How to Hire an Autism Therapist


If you want to hire an Autism therapist to guide autistic children. It's important to look at the one who will be best for you. It's also important that you look up a therapist that is affordable and will support your child's needs. Patience is the key to a positive therapy session which outlines the goals and needs of the child.

Part 1
Finding a Therapist

Finding a Therapist on How to Hire an Autism Therapist

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There's no one-size-fits-all approach to helping an autistic person, because every autistic person has different needs. Choose a type of therapy that helps with areas where your child is struggling the most. The Rapid Prompting Method (RPM) can help teach a nonspeaking autistic person to communicate using AAC. Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) teaches social skills. Behavioral therapy can sometimes help, but only if done carefully, because it can cause PTSD if done badly. Sensory Integration Therapy can help with sensory processing issues. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, and other forms of counseling can help with problems like anxiety or depression.

Finding a Therapist on How to Hire an Autism Therapist

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Check online. Ask your doctor, any other specialists who work with your child, autistic adults, and parents of autistic kids. Check with your insurance provider.

Finding a Therapist on How to Hire an Autism Therapist

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This way, you can look for the therapist who seems like the best match for your child and your goals.

Finding a Therapist on How to Hire an Autism Therapist

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Price can vary depending on the type of therapy, what your insurance covers, and what the individual therapist charges. Look for what's reasonable for your budget.

Part 2
Evaluating the Therapist

Evaluating the Therapist on How to Hire an Autism Therapist

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A helpful therapist has patience and understanding for autistic children. They should support you, and your autistic child, every step of the way.

Evaluating the Therapist on How to Hire an Autism Therapist

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A good therapist has a healthy attitude towards autism, and a positive attitude towards your child. They take a collaborative approach to therapy, and they don't try to fix what isn't broken. Do you discourage stimming? A good therapist will only discourage harmful or destructive stims (like biting or pulling people's hair), and will help the child learn safer and healthier stims instead. A bad therapist will punish a child for any type of stimming, even if it's completely harmless, because it's a "weird" or a "barrier to inclusion." How do you feel about eye contact? A good therapist may not prioritize eye contact, or may teach a child to fake it if eye contact makes them uncomfortable. A bad therapist will be inflexible about eye contact, and may punish a child for not making it, even if eye contact causes the child distress. What would you do if a child had a meltdown in therapy? A good therapist will respond with empathy, and de-escalate the situation. They might let the child take a break, or offer comfort. They may also mention strategies they use to help avoid meltdowns, like encouraging the child to ask for breaks as needed, or talking with the child and validating their feelings if the child looks upset. A bad therapist will punish the child for melting down, or get involved in a power struggle. How many hours per week of therapy do you prefer to do? This will depend on the type of therapy. A good therapist will keep in mind that therapy involves work, that children have limited attention spans, and that kids need rest. A bad therapist may suggest very intensive therapy, even 40 hours per week. Forty hours a week is as intense as a full-time job, and isn't appropriate for children, especially since school is already hard work. What types of goals are common for this type of therapy? A good therapist will have goals related to helping your child grow into a happy, healthy, assertive, and well-adjusted autistic adult. They will also be open to hearing your goals, and your child's own goals. A bad therapist will try to "cure" or extinguish any signs of autism, no matter the cost to the child's mental health.

Evaluating the Therapist on How to Hire an Autism Therapist

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Some therapists are cruel, or even abusive. It's important to avoid a controlling therapist, because bad therapy can do emotional damage to a child.[1] Power struggles Over-reliance on rewards and punishments (including harsh punishment) Pinning the child down, or locking them in a room Escalating conflict instead of de-escalating A harsh, controlling, or negative attitude towards the child Actions that make the child afraid of them, or make the child say "I hate therapy" Telling you to be mean, distant, or punitive to the child Lying to you, or barring you from witnessing therapy

Evaluating the Therapist on How to Hire an Autism Therapist

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Do they have fun with them, and seem to open up? Does the child look relaxed and in a good mood most of the time? If your child can speak or use AAC well, you can also ask them what they think about the therapist after the therapist has left.

Evaluating the Therapist on How to Hire an Autism Therapist

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A good therapist approaches therapy as a team effort, and wants to hear your feedback. They are happy to have you sit in on sessions, offer suggestions, and refine or redefine your goals. A good therapist wants you to be involved. They may even involve your child as is appropriate, encouraging the child to voice their opinions and suggest their own goals. For example, if you say "I don't want her to be discouraged from flapping her hands," does the therapist listen, or not?

Evaluating the Therapist on How to Hire an Autism Therapist

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If you think a therapist seems kind and positive, and that your child enjoys therapy, then it's probably a good fit. If you think that a therapist is doing things that feel wrong, then that's a feeling worth looking into.