Autism Therapists in Portland, OR

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Photo of Portland Psychological Assessment, Psychologist in Portland, OR
Portland Psychological Assessment
Psychologist, PsyD
Verified Verified
Portland, OR 97205
My practice offers comprehensive assessment/psychological testing for adults and youth (ages 16 +) for a variety of concerns (for example ADHD, Learning Disorders, mild Autism Spectrum, complex diagnoses, and diagnostic clarification. Testing is particularly helpful for those with academic challenges, college students experiencing increased academic struggles, and people dealing with a variety of emotional and cognitive difficulties who want to better understand the source of their concerns. My practice follows guidelines for safety during COVID-19 and conducts some procedures via telehealth and some in-person.
My practice offers comprehensive assessment/psychological testing for adults and youth (ages 16 +) for a variety of concerns (for example ADHD, Learning Disorders, mild Autism Spectrum, complex diagnoses, and diagnostic clarification. Testing is particularly helpful for those with academic challenges, college students experiencing increased academic struggles, and people dealing with a variety of emotional and cognitive difficulties who want to better understand the source of their concerns. My practice follows guidelines for safety during COVID-19 and conducts some procedures via telehealth and some in-person.
(503) 897-1430 View (503) 897-1430
Photo of Elana Cohen, Occupational Therapist in Portland, OR
Elana Cohen
Occupational Therapist, OTR/L
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Portland, OR 97212
My areas of expertise include autism/neurodivergence, sensory processing, gross motor delays, and intellectual disabilities.
Seeking support for your young child's development? I have 20 years of experience working with children of all ages in homes, schools, and clinics. I work with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers alongside their families. You may be processing a diagnosis, or wondering about how to best support your child who is developing differently than you expected. My work with children is through play, as play is the language of the child. Come away feeling empowered and equipped to support your child's skill- building while fostering a secure attachment in your relationship with them.
My areas of expertise include autism/neurodivergence, sensory processing, gross motor delays, and intellectual disabilities.
Seeking support for your young child's development? I have 20 years of experience working with children of all ages in homes, schools, and clinics. I work with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers alongside their families. You may be processing a diagnosis, or wondering about how to best support your child who is developing differently than you expected. My work with children is through play, as play is the language of the child. Come away feeling empowered and equipped to support your child's skill- building while fostering a secure attachment in your relationship with them.
(971) 315-9715 View (971) 315-9715
Photo of Erin L Cook, Psychologist in Portland, OR
Erin L Cook
Psychologist, PsyD
Verified Verified
Portland, OR 97205
I provide psychological assessments for depression, anxiety, intellectual disability, learning disorders, personality disorders, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Immediate availability (within two weeks) for psychological assessment. I am currently accepting new clients for assessment. My psychological assessments are comprehensive and address the multifaceted aspects of each person I evaluate. Each assessment includes recommendations and individualized feedback. Testing can help to clarify treatment goals, improve therapeutic outcomes, increase self-awareness, and provide recommendations for accommodations at work and/or school.
I provide psychological assessments for depression, anxiety, intellectual disability, learning disorders, personality disorders, Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, and Autism Spectrum Disorder.
Immediate availability (within two weeks) for psychological assessment. I am currently accepting new clients for assessment. My psychological assessments are comprehensive and address the multifaceted aspects of each person I evaluate. Each assessment includes recommendations and individualized feedback. Testing can help to clarify treatment goals, improve therapeutic outcomes, increase self-awareness, and provide recommendations for accommodations at work and/or school.
(971) 571-5396 View (971) 571-5396
Photo of Dr. Marcia Zumbahlen, Psychologist in Portland, OR
Dr. Marcia Zumbahlen
Psychologist, PhD, IMHS
Verified Verified
Portland, OR 97219
I specialize in neuro-development, with a particular focus on autism and associated conditions (e.g., sensory processing difficulties, ADHD, Nonverbal Learning Disorder, Social Pragmatic Communication Disorder). My training in Developmental Psychology, Infant Mental Health, and Clinical Neuropsychology, and my 30+ years experience, have taught me to put parents first, intervene early, and collaborate with medical doctors, developmental therapists, and schools for the strongest outcomes in these conditions.
