Autism Therapists in Nashville, TN

Photo of Catherine Cavin, Clinical Social Work/Therapist in Nashville, TN
Catherine Cavin
Clinical Social Work/Therapist, LMSW
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Nashville, TN 37215  (Online Only)
Waitlist for new clients
I specialize in clients with OCD and/or autism & work with adults only.
Hi there! I am a neurodivergent (ND) therapist who's passionate about meeting you where you are, celebrating your strengths and challenging the things that interfere with what matters to you. Whether you’ve been in therapy before or you’re seeking therapy for the first time, I know it’s a big decision & I am honored to be considered. Coping with things such as OCD or autistic burnout can be exhausting to deal with. As your therapist, I will be present with patience and compassion while we walk together towards healing.
I specialize in clients with OCD and/or autism & work with adults only.
Hi there! I am a neurodivergent (ND) therapist who's passionate about meeting you where you are, celebrating your strengths and challenging the things that interfere with what matters to you. Whether you’ve been in therapy before or you’re seeking therapy for the first time, I know it’s a big decision & I am honored to be considered. Coping with things such as OCD or autistic burnout can be exhausting to deal with. As your therapist, I will be present with patience and compassion while we walk together towards healing.
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Photo of Nick Barajas, Licensed Professional Counselor in Nashville, TN
Nick Barajas
Licensed Professional Counselor, LPC, MHSP
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Nashville, TN 37206  (Online Only)
( ( ( Availability for neurodivergent coaching or mental health therapy. Looking for recently diagnosed/self-diagnosed Autistic/ADHD teens or adults ) ) ) I am a neurodivergent coach and therapist. This means that I am neurodivergent, but also that I work exclusively with neurodivergent people, from a neurodivergent perspective. Neurodivergent means "a brain that diverges from the norm," I use it to refer collectively to Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia – brains that are not ill or broken, but fundamentally wired differently than the average person. If this describes you, then you've come to the right place.
( ( ( Availability for neurodivergent coaching or mental health therapy. Looking for recently diagnosed/self-diagnosed Autistic/ADHD teens or adults ) ) ) I am a neurodivergent coach and therapist. This means that I am neurodivergent, but also that I work exclusively with neurodivergent people, from a neurodivergent perspective. Neurodivergent means "a brain that diverges from the norm," I use it to refer collectively to Autism, ADHD, Dyslexia – brains that are not ill or broken, but fundamentally wired differently than the average person. If this describes you, then you've come to the right place.
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Photo of Nashville Psychological Assessment and Learning, Psychologist in Nashville, TN
Nashville Psychological Assessment and Learning
Psychologist, PhD, NCSP, HSP
Verified Verified
Nashville, TN 37204
We specialize in comprehensive psychoeducational assessments of children, adolescents, and adults. We have expertise in the diagnosis of autism, dyslexia, learning disabilities, developmental delays, intellectual giftedness, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), behavioral disorders, and emotional disturbances that are likely to impact educational and daily functioning. We also offer social skills groups for children and adolescents, as well as educational consultation to assist parents with navigating special education and accommodations offered within the public and private school settings.
We specialize in comprehensive psychoeducational assessments of children, adolescents, and adults. We have expertise in the diagnosis of autism, dyslexia, learning disabilities, developmental delays, intellectual giftedness, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), behavioral disorders, and emotional disturbances that are likely to impact educational and daily functioning. We also offer social skills groups for children and adolescents, as well as educational consultation to assist parents with navigating special education and accommodations offered within the public and private school settings.
(615) 908-2370 View (615) 908-2370
Photo of Dr. Heather Joppich, Psychologist in Nashville, TN
Dr. Heather Joppich
Psychologist, PhD
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Nashville, TN 37212
I am a specialist in neurodiversity including testing for ADHD and autism.
I specialize in neurodiversity-affirming assessments for autism, ADHD and mental health for children and adults. Clients often come to me seeking testing for the first time or as a second opinion after feeling misunderstood by other clinicians. My goal is to understand more about your unique lived experience and neurodivergence, get you the right diagnosis, and help you get connected with the resources that you need.
