Autism Therapists in San Jose, CA

Photo of Minoo Mehdikhan, Psychologist in San Jose, CA
Minoo Mehdikhan
Psychologist, PhD
Verified Verified
San Jose, CA 95124
My specialization is in the area of stress, mood disorder, trauma, relationship problems, ADD, ADHD, autism, asperger disorder, speech disorder and learning disability. My orientation is eclectic, psychodynamic, hypnotherapy, EMDR, and EEG Neurofeedback. I work with adults, adolescents, as well as children.
My specialization is in the area of stress, mood disorder, trauma, relationship problems, ADD, ADHD, autism, asperger disorder, speech disorder and learning disability. My orientation is eclectic, psychodynamic, hypnotherapy, EMDR, and EEG Neurofeedback. I work with adults, adolescents, as well as children.
(408) 883-5394 View (408) 883-5394
Photo of Melissa Walter, Marriage & Family Therapist in San Jose, CA
Melissa Walter
Marriage & Family Therapist, MA, LMFT, ATR-BC
Verified Verified
San Jose, CA 95128
I have extensive experience and knowledge supporting children and young adults profoundly impacted by autism in a school setting, along with a deep understanding of how the family has been affected.
When we focus on developing a relationship first and feeling a sense of safety, it is much easier to navigate through the discomfort. So we will start there. I invite you to try Art Therapy in a way that will assist you in recognizing your strengths and provide you with a feeling of connection. If Art Therapy is not something you are interested in, we will engage in talk therapy so you may experience feeling seen and known. I often incorporate art, play, and movement when working with children and families. A typical client of mine is looking for guidance in emotional regulation and wants greater emotional awareness.
I have extensive experience and knowledge supporting children and young adults profoundly impacted by autism in a school setting, along with a deep understanding of how the family has been affected.
When we focus on developing a relationship first and feeling a sense of safety, it is much easier to navigate through the discomfort. So we will start there. I invite you to try Art Therapy in a way that will assist you in recognizing your strengths and provide you with a feeling of connection. If Art Therapy is not something you are interested in, we will engage in talk therapy so you may experience feeling seen and known. I often incorporate art, play, and movement when working with children and families. A typical client of mine is looking for guidance in emotional regulation and wants greater emotional awareness.
(408) 414-6394 View (408) 414-6394
Photo of Julie-Mae Wallingford in San Jose, CA
Julie-Mae Wallingford
MEd, BCBA
Verified Verified
San Jose, CA 95110
With experience as a highly educated doctoral candidate, researcher, and clinician, I specialize in areas such as Trichotillomania treatment, parent training, Autism, ADHD coaching, social skills and language development, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), crisis intervention, violent behavior, risk assessment, IEP advocacy, and much more.
I go by 'Julie-Mae,' and I'm passionate about helping people overcome challenges, build resilience, and achieve their full potential. I'm thrilled to introduce myself as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, therapist, Executive Director, and Founder of Maehaven Behavioral Consulting & Therapy, a nurturing space dedicated to supporting individuals on their journey to behavioral and social wellness. My ideal client would work collaboratively with me through Telehealth to develop and execute evidence-based behavioral treatment. All ages, abilities, and demographics are welcome.
With experience as a highly educated doctoral candidate, researcher, and clinician, I specialize in areas such as Trichotillomania treatment, parent training, Autism, ADHD coaching, social skills and language development, Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), crisis intervention, violent behavior, risk assessment, IEP advocacy, and much more.
I go by 'Julie-Mae,' and I'm passionate about helping people overcome challenges, build resilience, and achieve their full potential. I'm thrilled to introduce myself as a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, therapist, Executive Director, and Founder of Maehaven Behavioral Consulting & Therapy, a nurturing space dedicated to supporting individuals on their journey to behavioral and social wellness. My ideal client would work collaboratively with me through Telehealth to develop and execute evidence-based behavioral treatment. All ages, abilities, and demographics are welcome.
