M started new therapy services yesterday.
He used to have county-based 1-on-1 services prior to starting full-time school days. The parents of his fellow classmate recommended Group Therapy and 1-on-1 Therapy services that they use through The Autism Project in Owings, Maryland.
Group Therapy is a social-skills group that consists of 2-4 individuals around the same age who have the same social skill abilities or challenges. These weekly group sessions focus on appropriate social behaviors and interactions, such as obeying social rules, sharing, taking-turns, cooperation, kindness, and altruism.
These social skills may seem intuitive, but for individuals with autism, these can be a major challenge! M struggles with all of these things because his viewpoint of the world is very egocentric. Concepts like not stripping naked in the park and that all adults are not just there to do his bidding are foreign to his understanding currently.
Studies have shown that children who participated in social/group therapy often show growth in communications and improvements in prosocial skills. So, I am really hoping they can help M learn how to better interact with others.
M received individual therapy for years while being in half-day early childhood intervention programs. He really benefits from the concentrated and individualized sessions. These often focus on specific communication, daily living skills, behavior, and sensory skills that are not able to be covered comprehensively in school.
One-on-One is where M gets to really shine and show all of his skills off to a captive audience. Individual services won’t start until January, but I’m hoping that it will all pan out (and that insurance won’t try to screw us over).
Apparently, The Autism Project offers a variety of other services too, such as monthly social outings/field trips, summer care services, and more. I’ll have to look into these more, but it sounds like it will be a good opportunity for the whole family.