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.

 

 

 

 

 

They say the greatest lessons we learn in life start at home. That’s why the team at Alee Behavioral has worked hard to develop our Home-based Therapeutic Services for children with autism and related disorders.

 

Home Based Therapeutic Services

 

Like with other interventive therapies, such as speech therapy and occupational therapy, these strategies are designed to provide your child with the structure and support they need to reach their full potential – with a smile on their face.

 

What happens during a home-based therapy session?

 

During a home-based therapy session, a member of our team will work closely with your child and family, providing support and therapeutic guidance. Children will develop new coping mechanisms, social skills, and confidence – though the exact nature of the support provided will vary on their unique needs.

 

For example, we may work with your child to help them develop better coping mechanisms when they feel overwhelmed, stressed or anxious. This is particularly pertinent when you consider that “autistic children and teenagers can experience anxiety more intensely and more often than other children.

 

Coping strategies can also reduce the frequency or severity of autistic meltdowns, which are described by Ambitious About Autism as an example of our body’s fight response or “a reaction to a highly distressing situation or environment.” Your child’s therapist can work closely with them to find better ways to handle their stress and anxiety, so they do not have to experience this kind of scenario again.

 

Your therapist can also help your child develop better social skills and social awareness – which helps make them feel more comfortable and confident in their daily lives. For example, enhanced communication skills may enable them to speak more openly about their feelings while also allowing them to forge better relationships with their family or peers.

 

As children with autism and related disorders tend to thrive when given a routine to follow, your therapist can also help you put together the perfect routine for your child. This will provide them with a sense of structure and support every single day. They’ll also suggest ways to gradually alter this structure to help your child become more resilient to and accepting of change.

 

Finally, home-based therapeutic services can also benefit the entire family by giving parents and siblings a chance to better understand their family members with autism. They’ll also be more aware of the steps they can follow to promote their ongoing development.

 

What are the benefits of home-based therapeutic services for autism?

 

There are many benefits associated with this kind of therapeutic service. Firstly, they can make your child’s day-to-day life more manageable, which can heighten both their confidence and sense of independence.

 

Furthemore, studies have found “being relaxed in a familiar environment makes it easier to connect and build rapport with the client and their immediate support network, thus, maximising the benefits from therapy session.

 

If you’d like to find out more, please do not hesitate to get in touch today. We’d be happy to discuss HBTS, or our other services in more detail.

 

Adults and children alike rely on their senses to obtain information about our environment.  The five senses that people commonly think of are touch, taste, sight, and smell – these senses give us information about the world around us.  However, three other senses provide us with information about our own bodies: Proprioception, vestibular input, and interoception.  Interoception is the process of interpreting information that comes from our internal organs.  These signals tell us that we feel hungry or thirsty, need to use the bathroom, or even if we feel unwell.  This sense helps us realize that our heart is beating too fast, that we have butterflies in our stomachs or feel dysregulated.  While crucial to our well-being and ability to function, interoception is often overlooked.

 

Examples of children who could benefit from intervention include:

 

-A child who has a meltdown before lunch but cannot identify that he feels dysregulated because he is hungry

-A child with an anxiety disorder who withdraws when transitioning to gym class

-An older child who has frequent accidents or realizes they have to urinate when it is nearly too late

-A child who gets over-excited and therefore dysregulated when there is a notable change in the schedule

 

Intervention helps children process the sensory information coming into their brains and communicate what they need.  When a child identifies that they need rest, water, or a bathroom break, they can fulfill that need.  Only when that need is met can they reach the higher level executive functioning skills needed for learning.  Try these strategies to help children process and interpret information about their bodies:

 

Practice observing other senses. Interoception is more abstract than the sense of sight or smell, especially to children.  Before diving into interoception, practice with the sensation of touch.  Explore hot and cold, soft and rough, or clean and dirty.  Start to think about if the sense brings up an emotion such as discomfort or calm.

 

Experiment.  Give children an opportunity to observe their bodies at rest.  Then challenge them to a brief but intense exercise period (jumping jacks or sprints work well for this).  Allow your students to observe and compare how they felt before and after the exercise.

