pride
Autism Pride Day

Autism Pride Day is a day set aside to celebrate and honor the unique strengths, talents, and potential of those on the autism spectrum. It’s an opportunity to recognize that everyone deserves respect, understanding, and acceptance regardless of their autistic traits. Let’s celebrate by learning more about Autism Pride Day.

When is Autistic Pride Day?

Autism Pride Day is observed worldwide and is celebrated annually on June 18th. It was founded in 2005 to honor and recognize the unique strengths, talents, and accomplishments of people with autism. 

The day also serves to spread awareness about neurodiversity (the natural variation of human brains) and its benefits for individuals, families, communities, and society as a whole. 

What is the goal of autism pride day?

The goal of Autism Pride Day is to foster understanding and acceptance among people who do not have autism spectrum disorder (ASD). By recognizing the unique strengths and qualities of autistic individuals, we can start to move away from a mindset that views them as needing treatment and towards one that celebrates their differences. 

Let’s learn how this day came to be an internationally observed occasion.

History of Autism Pride Day

Autism Pride Day has its roots in the gay pride movement. It was first celebrated by Aspies for Freedom, an organization dedicated to advocating for autistic rights, in 2005. This annual event draws inspiration from the LGBTQ+ community’s fight for visibility, acceptance, and equal rights. 

By creating an event where those on the autism spectrum can express themselves freely and without judgment, Autism Pride Day seeks to promote a sense of acceptance and understanding of people with autism. 

The celebration serves as a reminder that everyone can live productive lives regardless of their diagnosis or perceived differences from neurotypical people. In fact, as a sign of support and solidarity, a special symbol is often worn during the day.

Symbol of Autism Pride Day

Symbols for autism have changed much over the decades. The Rainbow Infinity Symbol used as a symbol for Autism Pride Day is the most recent and is a powerful visual reminder of the strength and diversity within the autistic community. 

By representing infinite possibilities, and infinite potential, this symbol demonstrates how each person with autism has their own unique set of talents and gifts. 

In addition, the symbol celebrates how members of the autism community can work together in solidarity despite their diverse backgrounds. It shows us we have much to learn from one another and that our differences shouldn’t be seen as a barrier but rather something to be celebrated. 

The Rainbow Infinity Symbol is more than just a representation of unity — it’s also a prompt to use our differences to create an inclusive and accepting society when we come together to support one another. 

So how can you participate in this special day? Read on to find out!

How to observe Autism Pride Day

Celebrate Autism Pride Day by adorning yourself with a symbolic infinity rainbow pin or ribbon. Show your support and wear the colors of autism pride to help spread awareness throughout your community. 

Take the time to learn more about autism to understand its complexities better and appreciate those who live with it daily. Reading books, watching documentaries, or talking to members of the autism community are all great ways to become more informed on this important topic. 

Other ways you can get involved are: 

  • Volunteering your time to a local autism-related organization
  • Attending an online or in-person event, 
  • Starting conversations with friends and family
  • Raising awareness on social media
  • Donating to charities

By reflecting on Autism Pride Day, you can help create a more inclusive world for everyone.

Get involved and show your support

Autism Pride Day is a day to celebrate and recognize the unique strengths, talents, and differences of people on the autism spectrum. It’s important that we come together to show our support for those living with autism. 

No matter how small or large, every effort counts in helping create a more inclusive society for everyone. Learn more about celebrating Autism Pride Day and what you can do to help promote acceptance and understanding!

 

If you are ready to work with the best ABA therapy provider in New York, New Jersey or Indiana, give us a call at (732) 402-0297. Our dedicated team is ready to help and we will treat you like family.

 

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Signs Of Autism In Boys

Every child is different regarding signs and symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), which is especially true when we look at how it presents in boys vs girls. This article will examine the most common signs of autism in boys, so keep reading to learn more.

Why are more boys than girls diagnosed with autism?

Autism affects boys more than girls, with studies showing that four times as many boys are diagnosed with autism than girls. This difference has been observed across different countries, cultures, and age groups. 

So why do more boys have autism? The answer is unclear, but a few theories may explain the difference in diagnosis rates between genders.

