Autism Counselling in Brisbane, QLD

Photo of Kate Row, Psychologist in Brisbane, QLD
Kate Row
Psychologist, PsyBA General
Verified Verified
New Farm, QLD 4005
Kate enjoys working with children, adolescents and adults. She is experienced and interested in working with clients who present with a range of presentations including anxiety (excessive worrying, social anxiety), low self-esteem, adjustment difficulties to life changes, autism (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, stress, school issues, bullying, employment difficulties, health diagnoses and various physical and psychological disabilities.
Kate enjoys working with children, adolescents and adults. She is experienced and interested in working with clients who present with a range of presentations including anxiety (excessive worrying, social anxiety), low self-esteem, adjustment difficulties to life changes, autism (ASD), attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, stress, school issues, bullying, employment difficulties, health diagnoses and various physical and psychological disabilities.
(07) 2100 4991 View (07) 2100 4991
Photo of Dr Natalia Rusnac, Psychologist in Brisbane, QLD
Dr Natalia Rusnac
Psychologist, PhD, MAPS
Verified Verified
Woolloongabba, QLD 4102  (Online Only)
I am a Clinical Psychologist with a special interest in supporting adults who identify as neurodivergent, for example adults who are on the autism spectrum and/or who are struggling with ADHD symptoms. I work with a wide range of difficulties, such as self-esteem issues, chronic health concerns, anxiety, depression, relationship issues, emotion regulation difficulties, grief and loss, trauma, chronic pain, sleep disturbance, burnout. I want to go beyond coping and help people build lives that bring them joy, because coping is not the same as being happy.
I am a Clinical Psychologist with a special interest in supporting adults who identify as neurodivergent, for example adults who are on the autism spectrum and/or who are struggling with ADHD symptoms. I work with a wide range of difficulties, such as self-esteem issues, chronic health concerns, anxiety, depression, relationship issues, emotion regulation difficulties, grief and loss, trauma, chronic pain, sleep disturbance, burnout. I want to go beyond coping and help people build lives that bring them joy, because coping is not the same as being happy.
View
Photo of Andrea Stafford, Counsellor in Brisbane, QLD
Andrea Stafford
Counsellor, ACA-L2
Verified Verified
Forest Lake, QLD 4078
I can help with a variety of issues, including mood disorders, female autism presentation, and relationship issues.
Your life, and your feelings matter. I can give you a safe, confidential space to be heard, accepted, and understood. You get to tell your story and talk about your struggles at your own pace, and together we can work towards greater clarity and resolutions. In our sessions I draw partly on my own lived experience. I have insight into trauma, workplace stress, high-functioning autism and supporting a family member with dementia. I also have 25 years experience working with children and their families. These assets give me empathy and a deep understanding of a wide range of others' personal experiences.
I can help with a variety of issues, including mood disorders, female autism presentation, and relationship issues.
Your life, and your feelings matter. I can give you a safe, confidential space to be heard, accepted, and understood. You get to tell your story and talk about your struggles at your own pace, and together we can work towards greater clarity and resolutions. In our sessions I draw partly on my own lived experience. I have insight into trauma, workplace stress, high-functioning autism and supporting a family member with dementia. I also have 25 years experience working with children and their families. These assets give me empathy and a deep understanding of a wide range of others' personal experiences.
0432 262 866 View 0432 262 866
Photo of Emine Atasoy, Psychologist in Brisbane, QLD
Emine Atasoy
Psychologist, PsyBA General
Verified Verified
Moorooka, QLD 4105
I have training and experience, along with a keen interest in child and adolescent mental health, autism, ADHD, AuDHD, anxiety, OCD, depression, disordered eating, bipolar affective disorder, early psychosis, trauma/PTSD, family/parenting. I am available for appointments via telehealth Australia wide, and face-to-face in Moorooka QLD, with current appointment availability. Please visit my website for further information: www.littlepsychlane.com.au
I have training and experience, along with a keen interest in child and adolescent mental health, autism, ADHD, AuDHD, anxiety, OCD, depression, disordered eating, bipolar affective disorder, early psychosis, trauma/PTSD, family/parenting. I am available for appointments via telehealth Australia wide, and face-to-face in Moorooka QLD, with current appointment availability. Please visit my website for further information: www.littlepsychlane.com.au
(07) 2100 4332 View (07) 2100 4332
Photo of Dr Shelley Viskovich, Psychologist in Brisbane, QLD
Dr Shelley Viskovich
Psychologist, PhD, MAPS
Verified Verified
Pullenvale, QLD 4069
I offer neurodivergent affirming assessments (17+ Autism/ADHD) in person at Pullenvale (Queensland) and via telehealth.
Assessment only - therapy books are closed, I am not waitlisting clients, and sadly I am unable to provide referral options. Welcome and thanks for taking the time to view my profile. I am a clinical psychologist specialising in assessing complex neurodivergent clients (Autism, ADHD, PDA, BPD, CPTSD, Bipolar, OCD) particularly those who do not present in stereotypical ways or mask heavily, preventing earlier identification. Being neurodivergent myself, I have lived experience in addition to extensive clinical training to support clients.
