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Because the brain demonstrates remarkable plasticity, early identification and intervention for children on the autism spectrum is critical to optimal treatment outcomes.
* The USF Autism Team has specialized knowledge and skill in the assessment and treatment of infants and toddlers who show autism characteristics.
Although a similar pattern of behavior characterizes all children with autism, the way this pattern is expressed can vary by individual and with age. Therefore, it is critical that professionals who diagnose autism spectrum disorders have considerable experience in autism.
* The USF Autism Team is comprised of professionals who have assessed and treated hundreds of individuals with autism, from infancy through adulthood.
Children with autism, like all children, have a unique profile of strengths and weaknesses. There is no single intervention that works best for all children.
* The USF Autism Team offers expertise in many autism treatment methodologies and uses this expertise to create an individualized treatment plan for each child.
Research has not yet determined with any certainty which children respond best to which treatments. Therefore, parents and professionals must collaborate to create a treatment plan based on child and family needs, and then carefully monitor the child’s response to treatment in order to make necessary modifications.
* The USF Autism Team works closely with families to modify intervention programs based on input from the child, parents, professionals, and standardized measures.
An effective intervention package targets all areas of weakness (e.g., communication, cognitive/intellectual functioning, social/emotional, sensory, motor planning) and builds on the child’s strengths.
* The USF Autism Team adopts a broad, comprehensive treatment approach that promotes healthy development in all areas of functioning.
An effective intervention incorporates what science has told us about the way typical children learn, while respecting differences in the learning styles of individuals on the spectrum.
* The USF Autism Team has a strong knowledge base in typical child development and keeps up-to-date with the latest autism research. We use this knowledge to guide program development for children with autism.
A key ingredient to effective intervention is parent involvement.
* The USF Autism Team helps parents learn how to interact with their child in a way that supports optimal developmental functioning and well-being.
Effective intervention is the result of a collaborative effort by all members of the child’s treatment team. This includes, but is not limited to, family members, teachers, medical doctors, speech therapists, occupational therapists, and psychologists.
* The USF Autism Team collaborates with professionals both within and outside of the USF community.