  • Autism is commonly seen to affect boys more than girls, possibly due to the prevalence of male characters with autism in media.
  • Diagnostic tools for autism can more easily recognize traits that are commonly seen in boys with autism than those seen in girls.
  • Boys with signs of autism are more often noticed by people who care for them.
  • Boys tend to be diagnosed with autism earlier than girls, even when their symptoms are the same.
  • Boys with autism may be less likely to hide their symptoms with masking or camouflaging than girls.

When it comes to diagnosing boys with autism, many shared symptoms may help you decide whether it’s time to take your child in for assessment. Let’s take a look.

Signs of autism in boys

Many symptoms of autism are similar between boys and girls, but it might be helpful to be aware of some signs that are more commonly seen in boys. It’s important to remember that each individual with autism is unique, and the presentation of symptoms may vary significantly from one person to another. 

Boys with autism tend to be diagnosed earlier because their symptoms tend to be more obvious. Let’s take a look at a few.

Social communication and social interaction

Regarding signs of autism in boys, social communication and social interaction can be important indicators that your child is struggling. Here’s what social difficulties can look like in boys with ASD:

  • Difficulty taking turns in conversations or a tendency to take control when talking or playing with others
  • Intense focus in conversations on topics that they are passionate about while being unwilling to engage in discussions related to subjects that do not interest them
  • May speak in a flat or atypical cadence and use language that is either overly formal or informal
  • Struggle to form words and express themselves verbally or might be limited to a few phrases or just a few words when speaking
  • Challenges interpreting the inflections in another person’s speech and grasping the connotations of expressions. This can make it hard for them to recognize when a speaker is being sarcastic or using figures of speech, thus making it difficult for them to determine the speaker’s intention or mood.
  • Trouble making or sustaining eye contact with others
  • Difficulty in responding to others’ non-verbal cues, such as body language and facial expressions; making unexpected facial expressions
  • Struggling to carry out instructions that involve multiple steps
  • Rigid adherence to established routines and regulations when in school, at home, or during play
  • Challenges in answering questions, discussing their personal experiences, and not responding consistently when their name is called. May refer to themselves as ‘you’ instead of ‘I’.
  • Having a hard time beginning conversations with peers or forming and keeping friendships 
  • Expressing desires and needs may be challenging 
  • Particularly enjoys being around adults or younger kids more than those of the same age range 
  • Prefers to play alone instead of engaging in group activities 
  • May not understand how to respect another person’s boundaries

As well as social and communication difficulties, other common symptoms of boys with ASD can also be repetitive behaviors and specific areas of interest. Keep reading, and we’ll explain further.

 

Repetitive or restricted behavior, interests, or activities

Before describing these, let’s break down the terms repetitive and restricted as they pertain to autism spectrum disorder. 

  1. Repetitive behavior. Any behavior that is repeated over and over again. This could be a physical movement, such as hand-flapping or rocking back and forth, or it could be verbal, like repeating the same word or phrase. 
  2. Restricted behaviors. Those that have limited range or scope. These specific actions can include things like an obsession with certain topics, an inability to engage in abstract thinking, difficulty transitioning between activities, and/or difficulty understanding social cues. 

Now that you’re more familiar with these terms let’s dive deeper into what this can look like in your child:

  • A fascination with certain activities that may not be seen as suitable for their age 
  • Obsessions with specific toys or objects and avoidance of others 
  • Ritualistic behaviors, like lining up items in a precise manner or closing all the doors at home 
  • Repeating words or phrases on a frequent basis 
  • Making strange noises such as squeals and grunts, repetitive throat clearing
  • Heightened sensitivity to certain stimuli, such as sound, taste, and smell; lack of response to other sensations like pain, heat, or cold 
  • Particular preferences in terms of food texture, with some foods being refused altogether -Anxiety when daily routines are disrupted or changed 
  • Difficulty fitting into new social contexts and adapting to novel scenarios 
  • Challenge in applying learned skills across different settings 
  • Resistance towards going to school or childcare centers, accompanied by distress if forced to go
  • Repetitive motions, such as hand clapping, swaying, or biting 
  • Inability to remain still for a period of time (considering age) 
  • Unusual sleeping habits like staying alert late into the evening or waking often in the night at the same time 
  • Frequent bouts of anxiety, particularly among teenagers

After reading about these symptoms of autism in boys, your parental spidey senses might be tingling. If so, you’re likely wondering whether you should get your child checked out. We’re so glad you asked.

