Autism Therapists in Indianapolis, IN

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Photo of Shelby Jo Reichle, Clinical Social Work/Therapist in Indianapolis, IN
Shelby Jo Reichle
Clinical Social Work/Therapist, MSW, LSW
Verified Verified
3 Endorsed
Indianapolis, IN 46227
I predominantly work with teens & adults to help them to navigate significant life changes, develop coping skills for anxiety/depression, or learn about ways to thrive while being neurodivergent, specifically those who have autism.
I pride myself on creating a relaxed, informal, and compassionate space for all of my clients. Wear pajamas, bring a coffee, cozy up on the couch, and let’s figure it out together. Therapy is all about giving you the space to process and the tools to cope. Whether it be coping with stressors of daily life, processing difficult events, shaping your future, adjusting to change or learning more about yourself - I am here to help. As someone who has worked in the mental health field for over 8 years, I come prepared with a diverse toolbox to each and every session to help you achieve your goals.
I predominantly work with teens & adults to help them to navigate significant life changes, develop coping skills for anxiety/depression, or learn about ways to thrive while being neurodivergent, specifically those who have autism.
I pride myself on creating a relaxed, informal, and compassionate space for all of my clients. Wear pajamas, bring a coffee, cozy up on the couch, and let’s figure it out together. Therapy is all about giving you the space to process and the tools to cope. Whether it be coping with stressors of daily life, processing difficult events, shaping your future, adjusting to change or learning more about yourself - I am here to help. As someone who has worked in the mental health field for over 8 years, I come prepared with a diverse toolbox to each and every session to help you achieve your goals.
(317) 676-2200 View (317) 676-2200
Photo of Laurie Budlong-Morse, Marriage & Family Therapist in Indianapolis, IN
Laurie Budlong-Morse
Marriage & Family Therapist, LMFT
Verified Verified
10 Endorsed
Indianapolis, IN 46220
Are you in a neurodiverse relationship or exploring the possibility that you or your partner may be on the autism spectrum? When you and your partner are wired differently, it can be easy to misunderstand each other and to feel disconnected from one another. Unintended hurts can accumulate over time, causing feelings of resentment and hopelessness. Attempts to create change in your relationship start with good intentions and earnest promises, but then too often the same challenges pop right back up. While your differences may be part of what you most love about one another, at times it can feel impossible to find common ground.
Are you in a neurodiverse relationship or exploring the possibility that you or your partner may be on the autism spectrum? When you and your partner are wired differently, it can be easy to misunderstand each other and to feel disconnected from one another. Unintended hurts can accumulate over time, causing feelings of resentment and hopelessness. Attempts to create change in your relationship start with good intentions and earnest promises, but then too often the same challenges pop right back up. While your differences may be part of what you most love about one another, at times it can feel impossible to find common ground.
(463) 210-2046 View (463) 210-2046
Photo of Angela Hardy, Counselor in Indianapolis, IN
Angela Hardy
Counselor, MS, LMHC, PC
Verified Verified
Indianapolis, IN 46260
I have a specialization in Crisis/Trauma and focus in ADHD, autism spectrum, ODD and sensory challenges.
Life surprises us sometimes… In those moments it is helpful to have someone to come alongside us to provide genuine presence, professionalism and expertise, balanced with compassion, to help through times of transition, trauma or growth. I am passionate about offering encouragement, steps for healing and coping, insight, psychoeducation and interpretation when families are struggling to understand one another. Learning how to navigate life’s courses with sensitivity, kindness and realistic perspective can be more easily undertaken in a therapeutic forum that is accepting and direct. Office, teletherapy, walk/talk or home based.
I have a specialization in Crisis/Trauma and focus in ADHD, autism spectrum, ODD and sensory challenges.
Life surprises us sometimes… In those moments it is helpful to have someone to come alongside us to provide genuine presence, professionalism and expertise, balanced with compassion, to help through times of transition, trauma or growth. I am passionate about offering encouragement, steps for healing and coping, insight, psychoeducation and interpretation when families are struggling to understand one another. Learning how to navigate life’s courses with sensitivity, kindness and realistic perspective can be more easily undertaken in a therapeutic forum that is accepting and direct. Office, teletherapy, walk/talk or home based.
