5 Ways to Help Your Child With Autism Make Friends

5 Ways to Help Your Child With Autism Make FriendsFriendships help your child to develop socially and emotionally, but for children with autism, it is often an isolated one-way street. Many children on the spectrum want friends, but just don’t know how to make or keep them. These five tips will help in assisting your child with autism to develop healthy friendships.

Define friendships with them.  Often autistic kids have a different connection to their environment and the people around them. Which means you might have to explain what a friend is in terms that they comprehend. This will help guide your child through potential interactions within friendships.

Find out what activities your child enjoys. Identify your child’s interests . You will be able to easily connect them with other children who enjoy similar things. When your child does activities that he enjoys, it’ll also help him to keep paying attention when there are other people around

Use community resource groups. Ask your local church and other community members for ideas on local groups for kids that your child can join to make new friends. Structured activity groups often work well for children with ASD.

Create at-home play dates. You can encourage friendships by inviting children home or out to play. Even if it just for parallel play each time the children get together, the connection gets stronger. There should always be supervision of playdates so that your child can be directed–and redirected–throughout.

Be patient. A  friendship for your child may not develop overnight, but in time they will take your definition of friendship, developing social skills and the people they know from their activity groups to eventually form solid bonds with friends.

Let us help you. We offer Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and our services are outlined here. We encourage you to call us directly, toll-free, at (844) 263-1613 or email us at info@totalspectrumcare.com. We are based in Elmhurst, Illinois.

Social Media and Autism

Social Media and AutismSocial media is a common and everyday method of communication which has both advantages and disadvantages for a wide variety of people—including those with an autism spectrum condition. Adolescents with ASD tend to lack the ability to appropriately express themselves in social situations. This hinders their communication with peers and appropriate social skills to make friends. Indeed, due to issues around social communication, many of those on the autism spectrum often prefer communicating via social media.

Although communication through social media sites may appear to be more comfortable because it eliminates the face-to-face, personal interaction, truth be told, while it may be difficult for those same reasons. Social interactions require a level of understanding concerning underlying insinuations, implications, nuances, etc. When using social media, one may easily misinterpret, misread, or misunderstand a comment or status negatively or positively.

It seems imperative to use existing technology in our daily lives as a tool to teach these students communication skills, to make friends and build social networks. Here are a few tips on ways adolescents with ASD can further develop social skills using social media:

  1. Monitor their social account.   You aren’t going to be able to shield them from all the not so nice comments out there. Use this as an opportunity for discussion.  Learning to cope socially, also means learning to cope with people when they are mean or say ignorant things.
  2. Monitor and filter friends. Remember your child is still learning social behavior, it is up to you to vet those who want to contact him/her online. But also give them the freedom to choose their friends – within reason. This will help with them building their confidence in their own choices.

Let us help you. We offer Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and our services are outlined here. We encourage you to call us directly, toll-free, at (844) 263-1613 or email us at info@totalspectrumcare.com. We are based in Elmhurst, Illinois.

What Is Reinforcement and Why Is It Important in ABA?

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is the only treatment that has been shown in research for many years to be the most effective therapeutic intervention to help children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Applied Behavior Analysis uses the science of learning and positive reinforcement to bring about meaningful changes in behavior.

So what exactly is “reinforcement”?

In order to understand reinforcement, first we have to look the “Law of Effect” in Behavioral Psychology. The Law of Effect means basically that if an action or event is followed by satisfaction for the individual or animal, that action or event becomes more closely tied to the individual (or animal) and more likely to reoccur. Also, if an action or event is followed by discomfort for the individual or animal, that action or event is less likely to reoccur.

So, in Applied Behavior Analysis, reinforcement is what happens in the environment to make desired behaviors in the autistic child pleasant and more likely to happen again. These environmental stimuli are the basis of learning in what’s called Operant Conditioning in psychology.

Why is reinforcement important in ABA?

