The Best Things Parents Can Do For A Child With Autism

father and son laying down

According to the CDC, in 2020 1 in every 54 children in the United States is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) Any parent or caregiver wants to ensure they are taking the necessary steps to ensure that their child with an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis has the best opportunities to thrive and the support that sets them up for success. There is an infinite list of ways to benefit a child on the autism spectrum and having the care to explore options is a great way to start!

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Examples of ABA Therapy for Autism

examples-of-ABA-therapy



ABA, or applied behavior analysis is considered to be the most optimal form of treatment for children diagnosed with Autism. This can mean a lot of things, however, as there are various different forms of ABA and how it is used as treatment. Examples of ways that ABA therapy is implemented is through discrete trial training (DTT), errorless teaching, and natural environment teaching (NET).

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ABA Therapy at Home, Benefits and What to Expect

Having ABA therapy at home

Applied behavior Analysis (ABA) is an evidence-based treatment for individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. ABA is used to teach children with developmental delay complex skills such as communication, play, and social skills. Continuous data-driven research on ABA therapy has demonstrated the benefits of helping reduce challenging behaviors by implementing positive reinforcement. Therapy can take place in various settings such as schools, day centers, and homes.

Once a child has received a professional medical diagnosis, the family may begin to seek ABA services. One of the first steps is speaking with a board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA) to discuss the process of treatment for your child. A BCBA will be able to answer questions or concerns about ABA therapy.

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What is ABA therapy for Children with Autism

aba therapist reading to child

Concerns over the treatment of autism have become progressively widespread amongst society today. Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) most commonly referred to as autism is a developmental disability that can cause social, communicative and behavioral deficits. Autism does not have any official physical symptoms, but researchers have found craniofacial anomalies in individuals diagnosed.

Autism is commonly described as a spectrum disorder because of the wide range of symptoms experienced by individuals. Some individuals can function independently whereas others may need substantial support to perform daily living activities.  No one diagnosis of autism is identical, and it is important for people to avoid generalizations when interacting with a person that has autism.

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Teaching Kids with Special Needs



Teachers and parents of children with special needs must take an individualized approach to education. In order for these special children to truly learn, we must first understand what they are capable of accomplishing. Each child’s educational capacity is different, so it is important to be understanding and supportive of the child’s unique abilities. When teaching kids with special needs, avoid making harsh judgments or comparisons to other children.

This can lead to the child being discouraged and unmotivated in school matters. It is important for the student to learn in a supportive and blame-free environment. Children learn best in a work area that is free of distractions, judgment, and noise. This may require creating a personal study space, providing ear plugs and removing all disturbances (iPad, cellphone, TV) before the child begins to study.

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Understanding ADHD in Children and Adolescents

child sitting at a table

ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) is a neurodevelopmental disorder commonly diagnosed in children and adolescents. Common symptoms include impulsivity, inattention, and hyperactivity. Many of these symptoms make it difficult for children to pay attention in school and to focus on a given task.

They may be perceived as disruptive, disobedient, and troublesome by teachers, parents, and other students. Children with ADHD are often unfairly labeled with negative terms such as “dumb, “difficult”, or “lazy”. Many people assume children displaying these behaviors are simply not trying or there is a lack of discipline by parents.

These assumptions are baseless as ADHD is a brain-based condition that affects the ability to control attention and impulsive behaviors. Punishing a child with these symptoms instead of offering assistance and support will most likely lead to an increase in challenging behavior.

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What is Autism Caused By?

Child playing with toy train

One of the many questions parents ask themselves once their child is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is “Did we do something wrong? What caused this?” While it is understandable that parents and caregivers want to hear concrete answers, there isn’t a definitive one at the time. The behavioral differences of many individuals with autism are so apparent that it seems intuitive that the causes would also be obvious.

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Challenges Teens with Autism Face

Autistic Teen Challenges

Hanging out with friends after school and on the weekends is a vital part of a teen’s social life. But for teens with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs), social activity outside of school is a rarity, finds a new study by Paul Shattuck, PhD, autism expert and assistant professor at the Brown School at Washington University in St. Louis.

“We looked at data from the National Longitudinal Transition Study 2 (NLTS2), a group of over 11,000 adolescents enrolled in special education,” he says.

