• How The Behavior Exchange’s Summer Camp Can Prepare Your Child for a Great School Year

    Summers can be tricky for families with young kids, due in part to the less structured days. Summer camp is a great way to keep kids busy and out of trouble. And by enrolling your child in The Behavior Exchange’s summer camp, you can rest assured that he or she will continue to learn even when school is out! Our ABA therapists make learning fun by using gaming activities, academic enrichment, and occasional field trips to keep kids engaged in the learning process. 

    School-aged children love our social skills group therapy program, which helps them make lasting friendships and teaches them about appropriate social interactions. If your child needs a little extra help with academic skills, ask us about precision teaching, which is a one-on-one therapy program designed to help children with autism master reading, writing, and mathematics. 

    Space is limited, so contact The Behavior Exchange soon about enrolling your child in our summer camp this year! You can get in touch at 972.312.8733 for more information about the summer camp programs at our ABA center in Plano and Frisco. 

  • Examining Age-Specific Indicators of Autism Spectrum Disorders

    Autism is a common disorder that can have a major impact on a family. Kids with autism often need extra help to master academic skills, social skills, and desired behaviors. The sooner a child with autism begins receiving Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, the better the outcome is likely to be. Ideally, intervention should begin before a child starts school in order to enable the child to progress through school at a rate that is on target for his or her age. By keeping an eye out for developmental red flags, parents can help their kids get the early intervention they might need as soon as possible. 

    The First Year 

    Sometimes, the early signs of autism can be detected even before a child reaches his or her first birthday. Parents can watch out for avoidance of eye contact, seeming indifference toward others, and a preference for being alone. Toward the end of the first year, parents may notice that their babies fail to react as expected when presented with objects, such as toys. It’s possible for some repetitive behaviors to develop by this point, such as rocking. 

    The Second Year 

    As a child with autism enters the second year of life, parents will typically continue to notice that he or she prefers not to make eye contact with others. Kids who had been developing language skills and social skills may show signs of regression. Other possible differences may include the following: 

    By this point, typically developing children are generally able to use very short sentences of two words. It can be a cause for concern if a child doesn’t develop this ability during the second year. 

    If you’re concerned that you might have noticed the early signs of autism in your child, you can contact The Behavior Exchange to request a comprehensive evaluation with one of our highly trained ABA therapists. Our ABA center in Plano and Frisco only uses evidence-based techniques that you can trust to effect positive change in your child. Get in touch today at 972.312.8733. 

  • Ideas for Introducing New Games to Your Child

    All children love to play and have fun. However, children with autism are often resistant to new things because of the change in routine. Some kids with autism may need some extra help to learn how to engage in appropriate play behaviors. If your child is having trouble with social skills and play behaviors, it’s time to talk to an Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy provider. You can also try the following strategies. 

    Keep a positive attitude. 

    Presentation means a lot to kids. If parents present the idea that broccoli is a delicious food that everyone loves to eat, kids are more likely to give it a try. The same applies to other things, like new games. Be enthusiastic when you discuss the new game with your child. If you played the game when you were a child, you might talk about how much you enjoyed it and how thrilled you are to play it with your child. 

    Honor your child’s wishes. 

    It’s common for children to reject something the first time they encounter it. Keep your positive attitude even if your child doesn’t want to play with the game at first. Just set the game aside without making a big fuss about it, and instead, do the activity that your child wants to do. Later, you can introduce the new game again. 

    Choose a simple game. 

    It’s a good idea to have a chat with your child’s ABA therapist before selecting a new game to introduce to your child. Some games may be too complex for children to play if they require multi-stage directions or complicated rules. Start with simple games before gradually moving on to more complex ones. 

    The ABA therapists at The Behavior Exchange firmly believe that all children deserve to lead happy, productive lives despite the challenges of autism and other developmental disorders. Get your child the help he or she needs with our social skills group and one-on-one ABA therapy sessions. You can contact our ABA center in Plano and Frisco at 972.​312.​8733 to request more information 

  • What can parents do to support healthy friendships for their children?

    All children deserve to experience the joy of friendship. However, some children have more trouble than others making and keeping friends. In particular, kids with autism may be unsure of how to communicate and interact with their peers. If your child has an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) or another developmental difference, one of the most effective things you can do to encourage social skills is to have your child work with an ABA therapist. In addition, consider incorporating the following strategies. 

    Get involved from an early age. 

    As children grow older, friendships become more important to them. However, older children are also less likely to talk to their parents about their friends. It’s important to establish active involvement from an early age to set the stage for your child’s preteen and adolescent years. Actively monitor your young child’s play dates. Provide guidance on social skills and correct inappropriate behaviors when necessary. Encourage open communication with your child. Talk to your child often about his or her friends, and make an effort to get better acquainted with those friends and their parents. 

