Autism-Friendly Holiday Gift Guide

Autism-Friendly Holiday Gift GuideThe holidays are just around the corner, and sometimes it can be challenging to find the right gift for a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder. So, we’re going to give you some hints and guidelines to make shopping more comfortable for you.

  1. Know the child. This first suggestion may seem obvious, but it is still true. If you know the child and the child likes to collect something, like cars or trucks or stickers or stuffed animals, then your job will be more comfortable. For many autistic children pattern repetition is essential, so no matter how many the child has of something, more is always welcome.
  1. Something soothing. Many autistic children have difficulty soothing themselves, so something that sways or rocks is always welcome. Consider a rocking chair or a hammock. Even something like skates, with which a child can move with repetitive motions might be a good idea.
  1. Puzzles. Lots of autistic children like puzzles. And remember, there are all kinds. There are the traditional jigsaw puzzles of all sizes, shapes, and difficulty, and there are also 3-D puzzles made of wood or plastic like a Rubik’s Cube.
  1. Outing. If the child is okay with an outing, then the child who loves airplanes might be thrilled to just go to an airport where he or she can watch planes landing and taking off. The child who loves animals might welcome a trip to the zoo. Intangible gifts like this could be in the form of a coupon book with, for example, homemade tickets for five day-trips to the ocean.
  1. Visual Toys. Often children with Autism Spectrum Disorder are very visual. That is, they are more interested and focused on visual things. Gifts in this category would include objects that when moved have shifting sand or water or oil that changes shape. Also, there are magnetic toys with small pieces that stick together in different shapes. Even Lego is a possibility which the child can shape him- or herself. Make sure the gift is age-appropriate.

May your holidays be a happy time, and maybe some of these ideas will help you find the perfect gift for the autistic child. And if you’re having difficulty over the holidays, ABA therapy can help.

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.

What to Expect When Your Child Begins ABA Therapy

What to Expect When Your Child Begins ABA Therapy As you know, ABA or Applied Behavior Analysis therapy has a long history and is the only therapy shown to work in controlled scientific research for children with ASD or Autism Spectrum Disorder.

But if you’re new to ABA, you may not know what to expect. Here are some quick guidelines to prepare you and your child for ABA therapy.

  1. Insurance. First, your insurance provider will need to be contacted to find out if they will cover ABA therapy. Most insurers cover ABA for children with ASD.
  2. Assessment. Your child will have an assessment to determine their strengths and weaknesses. To help your child, we need to know what they’re good at, and what is lacking. We will also need to talk to you about specific issues or problems or triggers that you’re dealing with.
  3. Integration. Depending on what—if any—other therapies your child is undergoing, we may want to talk to some of those professionals to help the different therapies work together. This would be with your permission, of course.
  4. Balking. Since routine is typically very important to children with ASD, any change in routine, including the addition of ABA can be a disruption and some behavior may worsen temporarily. We can help your child, and soon the child will be actively participating in new and welcome behaviors.
  5. Training the parent. We are going to discuss with you at length how to continue ABA therapy at home between sessions and help you cope with challenges as they arise. Soon the world of ABA therapy will be second nature for you.

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.

How To Plan a Community Outing with Your Autistic Child

How To Plan a Community Outing with Your Autistic ChildFor families living with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), sometimes the thought of a family vacation – or even a community excursion – can be overwhelming. Try these simple and useful tips for venturing out in public and leaving your anxiety at home.

Plan Ahead

As much as possible, plan your trips and let your child know the schedule and what to expect. Keep a schedule posted in your home and review it with your child regularly. Prepare all members of your family – particularly your child with the disability – with a plan of the day’s activities.

Sensory Bag

Bring along activities so your child will have something to do if your outing involves downtime. Choose items that work best for your child’s sensitivities and put them in a small bag that is easy for them to carry with them on trips. Surefire winners include unique electronic games that the child may not always be allowed access to, favorite snacks, drinks, and sensory toys.

Have an Exit Plan

Some rough patches are to be expected. If your child begins to show signs of non-negotiable stress, it’s time to go. If your outing is a day of family leisure, be accepting of the fact that you may need to leave early.

Plan what will work best for you and your family. Consult other families, to see what has worked for them, or talk to professional members of your team for more suggestions. 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.

Who Should Be On Your Child’s IEP team?

IEP teamThe Individualized Education Program (IEP) team makes important decisions about your child’s education. To create an effective IEP, parents, teachers, other school staff–and often the student–must come together to look closely at the student’s unique needs. Let take a look at who should be on your child’s IEP team. 