I am a specialist in neurodiversity including testing for ADHD and autism.
I specialize in neurodiversity-affirming assessments for autism, ADHD and mental health for children and adults. Clients often come to me seeking testing for the first time or as a second opinion after feeling misunderstood by other clinicians. My goal is to understand more about your unique lived experience and neurodivergence, get you the right diagnosis, and help you get connected with the resources that you need.
(615) 632-6752 View (615) 632-6752
Photo of Zephyr Care Mental Health, Psychologist in Nashville, TN
Zephyr Care Mental Health
Psychologist, PhD
Verified Verified
2 Endorsed
Nashville, TN 37221
Zephyr Care specializes in neurodiversity-affirming assessments for autism, ADHD, and mental health for adults and children. We have immediate openings for appointments and can see people in TN and most other states. We specialize in high masking autism and understand the unique presentations of autistic women/girls as well as profiles like pathological demand avoidance (PDA). Our evaluations are comprehensive and consider all possible mental health diagnoses - this is what sets our evaluations apart from others who offer psychological testing testing!
Zephyr Care specializes in neurodiversity-affirming assessments for autism, ADHD, and mental health for adults and children. We have immediate openings for appointments and can see people in TN and most other states. We specialize in high masking autism and understand the unique presentations of autistic women/girls as well as profiles like pathological demand avoidance (PDA). Our evaluations are comprehensive and consider all possible mental health diagnoses - this is what sets our evaluations apart from others who offer psychological testing testing!
(615) 205-1921 View (615) 205-1921
Photo of Skye Clark, Pre-Licensed Professional in Nashville, TN
Skye Clark
Pre-Licensed Professional, MS
Verified Verified
Nashville, TN 37212  (Online Only)
I work with autism in adults, individuals with trauma history, individuals in the music industry, and the LBGTQI+ community.
Accepting new clients! All are welcome! You can have a life full of abundance, peace, and joy, in fact, you deserve it! Life may be more overwhelming than you could ever imagine. I get it! We will work together to identify sources of stress, difficult emotions, & limiting thoughts and behavior patterns in order to develop resources for more satisfaction, fulfillment, and joy in your life. My goal is to be deeply present with your experiences in order to help you become more expansive, self- aware, confident, and validated so that you can find your path that leads to your most authentic self.
I work with autism in adults, individuals with trauma history, individuals in the music industry, and the LBGTQI+ community.
Accepting new clients! All are welcome! You can have a life full of abundance, peace, and joy, in fact, you deserve it! Life may be more overwhelming than you could ever imagine. I get it! We will work together to identify sources of stress, difficult emotions, & limiting thoughts and behavior patterns in order to develop resources for more satisfaction, fulfillment, and joy in your life. My goal is to be deeply present with your experiences in order to help you become more expansive, self- aware, confident, and validated so that you can find your path that leads to your most authentic self.
(615) 590-3291 View (615) 590-3291
Photo of Rachel Hammons, Counselor in Nashville, TN
Rachel Hammons
Counselor, MA, LPCMHSP, NCC
Verified Verified
4 Endorsed
Nashville, TN 37212
I specialize in OCD, anxiety, depression, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and gender dysphoria/identity exploration.
It’s taken me a long time to write this because I desperately wanted my bio to communicate my heart for counseling, people, and the work that I do, but I also feel that words fall short when you’re trying to communicate something so intimate. First of all, you are brave for taking a step toward deeper healing, and I am honored that you might consider me as a support alongside you in your journey. Whether this is your first time seeking counseling or your 10th time, I hope to encourage and help empower you in your fight to become who you want to be. Whatever next step you decide to take, I hope the best for you.
I specialize in OCD, anxiety, depression, ADHD, Autism Spectrum Disorder, and gender dysphoria/identity exploration.
