Without an early start, children miss out on vital social skills and become more likely to develop aggressive and dangerous behaviors.
We know that waitlists for behavioral therapy are long. Way too long. But toddlers should not be waiting! Their time is too precious.
Your child may apply to skip our waitlist if he or she is
- Younger than 36 months
- Diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder
- Living in Arlington County, Falls Church, City of Alexandria, or eastern Fairfax County
- Available for sessions on at least 2 weekdays between 9am and 3pm
- Your child must have at least one parent or guardian who is eager to learn therapy strategies and make progress at home.
This is a parent-based program that takes place in clients’ homes. We may not be able to offer a full, comprehensive ABA program to our waitlist skippers. However, our Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs) can offer:
- An ABA assessment
- Recommendations to make progress at home
- Training for parents and caregivers
- Suggestions of community resources where appropriate (other therapy programs, educational services, social groups, etc.)
- First dibs for openings in our comprehensive ABA programs
Check our insurance options to see if we are in-network with your plan. If we are not, we can provide a fee schedule and itemized receipts for out-of-network reimbursement.
Want to skip our waitlist? Complete the application form and mention this special program. We will contact you within 1 business day.
Why are we doing this?
Ally Patterson, PhD, BCBA-D was originally trained as a research psychologist specializing in early interventions. In her clinical work, Ally has de-escalated dangerous crisis situations with older children and adults who did not receive effective early intervention.
There is nothing more important than teaching young children the vital skills of communication and cooperation. These skills allow children to make friends, learn in a group, and use healthy coping strategies during moments of disappointment. Play-based applied behavior analysis is the best way to teach these skills!
Your family will receive a customized parent training program with readings, assignments, and feedback from a licensed professional. Parents describe feeling empowered and joyful as they learn to teach and communicate with their child.
We are a small practice owned and operated by a BCBA. We do not answer to business higher-ups demanding that we cut costs and bill more hours. Because of this, we can offer this special parent-based model of behavioral therapy.
Are toddlers too young for therapy?
Many parents are confused about what autism will mean for their child. There is so much information out there, but not all is useful or accurate. In the media and online, kids with autism are portrayed as interesting and well-behaved, but may struggle to make friends. But you may know children in your everyday life who do not speak or follow directions, or who have aggressive behaviors that limit their participation in everyday activities.
Some historical context is helpful here. In 2013, the 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) was published. This is the handbook that doctors and psychologists use to diagnose autism. Prior to 2013, children with good language and intelligence were diagnosed with Asperger syndrome rather than autism.
Following the release of the DSM-5, Asperger syndrome was grouped with autism under a new label: autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Now, there is a huge range of abilities and challenges that all fall under the diagnostic label of ASD. See Thurm et al., 2019 for more information.
The changes in the DSM-5 make sense theoretically, but have caused confusion and conflict between families caring for disabled or delayed children and groups who claim “autistic” as an identity. Truthfully, the outcomes for kids at one end of the spectrum are very different from the outcomes at the other end.
Without effective intervention, toddlers diagnosed with ASD at a severity level of 2 or 3 may develop intellectual disabilities and aggressive behaviors. These challenges limit access to general education and childcare, decrease opportunities for social support and recreation, and cause family conflict. And as children grow older, services become harder to find.
There is also a high financial cost to autism, particularly severe autism. Families spend thousands of dollars each year on education, medical services, and therapies. As children grow, costs increase for caregiving, residential placements, and parents’ lost wages. And adults with ASD have challenges finding and maintaining their own employment. See Elemy, 2021 for more information.
By starting early, you can prevent problems rather than react to them.
So are toddlers too young for therapy? Short answer: no.
In our practice, a toddler diagnosed with ASD severity level 2 or 3 is an emergency. There is a short window of time to prevent challenging behavior and teach important skills. But there is also lots of hope!
We have seen incredible success when professionals and parents work together to implement behavioral therapy strategies at home. Many of our clients go on to experience what they and their families dream of: playdates, sleepovers, after-school sports, genuine friendships, academic achievement, and joyful family interactions.
Want to skip our waitlist? Complete the intake form and mention this special program. We will contact you within 1 business day.
What about older children and adults?
Stay tuned! We continue to develop our parent and caregiver-based programs for other age groups.