• Factors to Consider When Setting Expectations and Boundaries

    After your child receives an Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis in Ventura, you may have many questions about how to establish rules in your household that will provide your child with the necessary structure for personal, social, and academic success . For children with ASD, structure and routine are essential. Predictable daily schedules and clear cut expectations will become integral in your household, because children on the autism spectrum may have difficulty understanding unwritten or unspoken rules and boundaries. Therefore, you may need to work with specialists in behavioral health to help you create effective expectations and boundaries that will work for your child. Below you are some important factors to consider as you draw up rules for your household.

    Your Child’s Abilities and Problem Areas

    In both day to day and long-term expectations, it is important to weigh in your child’s skills, abilities, and desires. Asking your child to perform tasks with which he or she struggles, or aspiring for long-term goals that do not fit into your child’s current skillset can be detrimental. Still, you should remember that being on the autism spectrum is not an excuse for poor achievement or bad behavior. You will want to work to find a balance in your expectations that allows your child to thrive while reaching for attainable goals.

    Methods of Enforcement

    With every rule you come up with, you will want to think about how these rules will be enforced. Children with ASD respond better to boundaries and rules when they understand the consequences of breaking them. In addition, you should be prepared to maintain the same level of enforcement over a long period. Constantly changing rules or banking on immediate success can create anxiety and confusion for your child that may translate to outbursts and other inappropriate behaviors.

    Working with STAR of CA, you can expect devoted, experienced support for your whole family with services including Applied Behavioral Analysis to help your child maintain a path toward healthy development. To learn more about the resources we offer in home and community settings, call (805) 644-7827.

  • What Is Stereotypy?

    Stereotypy, colloquially known as “self-stimulatory behavior,” is a core symptom of Autism Spectrum Disorder, and is one of the first symptoms that parents often report to their pediatrician. Stereotypy takes many different forms including turning light switches on and off, humming, repetitively tapping surfaces, and lining up objects. All children (and adults!) engage in stereotypy of some sort, but the persistent nature of stereotypy in children with ASD often inhibits learning and socialization.

    If you have concerns about the rate or intensity of your child’s stereotypy, the professionals of STAR of CA are here to help with comprehensive behavioral therapy in Ventura , as well as parent education and other forms of family support. You can find out more about autism treatment and the characteristics of autism by calling (805) 644-7827.

  • What Are Your Child’s Educational Rights?

    Parents of children on the autism spectrum frequently worry about their kids’ futures in school. Depending on the nature of their children’s ASD symptoms, parents may worry about everything from special classrooms to relationships with teachers and peers. Parents and children on the autism spectrum greatly benefit from having an individualized education program, or IEP, in place that defines educational goals and processes to support learning, to ensure that the child is accessing the curriculum, and to promote appropriate behavior. Building an open and honest dialogue with teachers and school administrators is a must. You absolutely must remember that your child with an autism spectrum disorder has certain rights to an education that cannot be denied. Educating yourself about these rights will help you be the best advocate you can be for your child’s needs.

    Free and Appropriate Education

    The Individuals with Disabilities Act, or IDEA, guarantees a public education for all children with special needs. The law establishes the requirement for a Free and Appropriate Education, or FAPE , for all children. The “appropriate” part of FAPE is the most significant portion for children with autism, because it guarantees them access to an individualized educational program that meets their specific needs.

    Least Restrictive Environment

    Your child has the right to an education in the least restrictive environment possible in which he or she can still receive the necessary support. Least restrictive environments, or LREs, give children with special needs the maximum opportunity to interact with neurotypical students and the ability to participate in the general education curriculum in a way that adapts to their needs but is as inclusionary as possible.

    Your child may have other rights, including early intervention services, special education, and extended school year services. At STAR of CA, we can be part of your child’s school success plan, and provide IEP assistance and behavioral therapy in Ventura, CA . To find out more, please call (805) 644-7827.

  • Understanding the Spectrum Nature of Autism

    All individuals diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder share many of the same core symptoms, but the severity of those symptoms can differ greatly across people. The newest version of the diagnostic manual used by psychologists now offers for the first time a mechanism to subdivide the ASD diagnosis by symptom severity.

    Many schools and behavioral therapists use an assessment called the CARS, the Child Autism Rating Scale, to differentiate between those with level 1, 2, and 3 ASD symptoms. Children in the past were sometimes diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified, or Asperger’s Syndrome, when they displayed symptoms that would now be classified as ASD. Watch this video to gain additional insight on ASD and the range of symptoms those diagnosed may display.

    STAR of CA can help you understand your child’s ASD diagnosis and the types of treatments that are available. Call our center for autism and related disorders in Ventura at (805) 644-7827 for more information.

  • Understanding the Link Between Autism and Communication Problems

    One area in which children on the autism spectrum often struggle is communication. The type of communication difficulties experienced by children with ASD can vary a great deal. Here is a look at some of the communication difficulties children on the autism spectrum may display.

    Hyperlexia

    Hyperlexia , a fairly uncommon characteristic, is characterized by a child’s ability to read far above grade/age level but an inability to understand the meaning of the text. Likewise, children with hyperlexia have difficulty using and understanding verbal language and with social interactions. Children with hyperlexia struggle to process words that are spoken to them, but their ability to read can prove useful in helping them learn and retain information.

    Understanding Gestures

    For children with autism spectrum disorder, reading social cues from other people can sometimes be difficult. Children on the autism spectrum may not understand gestures like waving and pointing and may struggle to use gestures in their own communication. The inability to understand and use gestures when communicating with others can lead to frustration and behavioral issues.