It’s taken me a long time to write this because I desperately wanted my bio to communicate my heart for counseling, people, and the work that I do, but I also feel that words fall short when you’re trying to communicate something so intimate. First of all, you are brave for taking a step toward deeper healing, and I am honored that you might consider me as a support alongside you in your journey. Whether this is your first time seeking counseling or your 10th time, I hope to encourage and help empower you in your fight to become who you want to be. Whatever next step you decide to take, I hope the best for you.
(615) 471-7560 View (615) 471-7560
Photo of ABA Bridges, LLC in Nashville, TN
ABA Bridges, LLC
MA, BCBA
Verified Verified
Nashville, TN 37201
ABA Bridges provides behavior therapy for individuals suffering from symptoms of Autism, ADHD and related disorders. We provide Board Certified therapist with a proven track record in assisting families and schools in Behavior Techniques and interventions. ABA is the number one recommended treatment for Autism and ADHD. Services include consultation, assessment, treatment and parent/staff training.
ABA Bridges provides behavior therapy for individuals suffering from symptoms of Autism, ADHD and related disorders. We provide Board Certified therapist with a proven track record in assisting families and schools in Behavior Techniques and interventions. ABA is the number one recommended treatment for Autism and ADHD. Services include consultation, assessment, treatment and parent/staff training.
(888) 796-8809 View (888) 796-8809
Photo of Tia Haywood-Battey in Nashville, TN
Tia Haywood-Battey
MEd, EdS
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Nashville, TN 37202  (Online Only)
Battey's expertise lies in conducting evaluations that assess for Autism Spectrum Disorder, Specific Learning Disabilities, Giftedness, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Tia Battey, Ed.S is the owner of Collaborative Efforts Youth and Family Services. She is a Licensed and Certified School Psychologist who specializes in giftedness, dyslexia, achievement, behavioral and college (ADA) accommodations assessments for children, adolescents, and adults. Ms. Battey is a certified Youth Mental Health First Aid Trainer. This program is designed to help parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, health and human service workers identify and respond to adolescents (age 12-18) who are exhibiting signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use challenges.
Battey's expertise lies in conducting evaluations that assess for Autism Spectrum Disorder, Specific Learning Disabilities, Giftedness, and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder.
Tia Battey, Ed.S is the owner of Collaborative Efforts Youth and Family Services. She is a Licensed and Certified School Psychologist who specializes in giftedness, dyslexia, achievement, behavioral and college (ADA) accommodations assessments for children, adolescents, and adults. Ms. Battey is a certified Youth Mental Health First Aid Trainer. This program is designed to help parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, health and human service workers identify and respond to adolescents (age 12-18) who are exhibiting signs and symptoms of mental health and substance use challenges.
(407) 588-0130 View (407) 588-0130
Photo of Taylor Borck Counseling, Marriage & Family Therapist Associate in Nashville, TN
Taylor Borck Counseling
Marriage & Family Therapist Associate, MMFT
Verified Verified
5 Endorsed
Nashville, TN 37210
I work with neurodivergent teens and adults (Autism and ADHD) as well was a wide range of clients who have experienced trauma, issues in their family dynamic, communication, peer groups, self-esteem, and relationships. I am most passionate about working with individuals as they explore the deep parts of themselves and uncover new insights. Many of my clients work to improve relationships, gain tools and strategies for day to day struggles, and explore, process, and find healing from past traumas and old wounds.
I work with neurodivergent teens and adults (Autism and ADHD) as well was a wide range of clients who have experienced trauma, issues in their family dynamic, communication, peer groups, self-esteem, and relationships. I am most passionate about working with individuals as they explore the deep parts of themselves and uncover new insights. Many of my clients work to improve relationships, gain tools and strategies for day to day struggles, and explore, process, and find healing from past traumas and old wounds.