I offer neurodivergent affirming assessments (17+ Autism/ADHD) in person at Pullenvale (Queensland) and via telehealth.
Assessment only - therapy books are closed, I am not waitlisting clients, and sadly I am unable to provide referral options. Welcome and thanks for taking the time to view my profile. I am a clinical psychologist specialising in assessing complex neurodivergent clients (Autism, ADHD, PDA, BPD, CPTSD, Bipolar, OCD) particularly those who do not present in stereotypical ways or mask heavily, preventing earlier identification. Being neurodivergent myself, I have lived experience in addition to extensive clinical training to support clients.
View
Photo of Catherine Fanning, Psychologist in Brisbane, QLD
Catherine Fanning
Psychologist, MPsych, PsyBA General
Verified Verified
Moggill, QLD 4070  (Online Only)
I am a (late diagnosed) neurodivergent psychologist. I have immediate availability for individual, online, telehealth psychology sessions as well as autism and ADHD diagnostic assessments for young people and adults (aged 15+). I am especially passionate about working with neurodivergent females and gender diverse individuals as they explore their identity and reclaim their unique strengths. I am also well versed working with individuals who have experienced trauma, including complex childhood trauma, anxiety, depression, family separation, school difficulties, relationship difficulties and life transitions.
I am a (late diagnosed) neurodivergent psychologist. I have immediate availability for individual, online, telehealth psychology sessions as well as autism and ADHD diagnostic assessments for young people and adults (aged 15+). I am especially passionate about working with neurodivergent females and gender diverse individuals as they explore their identity and reclaim their unique strengths. I am also well versed working with individuals who have experienced trauma, including complex childhood trauma, anxiety, depression, family separation, school difficulties, relationship difficulties and life transitions.
(07) 2100 4499 View (07) 2100 4499
Photo of TAS Psychology , Psychologist in Brisbane, QLD
TAS Psychology
Psychologist, PsychD, Assoc MAPS
Verified Verified
Brookwater, QLD 4300
I am also experienced in Autism and Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) intervention and assessment.
Are you struggling with anxiety, stress or other mental health challenges? Or seeking support to enhance your emotional well-being, improve coping skills and regain control in your life? Perhaps you're facing difficulties in navigating your child's challenging behaviours and are seeking guidance and tools to help them develop healthier coping mechanisms, social skills or tackle their anxiety or low mood? Do you find life overwhelming and have challenges with organisation, starting tasks or getting things done?
I am also experienced in Autism and Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) intervention and assessment.
Are you struggling with anxiety, stress or other mental health challenges? Or seeking support to enhance your emotional well-being, improve coping skills and regain control in your life? Perhaps you're facing difficulties in navigating your child's challenging behaviours and are seeking guidance and tools to help them develop healthier coping mechanisms, social skills or tackle their anxiety or low mood? Do you find life overwhelming and have challenges with organisation, starting tasks or getting things done?
(07) 2801 6336 View (07) 2801 6336
Photo of Dr Nicole Hess, Psychologist in Brisbane, QLD
Dr Nicole Hess
Psychologist, PhD, PsyBA General
Verified Verified
Milton, QLD 4064
Therapies include; Interpersonal Social Rhythm's Therapy (Bipolar Disorder), Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), Schema Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), Play Therapy, WestMead Feelings Program (emotional awareness for children with Autism).
Dr Nicole is both founder and director of A to Z Psychology and A to Z Learning Pathways. Nicole aims to empower her clients to explore, unlock, and build on their innate capacity for growth and development. The mantra of A to Z Learning Pathways and A to Z psychology of , "Enhancing minds", is applied across all age groups. The letters "A to Z" represent the unique nature and needs of each individual client. Nicole works with each client to formulate treatment plans, assessment protocols, and advocacy service (usually for educational support) that best meet individual needs. Nicole works with children, teens,and older individuals.
Therapies include; Interpersonal Social Rhythm's Therapy (Bipolar Disorder), Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), Schema Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing (EMDR), Play Therapy, WestMead Feelings Program (emotional awareness for children with Autism).
Dr Nicole is both founder and director of A to Z Psychology and A to Z Learning Pathways. Nicole aims to empower her clients to explore, unlock, and build on their innate capacity for growth and development. The mantra of A to Z Learning Pathways and A to Z psychology of , "Enhancing minds", is applied across all age groups. The letters "A to Z" represent the unique nature and needs of each individual client. Nicole works with each client to formulate treatment plans, assessment protocols, and advocacy service (usually for educational support) that best meet individual needs. Nicole works with children, teens,and older individuals.
(07) 2100 4824 View (07) 2100 4824
