to explain your specific challenges and goals all over again.
One of the benefits of an autism spectrum disorder specialist is that you’ll often keep the same contact for years.
For the entire time your child is at one particular school, for example, he or she will work with one therapist who understands his or her specific needs.
When a child transfers from elementary school to middle school, or from middle school to high school, counselors can communicate about the student’s achievements and obstacles.
That kind of continuity of care allows you to set long-term and short-term goals, and to work steadily towards those goals with a dedicated care provider.
9. Peer Support
Working with an autism spectrum disorder specialist has the added bonus of connecting you and your child with other families who might be experiencing similar things.
Whether at school or outside of school, applied behavioral analysts often work with groups. When you attend group events or meetings as a parent, you’ll meet parents who can relate to your unique struggles, obstacles, and victories.
Additionally, your child will have the opportunity to connect with peers who are working toward similar goals.
10. Family Support
Finally, an autism spectrum disorder specialist provides care and support to the whole family. If your child has an autism spectrum disorder, you might tend to ignore your own anxieties and personal concerns.
Autism spectrum disorder specialists often help parents find time and energy to care for themselves.
Autism Spectrum Disorder Specialists for Physical Fitness
As mentioned above, physical activity is one of the best methods for managing the anxiety associated with autism spectrum disorder.
Exercise is also beneficial for every child, and the CDC recommends at least one hour per day of physical activity.
An autism spectrum disorder specialist might incorporate physical fitness into a child’s ASD therapy in numerous ways. But it’s also a good idea to find additional exercise outlets.
Luckily, more and more autism spectrum disorder specialists are gaining certification in physical fitness, through programs like Certify Strong.
Look for ASD specialists who are certified for special needs personal training. You may even encourage your current ASD specialist to gain certification.