(408) 789-8530 View (408) 789-8530
Photo of Amara Brook, Psychologist in San Jose, CA
Amara Brook
Psychologist, PhD, ABPP
Verified Verified
San Jose, CA 95117
I offer neurodiversity-affirming Autism and ADHD assessments for all ages, and have a special interest in clients whose autism and/or ADHD are masked by other factors such as high cognitive and/or verbal ability, gender, race, age, or other psychiatric diagnoses.
Are you Autistic and/or ADHD and struggling in a world not designed for your neurotype? Or do you suspect that you may be Autistic and/or ADHD and want to work with a down-to-earth neurodivergent psychologist to find out? Are you looking for a therapist who gets the struggle? I offer collaborative and neurodiversity-affirming assessment and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) tailored to the needs of Autistic and ADHD clients.
I offer neurodiversity-affirming Autism and ADHD assessments for all ages, and have a special interest in clients whose autism and/or ADHD are masked by other factors such as high cognitive and/or verbal ability, gender, race, age, or other psychiatric diagnoses.
Are you Autistic and/or ADHD and struggling in a world not designed for your neurotype? Or do you suspect that you may be Autistic and/or ADHD and want to work with a down-to-earth neurodivergent psychologist to find out? Are you looking for a therapist who gets the struggle? I offer collaborative and neurodiversity-affirming assessment and Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) tailored to the needs of Autistic and ADHD clients.
(775) 260-4455 View (775) 260-4455
Photo of Brian J Thomason, Marriage & Family Therapist in San Jose, CA
Brian J Thomason
Marriage & Family Therapist, MS, MS (2), LMFT
Verified Verified
San Jose, CA 95129
I work with all ages and populations. My advanced training and experience is working as a pediatric psychotherapist, specializing in children with anxieties and attachment disorders. I also have advanced training and experience working with couples, or individuals with an emphasis on relationships, acquiring or healing. I work with a combination of Relational techniques to develop a strong relationship that begins with a greater understanding and the ability to communicate with your partner. My training and experience also specializes in parent coaching. I have a unique training background for working with OCD, ADHD, and Autism
I work with all ages and populations. My advanced training and experience is working as a pediatric psychotherapist, specializing in children with anxieties and attachment disorders. I also have advanced training and experience working with couples, or individuals with an emphasis on relationships, acquiring or healing. I work with a combination of Relational techniques to develop a strong relationship that begins with a greater understanding and the ability to communicate with your partner. My training and experience also specializes in parent coaching. I have a unique training background for working with OCD, ADHD, and Autism
(408) 583-6760 View (408) 583-6760
Photo of Kylie Duty, Marriage & Family Therapist in San Jose, CA
Kylie Duty
Marriage & Family Therapist, LMFT
Verified Verified
San Jose, CA 95118
I specialize in individuals with Autism, ADHD, co-morbid diagnoses, and those who have experienced trauma.
I work with clients who struggle to find happiness in their lives because they feel burdened by things that are out of their control. I enjoy helping clients find fulfillment no matter where they are in life. I hope to help my clients improve their self-esteem, reduce their stress levels, increase their understanding of themselves, and learn valuable stress management tools they can use outside of the therapy room.
I specialize in individuals with Autism, ADHD, co-morbid diagnoses, and those who have experienced trauma.
I work with clients who struggle to find happiness in their lives because they feel burdened by things that are out of their control. I enjoy helping clients find fulfillment no matter where they are in life. I hope to help my clients improve their self-esteem, reduce their stress levels, increase their understanding of themselves, and learn valuable stress management tools they can use outside of the therapy room.
(669) 322-4204 View (669) 322-4204
Photo of Jackie Chang, MA, LMFT, Marriage & Family Therapist in San Jose, CA
Jackie Chang, MA, LMFT
Marriage & Family Therapist, MA, LMFT
Verified Verified
4 Endorsed
San Jose, CA 95125
My areas of specialty are Autism Spectrum Disorder, anxiety, and depression.
Are you feeling depressed or anxious? Is your child having difficulties in school? Are you having relational problems? Whether you are seeking therapy for yourself or a loved one, I strive to ensure my patients feel supported as we collaboratively work towards your better quality of life. As a licensed marriage & family therapist, I use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and solution based approaches to help address your needs.
My areas of specialty are Autism Spectrum Disorder, anxiety, and depression.