Photo of Dr Philippa McTaggart - Child Clinical Psychologist, Psychologist in Brisbane, QLD
Dr Philippa McTaggart - Child Clinical Psychologist
Psychologist, PhD, MAPS
Verified Verified
Aspley, QLD 4034
Dr Philippa McTaggart is a Clinical Psychologist who has worked with children, teenagers, young adults and families for more than 20 years. She enjoys providing neuroaffirming support for a wide range of presenting problems, and is skilled at developing a treatment plan that is tailored to the needs of your family. Issues such as anxiety, low mood, ADHD, Autism, anger, social skills challenges, learning difficulties, eating problems, sleep difficulties, and recurrent pain are all within Philippa's expertise. She has significant experience in conducting assessments. Parenting support is a key component of her approach.
Dr Philippa McTaggart is a Clinical Psychologist who has worked with children, teenagers, young adults and families for more than 20 years. She enjoys providing neuroaffirming support for a wide range of presenting problems, and is skilled at developing a treatment plan that is tailored to the needs of your family. Issues such as anxiety, low mood, ADHD, Autism, anger, social skills challenges, learning difficulties, eating problems, sleep difficulties, and recurrent pain are all within Philippa's expertise. She has significant experience in conducting assessments. Parenting support is a key component of her approach.
(07) 3186 9473 View (07) 3186 9473
Photo of Calm Space Psychology Services, Psychologist in Brisbane, QLD
Calm Space Psychology Services
Psychologist
Verified Verified
Jimboomba, QLD 4280
Special interest areas: Anxiety, Autism, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Cross-cultural experiences, Depression, Emotion regulation, Grief and loss, Managing relationships and friendships (social skills), Post-migration difficulties, Sleep difficulties, Trauma and more!.
Calm Space Psychology Services aims to provide assessment and therapy services to individuals, couples, and groups with a warm, caring, and empathetic approach. We are a team underpinned by advocacy and dedication to creating a safe, inclusive space where diversity is accepted and celebrated; respect, compassion, and collaboration are fostered; and where every client experiences a felt sense of safety, calm, and genuine support. Our team of experienced clinicians is committed to providing a safe, Calm Space using therapeutic approaches that promote healing, growth, and resilience.
Special interest areas: Anxiety, Autism, Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Cross-cultural experiences, Depression, Emotion regulation, Grief and loss, Managing relationships and friendships (social skills), Post-migration difficulties, Sleep difficulties, Trauma and more!.
Calm Space Psychology Services aims to provide assessment and therapy services to individuals, couples, and groups with a warm, caring, and empathetic approach. We are a team underpinned by advocacy and dedication to creating a safe, inclusive space where diversity is accepted and celebrated; respect, compassion, and collaboration are fostered; and where every client experiences a felt sense of safety, calm, and genuine support. Our team of experienced clinicians is committed to providing a safe, Calm Space using therapeutic approaches that promote healing, growth, and resilience.
(07) 5655 7640 View (07) 5655 7640
Photo of Eliza Mealey, Counsellor in Brisbane, QLD
Eliza Mealey
Counsellor, ACA-L2
Verified Verified
Brisbane City, QLD 4000
I am an accredited Arts Psychotherapist the registered body, ACA. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Psychotherapy from Ikon Institute Australia. My background in theatre and my understanding of the power of using creative methods to dive deeper into our subconscious led me to pursue a career in arts Psychotherapy. I work in a holistic way, guiding clients towards their strengths. I have experience working with adults who face life challenges, young children and adolescents who have social, emotional and behavioural issues. ​ Presently, I have a number of clients living with autism. Using art therapy with clients on the spectrum i
I am an accredited Arts Psychotherapist the registered body, ACA. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Psychotherapy from Ikon Institute Australia. My background in theatre and my understanding of the power of using creative methods to dive deeper into our subconscious led me to pursue a career in arts Psychotherapy. I work in a holistic way, guiding clients towards their strengths. I have experience working with adults who face life challenges, young children and adolescents who have social, emotional and behavioural issues. ​ Presently, I have a number of clients living with autism. Using art therapy with clients on the spectrum i
(07) 3132 2928 View (07) 3132 2928
Photo of Cathartic Collaborations, Clinical Social Work/Therapist in Brisbane, QLD
Cathartic Collaborations
Clinical Social Work/Therapist, AMHSW
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Nundah, QLD 4012
I'll work with you in a neurodivergent affirming way to understand and embrace Autism and/or ADHD and find strategies and accommodations to support your mental health and wellbeing.
Hello! I love working with Autistic folks and ADHDers and their families in a neurodivergent affirming way. I am also neurodivergent myself. I create a safe space to share your worries. I am here to work with you through life's ups, downs and curveballs. My approach to therapy is practical and interactive. At times it can be fun! I like to use games, activities and visuals when appropriate. I have a variety of fidgets to meet your sensory needs.