When to get an autism assessment?

If your son or a child you care for demonstrates traits that may indicate autism, it can be beneficial to discuss the situation with a professional soon. Doing so could help in the present and in years to come. Early assessment can provide essential insights into how to support your son best and ensure he has access to the right resources. 

How to get an autism assessment?

Your GP could be a helpful part of the referral process for an autism assessment. They may inquire about your child’s development (or your own, if it pertains to an adult) and conduct testing and examination to decide if a diagnosis of autism is suitable or exclude other potential health or developmental problems. 

If you suspect autism in your son, don’t hesitate to reach out

If you are a parent who suspects your son may have autism, please don’t hesitate to reach out for help. We understand that it can be an emotionally difficult process, and our team is here to guide you every step of the way. 

 

 

 

If you are ready to work with the best ABA therapy provider in New York, New Jersey or Indiana, give us a call at (732) 402-0297. Our dedicated team is ready to help and we will treat you like family.

 

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Can You Develop Autism?

One in every 44 children in the United States is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. But can autism be developed at a later age? Research indicates that the condition is always present early on, however, it may be diagnosed late for a variety of reasons. Read on to learn more.

Can You Develop Autism?

Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder. It is thought to be a result of disruptions in the normal growth of the brain and central nervous system early in development. This means that the condition is present at birth and can’t be developed later in life.

 

There is no official diagnosis of acquired or late-onset autism. If a person had a completely normal childhood but starts showing autism-like symptoms in adulthood, these signs are typically due to other similar conditions rather than autism.

 

In the following section, we list the most common early signs and symptoms of autism spectrum disorder.

Early Symptoms

The earliest signs of autism that would require evaluation by an expert are:

  • Not responding when you call the child’s name
  • Avoiding eye contact 
  • Refusing physical contact
  • No smiling or displaying other types of social responsiveness
  • No babbling 
  • No pointing at objects and toys by age one
  • No single words by 16 months or two-word phrases by age two

Other typical symptoms of autism present in toddlers and young children include:

  • Failure to understand social cues and gestures
  • Inability to grasp their own feelings and those of others
  • Difficulty expressing emotions
  • Repeating the exact words or phrases uttered by others, also known as echolalia
  • Providing unrelated answers when asked questions 
  • Systematically using the pronoun “you” instead of “I”
  • Sensory sensitivities, such as feeling overwhelmed by bright lights, noise, or touch
  • Repetitive body movements like rocking, flapping, spinning, and running back and forth 
  • Ritualistic behaviors, for example, lining up toys and performing actions in a set order
  • Resistance to any change in routines
  • Abnormally focused interest in specific topics or objects.

Autism symptoms vary greatly depending on the child’s age and the severity of the disorder. Not all children will have all the above symptoms. Some may also experience other signs that are not on the list.

The early symptoms of autism spectrum disorder are often noticeable from a very young age, by 12 -18 months. However, many of the social and communication issues related to autism don’t appear before the child starts preschool and begins interacting with peers. Children with high-functioning autism may go undiagnosed until social and other challenges arise in school.

Age Limit for Autism Development

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), in order to qualify for an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis, symptoms must appear during early childhood, before age 3. It is not possible for older children, teenagers, and adults to develop autism. 

 

Some children who appear to develop normally in the first year of life, can go through a period of regression and start showing the symptoms of autism, such as impaired verbal and nonverbal communication skills, between 18 and 24 months. This condition is known as regressive autism. However, researchers believe that children don’t suddenly develop symptoms of regressive autism, but that subtle signs are present even before the regression took place.

Although autism doesn’t appear after early childhood, some people are not diagnosed until their adult years. Below, we explain the main reasons for a delayed diagnosis of autism. 

Delayed Autism Diagnosis

In its first report on adults with autism in 2021, the CDC estimates that 2.21% of people over the age of 18 in the United States are living with an autism spectrum disorder. However, it is essential to keep in mind that there is a difference between the late onset of symptoms and a delayed autism diagnosis.  

