Discover New Apps for ABA Therapy

Applied Behavioral Analysis is just one way that you can help adolescents on the autism spectrum make leaps and bounds in their communication, social, focus, memory, and other associated skills. Below, we have compiled a list of apps that can help build up positive behaviors.

Cosmo Training: Cosmo Training uses interactive and multisensory controllers to help users develop their motor, cognitive, and communication skills through games, play, and music.

Special Words-(Android, iPhone, iPad): Special Words is designed to help teach word recognition, spoken language, attention and listening skills, and hand-eye coordination. There are 96 words/pictures included that are common for early language development.

Autism Education (AutEdu): This app focuses on communication, specifically between families and educators. Through this app, both parties work to understand autism and promote positive behaviors inside the home and at school functions.

Visual Reading – Special Education (Android): In this app, young learners can receive support for reading, helping to better develop this skill.

Match & Find (iPhone and iPad): Match & Find is best suited for young children, as it works to develop their memory through matching, searching, and sequencing activities.

Social Detective (Android and Apple): Through this app, children can learn more about expected and unexpected behaviors they may experience throughout everyday life. Videos in the app feature real children, so the idea is for the child to identify with those kids and apply those visuals and tips to their lifestyle.

The Social Express (Apple): With The Social Express, children learn how to identify their peers’ feelings, develop strategies to deal with these feelings, about the importance of eye contact, and many other important social functions.

Otsimo (Android and iOS): Otismo is an award-winning app that focuses on language, numbers, emotions, colors, animals, vehicles, and much more. With the app, children can engage in matching, drawing, choosing, and ordering activities. 

Brili Routines – Visual Timer (Android and iOS): Through gamification methods like daily tasks listing, countdown timers, and a good performance reward system, Brili helps children to stay on track with their positive behaviors and learn to commit to a schedule.

Calm Counter (iPad and iPhone): Calm Counter can be used to help children identify times when they may “need a break” from certain situations. The app helps them practice to balance these emotions and practice calming down.


Great Apps To Help With ABA Therapy

Great Apps To Help With ABA Therapy

Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA, is designed to help improve communication skills, attention, focus, memory, and social skills while limiting “problem” behaviors in children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder. There are many resources available for your computer or smartphone to help your child gain and improve on their positive behaviors and limit those that could be harmful or impede on their learning.

Autism Education (AutEdu)
This app focuses on communication, specifically between families and educators. Through this app, both parties work to understand autism and promote positive behaviors inside the home and at school functions.

Autism iHelp – Sounds
With this app, auditory and visual stimuli are connected. This allows the child to learn these associations, discover more of the world around them, and become familiar with these sounds.

Proloquo2Go – Symbol-based AAC
Those with autism who are non-verbal can greatly benefit from this app. Essentially, the goal here is to help foster language development and improve upon communication skills. The app can be personalized through different settings and vocabulary choices and is easy for anyone from a parent to a therapist to use.

Daniel Tiger for Parents
This app is designed to help children learn additional life skills. Behaviors like sharing, trying new foods, and working through emotions are emphasized.

I Create… Social Skills Stories
This is a fun application that focuses on social skills. Like an interactive storybook, this app allows users to create storylines.

Autism Solutions
Designed more for parents, this app can be a useful tool for booking appointments and gaining access to new research. There is also a library of videos, websites, and articles.

At SEED, our mission is to provide therapeutic services that positively impact the lives of individuals with autism. Our site has many resources that you can turn to, as well parent training and school consulting services.


If You’re A New Parent with an Autistic Child, We Have A Few Tips

If you’re raising an autistic child for the first time, it may feel like an overwhelming experience. Of course, you want what’s best for your child, and here we will go over several key pieces of information that other families similar to yours have found helpful.

