• What Science Says about Self-Injurious Behavior

    Children who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may manifest the condition in a number of ways—and some of those ways, unfortunately, can cause them harm. Many children with ASD may behave in ways that cause them to injure themselves. Here is what recent research has to say about the relationship between ASD and self-injurious behavior 

    What is self-injurious behavior?  

    Self-injurious behavior (SIB) is a term that describes any behavior that involves deliberate, non-lethal harm to the self. In children with ASD, common types of self-injurious behavior may include pulling hair, scratching nails on skin, biting skin, or banging the head against walls or other objects. The behavior tends to be repetitive, and children usually seem to engage in it impulsively.  

    Do all children with ASD injure themselves?  

    While not all children who have ASD and related disorders engage in self-injurious behavior, many do. According to a 2016 study looking at the prevalence of SIB in 8-year-old children with ASD, published in The Journal of Autism and Developmental Disordersapproximately 28 percent of them demonstrated some form of self-injurious behavior.  

    How can self-injurious behavior in children be treated?  

    Treatment of self-injurious behavior will begin by trying to identify the function or the reason why a child engages in the behavior. There are numerous reasons why children may demonstrate self-injurious behavior, including a reaction to pain caused by an unrelated issue, inability to communicate effectively and in frustration injure themselves, attempts to obtain an object or result, or even seizures. It’s important to collect as much information as possible about the behavior—including where the child is when it occurs, who is around the child, and any events that precede the behavior and what happens after the behavior occurs—in order to determine why the child engages in the behaviorOnce it is understood why a child is engaging in this behavior, an intervention can be planned to reduce its frequency and teach a skill so the child’s needs are met with the intent to eliminate the behavior 

    At STAR of CA, our entire team is focused on providing the best and most complete care possible for mental health concerns, drawing on the latest and most accurate research in the field. We are committed to providing families and children in and beyond the Ventura area with the caring, helpful services they need. If you have any questions about the services we provide, give us a call today at (805) 644-7827. 

  • How ASD Can Differ in Boys and Girls

    If you are the parent of a child who has autism spectrum disorder (ASD), you may be wondering if the disorder manifests differently depending on the child’s gender. In fact, there are notable differences between the way ASD appears in boys and girls. These are some of the areas in which girls display ASD symptoms differently than boys:  

    Communication Skills 

    For boys who have ASD, trouble with social communication skills may become apparent early on, as they begin interacting with their peers. Girls who have ASD, on the other hand, may not experience serious difficulty with social communication until they reach adolescence. The same holds true for non-verbal communication skills, which girls tend to experience less trouble with than boys. Thus, it may be more difficult to observe the signs of ASD in girls who have it.  

    Disruptive Behavior 

    Many parents of children with ASD notice that their children tend to act out and display disruptive behavior. While both boys and girls who have ASD may manifest this behavior, some experts are observing that girls with ASD may demonstrate higher levels of imitating socially appropriate behaviors.   

    Limited Interests 

    Many children who have ASD become fascinated with one or two interests to the exclusion of all others, such as trains or building blocks. While girls do manifest this symptom, they tend to become absorbed by interests that do not seem unusual to their parents, such as dolls or television shows. Therefore, this symptom can easily go unnoticed, and a case of ASD may not be diagnosed right away.  

    If you and your loved ones are struggling to deal with the challenges that come with an ASD diagnosis, you may benefit from the services offered by STAR of CA. We have been serving Ventura and the surrounding areas since we first opened our doors in May of 2006. For the comprehensive ASD services you deserve, contact us today at (805) 644-7827. 

  • The Developmental Levels of Play

    Developing age-appropriate play skills is important for every child’s growth, as it provides the necessary skills for social interaction. There are several distinct levels of play that most children experience as they grow. As a child develops, the will progress from playing by themselves to playing alongside other children, to tentatively sharing toys with other children, to engaging in cooperative and imaginative play with others and finally to engaging in rule-based play with others. For parents of children who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD), it’s particularly important to supervise a child’s development closely and take note if your child is not advancing past certain stages.  

    For the most up-to-date treatments and therapies for ASD, individuals in the Ventura area should get in touch with STAR of CA. We offer a wide range of services targeted toward the needs of families who are dealing with the challenges of ASD and related disorders. If you have any questions for our team, you can always reach us at (805) 644-7827.