Growing Minds Principles:
Autism is treatable. Every child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder can grow, develop and enjoy a greater quality of life. If strong, evidence-based methods are used, in an atmosphere of love, acceptance and encouragement, children can improve in the areas that they find most difficult.
Some children can recover to the extent that they show no signs or symptoms of autism. Intensive, individual programs offer the greatest possibility for recovery.
Children who do not recover as fully can make substantial progress that significantly improves their quality of life. They can learn to talk, read, write, care for their personal needs and enjoy meaningful relationships. Intensive, individual programs offer the greatest possibility for growth.
Effective treatment for autism must balance social development with skill development. We train parents to create deep connections and high-quality social interaction with their children. We also teach them to provide effective instruction that helps children to progress toward appropriate goals. There is no need to sacrifice one of these areas to make progress in the other.
The child’s primary relationships are the most fertile ground for autism recovery to take place. An effective autism program must respect and support the importance of the parents’ role while also training parents to use interactions to help their child improve social ability and communication.
Parents are most effective when they are comfortable, relaxed and feel empowered to handle stress effectively. Optimal treatment for autism must support and empower parents to care for themselves (physically, mentally and emotionally) while also helping them learn methods for improving cooperation, communication and skills that are most effective for children with autism.
Children on the autism spectrum require instruction that takes their unique learning challenges into account. This includes assessing current skills, defining goals for success, designing methods to accomplish those goals and evaluating the child’s progress.
Children are more motivated to learn when the teaching style is dynamic and playful.
The program must be tailored to fit the child and family, rather than trying to fit the child or family to the program. Decisions about teaching methods, goals, play/therapy room, program hours and school attendance must be made on an individual basis.
A non-judgmental, accepting attitude is the foundation for all of our interventions. We never blame the learner (child, parent or teacher). When problems arise in achieving goals, we find more effective methods.
Children with autism deserve to be accepted, respected and celebrated as unique individuals. They contribute greatly to others and they have enormous potential for growth.