• How to Become a Smart Consumer of ASD Interventions

    If you are a parent of a child who has autism spectrum disorder (ASD), you have undoubtedly heard about some of the many different therapies that are available for your child. Unfortunately, not all of these therapies work or have evidence supporting their effectiveness. If you inadvertently select a therapy that is ineffective, this can come at a significant cost to your time and resources—and with no discernable benefit to your child.  

    Fortunately, it’s possible to distinguish helpful treatments from treatments that are of little or no value, or that may even be harmful. If you are wondering whether a particular treatment for ASD would actually be beneficial for your child, these are some of the questions you should ask yourself:  

    Does it promise to cure ASD?  

    When it comes to ASD treatments, this is probably the single most significant red flag. There is currently no known cure for ASD, so any treatment that promises to cure it is making a false claim.  

    Is it an evidence-based treatment?  

    There are two types of treatments for ASD: those that are based on evidence, and those that are not. How can you tell which treatments are evidence-based? Let’s take a look—these are some of the qualities of an evidence-based treatment:  

    • The treatment has been tested more than once.  
    • The tests showed demonstrable improvement after use of the treatment.  
    • The tests used a representative sample of the population.  
    • The sample sizes were sufficiently large to make the tests useful.  

    If an ASD treatment meets all of these standards, it may be a worthwhile treatment for your child. It’s important to keep in mind that different treatments work better for different individuals, so a therapy that works well for one child’s needs will not necessarily work for another child. Reputable non-profit online resources, such as the National Autism Center, offers reliable information about evidence-based treatments (http://www.nationalautismcenter.org/) for ASD.  

    STAR of CA uses evidence-based treatments to help children with a wide range of different developmental issues, including ASD. We are dedicated to providing the best possible services for the families we serve. If you have any questions about our services, call (805) 644-7827 today.  

  • A Look at One Family’s Experience with ASD During Adolescence

    It’s important to understand that every child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is different and that a unique approach needs to be taken for every individual. However, there are some common challenges that many families who are dealing with ASD find themselves facing, so you can take strength from hearing their stories. In this video, you’ll hear from one family as they discuss their experience raising a teenager with ASD.  

    At STAR of CA, our team works to ensure that families and communities in and beyond Ventura County always have the resources they need to live with ASD and other developmental disorders. If you have any questions about our services, you can reach us today at (805) 644-7827.


  • 3 Tips for Planning a Successful Play Date for Your Child with ASD

    Scheduling play dates for your children is a great way to help them work on their social skills while having fun. For parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), however, navigating a successful play date can be much more challenging. Here are some tips to keep in mind when you’re planning a play date for your child:  

    1. Put a time limit on it. 

    It’s important to remember that you want to set your child up for success and that may mean a short playdate; even as short as 30 minutes to an hour. As the parent, you know your child’s strengths and needs so keep that in mind when setting the time limit.  As your child increases their social skills, you can gradually increase the length of your playdate.   

    1. Choose the environment carefully. 

    It may be tempting to take your child to a park or a playground, but if those places are crowded, the level of sensory stimulation may be overwhelming for your child.  Try going to public places when they are less likely to be busy, and choose quieter environments such as backyards or smaller parks for your child’s play date. When picking the environment, you’ll also want to consider your child’s and their peer’s interest.  Choose an environment that is conducive to the types of activities or toys they like to play. 

    1. Give your child a way to take breaks. 

    It’s important that children with ASD are able to remove themselves from challenging environments whenever they start to feel upset. Make sure that you have a place for your child to retreat to during the play date if they begin to feel overwhelmed or anxious.  It is okay for the children to play separately for a bit if that is what they need to ensure the playdate will be a success. Children tend to get overstimulated during playdates, so it’s important to give them some time to wind down afterward. 

    Are you looking for resources to help you raise a child with ASD? STAR of CA has been assisting families in Ventura County and Southern California since we opened our doors in May 2006. We use ABA-based methods to provide individualized programs to help children with ASD and related disorders. To learn more, contact us today at (805) 644-7827.

  • Defining ABA Therapy

    Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is an empirically validated and widely used approach to treating Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and related conditions. It focuses primarily on helping individuals reduce challenging behaviors and develop new skills. Every treatment is customized to meet the individuals’ needs. During the therapy, a skill is chosen and broken up into small, manageable steps using reinforcement as a catalyst to behavior change. The learner’s progress is then carefully monitored throughout so that the therapy can be adjusted as needed to ensure that it stays helpful. ABA therapy has proved to be extremely beneficial in helping individuals with ASD progress in all areas; it is the most common type of ASD therapy in use today.  

    STAR of CA offers a wide array of important services for children with ASD and their families that draw on the principles of ABA. We have been serving Ventura, Los Angeles, and Orange Counties and other areas since 2006. For more information, call (805) 644-7827.