Have A Set Schedule
For children with autism it is important to have a structured schedule that will give them a regular routine to be comfortable with. Children with autism need consistency in their life and this is a great way to provide it. Whether it is eating meals at the same time every day, going to therapy sessions at set intervals or going to bed at the same time each night, doing things in the same manner will give them a sense of calm and allow their days to be completed incident-free.
It is important to keep disruptions to the routine at a minimum, but as there are obviously unexpected things that come up, you should make sure to warn your child when the routine needs to be broken.

Reward Them for Good Behavior
We suggest positive reinforcement as an effective way to show your child they are acting appropriately or have learned a new, important skill. It is suggested to be very specific about the good thing they have done so they will ultimately look to repeat the behavior in the future. Rewarding your child with a toy or favorite food may be a good way to have the behavior stick in their memory.

Let Them Have Fun
After all, they are still children. They want to play, laugh and have a good time just like any other kid. Although they need to be treated differently in certain ways, it is important that you find ways to have fun with your child and have them come out of their shell a bit.
It is suggested that these fun moments don’t appear to be a part of therapy or a learning moment. Just spending quality time with your child can do wonders, but when you let them play it will help them tremendously.

At SEED Center, we aim to provide comprehensive services and therapies to those living with Autism in Greenwich, Norwalk, New Canaan, Wilton, Westport, CT and beyond. We also offer training and educational opportunities for the families of those on the spectrum to better understand how they can communicate with their loved ones.
Contact us today to learn more about the services we provide.


How to Approach the Holidays With Your Child

The holidays can be a stressful time and an overwhelming time for everyone. For adults, it can be planning parties, going to events, and keeping children entertained. For children, the holidays can be challenging from an overwhelming amount of stimuli. Instead of being stressed and anxious during the holidays, we want to help you provide a fun and relaxed atmosphere for your child.

1) Planning and explaining.

A great way to help a child feel a better sense of control over their situation during the holidays is to explain to your child in advance. This could be explaining or planning out how their days might go or letting them know what kind of events they will be attending. Be sure to give thorough explanations of what the event is, who is going, what it will be like, and so on. This will help your child understand what to expect so they can feel prepared when the time comes.

2) Communicate with your family and friends.

For those who don’t know your child as well as you do, it is important to let them know about your situation ahead of time. This way they can do everything they can to be as supportive as possible.

3) Create a space for your child to have some extra downtime.

If possible, arrange for a place that your child can go when things start to get overwhelming. When your child has a place they can go to that promotes a calm environment, it can help them thrive and relax.

4) Support your child’s nutrition as much as possible.

The holidays are a tough time for everyone’s diet, but it is usually a time where people make exceptions. In this case, however, we need to be more strict. It can be very tempting to let your child eat these sugary foods, but it will be worth it to keep your child’s autism diet in check.

5) Celebrate with positive reinforcement.

It can be easy to focus on the bad and reprimand your child when they are misbehaving, but it is very important to focus on their good behaviors and celebrate those with them. Cheer for them when they flexible, gentle, and well behaved. This way they can feel a sense of success and have a boost in confidence that they are doing the right things.

Again, the holidays are a very hectic time despite them being a time where friends and family gather. In your child’s best interest, plan ahead, reinforce positive behavior, create space for them, and bring others up to speed on the situation. We hope you have a wonderful holiday season and that your child can have a great experience that they remember for years and years.


How Much ABA?

Written by Luis Vera

 

At The SEED Center, our mission is to provide positively impact the lives of individuals with autism spectrum disorder, ​therapeutic services that both across the spectrum and across their lifespan.

Whether this is your first time researching an ABA provider or your fourth or fifth time (we hope and believe this we’ll be your last stop), a frequent question that comes to mind for a lot of caregivers is “how much ABA is enough? How many hours of ABA does my child need?” The answer to that, as with many things in life, is: it depends. What I can tell you though, without hesitation, is that in the majority of cases, anything less than 10 hours a week of ABA treatment, say 1 hour a week, could/should be considered glorified babysitting.