  1. Parents are vital to the IEP team process. By being an active IEP team member, parents can also infuse the IEP planning process with a thought about long-term needs for the child’s successful adult life.
  2. Regular education teacher of the child.  The regular education teacher provides the general education curriculum in the regular classroom and possible changes to the educational program that will help the child learn and achieve.
  3. Special education teacher of the child, or where appropriate. The special education teacher will suggest ideas for instructional strategies, adaptations (i.e., modifications, accommodations) and AT devices or services.
  4.  A representative of the public agency i.e. school administrator who is qualified to provide, supervise special education services; is knowledgeable about the general education curriculum, and is knowledgeable about the availability of resources of the public agency.
  5.  The person qualified to interpret the instructional implications of evaluation results i.e. school psychologist. This person will explain what the evaluations mean concerning designing appropriate instructional goals and objectives for the student.
  6.  The Student. If transition service needs or transition services are going to be discussed at the meeting, the student must be invited to attend.

Each team member brings essential information to the IEP meeting. Members share their information and work together to write the child’s Individualized Education Program. Each person’s information adds to the team’s understanding of the child and what services the child needs.

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 Importance of  Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention

Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI) is a way of describing therapy based on the principles of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA therapy). Extensive research has shown that early intensive behavioral intervention (EIBI) can significantly improve the chances of positive outcomes for children with developmental or behavioral issues.

How Does EIBI Work?

Many techniques are used under the umbrella of EIBI but all are based on the application of behavior analytical principles. This includes identification and modification of :

Antecedents – The events, action(s), or circumstances that occur immediately before a behavior. The antecedent could be anything from a question from a teacher to the presence of another person. Changes of environment can also be common antecedents.

Consequences – The outcome of the behavior. The consequence is crucial as it often inadvertently extends the behavior.

Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention aims to improve a child’s overall functioning across a range of areas and alter the developmental trajectory of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

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.

Tips for Dealing with Picky Eaters in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Picky Eaters in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder Picky eating is very common in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. This is an issue that can be very frustrating and difficult for the parents to manage.

Here are some tips for handling the picky eater.

  1. ABA can help. First, keep in mind that Applied Behavior Analysis can help with this problem. Through an individualized plan, ABA can help you improve your child’s table habits.
  1. No power struggle. Never engage in a power struggle with a child who is a picky eater. You will lose. Offer acceptable foods, and let the child eat or not eat. Set a time limit for meal times. There should be no pressure or shouting at the table.
  1. Be mindful of food textures. In children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, there may be a distinct preference for certain food textures. If your child only wants things that are crunchy, for example, then offer the child crunchy foods. If the child only wants smooth foods, then your blender is your friend.
  1. Be mindful of gastrointestinal issues. There is some evidence that children with ASD may also have some digestive problems. Explore this with your doctor. Some parents have found that specific diets may help such as gluten-free or casein-free.
  1. Color or presentation may play a role. Maybe the child has a preference for a particular color food or specific presentation on the plate. Many children, for example, don’t like foods that are mixed like a casserole. These children want to see precisely what each food is.
  1. Don’t try to “trick” the child. If the child likes spaghetti, don’t try mixing vegetables into the sauce to trick the child. This is counter-productive and likely to backfire. The child then begins to suspect that every food has hidden things that the child doesn’t want.
  1. Be patient. Remember that these table issues are common in children with ASD. We can help you find solutions that will work.

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.

6 Common Misconceptions About ABA Therapy for Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

ABA is Applied Behavior Analysis, a method of systematically bringing about positive behavioral changes in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ABA is currently the only therapy that has been shown in scientific research to work.

When parents have a child with ASD, they are often overwhelmed with all the information available on the internet and choosing what is best for their child. ABA therapy has been around for many years, yet often people don’t know exactly what it is.

There are many common misconceptions about ABA therapy. Let’s take a look at some of them.

  1. “ABA is experimental”. Not so! It’s the only therapy recommended by the US Surgeon General and has been shown in research to work for over 30 years.
  2. “ABA doesn’t work with older children”. ABA works with children of all ages. Sometimes results take longer with older children, but that’s true of any kind of learning.
  3. “ABA relies too much on food rewards”. In ABA therapy, all different types of rewards are used depending on each child. Some children are more food-motivated than others. Treatment and therapy are always tailored to the individual case.
  4. “With ABA, children hear NO all the time”. Not at all. ABA uses positive reinforcement, and the program is designed to help the child be successful and build on success.
  5. “ABA is a new therapy”. ABA has been around since 1950 and has been shown to work since the 1970s.
  6. “ABA therapy requires a 40-hour per week treatment plan”. As we’ve said already, ABA therapy is personalized for every child. The time required depends on the needs of the individual child.

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.

All About the Replacement Behavior

Now that you’ve created your behavior intervention plan, it’s time to put the teaching parts in place.

