• Conditions that Commonly Accompany Autism Spectrum Disorder

    People with Autism Spectrum Disorder face many challenges, not just from ASD, but also from conditions that often accompany it. Varying from one person to the next, these co-occurring conditions can have an impact on the timing of an ASD diagnosis, or can exacerbate symptoms. Since more than half of people with ASD have four or more accompanying conditions, it’s important to understand how some of the more common ones interact with ASD.  

    Conditions that coincide with Autism Spectrum Disorder typically fall into one of four categories: medical problems, developmental diagnoses, mental-health conditions, and genetic conditions. Examples of medical issues include epilepsy, gastrointestinal problems, or sleep disorders, while genetic conditions may include things like tuberous sclerosis complex and fragile X syndrome. Developmental diagnoses like language delay or an intellectual disability are common, as are mental-health conditions like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, depression, or obsessive-compulsive disorder. 

    The occurrence of these conditions is hard to estimate, largely because of differences in diagnostic criteria and the diversity of people who have ASD. A child with a mood disorder, for instance, may not be accurately diagnosed if he or she does not speak. What’s more, presenting concerns like anxiety can look different in people with ASD than they do in those who are neurotypical. To try and overcome difficulties in diagnosis, researchers are looking for innovative solutions, like an autism-specific depression-screening questionnaire.  

    It’s important that we take a closer look at these co-occurring conditions because they can have a direct impact on a person’s well-being. If we could reach a better understanding of these conditions, we could improve the quality of life for people with ASD. Sometimes, resolving one of these accompanying conditions may even ease the symptoms of ASD. For instance, when sleep or gastrointestinal problems are resolved, the result is often improved mood and a decrease in the severity of challenging behaviors.  

    Unfortunately, the conditions that accompany ASD may complicate the Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis. That’s because there can be overlap between the traits of ASD and the symptoms of a co-occurring condition. Sometimes, the relationship between these conditions and ASD is complicated and multifaceted. Through further studying these conditions and their connections to Autism Spectrum Disorder, researchers are hoping to come to a better understanding of how the conditions relate and how to help people with ASD live better lives. 

    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 805.644.7827.  

  • Learn What Adults with ASD Wish You Knew in this Video Clip

    Autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, is one of the most common developmental disorders in the world. It’s also one of the most widely misunderstood. There are numerous misconceptions about ASD, especially as it manifests in adults. For example, many people wonder if they should behave differently if they know that a person has ASD. In this video, adults with ASD share some things that they wish more people understood about the condition.  

    At STAR of CA, our team uses evidence-based treatments to provide much-needed help for families who are dealing with the challenges of an ASD diagnosis. If you are in search of resources for ASD and other developmental disorders in the Ventura area, you can reach us today at (805) 644-7827 

  • Exploring the Three Severity Levels of Autism

    As you probably already know, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) varies significantly from person to person. As its name suggeststhe condition exists on a spectrum, and a person who has ASD may require little to no therapy, moderate therapy, or extensive therapy. To help determine what the best approach is for providing assistance to someone with ASD, an individual with a diagnosis often gets designated with one of three severity levels. These levels offer guidance on the amount of support a person with the condition may require 

    Level 1 “Requiring Support” 

    Individuals who receive a diagnostic designation of Level 1 require a minor to moderate amount of support. For example, these individuals may be conversational but have trouble initiating social interactions or may exhibit unsuccessful responses to social overtures from othersThese individuals may also have difficulties with organization or switching between activities to an extent that interferes with their daily functioning.  

    Level 2 “Requiring Substantial Support” 

    Individuals designated with a Level 2 severity are considered to need a substantial amount of support. For instance, these individuals might manifest clear restricted or repetitive behaviors, and their social interactions may be highly limited to certain interests or may be marked with deficits in both verbal and nonverbal communication skills. They may have difficulty in adapting to changes in their routine, and they might show obvious distress in response to changes.  

    Level 3 “Requiring Very Substantial Support” 

    Individuals who receive a Level 3 severity designation require an intensive level of supportThese individuals usually have very limited social and communication skills, and they may be extremely agitated by changes to their schedule or a new environment. These individuals generally require extensive therapy and supervision 

    If you’re looking for the support you and your loved ones need to live with ASD, it’s time to reach out to STAR of CAWe offer a wide array of essential behavioral and psychological services to individuals and families. If you have any questions about our services, feel free to contact us today at (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.

  • Do We Know What Causes Autism?

    Despite the prevalence of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), there is no universally accepted consensus on what causes the condition. But while a single cause has not been identified, there are risk factors that appear to increase the likelihood of developing ASD. Some of the major risk factors for the condition include having a family history of ASD, having parents of advanced age, experiencing birth complications such as low birth weight, and being born of a pregnancy that takes place within a year of another pregnancy. There is no known link between childhood vaccinations and ASD.  

    If you are looking for ASD resources in Ventura, it’s time to get in touch with STAR of CA. We offer family support services, children’s behavioral services, and other services targeted toward the needs of families that are dealing with the challenges that can accompany an ASD diagnosis. If you have any questions, contact us today at (805) 644-7827.

  • After the Diagnosis: A Family’s Step-by-Step Guide

    If you have a child who has been newly diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), you may be feeling overwhelmed by the news. You may also be wondering what you need to do next. Fortunately, there are many helpful resources available that will help you better understand your child’s diagnosis and develop a plan for moving forward. Here are the most important steps you should take after an ASD diagnosis:

    Learn everything you can about ASD.