Why do I say that? Well, think about it, if your child has multiple goals that need to be worked on across various developmental domain​s and​ for just ​one ​of those goals it could honestly take hundreds of learning trials for your child to achieve true mastery of that skill. It is very unrealistic that 1 hour a week of ABA could achieve that level of progress. Essentially, determining the ideal treatment dosage of ABA therapy for your child is a complex decision, composed of many factors that have to be considered.

Per the Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB), “ABA treatment programs for ASD incorporate findings from hundreds of applied studies focused on understanding and treating ASD published in peer-reviewed journals over 50 years. Treatment may vary in terms of intensity and duration, the complexity and range of treatment goals, and the extent of direct treatment provided. Many variables, including the number, complexity, and intensity of behavioral targets and the client’s response to treatment help determine which model is most appropriate. Although existing on a continuum, these differences can be generally categorized as one of two treatment models: Focused or Comprehensive ABA Treatment.”

According to the guide ‘​Applied Behavior Analysis Treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorder​’ published by the BACB, the attempt to answer how many hours of ABA therapy is described as “an analysis of multiple variables, such as the intensity of treatment goals, client needs & severity of deficits, and client response to treatment. A range of 10-25 hours/week for focused treatment and 30-40 hours/week for comprehensive treatment is recommended.” In other words, treatment dosage is based on medical necessity.

What’s the difference between Focused and Comprehensive Treatment, besides how many hours my child is being serviced?

According to the BACB, determinations as to whether ABA treatment should be focused or comprehensive and the intensity of treatment should be based on the ​medical necessity​ of the treatment for each learner rather than the individual’s chronological age, duration or nature of previous ABA services.

The following is an excerpt from an update to the guide published in February 2019 by the BACB that highlights the distinction between Focused and Comprehensive treatment.

 

INTENSITY OF TREATMENT

The Guidelines note that treatment intensity (sometimes referred to as dosage) typically comprises both the number of hours of direct treatment per week and the total duration of treatment. The comments that follow focus primarily on the number of hours of treatment per week.

Focused ABA Treatment is described in the Guidelines as”…treatment provided directly to the client for a limited number of behavioral targets[functional skills, problem behaviors].” Intensity levels in a range of 10-25 hours per week are mentioned, with the caveat that the intensity may need to be higher depending on the nature of the target behaviors and other considerations, individualized to each client. For instance, behaviors that put the client and/or others at risk of harm may well warrant high-intensity focused ABA treatment for some period of time. Those may include maladaptive behaviors to be reduced and/or adaptive behaviors that need to be developed or strengthened in order to enhance the client’s health, safety, and overall functioning.

Comprehensive ABA Treatment  is described as “…treatment of the multiple affected developmental domains, such as cognitive, communicative, social, emotional, and adaptive functioning” as well as maladaptive behaviors. The Guidelines state that intensity levels of 30-40 hours per week are common and necessary to achieve meaningful improvements in a large number of treatment targets. The Guidelines emphasize, however, that the intensity of comprehensive treatment must be individualized to the client’s characteristics and other factors. To expand on those points, we note that analyses of data from multiple studies of comprehensive ABA treatment for children with ASD show that

Whether ABA treatment is focused or comprehensive, the guidelines make it clear that treatment is comprised of services delivered directly to the child based on medical necessity which is pinpointed to the needs of every individual. In circling back to the original questions of “how much ABA is enough? How many hours of therapy does my child need?” the answer is not that simple, it depends…..on the medical necessity of your child.

 

References:

BACB Guidelines


Westport, CT

Westport, CT

Westport is one of the best places to live in the state of Connecticut. Our town got its start in agriculture, primarily structured around the onion growing industry. In the early years of the 20th century, Westport began to experience a cultural expansion. Artists, musicians, authors, and others began migrating to Westport to be free from commuting demands. F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of the Great Gatsby, settled right here in Westport!

