If your child has autism, you may be worried about what his or her future holds. Autism, which is part of a group of disorders called autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) that appear during early childhood, typically before the age of three. While the symptoms that your child may display will vary from other children with autism, all ASDs interfere in some way with a child’s ability to communicate and interact socially with other people. While autism currently has no cure, early and intense treatment can make a tremendous difference in the lives of children and adolescents who have autism.
Millcreek Behavioral Health offers two types of residential treatment programs that include treatment approaches for a number of behavioral, emotional, and mental concerns, including autism. For over 25 years, we have been serving children and teens who have autism and other disorders by teaching them the skills they need to function independently, as well as helping them work towards developing advanced social skills. We help each child who comes to us learn to make better choices in life; choices that will positively impact him or her for years to come.
How to Help a Loved One or Family Member Get Treatment
If your child has autism, you probably feel a mixture of emotions. Being a parent of an autistic child is hard under the best of circumstances, and if you have more than one child, it can feel completely overwhelming. You may wonder if something you have done caused his or her autism, or you may feel frustrated by his or her inability to behave warmly toward you. At times, it might feel like a real challenge to relate to your child.
If you suspect that your child may have autism, it is important that you seek a professional opinion as soon as possible. Some of the classic signs of autism include:
Social skills: A child with autism may not respond to his or her name, may have poor eye contact, will resist cuddling and holding, does not appear to understand other people’s feelings, and prefers playing alone.
Language skills: Autism can cause delayed or an absence of speech, can cause one to lose previously acquired abilities to use words or sentences, can result in one speaking in abnormal tones or rhythms, and can result in the person not appearing to understand simple questions or directions.
Behavioral skills: Children and adolescents with autism may perform repetitive movements, develop specific rituals and become disturbed if they are changed, is unusually sensitive to light, sound, touch, and seems oblivious to pain.
If you notice these symptoms in your child, you should have him or her evaluated for autism so that prompt, early treatment can begin to help in order to provide your child with the tools necessary to implement adaptive means of functioning.
Why Seek Treatment at Millcreek Behavioral Health?
If your child is living with autism, you may notice that he or she is struggling in many areas of everyday life. You may have noticed that he or she has trouble making friends. Perhaps he or she is not invited to birthday parties or maybe he or she is the victim of bullying. You know that your child has so much untapped potential, but you may not know how to get through to him or her and communicate appropriately. You are not alone. There is help available.
Many residential facilities offer a treatment approach specifically designed for children and teens with autism. These programs can help individuals develop coping skills, social skills, and reinforce communication techniques through a variety of therapeutic techniques. Residential treatment programs will allow your child to temporarily escape the stresses of daily life and focus solely on recovery and finding a renewed ability to function properly in all settings, including home, school, and work.
Program Philosophy and Benefits
For nearly thirty years, Millcreek Behavioral Health has been helping children and adolescents learn to lead healthier, happier lives. Millcreek is a premier care provider of specialty mental health services for children and teens who are struggling with emotional, cognitive, and behavioral problems. As we use a progressive approach with a unique emphasis upon both education and treatment, we aim to meet the challenges associated with a changing world. Our multidisciplinary team of experts in child and adolescent mental health offer scientifically-validated treatment approaches that instills both family and community values in each person and family we meet. The benefits and rewards of our work are reflected in the lives of the children and teens we treat, the values we promote, and the hearts of the people we touch.
Types of Treatment Offered at Millcreek Behavioral Health
When each resident comes to us, he or she will undergo a diagnostic assessment and a psychiatric evaluation in order to help us best determine appropriate diagnoses and develop treatment methods that will promote success. Based upon the assessment findings, a master treatment plan will be created with you, your child, and your child’s treatment team. This plan will then be reviewed by a psychiatrist and will contain goals and objectives within each problematic area while also identifying specific interventions. Our program is modeled into four separate phases and every child must go fully complete all aspects of each stage in order to progress to the next.
Medication: While there are no specific medications used to treat autism, many people who have autism have co-occurring mental health disorders or medical problems that require medicinal therapy. All medication is monitored closely by the treatment team and adjustments are made as need.
Group therapy is an important part of our program at Millcreek. We hold a variety of groups each day about a number of different topics, which can include activities of daily living (ADLs), behavior management, coping skills, and self-soothing behaviors.
Education: All residents of Millcreek Behavioral Health are enrolled in our fully accredited school Monday through Friday. Each child and adolescent will receive an individualized education plan in order to address his or her specific educational needs.
Recreational Therapy: Therapeutic recreation uses a variety of activities to help develop and teach residents social skills and coping skills for positive social interactions. Some recreational activities may include sports, creative arts, adventure programming, and leisure.
In addition to these therapies, Millcreek also offers a number of other interventions for our residents, depending upon the specific program in which he or she is a part of. These may include:
- Individual therapy
- Family therapy
- Occupational therapy
- Speech therapy
Continuing Care and Levels of Treatment
As your child’s time draws to a close, we will work closely with you, your child, and the treatment team to determine the next best steps in his or her recovery journey. Some of our clients will enter a wavier program, which is a program that provides in-home services to assist individuals with daily activities. Other clients may work with case managers who can connect clients and their families with outpatient resources that will allow for their continued success.