• Who Should Be Screened for ASD?

    If you are concerned that your child may have autism spectrum disorder (ASD), your first step should be to obtain a professional screening as soon as possible. But you might not be certain precisely how to determine whether or not your child displays any of the symptoms of the disorder. If any of the following things are true of your child, you may want to consider scheduling a screening.  

    Your child is missing important developmental milestones.  

    As they develop, children tend to hit certain milestones at certain ages. By the time of their first birthday, children should be able to gesture and babble; by 16 months, single words should emerge; by their second birthday, they should be able to use simple phrases on their own. Additionally, by 12 months, your child should often seek your attention and to share their experiences with you by pointing out items of interest in their environment or looking to you as a means of identifying how they should respond to a novel situation (e.g. social referencing). If your child misses any of these milestones, they may need a screening for ASD.  
    Your child is regressing after reaching milestones.  

    If your child is having difficulty using certain language or social skills after already achieving them, it’s a definite warning sign. For example, if your child seems to be having difficulty using words or gestures to express him or herself after being able to do so previously, you should consider having an ASD screening in addition to a medical screening.  

    Your child has a sibling who has ASD.  

    If your child has a sibling with ASD or another developmental disorder, it’s important to watch carefully for any warning signs of ASD. If you notice any similar symptoms arise at any stage of development, you may want to have your child screened by a professional for ASD.  

    If you are searching for the right resources to help you and your family support your child with ASD, let STAR of CA be your guide. We have been serving areas across California for more than a decade, and we are continually working to expand and improve the behavioral and psychological services we offer. For more information, call us today at (805) 644-7827. 

  • What Parents Need to Know about IEPs

    If you have a child who has autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or a similar developmental disability, the prospect of sending your child to school may concern you. Fortunately, help is available. Children with ASD may be given an Individualized Education Plan (IEP), which covers all of the special services that a child needs to thrive in the public school system. Here is what all parents need to know about IEPs. 

    Who can get an IEP?  

    Within public education, if a student is evaluated and it is found that the child has one of the disabilities listed in the special education law IDEA and needs special education service to succeed in school, they will have an IEP.  IEPs are available to any children in the public school system who require them, including at both public schools and charter schools. Preschoolers starting at the age of 3 to 5 years can also have an IEP if found eligible.  IEPs are available to children through the high school graduation or a maximum of age 22. 

    What happens during an IEP evaluation meeting?  

    After a request or referral for evaluation, the school may have a meeting to discuss the evaluation.  There will be a team of professionals—which may include special education teachers, speech pathologists, and other specialists—who will be evaluating your child.  The school may decide to go ahead with the evaluation without a meeting and will obtain your consent prior to conducting the evaluation. It’s a good idea to spend some time familiarizing yourself with the laws in your state regarding special education services and come prepared to articulate your concern(s) and to bring a notebook with you so that you can document the meeting. It also may be good to bring along a friend or family member for support; informing the school ahead of time is recommended.  

    What happens after the evaluation?  

    After your child is evaluated, a meeting will be held to review the results and determine if your child is eligible for an IEP.  Like the evaluation meeting, there will be a team of professionals and anyone you may have invited to attend for support. The team will determine if your child has one of the 13 categories disabilities listed in IDEA and if the disability has adverse effects on his or her education.   If found eligible, the team will create an educational plan that is individualized for your child’s needs.  Sometimes this occurs in the same meeting or a separate meeting will be scheduled.   

    How is an IEP developed?  

    If your child is found to be eligible for an IEP, you will be able to participate in the process of developing your child’s education plan. It is critical that the plan includes clear objectives and measurable goals for your child and state the individualized educational services and supports that will be provided. The plan should also include detailed information about your child’s current educational status, your child’s educational strengths and weaknesses, and how your child’s condition affects his or her education.  

    STAR of CA uses evidence-based treatments to provide education and resources for families and individuals who are dealing with ASD and other mental health issues. We have been serving Ventura since we opened in 2006, and we are continually working to provide the best possible services for the community. If you have any questions, call (805) 644-7827.  

  • Why Are Rates of ASD Rising?

    In recent years, the number of new diagnoses of autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has increased drastically. Why exactly is this happening? As this video explains, this trend may not mean that actual instances of ASD are on the rise. Instead, the answer may simply be that we are getting better at identifying ASD and other developmental disorders.  

    If you have a child who has ASD or a related disorder, it’s time to get in touch with the team at STAR of CA. For the past decade and longer, we have been helping individuals and families in Ventura find the right services for their needs. To learn more about the wide array of support services we offer, call us today at (805) 644-7827.

  • Who Is on the IEP Team?

    In order to ensure that a child who has autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can get the comprehensive, effective public education experience he or she deserves, it is important to craft a customized plan. This plan is known as the Individualized Education Plan or IEP. The team that is responsible for drafting an IEP for a child will include the parents, one or more of the child’s special education teachers, one or more of the child’s regular teachers, a person representing the school, and a person who is qualified to interpret the results of the child’s evaluation. In some cases, the child may be directly involved in creating the plan.  

    STAR of CA is dedicated to ensuring that every family we work with gets the individual plan they need in order to confront the challenges of living with ASD. To learn more about how we can develop an individualized program for your child’s treatment, call (805) 644-7827.