If you are interested in a career in helping children and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder, you have chosen a very rewarding way to earn a living. As a therapist in this field, the impact that you will make in someone’s life will be priceless. Individuals within the Autism Spectrum Disorder are battling social and neurobehavioral issues that a trained therapist can help them successfully cope with, therefore, learning to interact well with others.
The Center for Disease Control states that one out of every 68 children have some form of Autism Spectrum Disorder, which is the name for a class of development disorders that includes Autism Disorder and Asperger’s Syndrome. The varying degrees of each disorder creates a wide array or “spectrum” of symptoms, skills and levels of impairment.
Autism has been titled a multi-systemic disorder. Researchers have reported that the defective cells involved with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome can be distributed throughout the body effecting the immune system, central nervous system, neuroendocrine systems, as well as the musculoskeletal and gastrointestinal system. As you can see, ASD can cause any number of physical and/or mental illnesses.
Most ASD behaviors are detected in a child by the time they are 24 months old, however, symptoms do develop in older children and adults, therefore, you may choose to specialize in either or both age groups as a behavioral therapist. There are two main categories of behavior within Autism Spectrum Disorder such as, those with restricted or repetitive behaviors and patients with social communication and interaction behaviors. Some have additional difficulties with loud noise, clothing, sleeping, digestion and sensitivity to light. On the other hand, some ASD patients have extraordinary creative abilities such as above-average intelligence or exceptional math, art or music skills.
Typically, evaluations will be done with a team of doctors and, of course, a therapist is involved to develop a plan of treatment that pertains to the individual needs of each patient. As a student of the online master’s degree program in the Autism Spectrum Disorder field you will learn to conduct evaluations assessing cognitive skills, language skills, in addition to, skills needed for daily life that is age appropriate. These personal skills may include eating, dressing, exercising, toileting and independently completing everyday activities. Blood testing and hearing testing may also be included for a more inclusive evaluation.
As a student earning their online master’s degree in Autism Spectrum Disorder, you will learn how to work as a therapist, social worker or special education teacher to provide the ASD patient with services that accommodate their needs pertaining to job placements, educational goals and how to cope with everyday life.
Although a therapist is an integral part of the Autism Spectrum Disorder patient’s care, occasionally a doctor may prescribe medication to help with difficult symptoms. Irritability, hyperactivity, attention problems and additionally, anxiety and depression are all symptoms that may require added attention with prescribed medication. Through clinical trials and research, therapists learn to provide the best treatment possible.
There are many different careers available to the online master’s degree major in Autism Spectrum Disorder. Becoming a Licensed Behavioral Therapist or an Autism Spectrum Disorder Specialist is a great way to help the victims and families of this disease. If you are interested in pursuing this degree, please check out our picks for the Top 15 Best Online Schools for Master’s in Autism Spectrum Disorders.