Integrated Therapy Services For Children and Young Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders in Puerto Rico

Individual Diagnosis, Focused Treatment Programs, One-On-One Therapy 

DSCN1486-225x300Autism is not a single disorder, but a spectrum of related disorders with a shared core of symptoms. Every individual on the autism spectrum has unique issues to some degree with social skills, empathy, communication, and flexible behavior. The levels of disorder and the combination of symptoms can vary tremendously from person to person. In fact, two children with the same diagnosis may look very different when it comes to their behaviors and abilities. Individual goals for treatment vary from child to child and may include combinations of therapies. That is why Therapy Solutionsspecializes in one-on-one, custom designed interaction between the behavior therapist and the student. it’s your child’s unique needs that are truly important. No diagnostic label can tell you exactly what problems your child will have. Our Psychologists are dedicated to finding treatment that addresses your child’s unique needs by conducting skill and functional behavior assessments to determine the appropriate, custom designed behavior intrvention program. 

How is Autism diagnosed?

It is important to have your child evaluated by professionals who know about Autism. In order to develop a comprehensive, treatment plan for students with ASD our highly trained team of Psychologists, Pathologists and Therapists will custom design a therapeutical program for your child. Speech Language Pathologists (SLP) play a key role because problems with social skills and communication are often the first symptoms of autism. There are a number of tests and observational checklists available to evaluate children with developmental problems. The most important information, however, comes from parents and caregivers who know the child best and can tell the SLP and others all about the child’s behavior.

What treatments can Therapy Solutions provide?

Group-therapy-300x223There is no known cure for Autism. For some, medications and dietary limitations may help control symptoms. Intervention should begin when the child is young. Early intervention programs are very important. An evaluation by an SLP should be completed to determine social skills, communication, language, and behavior needs. An appropriate treatment plan that meets the needs of the child and family can then be established. Treatment may include any combination of traditional speech and language approaches, augmentative and alternative communication, and behavioral interventions. It is also important to have the child’s hearing evaluated to rule out hearing loss. Therapy sessions are uniquely designed to meet the specific needs and priorities of the child. All therapy sessions will be implemented by a doctoral, doctoral candidate or certified Therapy Solutions therapist. The following therapies address symptoms commonly associated with autism, but not necessarily specific to the disorder.

Occupational Therapy 

Emphasis is on developing functional motor skills for use at home and school in the areas of fine and gross motor development, visual-perceptual skills, sensory modulation, self-care, independent living, and prevocational skills. Students are provided with opportunities to receive beneficial sensory input as needed, thus enabling them to participate more fully in their daily activities. Therapy is implemented by a certified occupational therapist.

Physical Therapy

Therapists-300x196Physical therapists provide direct help when needed to improve a child’s ability to negotiate challenges, such as school bus steps, crowded hallways, cafeterias, and playgrounds. They work together with school faculty to promote skills like self-regulation, listening, and taking turns. Strategies are provided to teach the child how to imitate the movement activities of other children, develop directional concepts, body and spatial awareness, and coordination as well as to promote success in physical education and fitness activities.

Educational & Behavioral Therapy

Educational and behavioral approaches are often a core feature of the overall treatment plan for children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  There are many different strategies currently being used, and new ones are being promoted on a regular basis. Emphasis is on developing abilities in the core challenge areas and learning styles of ASD. Intervention is designed to target behaviors that represent the greatest challenges at home and in the classrooms. Our behavior therapy provides a developmental roadmap to move the children from learning style weaknesses to learning style strengths so that children may be more available for, and progress in core challenge areas (joint attention, social interactions, communication, emotional regulation and behavior). Therapy is implemented by a doctoral or master’s level therapist.

Speech / Language Pathology Therapy

An SLT program begins with an individual evaluation by a speech-language pathologist. The therapy may then be conducted one-on-one, or in a classroom setting. Therapy goals may vary in difference depending on the communicative abilities and needs of the children. Depending on the verbal aptitude of the individual, the goal might be to master spoken language or it might be to learn signs or gestures to communicate. In each case, the aim is to help the individual learn useful and functional communication. SLT is provided by Speech-Language Pathologists who specialize in children with autism. 

Sensory Integration Therapy

DSCN1430-225x300Sensory Integration therapy might be used to help calm your child, to help reinforce a desired behavior, or to help with transitions between activities. SI therapy often includes equipment such as swings, trampolines and slides. Certified Occupational and Physical Therapists provide Sensory Integration Therapy. While the bouncing, crashing and spinning are fun these activities are key tools in sensory integration (SI) therapy, a treatment used by occupational therapists to help kids who have problems with sensory processing. These kids experience too much or too little stimulation through their senses and have trouble integrating the information they’re getting. As a result, it’s difficult, if not impossible, for them to feel comfortable and secure, function effectively, and be open to learning and socialization.

Integration into Regular Classrooms Therapy

Our Classroom Integration program offers students the opportunity to play with and learn from general education peers from outside schools. These inclusion sessions benefit both the Therapy Solutions and general education students as they learn about one another while building friendships. The amount of participation and size of the group is determined by the team to best support the student’s profile and the desired goals. Integration sessions may include a variety of enrichment activities that the participating students show interest in and offer opportunities for shared attention, interaction, and enjoyment.

Psychological Therapy

There are a number of psychologically based interventions designed to enhance cognitive and behavioral functioning, as well as those focusing on the specific deficits associated with autism, particularly in the areas of communication and social skills Applied behavioral analysis is a particular way of determining the possible cause(s) of, and developing specific, behavior-based strategies for the treatment of behavioral deficits or excesses. Behavior programs typically involve a range of different strategies, with an emphasis on the reinforcement of desired behavior. The goal is that these newly acquired skills can be applied to the child’s day-to-day environment.

Expressive Arts Therapy

Therapy Solutions uses expressive arts therapies to develop relationship skills and improve interpersonal dynamics.  Children and adolescents naturally use creativity to express themselves, and in a therapeutic process, are provided with tools and opportunities to build resilience and meet the challenges of their life circumstances. Expressive arts therapy is a form of therapy that uses dance, drama, music, poetry, and art to enhance one’s overall well-being. The arts are used to let go, express, and to release. Expressive Arts Therapies, also known as Arts Therapy, Creative Arts Therapy and Expressive Therapy, are used in a therapeutic, rehabilitative, educational, and community setting to foster holistic health, communication, and expression.