• The Perks of Early Intervention for Children with Autism

    Autism experts have long agreed that early intervention is critical for children with autism. Scientific studies have demonstrated that by enrolling your child in behavior classes that use applied behavior analysis (ABA) and other evidence-based practices, you are much more likely to see better outcomes for your child. If you feel that your child is developing differently, it’s never too early to consider having him or her screened for autism. Early intervention therapies may help with the following areas.

    Communication

    Building Language Skills
    Many children with autism struggle with their expressive language skills, which refer to written and verbal expressions. Many also have difficulty with pragmatic language skills, which refer to the use of language in a social framework, such as making eye contact during conversations. These language deficits can make it challenging for your child to communicate his or her needs and wants. With early intervention therapies, your child can learn language skills and enjoy a positive experience with communication, thereby greatly reducing his or her frustration.

    Improving Behavioral Issues
    Children with autism often engage in atypical behaviors, such as repetitive movements. By working closely with an autism specialist, your child can learn to engage in more productive and meaningful activities instead. Some parents also seek early intervention therapies because they struggle to understand how to effectively deal with their child’s tantrums. Children with autism often have tantrums not because they intend to misbehave, but rather because they cannot cope well with external stimuli or they cannot adapt to changes in routine.  Early intervention services can help your child  learn to adapt to new situations and respond appropriately to stimuli.

    Enhancing Social Connections
    By building new language skills and improving behavioral issues, your child can also enjoy a third crucial benefit. Improvement in these areas lends itself to building healthy social relationships, both with peers and with adults. With ABA techniques, children can learn social skills and etiquette rules to interact appropriately with others.

    If you have any questions about the benefits of early intervention therapies for your child, call  The Behavior Exchange  of Dallas. Our caring and highly trained staff is dedicated to helping your child reach his or her full potential. You can reach us at (972) 312-8733 or visit our website for more information. 

    Written By Tammy Cline-Soza, MS, BCBA

  • Tips for Preventing Wandering In Children with Autism

    Many children with autism wander off because they are simply curious and wish to explore a certain area or because they wish to avoid an uncomfortable situation. Parents can use prevention measures to reduce the risk of elopement and plan ahead to develop strategies of finding the child in the event that he or she does become lost. Implement safety measures on your house, such as installing deadbolt locks, a fence around the perimeter, and childproof latches on the windows. Some parents even place a poster on the insides of all doors stylized like a stop sign. You could also work with our autism specialist to teach your child to respond in a certain way to his or her name being called.

    Locking a Deadbolt

    If your child will tolerate it, consider placing a medical ID bracelet with contact information on his or her wrist. Some parents even attach a small GPS device to their children’s belts. You may also wish to print flyers with your child’s picture, name, and your contact information. Distribute them to every household in your neighborhood and talk to the other parents about the risks of wandering in children with autism.

    At The Behavior Exchange of Dallas, our autism experts will craft a comprehensive therapy plan that’s right for your child. Call us today at (972) 312-8733 to  learn more about our therapy services .

    Written By Tammy Cline-Soza, MS, BCBA

  • Autistic Spectrum Disorders

    Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) affect the way in which individuals understand and interact with the world around them. They typically affect two broad aspects of a child’s life: social interactions and communication. Individuals with autism often have difficulty understanding another person’s point of view. Furthermore, children with autism might have trouble expressing themselves and understanding what others are saying to them.

    For more information on autism, watch this video. You’ll find out how to respond to your child’s behaviors in order to increase desirable behaviors or decrease problem behavior.

    Enroll your child in the  applied behavior analysis-based programs  at The Behavior Exchange today. Give us a call at (972) 312-8733 to schedule a consultation or ask any questions you might have.

    Written By Tammy Cline-Soza, MS, BCBA

  • Exploring the Potential Causes of Autism

    Are people with autism born with a genetic predisposition to the condition, or are environmental factors a trigger?  Scientists aren’t sure exactly what causes autism, but there is strong evidence that genetics and environment each play a role in the development of autism spectrum disorders.

    Watch the video to learn more about the potential links between genetics, environment, and autism. Scientists haven’t determined which genetic and environmental factors increase the risk of autism. However, studies into autism occurrences in families with siblings with autism and in fraternal twins with the condition suggestion a strong correlation.

