Therapist for Child with Autism
I wrote a post similar to yours when our son was diagnosed with ASD at just a few month shy of 3 yo.
We started with ABA through the East Bay Regional Center, and then at 3 he was assessed by school district. They wanted to provide services in a contained special ed preschool that we felt wouldn’t work for our son. We fought them and we’re able to get them to pay for an ABA therapist to shadow him as an aide at his mainstream preschool (that he/we loved). This was one of the best decisions we ever made as it allowed him the opportunity to learn from and interact with “neurotypical” kids.
He averaged around 25 hours per week of ABA until he started Kindergarden. It was very helpful, but we had to adjust to having people in our home. Our son still receives ABA after school, although we are now considering tapering down.
The other thing that made a big difference for our son is biomedical treatment. I regret how resistant we were to this in the beginning, but I truly thought it was hocus pocus. That said, when we discovered that our son was having reactions to some foods (bright red cheeks, ears and meltdowns), his OT recommended that we see Dr Sanford Newmark at UCSF.
The first thing Dr Newmark did was have us do an elimination diet, during which we found he reacted to several foods. We removed them and he improved overnight. We’ve never looked back. Here are some websites and books I wish we had known about when we started our journey:
The Autism Revolution: Whole-Body Strategies for Making Life All It Can Be - Martha Herbert, MD, Harvard Medical School.
Talk About Curing Autism
The Myth of Autism: How a Misunderstood Epidemic Is Destroying Our Children, Expanded and Revised Edition, Michael J Goldberg, MD
Healing the New Childhood Epidemics: Autism, ADHD, Asthma, and Allergies: The Groundbreaking Program for the 4-A Disorders, Kenneth Bock, MD
Overcoming Autism: Finding the Answers, Strategies, and Hope That Can Transform a Child's Life, Lynn Kern Koegel, PhD, UCSB
These are controversial from a mainstream medical perspective to be sure, but you should read and decide for yourself. Several of the books above are available on Audible so I could listen while I was doing other things.
Fast forward to our son at 9 and 1/2 and he is now mainstreamed in public school and is doing well. He still has issues, but as we address his underlying medical problems, he continues to improve. Most importantly, he is a much happier kid.
You have reason for hope, especially given how young your son is. Best of luck!
I think it is absolutely AWESOME that you got such an early diagnosis! Your ABA provider will help you come up with goals for your child and they will help to educate you, too, so you can continue to help him stretch and grow...the good (and bad!) news about being an ASD parent is that you are your child's main therapist! Read as much as possible. An excellent book to start with is An Early Start for Your Child with Autism: Using Everyday Activities to Help Kids Connect, Communicate, and Learn by Rogers/Dawson/Vismara.
Also check out Autism Speaks' 100 Day Kit for Newly Diagnosed Families:
We didn't end up doing ABA because it didn't seem to be the right fit for our now 5.5 year old who was diagnosed at age 3. Instead we've been doing speech, social skills therapy and occupational therapy.
I'm guessing you might have Kaiser since you got such an early diagnosis and ABA hours; you should get them to give you speech (SLP) and OT, too...and if you don't have Kaiser, you should still try to get these incredibly important therapies.
Again, huge kudos to you and your child!
Wishing your family all my best.