I'll work with you in a neurodivergent affirming way to understand and embrace Autism and/or ADHD and find strategies and accommodations to support your mental health and wellbeing.
Hello! I love working with Autistic folks and ADHDers and their families in a neurodivergent affirming way. I am also neurodivergent myself. I create a safe space to share your worries. I am here to work with you through life's ups, downs and curveballs. My approach to therapy is practical and interactive. At times it can be fun! I like to use games, activities and visuals when appropriate. I have a variety of fidgets to meet your sensory needs.
(07) 3130 0244 View (07) 3130 0244
Photo of Living Dreams Disability Services, Psychologist in Brisbane, QLD
Living Dreams Disability Services
Psychologist, MPsych, PsyBA General
Verified Verified
West End, QLD 4101
Maria is a passionate Registered Psychologist who provides a safe and validating environment to children, adolescents and adults with a broad range of presentations including Depression, Anxiety, Personality Disorders including BPD, trauma, PTSD, Autism, ADHD, grief and bereavement, relationship difficulties, parental burnout and low self-esteem. Drawing from personal experience, Maria knows first hand how daunting seeking help can be. Thus, she strives to create a comfortable and welcoming environment to ensure all clients feel at home and can safely begin their journey to better understand themselves.
Maria is a passionate Registered Psychologist who provides a safe and validating environment to children, adolescents and adults with a broad range of presentations including Depression, Anxiety, Personality Disorders including BPD, trauma, PTSD, Autism, ADHD, grief and bereavement, relationship difficulties, parental burnout and low self-esteem. Drawing from personal experience, Maria knows first hand how daunting seeking help can be. Thus, she strives to create a comfortable and welcoming environment to ensure all clients feel at home and can safely begin their journey to better understand themselves.
(03) 7500 5891 View (03) 7500 5891
Photo of Ruth Minkov, Psychologist in Brisbane, QLD
Ruth Minkov
Psychologist, MA, PsyBA General
Verified Verified
Brisbane City, QLD 4000
I offer neuroaffirming neuropsychological, academic, Autism and ADHD assessment for teens and adults, both via Telehealth and in Abbotsford, Melbourne. I have a strong professional interest in diagnosis of Autism in women, and my assessments take into consideration "camouflaging" or compensatory behaviours. I offer follow-up sessions to assist the individual to process the diagnosis (or absence of a diagnosis), and to establish relevant supports. I am able to provide reports for the NDIS.
I offer neuroaffirming neuropsychological, academic, Autism and ADHD assessment for teens and adults, both via Telehealth and in Abbotsford, Melbourne. I have a strong professional interest in diagnosis of Autism in women, and my assessments take into consideration "camouflaging" or compensatory behaviours. I offer follow-up sessions to assist the individual to process the diagnosis (or absence of a diagnosis), and to establish relevant supports. I am able to provide reports for the NDIS.
(03) 7003 2743 View (03) 7003 2743
Photo of Thalia Koulas - Therapy Shmerapy, Counsellor in Brisbane, QLD
Thalia Koulas - Therapy Shmerapy
Counsellor, ACA-L2
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Brisbane City, QLD 4000  (Online Only)
Waitlist for new clients
I specialise in supporting the LGBTQIA+ and neurodivergent communities, with focus on autism, LGBTQIA+ issues, and complex trauma. I have experience working with people aged 14 and above. I aim to create a non-judgmental space, ensuring inclusivity and genuineness in every session. I can work with people at all stages of life, from queer people out in the community, to people suspecting they may be autistic. I take particular interest in AFAB and neurodivergent people, and the entire LGBTQIA+ community. I am not suitable for people seeking CBT.
I specialise in supporting the LGBTQIA+ and neurodivergent communities, with focus on autism, LGBTQIA+ issues, and complex trauma. I have experience working with people aged 14 and above. I aim to create a non-judgmental space, ensuring inclusivity and genuineness in every session. I can work with people at all stages of life, from queer people out in the community, to people suspecting they may be autistic. I take particular interest in AFAB and neurodivergent people, and the entire LGBTQIA+ community. I am not suitable for people seeking CBT.
View
Photo of Ayna Hennessy, Counsellor in Brisbane, QLD
Ayna Hennessy
Counsellor, MA, PACFA
Verified Verified
2 Endorsed
Brisbane City, QLD 4000  (Online Only)
Overwhelmed? I have lived experience and extensive knowledge of the complexities of ADHD, Sensory Processing, Autism, disordered eating & chronic pain. My unique life with exposure to diversity and unexpected curveballs has shaped me into an insightful, reflective and understanding counsellor. My thirst for knowledge, hyper-focus skills and resolve to fight led to me seeking out my own answers surrounding my health. It finally paid off, & I hope it can help you. I am treated/mentored/supervised and trained by the MVPs in ADHD & its many comorbidities which helps you. I do not refuse vulnerable & complex clients; I used to be one.
