• See the Impact a Dog Had on the Life of a Boy with ASD

    Tupper is a boy with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who has always had trouble getting to sleep. In the past, Tupper wasn’t able to sleep for more than 20 to 45 minutes at a time without waking up because of nightmares. Lego the dog changed everything. Now, when Tupper is distressed, Lego provides the calming and comforting influence he needs. Watch this video to learn the full story of Tupper and Lego.

    If you and your family are confronting the challenges of living with ASD, STAR of CA can offer you the guidance, education, and developmental services you need. We have been providing resources to Ventura County and beyond since May 2006. For more information, contact us today at (805) 644-7827.

  • What We Know and Don’t Know About Autism

    There has been significant progress in the field of autism since the first diagnosis over 70 years ago. Today the field has a greater understanding of the disorder as well as identified interventions to effectively teach individuals on the autism spectrum. However, there is still much to learn and understand. . In this fascinating TED Talk, geneticist Wendy Chung explains what our current understanding of ASD is, and what questions we have yet to answer.

    STAR of CA is a Ventura-based organization offering mental and developmental health services to individuals, families, and communities throughout California. To learn more, visit our website or contact us directly at (805) 644-7827.

  • Understanding ASD Diagnostic Processes

    Unlike other medical conditions, diagnosing autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is not a straightforward matter. The diagnosis cannot be made by doing a simple medical test with a clear, unambiguous answer; instead, it can only be made by observing an individual’s behavior and development. Here is what is involved during an ASD diagnosis:

    Developmental Screening

    During routine visits to the pediatrician, children should be screened for developmental milestones within their first few years of life. Some of the screening tools used can identify symptoms of ASD; typically these are given at 18 and 24 months. If a medical professional sees any signs of a developmental delay, further evaluation can be done in order to determine whether ASD is present. If you have concerns regarding your child’s development, share your concerns with your doctor and request a screening.

    Comprehensive Diagnostic Evaluation

    Although a pediatrician can diagnose ASD, often times primary care physicians will refer to a specialist for a comprehensive evaluation. Medical professionals who diagnose ASD are developmental pediatricians, neurologists, or psychologists or psychiatrists. The medical professionals conducting the evaluation should have experience assessing individuals with ASD.

    A comprehensive evaluation includes interviewing the parents, reviewing the child’s developmental history, and observing the child’s behavior. Moreover, assessing an individual for ASD will include vision and hearing evaluations. It may also include tests of genetic and neurological factors. A child may be observed across multiple settings, and other people who interact regularly with the child may be interviewed as well. This holistic approach helps to ensure an accurate diagnosis.

    If your child has been diagnosed with ASD, STAR of CA can you help better understand just what this means for you and your child. STAR of CA works to educate and assist families that are dealing with ASD in and beyond Ventura County. We offer evidence-based treatments that draw on the latest research into developmental and behavioral health disorders such as ASD. Call (805) 644-7827 to get in touch with our team today.

  • The Importance of Parent Education in ABA Therapy

    Treatments based on applied behavior analysis, or ABA, have proven to be highly effective in responding to the developmental needs of children with autism spectrum disorder, commonly known as ASD. Parent involvement in a child’s program is a vital part of ABA programs. Parents are the experts of their own children. Professionals can offer education and understanding in the fundamental principles of ABA and how they can be applied to each individual child’s circumstances to ensure the best possible results. With a beneficial ABA program parents should receive the basic training necessary to know how to set goals for a child’s development, how to create an atmosphere at home that is conducive to learning and growth, and how to advocate for their child’s best interests.

    At STAR of CA, serving Ventura County and other communities since May 2006, we work to provide families with the education they need to confront the challenges of life with ASD. If you have any questions about our mental health services , call us today at (805) 644-7827.

  • Tips for Discussing ASD with Extended Family Members and Friends

    If you have a child who has recently been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder—or ASD—you may be concerned about how to best explain the diagnosis to the people in your life. Even people who have heard of ASD won’t necessarily understand what it is or what a diagnosis of the disorder means for your child. Here are some tips that will help you explain:

    Talk about the behaviors associated with ASD.

    A good way to begin is to talk about some of the specific behaviors that many children who have ASD tend to have in common. For example, many individuals with ASD have difficulty making eye contact, tend to focus on their favorite interests to the exclusion of other subjects, and become upset if there are any changes to their usual routine. Explain that every case of ASD is unique, and that no two individuals with autismare exactly the same.

    Discuss how a diagnosis benefits your child.

    It’s common for people to worry that “labeling” a child with a diagnosis will negatively affect him or her. When you’re discussing your child’s diagnosis with others, it can be helpful to focus on the beneficial aspects of knowing what your child’s condition is. After all, having an accurate diagnosis means that you can seek out resources to help your child through early development and schooling.

    Explain the consensus about the causes of ASD.

    There are numerous myths and misconceptions surrounding the nature of ASD and what causes it, so it may be a good idea to address these issues directly. For example, you can explain that ASD is a lifelong condition that is thought to begin before birth, that it is not caused by parenting style, and is not caused by vaccines.

    If you are raising a child who has ASD, STAR of CA can provide you with access to the high-quality education and resources you need. We serve families in counties stretching from San Jose to Orange. If you have any questions for us, feel free to contact us today at (805) 644-7827.