(629) 217-0765 View (629) 217-0765
Photo of Angela Fisher in Nashville, TN
Angela Fisher
MS, PT, CST, TY, PhD
Verified Verified
2 Endorsed
Nashville, TN 37228
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 Christopher Quarto, Psychologist in Nashville, TN
Christopher Quarto
Psychologist, PhD
Verified Verified
Nashville, TN 37215
ADHD and Adult Autism testing specialist! If I were a fly on the wall of your brain what would I hear? “Why can’t I pay attention…this is SOOOOO frustrating!” “Why have I always felt like I’m different than other people?” “I wish I could stop worrying about stuff so much.” Sound familiar? If you’re looking for definitive answers and practical solutions to your problems - in one testing appointment - then look no further. My sole focus is conducting psychological evaluations to quickly identify & solve problems. Is that what you’re looking for? Thought so! : )
ADHD and Adult Autism testing specialist! If I were a fly on the wall of your brain what would I hear? “Why can’t I pay attention…this is SOOOOO frustrating!” “Why have I always felt like I’m different than other people?” “I wish I could stop worrying about stuff so much.” Sound familiar? If you’re looking for definitive answers and practical solutions to your problems - in one testing appointment - then look no further. My sole focus is conducting psychological evaluations to quickly identify & solve problems. Is that what you’re looking for? Thought so! : )
(615) 455-3352 View (615) 455-3352
Photo of Ansley Taylor Loveless, Psychologist in Nashville, TN
Ansley Taylor Loveless
Psychologist
Verified Verified
Nashville, TN 37211
I also provide strengths-based assessments for adults of all ages who present with a variety of concerns, including ADHD, Autism, and intellectual giftedness.
Have you started to notice problems with your memory or attention as you've grown older? Do you increasingly find yourself unable to remember people’s names, misplacing items, forgetting important appointments/work tasks, or becoming lost while driving? If so, you may have started to worry that you have dementia and wonder if there is anything you can do about it. I can help answer these kinds of critical questions about your brain health. I specialize in helping middle-aged and older adult patients understand the cognitive changes their brains are going through, as well as how to promote healthy aging and long-term brain integrity.
I also provide strengths-based assessments for adults of all ages who present with a variety of concerns, including ADHD, Autism, and intellectual giftedness.
Have you started to notice problems with your memory or attention as you've grown older? Do you increasingly find yourself unable to remember people’s names, misplacing items, forgetting important appointments/work tasks, or becoming lost while driving? If so, you may have started to worry that you have dementia and wonder if there is anything you can do about it. I can help answer these kinds of critical questions about your brain health. I specialize in helping middle-aged and older adult patients understand the cognitive changes their brains are going through, as well as how to promote healthy aging and long-term brain integrity.
(615) 285-6120 View (615) 285-6120
Photo of Dr. Tina M. Boni, Licensed Professional Counselor in Nashville, TN
Dr. Tina M. Boni
Licensed Professional Counselor, PsyD, LPC, LBS
Verified Verified
Nashville, TN 37206  (Online Only)
Accepting new clients now! Finding a treatment provider that understands your (or your child's) needs and uncovering practical solutions does not need to be an additional hurdle. I have over 30 years of experience treating children, families and adults who are struggling with autism, ADHD, behavioral concerns, trauma, depression, anxiety and chronic health disorders. Book your free 15 minute consult with me by clicking on the "My Website" link on the right.
Accepting new clients now! Finding a treatment provider that understands your (or your child's) needs and uncovering practical solutions does not need to be an additional hurdle. I have over 30 years of experience treating children, families and adults who are struggling with autism, ADHD, behavioral concerns, trauma, depression, anxiety and chronic health disorders. Book your free 15 minute consult with me by clicking on the "My Website" link on the right.
(615) 471-6154 View (615) 471-6154
Photo of Nashville BrainCore Therapy in Nashville, TN
Nashville BrainCore Therapy
DC
Verified Verified
Nashville, TN 37214
Nashville BrainCore provides a unique, drugless, painless, noninvasive approach to treating brainwave dysregulation associated with symptoms of many neurological-based conditions like Anxiety, Depression, Insomnia, Memory Loss, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Panic Attacks, Autism, Post-Stroke, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Traumatic Brain Injury (e.g. Concussions), and many more. The relaxing and therapeutic treatment involves our Neurofeedback Practitioner, first, identifying the brainwave dysregulation with a noninvasive and painless brainwave analysis, and then determining a proper treatment plan that is tailored to your needs.
