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What are the Different Therapies for Autism?

What are the Different Therapies for Autism?

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Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized as a developmental disability stemming from a combination of environmental and genetic or non-genetic influences. Children with ASD often have problems associated with social interaction or communication, in addition to different ways of paying attention, learning, and moving.

Since autism is a spectrum disorder, every child diagnosed with the condition possesses a distinct set of challenges and strengths. For instance, the manner in which individuals with autism think, learn, and solve problems may range from severely challenged to highly skilled and efficient. While some children with ASD may need intensive behavior intervention and support in order to complete day-to-day tasks, others will likely require relatively lesser support and, in some cases, can live independently as well.

Autism Diagnosis and Treatment

Autism Diagnosis and Treatment Bangalore

Diagnosing autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can be challenging since there exists no specific medical examination, such as a blood test, in order to identify the condition, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As a result, physicians analyze the developmental and behavioral history of the child to make a diagnosis. In this regard, some of the common signs and indications of autism are:

  • Unprecedented reactions to sounds, sights, tastes, smells, and touch
  • Dependence on routines and rules
  • Difficulty in maintaining eye contact
  • Repetitive behaviors
  • Minimal interest in pretend play

Also, it is crucial to note that a child with autism spectrum disorder will not demonstrate all symptoms, and the signs may also vary in intensity.

Autism care is highly effective when started early with younger children, such as infants and toddlers experiencing developmental delays. Children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder also have the best chance of utilizing the majority of their abilities if they obtain appropriate therapies and interventions. Moreover, research indicates that early diagnosis and interventions for autism, such as before or during preschool, can have significant positive influences on symptoms and future skills.

Therapies for Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) 

Presently, a standard therapy for treating autism spectrum disorder does not exist. However, studies have shown that medication is most functional when combined with behavioral therapies. Although various therapies have the potential to support children with autism, the treatment recommended for every child may differ based on personality, age, as well as a diverse range of abilities. It is also integral that autism treatment focuses on a child’s specific needs instead of the diagnostic label since an overlap in symptoms can emerge between ASD and other conditions, like attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

From understanding your child’s diagnosis to beginning a therapy program, there are several steps along the way. So, for starters, how do you choose from all the different therapies available for autism? Read on to find out –

  • Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

Considered a gold-standard treatment for autism and other developmental conditions, applied behavior analysis entails a type of therapy that can improve communication, social skills, and learning via reinforcement strategies. Applied behavior analysis for autism results in children communicating more effectively, learning to ask for things they want, showing more interest in those around them, and remaining more focused in school, among other developments. An added advantage of ABA therapy is that it can also be conducted at home. In fact, studies show that some children work best with in home ABA since they feel more comfortable and relaxed in an environment they’re familiar with.

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive behavioral therapy for autism focuses on the connection between feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. It can also help children manage the challenges they face by helping them understand and recognize how their thoughts, behaviors, feelings, and emotions influence each other. Conventional CBT requires strong abstract thinking capabilities and linguistic skills. However, this can be challenging for children with autism. As a result, researchers have developed certain modifications to traditional behavior therapy, rendering it more ASD-friendly and making it more concrete, visual, and repetitive.

  • Early Intervention

As per research, early diagnosis and interventions for autism are more likely to have a positive long-term impact on ASD symptoms as well as future skill sets. Early intervention occurs at or before the child begins preschool, as early as 2 or 3 years of age. With early intervention, some autistic children make significant progress and are no longer on the autism spectrum when they are older. These programs typically include nutrition services, hearing impairment services, family training, and physical therapy as well.

  • Relationship Development Intervention (RDI)

Relationship development intervention teaches children with autism how to form bonds and fortify relationships with their parents, guardians, and other family members. Primarily recognized as a family-based therapy, the components of RDI for autism include social, psychological, and flexible thinking. While the child must learn to cope with difficult transitions, the parents also undergo training, thus becoming the child’s main therapist. At its core, RDI is a parent-led approach that concentrates on enabling autistic children to think flexibly, develop social skills, and learn to engage and build close relationships.

  • Speech and Language Therapy

Speech and language therapy plays a vital role in helping your child overcome social isolation while enhancing their understanding and use of communication. Often, it is also possible that a child with autism may have a comorbid diagnosis necessitating speech therapy. Here, it can be advantageous to integrate a therapy type that provides suitable treatments for both autism as well as the health condition. Speech therapy for autism can be highly beneficial; however, it may not be the most impactful strategy for children suffering from severe ASD.