Autism symptoms in adults

The most common symptoms of autism spectrum disorder in adults include:

 

  • Difficulty interpreting what others are thinking or feeling
  • Trouble understanding facial expressions, gestures, or social cues
  • Challenges when it comes to regulating emotions
  • Trouble keeping up a conversation
  • Difficulty maintaining natural conversation flow
  • Tendency to engage in monologues on a favorite topic
  • Speaking with an inflection that does not reflect feelings
  • Engaging in repetitive behaviors
  • Participating in a restricted range of activities
  • Strong attachment to daily routines
  • Excessive focus on special interests and topics.

Causes of delayed autism diagnosis

Some adults seek out an autism diagnosis because they believe that they have one or more of the symptoms of autism mentioned above. There are several reasons why a person may not have been formally diagnosed with ASD in childhood:

 

  • Symptoms don’t have a significant impact and don’t limit everyday functioning. Mild autism symptoms in children with high-functioning autism may be difficult to recognize and are easily overlooked.
  • The person has received another diagnosis that could explain some of the symptoms.
  • Individuals who have been living with autism for a long period of time may become good at masking its symptoms.
  • Girls are less likely to receive an accurate autism diagnosis than boys. They are expected to behave in quieter and less assertive ways and are better at hiding their symptoms. In addition, some of the more obvious signs of autism, such as repetitive behaviors, are more often present in boys.

Conditions that can be mistaken for autism

In some cases, the underlying issue of autism-like symptoms is not autism at all. Some individuals who appear to suddenly behave in a way typical for people with autism may have developed another mental health issue.

 

Autism-like conditions that appear in early adulthood include:

 

  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
  • Avoidant personality disorder (AvPD)
  • Reactive attachment disorder (RAD)
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Schizophrenia
  • Social phobia and other phobias.

 

Similarly to autism, all of these disorders have a significant impact on an individual’s ability to function effectively and communicate with others and require treatment.

If you are ready to work with the best ABA therapy provider in New York, New Jersey or Indiana, give us a call at (732) 402-0297. Our dedicated team is ready to help and we will treat you like family.

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Autism vs. Down Syndrome

Over the past few years there has been a growing number of children who are being diagnosed with both Down syndrome and autism. However, these are two co-existing conditions that while are both characterized by developmental delays, are actually very different. Here’s what to know about each of these conditions.

Understanding the Two Conditions

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Down syndrome (DS) are not the same condition and aren’t necessarily related. However, the two conditions can occur together in some children. About 20% of people with down syndrome are also autistic, but they are not mutually exclusive.

Autism Spectrum Disorder

Autism, or ASD, is a neurodevelopmental condition that can impact a person’s abilities in language, social interaction and behavior. People with ASD can have a broad range of traits and can seem completely different from one another. As the name suggests, autism is a spectrum and can vary not only in behaviors but in severity as well.

Approximately 1 in 44 children today are diagnosed with ASD.

Autism must be identified by a doctor who will observe and assess a child’s behavior and developmental history. Typically, ASD behaviors can be first noticed in children who are as young as 2-years-old. However, there are some individuals with autism that aren’t identified until they are much older. Some individuals don’t get an official autism diagnosis until they are adults.

It is impossible to tell that a person is autistic just by their physical attributes. Autism is entirely classified by behaviors.

Down Syndrome

Down syndrome is a chromosomal condition, unlike ASD that is neurodevelopmental. Down syndrome is currently the most common genetic disorder in the United States and impacts approximately 1 in 700 babies born today.

Down syndrome is not hereditary but can be discovered in prenatal screenings, the diagnosis is quite straightforward and varies among individuals. It can often be the cause of lifelong learning disorders, intellectual disability and developmental delays. Depending on the severity of the condition, individuals with down syndrome may also have additional health problems including heart defects.

Most individuals with Down syndrome have distinct facial features that include:

  • Short neck
  • Smaller head
  • Upward slanting eyelids
  • Brushfield’s spots
  • Flattened face
  • Poor muscle tone
  • Small hands and feet with short fingers and toes
  • Short hands with a single crease across the palm

 

These facial features may also vary between individuals with DS.

Causes of Both Autism and Down Syndrome

There are different situations that can cause autism as well as down syndrome. Multiple factors can contribute to the cause of autism, including:

  • Genetics
  • Gene mutations
  • Family history of autism
  • Environmental factors such as pesticide exposure during pregnancy
  • Birth trauma that restricts oxygen supply to the baby
  • Biological factors such as inflammation or infection during pregnancy

There is still a lot of research that needs to be done on autism and what does (and doesn’t) cause this condition.

