Many children with an Autism diagnosis, or others along the Autistic Spectrum, have a good shot at attaining what’s considered an “optimal outcome”. If these children are diagnosed early on enough, and treatment begins in their most formative years, they could be capable of reaching relatively high levels of functioning equalling that of their peers. However, a child’s ability to be successful in a standard classroom does not mean they don’t quietly struggle. People on the higher end of the spectrum, such as individuals with High Functioning Autism (HFA) or Asperger’s Syndrome (AS), might have higher IQs but issues with communication and social interaction could present them with a great deal of anxiety. Furthermore, children with HFA grapple with the added labor of language delays.
To have a child diagnosed with HFA or AS early on in life is a great opportunity. Because these children’s autistic symptoms are often passed off as shyness, social awkwardness, or unconnected to something deeper going on, they suffer in silence. If you’re considering Autism therapy in Toronto, remember that with an early diagnosis, a child and their guardians gain access to a variety of municipal and provincial resources to help with day to day performance in school or in social situations. Some children require extra attention when it comes to non-verbal communication for example, such as recognizing body language, facial expressions, making eye contact or picking up on social cues. These resources help children to understand how certain interactions are more difficult for them than they are for others, and figure out tactics to make social experiences simpler on their end.
If you think your child might land somewhere on the higher end of the Autistic Spectrum, consider an assessment – this can be covered by extended health care and includes I.Q, pre-academics, and social functioning testing. Moreover, clinics such as Toronto’s Simone Friedman SLS offer social communication assessments by their Speech-Language Pathologists, evaluations for daily living skills, and vocational readiness by their Occupational Therapists, along with individual treatment plans.
A Speech-Language Pathologist can also help children with their cognition, listening skills, and problems solving – many of which are aspects that individuals with AS and HFA struggle with. These therapists can work with a child to help them better understand the intent behind actions, words, behaviors and to pick up on things like humor or sarcasm. Through ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) or IBI (Intensive Behavioural Intervention) therapy, they can train recognition of expressions such as smiles and frowns, as well as waves and other motions. This type of therapy will also give a child the opportunity to converse – particularly if it takes place in a setting with other peers; a chance to practice day-to-day interaction in a safe and controlled environment. Cognitive Behaviour Therapy is also helpful for training emotional control, and pacifying obsessions or repetitive behaviors.
It’s important to remember that children are most adaptable when they are young, even in the case of autistic children. With self-awareness, and a strong support system – children with HFA and AS can overcome the difficulties these conditions pose, and have the best chance at leading fulfilling lives with therapy, a comprehensive treatment plan, and guidance. Consider booking your assessment today.