  • Play Therapy

To many kids with autism spectrum disorder, playing is the way they best express themselves. In this regard, their actions, toys, and other play items become their words and manner of expression. Play therapy can significantly aid children with ASD connect with others, predominantly in a way they understand and feel comfortable with.

What’s Next?

Child undergoing ABA Therapy

As demonstrated, numerous therapies can help children with autism enhance and strengthen their abilities to the best of their potential and reduce their symptoms. Although beginning therapy early, either before preschool or during, greatly improves the chances for success, it is never too late to start treatment.

And at Early Autism Services (EAS), we prioritize just that!

The curriculum in our well-designed program combines decades of research as well as years of experience in applied behavior analysis in order to provide children and parents with the best possible results. So if you’d like to learn more about the autism therapy services we offer, get in touch with us right away.

To Summarize

Here are some of the most effective therapies for autism available today

  • Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
  • Early Intervention
  • Relationship Development Intervention (RDI)
  • Speech and Language Therapy
  • Play Therapy

Infants and toddlers experiencing developmental delays benefit greatly from autism treatment when started early. In addition, children with autism spectrum disorder are more likely to be able to utilize their abilities if they receive appropriate therapies and interventions.

 

Kathy Eads - Director of HR Early Autism Services

Organizational Announcement | Kathy Eads, Director of Human Resources

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Kathy Eads - Director of HR Early Autism Services

Kathy Eads | Director of Human Resources

EAS is pleased to announce that Kathy Eads has joined Early Autism Services as our new Director of Human Resources, effective April 6th, 2021. Kathy will be responsible for all aspects of our Human Resources strategy including: career planning, employee engagement, diversity & inclusion, and maximizing our investments in HR technology.
Kathy has an MBA and 25 years of experience in the field of Human Resources. She has worked for two HR consulting firms, a Fortune 500 company, and ran her own firm that provided Information Systems & HR services. Kathy is also a Society for Human Resource Management Certified Senior HR Professional and a Fellow in the International Foundation of Certified Employee Benefits Specialists.

Early Autism Services CEO Announcement

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Early Autism Services Announces Mareiko Au CEO Effective April 1st, 2021.

Early Autism Services is proud to announce the promotion of Mareiko Au to Chief Executive Officer, effective April 1st, 2021. In her nearly 10 years with EAS, Mareiko has excelled in a variety of roles including Associate Consultant, Lead Consultant, Director of Development & Operations, Clinical Director, and most recently Chief Operations Officer.
Throughout her tenure, EAS has grown from a small in-home therapy provider in Chicago, to an international organization made or more than 500 clinicians offering a variety of services for children with autism and their families. In her new role as CEO, Mareiko will lead EAS through the company’s continued growth throughout the United States.

“My dream is for people to be happy working at EAS…By creating more powerful leaders, we create more powerful technicians who can change more lives.”

Mareiko is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst with a Master of Arts in Teaching with a Specialization in Applied Behavior Analysis and a Bachelors of Arts in Psychology.

A message from our new CEO, Mareiko Au.

Journey
As I sit and reflect on the journey that got me here, I can definitely say that it has been a great honor to share my passion with many of you. If I was ever sure of anything throughout my life, it is that I wanted to empower children and work with people to become the best version of themselves.  I definitely went through many job experiences before calling EAS “home”. Upon finding my job at Early Autism Services, I was very specific about what I wanted in my next “job” and it was to work somewhere that cared about what they did and about the people who worked there.  I came from California, where there were as many ABA companies as there were McDonald’s. I didn’t want that.  I wanted to be happy, I wanted to make a difference and I didn’t want to be a number. What did that mean for me to be happy at my job?  Well, that meant that I received the proper training, proper support and I made an impact in a child’s life.

I remember my interview as vividly as I remember my first day of training.  In my interview, I asked “what makes you stand out from other ABA agencies?”.  The answer was simple, “We care about what we do and we care about how we do it”.  Sounds simple, but in practice, easy to lose sight of.

My first day of training was intense, very detailed and very specific about how we conducted ABA therapy, you could actually feel the passion in the intensity of my trainer.  She wanted me to be great.  As I met more people in this company, many had this same passion for being the best. I wanted to be better because everyone around me was so wonderful at their job, so I kept raising the bar for myself. How could I teach a skill better? How could I train better and how could I lead better?  How could I keep my teams, families and clients happy?  In every position as I worked my way up, I always asked those questions. It brought me joy to teach a kid a word, or to catch a ball, or ride a bike.  It also brought me joy to teach a technician to teach better or really become independent in the way they learned to acclimate to different learners. I was thrilled to watch technicians become leaders and eventually BCBA’s leading teams. It motivated me to empower them.  By creating more powerful leaders, we created more powerful technicians who could change more lives and bring more kids into care.

