Autism Therapists in Pittsburgh, PA

See all therapists in Pittsburgh
Photo of Sheffey Consultants LLC in Pittsburgh, PA
Sheffey Consultants LLC
MSW, BCBA
1 Endorsed
Pittsburgh, PA 15221
I have over 21 years of experience working with children, adolescents and adults impacted by autism, developmental disabilities, and/or behavioral health needs. I am a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and specialize in individual and family therapy.
I have over 21 years of experience working with children, adolescents and adults impacted by autism, developmental disabilities, and/or behavioral health needs. I am a Board Certified Behavior Analyst and specialize in individual and family therapy.
(412) 278-7762 View (412) 278-7762
Photo of Dr. Taylor Day, Psychologist in Pittsburgh, PA
Dr. Taylor Day
Psychologist, PhD
Verified
1 Endorsed
Pittsburgh, PA 15219  (Online Only)
Did you know autism can be diagnosed in children as young as 14 months of age? So often parents are told to "wait and see" despite having concerns about their child's development. As a child psychologist, I have expertise in the early diagnosis and intervention of autism. I have over a decade of experience conducting gold-standard evaluations for autism and research to advance knowledge about early autism signs with over 25 peer-reviewed publications/book chapters. I offer both diagnosis and intervention services for families of young children via telehealth throughout the country (select states). Contact me for a FREE consult!
Did you know autism can be diagnosed in children as young as 14 months of age? So often parents are told to "wait and see" despite having concerns about their child's development. As a child psychologist, I have expertise in the early diagnosis and intervention of autism. I have over a decade of experience conducting gold-standard evaluations for autism and research to advance knowledge about early autism signs with over 25 peer-reviewed publications/book chapters. I offer both diagnosis and intervention services for families of young children via telehealth throughout the country (select states). Contact me for a FREE consult!
(412) 837-0965 View (412) 837-0965
Photo of Todd Schachter, Clinical Social Work/Therapist in Pittsburgh, PA
Todd Schachter
Clinical Social Work/Therapist, MSW, LCSW
Verified
Pittsburgh, PA 15237
I can treat anyone from 10 to 65, but specialize in treating children and adolescents with impulse control and attention deficit issues, child and adult autism , child and adult anxiety, depression, bipolar disorders, school related phobias, unhealthy habits / addictions, anger management, trauma, and family conflict.
You do not need a diagnosis of ADHD, anxiety or depression to benefit from therapy. Life can be hard enough without barriers at every turn. Constant challenges within a child’s education system, adolescents unhealthy social media habits, difficult relationships, and even from time to time conflict within the family can cause stress. Stress can explode in detrimental ways and times when not fully treated. Together, we can help break down life’s barriers so you and your child can achieve their full potential.
I can treat anyone from 10 to 65, but specialize in treating children and adolescents with impulse control and attention deficit issues, child and adult autism , child and adult anxiety, depression, bipolar disorders, school related phobias, unhealthy habits / addictions, anger management, trauma, and family conflict.
You do not need a diagnosis of ADHD, anxiety or depression to benefit from therapy. Life can be hard enough without barriers at every turn. Constant challenges within a child’s education system, adolescents unhealthy social media habits, difficult relationships, and even from time to time conflict within the family can cause stress. Stress can explode in detrimental ways and times when not fully treated. Together, we can help break down life’s barriers so you and your child can achieve their full potential.
(878) 645-3173 View (878) 645-3173
Photo of Stephanie Smigiel, Licensed Professional Counselor in Pittsburgh, PA
Stephanie Smigiel
Licensed Professional Counselor, PhD, LPC, LBS
Verified
1 Endorsed
Pittsburgh, PA 15220  (Online Only)
Looking to Learn to Drive? Have Autism or related disorder? Check out sister coaching company Spectrum Driving at autismspectrumdriving.
accepting new clients. Everyone has a story to be told. I am able to help sit beside you as we write it. In the darkest, uncertain, up-and-down times I will be your cheerleader, supporter, guidance, and motivation. I believe everyone is able to achieve their goals and dreams. I help Individuals with autism spectrum disorder from childhood to adulthood. Individuals who have experienced trauma during their life time. Children with disruptive and non-compliance behaviors. Individuals who are experiencing anxiety in daily living.