I specialize in neuro-development, with a particular focus on autism and associated conditions (e.g., sensory processing difficulties, ADHD, Nonverbal Learning Disorder, Social Pragmatic Communication Disorder). My training in Developmental Psychology, Infant Mental Health, and Clinical Neuropsychology, and my 30+ years experience, have taught me to put parents first, intervene early, and collaborate with medical doctors, developmental therapists, and schools for the strongest outcomes in these conditions.
(503) 483-8658 View (503) 483-8658
Photo of Stephanie Caballero, Marriage & Family Therapist in Portland, OR
Stephanie Caballero
Marriage & Family Therapist, MA, LMFT
Verified Verified
Portland, OR 97212
As a DIR Floortime Specialist, I understand the impact of having a family member on the Autism Spectrum.
It is not uncommon to feel lost at different points in life. Life can be complicated: Family dynamics, career fulfillment, managing multiple responsibilities, understanding your partner, overwhelmed from transitions, making sense of the past. I believe that together we can process your experiences which can lead to a meaningful life and personal growth. It's a huge step attending therapy and I welcome you into this space with sensitivity and compassion. I am a Latinx therapist dedicated to working with adults. I am licensed in Oregon (T1596) and California (111592). I am currently seeing clients for individual therapy.
As a DIR Floortime Specialist, I understand the impact of having a family member on the Autism Spectrum.
It is not uncommon to feel lost at different points in life. Life can be complicated: Family dynamics, career fulfillment, managing multiple responsibilities, understanding your partner, overwhelmed from transitions, making sense of the past. I believe that together we can process your experiences which can lead to a meaningful life and personal growth. It's a huge step attending therapy and I welcome you into this space with sensitivity and compassion. I am a Latinx therapist dedicated to working with adults. I am licensed in Oregon (T1596) and California (111592). I am currently seeing clients for individual therapy.
(971) 233-2471 View (971) 233-2471
Photo of Lori Looney, Clinical Social Work/Therapist in Portland, OR
Lori Looney
Clinical Social Work/Therapist, LCSW
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Portland, OR 97225
Is problematic or compulsive sexual behavior causing problems in your relationships, job or other important areas of your life? Perhaps you or a loved one are concerned and would like help learning more constructive ways to deal with stress, life transitions, anxiety or depression. My expertise includes working with adult males (both adjudicated and non-adjudicated), adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (both high and lower functioning), intellectual disabilities, histories of trauma and problematic pornography use.
Is problematic or compulsive sexual behavior causing problems in your relationships, job or other important areas of your life? Perhaps you or a loved one are concerned and would like help learning more constructive ways to deal with stress, life transitions, anxiety or depression. My expertise includes working with adult males (both adjudicated and non-adjudicated), adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder (both high and lower functioning), intellectual disabilities, histories of trauma and problematic pornography use.
(458) 219-8817 View (458) 219-8817
Photo of Krispin Mayfield, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR
Krispin Mayfield
Licensed Professional Counselor, MA
Verified Verified
Portland, OR 97230  (Online Only)
I have certification in Religious Trauma Studies and as an Autism Clinical Specialist, although I find my best training has been from the lived experiences from clients.
I support relationships where one or both partners are Autistic or ADHD, and I from a neurodivegent-affirming framework. I also support those recovering from religious trauma, working with clients from a variety of religious backgrounds. I also provide Safe & Sound Protocol for trauma healing.
I have certification in Religious Trauma Studies and as an Autism Clinical Specialist, although I find my best training has been from the lived experiences from clients.
I support relationships where one or both partners are Autistic or ADHD, and I from a neurodivegent-affirming framework. I also support those recovering from religious trauma, working with clients from a variety of religious backgrounds. I also provide Safe & Sound Protocol for trauma healing.
