As we turn toward the long summer months, many parents of children with autism are busy filling out summer program forms. If you are like me, you pause when you get to this section:
Does your child have any behavioral concerns?
Why do I pause at this question…?
First of all, I usually marvel at how little space is provided to answer such a complex question. My son’s Behavior Intervention Plan is nine pages long!
Second, the answer for my son is YES, he does have behavioral concerns. I’ll admit to being afraid to list his specific challenging behaviors for fear of being excluded from the camp. I’m tempted to simply write “some” with a little smiley face and leave it at that—-but this would be unfair to everyone— Read full post »
Dr. Mendy Minjarez
Researcher and clinical psychologist at Seattle Children’s Autism Center, Dr. Mendy Minjarez, along with researchers at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, show in a recent study that parents, in a group setting, can learn Pivotal Response Training (PRT) to effectively increase motivation and language skills for their child with autism. Typically, PRT has been taught to parents in individual therapy sessions, but this research demonstrates that it can be just as effective when taught in a group setting.
In a previous blog, Minjarez describes PRT as a naturalistic behavioral intervention. She explains, “PRT utilizes the principles of ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis), such as reinforcement, but also incorporates developmental principles, such as following the child’s lead in intervention. Rather than applying ABA principles in a highly structured way, as in discrete trial training, in PRT parents are taught to embed ABA teaching principles into interactions with their child to enhance learning.”
To read more about the study and PRT, please see Seattle Children’s blog On the Pulse.
Communication deficit is a key feature of autism, and we see children who have communication strengths and challenges of all types. Some children benefit from the use of alternative/augmentative communication, known as AAC. AAC includes any type of communication that is not speech in order to replace or supplement talking. Parents frequently and understandably have questions and concerns when a clinician starts talking about AAC for their child – it certainly is a new, different and unfamiliar way to communicate. Or is it? If you think about it, we all use AAC every day – we point, gesture, click on icons, text or email. This is all nonverbal communication! Not so unfamiliar after all. Read full post »
(with a child with autism)
On my way to work I sometimes walk a short stretch of the Burke-Gilman trail, an expansive 27-mile path for pedestrians and cyclists in Seattle. As I merge onto the trail, I make a concerted effort to become aware of my surroundings. I walk on the side of the track, my arms tucked in at my side. Cyclists reach top speed and I’m on alert for that familiar warning “On your left” which means don’t move to your left or you will become a human bike rack.
I think about my son with autism almost every time I walk this trail. This is one of many places my son cannot go. Arthur is 15 and has autism. Arthur is not always aware of the world around him and that split second instruction to watch your left side would be lost on him. He would inevitably stray and wander along the path, Read full post »
“Where is my white computer? Did it go to the Goodwill?”
On Easter Sunday this year I came home at 8:30 p.m. to find my home had been burglarized.
My son who is 14 entered the house first, followed by my 16-year-old daughter. She immediately turned around and ran out of the house while Arthur stood frozen in the middle of the living room.
If you’ve ever been a victim of this disturbing crime, you know the initial feelings of shock, anger, fear, helplessness, and disgust.
Arthur has autism and coming home to this kind of chaos was nothing short of devastating for him. Read full post »