Nashville BrainCore provides a unique, drugless, painless, noninvasive approach to treating brainwave dysregulation associated with symptoms of many neurological-based conditions like Anxiety, Depression, Insomnia, Memory Loss, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Panic Attacks, Autism, Post-Stroke, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Traumatic Brain Injury (e.g. Concussions), and many more. The relaxing and therapeutic treatment involves our Neurofeedback Practitioner, first, identifying the brainwave dysregulation with a noninvasive and painless brainwave analysis, and then determining a proper treatment plan that is tailored to your needs.
(615) 374-7125 View (615) 374-7125
Photo of Maria Miller, Marriage & Family Therapist in Nashville, TN
Maria Miller
Marriage & Family Therapist, LMFT
Verified Verified
Nashville, TN 37203
I specialize in communication, neurodivergence, including ADHD and Autism, burnout, parenting, dating, premarital relationships, social anxiety, and depression.
It can be hard to get through life without getting stuck. I bring a clear outside perspective to navigate difficult situations and gain tools to work through them effectively. I am here to support you in finding ways that improve your quality of life and relationships. We'll figure out what is for you and what is not. What do you want to move toward and what barriers are keeping you from having a more joyful life? What will help you feel less lonely and more connected?
I specialize in communication, neurodivergence, including ADHD and Autism, burnout, parenting, dating, premarital relationships, social anxiety, and depression.
It can be hard to get through life without getting stuck. I bring a clear outside perspective to navigate difficult situations and gain tools to work through them effectively. I am here to support you in finding ways that improve your quality of life and relationships. We'll figure out what is for you and what is not. What do you want to move toward and what barriers are keeping you from having a more joyful life? What will help you feel less lonely and more connected?
(629) 205-4522 View (629) 205-4522
Photo of Tim Hollar, Licensed Professional Counselor in Nashville, TN
Tim Hollar
Licensed Professional Counselor, MS, LPCMHSP
Verified Verified
2 Endorsed
Nashville, TN 37203
I strive to facilitating a space with non-judgement for all individuals in life adjustments or grief, and focus with experiences of social anxiety, family of origin issues, cancer treatment, infertility, and adults with neurodivergence including ADHD/autism.
When things feel off or when you are not going in a direction that feels authentic you can feel or see it. I approach therapy through a lens of strength, the strength to be vulnerable, to take ownership of your story, and to learning about yourself to act out your values with integrity. My experience as a therapist has shown me any change can evoke grief, and that acceptance when things cannot or will not change can be hard too. Individual therapy can provide support for grief, depression, isolation, and anxiety. Couples therapy can strengthen connection and dreams in your relationship. You don’t need to be alone in your journey.
I strive to facilitating a space with non-judgement for all individuals in life adjustments or grief, and focus with experiences of social anxiety, family of origin issues, cancer treatment, infertility, and adults with neurodivergence including ADHD/autism.
When things feel off or when you are not going in a direction that feels authentic you can feel or see it. I approach therapy through a lens of strength, the strength to be vulnerable, to take ownership of your story, and to learning about yourself to act out your values with integrity. My experience as a therapist has shown me any change can evoke grief, and that acceptance when things cannot or will not change can be hard too. Individual therapy can provide support for grief, depression, isolation, and anxiety. Couples therapy can strengthen connection and dreams in your relationship. You don’t need to be alone in your journey.
(615) 551-9427 View (615) 551-9427
Photo of Dustin Harryman in Nashville, TN
Dustin Harryman
MA
Verified Verified
1 Endorsed
Nashville, TN 37204
Growing up in rural Tennessee, I have seen and experienced many of the issues that our communities face and have focused my career on helping people work through those everyday problems. Potential clients for me may be experiencing symptoms of Anxiety, Depression, or Burnout. A history of Trauma or Substance Use may have you feeling stuck in the mud, or perhaps there are pieces of your identity such as ADHD, Autism, Spiritual, or Gender/Sexual identity that have posed their own set of challenges in feeling accepted in the world. Whatever you may be experiencing, it’s important to remember: you are worth the effort to create change.
