• Defining Developmental Delays

    Pediatricians and other early childhood experts use developmental milestones as a general assessment of how a child is progressing across multiple areas, such as behavior. If a child is falling significantly behind these milestones, it may indicate a developmental delay, which is not the same as a disorder. Children with developmental delays can benefit from early intervention programs such as behavior classes . However, it’s important for parents to remember that all children develop at their own pace; failing to develop at a rate that is on target for the age level does not automatically mean that a child has a delay.

    Beautiful baby building a castle

    Types of Developmental Delays

    A developmental delay can occur in any of the broad categories of development. This might include problems with movement and coordination, indicating a delay in gross and fine motor skills . Developmental delays can also include deficits in language and speech, hearing, and cognition. Children might lag behind in social skills, behavioral skills, and emotional functioning. Although it can be heartbreaking to watch your child struggle, there is help available for your little one. Your child might benefit from behavior classes or social skills therapy, for example.

    Causes of Developmental Delays

    There is a wide array of potential causes and risk factors for developmental delays. In some cases, it may be due to genetics or complications of pregnancy and/or delivery. Often, the cause is never discovered.

    Signs of Developmental Delays

    You can ask your child’s pediatrician or behavior therapist to direct you to resources for developmental milestones. If your child is significantly behind these milestones, it can indicate a delay. Examples include failure to respond to sounds by seven months or failure to use any single words by 12 months. Children might have trouble grasping objects, making eye contact, or following directions.

    At The Behavior Exchange, your child can benefit from intensive behavior classes and autism therapy programs based on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) principles. Our behavior therapists use a collaborative approach, involving the whole family, the school, and other professionals as needed to work toward the success of each child. Parents in the Dallas area can connect with an behavior therapist by calling (972) 312-8733 or read more about our range of services on our website.

  • Talking to Your Child’s Teacher About Their Autism Symptoms

    Although parent-teacher collaboration is important for every student, it’s particularly important to work closely with the teacher when your child has autism or other developmental delays. Schedule a meeting early in the school year to explain what autism means for your child and how his or her teacher can be most effective in the classroom. If your child is currently working with a behavior therapist, you may wish to ask the therapist about the most important issues to discuss with the teacher.

    Teacher and parent meeting in school classroom

    Go to the Conference Prepared

    Before meeting with the teacher, talk to your child about school. Ask him or her if there have been any issues in the classroom, or with his or her classmates. Then, make a list of your questions and your child’s concerns. Prioritize the list; it’s likely that the teacher won’t have time to discuss every issue at the first conference.

    Inform the Teacher of the Issues

    Although many teachers these days do have experience working with children with autism , it is important to discuss your child’s specific, individual needs as autism symptoms vary widely. Talk to the teacher about your child’s challenges and how they can be addressed effectively. If your child has an Individualized Education Program (IEP), your teacher should already be familiar with any necessary classroom modifications. However, IEPs can be quite long; some parents like to staple a “cheat sheet” on top that informs the teacher of the major issues.

    Maintain Positivity and Be Proactive

    Most teachers chose their profession because they want to make a difference in children’s lives. Strive for a partnership with your child’s teacher; avoid making negative comments and instead offer proactive solutions in a positive tone of voice.

    Arrange for Ongoing Communication

    Before leaving the conference, agree upon a method of ongoing communication. Make sure the teacher has your contact information. Agree upon a frequency of communication and discuss which details would be most helpful. For example, you might ask for details about your child’s behavior.

    For almost 20 years, The Behavior Exchange has been helping Dallas-area families cope with the symptoms of autism through the use of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA). Our behavior therapists believe that every child deserves the opportunity to reach his or her full potential. For more information about our behavior classes, call (972) 312-8733.

  • Exploring the Impacts of Bullying on Kids with Autism

    Bullying has significant and long-lasting consequences for any child; however, children with autism may be particularly affected. Children with autism may be bullied because they often have trouble with social skills and they may display other differences.

    Watch this video to hear the story of Abby, a young child with Asperger’s syndrome. Abby is an exceptionally smart girl, yet she has social skills deficits. Her classmates bullied her because of her artistic and academic talents, which she says was very distracting and upsetting. In this video, Abby shares a happy ending to her story and offers advice to other children who struggle with bullying.

    The compassionate behavior therapists at The Behavior Exchange can help your little one practice important social skills. Parents in the Dallas area can explore our behavior classes by calling (972) 312-8733 or visiting us on the Web .

  • Behaviors We Can Address In One-on-One Therapy

    At The Behavior Exchange, Dallas area families can take advantage of our customized therapy programs and behavior classes. Based on our assessment and observations, we may recommend one-on-one therapy for your child. During one-on-one therapy, some of the behaviors we can address include instruction following and compliance. Children with autism often have trouble following directions; sometimes, this may be because they are intensely focused on the task at hand and prefer not to shift their attention. Our behavior therapists can help your family uncover the reasons for non-compliance and how best to address it.

    Playing mother and daughter

    The Behavior Exchange uses a family-centered approach that considers sibling relationships. One-on-one therapy can help strengthen sibling relationships by allowing for a consistent parenting style. Your child can also learn how to engage in age-appropriate play and how to interact with classmates. In addition, our autism therapists can help your child learn important self-help skills.

    These are just a few examples of the behaviors that can be improved with one-on-one therapy at The Behavior Exchange. For more information, schedule a consultation with one of our behavior therapists by calling (972) 312-8733.