Distinguishing between kid-behavior and ASD-behavior

older brother playing with younger autistic brotherPhoto by Hisu lee on Unsplash

Autism diagnoses are never easy. It can be overwhelming and tiresome to learn about how to best support your child’s needs. Debatably, one of the most difficult aspects of having a child with autism is learning how to distinguish which behaviors are autism-related and which behaviors are simply related to being a kid.

Children alike enjoy playing games, expressing creativity, and so on. Likewise, children are capable of throwing tantrums, whining when they do not get what they want, and possibly engaging in dangerous behavior.

So how do you know whether or not to worry about certain behaviors? How do you know if your child’s behavior is because of their autism diagnosis or simply a factor of them being a kid?

A few ways to determine this is by answering the following questions:

-How severe is the behavior?

-How frequently does the behavior occur?

-How long does the behavior occur?

-How does the behavior of your child compare to their peers?

-Is the behavior preventing your child from learning?

-Is the behavior preventing your child from interacting with others?

Call Our Autism Treatment Center For More Help!

            Addressing these questions can help you determine whether or not your child’s behavior is due to them simply being a kid or an aspect of their autism diagnosis. If you believe that your child’s behavior is more severe and occurs more frequently than your child’s peers, you may need to address your concerns with your child’s BCBAs in order to target that particular behavior. It is important to remember that children with autism are still just kids! If you have any additional questions about your child’s behavior, please reach out to our healthcare professionals at The SEED Center.

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Tips to Get Your Child Ready for the New School Year

School supplies on a deskPhoto by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Is your child starting kindergarten soon? Are you worried that your child is not prepared for the transition? Do you worry that they may fall behind their classmates? As summer winds down and the new school year approaches, keep these tips in mind. You will help prepare your child for a new setting and give yourself ease at mind as you drop them off for their first day! Our Autism Treatment Center is proud to provide you with the information you need to enhance the life of your child! Start out with these steps:

  1. Practice being independent

In a school setting, your child will not be able to turn to you for help. Make sure your child can use the restroom, follow directions, eat lunch, tie their shoes, etc. independently.

 

  1. Go on adventures

Take an adventure to a children’s museum, to the aquarium, a fair, etc. Having your child experience different settings will help them to become knowledgeable of different environments.

 

  1. Incorporate learning into play

While engaging in a play activity, think of creative ways to incorporate numbers, colors, concepts, etc.

 

  1. Work on gross and fine motor skills

Help your child practice their fine motor skills that will come in handy during class time, such as, drawing a line, cutting a piece of paper, etc. Help them practice their gross motor skills by working on balance and coordination (hop, skip, jump).

 

  1. Encourage socialization

Help your child become more social by scheduling play dates. Interacting with other children will help them learn sharing, listening, and how to cooperate with others.

 

  1. Talk a lot!

The more words your child knows, the better! Be chatty and engage in conversation in various environments to help increase your child’s vocabulary.

 

  1. Mimic the school day

Help prepare your child for school by showing them what to expect. Take them to tour the school, setup a play date with some of their classmates so they can recognize familiar faces and explain the pickup and drop-off routine for the school days.

 

  1. Teach numbers, colors, and letters

To help your child start off on the right foot, make sure they can recognize basic shapes, colors, numbers, and letters!

 

  1. Read to your child

Reading to your child everyday has many benefits. It will teach your child new words, how to read left to right, how to engage in a plot line, etc.

 

  1. Sync bedtime routine

As summer ends and the school year approaches, start framing bedtimes and mornings to mimic the schedule of the school year. It is best to do this about a month before the first day of school to give your child plenty of time to adjust!

 

For more information on autism therapy for your child, please visit our services.


Benefits of an Early Autism Diagnosis

father reading to his childLuckily, the age children are receiving autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnoses is becoming younger and younger. Some children are getting diagnosed as early as 18 months. The earlier a child receives an autism diagnosis, the better. Once a child receives a diagnosis, she can start receiving autism treatment by getting Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (Early Intervention) and Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA).

Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention programs entail just that, early intervention that is intensive. Early intervention programs are commonly referred to as ‘birth to three’ programs because they service children that have a ASD diagnosis that are three years of age or younger. These programs are intensive and can range from 25-40 hours a week. Research supports that receiving 25-40 hours of services a week is the most effective treatment for children with ASD. Early intervention programs usually include ABA principles, such as, shaping, prompting, and reinforcement.  In addition, The SEED Center also offers intensive ABA therapy to supplement or in lieu of early intervention services at our state of the art autism treatment center.