(765) 347-9720 View (765) 347-9720
Photo of Tracy M. Gale, Psychologist in Indianapolis, IN
Tracy M. Gale
Psychologist, PsyD, HSPP
Verified Verified
Indianapolis, IN 46220
I am passionate about working with individuals with autism spectrum disorder and other neurodevelopmental disabilities and supporting their families as they navigate home, school, and community. I believe strongly that our goal should never be to "cure" the individual with autism or make them fit the world but rather to help them be their most successful self by providing education, support, and accommodations as necessary. I also believe that a one-size-fits-all approach does not work, and each individual and family should be provided with supports that are tailored to them and are evaluated regularly as they grow and develop.
I am passionate about working with individuals with autism spectrum disorder and other neurodevelopmental disabilities and supporting their families as they navigate home, school, and community. I believe strongly that our goal should never be to "cure" the individual with autism or make them fit the world but rather to help them be their most successful self by providing education, support, and accommodations as necessary. I also believe that a one-size-fits-all approach does not work, and each individual and family should be provided with supports that are tailored to them and are evaluated regularly as they grow and develop.
(317) 588-8556 View (317) 588-8556
Photo of Angela Fisher in Indianapolis, IN
Angela Fisher
MS, PT, CST, TY, PhD
Verified Verified
2 Endorsed
Indianapolis, IN 46201
I tend to have stellar success with anxiety and trauma, adult autism and gender dysphoria.
I am a client centric therapist who practices both Eastern and Western treatments. My ideal client is one who desires change and is willing to put in the effort. I believe that nothing is insurmountable and together we will create an all inclusive approach to live your fullest and happiest life. My specialties include many certifications from both national and international modalities. My philosophy is based on VAN Therapy which is validate, accept, and nurture, all of you from the inside. We are learning how to live your best life, together. I am problem solving oriented and judgement free. Schedule a consultation now!
I tend to have stellar success with anxiety and trauma, adult autism and gender dysphoria.
I am a client centric therapist who practices both Eastern and Western treatments. My ideal client is one who desires change and is willing to put in the effort. I believe that nothing is insurmountable and together we will create an all inclusive approach to live your fullest and happiest life. My specialties include many certifications from both national and international modalities. My philosophy is based on VAN Therapy which is validate, accept, and nurture, all of you from the inside. We are learning how to live your best life, together. I am problem solving oriented and judgement free. Schedule a consultation now!
(317) 672-0770 View (317) 672-0770
Photo of Autism Parent Care in Indianapolis, IN
Autism Parent Care
PhD, BCBA
Verified Verified
Indianapolis, IN 46225
Autism is not a medical condition needing "treatment." Rather, it is an opportunity to work intensively on personal growth starting with the child's diagnosis, and then extending to the family, the professionals, schools, communities and finally the governments.
Autism is not a medical condition needing "treatment." Rather, it is an opportunity to work intensively on personal growth starting with the child's diagnosis, and then extending to the family, the professionals, schools, communities and finally the governments.
(463) 217-0150 View (463) 217-0150
Photo of Jennifer Horn, Psychologist in Indianapolis, IN
Jennifer Horn
Psychologist, PhD, HSPP
Verified Verified
Indianapolis, IN 46240
My areas of specialty include Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD/ADD, Anxiety, Learning difficulties, Depression, and Developmental Disorders (e.
As a licensed clinical psychologist, I work exclusively with children/adolescents and their families to help youth reach their fullest potential. To reach this goal, my practice is limited to providing testing to define diagnostic issues and treatment planning. I also work closely and cooperatively with community service providers such as schools and physicians/medical providers during the testing process and afterwards. On a very limited basis, I also provide supportive treatment progress monitoring to children and their families. I
My areas of specialty include Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD/ADD, Anxiety, Learning difficulties, Depression, and Developmental Disorders (e.
