The Autism Support Program is an in-home and community based family centered intervention program designed for children between three and five years old diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum and who are eligible for Far Northern Regional Center services. The program utilizes a naturalistic blend of developmental and behavioral intervention strategies to enhance and maximize a child’s ability to participate more fully in family and community life.
Current research shows that embedding early intervention strategies into existing family experiences provides more meaning for the caregiver and child and will result in increased learning opportunities for the child. It is the natural experiences inherent in all families that support a child’s learning throughout the day, not just before and after intervention sessions. Ultimately, this approach in program design increases the total number of learning opportunities for the child. Therefore, the enhancement of existing routines is a crucial factor in encouraging learning and development and is central to the design of a child’s program.
Our goal is to partner with families to create everyday experiences that enhance areas of identified developmental need. As a child’s ability and desire to participate in everyday experiences increases so does the opportunity for learning. We typically provide service between 2–3 days per week for up to 2 hours at a time in the child’s home and community. The Autism Support Program’s goal is to enhance the child’s ability to participate more fully in family life, school and community.
The community support aspect of the program focuses on helping a child access everyday experiences outside of the family’s home. These “Natural Day” sessions are designed and implemented with the goal of helping the family continue to participate in these everyday experiences outside of intervention time. Many families benefit from opportunities to generalize skills into community settings such as going to the park or to the library.