    Help your child resolve conflicts peacefully. 

    Whenever two people are close to each other, a conflict will inevitably arise at some point. The conflict itself is not necessarily what’s primarily damaging to the friendship. Rather, the way in which the two friends manage the conflict will determine whether the friendship survives. Talk to your child’s ABA therapy provider if your child seems to have trouble handling conflict. It can be helpful to teach your child to take a deep breath and walk away to calm down before addressing the situation. Additionally, kids need to learn how to see things from the other person’s perspective. They also need to learn how to make amends, such as by apologizing. 

    Children with developmental differences can learn to make and keep friends in our Social Skills group at The Behavior Exchange. Our ABA centers in Frisco and Plano help children understand how to behave appropriately and give them opportunities to master their new skills. Call us at 888.716.8084, and be sure to ask us about our parent training classes! 

  • Tips for using visual schedules

    Many individuals with autism have trouble handling unstructured periods of time. The use of a visual schedule can minimize anxiety and encourage smooth transitions between activities. With consistent use, a visual schedule may help children with autism increase their independence, reduce inappropriate behaviors, and transfer skills to a variety of settings. 

     

    Understanding visual schedules 

    A visual schedule is a list of activities with corresponding images. Some visual schedules are broad and include all the main activities that will happen during any given day. For example, these activities might include going to school and visiting grandma’s house. Other visual schedules are focused on one specific activity or task. They depict all the steps necessary to complete that task. 

    Using object schedules 

    Children who have limited language skills may need to start with object schedules before moving on to visual representations. An object schedule uses actual objects to transition individuals from one activity to the next. For example, when it’s time to play outdoors, the parent might hand the child a blue ball. This ball would be used to indicate that specific activity every single day. When it’s time to eat lunch, the child might be handed a spoon.  

    Transitioning to a printed visual schedule 

    If your child started with an object schedule and the ABA therapist believes it’s now time to transition to a printed visual schedule, your child will need to be taught to check the schedule. An object cue can be helpful. For example, if your child is showing signs of anxiety, you might hand over a pencil or a picture of a pencil, and guide your child to the schedule. 

    Limiting the length of the schedule 

    Some parents find that their kids feel overwhelmed if their visual schedules are too lengthy. If your child seems to have trouble with this, try using a schedule with just three to four items on it. Gradually, you can add more items as your child adjusts. 

    Here at The Behavior Exchange, our behavior analysts understand the importance of consistency across different environments. We regularly hold parent training sessions to help families learn how to consistently apply ABA therapy techniques at home and out in the community. To inquire about our next available parent training session, call our ABA therapy center in Plano or Frisco at 888.716.8084. 

  • What is social (pragmatic) communication disorder?

    Social (pragmatic) communication disorder is a relatively new addition to the family of autism spectrum disorders and communication disorders. It was officially added to the Diagnosis and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) in 2013, although clinicians have been observing the symptoms for many years. Also referred to as pragmatic language impairment, this disorder refers to having difficulty interpreting and using language in appropriate ways within social contexts. 

    Children with a social (pragmatic) communication disorder may have trouble following the rules of conversation, such as taking turns speaking. They may not understand nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions and body language. They might also have trouble adjusting their communication to fit different audiences or contexts. Another possible indicator is the literal interpretation of nonliteral languages, such as idioms or metaphors. 

    Has your child been showing possible signs of communication disorders or autism in the Plano and Frisco area? Contact The Behavior Exchange at 888.716.8084 to request a consult with one of our skilled ABA therapists. 

  • Encouraging Healthy Snacking in Children with ASD

    For children with autism spectrum disorder, or ASD, snack time can be a challenge. Oftentimes, children with ASD have sensory aversions that cause them to avoid foods with certain textures, odors, or flavors. Certain disorders, such as food intolerances and gastro-esophageal reflux disease, also tend to be more common among children with ASD. You should see a physician if you are concerned that your child may be malnourished. 

    There are some simple strategies that you can use to encourage healthy snacking habits in your child. Make sure that you keep your family’s snack and mealtime routines consistent so that your child feels comfortable and knows what to expect each day. Always include some of your child’s favorite treats along with healthy snacks. Try to stay positive during snack times, even if you feel frustrated or anxious about your child’s eating habits. 

    At The Behavior Exchange in Plano and Frisco, we help families with children with ASD reach their full potential. To learn about our ABA therapy options, our supportive summer camps, or any of our other services, call (972) 312-8733 today. 