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Managing Elopement in Children with Autism

child running outside

If you have a child that elopes, you are probably all too familiar with the stress and worry that come with knowing your child may wind up in a dangerous situation within a blink of an eye. Elopement is a significant safety concern that can have deadly consequences.

You may have deadbolts and latches on your doors and windows. Going on vacation or visiting with friends or relatives may have you on high alert. You may often feel anxious and on edge with constantly having to monitor your child’s whereabouts.

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Does Autism Go Away with Age?



It is not uncommon to question whether Autism spectrum disorder will “go away” or improve over time. In order to address the former, “can Autism spectrum disorder go away,” one must acknowledge that a diagnosis, while not a negative thing, is generally permanent across a person’s lifespan.

Can Autism Spectrum Disorder Improve with Age?

So to answer the latter of 'will autism improve over time', while Autism spectrum disorder cannot necessarily completely go away, in the full sense, the diagnostic symptoms described in the DSM-5 that separate children from their peers can be improved and, in fact, that is a very reasonable goal. This goal can be accomplished by clients, to the highest success, with the aid of early intervention and radical improvement due to the best treatment/intervention/practitioners.
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What does ABA Therapy for Toddlers look like?



ABA or Applied Behavior Analysis is an evidence-based treatment for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Parents who might speculate their child is showing early signs of ASD should begin by getting a professional evaluation. Once a medical diagnosis is given for autism spectrum disorder, parents can consult with a qualified board-certified behavior analyst (BCBA). BCBA's have extensive training in the principles of applied behavior analysis that has been successfully used in treatment for individuals with ASD.

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A Parent's Guide to Autism Spectrum Disorder

Child at play
If your child has recently been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), there are likely many emotions you’re feeling and scenarios running through your mind. However, it can provide clarity and result in a starting point for navigating the next steps in your child’s life. Like many major life events, learning your child has autism will affect everyone in your family; even your network of friends. I

t’s no surprise that you will go through many new positive and challenging experiences, face many emotions and be forced to make many hard decisions. Caregivers often feel relief or comfort when their child is officially diagnosed as it solidifies and validates suspicions they’ve had, but also brings an overwhelming amount of stress and thoughts of “what do I do next?”

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder? A Guide

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), or autism, is a developmental disability that refers to a broad range of characteristics that are categorized into two groups: deficits in social communication and restrictive/repetitive behaviors. Each of these categories outline a broad range (spectrum) of potential symptoms that one may display. Additionally, there are varying strengths and challenges an individual with autism faces and they are typically diagnosed with a severity level (level 1-3). According to the CDC, “People with ASD often have problems with social, emotional, and communication skills.

They might repeat certain behaviors and might not want change in their daily activities. Many people with ASD also have different ways of learning, paying attention, or reacting to things. Signs of ASD begin during early childhood and typically last throughout a person’s life.” Autism affects an estimated 1 in 54 children in the United States, which is twice as great as the 2004 rate of 1 in 26 (CDC, 2021). Autism is about four times more common among boys than girls, however, it occurs in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups. Learn more about autism red flags here.
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What is Autism?

What is autism exactly?

Autism Is:

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD), or autism, is a developmental disability that refers to a broad range of characteristics that are categorized into two groups: deficits in social communication and restrictive/repetitive behaviors. Each of these categories outline a broad range (spectrum) of potential symptoms that one may display. Additionally, there are varying strengths and challenges an individual with autism face and they are typically diagnosed with a severity level (level 1-3).

According to the CDC, “People with ASD often have problems with social, emotional, and communication skills. They might repeat certain behaviors and might not want change in their daily activities. Many people with ASD also have different ways of learning, paying attention, or reacting to things. Signs of ASD begin during early childhood and typically last throughout a person’s life.” Autism affects an estimated 1 in 54 children in the United States (CDC, 2021). Autism is about four times more common among boys than girls, however, it occurs in all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic groups.

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Getting Into the Field of ABA Therapy to Become an ABA Therapist



ABA therapy is a career field that is growing exponentially each year in the United States. As Autism diagnoses continue to increase each year, ABA therapy has become the gold standard of helping people with ASD learn skills to increase communication and social skills to become more independent. ABA, or applied behavior analysis is based in radical behaviorism, part of behavioral psychology. In ABA, practitioners use the premises of behavior analysis and apply them to teaching others. ABA is used in fields such as higher education, organizational behavior management, animal training, safety in the workplace, environmentalism and sustainability, medicine, and as it is most known for, autism therapy.