(503) 213-6990 View (503) 213-6990
Photo of Dana Mortensen, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR
Dana Mortensen
Licensed Professional Counselor, LPC, MA, BFA, LEED AP
Verified Verified
Portland, OR 97210  (Online Only)
Counseling gives you an opportunity to express yourself with an enlightened witness: an ethical professional who listens carefully, and with acceptance and positive regard, and with the intention of promoting your wellbeing through insights, associations, and skills building. Ideal clients are those who want to understand what lies beneath symptoms of anxiety, depression, or other mental health diagnoses to examine your personal triggers for nervous system dysregulation. The source of your angst may include past trauma, neurodevelopmental disorders (Autism, ADHD, etc.) or physical health conditions, and often, all three.
Counseling gives you an opportunity to express yourself with an enlightened witness: an ethical professional who listens carefully, and with acceptance and positive regard, and with the intention of promoting your wellbeing through insights, associations, and skills building. Ideal clients are those who want to understand what lies beneath symptoms of anxiety, depression, or other mental health diagnoses to examine your personal triggers for nervous system dysregulation. The source of your angst may include past trauma, neurodevelopmental disorders (Autism, ADHD, etc.) or physical health conditions, and often, all three.
(503) 433-8469 View (503) 433-8469
Photo of Roxana I Nedelcu in Portland, OR
Roxana I Nedelcu
PhD, BCBA-D, LBA
Verified Verified
Portland, OR 97202
I provide evidence-based treatment for children, and teens with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) ages 2-14, and coaching to parents and teachers working with children on the spectrum. I have 20 years of experience working directly with children building communication, play, social, and academic skills. I also work with other therapists whom I oversee and consult. I am open to collaborate with other professionals and consult on any concerns related to ASD. We have immediate openings for children 2-5 who can be seen during the day.
I provide evidence-based treatment for children, and teens with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) ages 2-14, and coaching to parents and teachers working with children on the spectrum. I have 20 years of experience working directly with children building communication, play, social, and academic skills. I also work with other therapists whom I oversee and consult. I am open to collaborate with other professionals and consult on any concerns related to ASD. We have immediate openings for children 2-5 who can be seen during the day.
(503) 479-4478 View (503) 479-4478
Photo of Caitlin (Caity) Lynch, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR
Caitlin (Caity) Lynch
Licensed Professional Counselor, LPC, NCC
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Portland, OR 97202
Waitlist for new clients
Our time together may touch on trauma healing/PTSD, depression, anxiety, relationship stress, ADHD, Autism, grief/loss, changes in late adulthood, coming out later in life, spiritual abuse, spiritual growth, improving relationship skills, overcoming infidelity, step-families, and any other areas of interest to you, your family, or your partner(s).
You're here because you need something to shift in yourself, your relationships, or your life. I have ADHD, I am queer and genderqueer and work from a strengths-based perspective, utilizing insight-oriented therapeutic change models (Narrative Therapy, EFIT, IFS) and brain/emotion understanding through psychoeducation, CBT, and DBT and self-in-context understanding (social model of disability, self-compassion work of Drs. Kristin Neff and Tara Brach) to help you imagine and take steps toward a life aligned with who you are. > NOTE: I don't offer ADHD or Autism Assessments, this can be obtained through a psychologist or your PCP. <
Our time together may touch on trauma healing/PTSD, depression, anxiety, relationship stress, ADHD, Autism, grief/loss, changes in late adulthood, coming out later in life, spiritual abuse, spiritual growth, improving relationship skills, overcoming infidelity, step-families, and any other areas of interest to you, your family, or your partner(s).
