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10 Tips for Traveling With an Autistic Child

10 Tips for Traveling With an Autistic ChildIt will come as no surprise that traveling with children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) can be challenging in the same way that any kind of social outings can be difficult. But there are some tips that can help you.

  1. If your child is already in a program with us, let us know about your travel plans. Our programs are individually tailored to each child. If you have some special travel plans coming up, we can work with your child to help him or her prepare. We can also give you, the parent, activities, and exercises to do at home to help the child get ready for the trip.
  2. Role play at home. If possible, do some role-playing at home to show the child what he or she can expect in a plane or train or long car ride. Talk about what the child will see and hear and experience to defuse any anxiety.
  3. Take something soothing. Try to bring something for the child that is soothing, whatever that is. A stuffed animal or blanket or a toy. Have something available to quiet the over-stimulated child.
  4. Appeal to your child’s special interests. Consider bringing along something new that you know your child will like.
  5. Bring earplugs or headphones for the sound-sensitive child. If your child is very sensitive to noise, then an airport or a crowded ferry terminal can be a scary place. Earplugs or headphones are an easy way to dull ambient noise.
  6. Prepare for meals in advance. If your child is fussy about food, then take food with you rather than rely on what you may or may not find during the trip. Any child is irritable if the child is hungry or thirsty, so try to take that worry out of the equation.
  7. Increase safety precautions. Wandering off or “elopement” is a problem for about half of the children with ASD, and this problem is magnified when the child is no longer familiar with the surroundings. So, if you travel, have the child wear a medic alert bracelet with his or her name and contact information and/or have that information affixed inside their clothing in case the child is separated from you.
  8. Plan trips to appeal to the child. While this is not always possible, if it is possible, then the trip may be happier for everyone. If the child likes water, take him or her to the beach. If the child likes airplanes or rockets, take the child to an air or space museum. This sounds so simple, but not all parents seriously consider what best suits the child on a trip or a vacation.
  9. Keep daily routines even when away. Everyone young and old benefits from a daily routine. And this is even more important for an autistic child. Whenever possible try to follow your at-home routines even when you are away. This predictability reduces stress and anxiety and helps the child feel more in control.
  10. Arrange things in advance. Figure out your schedule and hotel stops in advance, and ask for help if you need it. Airports and hotels have guest services that can lend a hand.

Traveling with an autistic child requires some preparation, but it will be easier if you plan ahead. Use some of our tips, and see how much better your next trip goes.

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.

Preparing for Back to School with Your Child

Preparing for Back to School with Your ChildThe beginning of a new school year is an exciting yet anxious time for both parents and children. Prepare an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) with the school to prepare for your child to go back to school. Public schools are required to use an IEP for a child with autism or any other disability. It creates structured therapies and educational programs to ensure your child is educationally successful. These therapies and programs may include speech therapy, physical therapy, occupational therapy, and behavioral therapy. It will also define if your child will be in inclusion classes or special education classes. IEP meetings can be held anytime throughout the school year. Bring goals to your child’s IEP meeting. You have a chance to offer suggestions that for your child to learn for the next school year.

Consider the following:

• Your child’s strengths.

• How would you like to enhance your child’s education?

• The results of recent evaluations.

• Do they have behavioral issues that may interfere with their learning experience?

• Does the child have limited language skills?

  1. Establish a bedtime and waking hours. Get your child used to a specific routine. Create a picture book of what the child’s day-to-day routine will look like.
  2. Prepare your child socially for school. Prepare conversation starter cards or make a social skills superhero comic book. Show how the child should properly express their feelings when they’re feeling happy, sad, excited, fearful, etc.
  3. Talk to your child about bullying. This important issue exists for all children, not just for children with disabilities. According to StopBullying.gov in 2012, 46% of children with autism in middle school or high school reported being victimized and 70% of children with autism that is mainstreamed, are bullied. Teach your child the motto to live by, “treat others you would like to be treated.” Notify the teacher immediately if you feel your child is being bullied.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Events

30th Annual Autism Society Conference

Developmental Differences Resource Fair

Peoria March Madness Experience Special Needs Fair

Navigating Autism Today Conference

Midwestern Behavior Analysis Job Fair

Registration now open through Jan. 18, 2019. Registration will also be available the day of the event. This event is free and open to the public, though registration is required. Registration will include light snacks and beverages. Job seekers should register by Jan. 18, 2019 in order to guarantee a printed name badge.

Most companies attending will primarily be looking to hire behavior technicians/RBTs or BCBAs. It is recommended that applicants dress in professional attire and bring copies of their resume to provide to employers. Career and Student Employment Services offers services in preparing resumes, mock interviews, practicing salary negotiations, and more.