Today, Westport has developed into a center for insurance, finance, scientific, and technical services. Our proximity to New York City, our excellent cultural opportunities, and affluent neighborhoods make Westport, CT an excellent place to live and raise a family.

Autism Services in Westport

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a complex developmental condition that affects social interaction, speech, communication, and behavior. The effects of ASD and the severity of symptoms vary with each individual person. Because some of the more obvious signs of ASD present at around 2-3 years old, many families with young children find themselves dealing with a new diagnosis.

two young boys playing at a playground

The SEED Center is here to help. We work with members of the Westport community to provide comprehensive, state-of-the-art treatment and services for individuals diagnosed with autism, including Applied Behavior Analysis, social skills training and parent training.  In addition, we are in network with several major insurance companies.  We proudly work with clients of all ages throughout the Westport area; including our home-based services and center based services in our state-of-the-art center in Stamford.


Reinforcing Behavior

            Photo by Thiago Cerqueira on Unsplash

Reinforcing Positive Behavior

Always try to reinforce appropriate behavior especially if your child is working on his communication skills. Reinforcing behavior will encourage your child to repeat the behavior. For example, your child could be working on instigating conversation, so when he instigates conversation, you want to positively reinforce.

Avoid Missing Opportunities  

Not surprisingly, it is easy to neglect reinforcing behavior. Have you ever been having a conversation on the phone and your child comes up and says, “Mommy, I want to play outside!” and you say, “Shh, I’m on the phone”? For a child working on instigating conversation, this could discourage him to start a conversation in the future. It can be easy to miss opportunities to reinforce.

Prioritize your Child’s Goals

 Always be mindful of your child’s goals. Prioritize their goals, whether it is to start conversations or speak without prompts. Although you may be frustrated when your child interrupts your conversation, remember that you are focusing on the bigger picture: for your child to improve his communication skills. Have you family and friends onboard and help them understand the language skill your child is working on. This way, everyone can help ensure your child’s positive behavior is reinforced as often as possible. Plan ahead and be ready to reinforce your child!


Holiday Tips

blue chair with holiday decorationsThe holidays are a fun time, usually filled with family and friends! However, the holidays can mean stress and anxiety. For a child with autism, the holidays mean a disruption to their daily routine, which can become overwhelming. To help, we have created some tips to ensure your family can have a fun holiday with little stress!

1. Try a Practice Run: Anticipate the holiday gathering by practicing for a large family dinner, greeting of friends and family, loud music and crowded spaces. Practice this type of environment at home and give your child tips so when they are at a large gathering, they feel more prepared!
2. Create a Method to Ask for a Break: If you do not already have one, help your child find a way to communicate that they need a break from the environment. If this method works well, use it all year!
3. Ask for Help: Talk to a close friend or family member ahead of time and ask them for assistance. Need help engaging your child while you help clean up dinner? Need help when you receive a rude question about your child’s autism diagnosis? Have your friend or family member be ready to be your assistant throughout the event!
4. Update Schedules and Calendars: If your child uses any visual schedules or boards, be sure to update these with appropriate symbols to help prepare your child for the events related to the holidays.
5. Create a List of the Unexpected: Create a list of everything new and different that could occur over the holidays. Brainstorm a method to address the unexpected events and avoid any conflicts before they happen.
6. Reflect on the Success: Recognize how much you and your child have accomplished in the past year. Relatives may especially recognize your child’s growth because they do not see your child everyday, embrace their positivity. Remember to be proud of your child and all the challenges they overcame in the past year!

Rely On Us For Autism Treatment

After this holiday season, contact the SEED Autism Center for more information on our autism treatment and therapy services. We are dedicated to seeing your child excel in life!

