For children with autism and related disorders, receiving an official diagnosis plays a key role in their development moving forward. After all, this means that they can access additional support services, put accommodations in place to support them moving forward, and begin to explore different therapeutic interventions.


This is particularly important when you understand that early intervention has many benefits, as it means that your child is developing a range of skills and coping mechanisms that will set them up for life.


With that in mind, here are some steps that you can follow to ensure your child receives an autism diagnosis as soon as possible.

Understand the early signs.


Right now, the average age for an autism diagnosis is three years old for boys and four for girls. However, studies have found that “many children show symptoms of autism by 12 months to 18 months of age or earlier.” Being able to pick up on the early signs, alongside some of the lesser-known symptoms of autism, means that you can pursue the next step as quickly as possible.


The earliest indicators of autism are:


● Difficulty maintaining/avoiding eye contact
● Lack of response to their names
● Delayed speech/communication development


Keeping note of the different signs and symptoms you pick up on as a parent can prove useful when meeting with a paediatrician for the first time, as you can better advocate for your child.


Reach out to a specialist.


If you believe that your child may have autism or a related condition, then the sooner you reach out to their paediatrician, the better. While paediatricians are qualified to diagnose autism, they will likely signpost you to a trusted colleague, such as a child psychologist, who will carry out a series of tests to determine whether or not your child has autism.


The reason why you should reach out as quickly as possible is that there is often a long waiting time for autism evaluations, which can be incredibly frustrating. For example, a recent study found that over 60% of children experienced wait times longer than four months, and 15% waited over a year.


During an evaluation, the clinician will ask for information about your child’s developmental history, including any milestones they have reached (or missed). They will also interact with your child directly and observe them while playing or interacting with others. Following this, they will then carry out a range of standard assessments designed to identify the key signs and signifers of autism.


Following this, they can provide your child with a diagnosis.

After receiving a diagnosis.


When your child receives your autism diagnosis, it is normal to feel a little overwhelmed, especially when you’re thinking about what this could mean for your child moving forward. However, there are plenty of steps that you can take to put your mind at ease.


For example, you should start by learning more about autism. This will help you challenge any preconceived notions you may have developed about ASD and ensure that your knowledge is as broad as possible. However, you should be sure to seek out information from trusted, reputable sources.


Following this, you can look into the different therapeutic services available to you, from speech therapy to ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis). If you’d like to learn more about the services offered at our facility (or online), please do not hesitate to get in touch today.

According to a recent report from the CDC, “1 in 36 children in the U.S. have autism, up from the previous rate of 1 in 44.” This increase in diagnoses can likely be attributed to an increased awareness of the condition, alongside growing funding for ASL and other related disorders.

Fortunately, this also means that there’s more support available than ever before to children with autism and their families. This includes a wide range of interventive therapies. However, it can sometimes be difficult to determine which therapy is right for your child, which is where this guide comes in!

What are the different kinds of Autism Therapy?

Applied Behavioral Analysis.

Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is one of the most popular forms of autism therapy. This is built upon the ideology of reducing challenging behaviors in individuals with autism while also helping participants to develop useful life skills. For example, it can help children to better understand how they should act in a specific situation.

All children with autism could benefit from this interventive approach. This is because this form of therapy can be highly individualized to ensure that each child’s specific needs or struggles are met and addressed, allowing them to succeed in any of the future ventures. A recent study found that “autistic children receiving the ABA intervention demonstrated statistically significant improvement in target behaviours over the one-month snapshot period.”

Speech Therapy.

Around 42% of those diagnosed with ASD are non-verbal or minimally verbal. However, while this is something that many individuals with ASD deal with in their youth, speech therapies can help them find their voice.  For example, a recent study found that “70% of preschool kids with language issues who went through speech therapy showed improvement in language skills” when completing their program.

Speech Therapy, as the name suggests, is built around the idea of helping children with autism and related disorders build upon their communication skills. These sessions cover a range of topics. For example, participants will learn how to:

  • Express their emotions through language
  • Modulate their tone of voice
  • Develop their understanding of non-verbal cues and signals
  • Improving pronunciation

Children who are non or minimally verbal will obtain the most benefit from this kind of therapy, especially as our ability to communicate faces so many different aspects of our lives.

Occupational Therapy.

Occupational Therapy is designed to help children with autism and related disorders develop a range of coping mechanisms and daily life skills that allow them to thrive in a wide range of situations. For example, some elements of Occupational Therapy touch upon the development and refinement of fine motor skills, which can help children improve their balance and posture and even impact their academic performance by helping with writing and other similar tasks.