  • What Should Kids Know Before Entering Kindergarten?

    Entering kindergarten is a major milestone in every child’s life. But before your little one heads off to school, you’ll need to make sure he or she is well prepared for it. Kindergarten readiness is one of the reasons why early intervention is so important for children with autism. A behavior analyst can help your child learn crucial academic, social, and behavioral skills that prepare him or her for success in the classroom. 

    Language Skills 

    During their time in kindergarten, children make remarkable progress with reading, writing, and speaking. To help future kindergarteners get ready, parents should spend time reading to their kids every day. Sing children’s songs and nursery rhymes to help kids learn the rhythm of language. Teach your child to sing the alphabet song with you, and to recognize the letters of his or her first name. You can also help your child learn the “rules” of reading, such as that English is read from left to right, and that books are read from front to back. 

    Math Skills 

    In kindergarten, children are taught how to count to 100, add and subtract within five, and sort and categorize objects. You can help your child get ready by teaching him or her how to count to 20. Help your child understand that smaller numbers lead up to bigger numbers. Make math seem less abstract and more concrete by counting similar objects. 

    Self-Care Skills 

    Academic skills aren’t the only ones your child will need in kindergarten. Kindergarteners are also expected to know how to use the restroom independently, without needing to be reminded to wash up afterward. An ABA therapist can help your child master the following skills: 

    • Put on and take off outerwear 
    • Sit patiently for a story for five to 10 minutes 
    • Share with other children 
    • Take turns 
    • Follow two-step directions 

    The Behavior Exchange Early Start Program (B.E.E.S.) can help your preschool-aged child get ready for kindergarten. Our ABA school near Plano and Frisco, Texas covers crucial academic, language, social, and motor skills so your child can get ready to achieve! You can get in touch today at (888) 716-8084. 

  • Teaching a Child to Wait: How ABA Can Help

    Waiting is an essential life skill, and also one of the most difficult to learn successfully. Any child may have trouble waiting. For a child with autism, in particular, the abstract concept of time can be difficult to grasp. This is why undesirable behaviors sometimes occur when a child is told to wait a few more minutes before he or she will get a desired objective or item. Fortunately, Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) can help teach children with autism how to wait patiently. 

    Structured Program for Waiting 

    An ABA therapist may design a structured program to help your child learn how to wait. First, it’s necessary to determine how long a child can already wait for a desired object. For this example, let’s say Jane is waiting for a doll. Jane can wait 30 seconds before grabbing at the doll or pleading for the doll. To start, the therapist may give Jane the doll for a few seconds, and then put it out of reach and say, “Wait.” Then, Jane must wait for 20 seconds before receiving the doll again. Gradually, the therapist will increase the length of time that the child will wait for an item or an activity. 

    Opportunities for Waiting in the Natural Environment 

    It’s important for parents to learn the basics of ABA techniques so that they can practice them with their children in the natural environment. Here’s a look at some natural opportunities to practice waiting: 

    • Mom starts to unbuckle Jane from the car seat, but then says, “Hold on a second,” and pretends to be busy with something else. 
    • Dad starts to hand Jane a book she wants, but then says, “Just a minute, let me read the back cover.” 

    Each time the child can successfully wait, he or she should receive praise and the desired item or activity in order to reinforce the lesson. 

    Here at The Behavior Exchange, we are tireless advocates for kids with autism and their families. Our autism therapy experts in Plano and Frisco, Texas firmly believe that every child deserves the opportunity to live up to his or her full potential. Call our ABA school at (888) 716-8084 to learn how our approach to therapy can help your child. 

  • What Is HOH Prompting?

    Autism therapy experts who use Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) have a number of tools and techniques that they can use to help children reach their full potential. One example is prompting. A prompt is a stimulus that encourages a desired response. Sometimes, hand over hand (HOH) prompting may be appropriate. As the name suggests, HOH prompting involves the practitioner placing his or her hand directly on the child’s hand to guide the child in completing a task. 

    HOH prompting is often used for teaching children how to acquire academic skills, such as manipulating a pair of scissors, and self-care skills, such as wielding a toothbrush. The goal of HOH prompting is eventually to fade it out. As the child develops a better grasp on the skill, the therapist will begin to make the hand prompting less obvious. For example, the child may eventually only need a gentle tap on the hand to remember how to complete the task properly. 

    At The Behavior Exchange, our autism therapists in Plano and Frisco, Texas only use evidence-based, proven ABA techniques, so you can feel confident in your child’s therapy plan. We welcome your call at (888) 716-8084.