• 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.

  • What Are the Benefits of Early Autism Diagnosis?

    As understanding of autism spectrum disorders continue to grow, one factor that has become almost unanimously accepted is that early diagnosis can have a dramatic impact on the success of autism treatments . Because the brain is more malleable the younger a person is, early diagnosis can lead to better outcomes for children across the autism spectrum. Being aware of autism symptoms, being aggressive about getting a diagnosis, and seeking autism treatment can be one of the most important things you do for your child. Here are some of the benefits of getting a diagnosis early in your child’s life.

    Improved Social and Cognitive Development

    Early diagnosis allows for autism-appropriate education to begin at a young age. Children are taught things like making eye contact and interacting with others, when their brains are most likely to absorb the information. Having this kind of education ongoing throughout the important developmental milestones that occur in the first few years of life can help children with autism integrate into society in the future. This is true for individuals across the autism spectrum.

    Better Parental Support

    Parents can also benefit from early diagnosis in many ways. First, an early diagnosis means getting early access to the support needed to raise a child with autism, which can help to alleviate some of the intense physical and emotional pressure parents feel. Early detection also helps parents learn the best ways to support their child from a young age. Without support, parents may be unequipped to remediate symptoms of autism.

    Star of CA offers extensive behavioral and psychological support for children with autism and their families. If your child has been diagnosed with autism, call us at (805) 644-7827 to learn more about age-appropriate autism therapy near Ventura.

  • Tips for Explaining Your Child’s Autism to His or Her Siblings

    An autism diagnosis isn’t just something that happens to one child. The entire family is faced with adjusting to a new normal, which can be particularly challenging for siblings whose brother or sister is on the autism spectrum. Fortunately, there are many things parents can do to help their other children understand autism and what it means to the family as well as to encourage healthy sibling relationships. If one of your children is on the autism spectrum, this advice will help you explain the diagnosis to siblings.

    Use Age-Appropriate Explanations

    The language and approach you use to explain autism to your children depends very much on their ages. Very young children can benefit from reassurances that autism isn’t contagious and that you will be there to help. The older your children get, the more important it will become to share concrete facts about the autism spectrum and to describe the kinds of symptoms and behaviors they can expect to see. Be honest and direct, and welcome questions.

    Have an Ongoing Conversation

    Keep the lines of communication between yourself and your children open, and continue to increase their understanding of the diagnosis. Be forthright about problems that your children may face when a sibling has autism, such as dealing with questions from friends at school or seeing their sibling display maladaptive behaviors. Give your children some basic tools for coping with issues. For instance, tell them that only you will handle aggressive behavior, and that if they see it happening, they should get you rather than trying to deal with it themselves.

    Be Open to Your Children’s Concerns

    It’s natural for siblings to have concerns about their brother or sister with autism. Some of these concerns may be uncomfortable, and they may hesitate to bring them to you. Your children may worry about being embarrassed by their brother or sister, be jealous of the time you dedicate to him or her, or be concerned about their responsibilities for providing long-term care. Ensure your children that you’re open to all of their worries and that there is no question they should be afraid to ask.

    Star of CA offers extensive resources for families as they adapt to managing a child’s autistic disorder in Ventura . When your family needs help, contact us. We provide ABA therapy, mental screenings, and much more. Please call (805) 644-7827 for more information.

  • Comparing Symptoms of Autism in Babies and Toddlers

    The signs of autism are a little different for every child. In general, however, parents can be on the lookout for indications that their children have not yet reached developmental targets that are typical for their age range. If you have concerns about your child, consider writing down your observations and sharing them with your child’s pediatrician or an autism therapist.

    Signs of Autism in Infants

    The failure to meet developmental milestones can be a red flag for autism. In fact, at such an early age, it can sometimes be easier for parents to determine when something might be wrong by considering what their children don’t do, rather than what they do. By six months, most infants smile at their parents or otherwise display joy and affection. By nine months, most infants will engage in other facial expressions and will share back-and-forth sounds. If your little one hasn’t yet met these milestones, it might be time to consider scheduling a consult. Other red flags include the failure to babble or engage in back-and-forth movements like waving, reaching, and grabbing by 12 months. By about seven months, most children who are developing typically will enjoy social play, respond to their own names, and transfer objects from hand to hand.