    This will be an ongoing process, of course, but you should try to learn as much as possible about ASD and what a diagnosis means for your family. Look for quality information from respected researchers and established institutions such as universities and reputable non-profits (e.g. Autism Speaks, National Autism Center). Educating yourself about ASD will also prepare you to answer questions from friends, family members, and acquaintances about your child’s diagnosis.

    Find the best resources for your family.

    After an ASD diagnosis, your first priority should be finding the best services available in your area. This includes evidence-based interventions, such as Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), and may also include parent education, family therapy or support services, and school-based services. A great reference for evidence-based and effective therapies for ASD can be found on the National Autism Center’s website and is called the National Standards Project . ASD is something that affects your entire family, so it’s important to look for resources that will help you in multiple ways across family members (e.g. family or individual counseling, parent support groups, sibling support groups, etc.).

    Reach out for support from others.

    It is common to feel isolated, highly stressed, or to feel grief after receiving an ASD diagnosis. Some parents may even feel a level of relief in finding an explanation for some of their child’s presenting needs. Joining a support group will give you a chance to talk to other people who are dealing with many of the same challenges that you’re now confronting for the first time. Learning that you’re not alone, and that there are other families out there who are working through the same issues, can be heartening and reassuring.

    Since we first opened in May 2006, STAR of CA has been working to ensure that individuals and families across regions of California have access to the comprehensive ASD resources they need. We are committed to serving our local communities, providing compassionate care, and delivering personalized services to our clients. If you have any questions for our team, you can reach us at (805) 644-7827.

  • Waiting for Your Child’s Assessment Results? What You Can Do While You Wait

    When your child is being assessed for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), it’s only natural to wonder what you should do while you’re waiting for the results. It may take some time to receive results from the evaluation, so while you’re waiting, here are some productive steps you can take on your own:

    Find a support group.

    If your child has shown symptoms that are consistent with those of ASD, it can be challenging for you to live with this situation by yourself, with nobody to talk to about it. But you don’t have to go it alone. While you’re waiting for your child’s ASD assessment to be completed and discussed with you, it can be beneficial to find a support group in your area so you can talk to other parents who also have children with ASD.

    Look into available interventional services.

    Even if you have not received your child’s assessment, it’s not too early to look into some of the interventional services that are available in your area. You should check to see if your child’s school offers any services that are geared to the needs of children with ASD and other developmental issues.

    Educate yourself about ASD.

    If you’re like most parents, you probably hadn’t spent much time thinking about ASD until you learned that your child may be living with it. As you wait for your child’s results, seek out professional resources that will help you understand what the disorder is and how it is treated. The more thoroughly you understand ASD, the more prepared you will be when going over the results.

    If your child has been diagnosed with ASD or another developmental disorder, you can depend on the team at STAR of CA to provide you with the up-to-date information and evidence-based therapies you need. We work to provide customized services for families who are living with ASD and related conditions in and beyond Ventura County. To learn more, call us today at (805) 644-7827.

  • What We Know and Don’t Know About Autism

    There has been significant progress in the field of autism since the first diagnosis over 70 years ago. Today the field has a greater understanding of the disorder as well as identified interventions to effectively teach individuals on the autism spectrum. However, there is still much to learn and understand. . In this fascinating TED Talk, geneticist Wendy Chung explains what our current understanding of ASD is, and what questions we have yet to answer.

    STAR of CA is a Ventura-based organization offering mental and developmental health services to individuals, families, and communities throughout California. To learn more, visit our website or contact us directly at (805) 644-7827.

  • What Parents Can Learn in Our ABA Classes

    If you are raising a child who has autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, you probably have plenty of questions—and understandably so. The definition of ASD has evolved over time, and the techniques that are used to foster positive development in children with ASD have changed to meet our growing understanding of the disorder. Many families who are dealing with this issue, however, don’t have access to the latest and most beneficial information. That’s why STAR of CA offers parent education courses designed to explain how Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is used to treat mental health issues. Our ABA courses arm parents with the knowledge they need to understand how effective ABA intervention can assist their child’s development.

    If you would like to learn more about how STAR of CA can help you with the challenges presented by ASD, call us today at (805) 644-7827. We work to ensure that families and communities in the Ventura area receive the education, skills, and resources necessary toeffectively confront common childhood developmental disorders and behavioral issues.

  • Why Are Children with Autism Bullied?

    Bullying is a widespread problem in schools, and children on the autism spectrum are often targeted at a higher rate than students without ASD. As a parent of a child with ASD, you may have concerns about your child being bullied in school, especially because bullying may elicit outbursts from your child that result in disciplinary action. Furthermore, your child may face added difficulties in the classroom if bullying is a problem during school hours.

    Children with ASD may to get bullied more frequently in large part due to their atypical reactions to being bullied. Bullies will pick on peers to achieve a certain negative reaction, and children with ASD often respond to bullying by having a meltdown or other outburst that becomes a playground spectacle. The bully is reinforced by the student with ASD’s response, and other students may not know how or why to intervene.

    Through the support and education of STAR of CA, you can learn how to better communicate with your child’s school to establish a better understanding of autism spectrum disorders and provide your child with the tools he needs to stand up to bullies at school. To learn more about our autism awareness services in Ventura, call (805) 644-7827 or visit our website for more details about our programs.