Autistic Spectrum Disorder: Part II
The Diagnosis and Intervention Plan
diagnosis is meaningless unless it is accompanied by an intervention
plan. Referrals should be made immediately to the New York State Early Intervention
Program (for children under the age of 3 years) or to The Board of Education
district (for children 3 years of age or older).
Once all the assessments are done, they form the scaffolding for
the actual intervention program. The intervention program must be comprehensive,
multi-disciplinary, intense and consistent. It should begin immediately and
be given for 6 to 7 days each week. Intervention programs for ASD usually consist
of an educational component (ABA therapy, applied behavioral analysis), speech/language
therapy, occupational therapy and physical therapy.
For a child with ASD, the entire family is in need of assistance.
Caring for a child with ASD is a daunting task. The personal challenges of
the child along with mounting and managing a broad intervention program takes
more hours than there are in a day. All intervention programs for the child
should also have an intervention program (psychological help, respite, and
parent training) for the family itself. If we fail to support the family, we
lose the child.
The most important thing to remember is that ASD is not a hopeless
disorder. More and more children are achieving skills and gains that were thought
to be impossible 15 years ago. The work is intense, but each year the wall
of what we thought we could achieve gets pushed back a little further.#
Dr. Cecelia M. McCarton is the founder of The McCarton Center
and School for autistic children on East 82nd street in New York City.