Growing up in rural Tennessee, I have seen and experienced many of the issues that our communities face and have focused my career on helping people work through those everyday problems. Potential clients for me may be experiencing symptoms of Anxiety, Depression, or Burnout. A history of Trauma or Substance Use may have you feeling stuck in the mud, or perhaps there are pieces of your identity such as ADHD, Autism, Spiritual, or Gender/Sexual identity that have posed their own set of challenges in feeling accepted in the world. Whatever you may be experiencing, it’s important to remember: you are worth the effort to create change.
(615) 703-3056 View (615) 703-3056
Photo of Kelsey MacDonald, Pre-Licensed Professional in Nashville, TN
Kelsey MacDonald
Pre-Licensed Professional, EdS, NCC
Verified Verified
4 Endorsed
Nashville, TN 37203
If you have social anxiety, are neurodivergent (HSP, ADHD, OCD, Autism) and/or have complex trauma/C-PTSD, you're in the right place.
Does overstimulation and anxiety rule your life? Do you feel like traditional talk therapy has only gotten you so far? You may feel painfully stressed interacting with others, struggle with negative or shame based thoughts about yourself, experience feelings of embarrassment, or frequently experience sensations in your body such as panic attacks, a racing heart, nausea, trembling, etc. This cycle can be so exhausting, and I’m here to help. I help clients learn coping tools to manage their feelings and thoughts, increase skills in navigating relationships with others, and heal their trauma for lasting change.
If you have social anxiety, are neurodivergent (HSP, ADHD, OCD, Autism) and/or have complex trauma/C-PTSD, you're in the right place.
Does overstimulation and anxiety rule your life? Do you feel like traditional talk therapy has only gotten you so far? You may feel painfully stressed interacting with others, struggle with negative or shame based thoughts about yourself, experience feelings of embarrassment, or frequently experience sensations in your body such as panic attacks, a racing heart, nausea, trembling, etc. This cycle can be so exhausting, and I’m here to help. I help clients learn coping tools to manage their feelings and thoughts, increase skills in navigating relationships with others, and heal their trauma for lasting change.
(615) 488-8276 View (615) 488-8276
Photo of Mary Cullen Servodidio, Licensed Professional Counselor in Nashville, TN
Mary Cullen Servodidio
Licensed Professional Counselor, LPC, MHSP
Verified Verified
3 Endorsed
Nashville, TN 37203
I enjoy helping support people with trauma, ADHD and Autism, mood disorders, life transitions, and family-of-origin issues.
I am so pumped that you're here! I know what it feels like to seek out a new therapist, and I don’t take for granted the courage and vulnerability it takes for you to share these parts of yourself. My goal is to create a pathway to help you reveal your authentic self. We do this by examining what’s been conditioned and impressed upon you while also identifying what feels true and authentic to who you are. I approach this work first and foremost with compassion, curiosity, open-mindedness, and authenticity. I believe there is room for pain and humor in therapy. I promise to keep it real with you and to share some laughs, too!
I enjoy helping support people with trauma, ADHD and Autism, mood disorders, life transitions, and family-of-origin issues.
I am so pumped that you're here! I know what it feels like to seek out a new therapist, and I don’t take for granted the courage and vulnerability it takes for you to share these parts of yourself. My goal is to create a pathway to help you reveal your authentic self. We do this by examining what’s been conditioned and impressed upon you while also identifying what feels true and authentic to who you are. I approach this work first and foremost with compassion, curiosity, open-mindedness, and authenticity. I believe there is room for pain and humor in therapy. I promise to keep it real with you and to share some laughs, too!
(615) 257-3156 View (615) 257-3156
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.