 Photo by Elena Ferrer on Unsplash

Ten Things to Know About ASD

little girl sitting outside in the sun1. Autism is a spectrum disorder. This means that the spectrum varies from person to person. There is a range of skills and abilities among individuals with autism. As a result, some individuals with autism are completely unable to verbally communicate and have little social skills, while other individuals may have little trouble communicating and interacting socially.
2. Autism is diagnosed using the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5). Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder. The DSM-5 is used for treatment recommendations and to diagnose. The diagnostic criteria includes deficits in social communication, difficulty interacting with others, and repetitive interests or behaviors.
3. Asperger’s syndrome (AS) is no longer a diagnosis. AS typically refers to a person with autism who has difficulties with social interactions and communication. Asperger’s syndrome used to have a separate diagnosis from autism. However, in the DSM-5 Asperger’s syndrome falls under autism spectrum disorder.
4.Each individual with autism is unique. Although there are criteria for an autism diagnosis, individuals with autism express different characteristics and function at different levels.
5. Shows on TV usually depict individuals with high functioning autism. In many TV shows, a character with autism is depicted as high functioning. However, the reality is that the majorities of those with autism have more severe difficulties and require much more support than the characters on TV. TV does not accurately represent the autism population.
6.There is no cure for autism, it is treatable. Since there is a range or deficits in individuals with autism, no two treatments are the same. Treatment for autism is customized by the needs of the individual, their family and caregivers.
7.Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the most supported treatment for autism. The U.S. Surgeon General endorsed ABA as the treatment of choice for autism. There are over 30 years of research supporting the positive effects of ABA therapy on decreasing inappropriate behaviors and increasing communication and social behavior.
8.Autism treatment is covered by insurance. In 2014, current procedural terminology (CPT) codes were established by the American Medical Association to be used to bill insurance companies for ABA treatment.
9.Early treatment yields better results. Autism can be detected early in life. It is recommended that individuals with autism receive treatment services as early as possible.
10. 1 in 59 children are diagnosed with autism. This is an increase of the prevalence of autism. It is important to be knowledgeable in order to best support individuals with autism.

What You Can Do For Your Child

Visit our site to learn more about how we can help your child with autism. We are dedicated to providing a variety of treatments and therapies to help your child excel in their life!

Photo by Melissa Askew on Unsplash

Tips to Prevent Bolting

Young girl running down sidewalkPhoto by Caroline Hernandez on Unsplash

Running and Bolting

Having a child that runs or bolts can be terrifying for a parent. When a child takes off it can be nerve-racking to think of the outcomes of their ‘bolting’ and ‘running’ behavior. Are they going to run into the street? Will they run out of the building? Are they going to take off with a stranger? The child may be ‘bolting’ for multiple reasons, she may want attention, she may want to avoid an activity, or she may seek a more stimulating environment. As parents, teachers, and caregivers, we must understand how to appropriately react to a child that runs. The best strategy is to avoid situations that permit the child to runoff, however, if this is not possible, we must minimize the amount of attention the child receives. If we give a child attention for undesirable behaviors, like running off, we are encouraging and rewarding the behavior. This means the child is likely to continue their habit of running off.

Prevent the Situation

The best way to stop running and bolting is to prevent the situation. Do whatever you can to keep the child in the classroom, house, car, etc. Once the child steps out of the safe space the chances of her bolting and running off will increase. When she runs off, it is likely that your instincts will be to chase after her. However, chasing after the child will only reinforce the behavior and increase the chances of her running off again. Although at times, it will be impossible to not chase after a child, especially if her safety is at risk. If she does end up bolting, try not to give her a lot of attention. Once you are able to reach her, calmly walk her back to the room. Also, avoid talking or lecturing her, as this will give her the desired attention, and avoid eye contact. Have the child return to the activity that she was working on before bolting.
 
If you are in a school environment, be familiar with all the building exits and have a plan with fellow staff members and security guards to prepare for a bolting situation. Again, hopefully, the bolting situation will be avoided, but if it occurs you are much better off to prepare to appropriately handle it.
 
For more resources on how to help handle different situations with your child, view our resources.