Overwhelmed? I have lived experience and extensive knowledge of the complexities of ADHD, Sensory Processing, Autism, disordered eating & chronic pain. My unique life with exposure to diversity and unexpected curveballs has shaped me into an insightful, reflective and understanding counsellor. My thirst for knowledge, hyper-focus skills and resolve to fight led to me seeking out my own answers surrounding my health. It finally paid off, & I hope it can help you. I am treated/mentored/supervised and trained by the MVPs in ADHD & its many comorbidities which helps you. I do not refuse vulnerable & complex clients; I used to be one.
(03) 7003 2926 View (03) 7003 2926
Photo of Anchor Counselling & Coaching Services, Counsellor in Brisbane, QLD
Anchor Counselling & Coaching Services
Counsellor, MA, ACA-L4
Verified Verified
3 Endorsed
Beenleigh, QLD 4207
With 20 years' experience in many areas including neurodivergence (autism/adhd/audhd), trauma, relationship issues, domestic violence, anger, general mental health and child and adolescent behaviour, I work from an eclectic and strength based perspective.
You followed the plan and it didn't work out. Perhaps you threw out the plan and now regret it or was never given a plan to begin with and life just happened! Regardless how you got here the one thing that is certain, is that something needs to change. The good news is you are not alone, there is always something that can be done. This situation and these feelings will not last forever and you have taken the first courageous step towards changing your course. As a degree qualified and registered counsellor with a background in psychology, I can help you with the next steps.
With 20 years' experience in many areas including neurodivergence (autism/adhd/audhd), trauma, relationship issues, domestic violence, anger, general mental health and child and adolescent behaviour, I work from an eclectic and strength based perspective.
You followed the plan and it didn't work out. Perhaps you threw out the plan and now regret it or was never given a plan to begin with and life just happened! Regardless how you got here the one thing that is certain, is that something needs to change. The good news is you are not alone, there is always something that can be done. This situation and these feelings will not last forever and you have taken the first courageous step towards changing your course. As a degree qualified and registered counsellor with a background in psychology, I can help you with the next steps.
(07) 3050 0641 View (07) 3050 0641
Photo of Present Tense Psychology, Psychologist in Brisbane, QLD
Present Tense Psychology
Psychologist, PsyBA General
Verified Verified
Brisbane City, QLD 4000  (Online Only)
Offering online after-hours remote telehealth evidence-based counselling, ADHD & adult Autism assessment & diagnosis.
Present Tense Psychology is led by Mark Rose who has strong experience in supporting diverse client groups who are experiencing a variety of problems, including anxiety, depression, stress, grief & loss, trauma, ADHD, & those and those who are experiencing problems with coping, motivation, & goal setting. Mark uses a flexible client-centered therapeutic approach that incorporates evidence-based frameworks such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT), & Solutions Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) to reduce symptoms, improve coping skills, and enhance self-acceptance.
Offering online after-hours remote telehealth evidence-based counselling, ADHD & adult Autism assessment & diagnosis.
Present Tense Psychology is led by Mark Rose who has strong experience in supporting diverse client groups who are experiencing a variety of problems, including anxiety, depression, stress, grief & loss, trauma, ADHD, & those and those who are experiencing problems with coping, motivation, & goal setting. Mark uses a flexible client-centered therapeutic approach that incorporates evidence-based frameworks such as Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance & Commitment Therapy (ACT), & Solutions Focused Brief Therapy (SFBT) to reduce symptoms, improve coping skills, and enhance self-acceptance.
(02) 4005 0031 View (02) 4005 0031
Photo of Jade Deglaitis, Psychologist in Brisbane, QLD
Jade Deglaitis
Psychologist, PsyBA General
Verified Verified
Brisbane City, QLD 4000  (Online Only)
I am a generally registered psychologist who has experience working across the lifespan. I have a passion for working with children, adolescents, adults and families with neurodiversity, in particular the autism spectrum. However, I have experience working with a range of presentations and always welcome connecting with new clients to determine how I can support them in reaching their goals.
I am a generally registered psychologist who has experience working across the lifespan. I have a passion for working with children, adolescents, adults and families with neurodiversity, in particular the autism spectrum. However, I have experience working with a range of presentations and always welcome connecting with new clients to determine how I can support them in reaching their goals.
(08) 7078 8384 View (08) 7078 8384
Photo of Lisa Formosa in Brisbane, QLD
Lisa Formosa
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Brisbane City, QLD 4000  (Online Only)
Receive individualised support to create the life you choose. Choose a practitioner who understands Autism, ADHD, neurodivergence, high sensitivity and introversion. Share what its like inhabiting a world that hasn’t understood you. Develop your inner self knowledge. Access Neurodiversity Affirmative Practice.
Receive individualised support to create the life you choose. Choose a practitioner who understands Autism, ADHD, neurodivergence, high sensitivity and introversion. Share what its like inhabiting a world that hasn’t understood you. Develop your inner self knowledge. Access Neurodiversity Affirmative Practice.
(03) 7302 8068 View (03) 7302 8068