Many occupational therapists will also work closely with participants to help them develop general life skills, such as basic grooming and personal hygiene. This can help children with ASD and related conditions to become more independent in the long-term.

As occupational therapy covers so many bases, it is beneficial to any children with ASD.

Final Thoughts.

While the above list is by no means comprehensive, the three therapies listed above are some of the most beneficial in helping children with autism develop the skills they need to thrive, whether this be in their personal lives or at school.

At Alee Behavioral, we have years of experience in supporting children with autism and related disorders and also offer group therapy sessions and parent/caregiver training. If you’d like to find out more, please do not hesitate to get in touch today.

Our ability to communicate with others, be it our family or peers, shapes our day-to-day lives. After all, it helps us form strong relationships, advocate for ourselves, and get to where we need to be (both professionally and personally).

However, children with autism and related disorders may find it harder than most to communicate with others. There are many reasons for this, but it’s primarily due to the fact that the way in which we communicate in our daily lives caters to neurotypical people over neurodiverse.

Not only does it require a certain level of language processing skills, but it often requires speakers to pick up on nonverbal cues, such as body language, too—something that many people with autism find hard to read. Beyond this, a significant number of children with autism are non-verbal or “have problems with the meaning and rhythm of words and sentences.”

As such, parents must work proactively with their children to help them develop the communication skills they need to thrive!

How To Help Your Child with Autism Communicate

Enroll them in Speech Therapy. Working with a speech-language pathologist is one of the most effective methodologies when it comes to helping individuals with ASD find their voice and improve their communication skills. During any given session, they will work closely with your child to help them develop a range of communication-based skills. For example, they may work on:

Child with Autism Communicate

Photo by Jason Rosewell on Unsplash

Work to understand their unique communication style.

Parents tend to know their children better than anybody else in the world. Working to better understand their unique communication style means they can express their needs more clearly, making their day-to-day life a little easier. For example, stimming could sometimes indicate frustration or feeling tired and overwhelmed.

State how you are feeling, as opposed to “showing it.”

While helping your child recognize the difference between certain facial expressions can help them to better understand emotional self-expression, you can make this process a lot easier for them by stating how you are feeling instead of merely showing it. For example, you could say:

“I am happy because….”
“I am sad because…”

The more you get into the practice of doing this, the easier your child will find it to understand emotions or how they manifest for others. It could also encourage them to open up about how they may be feeling.

Look into Augmentative and Alternative Communication Devices.

For nonverbal children, AAC devices can prove to be instrumental in changing the way they communicate for the better. These tools can help them to participate more actively in conversations, express themselves creatively, and gain more independence in daily life. Speak to your child’s speech therapist beforehand to see which device is best for your child or to learn more about how you can integrate this into their daily routine.

In short, there are many different ways in which you can help your child with autism communicate!

A parent will always be their child’s biggest advocate. However, when your child is diagnosed with autism or a related disorder, your advocacy becomes all the more important.

Why is Autism Advocacy Important?

There are many reasons why autism advocacy is important. It can help to break down harmful stereotypes, challenge misinformation, and perhaps most crucially, build a more welcoming and inclusive world for neurodiverse individuals.

Furthermore, it can also help to raise awareness about autism and related disorders, which can increase acceptance and increase the amount of funding autism charities and research receive.

How To Advocate For Your Child With Autism


Start at home.

Advocating for your child often begins at home. Start by doing your research into autism, ensuring that all information is gathered from reputable sources. The more you understand the condition, the easier it will be to support your child throughout every stage of their life.

If you have neurotypical children at home, take the time to explain autism to them, too. They may have already noticed that their sibling acts slightly differently to them, but without having a concrete reason why, they may not know how to respond.


Speak to their teacher.

According to a recent study, few children have received an autism diagnosis before starting school. In fact,28% of students do not receive a formal autism diagnosis until they are teenagers.

As a result, you must keep your child’s teacher up to date, whether you’re considering looking into autism testing or have received a formal diagnosis. This can ensure that they put the proper provisions in place to support your child in the classroom, whether this means designing a sensory-friendly classroom or sticking to a clear routine each day.


Challenge negative assumptions.

Many people view an autism diagnosis as something inherently negative when it just means that your child sees the world in a slightly different way. As such, you should work to encounter this negative whenever you come across it. While speaking out can be hard, it shows your child that they should be proud of who they are and helps to break down some of the more persistent stereotypes relating to ASD.

You should also encourage your child to find their voice and speak up for themselves.


Remain involved in their therapy.

Therapy can play a key role in the life of a child with autism or a related disorder, helping them to develop the skills they need to thrive in any environment. Remaining actively engaged in their therapy, such as by attending sessions together or going over what they’ve learned each week, is another great way to support and advocate for your child. After all, it means that you are taking active strides toward making their day-to-day life a little easier.

