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Improving the Quality of Life in People With Behavior Disorders

behavior disorder impact on quality of lifePlenty of people with autism enjoy a high quality of life, but many others do not. It’s important to remember that autism exists on a spectrum, so the freedoms and capabilities present in one individual may not be present in another. 

The industry has lots more to learn about people with autism who are struggling with these issues. In the meantime, there are several ways to support individuals, help them feel respected, included, and safe, and improve their communication and social skills. 

Therapeutic Pathways is committed to supporting and helping individuals with autism meet their goals and live satisfying lives. Keep reading to learn some of the best ways to help individuals with autism enjoy a higher quality of life.

 

Ways to Improve Quality of Life

When we say “quality of life” (QoL), we’re talking about the basic ability to interact with others and the world – on our own terms and in our own way.

Although research is fairly limited, studies show that people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are far more likely to have a poorer quality of life than their neurotypical peers. This is partly due to social isolation, low self-esteem, and lack of belief in their own capabilities. 

In their article “Quality of Life in Persons with Intellectual Disabilities and Mental Health Problems: An Explorative Study,” researchers Filip Morisse, Eleonore Vandemaele, Claudia Claes, Lien Claes, and Stijn Vandevelde explain that there are eight domains within the Quality of Life (QoL) framework: personal development, self-determination, interpersonal relations, social inclusion, rights, emotional well-being, physical well-being, and material well-being. 

Of those eight domains, the researchers found that the most common were emotional well-being, interpersonal relations, and self-determination.

We’ll discuss each of these domains below and give you some ideas for achieving them. 

 

Emotional Well-Being

The domains mentioned above are all closely related, especially emotional and physical well-being. If your child has autism, you’ve probably witnessed this firsthand – individuals with autism may communicate their pain or physical discomfort through emotion such as anxiety, crying, and even acts of aggression.

To support your child’s emotional well-being and reduce instances of aggression and extreme emotion, follow these tips, many of which are based on the research discussed above:

  • Provide a sense of certainty and predictability for your child by setting up a daily routine for them to follow.
  • Set up a network of family members and/or caregivers (not just parents) whom the individual can rely on in times of crisis or whenever they feel distressed.
  • Boost your child’s self-image by listening to them, being genuinely interested in their thoughts and ideas, and supporting their strengths.
  • Let your child know every day throughout the day that they are loved and valued.
  • Teach your child relaxation skills that they can utilize at home, school, or any other place they frequent.
  • Make sure you aren’t overly demanding of your child. Due to the discrepancy between their emotional and intellectual levels of development, you should set realistic goals and have realistic expectations for your child.

 

Interpersonal Relationships

Even though children with autism seem to prefer being by themselves, the fact is that all humans need social interaction to thrive.

It can take a good deal of time for individuals with autism to develop the social skills needed to make and keep friends, so it’s important that you seek treatment for your child as soon as they receive an autism diagnosis.

Although it may take them a little longer to develop relationships, people with autism are no less capable of forming strong, lasting, and meaningful friendships than anyone else. Here are some ways that you can support your child in their relationships:

  • Provide frequent and immediate feedback when your child behaves inappropriately or “misses” a social cue. Some children with autism have a difficult time learning from past experiences, so being consistent and reminding them what they should do in a given situation will help.
  • Look into planned after-school activities for your child. Children with ASD benefit from schedules and planned events, so having a set time to play a sport, practice music, or attend art class with other children their age can have a positive influence on their social development.
  • Teach empathy and reciprocity to your child with autism by giving them the appropriate vocabulary, awareness of feelings, emotional states, recognition of others’ facial expressions, and non-verbal social cues.
  • Teach your child how to be appropriately assertive in communicating their needs, beliefs, and ideas.

 

Self-Determination

Self-determination is the idea that individuals can control their own destiny by making their own choices and decisions. Self-determined children and young adults are more likely to succeed and live fulfilling, independent lives, so it’s crucial to foster these skills as soon as possible. 

Here are some ways you can help promote these skills for your child:

  • Help your child develop short and long-term goals. A short-term goal for an elementary-age student could be to finish their assigned reading book a few days earlier than their teacher’s deadline.
  • Give your child choices whenever possible. These could be as simple as asking them which kind of ice cream they’d like for dessert.
  • Help your child understand their interests, strengths, and challenges. This will give them a valuable sense of self-knowledge and confidence in their abilities.

 

Therapeutic Pathways Helps Improve Quality of Life in Individuals With Autism and Behavior Disorders

All people deserve to be treated with dignity, respect, and autonomy. Although they have not always been treated this way, individuals with autism are entitled to the same human rights as everyone else. 

