Ways to Support a Person with Autism

June 12, 2023

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological and developmental disorder that affects a person's social interaction, communication, interests, and behaviors. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, ASD affects an estimated 1 in 54 children in the United States. Families and caregivers of people with ASD often need support and resources to help their loved ones thrive. Here are six ways to get you started! 

In-Home Services 

In-home autism support services help provide families with additional resources, insight, and guidance in navigating their autism journey. In-home care providers will adjust routines as needed, create effective communication plans, enhance learning opportunities, and teach self-advocacy skills and other life skills to help your autistic loved one thrive. With their assistance, families can continue to make meaningful progress. This helps ensure that individuals with autism can continue to access essential care and grow in their abilities despite difficult circumstances.  

Respite Care 

Respite care is temporary care that gives caregivers a much-needed break from the demands of caring for a loved one with ASD 24/7. It can be difficult to juggle work, family responsibilities, and taking care of a loved one with ASD. Respite caregivers can step in when you need a break so you can recharge and come back refreshed and ready to take on whatever comes your way.  

Respite care services are an invaluable opportunity for families with members who have autism. Respite care helps to alleviate stress on the family unit by allowing them to take some time away to focus on other areas of their lives, knowing that their loved one's autism-related needs are still being met. With the right respite care provider, this specialized form of autism support strengthens not only the individual receiving care, but the entire family unit in the process. 

Behavioral Therapy 

The National Institute of Health recommends behavioral therapy as one way to offer autism support but it may not be offered by your particular agency so you may have to shop around. Behavioral therapy approaches vary depending on a person’s particular communication and learning needs, but generally include techniques such as proactive strategies for teaching social skills, reinforcing desired behaviors, and reducing problem behaviors. Different methods of behavioral therapy also utilize different approaches to best meet the individual needs of the person with autism. This can range from discrete trial training, naturalistic teaching techniques, pivotal response training and more.  

Understanding autism behavior is critical to provide effective autism support, which is why it's important to choose a therapy model that works for the individual by taking into account their unique learning style and communication needs.  

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) 

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a popular therapy for individuals with autism, as it emphasizes positive reinforcement to teach appropriate behaviors and reduce challenging behavior. Primarily used for children, ABA programs provide one-on-one instruction in which therapists use games, songs, stories and other activities to engage the individual and reinforce desired behaviors. The development of an ABA program begins with a goal assessment to identify the behaviors or skills that need to be addressed. From there, discrete trial training (DTT) is applied which involves breaking down each skill into simple steps that are learned one at a time. Once the individual demonstrates consistent mastery of the skill through multiple trials, more complex tasks can be added on until eventually the entire set of goals are achieved. While autism support through ABA is primarily most helpful for young individuals, it can also create meaningful changes in adults as well when used correctly. 

ABA therapists are highly trained in this evidence-based approach and can provide in-home or center-based services depending on what will work best for your loved one.  

Community Integration 

For some people with ASD, community integration services may be recommended to help them become more involved in their community through volunteering, joining social clubs or recreation leagues, or working part-time or full-time jobs. Our team can provide the support they need to succeed in any community setting they choose so they can live their best life possible. 

Contact BrightStar Care Today for More Autism Support Tips! 

If you have a loved one with ASD, know that you are not alone—BrightStar Care is here to support you every step of the way! Our team of expert caregivers are specially trained to work with people of all abilities, including those on the autism spectrum. We offer a wide range of services from respite care to behavioral therapy so you can find what works best for your loved one's needs. Contact us today at 866-618-7820 to learn more about how we can support you and your family!