25-40 hours a week for an 18-month year old child? Doesn’t that seem excessive?

That is not an uncommon or unfair question for parents to ask once they are recommended to enroll their child in Early Intervention programs. However, these intensive programs are very important to help bridge the gap between a child with ASD and one of their peers without ASD. Having your child learn skills early on will benefit her in the long run.

Autism is a life-long prognosis. The earlier a child begins autism treatment, the better the outcome. Nobody regrets helping his or her child earlier rather than later. Please email us at info@nullseed-center.websitepro.hosting if you have any questions about autism diagnosis or intensive ABA therapy.   Our skilled professionals are here to help you and your child!

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How You Can Help Your Child Become More Independent

two children standing out side for a picturePhoto by Emma Goldsmith on Unsplash

“Are there any parenting tips to help make my child more independent? How can I help my child do day-to-day tasks without my direct help?”

 

        These questions are not uncommon for parents, especially parents of children with autism. Ideally, parents want their child to be able to do tasks consistently and without constant reminder. So how can you make this possible?

 

  • Make the task as simple as possible: Is the task easy? Are the items needed for the task easily accessible?
  • Decrease the amount of effort needed to complete the task: Is the task extensive? Could you do anything to make the task easier for your child to complete?

 

Let’s say the day-to-day task that you want your child to do independently is brushing her teeth. And right now, there is a stepping stool that she needs to access the medicine cabinet where her toothpaste is located. She has to move the stepping stool in front of the sink every time. Then, she has to reach up and grab the toothpaste to put it on her toothbrush and so on.

 

So what if you permanently keep the stepping stool in front of the sink so she doesn’t have to move it each time? What if you keep the toothpaste on the counter right by her toothbrush so she doesn’t have to reach for it?

 

Changing the physical location of the items that your daughter needs to access to complete the task will make it easier for her.

 

“What if moving the items still does not help your child do the tasks independently?”

 

            Try positive reinforcement! Think to yourself, does your daughter get anything in return for brushing her teeth independently? If she is not completely the task independently and decreasing the difficulty of the task did not work, perhaps you need to reconsider the ‘reward’ she receives for brushing her teeth by herself. Find a reward that motivates her. Will she respond best to a verbal praise? Do you need to reward her with her favorite toy or activity? Finding a positive reinforcement will increase the likelihood of her completing the task independently.

 

Positive reinforcement is one of the many tactics of ABA therapy. This is one of many strategies utilized by SEED Center employees.

 


Functional-Unique-Natural, FUN!

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Why is ABA FUN?

  1. Functional

ABA focuses on creating goals that are functional to the child. In other words, this means that goals focus on aspects of the child’s day-to-day life that are important to them. So a functional goal for a child who frequently goes to the grocery store with his mother, may be to have him work towards learning how to act appropriately in a store setting.

 

  1. Unique

In addition to functional goals, ABA therapy considers that each child has unique interests. Children all have their preference of food, toys, activities, etc. Therefore, if you find out your child loves watermelon, you maybe able to use this as a reward for good behavior. If you tell your child that they will receive watermelon after completing a homework assignment, they will most likely be motivated to complete the task.

 

  1. Natural

Finally, ABA therapy aims to have children be able to apply learned skills to their natural environment. How is this done? Therapists teach behavior skills in a controlled environment, such as The SEED Center, and they teach the children how to generalize these behavior skills in their natural environment. The ultimate goal is to have children be able to use these skills in all types of environments, such as, home, school, playground, etc.

 


Do Not Let “NRs” Doubt Your Skills

father holding his sonWhat is “NR”?

“NR” is short for ‘no response’. In terms of ABA, when a therapist is collecting data after a trial and the client does not responds at all, their score would be considered a ‘no response’ or “NR.”

Some learners can be prompted to do physical activities like playing games, completing schoolwork, and singing songs, but once they are requested to respond to a question or demand, they go blank. Typically, eye contact dissolves, and a blank stare occurs. Remember, it is impossible to force out a verbal response from someone else.

It is not uncommon to become nervous or doubt your skills as a professional when ‘no response’ occurs. However, it is important to keep in mind that you should:

  • Continue trying to connect with the client
  • Avoid ‘waiting out’ the client until they respond
  • Do not try raising your voice, this will not help with receiving a response
  • Prevent repeating your clients name; if they are not giving a verbal response to demands then they definitely will not respond to their name being called
  • Do not continue teaching and giving new information, this is not going to help your client learn if they are unable to respond to the initial request

Focus on Yourself

The best piece of advice to remember is to avoid blaming the client. Focus on how you can change your actions in order to motivate the client. Are you able to make your materials more engaging? Can you reinforce differently? Can the client sense your frustration? Are you teaching too quickly or too slowly? How can you make yourself more fun?