See more therapy options for Brisbane

Autism Counsellors

What is the most effective treatment for autism?

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) has come to be considered the standard treatment for children with autism spectrum disorder, and research has confirmed its effectiveness for many children. Therapists trained in ABA techniques work with children (and their parents) on developing social skills, communication and learning abilities, and everyday habits of hygiene and grooming. The clinician will tailor their program to the child’s particular need but the overarching goal will be to help them advance as far as possible toward independence based on their level of symptoms and decrease the need for additional special services. Families should seek a mental health professional specifically trained in ABA, and holding special certification in the technique, who has extensive experience not only with the approach but in using it with children with the same level of symptoms as the child who needs care.

How does ABA work?

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) sessions, which typically focus on positive reinforcement, can be intensive, lasting two or more hours several times a week, and continuing for two years or more. Therapists can also be expected to ask parents to take an active role in reinforcing lessons. Research has found that the technique can lead to major improvements that decrease the need for additional special services.

How does treatment for autism work?

Therapy sessions based on Applied Behavior Analysis will likely be frequent, intensive, and highly structured. After a thorough assessment, a therapist will help a child understand and develop skills in a range of areas, including communication, motor skills, social skills, self-care, play, and academic skills, as well as routines of daily living like hygiene. Typically, the therapist will help a child break down the components of a behavior—often referred to as the antecedent (what prompts an action), the behavior, and the consequence(what immediately follows)—and then reward the child at every step, while also asking parents to reinforce the lessons, and the rewards, throughout the day. This core therapy may be supplemented by occupational or speech therapy, and antidepressants, antipsychotics, and anticonvulsants may be prescribed to address specific severe symptoms.

How long does therapy for autism take?

Some people with autism spectrum disorder may be engaged in some level of therapy for many years, but research shows that treatment will be most effective if it is begun early and delivered intensively. When therapy begins by age 3, children tend to be better able to grasp and adopt the skills needed to manage everyday life, including attending school and establishing social relationships. This type of early-intervention treatment regimen is highly structured, typically involving 20 to 40 hours of one-on-one therapy per week, along with additional hours of engagement managed by parents, for a period of two years or more, although the duration of treatment is dependent on the child’s level of symptoms and pace of progress.