    Signs of Autism in Toddlers

    From age one to two, toddlers who might have autism may fail to point at things, try to gain others’ attention, smile in response to a parent’s smile, make eye contact, and enjoy cuddling. They might not have said their first word yet and they may not display interest in other children. During this age range, toddlers with autism might babble or talk with an unusual tone of voice, seem overly fussy, display unusual movements, and play with toys in an atypical fashion. By the age of three, toddlers with autism might resist make-believe play and fail to play with other children. If they were speaking before, they might experience a regression of speech.

    If you suspect your child might be displaying the possible signs of autism, you can schedule an autism test in Ventura by calling (805) 644-7827. Star of CA provides evidence-based autism therapy. Our behavioral therapy providers look forward to meeting your family and explaining how we can help.

  • What Are the Distinguishing Characteristics of High Functioning Autism?

    Individuals who are on the autism spectrum all have unique differences and the degrees of severity of their challenges can vary widely. Many children with autism are high functioning. Broadly speaking, high functioning means that these individuals are more capable of caring for themselves and being productive members of society than individuals with severe symptoms of autism. However, children with high functioning autism can still benefit from working with a behavioral therapy provider. Parents who suspect that their children might be developing atypically can keep notes of their observations.

    Language Skills

    Children with high functioning autism do not generally display clinically significant delays in language acquisition and use. However, they may have problems with pragmatic language use , which refers to the use of language in a social context. For example, they might have trouble participating in conversations and they may have trouble understanding the use of abstract language such as sarcasm. They might speak with an unusual pitch, intonation, or rhythm.

    Social Skills

    Some individuals who have high functioning autism display difficulty in social interactions. Even though they may want to make friends, they might not know how to do so. As a result, others might mistakenly perceive these individuals as being aloof or detached. It’s also possible for these children to more easily socialize with others who are much older or younger than them. When interacting with others, children with high functioning autism might have trouble using or interpreting body language and facial expressions correctly.

    Behavioral Issues

    Parents may notice that their children have atypical behavioral issues or patterns. For example, they may display an obsessive interest in specific topics. These children may have unusually strong reactions to stimuli like flickering lights or loud noises. They might also engage in atypical, repetitive play.

    The team at Star of CA offers assistance to individuals with all types and degrees of autism, including high functioning autism. Call our center for autism and related disorders in Ventura at (805) 644-7827 and request a consultation. A behavioral therapy provider will be happy to answer your questions.

  • Understanding ABA

    There are many different therapies available for children with autism, but the type of therapy that has been clinically proven as effective is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). ABA therapy stems from the science of behavior analysis. ABA therapy is an umbrella term that encompasses different approaches that can be helpful in increasing desirable behaviors and decreasing undesirable behaviors.

    You can hear more about ABA therapy when you watch this interview. This expert explains that although ABA therapy is most commonly associated with autism management, it can actually be used in virtually any setting when positive change is desired.

    For quality ABA therapy in Ventura, parents have long trusted Star of CA. If your child has been displaying possible autism symptoms, you can call us at (805) 644-7827 or you can visit us online to learn more about our methodologies .

  • Understanding Pivotal Response Treatment

    autism spectrum Ventura Pivotal Response Therapy (PRT), or Pivotal Response Treatment, is a methodology that falls under the umbrella of ABA therapy. PRT seeks to address autism symptoms and challenges in a way that is based on play and initiated by the child. In other words, the child is allowed to choose an object to work with, which can help increase the child’s motivation. The therapist then provides instructions or opportunities and positively reinforces attempts at responding. Positive reinforcement stems naturally from the action. For example, if the child tries to ask for a ball, the therapist will reward him or her by handing over the ball instead of offering praise.

    PRT is different from other types of autism therapies in that it goes beyond targeting individual behaviors. Instead, it targets specific or pivotal areas of development, such as self-management, motivation, and responses to multiple cues. In doing so, PRT can be helpful in improving communication, behavior, academic progress, and social skills.

    Children with autism near Ventura and their parents can find the help they need at Star of CA, which provides high-quality ABA therapy . Call our center for autism and related disorders at (805) 644-7827.