Are you feeling depressed or anxious? Is your child having difficulties in school? Are you having relational problems? Whether you are seeking therapy for yourself or a loved one, I strive to ensure my patients feel supported as we collaboratively work towards your better quality of life. As a licensed marriage & family therapist, I use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and solution based approaches to help address your needs.
(408) 767-6891 View (408) 767-6891
Photo of Katie Robey, Associate Clinical Social Worker in San Jose, CA
Katie Robey
Associate Clinical Social Worker, MSW, ASW
Verified Verified
3 Endorsed
San Jose, CA 95130  (Online Only)
Hey there! I'm here for those navigating neurodivergence (ADHD/Autism), battling anxiety, OCD, depression, or healing from tough relationship patterns. I might be a good fit for you if you are looking for deeper self-exploration, realistic tools to navigate difficulties, and strategies for daily life. I feel my role is to help you gain better balance and self-acceptance as well as piece together things you struggle to understand on your own. I work to identify the root of clients concerns and guide them towards real solutions. I think you deserve a life free from societal pressures and space to embrace uniqueness as strengths.
Hey there! I'm here for those navigating neurodivergence (ADHD/Autism), battling anxiety, OCD, depression, or healing from tough relationship patterns. I might be a good fit for you if you are looking for deeper self-exploration, realistic tools to navigate difficulties, and strategies for daily life. I feel my role is to help you gain better balance and self-acceptance as well as piece together things you struggle to understand on your own. I work to identify the root of clients concerns and guide them towards real solutions. I think you deserve a life free from societal pressures and space to embrace uniqueness as strengths.
(209) 364-0599 View (209) 364-0599
Photo of EvoLibri Consulting, Counselor in San Jose, CA
EvoLibri Consulting
Counselor, MA
Verified Verified
San Jose, CA 95123
We are a fee for service agency that works exclusively with Neurodiverse Clients and their families, ages 14 through adult. Our services range from psychotherapy, personal coaching, independent living skills assessment and training, classes, lectures, and social/community groups. We work with adolescents, young adults, and adults and their families. Our clients range from high school students struggling with anxiety and school refusal to high-tech employees wishing to learn skills to overcome challenges of their autism or ADHD to be more productive and happier in their lives.
We are a fee for service agency that works exclusively with Neurodiverse Clients and their families, ages 14 through adult. Our services range from psychotherapy, personal coaching, independent living skills assessment and training, classes, lectures, and social/community groups. We work with adolescents, young adults, and adults and their families. Our clients range from high school students struggling with anxiety and school refusal to high-tech employees wishing to learn skills to overcome challenges of their autism or ADHD to be more productive and happier in their lives.
(408) 641-5880 View (408) 641-5880
Photo of Christina Altemueller, Marriage & Family Therapist in San Jose, CA
Christina Altemueller
Marriage & Family Therapist, MA, LMFT
Verified Verified
5 Endorsed
San Jose, CA 95126
I have worked extensively with children and adults on the Autism Spectrum, as well as their family members.
I am a Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice in Santa Clara, CA. I provide services to children, teens, and families. I offer support with behavioral concerns, anger, anxiety, depression, and parenting.
I have worked extensively with children and adults on the Autism Spectrum, as well as their family members.
I am a Marriage and Family Therapist with a private practice in Santa Clara, CA. I provide services to children, teens, and families. I offer support with behavioral concerns, anger, anxiety, depression, and parenting.
(408) 688-9179 View (408) 688-9179
Photo of Nucleus Behavioral Health, Psychologist in San Jose, CA
Nucleus Behavioral Health
Psychologist, PhD
Verified Verified
San Jose, CA 95123
We conduct assessments to diagnose autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, and learning disorders for children AND adults!.
Our primary goal is to help kids manage the road to adulthood. We provide therapy to help kids process their thoughts and feelings, assessment to make diagnoses or to guide therapeutic treatment, and consultation with parents and other providers to help adults better understand the kids in their lives. ​We are inclusive clinicians who are neurodivergent and LGBTQIA+ affirming.
We conduct assessments to diagnose autism spectrum disorder, ADHD, and learning disorders for children AND adults!.
