Approaches to Therapy and Education in Autism



Autism and the IEP: How does Autism fit in? A diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) brings about many feelings for a parent. You may be wondering, “How can I bring out the best in my child?”


After even a little research, it is easy to be overwhelmed by different types of therapy. In some states, therapies are covered under insurance, but sadly, not everywhere. Therapies can become very expensive. It’s important to know which therapy would be best for your unique child, even if you have to try different things to figure that out. Here is a quick tour of the most popular approaches.


Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy for Autism


This therapy uses techniques based on learning theory and human motivation. It is based on observing undesirable behaviors, and then putting a specific, repeatable intervention in place. While you do this, you notice the behavior that follows. If behaviors are improved, then you repeat the interventions. At school, ABA can be implemented into a Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) as part of an IEP to make sure your child’s behavior does not keep him or her from academic success.


Floortime/DIR Therapy for Autism


Dr. Stanley Greenspan developed Floortime, an evidence-based intervention. It is based on his research into the “Developmental, Individual-Difference, Relationship” (DIR) model of child development. In this approach, you follow the child’s lead and use their creativity, interests and strengths to increase connections and improve abilities. If a Functional Behavior Assessment finds that this therapeutic course of action makes the most sense for your child, it could then be integrated into an IEP as well.  

Autism and IEP

Defeat Autism Now (DAN!)


Dr. Rimland is an influential doctor who helped advance our modern understanding of autism. He created the DAN! protocol. However, his claims and approaches (largely about the biomedical causes and cures for autism) were never proven true or effective. The DAN! Protocol is no longer available because of its unreliability. Therefore, this approach should not be used in an IEP. A proven, evidence-based or theory-based approach is more likely to work for your child.  


Autism and IEP: Go Deeper


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