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Friday, December 18, 2015

ABA Home Therapy Is Now Possible With Autism Consultancy Malaysia

In our blog post today, we'd like you to meet Charlene Marie Samuel. Charlene is Director and Program Supervisor with Autism Consultancy. Picture inset shows Charlene (top left) and her team.

Autism Consultancy provides ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) Therapy and School Shadow Aide services for children with Autism, and children that require additional support at school. Autism Consultancy aims so reach more families affected with autism by making therapy and support more affordable, as well as training for parents and teachers working with children with Autism is also available.

ABA Therapy can be arranged to be conducted at the comfort of your home, or at any one of these locations:
1. Baby and Beyond, Child Specialist Clinic Publika
2. Kids Therapy, Plaza Damas                                 3. Sense-ational Kidz, Jalan Dagang, Ampang.                                            
Q: Hello Charlene, Can you tell us what are the early signs of autism every parent should know?

There are a few red flag parents should look out for, mostly in terms of your child's development.
1. Your child does not respond to his/her name, or common instructions ( you may at one point considered if you child is deaf)
2. Your child does not maintain eye contact or look at you when you speak to them
3. Your child has a delay in speech
4. Your child prefers to play on his/her own, and generally there is a lack of play skills. your child may be playing with toys peculiarly. e.g.: lining up all the blocks intend of building them up, or turning cars around to rotate the wheels instead of pushing cars on the track
5. Your child engages in peculiar repetitive behaviour (e.g.: repeats words or sounds, flapping hands, tip toes, looks at the corner of his/her eyes, moves fingers in front of eyes, lines things up)
6. Your child is rigid (e.g. only drinks a certain flavour of milk, only wants to drink from a particular bottle, must follow a certain route back home, wants to wear a particular shirt repetitively).

Q: What should parents do when they suspect that their children have autism? What is the next step?

1. Do some research. look up "child's developmental milestones" and match these milestones of your child against the questionnaire. If there are significant delays...
2. See your paediatrician or book an appointment to see a developmental paediatrician. If your child is diagnosed with Autism...
3. Start early intervention EARLY. ABA is the only research validated approach to show significant improvements for our kids undergoing intensive therapy

Q: What is Early Intervention?

Early intervention is any additional support that generally starts before the age of 6.

Q: How do parents start an early intervention program?

Contact Autism Consultancy as we will be able to guide you which program (centre or home based) works best for your child as well as what are the required number of hours that is needed to see improvements. ABA must be intensive and consistent. we run a minimum 9 hours a week, and unto 40 hours a week of ABA therapy for a child.

Q: Home based therapy and centre based therapy. Which is better and why?

There is no right and wrong answer to this. it all boils down to convenience and the needs of your child. Most kids do start off with HOME therapy, as they are able to learn in a more comfortable and familiar environment. However, children that are very attached to parents/maids and cannot function without their presence, and mostly I would suggest that the child be put into a CENTER program, as they are not able to fully function independently with the presence of family around.
Centre based therapy is great for working on group and social skills, e.g.: taking turns, playing with other kids, communicating with other children, which is tough to arrange in a home setting. a centre based approach also prepares the child for a school based environment.

Q: How to get started on home based therapy?
Book an assessment with Autism Consultancy. This assessment is needed to asses your child's abilities, strengths and challenges. The programs and content in therapy will be based on the outcome of the assessment.

Q: Can you tell us more about ABA. What is ABA therapy?

ABA Therapy stands for Applied Behavior Analysis, which is based mostly on positive reinforcement. we strongly believe we can teach a child by tapping into their interests which are used as reinforcements. ABA breaks skills down and teaches a child from foundation upwards to the mastery of a skill. Progress in individualized according to the child's abilities and sessions are all 1:1, one therapist to one child. We strongly are against physical punishment, as well as against shouting to correct a child. A good ABA program is intensive (20-40 hours a week), consistent and individualized according to your child's abilities and needs.

Q: Can you tell us more about your social skills class?

Our social skills class was set up to help our home based kids to be able to mingle and socialize with peers. We generally work on school readiness skills (e.g.: taking group instructions, lining up, waiting, etc), as well as social skills ( communicating with peers, responding to peers, eye contact, turn taking, sharing, etc)

Q: What is the parents role in ABA?

Unlike many other ABA providers, Autism Consultancy really pushes for family participation. We encourage parents to attend the monthly meetings so that they are aware of progress, as well as what the team is working on so that skills that are learnt in therapy are also generalized in the home setting. parents play an incredibly big role in ANY intervention program. Basically a therapist works with your child from 2-6 hours a day, and the rest of the hours of the day is managed by parents/family. A great team of parents can either push a child to greater heights, or hinder a child's progress.

Q: How can parents continue with ABA at home?

Part of our program includes parent training, in which our therapists and consultants will support parents to work with their child using ABA at the home.

Q: Please tell us your vision and aspiration for Autism Consultancy Malaysia

We really aspire to become a household name when it comes to Autism Support and Therapy. We are hoping to set up our own independent centre in 2016 to cater to the demand of a centre based ABA program.

Thank you Charlene, for taking the time to share this valuable information with us despite your heavy work schedule. Charlene can be reached at Autism Consultancy.


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