Looking to Learn to Drive? Have Autism or related disorder? Check out sister coaching company Spectrum Driving at autismspectrumdriving.
accepting new clients. Everyone has a story to be told. I am able to help sit beside you as we write it. In the darkest, uncertain, up-and-down times I will be your cheerleader, supporter, guidance, and motivation. I believe everyone is able to achieve their goals and dreams. I help Individuals with autism spectrum disorder from childhood to adulthood. Individuals who have experienced trauma during their life time. Children with disruptive and non-compliance behaviors. Individuals who are experiencing anxiety in daily living.
(412) 615-3608 View (412) 615-3608
Photo of Barbara Thomas, Marriage & Family Therapist in Pittsburgh, PA
Barbara Thomas
Marriage & Family Therapist, LMFT
Verified
Pittsburgh, PA 15232  (Online Only)
Barbara Thomas is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) who has 6 years of experience working with children, adolescents, couples, and families seeking help with depression, anxiety, relationship issues, and family/life transitions. Additionally, Barbara has experience working with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), trauma, grief and loss, and multigenerational family patterns. Barbara completed her Bachelor of Science (BS) in Psychology at Pennsylvania State University and her Master of Science (MS) in Marriage and Family Therapy at Seton Hall University.
Barbara Thomas is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (LMFT) who has 6 years of experience working with children, adolescents, couples, and families seeking help with depression, anxiety, relationship issues, and family/life transitions. Additionally, Barbara has experience working with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), trauma, grief and loss, and multigenerational family patterns. Barbara completed her Bachelor of Science (BS) in Psychology at Pennsylvania State University and her Master of Science (MS) in Marriage and Family Therapy at Seton Hall University.
(412) 214-8983 View (412) 214-8983
Photo of Tanja Soto, Licensed Professional Counselor in Pittsburgh, PA
Tanja Soto
Licensed Professional Counselor, MA, LPC, BCBA
Verified
2 Endorsed
Pittsburgh, PA 15222  (Online Only)
You may be someone who's feeling overwhelmed by anxiety, navigating the challenges of Autism Spectrum Disorder, or seeking support for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Your needs are unique, and you want a therapist who truly understands and supports you on your journey to emotional well-being. Your goal is to find practical solutions and guidance to lead a happier, more fulfilling life. Together, we'll work to achieve the positive changes you desire.
You may be someone who's feeling overwhelmed by anxiety, navigating the challenges of Autism Spectrum Disorder, or seeking support for Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Your needs are unique, and you want a therapist who truly understands and supports you on your journey to emotional well-being. Your goal is to find practical solutions and guidance to lead a happier, more fulfilling life. Together, we'll work to achieve the positive changes you desire.
(412) 923-0211 View (412) 923-0211
Photo of Knight Psychological Services, LLC, Psychologist in Pittsburgh, PA
Knight Psychological Services, LLC
Psychologist, PhD
Verified
Pittsburgh, PA 15241
Specializing in ADHD and Autism evaluations - Knight Psychological Services provides a range of services designed to address a variety of needs. This includes, but is not limited to, outpatient counseling, psychological testing, testing for giftedness and learning disabilities, and educational consultation. We diagnose and treat conditions such as Autism, anxiety, depression, grief, and ADHD. We strive to practice in a culturally competent manner and utilize a fundamentally compassionate approach. We feel that the client is an integral part of treatment and that individual needs and goals will drive the treatment process.
Specializing in ADHD and Autism evaluations - Knight Psychological Services provides a range of services designed to address a variety of needs. This includes, but is not limited to, outpatient counseling, psychological testing, testing for giftedness and learning disabilities, and educational consultation. We diagnose and treat conditions such as Autism, anxiety, depression, grief, and ADHD. We strive to practice in a culturally competent manner and utilize a fundamentally compassionate approach. We feel that the client is an integral part of treatment and that individual needs and goals will drive the treatment process.
