• Cutting Down on Discipline Disagreements with Parent Training

    Disciplining a child with autism can be tough. When parents disagree about the discipline system, it’s even more challenging. You can keep your relationship strong and maintain harmony in the family home with parent training sessions at The Behavior Exchange. Our ABA therapists only use evidence-based techniques. When you and your partner learn about the science behind the techniques, you’ll understand the “whys” behind the “hows.” 

    Parents who work with our ABA therapists in our parent training sessions are able to consistently apply results-focused interventions at home and around the community. We’ll show you how to set up your home environment and daily schedule in a way that supports your child’s desirable behavior. We’ll also cover rules, rule enforcement, and child-sibling relationships. 

    Get started on the path toward a more harmonious home and a well-behaved child today! Families affected by autism in the Plano or Frisco area can contact The Behavior Exchange at 972.312.8733 to sign up for our next available parent training sessions. 

  • 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. 

  • 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. 

  • Helping Your Child Accept the Word “No”

    One of the hardest jobs a parent will face is teaching a child to accept the word “no.” If your child has autism, it’s a good idea to speak with his or her behavior analyst about this issue. You may learn, for example, that you have been inadvertently reinforcing negative behavior. This often includes giving in to the child’s demands after he or she displays a negative reaction upon hearing the word “no.” By giving in to the child’s demands, the parent teaches the child that this negative behavior will bring favorable results. 

    Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) can help. The therapist may first introduce your child to the word “no” in low-stress situations. Let’s assume that Benny likes popsicles and yogurt equally. Benny asks for a popsicle. The adult would say, “No, you can’t have a popsicle, but you can have yogurt.” Problematic behavior is ignored, rather than reinforced, and good behavior is rewarded with the yogurt. The child will need lots of practice learning to accept “no” in these low-stress situations in order to tolerate the word in other situations. 

    Evidence-based personalized ABA therapy is available in Plano at The Behavior Exchange. Call (888) 716-8084, and our compassionate ABA therapists will help your child learn to exchange negative behaviors for positive ones. 

  • Creating a Language-Rich Environment for Toddlers

    Long before children are able to read fluently by themselves, they need constant exposure to language. It’s a major reason why parents are advised to frequently talk to their infants right from birth onward. A language-rich environment supports early literacy skills in all children, whether or not they have autism and require early intervention services. There are plenty of ways that parents can create a language-rich home for their children. 

    Fill your home with books. 

    It’s a given that a language-rich environment requires the presence of lots of books. Give your child his or her own bookcase, positioned low to the floor so that your child can easily access the books. Some parents like to keep a book or two near the child’s bed so it’s accessible as soon as the child wakes up from a nap. Used bookshops are an economical way to stock the shelves, and you can bring your child to the library regularly to pick out new selections. Your child should also see the adults in the family enjoy reading their own books every day. 

    Read to your child every day. 

    Reading together reinforces the loving bond you share with your child. Many parents like to read a few picture books at bedtime, allowing the child to choose them. It’s perfectly all right if your child selects the same books over and over again. This is actually beneficial for language acquisition because it reinforces the idea that the words remain the same and have the same meanings every time. Repetition is crucial for learning. 

    Help your child play with the books. 

    You can help your child develop a love of books and reading. Make the activity interactive by playing dress-up with your child to imitate the characters in a favorite book. If a book has animals as characters, use corresponding stuffed animals as props while reading the book. Encourage your child to talk about the story and characters by asking open-ended questions. 

    Children with language deficits, including children with autism, can receive early intervention services at The Behavior Exchange. Our autism treatment center near Plano provides the Early Start (B.E.E.S.) program designed to help toddlers acquire language, social, academic, and behavior skills. Parents are invited to call (888) 716-8084 to request a consult with a behavior analyst. 

  • Autism in the Classroom: Questions to Ask Your Child’s Teacher

    Going to school is an exciting time for children and their parents. To ensure your child with autism has the support he or she needs in the classroom, keeping an open dialogue with the teacher is essential. At The Behavior Exchange, one of the roles that we play for the families that we support is being an advocate at your child’s school to ensure that he or she has access to the tools that he or she needs to be successful. As a parent, you are on the frontlines of your child’s day-to-day experience in the classroom, so it’s important to speak up and ask questions when you have them. To get the conversation started with your child’s teacher, consider asking these questions.  

    What is your experience with children with autism? 

    Often, teachers are aware of autism and even may have had students in the past who had been diagnosed with it, but they may not have the level of experience and understanding that they need to help your child in the classroom. The more your child’s teacher learns about autism and about your child’s needs, the more productive the school year will be for both of them. Find out what your child’s teacher knows and needs to learn more about, so you can provide helpful information when necessary.  

    What behavior plan do you use? 

    Every teacher has a behavior plan that he or she uses in the classroom. This plan may include standards for behavior as well as consequences for undesired behaviors and rewards for meeting expectations. In some cases, the structure of the plan may not be appropriate for a child with autism. By discussing the plan and working with the teacher to make tweaks that will work for your child, you can address behavioral concerns before they become a problem.  

    What is the best way to communicate with you? 

    Just because you see your child’s teacher in the carpool line, it doesn’t that that is the best time to chat. Ask your child’s teacher if phone calls, emails, or conferences work best, and stick to those preferences. Doing so will help you have productive communication.  

    The Behavior Exchange is here to be your child’s advocate in the classroom and throughout his or her educational career. Contact us today at (888) 716-8084 for more information ABA therapy in Plano and our school services.  

     

  • Conquering Your Child’s Mealtime Challenges

    For children with autism and their families, mealtime can often be a struggle. If your child is having difficulties at meals, be sure to discuss the issue with his or her ABA therapist or to ask for advice during a parent training session. These strategies may also be helpful.  

    Determine if There Are Any Underlying Medical Conditions 

    Sometimes, children with autism have other medical issues that can interfere with their eating habits. These problems can range from cavities to digestive discomfort and acid reflux. Your child’s physician may screen for these conditions if mealtime is a challenge. If your child is having any of these issues, then addressing them could be the solution.  

    Develop a Routine Before Mealtime 

    There are many potential triggers for anxiety during mealtime, including the introduction of new foods, bright lights, and loud noises. In some cases, mealtime behavior issues are tied to these stressors. Creating a pre-mealtime routine that helps your child feel calm and confident can help. In some cases, simply sitting together for a short session of deep breathing can be helpful. Your ABA therapist can offer other suggestions for routines that can create a sense of calm before you sit down for a meal. Your child may take comfort in the routine itself and feel calmer when it’s time to eat.   

    Eat Meals as a Family 

    Eating as a family can easily fall by the wayside with busy schedules and a long list of demands, but doing so can be invaluable for your child with autism. When you all sit together and eat at the same time, it shows your child that mealtime is a normal activity for everyone to take part in. Likewise, your child will be more inclined to try different foods after watching you eat them.  

    At The Behavior Exchange, our ABA therapists can help you turn mealtime into a positive experience for your family through group therapy, one-on-one sessions, parent training, and much more. Get answers to your questions about our services by calling our autism treatment center in Plano at (888) 716-8084.