You're here because you need something to shift in yourself, your relationships, or your life. I have ADHD, I am queer and genderqueer and work from a strengths-based perspective, utilizing insight-oriented therapeutic change models (Narrative Therapy, EFIT, IFS) and brain/emotion understanding through psychoeducation, CBT, and DBT and self-in-context understanding (social model of disability, self-compassion work of Drs. Kristin Neff and Tara Brach) to help you imagine and take steps toward a life aligned with who you are. > NOTE: I don't offer ADHD or Autism Assessments, this can be obtained through a psychologist or your PCP. <
(971) 257-1636 View (971) 257-1636
Photo of Tiffany Arden Bryce, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR
Tiffany Arden Bryce
Licensed Professional Counselor, LMHC, LPC
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Portland, OR 97204  (Online Only)
I frequently provide care to those experiencing parenting stress, autism, anxiety, depression and who have a history of trauma.
Hi, my name is Arden Bryce. I'm a clinician licensed in Oregon and Washington. I'm glad you've stopped by and are considering taking the first steps toward creating change in your life. I have a master's degree in Counseling Psychology from Pacific University. I specialize in providing therapeutic support to children/youth who are differently wired and their parents/caregivers. I often work with parents to assist them in developing and maintaining their resilience on their journey as a parent including overcoming blocked care and shifting from a behavioral-based lens to a brain-based lens.
I frequently provide care to those experiencing parenting stress, autism, anxiety, depression and who have a history of trauma.
Hi, my name is Arden Bryce. I'm a clinician licensed in Oregon and Washington. I'm glad you've stopped by and are considering taking the first steps toward creating change in your life. I have a master's degree in Counseling Psychology from Pacific University. I specialize in providing therapeutic support to children/youth who are differently wired and their parents/caregivers. I often work with parents to assist them in developing and maintaining their resilience on their journey as a parent including overcoming blocked care and shifting from a behavioral-based lens to a brain-based lens.
(971) 396-1680 View (971) 396-1680
Photo of Emily Haygeman, Psychologist in Portland, OR
Emily Haygeman
Psychologist, PhD
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Portland, OR 97202
I specialize in a strengths-based, neurodiverse-affirming approach to autism evaluations across the lifespan.
I am currently accepting new clients for psychological evaluation and Independent Educational Evaluations (IEE). I offer a compassionate and integrated approach. My psychological evaluations result in a comprehensive psychological report, and I aim to "tell the story" of an individual rather than simply assign a "label." All evaluations yield individualized recommendations, and I provide a client-centered, in-depth feedback session aimed at empowerment.
I specialize in a strengths-based, neurodiverse-affirming approach to autism evaluations across the lifespan.
I am currently accepting new clients for psychological evaluation and Independent Educational Evaluations (IEE). I offer a compassionate and integrated approach. My psychological evaluations result in a comprehensive psychological report, and I aim to "tell the story" of an individual rather than simply assign a "label." All evaluations yield individualized recommendations, and I provide a client-centered, in-depth feedback session aimed at empowerment.
(503) 486-3920 View (503) 486-3920
Photo of Honeycomb Psychology, Psychologist in Portland, OR
Honeycomb Psychology
Psychologist, PhD
Verified Verified
Portland, OR 97210
My name is Yasaman Kashani and I am a pediatric psychologist who specializes in diagnostic assessments and evaluation for ADHD, autism, learning disorders, and anxiety/depression. I provide evaluation for families who wonder about possible neurological differences in their children. I received my undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology and social work from McGill University. I completed my doctorate in psychology at the University of Oregon gaining extensive training in diagnostic assessments.
My name is Yasaman Kashani and I am a pediatric psychologist who specializes in diagnostic assessments and evaluation for ADHD, autism, learning disorders, and anxiety/depression. I provide evaluation for families who wonder about possible neurological differences in their children. I received my undergraduate and graduate degrees in psychology and social work from McGill University. I completed my doctorate in psychology at the University of Oregon gaining extensive training in diagnostic assessments.
(971) 290-2172 View (971) 290-2172
Photo of Jennifer Walker, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR
Jennifer Walker
Licensed Professional Counselor, LPC
Verified Verified
Portland, OR 97086  (Online Only)
ADHD and Autism each bring unique challenges, from difficulty focusing and impulsivity to struggles in social interactions and sensory sensitivities. These conditions can make everyday tasks feel overwhelming. My practice is devoted to understanding the individual needs of those with ADHD and Autism, providing a supportive environment to explore these challenges. Together, we'll work on strategies to navigate daily life with greater ease, aiming to enhance your ability to engage with the world around you in a more fulfilling way.
