What is Autism?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be a lifelong developmental disability. However this condition is proven to improve if given the right intervention. Evidence has been pointing to ABA as the form of therapy that create the most amount of improvement to person with ASD. Click here to find out more about ABA.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) is the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals all around the world. Although the fifth version of DSM (DSM V) has been published and changes has been made to the diagnostic criteria of Autism, Singapore is still using DSM IV at the time of my writing.

According to DSM IV, A person with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) displays 3 main pillars of deficits
1. Impairment in social interaction
2. Impairment in communication
3. Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patters of behavior, interests and activities

A list to the full diagnostic criteria for ASD can be found by clicking on the following link

6 early signs of ASD

  • Poor eye contact
  • Does not follow gesture when pointed out
  • No reciprocal smiling
  • Does not respond to name
  • Poor imitation skills
  • Does not play with others or share interest

Click here to check out the ABA Journal Article.

What is ABA?

Applied behavioral analysis, also commonly known as ABA, is the application of operant and classical conditioning to modify human behaviors as part of a learning or treatment process. Behavior analysts focus on the observable relationship of behavior to the environment, including antecedents and consequences, without resort to “hypothetical constructs”. By functionally assessing the relationship between a targeted behavior and the environment, the methods of ABA can be used to change that behavior.

Methods in applied behavior analysis range from validated intensive behavioral interventions—most notably utilized for children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD)—to basic research which investigates the rules by which humans adapt and maintain behavior. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Applied_behavior_analysis)

ABA is the most researched on form of intervention for people with autism. Journals articles have shown that ABA created the most substantial improvement for people with Autism. Below are the links of some journal articles about ABA. We use ABA as our core methodology. For some of the children that we interact with, we combine cognitive psychology with behavioral psychology and uses this combined methodology known as CBT. As ABA and CBT are methodologies, it can be used with any language. In AutismSTEP, we offer ABA and CBT in both English and Mandarin.

Check out the ABA Review.

How long does it take to see results?

It is difficult to give a firm estimate as it varies according to the individual.  However, we normally see improvement in 95% of our kids after less than 3 months of intensive therapy

How frequently should therapy be conducted?

We recommend, at the very least, 10 hours of therapy a week for the majority of our clients during the initial period, in order for any substantial improvement to occur. A more customized gauge will be offered after adequate observation and testing by the program manager.

Who will benefit from our program?

Children with autism spectrum disorder and behavioral issues like frequent meltdowns & tantrums, violent behaviors, poor impulse control, rigidity and obsessions. Children with early signs of Autism like poor eye contact, speech delay, short attention span, lack of joint attention and imitation will greatly benefit from the program as well.

How would your program benefit my child?

All our programs are individualized and tailored specifically for your child. We will work on the areas that need to be improved on, while harnessing his/her strengths. As every child is different, it is difficult to provide a generic answer to this question. Our program manager can give you a more in-depth talk about the program after knowing more about your child.

Is there a minimum contractual period?

Yes. There is a minimum contractual period of 90 days. This is because we have encountered many parents that were overly eager to see results but were not patient enough for it to happen, thus giving up prematurely. We are very confident of our program; however, time and patience is required for the child to benefit from the program.

How is a typical session conducted?

Again, this varies from child to child. A child that has a compliance issue will spend more time on “table time” in the beginning. Drills from the individualized program will be conducted. Once we achieve more compliance, we will proceed to work with the child around the home environment and gradually, to other environments so as to make sure skills are generalized. A child that faces challenges with social issues will be spending more time out of the home (such as a nearby park) working on his/her social skills.

Where are the therapy sessions normally conducted?

For the home program, it is usually conducted at the child’s house. However we can make special arrangements to have the sessions conducted in the school compound.

For shadowing, it will be done in the child’s school compound.

Do we need to provide the materials for the therapy sessions?

Yes you do require the parents to prepare for the teaching materials. You can choose to purchase it from us, purchase it yourselves from other places or make the materials yourselves.

How trained are the therapists?

All our therapists have years of experience working with children with special needs. Therapists also regularly attend courses and in-house training sessions in order to continuously upgrade themselves. All new therapists that joined from 2019 completed Registered Behavioral Technician (RBT) training by the Board Certified Behavioural Analyst (BCBA).

How and when is payment to be made?

Most families choose to pay by credit cards at the start of the month. We do accept cash, cheque, internet bank transfer and PayNow or PayLah.

Do you offer instalment plan payment?

Yes we offer 0% instalment plan payment for DBS. There will be a low one time processing fee for other banks.

Can we have short-term but intensive therapy?

Therapy is not something that is short term. We are looking at a minimum of 6 to 8 months. Learning takes time and not only we want your child to learn, we want to make sure he or she internalized it and is able to generalized this skill set. Some children needs more repetition for learning to take place. On top of that, the child faces different obstacles at different phases of his/her life and will require help and support to overcome them. However, the intensity of therapy required varies for every child and at different phases of the program.

Does therapy kicks in immediately?

No. The Programme Manager will need to go through a detailed checklist with the parents to find out as much as he can about the child. Following this, he will carry out the testing and observation phase of the program. After which, a team of suitable therapists will be gathered and trained to manage the child. This whole preparatory process usually takes around 2 to 3 weeks.

Can we use baby bonus to pay for therapy?

Yes you can. AutismSTEP is an approved institution for Baby Bonus. You can read more about the scheme and eligibility HERE.

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