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Pediatric Behavioral Intervention

Some children with autism experience challenges like anxiety, tantrums, depression and obsessive behavior. While these issues are common in children with autism, they can create challenges in everyday activities like going to school, family outings and social events.

Behavioral intervention can help. At Children’s Health, psychologists, behavior analysts and psychiatrists offer behavioral intervention for children between the ages of 2 and 19. By teaching parents, children and teens new strategies that can reshape behavior, this approach works with the whole family to help your child function at their best.

What is Pediatric Behavioral Intervention?

Behavioral intervention offers tools, strategies and treatments that will help your child across many different settings and interactions. The expert psychologists at Children’s Health℠ use a variety of approaches, including strategies based on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).

For example, for younger children with autism, we offer parent training to help you learn behavioral strategies that you can use to guide your child’s behavior. For older kids and teens, we focus on family therapy to help improve communication between you and your child, and to reduce conflict.

What are the benefits of Pediatric Behavioral Intervention?

Having a child with autism can be stressful. Behavioral intervention teaches parents how to best respond to their child’s behavior. We teach concrete strategies to use at home and in public. We can help:

  • Reduce tantrums
  • Make it easier for your child to participate in family functions
  • Improve behaviors related to your child’s school-based challenges
  • Improve family relationships

What to expect with Pediatric Behavioral Intervention?

Once you provide a referral from your pediatrician to our Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities, we’ll schedule your appointment. Then we’ll meet with your family and create a treatment plan that best fits your child.

What to expect before Pediatric Behavioral Intervention?

Based on your referral, our intake specialist will call you to set up an appointment. We encourage you to bring your child’s medical or school records to the first appointment, if possible.

What to expect during Pediatric Behavioral Intervention?

We work with you and your child together, throughout the process. That way, we can get to know your family and determine what strategies work best for you. Families appreciate that we’re flexible in our treatment planning.

Each behavioral intervention plan is different, based on your child’s needs and age. Throughout the years, our specialists have taught children how to adapt to new environments, communicate more effectively and engage in social activities.

Families typically see us weekly, every other week or once per month. Together, we’ll determine what time frame works best and the number of treatments. We’ll work closely with you and your child to create a care plan that helps achieve your family’s goals.

What to expect after Pediatric Behavioral Intervention?

Autism isn’t a disorder that goes away or something that a child grows out of. In fact, it’s normal if your child has new and different behavioral challenges as they grow up, especially after puberty. It’s common to see us regularly for three to six months, pause your treatment once your child improves, and then come back again as your child’s behavior changes. We’ll be here for you at every stage of your child’s life.

How do I prepare my child for Pediatric Behavioral Intervention?

Behavioral intervention sessions feel like play to most younger children. We have puzzles, toys and games for children to play during the session. A lot of families tell their child before their appointment, "This is the place we come and play games,” “This is the place we come and try new things,” or “Let’s see the playing doctor today!”

What questions should I ask my provider about Pediatric Behavioral Intervention?

Examples include:

  • About how many families do you help with behavioral intervention each year?
  • How will you determine if behavioral intervention is right for my child?
  • Are there other treatment options for autism behavior issues?
  • What should I do if I don’t like the strategies or don’t think they are working?

Pediatric Behavioral Intervention Doctors and Providers

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Can autism be caused by parents?

    We get asked this question daily. We know you’ve probably dealt with comments from strangers or even your family members who think that autism is related to parenting – but that’s not true. There’s not a single cause for why your child has autism. Research shows us that a child with autism has a brain that’s structured differently. Scientists are still learning how and why that happens.

  • How does autism affect behavior?

    Some children with autism experience challenges like anxiety, tantrums, depression and obsessiveness.

  • How can you modify the behavior of a child with autism?

    That’s one of the key strategies you’ll learn during behavioral intervention. By focusing on parenting strategies and learning how to reshape behavior, we can make it easier for your child to go to school, be in public and attend family gatherings. For example, one strategy we teach parents is to adjust their child’s environment to promote clear expectations, such as with the help of visuals. This will provide opportunities to reward appropriate behavior and reduce the likelihood of challenging behaviors.

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