Recognizing that anxiety prevents many children with autism to achieve their full potential academically, researchers at Australia’s Griffith University have started an early intervention program. Started as a trial on one pre-schooler, the program has shown promising results.
The whole idea of the program was to find a way to measure anxiety, alleviate it and reverse the impact it had on the kid through change in behaviour patterns. Implementing it even before the child starts with formal education helps to improve the efficiency of the method while equipping parents with the skills needed to keep the intervention going in later years.
The trial started last year on six-year-old William Wallington. At the end of one year of the intervention, his mother Lisa told the researchers that her son had got upset due to the changes in his routine because he started prep school earlier this year.
Since the parents had been taught to identify and manage the problematic behaviour patterns, they could help him stay calm and focused soon. Strategies they picked up from the program also helped them do away with the habit of not being able to sleep until one of his parents laid down with him.
The university now wants to expand this program to accommodate more families with children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) and anxiety in the year 2022. The program will be conducted at their campus in Logan, Queensland. Interested families can apply to the program by reaching out to the university at Coolforschool@griffith.edu.au.