• Essential Elements of Education for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder

    Every child has the right to a fair and free education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, and this includes children with autism spectrum disorder, or ASD. Under IDEA, public schools must accommodate your child’s unique needs both in and out of the classroom. The responsibility does not fall exclusively on schools, however. Teachers, parents, and students should work together to create a comprehensive, individualized educational plan that addresses the unique academic skills, behavioral needs , and future goals of every child. This article will provide a closer look at what supports students with ASD may need to succeed academically and personally in a school environment.

    Individualized Education Plans

    Individualized Education Plans, or IEPs, are a critical element in planning, tracking goals, and allocating resources for students with ASD. IEPs are developed through student-teacher-parent collaboration, and they are updated in regular meetings to assess progress and identify strategies to ensure success. Both immediate and long-term goals are included in IEPs to ensure the future progress of students.

    Behavior Management Strategies

    As a parent of a child with ASD, you likely know the benefits of a highly-structured environment with clear consequences in place. Though this can be more difficult to achieve in the classroom than at home, it is essential to create a behaviorally-sound Behavior Support Plan that can be implemented in the school setting.

    Parental Participation

    Consistency is important for children with ASD, so it is helpful when parents are involved in educational planning and continued enforcement of classroom policies at home, and vice versa. Providing homework help, attending IEP meetings, and working directly with your child’s teacher are all ways to promote consistency across settings.

    Added support and proven behavioral therapies can further improve your child’s educational opportunities and encourage cooperation from his or her school. With STAR of CA, you will have the advocacy your family needs to create equal educational access for your student. To learn more about our Evidence Based Resources Applied in Education , call us at (805) 644-7827.

  • Helping Your Child Get a Good Night’s Sleep

    All children benefit from healthy sleep. Without enough sleep, kids may feel anxious or have a difficult time staying focused. Sleep is often a common challenge in households with children who have been diagnosed with ASD. Typically, when children in a given household are not sleeping well, parents will miss out on valuable sleep as well. Incorporating effective strategies that can help your child sleep well will make it possible for everyone to get the rest they need. In addition to working with a center specializing in ASD near Ventura, you can implement the following tips to help your child get a good night’s sleep every night.

    Create a Bedtime Routine

    Consider having a regular bedtime in your household. About 30 minutes before this time, begin a bedtime routine that includes relaxing activities like reading or storytelling. Turn off all computers, phones, and televisions to avoid stimulation from these electronic devices. This period will establish that it’s time to be quiet, relax, and get ready for sleep.

    Make Exercise Part of the Day

    Exercising is great for kids and adults alike, but if your child is having trouble sleeping at night, consider limiting exercise to the daytime. Engaging in physical activity during the day is a great way to let your child release all of that pent-up energy and to have some fun, but avoid exercising right before bed, and reserve evenings as a time to wind down.

    Improve the Sleep Environment

    Eliminate even the smallest distractions in the bedroom that could prevent sleep. Keep your child’s bedroom quiet, cool, and dark, and be sure to remove any electronic devices that may emit light or make too much noise.

    STAR of CA can help you manage everyday challenges such as helping children get the nightly sleep they need. To learn more about our approach to ASD treatment, call us today at (805) 644-7827.

  • Understanding Oppositional Defiant Disorder

    As you will learn from this video, oppositional defiant disorder—or ODD—is a pattern of behaviors related to defying authority figures and lashing out toward others. It is important to seek medical intervention to identify the roots of these behaviors and offer more positive coping mechanisms. Since it is a behavioral disorder, it can often be corrected with Applied Behavioral Analysis in a professional treatment setting.

    If your child is developing these types of behavioral patterns, the professionals at STAR of CA can help. We provide family-oriented therapy and mental health services geared toward behavioral disorders such as ODD and ASD. To learn more about our strategies, visit our website or give us a call at (805) 644-7827.

  • Questions and Answers About Positive Reinforcement

    Establishing a disciplinary structure at home can be a challenge for any family, but when you have a child with ASD, you may need additional resources to help you meet that challenge. STAR of CA can provide therapy and educational services to support your family, but it is important for parents to understand behavioral strategies such as positive reinforcement as well so that progress made in therapy can be carried through to the home environment. Below, you will see the answers to some common questions about positive reinforcement.

    What are the benefits of positive reinforcement?

    Though punishment is an instinctual response to negative behavior in children, studies have shown that reinforcing alternative behaviors leads to longer lasting positive change. It is important to recognize that negative behaviors should have consequences, but positive reinforcement is the means by which appropriate behaviors are taught and maintained.

    How can parents participate in positive reinforcement?

    The first step to learning to deliver positive reinforcement effectively, is to identify items, games, activities, or words that your child finds interesting. Often, behavior change professionals will “audition” dozens of potential reinforcers in order to find items that the child prefers. Once you’ve found those items or routines, the next step is to identify the behaviors you wish to reward the child for performing. Sometimes it’s easier to do this in reverse: make a list of the behaviors you wish to eliminate, then make a list of the appropriate replacement behaviors you want to take their place. Reward your child for using the appropriate behaviors by doling out your identified reinforcers when the child performs the replacement behaviors.

    What strategies can be used when positive reinforcement fails?

    Most children with ASD receiving ABA will have a Behavior Support Plan detailing both proactive and reactive strategies to eliminate problem behaviors and promote their appropriate replacement behaviors. Professionals, like those at STAR of CA, should provide parents with ongoing support to ensure that parents can follow the plan independently. The professionals should also update the plan periodically as the child learns, grows, and changes.

    To learn more about positive reinforcement and other strategies that can help you raise a child with ASD, connect with STAR of CA at (805) 644-7827. Our team can provide proven therapy and support in Ventura for families who are raising children who have ASD.

  • Spotlight on Our Psychological Assessment Services

    Managing ASD requires a personalized approach with dedicated solutions for each individual patient. The age, personality, cognitive function, and behavioral tendencies of an individual with ASD will influence how the Applied Behavioral Analysis strategies are applied. With STAR of CA, you can rest assured that your child is entering a care system with highly trained therapists.

    Our organization provides home- and community-based care that is tailored to the needs of individual children and their families. With our full psychological assessment service, we are able to determine the appropriate solutions for academic, social, and personal development concerns specific to your child. Our assessment services include psychodiagnostic, psychoeducational, behavioral, cognitive functioning, and developmental exams that will point to the right clinical and behavioral health services for your family.

    In addition to behavioral and psychological care for children with ASD, STAR of CA provides a wealth of resources for parents and families to create a more successful continuum of effective treatment strategies. Call (805) 644-7827 to learn more about us, or visit our website for further reading.