If you’d like to find out more about autism therapies, including speech therapy and ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) therapy, please do not hesitate to get in touch today.

What are social stories?

In 1991, Carol Gray coined and trademarked the term “social stories.” It refers to a short, narrative-style description of a particular event or social scenario, broken down so that a neurotypical child may find it easier to understand.

After reading a social story, a child with autism or a related disorder will have a deeper understanding of a specific scenario that they may otherwise find daunting or overwhelming. They know what to expect going in, making the entire experience more pleasant.

Understanding Autism


When are social stories useful? 

As mentioned above, social stories provide children with useful context about a “new” situation or scenario they have not experienced before. For example, they could be used to help a child understand what will happen at their first dentist appointment, especially if they are in need of some kind of dental surgery. Alternatively, a social story about starting a new school could be useful if you have recently moved to a new town or neighborhood.

Why do children with autism benefit from social stories?

Children with autism often thrive in routine environments. When they know what to expect out of each day, they can prepare themselves accordingly. New situations, even “fun” ones, such as a playdate with a friend, are a clear deviation from the norm, which, for many, can therefore be challenging.

Social stories help to reduce their fears and anxieties surrounding this by taking the “unknown” out of the scenario. They provide them with a frame of reference that deepens their understanding of new social situations. As such, this can play a key role in encouraging children to broaden their horizons moving forward.

Where can I find social stories?

Many social stories are available for purchase online – and you can see some samples from Carol Gray here. However, many parents choose to curate their own social stories for their children so that they can be more directly tailored to their child or the situation they are trying to explain.

For example, when writing your own social story, you can include your child’s name or the name of others who may be involved, such as their doctor or pediatrician.

Final Thoughts.

Social stories are one of the more effective methodologies in place when it comes to preparing children with autism and related disorders to face new situations. Without them, children could feel stressed, anxious, and overwhelmed or may be more prone to adverse behavior and even meltdowns.

However, there are also many other ways in which you can ensure your child remains open to new experiences. For example, working with a therapist, such as an ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis) therapist, can help a child to develop a range of lifeskills, ensuring that they are able to reach their full potential. Similar benefits can be obtained through other forms of preventative therapies, too, such as speech therapy and occupational therapy.

If you’d like to find out more about the therapy services we offer, please do not hesitate to get in touch today.

 

 

 

 

 

According to a study from Autism Speaks, the average age of autism diagnosis in the U.S. is 5 years (for boys) and 5.06 for girls. While this is still a relatively young age, and some individuals do not receive a formal diagnosis for autism or related conditions until adulthood, studies have found that autism can “reliably be diagnosed by a specialist at age 2.”

 

This is known as early intervention – and it is something that is widely considered to be beneficial for both the individual affected and their families.

Early intervention is key when it comes to autism | The Pittsburgh Jewish  Chronicle

What is Early Intervention?

Early intervention occurs when a child with autism or a related disorder receives a formal diagnosis before preschool age. This way, specific intervention strategies can be put in place to reduce the symptoms of autism or its impact on the child’s life moving forward.

What limits Early Intervention?

The primary reason why some children do not receive a diagnosis early in life is because their parents are unaware of the symptoms of autism. As a result, while they may display certain behaviors characteristic of autism during infancy, such as avoiding eye contact, they may not reach out to discuss this with a healthcare provider until a much later stage in their child’s development.

What are the benefits of Early Intervention?

As mentioned above, there are many benefits associated with early intervention when it comes to managing autism and related disorders.

 

Firstly, “in this period, a young child’s brain is still forming, meaning it is more “plastic” or changeable than at older ages. Because of this plasticity, treatments have a better chance of being effective in the longer term.” As such, it can be a great way to limit the impact that autism has on your child’s life, as they can develop a wide range of coping mechanisms and tactics at a time when they are most susceptible to learning or change.

 

Another (often overlooked) benefit of early intervention is that it enhances the entire family’s understanding of autism, how it works, and how it manifests in each individual person. After all, you may be more likely to research autism after your child is diagnosed. This will allow you to build a strong support network for your child while also ensuring everyone in your family understands their needs.

 

Beyond this, early intervention means that you can enlist the support of a therapist, who will also help make your child’s day-to-day life easier, be that through speech therapy, occupational therapy, or ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis). This way, when your child is ready to start school, they’re better equipped to handle these challenges and keep up with their neurotypical peers.

 

At Alee Behavioral, we have years of experience in supporting children with autism and related disorders and offer a range of in-person and online therapy services. If you’d like to learn more, please do not hesitate to get in touch today.

