Research agrees that early intervention for autism gives children on the spectrum their best chance for success. Intervening to address the core behavioral and social symptoms of autism soon after a diagnosis will provide your child a strong foundation that will allow them to continue learning new skills, improving behaviors, and remedying areas of weakness throughout life.
These early interventions – continued into their elementary education – equip children with the tools they need to successfully navigate the social and academic challenges of school and, later on, the challenges of the adult world.
Autism Therapy: A Combination Approach
As a parent of a child with autism, you’re well aware of how many different autism therapies and treatments are available. When considering these options, it is important to remember that specific therapies will not work the same for every child, and all therapies are most effective when they are individualized to address the unique needs and characteristics of the child.
The best option is usually a combination approach, where a child engages in multiple complementary therapies to build a core set of skills. This works best when a child can be immersed in the therapeutic setting while continuing with their standard education.
Spero Academy’s Philosophy on Autism Therapy & Academics
At Spero Academy, we provide a responsive learning environment that supports our students’ academic and personal success through differentiated programs that integrate social and emotional learning with academics.
Our small 1:4 educator to student ratio allows us to provide truly individualized educational and therapeutic programs for Spero students, meeting their unique needs while maintaining a high standard of academic excellence.
We support our students’ continuous progress with special education and therapy programs that complement classroom learning, including physical therapy, occupational therapy, music therapy, speech therapy, and any therapy outlined in their Individualized Education Plan (IEP).
Minneapolis Autism Therapies and Interventions at Spero Academy
Many children with autism have speech-language challenges. 1 in 3 children with autism has trouble speaking or communicating with others, and many more have difficulty understanding or interpreting the nuances of language. Speech therapy helps children with autism learn to match the literal meaning of language with the conversational and social use. The goal is to not only help them learn to speak, but to understand how to use language to communicate both verbally and non-verbally with others.
Speech therapy at Spero is a multidisciplinary program that works with children one-on-one, in group social settings, and in the classroom to address each student’s individual challenges. Hear from our speech therapist Katie Hansen to learn about how speech therapy transforms children’s abilities to socialize with their peers and participate in school activities.
Physical therapists work with children to help them develop fine and gross motor skills, refine their coordination, acquire more stable posture, develop reciprocal play skills (like playing catch), and improve their motor imitation abilities. Successful physical therapy intervention improves a child’s ability to participate in routines both at school and at home. Meet Spero’s physical therapist.
The social and behavioral challenges children with autism face often manifest in difficulties interacting with their environment. Occupational therapists help children develop the skills they need to navigate their world as independently as possible. As such, the goals of occupational therapy vary widely from child to child and are defined by a child’s unique challenges and needs. A child’s progress in speech and physical therapy will support their progress in occupational therapy. Additionally we work one on one with students regarding self-regulation to enhance their ability to respond to ongoing experiences and help permit spontaneous reactions as well as the ability to delay spontaneous responses as needed.
Spero Academy’s occupational therapy program seeks to support each student’s success and independence in the school environment. Our occupational therapists focus on tasks like developing fine motor skills to improve performance in handwriting and using school supplies; learning how to reach the calm, alert state required for paying attention in class; and developing visual motor and processing skills for success in reading and writing.
Music therapy is used with people of all ages and abilities to improve mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. It has proven success in treating symptoms of conditions such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, and neurological disorders. For children with autism, music therapy can play an instrumental role in developing social, motor, emotional, and communication skills essential to their academic and personal success.
Alanna Williamson leads the music therapy program at Spero Academy. In her words, the goal of music therapy is to help students “reach non-musical goals through music.” Spero students have music class with Alanna twice a week, during which Alanna connects music instruction to the goals her students are pursuing in other areas, such as physical and occupational therapy.
To learn more about autism therapy and intervention at Spero Academy, visit the Services page.