Down syndrome, on the other hand, is a chromosome disorder that occurs more frequently in pregnancies with mothers who are age 35 or older. Although it can occur in any woman no matter what their age. There are three primary types of chromosomal disorders that cause down syndrome.

  • Trisomy 21– This occurs when every cell has a third copy of chromosome 21. Typically, each chromosome only has two copies.
  • Mosaic Down Syndrome– Some cells have three copies of chromosome 21 and other cells only have two copies of this chromosome.
  • Translocation Down Syndrome– This happens when an extra piece or extra whole copy of chromosome 21 is attached to a different chromosome.

These are some of the most commonly known causes of both autism and Down syndrome—but it is also important to know some of the symptoms of both of these conditions.

Symptoms of Both Autism and Down Syndrome

While autism and Down syndrome have some shared characteristics, there are many distinct different symptoms for each of these conditions. For example, individuals with Down syndrome have physical characteristics including the aforementioned distinct facial features, while individuals with autism have no significant physical attributes.

Many individuals with autism get overwhelmed in social situations and prefer to keep to themselves. These individuals may appear withdrawn or indifferent, or they may prefer to avoid social situations. Individuals who have autism may struggle to understand social cues and communicate in social situations.

On the other hand, individuals with mild to moderate down syndrome typically understand social cues and can participate in social situations more easily.

Many individuals with autism don’t follow a usual pattern for learning language, while some will never learn to speak. Some children with autism will learn to speak and then lose their language development.

Individuals with autism, on the other hand, develop language more typically to that of developing children, although they may struggle with more complex terms or words or speak with a certain delay. However, individuals with down syndrome may just try to copy others and engage in parallel play or act as though other people are inanimate objects.

Shared Traits of Autism and Down Syndrome

 

While there are many differences between autism and Down syndrome, there are also plenty of shared traits between these two conditions. Here are some of the shared traits of both of these conditions:

  • Becoming fixated on routines
  • Less responsive to the sound of their own name
  • Expressive language challenges
  • Difficulty with maintaining eye contact
  • Sensory differences
  • Repetitive play or repetitive behaviors
  • Challenging behaviors when compared to other children
  • Anxiety
  • Hyper-focus on interests
  • Developmental delays

The good news is that there are so many new resources available both for those with Down syndrome as well as those with ASD. This means families can have the additional support they need in order to navigate the unique challenges that come with both of these conditions. 

 

If you are ready to work with the best ABA therapy provider in New York, New Jersey or Indiana, give us a call at (732) 402-0297. Our dedicated team is ready to help and we will treat you like family.

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Autism and Masking

There is still a lot to learn about autism in our world today, and one of the most discussed topics related to people with autism is the process of “masking.” Autism masking involves suppressing elements of a person’s identity as an individual with autism. Here’s what to know about this process.

What Does Autistic Masking Mean?

Autistic masking is a term used to describe the process of suppressing or hiding elements of a person’s autistic identity.

There are some people who refer to autism masking as a strategy for “social survival” and is used by individuals with autism to help them conform to expected societal “norms.” Many individuals with autism will also use masking to cope with situations or environments and avoid expressing anxiety. It’s basically used to suppress differences or become unassuming in order to make sure others don’t notice.

While it may not sound like a particularly significant process, it can require a lot of effort on part of the individual to mask their natural tendencies, and there can be some side effects of autism masking if individuals aren’t careful.

Autistic Masking Examples

Masking can take many different forms, and they can be both conscious, or unconscious, strategies used across different situations. Here are some of the most common examples of autistic masking:

  • Mimicking the social behavior of others, such as repeating phrases, copying gestures or mimicking facial expressions instead of acting on their own accord.
  • Deliberating faking eye contact while having conversations with another person.
  • Hiding their own intense interests from everyone, including those close to them.
  • Scripting or rehearsing conversations before they happen.
  • Preparing a stock of phrases or sayings to use in conversations.
  • Suppressing stimming, or self-stimming, behaviors that they typically repeat, including jumping, whistling or finger-clicking. These behaviors are often used to self-regulate.
  • Internalizing or not sharing sensory discomfort in certain situations.

