• How ABA Helps Parents

    When children have autism spectrum disorder (ASD), it can be challenging for parents to know how to help them succeed. One of the best ways to help a child with ASD is through applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy. Proven to improve the skills of kids with ASD and decrease problematic behaviors, ABA works best when parent training is integrated into treatment strategies. That’s because parents play an integral role in ABA therapy and can work with their children outside of the therapeutic session.

    • What is ABA therapy? Applied behavior analysis focuses on how behavior works and how it’s impacted by certain environments. It also examines the concept of learning strategies and how they apply to people with ASD. A combination of behavioral knowledge and observation is used by an ABA therapist to gain a thorough understanding of each patient’s behavioral patterns. Then the therapist is better able to customize therapeutic strategies to meet the needs of the individual patient. The objective of ABA therapy is to help people with ASD engage and positive behaviors and minimize negative behaviors. The long-term goal is to help individuals become more independent.
    • What techniques are used in ABA? ABA is not a one-size-fits-all therapy, and there are many different techniques utilized by ABA therapists to encourage positive behaviors and minimize negative ones, including:
      • Positive reinforcement like praise, a toy, or a treat, to reward individuals for appropriate behavior.
      • Discrete trial training, using brief, clear, instructions to prompt a desired response.
      • Picture exchange communication system (PCES) teaches people with ASD to communicate using pictures.
    • What is a parent’s role in this therapeutic approach? Parents are integrally involved in ABA as part of the caregiving team and when parents are involved, children learn faster. If you have a child with ASD, you’ll work with the therapists and doctors to:
      • Assess your child, identifying troublesome behaviors and providing background.
      • Develop a plan, determining how your child prefers to learn, setting goals for treatment, and identifying interventions to improve your family life.
      • Collect information, keeping track of your child’s progress and sharing that data.
    • How can parents reinforce ABA therapy? Watching your child’s sessions, you can assess your own skills and determine how to build them to help your child, considering how to incorporate the therapist’s techniques into your own style. Learning how to reinforce ABA therapy is important, because parents spend much more time with their children than the therapists do. The work of ABA seeks to improve social skills, communication, reading, fine motor skills, and more, in order to help people with ASD become more independent and successful.

    If your child has been diagnosed with ASD, STAR of CA is here to help by providing important support services. Founded in 2006, we provide behavioral and psychological services to people with ASD and related disorders in an environment that offers support for the entire family. You can contact us through our website or by calling 805.588.8896.

  • Navigating Broken Routines During the Holidays

    If you are the parent of a child with ASD, you know the importance of routines. Because children with ASD often display rigidity and are uncomfortable with changing plans, routines help to make them feel safe and secure. During the holidays, the disruption of the regular school schedule, paired with the disruptive and over-stimulating nature of the holidays themselves, can negatively impact a child with ASD. Don’t worry, you’ve got this. It just takes some thought and planning.

  • Keep as regular a routine as possible. A different set of events on your schedule doesn’t mean some things can’t stay the same. Keeping the same bedtime every night, waking at the usual time, and keeping mealtimes to a normal schedule can go a long way towards a successful holiday. Even if you’re traveling, try to keep things as close to the usual routine as possible.
  • Discuss disruptions ahead of time. This is one of the most important things you can do, and there are many tools for you to use. Keep a calendar with your whole schedule clearly posted and use social stories to explain to your children how events are going to happen. Try a first/then strategy to help children know what to expect: First we’ll go to the parade, then we’ll have lunch. It’s also good to use warnings, letting kids know when a transition is imminent.
  • Limit screen time. It’s easy to let kids zone out in front of screens when they’re out of school, but it’s beneficial in the long run to set reasonable limits.
  • Involve kids in planning and preparation. Let kids weigh in on the family traditions that are most important to them. Then, let them help make the holidays happen. Making place cards for Thanksgiving, helping to put up decorations or set the table, picking out items to donate, choosing or making gifts for family members- these are all things that children can do. When you let them help, it can ease the stress of a disrupted routine.
  • Set your family up for success. Do you have your heart set on Santa pics? Find a sensory-friendly Santa. For a parade, bring headphones and a blanket. If you suspect an event will be overwhelming, have an exit strategy in place.
  • Two words: Simplicity and Flexibility. When you keep things as simple as you can, you take pressure off of yourself and your kids. When you remain flexible, you’ll be better able to handle the challenges you encounter, and you’ll be modeling an important life skill.

If your child has been diagnosed with ASD, STAR of CA is here to offer support, keeping you informed of opportunities for fun with your kids and providing important support services. Founded in 2006, we provide behavioral and psychological services to people with ASD and related disorders in a nurturing environment that offers support for the entire family. You can contact us through our website or by calling 805.588.8896.

  • Benefits of Applied Behavioral Therapy

    If you’re the parent of a child who has recently been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), you’re probably looking for anything that will help your child. You may feel overwhelmed by the diagnosis, and that’s ok. In fact, there are many different therapies that may help your child, and one of the most beneficial is Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy (ABA).

    What is ABA? Used since the 1960s in treating young children with ASD and related disorders, this evidence-based best practice treatment has evolved over the years. ABA uses customized Behavior Intervention Plans to make gradual, systematic changes in the consequences of behaviors. In this way, socially positive behaviors are encouraged, while socially detrimental behaviors are discouraged. Using ABA, therapists are able to help children develop not only basic skills like looking, listening, and imitating but also more complex skills like reading and carrying on a conversation.