As a licensed clinical psychologist, I work exclusively with children/adolescents and their families to help youth reach their fullest potential. To reach this goal, my practice is limited to providing testing to define diagnostic issues and treatment planning. I also work closely and cooperatively with community service providers such as schools and physicians/medical providers during the testing process and afterwards. On a very limited basis, I also provide supportive treatment progress monitoring to children and their families. I
(317) 942-4020 View (317) 942-4020
Photo of Emily Brumfield in Indianapolis, IN
Emily Brumfield
EdS, NCSP
Verified Verified
2 Endorsed
Indianapolis, IN 46201
I offer a robust knowledge of psychoeducational assessment to support the development of children and adolescents from ages 2-18. This includes evaluation for Autism, Learning Disabilities including Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, and Dyscalculia, Intellectual Disabilities, attention difficulties, emotional and/or behavioral difficulties, and Developmental Delays. I am trained in administration of the ADOS-2 allowing for a more thorough assessment of ASD. I am also passionate about being a resource for families navigating the special education processes in their schools.
I offer a robust knowledge of psychoeducational assessment to support the development of children and adolescents from ages 2-18. This includes evaluation for Autism, Learning Disabilities including Dyslexia, Dysgraphia, and Dyscalculia, Intellectual Disabilities, attention difficulties, emotional and/or behavioral difficulties, and Developmental Delays. I am trained in administration of the ADOS-2 allowing for a more thorough assessment of ASD. I am also passionate about being a resource for families navigating the special education processes in their schools.
(463) 583-1659 View (463) 583-1659
Photo of Hive Child Development, Psychologist in Indianapolis, IN
Hive Child Development
Psychologist, PhD, HSPP
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Indianapolis, IN 46240
At Hive, we welcome every child, whether neurodiverse or not, and provide personalized assessments and tailored recommendations. We can assess for neurodevelopmental disorders (Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Learning Disabilities, Intellectual Developmental Disorder), but also investigate associated mental and behavioral health conditions (Anxiety Disorders, Mood Disorders, and Behavioral Disorders). Goals of our evaluations are always to provide tailored recommendations and plans to see your child to their full potential.
At Hive, we welcome every child, whether neurodiverse or not, and provide personalized assessments and tailored recommendations. We can assess for neurodevelopmental disorders (Autism Spectrum Disorder, Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, Learning Disabilities, Intellectual Developmental Disorder), but also investigate associated mental and behavioral health conditions (Anxiety Disorders, Mood Disorders, and Behavioral Disorders). Goals of our evaluations are always to provide tailored recommendations and plans to see your child to their full potential.
(463) 208-4058 View (463) 208-4058
Photo of Aimee Dershowitz, Psychologist in Indianapolis, IN
Aimee Dershowitz
Psychologist, PsyD, HSPP
Verified Verified
Indianapolis, IN 46278
I am trained in working with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Parent/Child Dyad concerns, Anxiety, Depression, ADHD, PTSD, Behavioral Disorders, OCD, among many other concerns.
In my practice I see clients of all ages with a wide variety of concerns. I practice from a person-centered approach, which means that your goals are my goals and we will work on them together. I offer individual and family psychotherapy as well as psychological testing. Within this practice I want to help you or your child make positive changes in life to reduce struggle. I create a warm, nonjudgmental environment that allows you to have the space to explore various solutions and find what works best for you. Clients who work with me see functional improvements and behavioral changes in their lives.
I am trained in working with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Parent/Child Dyad concerns, Anxiety, Depression, ADHD, PTSD, Behavioral Disorders, OCD, among many other concerns.
In my practice I see clients of all ages with a wide variety of concerns. I practice from a person-centered approach, which means that your goals are my goals and we will work on them together. I offer individual and family psychotherapy as well as psychological testing. Within this practice I want to help you or your child make positive changes in life to reduce struggle. I create a warm, nonjudgmental environment that allows you to have the space to explore various solutions and find what works best for you. Clients who work with me see functional improvements and behavioral changes in their lives.
(317) 344-8736 View (317) 344-8736
Photo of Jennifer Ritchie, Psychologist in Indianapolis, IN
Jennifer Ritchie
Psychologist, PsyD
Verified Verified
Indianapolis, IN 46202
Let me help you find out what that reason could be! Undiagnosed Autism and ADHD can cause a lot of problems.
