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.
Yes, you read the title of this blog correctly. My colleague Katrina forwarded me an article with this headline: Broccoli Extract May Reduce Autism Symptoms. Being the discerning parent/provider that I am, I thought it was just another wacky autism-treatment idea so I didn’t run out to buy a boatload of broccoli, but I did go to one of my most trusted sources for all things autism to get his read on things. Here’s what the good doctor Raphe Bernier had to say.
Lynn: Tell us Dr. Bernier, what is your first impression of this study?
Dr. Bernier: Well, many of the intervention studies in autism have methodological flaws that make drawing conclusions difficult. This makes sense, conducting studies is costly and difficult. I’m not excusing, just explaining. However, this study addresses many of those methodological flaws: there is random assignment to a treatment or control group, there is a placebo condition, there are outcome ratings that are judged by raters who are naïve to Read full post »
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 »
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 »
To be clear: there is currently no cure for autism. Companies that make false or misleading claims that their products or services cure autism have now been issued a warning by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to stop—or else face possible legal action.
Current treatments approved by the FDA for autism aim to alleviate or manage certain symptoms of the disorder, but not the entire disorder.
According to the FDA, “The bottom line is this—if it’s an unproven or little known treatment, talk to your health care professional before buying or using these products.”
To find out more about the companies and products issued the warning, read the official statement issued by the FDA.
To find out more about medication and autism please see our blog “Common Questions about Medication and Autism”. And if you are considering a new therapy for your child please see our blog “Choosing a Biomedical Therapy and Autism”.