When I left my clinical role I thought it would leave a huge void in my heart, but I quickly found that my “why” stayed the same, but on a different level.  I still asked the same questions, but they were tailored towards things like how to create efficiencies on an organizational level and how to remove barriers so that everyone is working towards the same cause. My positions may have changed over the years, but my “why” remains the same: to work with people to reach their potential – potential beyond what they may even see that they are capable of.

Vision
In a recent interview, I was asked “what is your dream for the company?”.  I had the simplest answer, for people to be happy working here.  While that sounds so cliché, it isn’t an easy thing to achieve.  This simple concept requires not just one person, but many people to work together to create this.  Even the best leaders can’t simply conjure happiness, we must all work together to create it.  There is an African proverb that says “If you want to run fast, run alone. If you want to run far, run together”. In this day, there are a lot of ABA providers for people to choose from.  We can’t just say we are the best, we need to prove it, and for us to really ensure we are relevant years from now, we need to “run together”.   As I step into the CEO position, I ask that we work together creating not only the best versions of ourselves and each other, but work at creating a company that we can all be proud to work for. It is in raising the bar for ourselves, that we continue to raise the bar for the children we service.

– Mareiko

EAS Organizational Announcement

Snowmen at Night: Storytime Read-Along with EAS

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EAS Story Time: Snowmen at Night: A fun read along story about snowmen that includes themes about understanding and identifying emotions. This story is a great book for children with autism who are learning about emotions.

Book Description: “Have you ever built a snowman and discovered the next day that his grin has gotten a little crooked, or his tree-branch arms have moved? And you’ve wondered, “What do snowmen do at night?” Witty, imaginative verse offers many amusing details about the secret life of snowmen. An entertaining read-aloud for bedtime sharing or winter storytimes.

This delightful wintertime tale reveals all! Caralyn Buehner’s witty, imaginative verse offers many amusing details about the secret life of snowmen and where they go at night, while Mark Buehner’s roly-poly snowmen are bursting with personality and charm. From the highly successful team that created such winning titles as Fanny’s DreamSnowmen at Night is fabulous, frosty, and fun!”

Parenting Tips for Story Time

Author:

Jessica Goldberg | Autism Parent & Behavior Therapist/Outreach Specialist
Early Autism Services

Emotions and Autism Therapy

Helping Your Child Manage Their Emotions

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Learning to identify and regulate emotions can be very challenging, especially for young children on the autism spectrum. While emotions can feel overwhelming, there are tools that can help your child learn to identify, and regulate, their emotions.

Use Familiar Books & Videos

Using fun books and videos to identify facial expressions and label emotions is a fun way to teach your child to, eventually, label their own emotions.

  • Here is a fun example video you can watch with your child where we read a story called “Snowmen at Night”. Using the illustrations in the book, we point out different expressions and emotions: EAS Story Time: Snowmen at Night

Parenting Tips for Story Time

Zones of Regulation

Another way you can help your child learn to identify and manage emotions is using Zones of Regulation. Identifying facial expressions can be challenging for some individuals with autism, so Zones of Regulation teaches emotions in the form of colors. Once kids learn what behaviors and emotions fall under each color, they start learning how other people feel when they are in certain zones.

How it Works

There are 4 colors: Blue, Green, Yellow, and Red. (This section will have photos)

  • Blue Zone means you’re tired, bored, not quite ready to work, etc.

  • Green Zone means you’re calm, relaxed, ready for the day, eager to learn, etc.

  • Yellow Zone means maybe you’re annoyed, getting frustrated, or maybe starting to feel a little out of control, but not quite there yet

  • Red Zone means you’re out of control, furious, terrified or devastated

How to Teach Zones of Regulation at Home

Imagine your child is upset after losing a game of monopoly with his friend. He’s frustrated and starting to lose control.  He stops talking to his friend and stomps away. This would be the “yellow zone”. Using the zones approach, consider asking your child, “How do you think your behaviors are making your friend feel?” “What kinds of things are they thinking?” “What might they say to you?” These kinds of questions teach a child how their behaviors affect others. Soon after, they’re learning about appropriate responses to different events in their lives. Some problems are really big, but some are really small. Red Zone responses may be appropriate for huge problems, but they aren’t appropriate for tiny problems. Zones of Regulation focuses the rest of the curriculum on teaching appropriate replacement behaviors in the form of coping strategies. There are tons of different strategies, from breathing exercises to physical activity to requesting breaks.

