Group therapy & autism: what we’re learning​

Group therapy & autism: what we’re learning​

According to the latest analysis from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 68 children in the United States have Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ASD refers to a group of complex neurodevelopment disorders characterized by repetitive and characteristic patterns of behavior and difficulties with social communication and interaction. The symptoms are present from early childhood and affect daily functioning. The term “spectrum” refers to the wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of disability in functioning that can occur in people with ASD. Some children and adults with ASD are fully able to perform all activities of daily living while others require substantial support to perform basic activities.

At Allied Services, our physical, occupational and speech therapists utilize a wide range of therapeutic tools, approaches and technology to help children with autism diagnoses develop skills for independent living. One such approach which is having great success is group therapies.

Danielle Burrier, MS, CCC/SLP, OP Team Manager, leads the Stepping Out group. This is a therapist-led, pragmatic social group for children of all ages on the autism spectrum. It takes learning and skill development outside of the therapy room by exposing children to social situations in a structured and therapeutic way. The group has proved so beneficial; it serves children from as far away as Williamsport.

“For parents of children with autism, the fear of attempting new social situations in the community may hinder parents from trying new activities” notes Danielle. “The social groups give the children and parent an opportunity and increased confidence to try new social situations. What sets it apart from other social groups is that there are therapists participating in the social outing to give direction and share therapeutic tools with the parents and children. I think that removes some of the fear and definitely increases their chance of success and progress”

The Stepping Out group focuses on conversational skills, peer development, social interaction, problem solving, and emotional understanding. By exposing group members to social interaction, engaging them
in a shared experience and coaching him/her as to what is regarded as appropriate and inappropriate behavior; the therapists are preparing the children for social success.

To learn more about the Stepping Out group contact Danielle Burrier at 570 341-4590.