ADHD and Autism each bring unique challenges, from difficulty focusing and impulsivity to struggles in social interactions and sensory sensitivities. These conditions can make everyday tasks feel overwhelming. My practice is devoted to understanding the individual needs of those with ADHD and Autism, providing a supportive environment to explore these challenges. Together, we'll work on strategies to navigate daily life with greater ease, aiming to enhance your ability to engage with the world around you in a more fulfilling way.
(971) 366-2847 View (971) 366-2847
Photo of Sarah Hart, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR
Sarah Hart
Licensed Professional Counselor, MA, LPC
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Portland, OR 97202
Waitlist for new clients
My specialties include anxiety, depression, identity, Autism & relationships.
Being human has plenty of struggles and challenges! You don't have to be so alone. We all need positive support and reliable reflections from other people. Therapy can provide that support. Maybe you are feeling that your life and relationships are not satisfying. I believe people do the best they can but sometimes get stuck in patterns that keep them from moving toward the things they want and need. If you struggle with depression or anxiety, wish for more satisfying relationships, struggle with loneliness or the lifelong impact of trauma, I provide clear minded, empathetic and relational support.
My specialties include anxiety, depression, identity, Autism & relationships.
Being human has plenty of struggles and challenges! You don't have to be so alone. We all need positive support and reliable reflections from other people. Therapy can provide that support. Maybe you are feeling that your life and relationships are not satisfying. I believe people do the best they can but sometimes get stuck in patterns that keep them from moving toward the things they want and need. If you struggle with depression or anxiety, wish for more satisfying relationships, struggle with loneliness or the lifelong impact of trauma, I provide clear minded, empathetic and relational support.
(971) 252-7005 View (971) 252-7005
Photo of Madeline Warnick, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR
Madeline Warnick
Licensed Professional Counselor, LPC, NCC, MCoun
Verified Verified
2 Endorsed
Portland, OR 97202  (Online Only)
In addition to therapy and KAP, I also offer diagnostic assessments for Autism and ADHD.
New Group - See below! Your inner critic can make you see yourself through a cruel funhouse mirror, where all you can see are the parts of you that you don’t like. You may have had past experiences - in relationships, your family, school, or society - that left you feeling like there's something wrong with you. Maybe you’ve been told you’re “too sensitive” or “too much,” and now you tell yourself those things on repeat. You may struggle with listening to and trusting your feelings, intuition, or body, and you long for more confidence & self-trust. My clients are people who want to go deep (even if a part of them is also afraid to!).
In addition to therapy and KAP, I also offer diagnostic assessments for Autism and ADHD.
New Group - See below! Your inner critic can make you see yourself through a cruel funhouse mirror, where all you can see are the parts of you that you don’t like. You may have had past experiences - in relationships, your family, school, or society - that left you feeling like there's something wrong with you. Maybe you’ve been told you’re “too sensitive” or “too much,” and now you tell yourself those things on repeat. You may struggle with listening to and trusting your feelings, intuition, or body, and you long for more confidence & self-trust. My clients are people who want to go deep (even if a part of them is also afraid to!).
(458) 203-1667 View (458) 203-1667
Photo of Oregon Autism Evaluations LLC, Psychologist in Portland, OR
Oregon Autism Evaluations LLC
Psychologist, PsyD
Verified Verified
Portland, OR 97224
Am I on the autism spectrum? Does my teen have autism? These are questions Oregon Autism Evaluations LLC can help you answer. Matt Lundeberg, Psy.D. at Oregon Autism Evaluations LLC specializes in the psychological evaluation and treatment of autism spectrum disorder in adolescents and adults. Dr. Lundeberg considers gender differences in ASD presentations as part of the evaluation process. Additionally, while little consideration was made for masking and camouflaging in the past, Dr. Lundeberg is well trained and studied in the presentation of autism spectrum disorder in all gender expressions and identities.