 

We look forward to hearing from you and would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Children play game

Photo by Anna Samoylova on Unsplash

 

Field trips provide children with the opportunity to further consolidate the knowledge they’ve acquired in the classroom through real-life experiences. They also allow them to form stronger bonds with their peers outside of the classroom environment.

 

In short, they are an essential part of your child’s academic development. In fact, one study found that “children who take school trips have better grades (59%), higher graduation rates from high school (95%) and college (63%), and greater income (12% higher annually).”

 

However, for children with autism and related disorders, field trips may be a little anxiety-inducing.

 

Why are field trips harder for children with autism?

 

Children with autism and related disorders work best within a routine, both in and out of school. For example, they often like to know what they are doing and when. This knowledge is often empowering as they feel more confident heading into their day, knowing they will not encounter any unexpected challenges.

 

As a field trip is a direct deviation from their routine, this can lead to some upset. However, that’s not to say that children with autism do not enjoy field trips, especially when specific accommodations are put in place to support them!

 

How to help your child prepare for a school field trip.

 

  1. Put together a schedule for the day. Asking your child’s teacher to spend some time curating a schedule for the day can go a long way toward ensuring your child feels as prepared as possible for their trip. Read the schedule with your child beforehand, and provide them with a printed copy to refer to if necessary. You should also add the trip to their calendar in advance.

 

  1. Look at the destination’s website. Whether your child is visiting a local zoo or museum, checking out their website ahead of time is another excellent way to prepare your child for the trip. This is because it will give them greater insight into what to expect from the day, especially if they can view a virtual tour or check out pictures beforehand.

 

  1. Consider being a parent volunteer. Many schools ask for parents to volunteer to act as chaperones during school trips, so you may want to consider taking on this role if possible. This way, you’re on hand to help should your child be having a hard time.

 

  1. Pack noise-cancelling headphones. Field Trips can be noisy affairs, especially when children are excited to have a day off school. As such, you may want to pack some noise-canceling headphones in your child’s backpack, which can help ensure they do not feel overwhelmed or overestimated.

 

  1. Discuss the trip in therapy. If your child is currently receiving therapy, discuss the upcoming trip with their therapist. This is because they will be able to suggest other ways in which you can prepare your child and may also teach them some effective coping strategies that they can use on the day if necessary.

 

School trips are essential in more ways than one, and as such, you should encourage your child to participate in these activities as much as possible. The above guidance is a great way to prepare them for this challenge!

 

How To Ensure Your Child With Autism Stays Safe in the Sun.

 

Now that the Summer is finally upon us, it’s likely that you’ll want to spend as much time outdoors as possible – whether you’re going on a family day out or a summer vacation.

 

However, during this time, you must teach your children the importance of staying safe in the sun. This is particularly important for parents of children with autism, especially those who deal with sensory issues. Various studies have found that “sensory processing difficulties present a particular challenge to parents and carers when attempting to protect children with ASD from being exposed to harmful levels of solar ultraviolet radiation.”

 

What role do sensory processing issues play in sun safety?

 

Studies have found that “up to 90% of people with an Autism Spectrum Disorder have sensory processing difficulties.” This could mean that they show adverse reactions to different sensory experiences, which will reflect in their behavior. For example, if they’re exposed to something they do not like, they may be more prone to stimming or a meltdown.

 

As a result of these sensitives, “children with ASD may be extremely averse to wearing hats, the feel of sunscreen creams on their skin, which involves regular reapplication, and the wearing of clothing which covers and protects the skin.” As such, it can be difficult to keep them as safe as possible in the sun, especially during the summer months.

 

Top Tips for Ensuring Your Child With Autism Stays Safe in the Sun

 

 

 

 

 

There are many benefits associated with going on a family vacation. After all, without having to contend with work, school, or your usual social calendar, you can spend more quality time with each other than ever before.

While you may view an escape from your home and routine as something to look forward to, this can be an incredibly daunting experience for children with autism and related disorders. This is because they tend to thrive in familiar environments and prefer to stick to a consistent routine as a result.

However, that’s not to say that those with autism and related disorders cannot enjoy vacationing – you may simply need to put some extra accommodations in place to care for them during your travels.

With that in mind, here are some tips that may be useful when heading out on your summer vacation!

Put together a vacation schedule.

While you may be keen to catch up on sleep and enjoy a more relaxed pace of life during your vacation, putting together some kind of schedule or routine can help your child manage feelings of stress and anxiety. This is because it feels as though they are not stepping into the ‘unknown.’

