In the few weeks of training I’ve been through, I have met some amazing therapists and met the kids whose lives they’ve changed. What is really inspirational, however, are the families that have made the necessary lifestyle changes which help make the most of the therapy and bring about real improvement in their child’s life. These parents take on so much and it is so beautiful to see them adopt the ABA principles themselves so that the child’s environment and interactions can lead them to recovery.
The Center for Autism and Related Disorders has developed a new online treatment program to be used by teachers, administrators, parents and educators for children with autism. To find out more and how you can get this product for free at a school near you click here.
I can’t pretend to speak to why the rest of the autism community focuses on the difficulties associated with autism, but I can speak to why it may appear that we at CARD, and other people in the applied behavior analysis (ABA) community, focus on areas of difficulty. Put simply, it’s because these are the areas that people ask us for help with. No one goes to a treatment provider and asks for help dealing with what’s great about their child— they don’t need to, they simply appreciate it every day. But it’s quite true that there are thousands of strengths associated with autism. Any attempt at a list is going to sound like I am stereotyping people, which would be ridiculous. But here are a couple strengths that come to mind.
This year, The Puzzling Piece is offering a new and exciting challenge for all those who have a child or student with autism. If you sell 60 pieces of select Puzzling Piece jewelry, your child or student will receive a free iPad. Each piece of jewelry costs only $20 and customers have the choice between an alloy puzzle-piece keychain and a glass puzzle-piece necklace. In addition, the jewelry can easily be purchased online under the recipient’s name.
With the current pool of available assessments, clinicians are left to run a battery of tests in order to identify target skills to include in treatment. Furthermore, to fill in the gaps, clinicians are likely to rely on clinical judgment derived from individual preference, experience, and expertise rather than a thorough assessment of the child’s development. Although extensive research has shown EIBI to be an effective treatment for ASD, research has also revealed great variability in program design and treatment effectiveness across service providers. Current clinical practices in assessment and program design likely account for much of the variability seen in the quality of EIBI services today.
A recent study tested whether children with autism would rather play with an object, person, or dog. The result was that they preferred and played with the dogs longer than either people or objects. As a dog lover myself, I know that sometimes I am the same way. Dogs are fun, loyal, and many mimic your energy, making them the perfect companion.
Dr. Doreen Granpeesheh and other CARD research and development staff have conducted preliminary research on CARD eLearning that suggested it may be an effective tool for training behavioral therapists. The study evaluated the effectiveness of eLearning as compared to traditional lecture-style instruction in training newly hired therapists. Knowledge of ABA significantly increased for both groups, with the traditional training group scoring slightly higher than the eLearning group.
Many American’s have caught on to the yoga craze, including myself and many of my friends. Why? Because its relaxing, fun and makes you more attune to your body, while building strength and flexibility. When I learned that yoga teachers were offering classes for children with autism (not too common, but hopefully there will be more!), it made complete sense to me, because there are so many benefits. First, many children with autism are constantly moving, have a lack of coordination control and low muscle tone.
When I first saw the iPad, I must admit, I thought it was a completely unnecessary and awkward-looking device. It wasn’t until I heard how helpful it was for children with autism and other communication disorders that I understood how useful this technology could be. This makes complete sense, too; the iPad, which is simple enough for children to use, is also very appealing to the young ones who love to feel ‘adult’ by using new technology.