Our primary goal is to help kids manage the road to adulthood. We provide therapy to help kids process their thoughts and feelings, assessment to make diagnoses or to guide therapeutic treatment, and consultation with parents and other providers to help adults better understand the kids in their lives. ​We are inclusive clinicians who are neurodivergent and LGBTQIA+ affirming.
(559) 236-6421 View (559) 236-6421
Photo of Center for Assessment & Learning in San Jose, CA
Center for Assessment & Learning
Verified Verified
San Jose, CA 95125
Do you feel different? Disconnected? Do you wonder why some things seem easy for you while other facets of your life seem unnecessarily hard? Have you been reading about ADHD or autism and are wondering if you have a neurodivergent mind? Perhaps you've been to a number of therapists and doctors, but those approaches never seemed to have a lasting effect or you may have even been mislabeled. Whether for school or workplace accommodations, or just to learn more about yourself and the right treatment approach, a neurodevelopmental evaluation can be an integral part of your journey towards self-discovery.
Do you feel different? Disconnected? Do you wonder why some things seem easy for you while other facets of your life seem unnecessarily hard? Have you been reading about ADHD or autism and are wondering if you have a neurodivergent mind? Perhaps you've been to a number of therapists and doctors, but those approaches never seemed to have a lasting effect or you may have even been mislabeled. Whether for school or workplace accommodations, or just to learn more about yourself and the right treatment approach, a neurodevelopmental evaluation can be an integral part of your journey towards self-discovery.
(650) 539-6307 View (650) 539-6307
Photo of Psychological Testing & Evaluations - Dr. Dean, Psychologist in San Jose, CA
Psychological Testing & Evaluations - Dr. Dean
Psychologist, PsyD, QME, Author
Verified Verified
San Jose, CA 95113
I'm Dr. Dean Leav, licensed psychologist and qualified medical evaluator (QME). I've been featured on ABC, NBC, KCAL, and other programs as an expert psychologist. I provide Evaluation Services, including (and not limited to): diagnostics (ADHD, Autism, Learning Dis.), cognitive/neuropsychological evaluations, workers' compensation (QME/AME), immigration-related evaluations, pre-adoption psychological evaluations, parenting/bonding assessments, drug & alcohol evaluations, pre-employment evaluations, and legal/forensics/criminal evaluations. These evaluations may be used to meet eligibility for certain services or accommodations.
I'm Dr. Dean Leav, licensed psychologist and qualified medical evaluator (QME). I've been featured on ABC, NBC, KCAL, and other programs as an expert psychologist. I provide Evaluation Services, including (and not limited to): diagnostics (ADHD, Autism, Learning Dis.), cognitive/neuropsychological evaluations, workers' compensation (QME/AME), immigration-related evaluations, pre-adoption psychological evaluations, parenting/bonding assessments, drug & alcohol evaluations, pre-employment evaluations, and legal/forensics/criminal evaluations. These evaluations may be used to meet eligibility for certain services or accommodations.
(650) 719-1562 View (650) 719-1562
Photo of Psychological Testing & Evaluations - Dr. Dean, Psychologist in San Jose, CA
Psychological Testing & Evaluations - Dr. Dean
Psychologist, PsyD, QME, Author
Verified Verified
San Jose, CA 95113
I'm Dr. Dean Leav, licensed psychologist and qualified medical evaluator (QME). I've been featured on ABC, NBC, KCAL, and other programs as an expert psychologist. I provide Evaluation Services, including (and not limited to): diagnostics (ADHD, Autism, Learning Dis.), cognitive/neuropsychological evaluations, workers' compensation (QME/AME), immigration-related evaluations, pre-adoption psychological evaluations, parenting/bonding assessments, drug & alcohol evaluations, pre-employment evaluations, and legal/forensics/criminal evaluations. These evaluations may be used to meet eligibility for certain services or accommodations.