(878) 313-2618 View (878) 313-2618
Photo of Paula Kauffman Oberly, Licensed Professional Counselor in Pittsburgh, PA
Paula Kauffman Oberly
Licensed Professional Counselor, LPC, NCC, BCC, ACS
Verified
21 Endorsed
Pittsburgh, PA 15222
I have helped clients like you successfully address a variety of issues related to relationships, family, work, school, college and career, including: Autism, ADHD, Depression, Learning Disabilities, Grief, Mood & Anxiety Disorders, Anger Management, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Self-Esteem Issues, Stress Management, and Executive Functioning difficulties.
My goal is to help you gain the insights & tools to feel successful and satisfied. I have an eclectic strengths-based approach integrating Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Adlerian Theory, creative expression and bibliotherapy. I provide a variety of services, including: Individual, Family, and Group Therapy for all ages. Including Grief and Parent Counseling.
I have helped clients like you successfully address a variety of issues related to relationships, family, work, school, college and career, including: Autism, ADHD, Depression, Learning Disabilities, Grief, Mood & Anxiety Disorders, Anger Management, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, Self-Esteem Issues, Stress Management, and Executive Functioning difficulties.
My goal is to help you gain the insights & tools to feel successful and satisfied. I have an eclectic strengths-based approach integrating Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Adlerian Theory, creative expression and bibliotherapy. I provide a variety of services, including: Individual, Family, and Group Therapy for all ages. Including Grief and Parent Counseling.
(412) 387-7595 View (412) 387-7595
Photo of Kate Gibson, Licensed Professional Counselor in Pittsburgh, PA
Kate Gibson
Licensed Professional Counselor, MA, ATR-BC, LPC
Verified
2 Endorsed
Pittsburgh, PA 15209
I have experience working with children with Autism, developmental and learning disabilities, behavioral issues and complex & chronic medical issues.
Everyone experiences life in their own way and therefore our thoughts, feelings and perceptions are unique to each individual. Although words are our primary method of communication, words sometimes cannot fully express our emotions and experiences. As a Registered and Board Certified Art Therapist (ATR-BC), as well as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), I use art making and creativity specified to meet your individual needs to help guide you and your family towards healing and wellness.
I have experience working with children with Autism, developmental and learning disabilities, behavioral issues and complex & chronic medical issues.
Everyone experiences life in their own way and therefore our thoughts, feelings and perceptions are unique to each individual. Although words are our primary method of communication, words sometimes cannot fully express our emotions and experiences. As a Registered and Board Certified Art Therapist (ATR-BC), as well as a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), I use art making and creativity specified to meet your individual needs to help guide you and your family towards healing and wellness.
(585) 471-6415 View (585) 471-6415
Photo of Chris Wesling, Licensed Professional Counselor in Pittsburgh, PA
Chris Wesling
Licensed Professional Counselor, LPC, LBS, NCC
Verified
Pittsburgh, PA 15238
Along with my LPC and NCC, I am a Licensed Behavior Specialist and specially trained in the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders.
"The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination." These are wise words from Carl Rogers, one of my biggest influences. My approach with clients comes from years of direct work with children, adolescents, families, and adults. Providing a safe and welcoming atmosphere is what I strive for as we create a therapeutic alliance and work through difficulties that you are facing. We will work together and address your concerns by focusing on your strengths and setting up goals that we will achieve with evidence-based practices.
Along with my LPC and NCC, I am a Licensed Behavior Specialist and specially trained in the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders.
"The good life is a process, not a state of being. It is a direction, not a destination." These are wise words from Carl Rogers, one of my biggest influences. My approach with clients comes from years of direct work with children, adolescents, families, and adults. Providing a safe and welcoming atmosphere is what I strive for as we create a therapeutic alliance and work through difficulties that you are facing. We will work together and address your concerns by focusing on your strengths and setting up goals that we will achieve with evidence-based practices.