Virtual Assessments Available! You know life can be tough but everything seems harder for you. Relationships are like another language you don’t speak. You miss or don’t understand things that are obvious to others. It’s exhausting masking things others don’t find socially acceptable. Plus there’s the constant noise and stimulation. You eventually snap and shut down. You feel intense guilt and shame because you can’t do things that come so easily for others. You tell yourself something must be wrong with you but there’s a little voice that tells you there has to be a reason you struggle. If only you knew what that is!
Let me help you find out what that reason could be! Undiagnosed Autism and ADHD can cause a lot of problems.
Virtual Assessments Available! You know life can be tough but everything seems harder for you. Relationships are like another language you don’t speak. You miss or don’t understand things that are obvious to others. It’s exhausting masking things others don’t find socially acceptable. Plus there’s the constant noise and stimulation. You eventually snap and shut down. You feel intense guilt and shame because you can’t do things that come so easily for others. You tell yourself something must be wrong with you but there’s a little voice that tells you there has to be a reason you struggle. If only you knew what that is!
(314) 819-9790 View (314) 819-9790
Photo of Susie Galford, Psychologist in Indianapolis, IN
Susie Galford
Psychologist, PhD, NCSP, HSPP
Verified Verified
Indianapolis, IN 46227
Dr. Susie Galford offers assessment and therapeutic mental health services for children, teens, and young adults. She is a licensed psychologist (HSPP), nationally certified school psychologist (NCSP), and licensed teacher (grades K-6) in Indiana. Dr. Galford has specialized training in the evaluation of Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, learning disabilities, intellectual and executive functioning, developmental challenges, anxiety, depression, and behavioral difficulties. Her clinical work is grounded in evidence-based research and employs a primarily cognitive-behavioral approach to assessment and therapy.
Dr. Susie Galford offers assessment and therapeutic mental health services for children, teens, and young adults. She is a licensed psychologist (HSPP), nationally certified school psychologist (NCSP), and licensed teacher (grades K-6) in Indiana. Dr. Galford has specialized training in the evaluation of Autism Spectrum Disorders, ADHD, learning disabilities, intellectual and executive functioning, developmental challenges, anxiety, depression, and behavioral difficulties. Her clinical work is grounded in evidence-based research and employs a primarily cognitive-behavioral approach to assessment and therapy.
(317) 593-9993 View (317) 593-9993
Photo of Grace Hanson, Counselor in Indianapolis, IN
Grace Hanson
Counselor, LMHCA
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Indianapolis, IN 46237
I specialize in working with children and teens who have troubles managing emotions, such as emotions that are too intense, as well as individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Coming to counseling is no easy feat, and finding the right counselor can seem daunting. Life experience has helped me to understand this firsthand and is what drives my work as a counselor. It is my hope that through the process of building the therapeutic relationship, I can offer clients treatment modalities that are tailored to their needs. I value the counseling relationship and desire to practice with a client-centered approach. I have experience working with families, specifically with children and adolescent clients. My clinical passions include working with those struggling with difficult emotions and complicated grief.
I specialize in working with children and teens who have troubles managing emotions, such as emotions that are too intense, as well as individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Coming to counseling is no easy feat, and finding the right counselor can seem daunting. Life experience has helped me to understand this firsthand and is what drives my work as a counselor. It is my hope that through the process of building the therapeutic relationship, I can offer clients treatment modalities that are tailored to their needs. I value the counseling relationship and desire to practice with a client-centered approach. I have experience working with families, specifically with children and adolescent clients. My clinical passions include working with those struggling with difficult emotions and complicated grief.
(317) 961-7074 View (317) 961-7074
O'Brien Psychological Services, Inc
Psychologist, PsyD, HSPP
Verified Verified
Indianapolis, IN 46203
Since 2000, O'Brien Psychological Services has provided psychological evaluations. He currently has two locations (Indianapolis and Kokomo). Dr. O'Brien is particularly interested in psychological evaluations and consultation but, from time to time, he will accept clients for psychotherapy services. His assessment clients have included, but are not limited to, the following: psychiatric hospitals, bariatric surgery patients, international adoption clients, juvenile courts, medical practices, autism treatment centers, other mental health professionals, and various state and federal agencies. I am also very honored and humbled by the many professionals in the field of human services who could have gone anywhere for psychological services but who trusted me to provide assessments and consulting services for their own family members.