Reinforcement in the very basis of Applied Behavior Analysis. By analyzing each individual child’s needs and tailoring a program specific for that child, we can use these principles of psychology to help the child learn new and desirable behaviors to better cope with the world we live in.

Following the tenets of psychology such as Operant Conditioning, the Law of Effect, and reinforcement, we make learning new things pleasant and fun for the child. These same theories also make it possible to extinguish undesirable behaviors. This is why ABA works and has been shown to work in research. It’s actually pretty simple: show the child what behaviors you want, make it a pleasant experience (or “reinforce” the behavior,) and the child will learn the behavior.

ABA can be life changing for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder and their families. ABA can improve your child’s toileting behaviors, eating behaviors, speech, and sleeping routines. If you are trying to decide how to handle a child with ASD or what type of therapy is most appropriate for your child, please contact us today.

Let us help you. We offer Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and our services are outlined here. We encourage you to call us directly, toll-free, at (844) 263-1613 or email us at info@totalspectrumcare.com. We are based in Elmhurst, Illinois.

Good Sleep Habits for Children with Autism

sleep habitsPoor sleep habits are not uncommon in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and for some of these children sleep difficulties can persist into adolescence.

Fortunately, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) can help the child to improve those habits, which in turn makes the parents’ lives easier because having a child that never sleeps well is very disruptive for the whole family. Here are some issues that we address with children that are in our program:

  1. Difficulty initiating sleep.
  2. Difficulty maintaining sleep.
  3. Difficulty waking the child in the morning.
  4. Irritability and sleepiness during the day.

It’s clear that sleep, in general, is important for the brain development in a child. And the irony here is that children with ASD probably need more sleep than the average child because autistic children expend an enormous amount of energy with their ritualistic and repetitive behaviors. So, it’s essential for the child’s health to figure out how to improve the child’s sleep habits for both the benefit of the child and the sanity of everyone else.

With the help of ABA, we can give you tools to help improve your child’s nightly sleep. We can teach you the value of a routine, the importance of soothing behaviors in the evening, what types of play will help “wind down” your child, and methods to get the child to go back to sleep and respect the sleep of everyone else.

Once you establish a healthy pattern for bedtime, not only will the child’s nighttime behavior improve, but the daytime behavior will likely improve as well because the child is not exhausted anymore on a daily basis. We can work together to make significant improvements in your child’s sleep habits.

Applied Behavior Analysis helps to extinguish undesirable behaviors and reinforce desirable ones. ABA can improve your child’s toileting behaviors, eating behaviors, speech, and sleeping routines. ABA can be life changing for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. If you are trying to decide how to handle a child with ASD or what type of therapy is most appropriate for your child, please contact us today.

Let us help you. We offer Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and our services are outlined here. We encourage you to call us directly, toll-free, at (844) 263-1613 or email us at info@totalspectrumcare.com. We are based in Elmhurst, Illinois.

The ABC’s of Behavior

The ABC's of BehaviorAutism itself does not cause challenging behaviors. It is likely, however, that some of the underlying biological processes that result in autism might also result in behaviors that are outside of a person’s control. Also, some behavioral responses are simply reflexes—no more of a choice for your child than when your leg jerks upward when the doctor uses his hammer on your kneecap.

n the field of Applied Behavior Analysis, the three components that are documented and considered in looking at a specific behavioral episode is called A-B-C (antecedent-behavior-consequence) analysis, and include the following components:

■ a clear description of the behavior (behavior)

■ the situation, events and conditions that occurred before the behavior began (antecedent)

■ the situation and events that immediately followed the behavior (consequence)

Shifting our thinking from how a particular behavior affects us (and the siblings, the classmates, the furniture, etc.) to what might be happening from the individual’s perspective is an essential step in finding ways to understand behavior. Understanding the behavior will allow you to support the replacement of disturbing or maladaptive behaviors with functional skills.

Let us help you. We offer Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) services for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, and our services are outlined here. We encourage you to call us directly, toll-free, at (844) 263-1613 or email us at info@totalspectrumcare.com. We are based in Elmhurst, Illinois.