(412) 387-5044 View (412) 387-5044
Photo of Lisa McDonough, Clinical Social Work/Therapist in Pittsburgh, PA
Lisa McDonough
Clinical Social Work/Therapist, LCSW
Verified
Pittsburgh, PA 15238  (Online Only)
Have you been struggling with symptoms of anxiety or depression? Are you trying to "keep it all together"? Do you or someone you care about have Autism? Do you feel overwhelmed by the demands of your day-to-day life? You don't have to do it alone! I have a strong interest in working with individuals struggling in these areas. I would be honored for the opportunity to work with you!
Have you been struggling with symptoms of anxiety or depression? Are you trying to "keep it all together"? Do you or someone you care about have Autism? Do you feel overwhelmed by the demands of your day-to-day life? You don't have to do it alone! I have a strong interest in working with individuals struggling in these areas. I would be honored for the opportunity to work with you!
(412) 844-5230 View (412) 844-5230
Photo of Gina Ager, Clinical Social Work/Therapist in Pittsburgh, PA
Gina Ager
Clinical Social Work/Therapist, LCSW
Verified
2 Endorsed
Pittsburgh, PA 15217
I have particular interest in working with children and adolescents whom have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
I love working with KIDS and TEENS! Connecting to a child's world is so interesting. I thoroughly enjoy engaging with their creativity and curiosity. I understand children are sensitive to the relationships in their life. Times of stress can take a toll on all relationships, the one with ourselves, with our family members, and often times our children. I work to be present, offer a nonjudgmental, and understanding atmosphere. Making sense of life's challenges and choices can be complicated. Let me help your child and family navigate through challenges to reclaim your peace and gain a new sense of freedom.
I have particular interest in working with children and adolescents whom have been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder.
I love working with KIDS and TEENS! Connecting to a child's world is so interesting. I thoroughly enjoy engaging with their creativity and curiosity. I understand children are sensitive to the relationships in their life. Times of stress can take a toll on all relationships, the one with ourselves, with our family members, and often times our children. I work to be present, offer a nonjudgmental, and understanding atmosphere. Making sense of life's challenges and choices can be complicated. Let me help your child and family navigate through challenges to reclaim your peace and gain a new sense of freedom.
(412) 530-4620 View (412) 530-4620
Photo of Dr. John Carosso, Psy.D., Psychologist in Pittsburgh, PA
Dr. John Carosso, Psy.D.
Psychologist, PsyD
Verified
Pittsburgh, PA 15237
He is a partner at Community Psychiatric Centers, and Executive Director at the Autism Center of Pittsburgh where there is a focus on meeting the needs of the autism community in Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas.
Dr. John Carosso is a child psychologist and school psychologist who specializes in the evaluation and treatment of children with ADHD, autism, behavioral and learning issues, anxiety, depression, and trauma. He can be seen in offices in the North Hills and South Hills, Monroeville, Pittsburgh, Greensburg, and surrounding areas. Check out his websites at autismcenterofpittsburgh.com and cpcwecare.com.
He is a partner at Community Psychiatric Centers, and Executive Director at the Autism Center of Pittsburgh where there is a focus on meeting the needs of the autism community in Pittsburgh and the surrounding areas.
Dr. John Carosso is a child psychologist and school psychologist who specializes in the evaluation and treatment of children with ADHD, autism, behavioral and learning issues, anxiety, depression, and trauma. He can be seen in offices in the North Hills and South Hills, Monroeville, Pittsburgh, Greensburg, and surrounding areas. Check out his websites at autismcenterofpittsburgh.com and cpcwecare.com.
(724) 897-6422 View (724) 897-6422
Photo of Colin Smith, Counselor in Pittsburgh, PA
Colin Smith
Counselor, LPC
Verified
Pittsburgh, PA 15212  (Online Only)
Are you a teen or young adult struggling to navigate social pressures and responsibilities? A parent of a struggling teen? I help create self-esteem and establish proper perspectives when young adults feel overwhelmed. A full-time school counselor, Colin Smith has been working with adolescents both in schools and in outpatient therapy for nearly twenty years. Working in both public and approved private schools as well as community mental health has provided Colin with various learning opportunities. Areas of experience include individuals with anxiety, depression, self-esteem deficits, autism, and conduct disorders.