For example, you could put together a list of everything you want to do during your vacation and discuss these options with your child. If you’re going to be visiting specific attractions, show them pictures ahead of time so they have an idea of what to expect when they arrive.

Bring some home comforts with you.

Bringing some home comforts with you can also help your child to feel more relaxed on vacation. For example, if they have sensory issues, they may not like the feeling of certain fabrics or materials, which could mean they won’t be able to sleep using hotel bed sheets. Bringing your own from home provides them with a sense of comfort while also ensuring they get enough sleep.

Be prepared for potential changes in behavior.

While taking steps to prepare your child for your vacation ensures they have the best possible time, you should also be aware of the signs that indicate they are struggling or feel overwhelmed. This puts you in the best possible situation to do something about it quickly.

For example, you may notice they are stimming much more intensely or often. This can be combated by identifying the trigger and working to reduce its impact on their day. For example, if you’re in an overly noisy environment, you could move to a quieter space or reach for sound-canceling headphones.

Chat with their therapist.

If your child is enrolled in some kind of interventive therapy, such as Applied Behavior Analysis, speaking with their therapist beforehand is also useful. This is because they’ll have a deeper understanding of your child’s needs and what you need to do to support them when traveling.

With decades of experience and a real passion for helping children thrive, we’ve curated a range of therapy programs for those with autism and related disorders. So, whether you’re planning the perfect autism-friendly vacation or want to prepare your child for the school environment, please do not hesitate to reach out today. We look forward to hearing from you.

The goals of occupational therapy(OT) revolve around improving the quality of life of individuals by enhancing their abilities in various activities of daily living.

 

The purpose of this type of therapy is to develop, recover, and maintain functional skills.

 

This article outlines the goals of occupational therapy and how they help clients.

 

Promoting Independence

 

One of the primary goals of OT is to promote independence which refers to an individual’s ability to perform daily activities without relying on anyone else for assistance.

 

By promoting independence, this therapy allows individuals to take meaningful actions that support their lives.

 

Even the simplest tasks like buttoning a shirt, brushing teeth, and combing hair can become daunting if an individual lacks the necessary skills.

 

Occupational therapists use various techniques like skills training, adaptive equipment, and environmental modifications to help their clients regain control over their lives.

 

Increasing Range of Motion and Strength

 

Occupational therapy also aims to increase the range of motion and strength of their clients. This aspect is particularly important for individuals dealing with chronic conditions or recovering from an injury.

 

Occupational therapists help in the recovery of these individuals by facilitating activities that promote the recovery of motor function.

 

These activities may include mobility exercises that help to restore range of motion, strength training, and other techniques that target restoring injured or damaged body parts.

 

Improving Fine Motor Skills

 

Fine-motor skills are essential for performing everyday activities like holding a pen or pencil, writing, manipulating small objects, and tying shoelaces.

 

Occupational therapists work with clients to improve their fine motor skills, leading to the development of sensory-motor integration and hand-eye coordination.

 

This aspect is critical for children since it is easier to correct problems during the early stages of development.

 

By improving an individual’s motor skills, occupational therapy helps clients to become more independent and proficient in their daily activities.

 

Facilitating Sensory Integration

 

OT also facilitates sensory integration, which is particularly important in children. Sensory integration is the brain’s ability to use the five senses to coordinate with the environment.

 

It refers to the process of taking in sensory information and making meaningful responses.

 

Children with sensory processing disorders can benefit from therapeutic activities, which incorporate sensory techniques, to increase their participation in daily routines.

 

Enhancing Cognitive Skills

 

Cognitive skills impact an individual’s ability to think, reason, and remember, which are critical to carrying out daily activities. The goals of OT are aimed at enhancing cognitive skills, such as attention, memory, and problem-solving abilities.

 

Such interventions could be in the form of games specifically designed to target cognitive skills enhancement, which is beneficial for children with ADHD, who often display symptoms such as lack of focus and poor memory retention.

 

Promoting Emotional Wellbeing

 

It also has goals that target improving emotional well-being. Depression and anxiety can have a severe impact on physical and mental health, and they can make it difficult to participate in activities of daily living.

 

The therapy focuses on activities that help clients cope with stress and promote relaxation. In addition, therapists may use yoga, biofeedback, or relaxation techniques to help manage symptoms of depression and anxiety.

 

Conclusion

 

An occupational therapist has various goals that are beneficial to individuals of all ages, and they are vital for the promotion of independent living, regardless of ability or disability.

 

For individuals seeking autism treatment in RI or ABA clinics in RI, OT can be a valuable supplementary service.

 

The primary objective is to increase independence and improve quality of life by promoting a sense of purpose and self-worth through meaningful activities.

Any questions? Give us a call!

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