Mostly Cloudy   56.0F  |  Forecast »

Helping Children Diagnosed with Autism

Henry Ford center gives parents and kids hope

Parents of children diagnosed with autism should investigate the intervention options offered by Henry Ford Health System. Along with social skills groups, and speech-language therapy, Henry Ford specialists can provide Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) techniques for working with families dealing with autism.

Helping children diagnosed with autism live productive lives is the ultimate goal of treatment. Seeing children succeed is the best part of the job for Tiffany Smiecinski, a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) at the Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities with Henry Ford's Department of Pediatrics.

"There is nothing better than seeing the parent of a non-vocal child get teary eyed when coming into a room and the child says 'Hi, Mommy!'" Smiecinski said.

Social interaction and communication skills are usually impaired with varying degrees of severity in autism. Autism is considered a "spectrum disorder," meaning that it affects individuals differently across a wide range of behaviors.

Smiecinski said parents should know that there is hope for children diagnosed with autism. "There are effective treatments for kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders, ABA being one of them," she said.

In the 1960s, behavior analysts began working with young children diagnosed with autism and related disorders. Since that time, a variety of ABA techniques have been developed for building skills in children with autism of all ages.

"ABA is much different now than it was a few years ago," Smiecinski said. "There are several new models that are more naturalistic, preventing 'robot-like' results."

Those techniques are used in formal situations, such as classrooms, and everyday events like play or mealtime. ABA techniques are used to develop basic skills including looking, listening and imitating, along with complex skills like reading and speaking.

Several studies have shown that specific ABA techniques can help individuals with autism learn specific skills, such as how to communicate, develop relationships, play, care for themselves, learn in school, succeed at work, and participate fully in family and community activities. Supporters of ABA say that it is simply "good teaching" and the techniques are not just for children with autism.

"ABA works with children of all ages and skill levels. Results will vary for each child, but some progress will always be made," Smiecinski said.

Autism is diagnosed in about 1 of every 100 children. Autism is more common among boys than girls. An estimated 1 out of 70 boys is diagnosed with autism in the United States.

While there isn't a test for autism, doctors look at symptoms and behavior when making a diagnosis. Symptoms may appear within the first few months of life. Autism usually appears during the first three years of life and affects how the brain functions. Sometimes, autism may be diagnosed later than age 3, often in relation to learning, social or emotional difficulties. If you think there could be a problem with the way your child plays, learns, speaks or acts, contact your child's doctor to discuss your concerns.

To make an appointment at Henry Ford's Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities, call 313-916-4665 or email autismcenter@hfhs.org.

Add your comment:
Advertisement

More »Latest Articles & Blog Posts

Upping the Prom Stakes: Teen Promposals Sweep High Schools

Upping the Prom Stakes: Teen Promposals Sweep High Schools

Prom? Kids are amping up the pitch with crazy creative presentations that rival wedding proposals – and, of course, posting the pix on social media.

Depression Risk is High for Young, First-Time Fathers

Depression Risk is High for Young, First-Time Fathers

It's common to hear talk about postpartum depression for moms. But, according to a new study, dads are feeling down, too, and suffering from paternal postpartum – or postnatal – depression.

Easter Treats Ideas – Recipes for the Kids

Easter Treats Ideas – Recipes for the Kids

Cupcakes, brownies, cake pops! These creative concoctions aren't just tasty – they're cute, too! Add some fun to your Easter celebrations with these sweets.

Make It Review: Rolli Stamps and Project Idea

Make It Review: Rolli Stamps and Project Idea

This cool new inked stamper product by Funnybone Muse is sure to be a family craft staple. Here's what it's about, and how to use it to jazz up a note card.

Craft Roundup: Muppets Most Wanted Inspired DIY Fun

Craft Roundup: Muppets Most Wanted Inspired DIY Fun

These cool DIY projects are a blast for kids and families to make, all celebrating Disney's latest movie spin on the classic Muppet gang.

Tax Tips for Parents: Deductions and Credits to Know About

Tax Tips for Parents: Deductions and Credits to Know About

April 15 is the IRS tax filing deadline, aka Tax Day. Whether you've got a baby or a college kid, here's how to get the most out of your income tax returns.

9 Month Bump Maternity Apparel Boutique in Trenton

9 Month Bump Maternity Apparel Boutique in Trenton

This downriver area consignment store is stocked with lots of trendy gently used options for new and expecting moms, plus handmade baby gifts and more.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement