• Eye-Opening Strategies to Decrease Sleep Difficulties in Kids with Autism

    A solid night’s sleep is essential for good health and quality of life, but many children with autism struggle to sleep soundly through the night. This can create problems for the whole family. If your child has been having problems getting to sleep or staying asleep, talk to an ABA therapist about effective solutions.

    Use a bedtime routine.

    One of the hallmark symptoms of autism is the compelling need for predictable, consistent routines. When children with autism must deviate from a set routine, they may have significant problems coping with the change. Bedtime is no different. Follow the same bedtime routine with your child every night. It shouldn’t be too long—about 20 minutes is ideal. Avoid overstimulating activities, such as watching TV or playing with electronics. Instead, you can play some soothing classical music at a low volume and read a book together after your child changes into his or her pajamas.

    Give your child bedtime cues.

    For some children with autism, a predictable routine might not be enough. If your child gets upset when he or she has to stop an activity to get ready for bed, it can be helpful to remind your child at regular intervals that bedtime is approaching.

    Maintain a soothing bedroom environment.

    Adjust the bedroom environment to suit your child’s comfort needs. In general, a good environment for sleeping is one that is dark, cool, and quiet. Require your child to only fall asleep in bed—not on a couch.

    Teach your child how to fall asleep alone.

    One of the most common causes of frustration regarding a child’s sleep is when the child requires the presence of a parent in the bedroom to fall asleep. If your child can’t fall asleep alone, then he or she will wake you up periodically throughout the night. You can address this issue by leaving the bedroom immediately after your child’s bedtime routine, but before he or she falls asleep. An ABA therapist can also help your child feel safe and secure when he or she is alone in the bedroom.

    At The Behavior Exchange, it’s our mission to help families affected by autism overcome challenges and enjoy a harmonious home environment. Our ABA therapists in Plano only use evidence-based autism therapy practices. Call us today at (888) 716-8084 with any questions you might have.

  • Recognizing the Importance of Parent Training

    After your child is diagnosed with autism, an ABA therapist can develop an effective plan for helping your child overcome obstacles. However, children with autism need support around the clock, which is why parent training is so crucial. At The Behavior Exchange, our ABA therapists implement effective parent training programs that empower families as they work to conquer the many challenges of autism.

    We invite parents and caregivers to enroll in one of our group parent training classes. We also offer one-on-one classes. During your session, you’ll learn how to structure the home environment and schedule in ways that encourage behavioral improvements. We’ll cover household rules and ways of strengthening relationships with siblings. The techniques you’ll learn here will help you make a positive difference in your child’s life.

    Parents can reach our autism treatment center in Plano at (888) 716-8084 for more information about our parent training sessions . The team at The Behavior Exchange looks forward to meeting your family and helping your child achieve his or her full potential.

  • Creating a Safety Plan for Your Child with Autism

    Parents of soon-to-be toddlers generally expect that they’ll need to use safety gates and otherwise childproof the home for a few years. But when a family is affected by autism, safety will always be a primary concern. Some children with autism may wander off, which may lead to fatal accidents at swimming pools and roadways. Some kids with autism may be unable to ask for help finding their way back home. There are many other safety hazards parents should be aware of. A behavior analyst can help you identify them and develop a plan to keep your child safe.

    Identification and Locating Devices

    Even if your child has not previously displayed wandering behaviors, there’s always a chance it could happen in the future. Prepare for this by ensuring your child always has identification, such as medical ID jewelry. Some parents use temporary tattoos that feature their contact information. Personal locating devices can also be a lifesaver. The device stays with your child at all times, allowing you to locate your child with GPS tracking. Some devices alert parents if the device leaves a designated area.

    Communication and Safety Plan Dissemination

    It’s impossible for parents to keep an eye on their kids every second of the day and night. That’s why it’s essential to discuss your child’s safety with his or her teachers, school administration staff, daycare providers, caregivers, extended family members, and neighbors. If your neighbors down the street have a pool, for instance, let them know that your child has autism and is at risk of drowning. Ask them to keep the safety gate locked at all times to prevent access to the pool. You can also discuss your child’s safety issues with local authorities, including your local police department and fire department.

    Safety Skills Education

    Part of your child’s safety plan should include teaching your child safety skills. Work closely with your child’s ABA therapist to help your child develop skills pertaining to:

    • Crossing roads safely
    • Understanding stranger danger
    • Identifying safe strangers (i.e., police officers)
    • Calling 911 at appropriate times
    • Staying within safe areas of the home and school

    The Behavior Exchange is an autism treatment center in Plano and Frisco that works closely with parents, teachers, and school administrators to help keep kids safe. Our ABA therapy sessions focus on giving kids the skills they need to flourish, and we offer in-depth parent training sessions. Call us today at (888) 716-8084.