    Maintaining Conversations

    Conversations can be difficult for children on the autism spectrum. Because conversation skills may not come naturally, it is a skill that may need be practiced and taught. Regular, consistent practice often proves successful in helping children with ASD learn to hold reciprocal conversations.

    At STAR of CA, we provide comprehensive treatment covering all areas of need, including communication skills. We also offer group and individual therapy and support for parents and siblings. Find out how our evidence-based autism treatment in Ventura can make a difference in your family by calling us today at (805) 644-7827.

  • Promoting Appropriate Replacement Behaviors using Positive Behavioral Support Principles

    Children on the autism spectrum often display certain behavioral problems, but a Positive Behavioral Support plan from STAR of CA can help. Positive Behavioral Support—or PBS— helps families reduce stress and improve quality of life by teaching the individual functionally equivalent ways to get their needs met, for instance: requesting cookies appropriately instead of throwing a tantrum to get cookies.

    PBS begins with a functional behavioral assessment to determine what function the maladaptive behavior serves. Next, a series of strategies are employed to reduce negative behaviors and replace them with positive replacement behaviors. The replacement behaviors are often taught in a contrived one-on-one setting, and then generalized to more natural settings.

    PBS is just one of the methods that STAR of CA uses to address the symptoms of ASD and help improve quality of life for children and their families. You can get more information about autism treatment in Ventura by calling us today at (805) 644-7827.

  • The Process of Diagnosing Autism

    The diagnostic process can be intimidating. If your child displays signs of Autism Spectrum Disorder, such as failing to make eye contact or not responding to his or her own name, your child’s pediatrician may recommend an assessment by a child psychologist or other ASD specialist. Since early identification and treatment are associated with more positive outcomes, parents should be persistent and seek out a qualified and thorough assessor. This is what you should expect from the diagnostic process:

    Routine Developmental Screenings

    During your child’s routine appointments with a pediatrician between birth and 36 months of age, the doctor will perform screenings to determine if your child is reaching the typical developmental milestones. If symptoms of Autism Spectrum Disorder show up during these screenings, your pediatrician may refer you to a specialist for additional testing. There are a host of assessments that are designed to evaluate your child’s behavior and determine the likelihood that the symptoms can be attributed to an ASD diagnosis. If the results show a high likelihood of ASD, your child may need to see a different kind of specialist or undergo additional screening.

    Star of CA is available to help families as they undergo the ASD diagnostic process in Ventura, CA. To learn more about how we can help your family, please call (805) 644-7827.

  • Getting to Know STAR of CA

    At STAR of CA, we have been providing comprehensive treatment for children with autism spectrum disorder and their families in Ventura County since 2006. Before founding STAR of CA, our team worked with families across the Los Angeles area until they decided to bring their expertise and autism awareness to their home community.

    Our focus is on providing evidence-based Applied Behavioral Analysis treatment, or ABA, to children with autism to remediate their behavioral excesses and deficits. Our nurturing environment is not only a safe place for children on the autism spectrum but also their families. Since opening, we have also begun to offer mental health services to the greater Ventura County community.

    Get the help your family needs with autism therapies by calling STAR of CA . Our compassionate staff of autism specialists can help your entire family learn new ways to deal with the challenges that autism can bring. To find out more, please call (805) 644-7827.

  • Sharing your Child’s Autism Diagnosis with the Teacher

    When your child with autism enters the classroom setting, making an ally of the teacher can make everyone feel more at ease. Although some parents of children on the autism spectrum are hesitant to discuss their child’s diagnosis with their teacher, open communication is critical to school success. Remember, your child’s teacher wants to see him or her succeed and have a good school experience; the more you work together, the better it will be for your child.

    Share Information

    You have a vast amount of information about your child, from what kinds of routines work for you at home to what to do if he or she is struggling behaviorally. Your child’s teacher is learning about him or her on the go, in a classroom full of students and other demands. You can make it easier for the teacher to give your child the support he or she needs to be successful by sharing as much information as possible.

    Set Up a Communication System

    Decide together how you would like the teacher to communicate with you. Daily emails, weekly phone calls, or a written communication log are all useful modalities. Your child’s teacher may not know exactly what information you would like, so decide at the outset what you would like to hear about. Sticking to a regular communication system prevents you from feeling frustrated at a lack of information and the teacher from worrying about bombarding you with too much detail.

    Stay Positive

    If your child’s teacher does not have experience with individuals with autism spectrum disorders, there may be a learning curve as he or she figures out how to give your child the best possible support. As a parent, mistakes by the teacher can be frustrating, but it is more productive to focus on the positive results and offer advice.

    At STAR of CA, we help children on the autism spectrum in Ventura build the skills to help them succeed in the classroom and in personal relationships. If your family needs help managing life with autism , please call (805) 644-7827.

  • Inside the World of Autism

    What does it feel like to be on the autism spectrum? What are the signs of autism that parents should be looking for? Watch this video to hear a child with autism describe what it feels like for him.

    Being on the autism spectrum can feel lonely and scary. Changes of routines and looking people in the eye can cause anxiety and make it difficult to interact fully with the world. Fortunately, early intervention can be life-changing. Being aware of autism symptoms and seeking early and effective treatment is the best way parents can help their children.

    At STAR of CA, we understand the difficulties families face when they discover that a child is on the autism spectrum, and we are here to help with evidence-based interventions. Find out more about how we help children with autism in Ventura by calling (805) 644-7827.