Q: My child is suspected of having an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), referred to the Tree Group and asked to join the Active Learning Program. What will be the first learning experience the child will encounter?
A: Children diagnosed with ASD often have difficulty adjusting to their age-equivalent grade. Particularly, if they experience a delay in language development, learning corresponding to their school age often does not proceed properly. The very first step to be taken is to officially diagnose the child with ASD through a comprehensive psycho-educational assessment on the child’s cognitive and learning abilities and emotional-behavioral development. When an ASD diagnosis is made through the assessment, a pre-treatment period is proceeded where clinical treatment goals are established and an analysis of the child’s problematic behaviors in areas such as cognition, learning, emotion, behavior and social skills takes place.
If the child fails to follow or does not understand instructions due to a lack of attention skills or if there is a problem involving obsession, we will first take a behavioral therapeutic approach; during this phase, we use materials for language development in a class setting. When we believe the serious, primary clinical problem is under control, we then begin to teach the essential knowledge or basic academic skills whose absence causes delays in learning or language development.
With clinical treatment strategies through behavioral analysis, we closely analyze the child’s developmental and problematic behaviors to develop an individualized, psycho-educational plan and proceed with one-on-one psycho-educational sessions accordingly. If the child’s symptoms are severe, we implement educational techniques taken from the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) after conducting clinical treatment for urgent primary symptoms. If the essential knowledge, cognitive ability, and academic skills that are essential for ages 3 to 7 are lacking or not learned enough, our psycho-educational program will proceed according to the behavioral-analysis-based curriculum.