    ABA looks at how behavior works, and applies that understanding to real-world situations. Treatment plans are developed based on individual needs, and for children with ASD, this can help them reach goals in communication and language, social skills, self-care, play, motor skills, and learning and academics. Using ABA for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder is beneficial for many reasons.

    • It works. While many other therapies are available to children with ASD, there’s more scientific evidence supporting the use of ABA than any other treatment.
    • It gives children with ASD the opportunity to make friends. The social skills that many children with ASD are lacking can be taught using ABA, allowing children to interact with others successfully and make friends.
    • It provides children with the skills they need to live real-world lives. Something as simple as toileting skills is crucial for daily function in society. ABA can help children with ASD learn basic skills and much more.
    • It helps parents to parent more effectively. ABA can teach parents how to interact with their children, while also teaching the children how to interact with others. Parenting a child with Autism Spectrum Disorder is not easy, but ABA can help you be a better parent.
    • It sets the bar higher for children with ASD. Some children lose their ASD diagnosis after ABA therapy. Applied Behavioral Analysis is beneficial because it shows parents and children what those children are capable of accomplishing. When expectations are raised, children achieve more. Behaviors that were thought impossible before the start of therapy may suddenly be within the child’s grasp, leading to the confidence that makes even higher goals possible.

    If your child has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, STAR of CA is here to offer support. Founded in 2006, we provide behavioral and psychological services to people with ASD and related disorders in a nurturing environment that offers support for the entire family. We love what we do, and are devoted to improving lives through focused, caring services. You can contact us through our website or by calling 805.588.8896.

  • A Brief Overview of the Verbal Behavior Approach

    The verbal behavior approach is a type of applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy that focuses on improving language. The purpose of the therapy is to assist individuals who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in developing better language skills by breaking verbal output down into specific subtypesThere are four sub-types of words that the verbal behavior approach focuses on: 

    • Mand, which is a verbal request. 
    • Tact, which is an observation or label. 
    • Intraverbal, which is a response. 
    • Echoic, which is a repetition of another word or phrase. 

    This approach is often used in conjunction with other ABA treatments as part of a comprehensive treatment program. 

    At STAR of CA, we specialize in providing the best services available for children who have ASD and other developmental disorders. We can develop an individualized program for your child that targets his or her particular needs. When you need behavioral health services in Ventura, call (805) 644-7827. 

  • What Does It Mean to Be “Therapy Ready”?

    When an ABA therapist is scheduled to come to your home, it’s important to make sure that your child is ready to receive the therapy. That means that the child should be calm and in a suitable mood for working with the therapist. If your child is tired, hungry, stressed out, or sick, then the therapy session is not likely to be as productive as it could be. The same is true if your child is already distracted by playing with his or her favorite toy. If the session doesn’t start out on the right note, then it will be very difficult for the therapist to make it as productive as it should be.   Work with your child’s supervisor for tips on getting your child ready for therapy. 

    You’ll always find the up-to-date ASD treatments and therapies your family needs at STAR of CA. We have been providing state-of-the-art resources to families in Ventura County since 2006, and we are continually working to expand and enhance our services. If you’d like to learn more, give us a call at (805) 644-7827.

  • What to Expect During Your Child’s Assessment: Your Questions Answered

    If you believe that your child may have autism spectrum disorder (ASD), your first step should be to seek out an official diagnostic evaluation. If you’re like most parents, you probably have no idea what you should anticipate from this experience. Here we answer common questions about what happens and what you can expect during an assessment:

    Who will perform the assessment?

    If you believe that your child is showing signs of ASD or a related disorder, your first step will be to schedule an appointment for your child to be evaluated by a professional. The initial evaluation is usually done by a clinical psychologist or pediatrician who has experience assessing individuals with ASD. In some cases, the evaluation may be made by a team of several specialists in different fields, such as a clinical psychologist, neurologist, and speech pathologist.

    What happens during the assessment?

    There is no single test that is used to diagnose ASD, so doing an accurate assessment requires a multifaceted approach. 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. The goal is not just to diagnose a condition, but to provide you with as much useful information as possible for ensuring your child’s health and happiness.

    When do I find out the results of the assessment?

    Typically, a diagnosis is not made at the time of your initial appointment. You may need to wait for the test results, and a follow-up assessment—or a referral to another specialist—may be required before a definite diagnosis can be made. If your child’s status changes during that time, or you notice any additional symptoms, contact the provider who performed the assessment as soon as possible so that this new information can be taken into account.

    STAR of CA offers a wide array of mental health services to families that are living with ASD and other issues. We take an individualized approach to every child’s needs, working to ensure that every family gets the resources they require. If you have any questions about the services we offer in and beyond the Ventura area, call (805) 644-7827.

  • How Using Applied Behavioral Analysis Helps in School Settings

    aba therapy Ventura Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA, is the science of teaching efficiently. It is extremely effective in remediating the symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder. ABA therapy is uesd world-wide to help children with autism achieve in school settings.

    One of the hallmarks of ABA therapy techniques is the use of positive reinforcement. By rewarding desired behaviors rather than punishing inappropriate ones, ABA therapy has been used to help children with autism develop academic skills, including: reading, having conversations with teachers and peers, and recognizing other people’s perspectives.

    STAR of CA offers ABA therapy to qualifying individuals in Ventura . We also help families learn to apply these strategies at home to make everything from mealtimes to bedtime easier. If your family is dealing with an Autism Spectrum diagnosis, call us today at (805) 644-7827.