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Types of ABA Therapy Jobs and Their Degree Requirements

While there are many avenues in which applied behavior analysis (ABA) can be used and implemented in the professional world, there are a few traditional types of ABA therapy jobs that can be found when working with individuals with disabilities. In order to practice in each respective position, you must meet and maintain certain requirements. When providing services for individuals with autism, we typically see the following types of ABA therapy positions: behavior therapist (BT), Registered Behavior Technician (RBT), Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA), Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) and Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral (BCBA-D). Each position varies slightly from one another by educational requirements, certification requirements and maintenance requirements. The following outline of ABA therapy jobs is not exhaustive, however, these are typical ABA therapy jobs found in the realm of providing applied behavior analysis services to individuals with disabilities (i.e. autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disabilities). Typical Types of...
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What is ABA Therapy?

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In the past twenty years, ABA therapy has become a popular, effective, and surgeon-general approved therapy for Autism Spectrum Disorder, or ASD.

What Exactly is ABA Therapy and What Does it Stand For?

ABA stands for Applied Behavior Analysis, which is the science of learning and behavior. Behavior analysis helps us to understand behaviors, why they are occurring, how the environment can influence behavior, and how we learn new behaviors.

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Food Selectivity in Children with ASD

Food Selectivity in children with ASD

It is estimated that 75% of children with ASD have limited food preferences (Maye & Calhoun, 1999). Insistence to sameness, restricted routines, and difficulty coping might be some symptoms of ASD that are directly correlated with restrictive food intake. The good news is that various disciplines (Speech Therapists, Occupational Therapists and ABA therapists working alongside Board Certified Behavior Analysts) can offer successful interventions towards increasing food acceptance. When looking at the social validity as to why increase the variety of food in a child’s food repertoire, there are many things to consider.

For example, one might say “leave the child alone; if they want to only eat pizza and French fries, then so be eat”. It’s the parents’ final decision if increasing food variety is significant to their family, but here are some other things that are connected to eating a limited variety of food: vitamin consumption might be lower, GI dysfunction, not enough nutrients, not enough fiber, and/or not enough protein.

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What exactly is Modern Day ABA?

ABA Myths and Misconceptions When you hear the phrase “Applied Behavior Analysis,” what is the first thing you think of? Most people would say “Autism” or “a type of therapy”. The main reason for writing this article is to debunk any misconceptions or myths about ABA and explain how it has evolved over the years. The first myth is that it is a “therapy”. ABA is a Science devoted to the understanding and improvement of human behavior, which focuses on objectively defining observable behaviors of social significance (Cooper, Heron & Howard, 1987). The principles of the science, or rather field of study, are applied in an ABA therapy program. The reason it’s important to point out that it’s a Science is to give it significant credit as “empirically validated”. There have been over a thousand studies published, revealing significant changes in the increase of language, communication, socialization, and appropriate behavior and...
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Routines During the Pandemic

Although places are starting to open around us, many child-friendly venues such as playgrounds, amusement parks, and schools will remain closed for quite some time. This time of uncertainty can be both scary and, at times, frustrating for everyone involved. It can be helpful to give your little ones some structure. We all benefit from having structure and routines. Routines help our little guys understand what we expect from them. Routines that are organized and predictable can be beneficial for all children, especially children who struggle with transitions. You may have seen a spike in your child's problem behaviors during the Pandemic, as things have quickly changed for them without any warning. Creating schedules for your little ones can be helpful for parents, as well. Some parents are working from home, and providing activities for your children to engage in while you are working is essential. Daily Home Schedule BreakfastFree playLearning...
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Tips to Build Communication

Using gestures or language can be challenging for many children with developmental delays, language delays or Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It is important to remember that with help and understanding, your child can develop communication skills. Children can often find it hard to relate and communicate with others especially when it is difficult for them to understand language or use language. Many children will learn unconventional ways to communicate such as using made-up words, repeating words or using them in the wrong context, pushing or pulling caregivers to what they want or using undesirable behaviors to access what they want. It is important to remember to help your child communicate and meet them at their skill level now, not where you want them to be. The more successful your child feels when learning new ways to communicate, the more often they will begin to use these new skills. Here are 4...
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