Children light up our world.
We are constantly striving to keep them safe, happy, and healthy. So, when our children struggle, we struggle right alongside them.
Perhaps your child has a hard time speaking or understanding social cues. Maybe they can’t maintain eye contact or show facial expressions. Or they may have little interest in other kids and engage in unusual repetitive behaviors.
Many of these differences are expected as part of childhood development. But sometimes, they are signs that there may be some neurodiversity at play.
Autism and other neurodevelopmental differences represent diverse ways the human brain can function and evolve. Instead of trying to “fix“ or change your child, experts like us are here to help them thrive in a world that is not always easy for people who are different. And that starts with noticing the signs and getting support as early as possible.
At Alliance ABA Therapy, we partner with caregivers to provide early intervention services to children with autism and other developmental differences. We serve families throughout Northern Virginia, including Fairfax, Prince William, Stafford, Fredericksburg, and Spotsylvania.
Read on for more information about early intervention and how it can help. If you believe your child might be living with autism or if you have any questions about our services, contact us.
What Is Autism?
Autism is one of many human developmental variations. People with autism may grow up with differences in their neurological system, thus leading to unique perceptions of the world, sensory experiences, and understanding of themselves and others.
When those differences conflict with being able to live, love, or play, clinicians provide the label of disorder. Autism spectrum disorder (also known as ASD) is a developmental condition that impacts the way individuals communicate, behave, and learn, making daily functioning very challenging.
ASD is considered a spectrum because it can vary significantly in the severity of symptoms and impacted areas. The signs are usually noticeable before age 3, yet they can be missed or misinterpreted along the way.
Signs of Autism in Infants and Toddlers
Every child is unique. Some children exhibit signs of autism within the first 12 months, while others may not exhibit them until age 2 or later. Some achieve developmental skills until they are 1 or 2 years old and then stop gaining them or lose them.
Learning the signs of autism and keeping an eye on your child’s milestones is the foundation for early detection and treatment.
Here are some of the common signs of autism and other developmental limitations in infants and toddlers:
6 Months Old
- Doesn’t roll over in either direction
- Seems very stiff
- Struggles to get things to their mouth
- Doesn’t make vowel sounds
- Doesn’t react to sounds
- Seems to show little or no affection for parents or caregivers
9 Months Old
- Doesn’t sit down with help
- Can’t sustain weight on legs with support
- Doesn’t look where you point
- Doesn’t respond to their own name
- Can’t seem to recognize familiar people
- Doesn’t babble or make “mamama” sounds
1 Year Old
- Doesn’t crawl
- Can’t stand up with support
- Doesn’t point at things
- Doesn’t learn gestures like waving their hands or shaking their head
- Doesn’t say single words like “mama”
- Loses previous skills
18 Months Old
- Can’t walk
- Doesn’t copy others
- Doesn’t recognize familiar or ordinary things
- Doesn’t realize or mind when a caregiver leaves or comes back
- Doesn’t learn new words or have at least six words in their vocabulary
- Loses previous skills
2 Years Old
- Can’t walk steadily
- Doesn’t copy actions or words
- Doesn’t know what to do with ordinary things (e.g., spoon, cup)
- Can’t follow basic instructions
- Doesn’t say two-word phrases
- Loses previous skills
3 Years Old
- Falls regularly or struggles with stairs
- Doesn’t make eye contact
- Doesn’t play pretend games nor wants to play with other kids
- Doesn’t understand simple directions
- Drools or has very unclear speech
- Loses previous skills
What Is Early Intervention?
Early intervention refers to treatment services focused on evaluating and providing support to children in the early stages of development—infants and toddlers. This includes assessments, different types of therapy, and programs based on the needs of the child and their family.
The goal of early intervention is to strengthen children’s skills to address or prevent challenges and improve their quality of life.
How Can Early Assessment and Intervention Help?
Early intervention starts with an assessment. An assessment is a psychological evaluation performed by licensed psychologists like us to take a deeper look at your child and their abilities. It involves checking your child’s cognitive, executive, and emotional functioning, reviewing their history, and consulting with their family.
An accurate and early assessment can make a big difference in your child’s life and your peace of mind. It will give you a clearer understanding of their symptoms and dictate an intervention program tailored to their needs. The sooner the assessment, the sooner you can start supporting your child to enjoy a happier and healthier future.
Once a plan is in place, a certified therapist can work directly with your child to start treatment. Applied Behavioral Analysis (also known as ABA) is the gold standard intervention for behavioral and learning challenges related to autism and other developmental differences.
ABA focuses on skills training and reinforcement. This may include improving communication and daily functions, learning play and social skills, reducing problematic behaviors, and encouraging positive ones.
Intervention may also involve educating caregivers and collaborating with other community members. As treatment goes on, your child’s therapist will monitor their progress and adjust objectives and processes accordingly. The purpose is to ensure ongoing support to improve and sustain their well-being.
Early Intervention Services at Alliance ABA Therapy
Alliance ABA Therapy provides early intervention services to children with autism and other developmental differences living in Northern Virginia.
Our team of certified behavioral analysts is committed to following the BCBA regulatory requirements for training, credentialing, and licensing. We aim for continuous learning and improvement to deliver the best care for you and your family.
Our early intervention services include:
During a phone consultation, we will learn more about your child and your family to pair you with the therapist and service that better fits your needs.
One of our behavioral analysts will visit your home to perform an evaluation. They will talk to you and other family members and interact with your child to assess their skills and behaviors.
We will prepare a customized treatment plan with targets tailored to your child’s situation, strengths, and needs.
In-Home ABA Therapy
We offer one-on-one home sessions with a certified behavioral therapist, who will focus on skills training and behavior modification. The idea is to encourage your child to reach specific goals through positive reinforcement and fun learning experiences.
Our collaborative approach includes parent and caregiver training, where you will gain resources and strategies to help your child achieve their potential. We also team up with schools, speech therapists, occupational therapists, and other health care providers to facilitate an integrated support system.
Social Skills Groups
We lead in-person and online social skills groups to help children improve their communication and social abilities. Your child will play, learn, and grow along with their peers in a structured, safe, and creative environment.
All our ABA services are available online for your convenience, allowing you to access them anytime and anywhere!
Let’s Partner Up!
Whatever your child is going through, we are here to help.
Let’s work together to give your child the care and support they deserve.
If you are ready to get started, contact us to book a consultation!