Ultimately Zones of Regulation can be a great tool for teaching emotional regulation to your child. If you’d like some help in teaching the Zones to your child, reach out to your child’s BCBA. They can assess your child’s needs and build an individualized program for them. If your child does not currently have a BCBA, and you’d like to speak with a clinician, please give our team a call to schedule a free consultation.

Authors:

Heather Snodgrass | Board Certified Behavior Analyst
Early Autism Services

Jessica Goldberg | Autism Parent & Behavior Therapist/Outreach Specialist
Early Autism Services

Enjoying the Holidays: Tips for Parents of Children with Autism

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Holiday Tips for Parents of Children with Autism

The holidays are a wonderful time of the year, full of family traditions and seasonal favorites. The holidays can also be overwhelming, especially for children with autism and their families. 

This year, with the added consideration of COVID-19, there are different challenges to consider, but with a little preparation and a lot of patience, you can create a holiday experience that your entire family can enjoy.

1.) Pre-game Prep

Take time to prepare your kiddo for the holidays and new experiences you have planned.  Reading books and watching videos about the holidays are fun ways to get into the holiday spirit.  If you are planning to travel or gather with family and friends, the following are a few tools I have found helpful with my kids:

  • Social Stories – Create a basic story of what your kiddo will be doing and steps they can take to feel balanced and regulated.  This is a link to Personalized Social Story Templates from Autism Speaks
  • Pictures of Friends & Relatives- If you are going to be socializing with friends and relatives, show your kiddo pictures of the people they will be visiting with and label the photos with each person’s name.
  • Let Them Help- As you are preparing for the holidays, encourage your kiddo to lend a hand.  Remember, participation is different for everyone.  For some, arts & crafts or cooking is a fun way to help, while others may be content with being in the same room with you.

2.) Manage Expectations 

Keeping plans simple and managing expectations are essential in enjoying the holidays with my kids.  It’s easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the holiday season.  In order for me to model the behavior I want to see in my kids & stay calm, I’ve learned to keep things simple.  ere are a few other tips I find helpful during the holidays:

  • Keep Routines & Consistent Schedules- Keeping schedules and routines consistent, will help your kiddo feel balanced. Try to plan holiday meals during a time that works best for your family.
  • Pick Your Battles-  If the goal is to enjoy stress free holidays, this may not be the time to introduce new foods, goals or challenging activities.  Set your kiddo ( and yourself) up for success and keep it simple.

3.) Plan Ahead

Creating a game-plan in advance is a great way to reduce stress for you and your family. Take some time to identify what your family needs to enjoy a successful holiday experience and be sure to ask for help. Here are a few tips I’ve found helpful in planning for the holidays:

  • Timing – From planning mealtimes to duration of visits, timing is everything.  Choose times that work best for your family and plan around them.  I find that “short & sweet” is best when socializing with my family and plan our departure early, to avoid sensory overload.
  • Divide & Conquer –  Identify your kiddo’s needs for support and create a plan with your spouse, partner or family members.  Teamwork makes the dreamwork!  Take turns giving your kiddo the support s/he needs while visiting with friends and family.
  • Identify a Quiet Space – Whether you are hosting a gathering at home or visiting friends and family, it’s helpful to identify a quiet space that your kiddo can go to and take a break.  Remind your kiddo where the space is & encourage him/her to take regular breaks to chill out & reset.

4.) Be Present and Enjoy!

The holidays are a time to be with friends and family, express love and gratitude, and celebrate! Take this time to enjoy your family favorites like listening to music; cooking a special meal (or ordering takeout); or taking a quiet walk together. Take it easy- keep it simple & enjoy your beautiful family!

Author:

Jessica Goldberg | Autism Parent & Behavior Therapist/Outreach Specialist
Early Autism Services

How to Motivate My Child with Autism

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  • Children with autism are not typically socially motivated.
  • We must then find any physical item, food, or activity that motivates them.
  • Finding that item will make it easier to teach your child new skills.
  • Avoid thinking that your child will become too dependent on these items. If it helps them learn, then let’s use it to teach new skills.