    Autism doesn’t have to mean that your child can’t reach their full potential. Let The Behavior Exchange help. We use applied behavioral analysis to help children achieve improved behavior and discover their style of learning.  Find out more about our program  by calling (972) 312-8733 today. 

    Written By Tammy Cline-Soza, MS, BCBA

  • Elopement and Wandering In Autism

    Most parents would probably agree that keeping their children safe is of the utmost concern. For parents of children with autism , however, safety is particularly important. Children with autism can sometimes wander off unsupervised. Elopement is more common than you might think and it can be potentially dangerous for a child who has language deficits. Keep reading to learn more about elopement and how you can prevent it.

    Two Children Holding Hands Walking Through A Park

    Prevalence of Elopement
    study funded by Autism Speaks  was published in the  Pediatrics  journal in 2012.  According to the researchers, almost half of all children with autism will wander off at some point. The researchers noted that wandering does not occur because of inattention on the part of the parents; rather, the children wandered off because they wanted to explore a particular interest or because they needed to avoid certain stimuli.

    Underlying Issues of Elopement
    Many children with autism have difficulty communicating their needs and wants, and some of them are entirely nonverbal. These language issues can compound the problems of elopement. A child may have trouble telling the supervising adult that he or she needs to find a bathroom, for example. Instead, the child may wander off by himself and become lost.

    Potential Dangers of Wandering
    Children who wander off may find themselves in potentially dangerous situations. In the study published in  Pediatrics , the researchers found that 65 percent of those individuals nearly became involved in traffic accidents and 24 percent survived a near-drowning.

    Prevention Measures for Elopement
    Implementing safety measures can reduce the risk of wandering for children with autism. Parents may consider enrolling their kids in swimming lessons; however, it’s still critical to supervise children near the pool at all times. Parents can also install a high fence with a locked gate around pools at home. Other safety measures include installing an alarm system at home, installing deadbolt locks that require a key, and placing a fence around the yard. The Behavior Exchange can help your child learn how to provide their name, contact information of parents, ect. in the event that they wander off. Also, parents are encouraged to purchase medical alert bracelets with the child’s emergency contact information so that a child can easily be identified if they do wander.

    The caring autism specialists at The Behavior Exchange use evidence-based applied behavior analysis (ABA) techniques. These techniques can help children with autism improve their interactions with others. For  more information , please call our Dallas location today at (972) 312-8733.

    Written By Tammy Cline-Soza, MS, BCBA

  • How Divorce Rates are Linked to Autism

    Autism affects nearly every aspect of your daily routine. From making breakfast in the morning to going to sleep at night, it takes constant awareness and attention from the individuals involved. This creates strain and hardship on families and their relationships, but does it affect marriage and divorce rates? Two recent studies have conflicting reports.

    Family in Hand

    According to a 2010 study from Dr. Freedman of the Kennedy Krieger Institute, there does not seem to be much of a correlation. Their research has shown that it is more of a self-fulfilling prophecy than a reality. Freedman claims that when someone’s child is  diagnosed with autism  that individual in-turn goes online or does research regarding the disorder. When they find an abundance of articles or writings mentioning high divorce rates and separation during the ongoing struggle of a child with autism, the individual then feels automatically at a higher risk for divorce even if the thought hadn’t entered their mind before.

    But parents studied and surveyed by Hartley et al in 2011 provide a different account. In the survey, 52 divorced parents who have a child diagnosed with autism were asked if their child’s autism had an impact on their divorce. 22% of individuals responded as “not sure,” 32% of individuals responded “no,” but 50% of parents said “yes” to the survey.

    A wide range of statements were given for the reasoning behind it with most popular being “stress of family or relationships.”  Also “issues of acceptance of autism diagnosis” and “disagreement about therapy or treatments” were popular responses given for the reason of divorce.

    It’s apparent that raising a child with autism can be a challenging experience, that’s why The Behavior Exchange has  Parent Training opportunities  for you and your spouse to not only improve your child’s behavior but to sync  your parenting styles. Let us help advise you in decision making regarding treatment and school issues. For more information or to make a consultation, call (972) 312-8733 or visit our website.

    Written By Tammy Cline-Soza, MS, BCBA

  • What Are the Causes of Autism?

