Autism affects more than 3 million people in the U.S., and how it affects each individual is unique. Many of those on the autism spectrum are gifted with skills in music and visual art, others with exceptional academic capabilities. Some may be nonverbal, others significantly disabled, while many of those diagnosed with autism have normal to above-normal intelligence. Today, there are a variety of options dedicated to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) intervention in Utah, from full-day school situations to autism at home programs in Salt Lake City.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, autism can be diagnosed as early as age 2, but many children are not diagnosed until after the age of 4. Additionally, most parents of children who are eventually diagnosed with autism first noticed developmental and fine motor skill issues before the child’s first birthday, starting with concerns about the child’s vision or hearing.
Early behavioral intervention is crucial because it addresses learning and communication skills and the child’s ability to interact in social settings. Educational programs should be based upon Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) methodology, with ongoing assessment using evidence-based practices.
Individualized Intervention Plans
Treatment and care plans should be unique to the individual child, with the intervention plan rooted in evidence-based practices and research. The Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1990 guarantees the right of every child to have an appropriate education. It also states that children under the age of 3 years who are at risk of developmental delays may also be eligible for services, even if they have not yet been diagnosed with ASD. These evaluation programs are available through the state-funded early intervention system.
State and Private Programs
Both state-funded and privately funded tuition options are available in Utah. Some privately funded schools have payment plan options. Most state-funded options have a waiting list, although some can provide immediate availability.
Many of these programs may be covered by insurance, and some can be implemented in addition to classroom instruction. Home-based programs may be a great option because once a child is evaluated, there is no waiting list and intervention can begin immediately. Home-based programs allow the family to take an active role in the treatment plan, with guidance by a trained, credentialed therapist in a variety of social, behavioral, and learning situations.