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.

Tips to Reduce Sensory Overload this Holiday Season

Sensory OverloadThe holiday season can be a stressful time. If you are a parent of a child with special needs, those issues can intensify over this time of year. The holiday twinkle lights, carolers, the aroma of a large home-cooked meal — can be an overwhelming experience for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.

Here are a few tips on how to prep for the holidays with children who have sensory needs.

  1. Plan. Plan. Plan. Plan as much as possible. When possible, do a trial run to practice group situations and settings and introduce the smells of new foods in your home.
  2. Find a Quiet Room While Out and About.  If you know you are going to be at a friend or family members house for a holiday party or while overnight, ask that person or hostess ahead of time if there is a room that your child could use as a quiet room.
  3. Schedule morning activities. Generally, kids do better in the morning than in the late afternoon or evening when they are tired. Schedule events and gatherings earlier in the day rather than late in the day.

As we are swept up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, we frequently take for granted things that those with sensory processing needs find challenging. We hope you are able to find some peace and quiet this holiday season.

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.

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.