Two ways to find items your child likes include:

  1. Watch them during their free time. During free time, put your child in a spot that has all their favorite things. If needed, you can add extra stuff your child likes in the room.
  • Write down what they did during their free time.
  • Write down how long they did that activity for.
  • Watch out for behaviors your child engages in- this can include staring at a fan, hand flapping, rubbing their hands together, looking at the wheels of cars.
  1. Grab all the items and activities your child enjoys.
  • You will present two items at a time as a choice. Ask your child to “pick one.”
  • You will then rotate which items you present together.
  • Present each item equal amount of times.
  • Write down which item your child chooses most often.
  • The item your child chooses the most is his/her most preferred item.

 

Learning new skills can help any kid get through their day to day life.

Getting Through the Wait List

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If you suspect your child might need a diagnosis to receive extra support and services, it is important to receive proper therapies ASAP. You will soon find yourself stalled by waiting-lists upon waiting-lists.

Getting through the wait list as quickly as possible is your goal!

Tips on obtaining a quick diagnosis:

  • Call your insurance provider to obtain a list of locations that provide diagnosis.
  • Ask your insurance provider to give you diagnostic centers up to an hour away from your home. Provide them with a remote area (less likely to have a wait list).
  • Call all of these diagnostic centers and tell them to place you on the waiting list (if they have one).
  • Ask how long the wait list is.
  • Intermittently call the diagnostic centers to see if they had any cancellations. This increases your chances of obtaining a quicker appointment.
    • “The squeaky wheel gets the grease”

 

Another method on getting through the wait list:

  • Research what type of therapies your child will benefit from once they obtain the diagnosis you suspect.
  • Call local agencies that provide those services.
  • Ask them if they refer any diagnostic centers with a short wait list- mention you are willing to drive up to an hour or two away (if possible).

If you would like to find out more about the services that EAS offers, please visit our website at earlyautismservices.com or call  (312) 965-2997.

Going to the Doctor: A guide for children with autism and other sensory needs

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Going to the Doctor: Getting my child with a disability through the office successfully

No one likes doctor visits! It can be a scary place for children, especially those with a disability, or those that cannot understand verbal language quite well.

Before going to the doctor’s office:

  • Buy play doctor instruments. Pretend play with your child how the doctor will utilize these different materials.
    • Use a stethoscope to listen to the heart
    • Use a pretend doctor stick to look at the mouth
    • Use a pretend toy to look at the eyes
    • Use a pretend otoscope to look at ears
  • If your child has a hard time pretend playing with the play instruments, you can utilize something your child likes to get them to be more likely to pretend play.
  • For example, if your child loves to watch videos, tell your child “first listen to the heart then watch the video.” Once your child lets you pretend listen to his/her heart, give him the video for 30 seconds or so. Repeat with all the other pretend materials.
  • If your child prefers videos, find a video of a child going to the doctor. Show it to your child and tell them they will be going to the doctor soon. Show them the video every day, up to 7 days before the appointment.
  • If your child prefers pictures, find a book of a child going to the doctor. Read it to your child!

At the doctor’s office:

  • Before going to the doctors, have a special toy, or food ready for your child. Tell them if we do good at the doctors, he/she can have it.
  • When it is time to go to the doctor’s room, have the doctor or nurse give your child a small food item or toy your child likes. You might have to bring something from home.

Make sure the doctor or nurse physically gives it to the child. This can start a great child-doctor relationship! Your child will learn the doctor is a pretty cool person.

  • Bring whatever materials you used at home to practice to the doctor’s office.
    • Tell your child the doctor will listen to their heart. You can listen to your child’s heart (like you practiced at home), and then the doctor can do it! Remember to give your child the item he/she likes (just like at home).
    • If you used a book, show your child the picture of what the doctor will do. Then your doctor can do it!
    • If you used a video, show your child the step on the video. After they watch the step, have the doctor do it.
    • After each step, don’t forget to give your child something they like!

 

 

Early Autism Services ABA Therapy

Press Release: Early Autism Services Brand Changes

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*** For Immediate Release ***

St. Louis, MO – Comprehensive Early Autism Services has formally updated its business name to Early Autism Services. In addition the organization has released a new company logo which is displayed below.

Early Autism Services will continue to provide Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy for children with autism and their families, but will move forward with this new branding.

“We are passionate about each of the children and families that we work with, and we were ready for an image that shared our energy and passion for the work we do and the families we serve,” said Adam Kuda, Marketing Director at Early Autism Services.

Early Autism Services opened nearly a decade ago in Chicago, IL, and now the organization works with children in more than 10 states in the US and also has operations in Canada and Australia.

 

 

# # #

 

For questions please contact:

Adam Kuda – Marketing Director
akuda@earlyautismservices.com