Early Intervention Is the Key with Autism Treatment - Touchstone

Early Intervention Is the Key with Autism Treatment

If you think your child may be on the autism spectrum, consider pursuing an early intensive behavioral intervention. Early intervention is key to bridging gaps in development and altering your child’s developmental path. It’s important to recognize that not all early intervention plans are created equal – those based on the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) have the most substantiated evidence for effectiveness in teaching new behaviors and decreasing behaviors that interfere with learning. Research has shown that children with autism who receive intensive ABA interventions at a young age have more favorable long-term outcomes than those who don’t.

Defining “Early”

While it’s never too late to seek professional guidance if you have concerns about your child’s development, the sooner the better when it comes to ABA. Here’s why:

  • Children as young as six months old may have observable signs of autism, though a diagnosis may not be given until around 18 months.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that all 18-24-month-old children be screened for autism, yet the average age of an autism diagnosis is reportedly around four years of age – a lot of learning can happen in those two critical years with an effective ABA intervention.
  • If you have concerns or a health care provider expresses concerns about your child’s development, don’t wait – seek out an expert in pediatric development or a professional experienced in diagnosing autism.
  • The CDC’s “Learn the Signs. Act Early.” program provides free resources to help families monitor developmental milestones and recognize signs of developmental concerns, including ASD.

Developing a Treatment Schedule

While the word “intensive” may worry parents when thinking about a two-year-old in ABA treatment, intensity in this context just refers to the number of hours of treatment.

  • Recommendations for treatment hours are highly individualized, but if an intensive treatment is prescribed, it generally means 25-40 hours per week.
  • Behavior analysts are expertly skilled in using the science of behavior and learning to individualize treatment. For very young children, behavioral goals are often embedded in play.
  • Intensive interventions allow for more learning opportunities to take place – children with autism often need lots of practice to acquire a new skill. While a child may learn a new skill with fewer practice opportunities per week, it’s likely going to take a lot longer over the course of time.
  • Intensive interventions also allow for more skills to be addressed more often: language and communication, motor, social and play, just to name a few.


For more information on ABA treatment and to learn more about Touchstone ABA’s services, you can call (985) 446-6833, email info@tc-aba.com or visit www.touchstoneaba.com. You can also follow us on Facebook at @TouchstoneABA.

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