Am I on the autism spectrum? Does my teen have autism? These are questions Oregon Autism Evaluations LLC can help you answer. Matt Lundeberg, Psy.D. at Oregon Autism Evaluations LLC specializes in the psychological evaluation and treatment of autism spectrum disorder in adolescents and adults. Dr. Lundeberg considers gender differences in ASD presentations as part of the evaluation process. Additionally, while little consideration was made for masking and camouflaging in the past, Dr. Lundeberg is well trained and studied in the presentation of autism spectrum disorder in all gender expressions and identities.
(971) 213-7421 View (971) 213-7421
Photo of Allie Patton, Professional Counselor Associate in Portland, OR
Allie Patton
Professional Counselor Associate, MT-BC, NCC
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Portland, OR 97225
Waitlist for new clients
I’m a nationally board-certified & Oregon licensed music therapist, and registered professional counselor associate. I care deeply about connection, and helping people discover and accept their genuine inner self through creative arts and psychotherapy. I am currently working under the supervision of Andrew K Lundgren, M.A., LMFT, LPC at Dirkse Counseling & Consulting, Inc., in working towards my full licensure. In addition to therapy, I also offer neurodivergent-affirming assessment for Autism and ADHD. My assessment type cannot be used to obtain certain disability services. Please note there is a waitlist for assessment services.
I’m a nationally board-certified & Oregon licensed music therapist, and registered professional counselor associate. I care deeply about connection, and helping people discover and accept their genuine inner self through creative arts and psychotherapy. I am currently working under the supervision of Andrew K Lundgren, M.A., LMFT, LPC at Dirkse Counseling & Consulting, Inc., in working towards my full licensure. In addition to therapy, I also offer neurodivergent-affirming assessment for Autism and ADHD. My assessment type cannot be used to obtain certain disability services. Please note there is a waitlist for assessment services.
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Photo of Xander Hayden, Licensed Professional Counselor in Portland, OR
Xander Hayden
Licensed Professional Counselor, MA, LPC, NCC
Verified Verified
Portland, OR 97210  (Online Only)
Please note I am only intermittently able to accept new clients at this time but am happy to converse via email to determine if I have space available. I have extensive experience writing letters and coordinating care for gender diverse individuals undergoing medical transition. I enjoy working with all ages, the LGBT+ population, and am especially experienced in working with individuals experiencing autism spectrum disorder, gender dysphoria, eating disorders, and have a history of trauma.
Please note I am only intermittently able to accept new clients at this time but am happy to converse via email to determine if I have space available. I have extensive experience writing letters and coordinating care for gender diverse individuals undergoing medical transition. I enjoy working with all ages, the LGBT+ population, and am especially experienced in working with individuals experiencing autism spectrum disorder, gender dysphoria, eating disorders, and have a history of trauma.
(971) 328-4765 View (971) 328-4765
Photo of Dr. Benjamin J. Neeley, Psychologist in Portland, OR
Dr. Benjamin J. Neeley
Psychologist, PhD
Verified Verified
Portland, OR 97202
Neeley Psychological Services specializes in adult (18+) neurodevelopmental diagnostic evaluations for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Our office makes psychological evaluations conveniently accessible to many people. Most private insurance is accepted (no Medicaid), we help with the insurance preauthorization process if needed, and we can usually complete the entire process within 1-2 months. We have never needed to utilize a waitlist. Please note that I am not a therapist or counselor and do not provide these services.
Neeley Psychological Services specializes in adult (18+) neurodevelopmental diagnostic evaluations for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Our office makes psychological evaluations conveniently accessible to many people. Most private insurance is accepted (no Medicaid), we help with the insurance preauthorization process if needed, and we can usually complete the entire process within 1-2 months. We have never needed to utilize a waitlist. Please note that I am not a therapist or counselor and do not provide these services.
(360) 718-3360 View (360) 718-3360

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.