During the childhood years, social development is a primary focus. Through these years, kids continue to learn and improve on several foundational skills including:
• Joint attention – a child’s ability to simultaneously attend to the same things as other people around them
• Imitation – the ability to “see then do”
• Following simple instructions – when guided to do so verbally or non-verbally
• Communicating fluently with those around them – to get their needs met and to socialize
• Understanding and using nonverbal communication and body language – to complement verbal communication
• Increased independence – with basic self-care skills such as grooming, hygiene and dressing
For kids with autism spectrum disorder, developmental disabilities or other conditions that interfere with daily living, gaining these critical foundational skills can be challenging, and behavioral and other therapies are often appropriate to support continued development.
To help develop these foundational skills in those with developmental disabilities, research recommends that effective treatment programs include:
• Using an individualized approach
• Teaching skills systematically
• Creating a structured environment for learning to occur
• Having a functional approach to addressing problem behaviors
• Maintaining family involvement, which is critical
If you think you need care for a loved one but aren’t sure where to begin, call us or Request a Consultation online. We’re here to help you identify appropriate services and assist you with next steps in the process.