• Preparing for the ASD Assessment Process

    Making a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is essential in order to ensure that the individual gets the therapy he or she needs. However, getting that diagnosis can be tricky. After all, there is not a single definite test that can be used to determine whether a person has ASD or not. If you’re wondering what you should do in order to prepare your child for the ASD assessment process, here is what you need to know.  

    When should an ASD assessment take place?  

    The most reliable assessments of ASD generally take place by or around the age of 2. However, the symptoms of ASD are often visible by around 18 months of age. If you have identified any possible symptoms of a developmental delay in your child, the next step is to schedule a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation.  

    What happens at a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation?  

    If your child shows any early signs of ASD, setting up a comprehensive diagnostic evaluation will allow you to determine whether your child does indeed have this condition. At the evaluation, which is usually performed by a specialist, your child will receive a complete examination, and areas such as hearing, vision, and developmental history will be taken into account.  

    What should I bring to my child’s diagnostic evaluation?  

    In order to ensure that your child’s evaluation for ASD is as productive as possible, you will want to take the time to assemble the materials you’ll need ahead of time. You should be sure to bring any relevant medical information, such as your child’s vision and hearing records, to this evaluation. It may also be helpful to bring some personal notes, such as any questions you have about ASD or your own observations of your child you’d like to note. 

    STAR of CA provides a wide range of support services for individuals with ASD and their families in Ventura County, including individualized intervention programs, family support services, and parent education classes. We are committed to offering the best services possible to everyone we work with. To learn more, call (805) 644-7827. 

  • How Can Puberty Affect Kids with ASD?

    Raising children who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be a challenge for any parent, but the challenges escalate when a child reaches puberty. As adulthood looms on the horizon, parents may grow increasingly concerned about finding the best options for helping their child make that transition. In this video from PBS NewsHour, you’ll be introduced to Alexander Brown, a 14-year-old who has nonverbal ASD, and his mother, who discusses what it is like to have a child with ASD as he goes through puberty. 

    STAR of CA has been providing individuals and families with essential support for living with ASD since we first opened in 2006. Visit us at our website to learn more about the wide array of services we offer in Ventura County and be sure to call (805) 644-7827 with your questions.

  • What is Nonverbal ASD? 

    Nonverbal ASD is a term that is commonly used to refer to people with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who have never learned to speak more than a handful of words. It is not considered an official diagnosis, and people with nonverbal ASD vary considerably in their verbal skills. Some of those individuals can use individual words but cannot use them in long sentences, while others simply “echo” words and sentences they have heard without appearing to understand them. Still, other people with nonverbal ASD can write or use sign language but are not able to communicate vocally. As many as one-third of all individuals with ASD may fall into the nonverbal category.  

    Since 2006, STAR of CA has been using modern, evidence-based treatments to provide Ventura County families with support for ASD and other developmental disabilities. If you would like to learn more about our mental health services, give us a call today at (805) 644-7827.

  • The Role of CBT in Helping Children with ASD Cope with Mental Health Issues

    There are numerous ways to work with children who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and one promising technique involves the use of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT has been used for many years to treat various mental health issues, but in recent years it has proven useful for treating people of various ages with ASD and comorbid mental health concerns. Here is a brief overview of CBT and how it may be applied when working with individuals with ASD.  

    What is CBT?  

    CBT is an approach to therapy that focuses on changing the way we think about the things that happen to us. For example, a person with depression may feel negative about themselves because of a tendency toward certain thinking patterns (e.g. only attending to negative events that occur or interpreting neutral events as negative), rather than taking a more balanced view. CBT would seek to alter that type of thought pattern by teaching the person to recognize their own maladaptive cognitive tendencies and to develop alternative patterns of thinking and behaviors that support that individual’s mental health in a more balanced way.  

    How can CBT be used to treat ASD?  

    Recent studies have shown that many children who have ASD, also have the ability to recognize their own thought patterns and change them. Therapists have adapted CBT techniques in order to make them more suitable for individuals with ASD. For example, most children who have ASD learn more effectively from images that are concrete and visible, rather than abstract concepts. In addition, CBT can also be effective when it is delivered in a group setting, as children may benefit from the social reinforcement they get from this experience. Finally, CBT has proven valuable in treating anxiety, which many individuals with ASD also experience.  

    STAR of CA offers support services for a wide array of mental health and development disability issues for families across regions within California. Our skilled, multidisciplinary team will be happy to address any concerns you may have. If you have any questions about the services we provide, call us today at (805) 644-7827.