I'm Dr. Dean Leav, licensed psychologist and qualified medical evaluator (QME). I've been featured on ABC, NBC, KCAL, and other programs as an expert psychologist. I provide Evaluation Services, including (and not limited to): diagnostics (ADHD, Autism, Learning Dis.), cognitive/neuropsychological evaluations, workers' compensation (QME/AME), immigration-related evaluations, pre-adoption psychological evaluations, parenting/bonding assessments, drug & alcohol evaluations, pre-employment evaluations, and legal/forensics/criminal evaluations. These evaluations may be used to meet eligibility for certain services or accommodations.
(650) 719-2310 View (650) 719-2310
Photo of Michael A Schmidt, Psychologist in San Jose, CA
Michael A Schmidt
Psychologist, PhD
Verified Verified
San Jose, CA 95110
Michael Schmidt specializes in providing therapy for various mood challenges and administering psychological testing for Learning Disability, Autism, ADHD, and Cognitive abilities.
We provide testing and therapy services to youth and adults struggling in their everyday functioning. PSYCHOTHERAPY: Treatment for youth, families, and adults with mild to severe depression, suicidality/hospitalization, anxiety, behavioral issues, relationship distress, and more. TESTING: Cognitive Testing (IQ/mental abilities); Psychoeducational Testing (Learning Disability/academic achievement); Developmental Testing (Autism Spectrum Disorder, language/motor delay, behavioral disturbance); ADHD Testing (distractibility/concentration, fidgety, impulsive); Behavioral/Emotional Testing (Depression, Schizophrenia, Bipolar, Anxiety).
Michael Schmidt specializes in providing therapy for various mood challenges and administering psychological testing for Learning Disability, Autism, ADHD, and Cognitive abilities.
We provide testing and therapy services to youth and adults struggling in their everyday functioning. PSYCHOTHERAPY: Treatment for youth, families, and adults with mild to severe depression, suicidality/hospitalization, anxiety, behavioral issues, relationship distress, and more. TESTING: Cognitive Testing (IQ/mental abilities); Psychoeducational Testing (Learning Disability/academic achievement); Developmental Testing (Autism Spectrum Disorder, language/motor delay, behavioral disturbance); ADHD Testing (distractibility/concentration, fidgety, impulsive); Behavioral/Emotional Testing (Depression, Schizophrenia, Bipolar, Anxiety).
(408) 418-2503 View (408) 418-2503
Photo of Laura Johnston, Marriage & Family Therapist Associate in San Jose, CA
Laura Johnston
Marriage & Family Therapist Associate, MA, AMFT
Verified Verified
San Jose, CA 95125
I also have experience with late-diagnosed autism.
Hi, I’m Laura. Welcome! I bring warmth, knowledge, humor, and creativity to the therapy room, and I love working with artists/creatives and the LGBTQIA+ community. We are all complex beings and a dynamic approach is needed to honor that. I care to understand you and show up as a steady base as we work together toward your goals, collaborating with your system rather than trying to force it to be different. Who and how you are is welcome here.
I also have experience with late-diagnosed autism.
Hi, I’m Laura. Welcome! I bring warmth, knowledge, humor, and creativity to the therapy room, and I love working with artists/creatives and the LGBTQIA+ community. We are all complex beings and a dynamic approach is needed to honor that. I care to understand you and show up as a steady base as we work together toward your goals, collaborating with your system rather than trying to force it to be different. Who and how you are is welcome here.
(408) 351-7533 View (408) 351-7533
Photo of Michelle Powers, Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor in San Jose, CA
Michelle Powers
Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, LPCC
Verified Verified
San Jose, CA 95126
I obtained a professional counseling license in both Texas (LPC) and California (LPCC), where I specialize in Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, Anxiety, and Mood Disorders.
As an eclectic therapist utilizing a combination of cognitive, behavioral, and play therapy approaches, I assist clients in discovering and developing resources within themselves and their community. By walking alongside clients, together we are able to identify, confront, and make life changes in your journey of life. My counseling experience includes individuals, couples, families, and group counseling of all age groups. My training includes experience in community-based counseling service organizations, group home environments, private schools, military communities both stateside and overseas, and private practice.
I obtained a professional counseling license in both Texas (LPC) and California (LPCC), where I specialize in Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, Anxiety, and Mood Disorders.