Masking happens with both male and female individuals with autism and while it is not specific to a certain gender, some experts suggest that females do it far more than men. In fact, some believe that one of the reasons that fewer females are diagnosed with autism has to do with the high levels of masking among females. It is suggested that children who are raised as girls have a higher propensity of masking.

Why Might Children and Young People Mask?

Most of the current research regarding masking behaviors has to do with adults with autism, however, there is a consensus in the community that there needs to be more research on why young people engage in this behavior—and how it starts.

Children may internalize the anxiety that autism can generate and mask in order to get through the school day or deal with social interactions with their peers. Many children also fear that they will be mocked or ostracized with other children if they are “different” or don’t try to conform to societal norms.

Effects of Masking

So, considering that masking is a common occurrence among individuals with autism—what are the longer-term effects of engaging in this behavior?

 There are unfortunately detrimental long-term effects of having to mask. This may include:

  • Autistic fatigue or burnout (feeling very exhausted and having more meltdowns due to the effort involved in masking their autism)
  • Rejection of their own identity.
  • Low self-esteem
  • Issues with mental health
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Increased risk of suicidal thoughts
  • Feelings of their needs not being met or recognized
  • Delayed diagnosis or lack of autism diagnosis

There are some serious long-term effects of autism masking, which is why it is important for adults and parents alike to understand the implications involved with masking.

How to Support Children Who Mask Their Needs

If you assume that you have a child who may be masking their autism, here are a few ways to offer support to autistic children:

1.     Develop Your Own Understanding of Autism

The first and most important thing for adults to do in this situation is to develop their own understanding of autism. As autism diagnosis rates continue to grow, there has become a greater understanding of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

An understanding of autism and the challenges it brings is the best way to start helping any individual who may be masking their autism symptoms.

2. Promote an Inclusive Culture

Promoting a culture of inclusivity among everyone is a great way to encourage a person with autism to limit their masking behaviors. A culture of inclusivity encourages individuals with all types of differences to be more accepting not only of others but of themselves.       

3. Provide Individualized Support

Many times, individuals with autism engage in masking behaviors because they don’t feel enough support to be themselves. This is why it is important for parents, caregivers and other adults to provide support to children with autism to make certain they feel confident in themselves so they don’t rely on masking behaviors.

4. Listen to Experts

There are so many experts today who work directly with individuals with autism and these can be great resources to help identify masking behaviors and to make sure that individuals who are masking aren’t engaging in behaviors that could lead to serious side effects.

Remember, with children, many times they are masking in order to fit in, which can be difficult for any child. Have patience with children—they may want to mask because it helps them feel more included which in and of itself can be a very delicate topic for kids of all ages to deal with.  

 

If you are ready to work with the best ABA therapy provider in New York, New Jersey or Indiana, give us a call at (732) 402-0297. Our dedicated team is ready to help and we will treat you like family.

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Three Levels of Autism

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is an unfortunately common condition that impacts millions of people today. While strides are being made to better understand this disorder, there is still a lot that the general public needs to understand about autism, including what the three levels of autism are.

ASD Level 1: Requiring Support

There are three recognized levels of autism today and while every individual is unique, every person with autism falls into one of these levels. It is important to note that there are also vast variations in each of these levels, meaning two people in “level 1” may not behave in the exact same way. However, understanding the general qualifications for each of these levels will help you better understand autism.

And this all starts with ASD Level 1.

This is the mildest of the levels, representing the “highest functioning” form of autism. You may not even realize an individual in ASD Level 1 has autism. This level also includes individuals who would have previously been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. Asperger’s is no longer used as a formal diagnosis today.

When a child has ASD Level 1 autism, hey may understand and speak in complete sentences, but have difficulty engaging in back-and-forth conversations. They may seem socially awkward or struggle to fit in with their peers in certain social situations.

Some children in Level 1 also have challenges when switching between tasks and may have issues with staying organized or planning. While these individuals require some support in order to function to the best of their ability, they are generally quite independent. Typically this support comes in the form of cognitive behavior therapy.

Here are some hallmarks of Level 1:

  • Inability to maintain eye contact
  • Low frustration tolerance
  • Difficulty multitasking
  • Requiring special rituals, such as only drinking from one cup
  • Struggling with time management
  • Struggling to participate in class

 

ASD Level 2: Requiring Substantial Support

Children who fall into ASD Level 2 will have more challenges with social communication than those with Level 1 autism. Children in Level 2 are also much more likely to have repetitive behaviors. Most children who fall into ASD Level 2 have both verbal and nonverbal communication challenges.