 

Be detectives.  Use a poster of the body and let older students brainstorm different sensations from different body parts.  Focus on one organ at a time and ask them guiding questions or provide examples as necessary.  This is an excellent tool for visual learners.

 

Give examples.  Having the right words to describe the concept can be a barrier for many individuals with interoception challenges.  Share how different cues make you feel.  Maybe when your stomach is empty, it feels hollow and rumbling.  Challenge yourself to open up about your signals to help give your students the tools and language they need.

 

Zones of Regulation. Already using the Zones of Regulation curriculum?  Help children align how they react from their internal signals with the zones.  For example, a child might be in the yellow zone when their heart beats too fast or the blue zone when they feel overtired.

 

Mindfulness.  Use a guided meditation to tune into different body functions (like breathing).  You can also practice using a moment of silence to check in with your body.  This can be as simple as asking preschoolers to check in with their bodies to see if they need to use the bathroom or as thorough as a complete guided body scan.

Even as adults, many of us struggle to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Whether we find it difficult to remain motivated with exercise, or to stick to a nutritious diet, its important that we find a healthy balance! However, for children with autism (and their families), it can be even more difficult to follow a healthy lifestyle, and many will require extra support to ensure they can do so.

At Alee behavioral, we have many years of experience in working with children with autism and their families to ensure they can reach their full potential. Our holistic approach encompasses many different kinds of autism therapy, from speech therapy to applied behavioral analysis (ABA). However, we also understand the importance of maintaining a healthy, balanced lifestyle in addition to any extra support they may receive.

In order to help, we’ve compiled some ‘Top Tips’, on how to best maintain a healthy lifestyle for children with autism!

1) Keep moving!

Children with autism will have varied interests and hobbies. They tend to think very analytically and as such, will tend to favor hobbies that challenge them mentally. Some common hobbies include coding, trainspotting and writing.

While it is important to encourage them to explore their interests, its important to note that these hobbies often equate to sitting down indoors and staying still. As a result, they also spend some time outdoors and exercising! This does not mean they need to be constantly on the go, but you should set aside some time each day for exercise. We recommend fun, simple activities such as walking, yoga or gymnastics!

For more tips and exercise recommendations for children with autism, you can check out our previous blog here!

2) Find a Sleep Routine!

Children with autism are more likely to suffer from insomnia, and often find it difficult to fall asleep. And, as with anyone, a bad night’s sleep can seriously affect their behavior and how they feel throughout the day.

One way in which you can combat this is by establishing a routine. You should encourage them to get settled and ready for bed at the same time every day. Ideally, you should also limit screen time before bedtime, so they can fall asleep easier!

3) An Apple a day

As we mentioned previously, we all struggle with maintaining a healthy diet, especially when we are surrounded by temptation! However, this can be especially difficult for those with autism as they tend to favor specific foods, tastes and textures over others, and they will be less willing to try something new. In this case, the most important lesson we can teach them is moderation!

They don’t have to stop eating their favorite food, but they should try other things too! When making changes to a diet, do so slowly. Make small substitutions over a long period of time, allowing them to get used to the changes as opposed to a complete overhaul overnight, which they might find overwhelming.

4) Stay relaxed!

Children with autism can often feel stressed or anxious, While there are many ways to combat this, such as autism therapy, its important that you help them deal with and process their feelings in the home too. Yoga, meditation and mindfulness are great at helping children de-stress and come to terms with how they are feeling. Learn more about mindfulness for children in the video included below:

5) Be patient and understanding

Like any child who is growing and developing, your child’s needs, wants and behaviors will change from day to day. It can be difficult, during this time, to ensure you are providing them with the help and support they need. With this in mind, the best way to help them is by being patient and understanding. If they are feeling tired, ask them why they think they might be feeling that way and what you can do about it. At meal times, help them feel in control by giving them a choice on what they eat that day.

A healthy lifestyle can be difficult to maintain, but it is not impossible! Try to take small steps towards a healthier lifestyle each day and you will all feel the benefits!

Any questions? Give us a call!

401-228-8303

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