Since 2000, O'Brien Psychological Services has provided psychological evaluations. He currently has two locations (Indianapolis and Kokomo). Dr. O'Brien is particularly interested in psychological evaluations and consultation but, from time to time, he will accept clients for psychotherapy services. His assessment clients have included, but are not limited to, the following: psychiatric hospitals, bariatric surgery patients, international adoption clients, juvenile courts, medical practices, autism treatment centers, other mental health professionals, and various state and federal agencies. I am also very honored and humbled by the many professionals in the field of human services who could have gone anywhere for psychological services but who trusted me to provide assessments and consulting services for their own family members.
(317) 659-8114 View (317) 659-8114
Photo of Haley Bring, Clinical Social Work/Therapist in Indianapolis, IN
Haley Bring
Clinical Social Work/Therapist, LCSW
Verified Verified
Indianapolis, IN 46260
Hello! I am a lighthearted, neurodiversity affirming, relationship-centered, licensed clinical social worker. I love helping my clients find ways to achieve emotional wellness, that is empowering and sustainable. I am believer in evidenced-based intervention but value the necessity of therapy being customized to the client. I specialize in neurodevelopmental diagnoses (ADHD, Autism), anxiety disorders and the various trials and tribulations of parenting. I worked previously as a school social worker, and can support 504 and IEP consultations.
Hello! I am a lighthearted, neurodiversity affirming, relationship-centered, licensed clinical social worker. I love helping my clients find ways to achieve emotional wellness, that is empowering and sustainable. I am believer in evidenced-based intervention but value the necessity of therapy being customized to the client. I specialize in neurodevelopmental diagnoses (ADHD, Autism), anxiety disorders and the various trials and tribulations of parenting. I worked previously as a school social worker, and can support 504 and IEP consultations.
View
Photo of Madison Gentry, Clinical Social Work/Therapist in Indianapolis, IN
Madison Gentry
Clinical Social Work/Therapist, LSW, MSW
Verified Verified
2 Endorsed
Indianapolis, IN 46256
I also have experience in working with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder, individuals in the LBGTQIA+ community, and individuals facing relationship struggles.
I have immediate openings available for individuals from all walks of life and I now have openings for clients seeking EMDR. Making the choice to start your therapy journey doesn't come easily. It often takes hitting a low point, feeling isolated, or stuck. When you feel like that dark shadow is following you, forming a strong therapeutic relationship can bring back the light in your life. As a therapist, I am here to guide you, support you, and provide a mirror for you to learn more about yourself and how to heal. You are here because you still have hope, and I am here to help you foster that hope into a brighter future.
I also have experience in working with individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder, individuals in the LBGTQIA+ community, and individuals facing relationship struggles.
I have immediate openings available for individuals from all walks of life and I now have openings for clients seeking EMDR. Making the choice to start your therapy journey doesn't come easily. It often takes hitting a low point, feeling isolated, or stuck. When you feel like that dark shadow is following you, forming a strong therapeutic relationship can bring back the light in your life. As a therapist, I am here to guide you, support you, and provide a mirror for you to learn more about yourself and how to heal. You are here because you still have hope, and I am here to help you foster that hope into a brighter future.
(463) 219-5162 View (463) 219-5162
Photo of Alexa Colletta, Clinical Social Work/Therapist in Indianapolis, IN
Alexa Colletta
Clinical Social Work/Therapist, LMSW
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Indianapolis, IN 46202
Waitlist for new clients
I specialize in Trauma/PTSD, attachment, ADHD and autism, emotion regulation, and family of origin difficulties.
Sometimes in life, situations beyond our control throw us off the path we expected to follow and we don't know where to turn next. It is often at these crossroads where we find the most meaning. I enjoy working with children, adolescents, and young adults who find themselves at this unique place. I am here for clients who have had negative experiences in life and are just not sure if they are ready to trust again. I am passionate about helping those with traumatic experiences, family conflict, identity struggles, rejection, or low self-esteem. Together we will explore your story and tap into your inner power and resilience.
