The Behavior Health Program of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry has established itself as an important component in improving the health and well-being of those with developmental disabilities. Children and adolescents who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) autism in general or other types of developmental disabilities are often experiencing a host of problems in their social interactions emotional development and academic performance. In a recent study it was discovered that more than one-third of children who had ASDs were experiencing behavior problems and that children with ASDs were likely to be depressed. In fact depression and aggressive behavior were two of the most common characteristics of children with ASDs. In addition children with ASDs were reported to be less happy and physically active than their peers. This is simply not acceptable and should be addressed in order to make sure that these children reach adulthood with a strong sense of self-worth.
The Behavior Health Program addresses these issues with an array of specialized services that are tailored to each child. They will meet with a family in order to evaluate how their child is progressing. Then a child psychologist will evaluate the parents and child’s strengths and weaknesses as well as their expectations for treatment. The program can also help children to make changes in their emotional and behavioral patterns through various activities. Parents and caregivers are encouraged to participate in a variety of group therapy sessions as well. It is common for these sessions to be conducted by qualified professionals such as Certified Clinical Social Workers Occupational Therapists Certified Marriage and Family Therapists and Licensed Marriage and Family Psychologists. There are even specialty programs that are taught specifically for children with ASDs in which the children are given specialized skills such as therapeutic massage and cognitive behavioral therapy.
In addition the Behavior Health Program offers educational support and counseling for families and children with ASDs. Parents are encouraged to get involved in the program by attending meetings listening to tapes and attending conferences. The staff and volunteers at the center are available to listen to any concerns that parents may have including behavioral management and therapy options. These activities combined with the many support groups that are offered onsite is a highly effective way to ensure that children with ASDs are able to receive quality therapy and continue to grow and thrive in school. With the help of the Behavior Health Program children and their families are able to enjoy the benefits of education and social interaction in an environment that is supportive and safe.