These children may also struggle with responses to social cues or portray completely abnormal responses to these cues. While children in level 1 may be seen as inflexible—this is even more pronounced in Level 2. Straying from the familiar or from routines may cause outbursts from children or serious distress or lead to challenging behavior.

The challenges that children in Level 2 face will likely be more obvious to casual observers than they are for children in Level 1. Children who are diagnosed as ASD Level 2 will need substantial ongoing support to learn behavior modifications and coping mechanisms.

Typically children in this level will require daily support to help them address language, behavioral and social difficulties. However, they may still need help with daily activities.

Here are some of the things that you may notice about a child in Level 2:

  • Avoiding social situations
  • Hypersensitivity to stimuli like sights, sounds and smells
  • Stimming behaviors such as rocking, pacing or hand flapping
  • Self-harming behaviors such as banging their heads on the wall
  • Easily distracted by stimuli
  • Falling behind academically

ASD Level 3: Requiring Very Substantial Support

 

ASD level 3 means individuals require very substantial support. Children with Level 3 autism will be nonverbal or may only have the use of a few intelligible words. Most children in this category have hardly any social interaction or ability to respond to others.

Individuals at this level may have the ability to interact with others only to meet their immediate needs and may be unable to form actual relationships. An individual at Level 3 will not only be highly inflexible but they will likely have extreme difficulty coping to changes in their routine.

Most individuals with this level of autism have restrictive or repetitive behaviors that will interfere with their ability to function normally in society and they may struggle most with transitioning from one activity to another. In fact, this often causes significant distress.  

Children in Level 3 will often need constant care and supervision, likely through a caregiver. They will also typically need help with everyday tasks such as bathing, eating and going to the bathroom. There are speech language therapies and occupational therapies that can help children at this level.

Some of the hallmarks you may notice in children who fall into Level 3 include:

  • Fixation on atypical behaviors like rocking
  • Rarely engaging in social interactions
  • Inability to complete daily tasks
  • Diminished cognitive function

Most families will know where their loved one with autism falls within these three levels, but you should still always have a formal diagnosis from a doctor.

Autism truly is a spectrum and it can look very different from person-to-person. However, the more our society understands about how these variations look and what it means for each individual, the better we can all be at supporting members of the autism community together. 

 

If you are ready to work with the best ABA therapy provider in New York, New Jersey or Indiana, give us a call at (732) 402-0297. Our dedicated team is ready to help and we will treat you like family.

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Autism and Tylenol

Many parents today are finding their children have autism, and while there are many resources available for children with autism and their families—there are still a lot of questions out there. One of the many questions that parents have has to do with Tylenol and autism and whether there is any correlation between the two. 

What Are the Tylenol Autism Lawsuits About?

The primary reason that so many people are asking about Tylenol and autism has to do with the recent lawsuits from parents of children with autism and the medication.

Tylenol, or acetaminophen, is a popular over-the-counter pain relief medication. For many years, Tylenol was recommended as the safest option for pregnant women who have occasional mild or moderate pain during pregnancy.

And while many women took this medication while pregnant to help with aches and pains, research is indicating that taking Tylenol while pregnant may increase the risk of having a baby with autism. The first and most important thing to realize is that these lawsuits are coming from situations where women are taking Tylenol every day or regularly during their pregnancy.

Pregnancy can come with a lot of discomfort and many women just don’t feel like themselves every day while they are pregnant. This can make it easy to want to take Tylenol every day to counteract these feelings. However, this is not a safe or doctor-recommended practice.

However, this new evidence that is linking Tylenol to autism has created a growing number of product liability lawsuits against Tylenol and other generic acetaminophen manufacturers. Some parents are also filing lawsuits against retailers like Wal-Mart who are selling these products without proper warning labels.

This onslaught of lawsuits has raised many eyebrows not only among parents but doctors and researchers as well who want to learn more about the potential link between this product and autism rates in children.

For many years, there has been no known “cause” for autism, and many experts believe it is a combination of genetics and outside influences. It’s important to note that these studies and the subsequent lawsuits are not saying that Tylenol in pregnancy will always cause autism, but it is suggesting a link between the two and highlighting a significant risk that can come from taking this medication while pregnant.