I specialize in Trauma/PTSD, attachment, ADHD and autism, emotion regulation, and family of origin difficulties.
Sometimes in life, situations beyond our control throw us off the path we expected to follow and we don't know where to turn next. It is often at these crossroads where we find the most meaning. I enjoy working with children, adolescents, and young adults who find themselves at this unique place. I am here for clients who have had negative experiences in life and are just not sure if they are ready to trust again. I am passionate about helping those with traumatic experiences, family conflict, identity struggles, rejection, or low self-esteem. Together we will explore your story and tap into your inner power and resilience.
(317) 934-7029 View (317) 934-7029
Photo of Indiana Neuropsychology Group (Dr. Garry Wright), Psychologist in Indianapolis, IN
Indiana Neuropsychology Group (Dr. Garry Wright)
Psychologist, PhD, HSPP
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Indianapolis, IN 46290
I am a pediatric neuropsychologist with extensive experience in providing culturally sensitive and trauma informed developmental and neuropsychological evaluations to children and adolescents with a wide range of concerns, including neurodevelopmental conditions (e.g., attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorder, learning disorder), acquired brain injuries, and emotional and behavioral challenges (e.g., mood and impulse control disorders).
I am a pediatric neuropsychologist with extensive experience in providing culturally sensitive and trauma informed developmental and neuropsychological evaluations to children and adolescents with a wide range of concerns, including neurodevelopmental conditions (e.g., attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, autism spectrum disorder, learning disorder), acquired brain injuries, and emotional and behavioral challenges (e.g., mood and impulse control disorders).
(317) 699-8738 View (317) 699-8738
Photo of Emmaleigh Badeaux, Counselor in Indianapolis, IN
Emmaleigh Badeaux
Counselor, MA, LMHC
Verified Verified
Indianapolis, IN 46220
I also specialize in helping children with developmental disabilities, including autism, to learn social and adaptive skills.
I enjoy working with children, teens, and families who are motivated to make changes to improve their lives. We could all use more joy in our lives, and I am passionate about setting people up for success. For parents, I pride myself on being able to empower them with the skills to parent children who present unique challenges. For children and teens, I provide a safe place where they can share their experiences and increase their skill sets.
I also specialize in helping children with developmental disabilities, including autism, to learn social and adaptive skills.
I enjoy working with children, teens, and families who are motivated to make changes to improve their lives. We could all use more joy in our lives, and I am passionate about setting people up for success. For parents, I pride myself on being able to empower them with the skills to parent children who present unique challenges. For children and teens, I provide a safe place where they can share their experiences and increase their skill sets.
(317) 245-8914 View (317) 245-8914
Photo of Heather Meyer, Counselor in Indianapolis, IN
Heather Meyer
Counselor, MS, LMHC
Verified Verified
Indianapolis, IN 46240
I have experience with such issues as: ADHD, Autism, ODD, Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Chronic Health/Pain Issues and Relationship Challenges.
I will help you get through your difficult life challenges so you can feel more confident, happy and whole. If you are struggling with your health, significant loss, or difficult circumstances within your family or work life, I can guide you, educate you, support you, connect you, and most importantly believe in you, so you can shift from hurt to hope, chaos to calm, and overwhelm to opportunity. I do this work because I truly believe each person is worthy to feel valued, heard, and understood and to have a fulfilling life that is meaningful and purposeful.
I have experience with such issues as: ADHD, Autism, ODD, Depression, Anxiety, Trauma, Chronic Health/Pain Issues and Relationship Challenges.
I will help you get through your difficult life challenges so you can feel more confident, happy and whole. If you are struggling with your health, significant loss, or difficult circumstances within your family or work life, I can guide you, educate you, support you, connect you, and most importantly believe in you, so you can shift from hurt to hope, chaos to calm, and overwhelm to opportunity. I do this work because I truly believe each person is worthy to feel valued, heard, and understood and to have a fulfilling life that is meaningful and purposeful.
(317) 494-7243 View (317) 494-7243

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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.