Continue trying new tactics to see what motivates the client to give you a verbal response. Even if something fails, at least you know it does not work and you’ve made progress in determining how to receive a response from the client. For any additional information, please reach out to The SEED Center. Our team of highly trained professionals is eager to help!

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ABA Communication Techniques Elaborated

children reading together outside

As previously discussed, echoics, intraverbals, mands, and tacts are all common ABA techniques to teach communication! Remember, the ultimate goal is not only to have your child be able to communicate with you, but with peers, teachers, and other people your child may interact with.

Echoics

Echoics are the fundamentals of language and allow your child to learn by repeating what they hear. These demonstrate basic communication and as your child learns, you will be able to increase the conversation length and have more in-depth communication.

Intraverbals

As mentioned before, these demonstrate your child’s ability to respond to questions involving something that is not physically there. This will allow your child to answer questions, such as, their parents names, phone number, etc.

Mands

By learning mands, a child will be able to request a need or a want. This will teach them how to communicate that they are hunger, thirsty, hurt, tired, etc. Also, mands teach a child how to appropriately ask for things or to communicate desires.

Tacts

Tacts, or labels, teach your child how to identify objects in their environment. This allows your child to identify things they want. Also, tacts give you the ability to understand their requests.

 

These techniques focus on teaching communication in a way that works best for the learner. The goal is to have your child be able to communicate their wants, needs, and ideas and how that goal is achieved should be individualized in a way that best suits the learner.

 

For more information, please contact The SEED Center.

 

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Increasing Communication through Verbal Operants

Children playing outside togetherPhoto by Ashton Bingham on Unsplash

            The common goal of ABA therapy is to increase communication. Communication needs to be functional so a child can express their needs, wants, and ideas. Also, ABA programs aim to increase functional communication based on the learner. Thus, how communication is taught can be restructured and the definition of success can vary. In other words, the teaching of communication may veer away from the traditional method of learning nouns, sentence structure, adjectives, etc. but in turn focus on verbal operants. Verbal operants include, echoics, intraverbals, mands, and tacts.

What are echoics, intraverbals, mands, and tacts?

  •   Echoic- Having the learner repeat what they hear (echoing)
  •   Intraverbal- Requiring the learner to respond to conversation, including things or ideas that are not physically present
  •   Mand– Teaching the learner to request what they want or need
  •   Tact- Teaching the learner label and define objects

Our highly trained professionals at The SEED Center possess the skills necessary to help your child learn these communication techniques. Remember, the overall goal is for your child to be able to communicate with everyone they talk to.


ABA Therapy at The SEED Center Encompasses Individualized Treatment Plans and Takes the Environment into Consideration

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                Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is scientifically proven to be the most effective treatment for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). ABA therapy takes into consideration that treatment needs to be individualized. Also, ABA considers that environment influences a person’s behavior.

Individualized Treatment Plans

           One reason that ABA therapy is effective is due to modifying treatment plans for each individual. Interventions differ from person-to-person based on their interests, their needs, and their skills. Therapists constantly monitor the success of the intervention plan by collecting data. If the data show the intervention to be ineffective, then the therapist can alter the intervention plan. Modifying the plan ensures that the individual is receiving the most effective treatment.

Environmental Influences

          ABA considers the environment to influence a person’s behavior. ABA does not support the idea of “changing a person”. Rather, ABA focuses on changing the environment surrounding an individual. This indicates that changing the environment will change the behavior of the individual. Therefore, the environment can be altered to increase positive behavior and reduce negative behaviors.

          If you have any questions about individualized treatment plans, environmental influences, or ABA therapy in general, please contact The SEED Center via phone or email at info@nullseed-center.websitepro.hosting. Our professionals are happy to answer any questions you may have!


The Importance of Parent and Family Member Involvement at The SEED Center

                Parents, family members, and significant others play a significant role in the success of ABA intervention. The therapist should not be the only one conducting ABA intervention. Family members, teachers, siblings, and anyone else that interacts with the individual, needs to use ABA strategies to ensure that the efforts are consistent. Remember it is important that all of these strategies are overseen by your child’s Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) to ensure they are effective. Also, this will help the individual generalize and learn how to behave appropriately in a variety of settings outside the interaction with the therapist. Having supportive family members and friends who consistently use the strategies of ABA will provide the utmost support for the individual. This will help the individual become more independent and meet their goals!