A clinical psychologist who specializes in ASD can assist in early identification of risk as well as be an essential part of a child’s treatment team. A clinical psychologist can help with:
- Reducing aggressive and self-harm behaviors
- Regulating your child’s emotional anxiety
- Enhancing verbal and non-verbal communication skills
- Fostering reciprocal social interaction
- Improving social skills with peers
- Identifying and coping with environmental triggers
- Teaching adaptive skills to develop independence
- Reducing ritualistic, repetitive behaviors
- Collaborating with educational systems
- Coordinate your child’s treatment team of providers
- Provide practical and emotional support for parents
Research has shown that behavioral interventions are effective for improving language, cognitive abilities, adaptive behavior, and social skills, and reducing anxiety and aggression. Brief, targeted behavioral interventions including parent-delivered practices can greatly improve social communication in toddlers and young children. Grade-schoolers and adolescents with ASD demonstrate enhancement of social skills among peers through group social skills programs. Cognitive behavioral therapy combined with social skills training is most effective for high functioning individuals, while systematic desensitization is more effective for those with significant intellectual challenges.
Dawson, G., Burner, K. Behavioral interventions in children and adolescents with autism spectrum disorder: A review of recent findings. Current Opinions in Pediatrics. Dec 2011;23(6):616-20.