Are you a teen or young adult struggling to navigate social pressures and responsibilities? A parent of a struggling teen? I help create self-esteem and establish proper perspectives when young adults feel overwhelmed. A full-time school counselor, Colin Smith has been working with adolescents both in schools and in outpatient therapy for nearly twenty years. Working in both public and approved private schools as well as community mental health has provided Colin with various learning opportunities. Areas of experience include individuals with anxiety, depression, self-esteem deficits, autism, and conduct disorders.
(610) 753-4643 View (610) 753-4643
Photo of Tammie Barkus, Clinical Social Work/Therapist in Pittsburgh, PA
Tammie Barkus
Clinical Social Work/Therapist, LCSW
Verified
Pittsburgh, PA 15205
I specialize in substance abuse, autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder, anxiety, depression, mood disorders, bipolar and dual-diagnosis.
I am a licensed clinical social worker and certified drug and alcohol counselor. I have over 10 years experience in therapy for children, adolescents, adults, couples and families.
I specialize in substance abuse, autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, oppositional defiant disorder, anxiety, depression, mood disorders, bipolar and dual-diagnosis.
I am a licensed clinical social worker and certified drug and alcohol counselor. I have over 10 years experience in therapy for children, adolescents, adults, couples and families.
(412) 301-9599 View (412) 301-9599
Photo of Daniel Marston, Psychologist in Pittsburgh, PA
Daniel Marston
Psychologist, PhD
Verified
Pittsburgh, PA 15218
I also have over 20 years of experience teaching at the university level along with a number of national publications and presentations on cognitive-behavioral therapy along with depression, autism, neuropsychology and behavioral disorders.
Hello and Welcome!! I am Dr. Daniel Marston, a Licensed Psychologist in the state of Pennsylvania. I have been in clinical practice for over 20 years and have helped many people overcome many different challenges. I specialize in cognitive-behavioral therapy and am board-certified in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP). My approach to counseling is a strong combination of caring and research. I strongly believe that counseling needs to be much more than just “friendly talk” and that the only way to do this is to base it solidly on clinical research.
I also have over 20 years of experience teaching at the university level along with a number of national publications and presentations on cognitive-behavioral therapy along with depression, autism, neuropsychology and behavioral disorders.
Hello and Welcome!! I am Dr. Daniel Marston, a Licensed Psychologist in the state of Pennsylvania. I have been in clinical practice for over 20 years and have helped many people overcome many different challenges. I specialize in cognitive-behavioral therapy and am board-certified in Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy by the American Board of Professional Psychology (ABPP). My approach to counseling is a strong combination of caring and research. I strongly believe that counseling needs to be much more than just “friendly talk” and that the only way to do this is to base it solidly on clinical research.
(412) 467-0179 View (412) 467-0179
Photo of Adam Thomas Oshnock, Licensed Professional Counselor in Pittsburgh, PA
Adam Thomas Oshnock
Licensed Professional Counselor, MA, LPC, NCC
Verified
Pittsburgh, PA 15241
Waitlist for new clients
I have experience with treating all types of mood disorders, impulse control disorders, and treatment of children and adults who have autism.
I have been practicing as a therapist for over twenty years and have worked with children, adults, and families in many different types of therapeutic settings. I have the clinical skills necessary to develop a therapeutic relationship, which I feel is key to advance the therapeutic process. I am able to teach the skills to clients so they can apply them when needed. I can help clients to learn from their past, live a healthy life in the present, and set goals for the future.
I have experience with treating all types of mood disorders, impulse control disorders, and treatment of children and adults who have autism.