    The causation of autism is not 100% clear, but it is widely accepted that it is generated by abnormalities in the functionality or structure of the human brain. CT and brain scans of those with autism versus those without have been known to have different shape and structure. Various theories are being investigated, many of which are rooted in genetics and family history. Genetic mutations are being examined closely as there appears to be patterns of families who have been diagnosed with autism and similarly related disabilities over time. There are also studies that point to children having a susceptibility to autism but it is undetermined what the catalyst is for the progression.

    Schedule check-in

    Environmental factors  have been studied intensely as well to determine what impact these factors have on increasing chances for the disease. Heavier doses of toxic heavy metals like mercury are more prevalent in modern society which correlates with the higher rate of autism diagnosis. These higher levels of toxins could impact a person’s ability to metabolize and cleanse the body, which in turn increases their risk to the disorder. Other signs point to certain substances that a mother ingests in utero as a cause. This also increases the chances for seizures, low IQ levels, sensory disorders and other side effects that can be associated with autism.

    While there is still great discussion and debate over the causes of autism and its side effects, families all over The U.S. and abroad are looking for answers and ways to cope and treat the impact of autism on their day-to-day life.  The Behavior Exchange  has enlisted a team of experts who help families with training on all aspects of coping with autism and its impact. If you need guidance and support with your walk with autism please contact us for a consultation at (972) 312-8733 or visit our website. 

    Written By Tammy Cline-Soza, MS, BCBA

  • How to Help Prepare Your Child for His First Therapy Session

    It is common for individuals to be hesitant when experiencing the unfamiliar. For children with autism spectrum disorder, this hesitancy may manifest as fear or anxiety due to their need for routine. That’s why behavior analysis specialists recommend that parents be forthcoming with their children about their upcoming therapy sessions. By explaining this new part of your child’s life, you can better prepare him for this change to his schedule and prepare him for the upcoming introductions to unfamiliar people and activities.

    Counseling Series - Getting Help

    Discuss the Therapy Process
    Going into a building or office with no idea as to what is about to happen can be jarring for kids and adults alike. To ease your child’s nervousness , explain to him why he’s attending therapy and what will happen while he’s there. You can tell him that he likely will be playing while also working on tasks that are currently difficult. Be sure to let them know that the process will be challenging but also fun and that there are many other kids that he can learn to play with as well. Depending on his age and ability to understand language, you can modify this discussion by showing pictures of items he can play with, a picture of the location. Visit our website so he can see images of our staff and location. Use simple sentences. “We are going to go play at The Behavior Exchange”. “We are going to make new friends”. “We are going to learn new things”, etc. Hearing a positive tone and knowing on a basic level what lies ahead can be reassuring. Once familiar with our staff and location, your child is sure to enjoy the process.

    Make Him Feel Secure
    As the therapist will need to pick-up your child and bring him back to the therapy area, we will try to ensure as pleasant and smooth of a transition as possible. However, he may become afraid if he sees you leaving the room. To put his mind at ease, reassure him that you are just on the other side of the door. If possible, show him exactly where you will be sitting if he needs you and reassure him that you will be there when he is finished. He is welcome to bring a toy/preferred activity that can be used within the session and to help ease the transition back into the therapy area.

    Encourage Him to Express Himself
    As communication and language training is the basis of everything we do at The Behavior Exchange, be sure to let the therapist know how your child best communicates. Is it through gestures, pictures, the IPAD, verbal language or a combination. Are there certain signals that only you understand? If your child is verbal but has poor articulation, share the verbalizations that he does make and what they mean with the therapist so we can be sure to honor his requests and attempts to communicate. Bring pictures/IPAD or any other communication mechanisms that will help facilitate interaction and our understanding of your child during those first sessions. Our goal will be to develop rapport and build a positive relationship FIRST. Only once trust and understanding is achieved, can we begin skill building and the more intensive procedures that produce dramatic and positive change for your family.

    The Behavior Exchange offers private, personalized care for children in the greater Dallas and Plano area. If your child has been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, let our therapy sessions help him become better acclimated to social interactions. Call (972) 312-8733 or visit our website for more information about our services and applied behavior analysis.

    Written By Tammy Cline-Soza, MS, BCBA

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