At Therapeutic Pathways, we are passionate about helping individuals with autism to live fulfilling, meaningful lives through compassionate care and advocacy.

If your child’s behavior disorder has an impact on their quality of life, contact us about possible treatment options. We’re here to help.

 

1. How old is your child or dependent?

2. What are your goals for your child?

3. Has your child been given a formal diagnosis of autism?

4. What types of behavior is your child demonstrating?





Please select a value.

Readiness

Your answers indicate that your child may be best treated in the Readiness program. This individualized, evidence-based program teaches young children skills they need to accelerate their learning and gain independence. Using imitation and naturalistic learning techniques, your child will develop useful skills in the areas of speech and language, cognition, and self-awareness. A program for children ages 0-3. *This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.

Foundations

Your answers indicate that your child may be best treated in the Foundations program. This program gives preschool and school-age children the structure to achieve important social, emotional, and intellectual milestones, helping them test within their peers’ range. With 25+ hours of applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy per week, your child will develop social skills and better self-awareness for school and home. A program for children ages 4-7. *This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.

Breakthroughs

Your answers indicate that your child may be best treated in the Breakthroughs program. Specifically designed for children who have limited hours due to school schedules, this program removes life barriers by developing communication, social, and self-help skills. We teach your child to engage in appropriate behaviors, helping them interact with peers and develop relationships. A program for children ages 8-11.

Interactions

Your answers indicate that your child may be best treated in the Interactions program. Through guided social skills groups twice a week, this program helps improve social functioning in children ages 5 to 16. Parent or caregiver participation is crucial to this program; our certified staff provides training for successful participation.

Independence

Your answers indicate that your child may be best suited for the Independence program. Geared toward older children, this program includes more in-depth skills that will help your child function independently. Taught skills include functional communication, self-management, and financial literacy. A program for individuals ages 12-25. *This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.

Your Child My Be Suited to Multiple Programs

Independence

Your answers indicate that your child may be best suited for the Independence program. Geared toward older children, this program includes more in-depth skills that will help your child function independently. Taught skills include functional communication, self-management, and financial literacy. A program for individuals ages 12-25. *This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.

Strategies

Your answers indicate that your child may be best suited for the Strategies program. The most age-encompassing of our programs, the goal of Strategies is to reduce challenging behaviors and issues with aggression. These behaviors interfere with independence and community participation, so we work to mitigate those challenges and encourage safe, appropriate behavior for individuals of any age. *This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.

Strategies

Your answers indicate that your child may be best suited for the Strategies program. The most age-encompassing of our programs, the goal of Strategies is to reduce challenging behaviors and issues with aggression. These behaviors interfere with independence and community participation, so we work to mitigate those challenges and encourage safe, appropriate behavior for individuals of any age. *This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.

Breakthroughs and/or Interactions

Your answers indicate that your child may be best suited to the Breakthroughs or Interactions programs. These programs treat similar symptoms, so Therapeutic Pathways will need to meet with you and your child before we can place them within the appropriate program.

Specifically designed for children who have limited hours due to school schedules, Breakthroughs removes life barriers by developing communication, social, and self-help skills. We teach your child to engage in appropriate behaviors, helping them interact with peers and develop relationships.

Through guided social skills groups twice a week, Interactions helps improve social functioning in children. Parent or caregiver participation is crucial to this program; our certified staff provides training for successful participation.

*This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.

Your Child My Be Suited to Multiple Programs

Breakthroughs and/or Interactions

Your answers indicate that your child may be best suited to the Breakthroughs or Interactions programs. These programs treat similar symptoms, so Therapeutic Pathways will need to meet with you and your child before we can place them within the appropriate program.

Specifically designed for children who have limited hours due to school schedules, Breakthroughs removes life barriers by developing communication, social, and self-help skills. We teach your child to engage in appropriate behaviors, helping them interact with peers and develop relationships.

Through guided social skills groups twice a week, Interactions helps improve social functioning in children. Parent or caregiver participation is crucial to this program; our certified staff provides training for successful participation.

*This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.

Strategies

Your answers indicate that your child may be best suited for the Strategies program. The most age-encompassing of our programs, the goal of Strategies is to reduce challenging behaviors and issues with aggression. These behaviors interfere with independence and community participation, so we work to mitigate those challenges and encourage safe, appropriate behavior for individuals of any age. *This is a suggestion based on the answers you submitted. Please contact Therapeutic Pathways at (209) 422-3280 to discuss which program would best suit your child.