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 »
Many families receiving a diagnosis of autism for their child find themselves faced with a plethora of new vocabulary related to finding treatment: behavior analyst, BCBA, ABA Therapy, BCaBA, applied behavior analysis. If you’re feeling like all of these terms and acronyms are enough to make your head spin, you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’re going to decode this new language.
What is behavior analysis?
Behavior analysis is the scientific study of behavior and environment interactions. It can be used to explain or predict the behavior of humans or animals.
What is applied behavior analysis?
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the application of principles of learning to everyday problems. It can be used in a variety of settings to improve behavior including job performance, adaptive skills, language development, Read full post »
This is the second of a 2-part series for families dealing with pica or elopement. In this post, we’ll cover the following information on elopement:
- Presentation and prevalence
- What makes elopement so challenging to treat
- Common, evidence-based treatments to consider
- Tips for parents to begin a treatment plan
Presentation and prevalence
Elopement occurs when a child runs or wanders from a safe, supervised environment. A 2012 study found (via parent survey) that 49% of the study children with autism eloped after the age of 4 and of these, 53% were away from supervision long enough to be considered missing. In contrast, parents reported that 13% of the study’s unaffected siblings had eloped after the age of 4. Statistical analyses showed that the children with autism who were more severely impacted by autism (lower intellectual and communication abilities) were more likely to elope than those who were more mildly affected by autism.
What makes elopement so challenging to treat?
Like pica, there is less research on elopement than other problem behaviors exhibited by those with autism. Often, elopement is lumped into a category of “challenging behavior” and not studied independently. Read full post »