A replacement behavior is an appropriate behavior that takes the place of the interfering behavior.  When supporting interfering behaviors, a core component of the behavior intervention plan is to teach a replacement behavior.  The interfering behavior has been the child’s way of accessing what they want and what they don’t want.  Therefore, we cannot expect to change the child’s behavior without giving them a replacement behavior that achieves the same outcome.

When we want to decrease an interfering behavior, it is important to remember that we can’t just expect the person to stop that behavior without giving them something to do instead of that behavior.

A replacement behavior can be a new behavior or a behavior the child already performs.  The intent of the replacement behavior is to show that they can get what they want more effectively and efficiently.  Therefore, you must identify the function of the interfering behavior so you can choose a replacement behavior of equal or less effort.   It’s important that the replacement is also easy to perform.

Step 1. Define the interfering behavior.
It is important to know the function or purpose of the interfering behavior before determining a replacement behavior.

Sept 2. Determine which behavior replacement behavior to teach.

Once it has been determined that the interfering behavior is impacting the child’s ability to access learning, relationships, and the community, you can begin to identify a replacement behavior.   Here are tips for determining a replacement behavior:

  • Tip 1: Find the function.
  • Tip 2: Determine what the student should do instead of the behavior.

After you determine the replacement behavior you are going to teach, it is important to teach the student that the new behavior works just as well as the old behavior.

Let us help you create a positive plan of action. 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 are the Steps of Behavior Intervention

aba centerIntervention in interfering behavior is not haphazard but is carefully planned and monitored. As you plan an intervention, there will be several steps you must follow.  By using the information we have about the function of the behavior, you can develop a plan for intervention.  The intervention plan is comprehensive and focuses specifically on the needs of the child. Most importantly, the intervention plan is one that is POSITIVE.

A positive plan is one that contains 3 components. The plan outlines strategies that prevent the behavior from occurring as much as possible, strategies to change or replace the interfering behavior with a more appropriate alternative, and helps us to know what to do or how to respond when the behavior does occur.

The amount and degree of severity to which interfering behaviors occur with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder will vary tremendously. For children with minor levels of interfering behavior, the steps for intervention may be communicated among team members informally through meetings, conversations, or in a document.

The BIP is written after an assessment is conducted, gathering information about the interfering behavior. This assessment, called a Functional Behavior Assessment (FBA), gathers data about the function, setting events, antecedents, and consequences.

For children who have higher or more severe levels of interfering behavior, a formal Behavior Intervention Plan is warranted. You may also hear this referred to as a Behavior Support Plan or a Positive Behavior Support Plan. The Behavior Intervention Plan (BIP) is a document that provides steps and guidelines for people working with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder who demonstrate the interfering behavior.

Behavior Intervention Plan:

  1. Create an objective and concrete definition of the behavior. This is necessary so that everyone understands exactly what the behavior looks like when it occurs.
  2.  Be proactive in trying to prevent the interfering behavior. There are several ways this can be done. For example, the environment may be altered or redesigned.
  3. Determine the skill the student needs to learn to do instead of the interfering behavior. This is called a replacement or alternative skill.

Let us help you create a positive plan of action. 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.

 

Understanding the Four Functions of Behavior

four functions of behaviorThere are reasons why we do what we do. Our behaviors have specific functions. So, in order to modify behavior with Applied Behavior Analysis, it’s important to understand the purpose of behavior.

We do hundreds or even thousands of different behaviors every day. Most behaviors can be broken down into four main categories.

  1. Escape or Avoidance. This is behavior that attempts to prevent the child from doing something he or she doesn’t want to. Examples would be the child who runs away because he or she doesn’t want to take a bath or the child who throws food because he or she doesn’t want to eat it.
  2. Attention-seeking. Attention-seeking behavior is behavior intended to get the attention of the parent or another child or anyone in the vicinity. The child that does comical things intended to make the parent laugh in order to avoid doing chores is doing a combination of attention-seeking and escape/avoidance. A crying child is displaying simple attention-seeking behavior that is designed to elicit the attention of the adult.
  3. Sensory Stimulation or the Opposite. This behavior stimulates the senses. One child’s preference for thrilling or fast sports is a method of sensory stimulation. Another child may rock for hours in a self-soothing behavior that de-stimulates the senses.
  4. Seeking Access to Tangibles or Activities. This behavior is like the opposite of escape or avoidance. The child engages in this behavior in order to get or do something that he or she wants. Examples are the child who whines at the grocery stores to get the parent to buy some candy (negative behavior) or the child who gets dressed promptly in order to go outside and play (positive behavior).

Once we understand the goals of different behaviors it becomes easier to modify them. Some of the behaviors that we aim to teach a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder are appropriate table behaviors, toileting behaviors, social interaction behaviors, and sleep and bedtime behaviors.

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.