I have been practicing as a therapist for over twenty years and have worked with children, adults, and families in many different types of therapeutic settings. I have the clinical skills necessary to develop a therapeutic relationship, which I feel is key to advance the therapeutic process. I am able to teach the skills to clients so they can apply them when needed. I can help clients to learn from their past, live a healthy life in the present, and set goals for the future.
(724) 399-3113 View (724) 399-3113
Photo of Christina Pettinato, Licensed Professional Counselor in Pittsburgh, PA
Christina Pettinato
Licensed Professional Counselor, NCC, LPC
Verified
Pittsburgh, PA 15241
Are you feeling anxious, alone, or depressed? Maybe you're feeling stuck in life? I'm here to help. Through meaningful conversation, you and I will navigate your issues and struggles with proven problem-solving techniques, coping skills, and self-reflection. My goal is to help you map out opportunities for growth, awareness, trust, and mindfulness in your life and your relationships. I provide professional counseling services with an approach that is conversational, non-judgmental and supportive. Some of my specialties include; anxiety, autism spectrum, depression, grief, guilt, life transitions, relationships, trauma, and trust.
Are you feeling anxious, alone, or depressed? Maybe you're feeling stuck in life? I'm here to help. Through meaningful conversation, you and I will navigate your issues and struggles with proven problem-solving techniques, coping skills, and self-reflection. My goal is to help you map out opportunities for growth, awareness, trust, and mindfulness in your life and your relationships. I provide professional counseling services with an approach that is conversational, non-judgmental and supportive. Some of my specialties include; anxiety, autism spectrum, depression, grief, guilt, life transitions, relationships, trauma, and trust.
(412) 567-0751 View (412) 567-0751
Photo of Jeffrey Leoni, Psychologist in Pittsburgh, PA
Jeffrey Leoni
Psychologist, PsyD
Verified
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
I work with adults with autism on gaining independence.
My goal as your therapist is to be a guide on your journey to a lasting state of well-being and also to be your support anchor as you work to resolve the difficult, hurtful, and disruptive experiences of your life. You will be able to resolve relationship conflicts, develop new and more effective ways of thinking and feeling about yourself and others, and resolve issues that are keeping you from experiencing high levels of joy and fulfillment in life. It would be my honor to be your mentor in this work and together we will create a safe space to process all of these experiences via this powerful process of healing.
I work with adults with autism on gaining independence.
My goal as your therapist is to be a guide on your journey to a lasting state of well-being and also to be your support anchor as you work to resolve the difficult, hurtful, and disruptive experiences of your life. You will be able to resolve relationship conflicts, develop new and more effective ways of thinking and feeling about yourself and others, and resolve issues that are keeping you from experiencing high levels of joy and fulfillment in life. It would be my honor to be your mentor in this work and together we will create a safe space to process all of these experiences via this powerful process of healing.
(484) 509-9961 View (484) 509-9961
Photo of Amy Noel Rhoades-Byrne, Clinical Social Work/Therapist in Pittsburgh, PA
Amy Noel Rhoades-Byrne
Clinical Social Work/Therapist, PhDc, MSW, LCSW, BSN, RN
Verified
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
My ideal client? It's you! Whether you are 8 or 88, I want to work with you. Have childhood trauma? That is one of my specialities. People say you are hard to work with? I got you. Geriatric concerns? I can help you navigate the senior moments. Whatever you are experiencing, right here, right now, I will walk beside you in it. I just added another level/layer of service. August 27, 2022 - I am now a Certified Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinical Specialist (ASDCS) and will accept clients on the spectrum on a case by case basis.
My ideal client? It's you! Whether you are 8 or 88, I want to work with you. Have childhood trauma? That is one of my specialities. People say you are hard to work with? I got you. Geriatric concerns? I can help you navigate the senior moments. Whatever you are experiencing, right here, right now, I will walk beside you in it. I just added another level/layer of service. August 27, 2022 - I am now a Certified Autism Spectrum Disorder Clinical Specialist (ASDCS) and will accept clients on the spectrum on a case by case basis.
(724) 200-8027 View (724) 200-8027

See more therapy options for Pittsburgh


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.