As an eclectic therapist utilizing a combination of cognitive, behavioral, and play therapy approaches, I assist clients in discovering and developing resources within themselves and their community. By walking alongside clients, together we are able to identify, confront, and make life changes in your journey of life. My counseling experience includes individuals, couples, families, and group counseling of all age groups. My training includes experience in community-based counseling service organizations, group home environments, private schools, military communities both stateside and overseas, and private practice.
(408) 351-3821 View (408) 351-3821
Photo of Talk-a-While, Child & Family Therapy Center, Marriage & Family Therapist in San Jose, CA
Talk-a-While, Child & Family Therapy Center
Marriage & Family Therapist, LMFT
Verified Verified
San Jose, CA 95124
We also focus on providing services for our neurodiverse clients struggling with physical, developmental, behavioral/emotional, and sensory challenges including autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, ODD, learning difficulties and processing disorders.
Our team consists of experienced, fully-licensed therapists that provide outpatient therapeutic services for children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families based on a relational theory framework where each individual can learn the importance of mutual empathy and empowerment within their current relationships. My name is Karina and I am the Co-Founder of Talk-a-While, Child & Family Therapy Center PC. I’m a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and I specialize in working with children and adolescents with neurodiverse challenges; however, I also enjoy working with adults and couples.
We also focus on providing services for our neurodiverse clients struggling with physical, developmental, behavioral/emotional, and sensory challenges including autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, ODD, learning difficulties and processing disorders.
Our team consists of experienced, fully-licensed therapists that provide outpatient therapeutic services for children, adolescents, adults, couples, and families based on a relational theory framework where each individual can learn the importance of mutual empathy and empowerment within their current relationships. My name is Karina and I am the Co-Founder of Talk-a-While, Child & Family Therapy Center PC. I’m a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and I specialize in working with children and adolescents with neurodiverse challenges; however, I also enjoy working with adults and couples.
(562) 374-7579 View (562) 374-7579
Photo of Dr. Amber M Sepsey, Psychologist in San Jose, CA
Dr. Amber M Sepsey
Psychologist, PhD, LP, 200 RYT
Verified Verified
2 Endorsed
San Jose, CA 95125
Dr. Sepsey is a licensed clinical psychologist and founder of Meraki Psychological Services. She serves children, teens, parents, and emerging adults in Michigan and California. Dr. Sepsey offers therapeutic intervention, neurodevelopmental evaluation, and school advocacy services. She has acquired advanced training at leading institutions including Stanford University and Children’s Hospital of Michigan, where she has gained clinical specialization in working with pediatric chronic pain and illness, as well as supporting individuals across the lifespan to navigate depression, anxiety, trauma, ADHD, and autism.
Dr. Sepsey is a licensed clinical psychologist and founder of Meraki Psychological Services. She serves children, teens, parents, and emerging adults in Michigan and California. Dr. Sepsey offers therapeutic intervention, neurodevelopmental evaluation, and school advocacy services. She has acquired advanced training at leading institutions including Stanford University and Children’s Hospital of Michigan, where she has gained clinical specialization in working with pediatric chronic pain and illness, as well as supporting individuals across the lifespan to navigate depression, anxiety, trauma, ADHD, and autism.
(248) 385-3330 View (248) 385-3330
Photo of Mara Snider, Marriage & Family Therapist in San Jose, CA
Mara Snider
Marriage & Family Therapist, LMFT
Verified Verified
San Jose, CA 95117
My focus has been on depression, anxiety, suicidal and self-harm behavior, grief/loss, divorce, autism, dementia, chronic pain, and disability.
Hello my name is Mara Snider. I am an MFT, CA Lic. 105397. I utilize a strengths-based, client-centered approach to therapy. I recognize the necessity of developing a safe relationship based on trust and non-judgmental response to meet your needs and honor your experience.
My focus has been on depression, anxiety, suicidal and self-harm behavior, grief/loss, divorce, autism, dementia, chronic pain, and disability.
Hello my name is Mara Snider. I am an MFT, CA Lic. 105397. I utilize a strengths-based, client-centered approach to therapy. I recognize the necessity of developing a safe relationship based on trust and non-judgmental response to meet your needs and honor your experience.
(951) 878-9870 View (951) 878-9870
Autism Therapists

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.