What Studies Are Saying

These lawsuits all stemmed from an original 2018 study where researchers did a meta-analysis of numerous studies on mothers and their children. There were seven total studies that looked at 132,738 pairs of mothers and their children.

These studies followed these mothers and their children over time periods ranging from three years to 11 years, depending on the individual study. These studies followed these pairs using questionnaires, interviews and other self-reports on their medication usage to determine what products they used during pregnancy.

This analysis found that there was a 20% higher risk of autism in children who had a prolonged exposure to acetaminophen during the fetal development. Essentially, mothers who took Tylenol on a regular basis throughout their pregnancy were 20% more likely to have a child on the autism spectrum disorder. This was in comparison to mothers who didn’t take Tylenol while pregnant or who only took the over-the-counter medication a handful of times during their pregnancy.

This study also looked at ADHD in children. This can sometimes go hand-in-hand with autism. The studies found that women who took Tylenol, or a generic version of Tylenol, consistently throughout their pregnancy, had a 30% higher chance of having a child with ADHD. While these reports are significant and should be taken seriously—and they are now the basis for new lawsuits, there is still additional research that needs to be done.

However, it is important to note that this study found that women who take small amounts of acetaminophen periodically throughout their pregnancy, didn’t present as high of a risk. In one study, researchers found that women who took Tylenol for fewer than eight days didn’t have an increased risk of having a child with autism.  

Is Acetaminophen Safe During Pregnancy?

As all of this information about Tylenol and pregnancy comes to light—one of the biggest questions that parents have is simply, “so, is acetaminophen safe during pregnancy?” This is actually a rather complex question. Most experts would agree that if you have debilitating pain that is disrupting your everyday life during pregnancy or a serious fever, it is OK to take acetaminophen occasionally. It’s just important to not take Tylenol every-day or regularly.

The most important thing that experts are telling pregnant women and mothers is not to panic. There is still more research to be done on this topic and in most situations the moderate “increased risk” of autism only comes from mothers who are taking Tylenol every day. If you took Tylenol regularly during pregnancy and are noticing developmental delays, it is always a good idea to go to your pediatrician with questions—just as you would with any type of delay with your child.

When it comes to whether or not to take Tylenol during pregnancy—the best course of action is to discuss this with your doctor. You should always ask questions before taking acetaminophen or any other over-the-counter medication while pregnant. Your doctor will always be the best resource for information about pregnancy and your health. 

 

If you are ready to work with the best ABA therapy provider in New York, New Jersey or Indiana, give us a call at (732) 402-0297. Our dedicated team is ready to help and we will treat you like family.

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What’s it Like to Have a Sibling With Autism?

As more and more children are getting diagnosed with autism, many parents have the same question, “how do we help our other children understand?” It can be difficult for children who have siblings with autism as well. The good news is, there are steps parents can take to help everyone form a stronger and more understanding dynamic.

Explaining Autism to Siblings

When parents have one child diagnosed with autism, it is important that they don’t try to “hide” the diagnosis from other children. By explaining autism to the other children in the family, these children can better understand their siblings with autsim.

This will make it easier for these siblings to have stronger bonds and better relationships with their siblings. It will also help your typically-developing children understand certain behaviors that your child with autism may display.

Here are some tips to keep in mind when explaining autism to children:

  • Give all of your children accurate information.
  • Explain your child with autism’s diagnosis in a clear but kind manner that does not demean or ostracize your child.
  • Find out what your other children already know, which for older children may mean asking them if they know what autism is.
  • Talk to your other children about actions or behaviors they may have noticed in your child with autism, such as the way they talk or play.
  • Use language and concepts that your children will understand so as to not confuse them. Use this opportunity to explain why your child with autism may act differently than other kids.
  • Be prepared to explain the concept to your children several times, it may be complex and difficult for kids to understand, especially depending on their age.

While as a parent, you may find the prospect of explaining autism to your children a daunting experience—many parents find the more open and honest they are with their children, the easier the discussion will be. The more your kids know, the easier it will be for them to form the best relationships possible with their siblings.

Making Special Time for Siblings of Children with Autism

In addition to taking time to talk to your children without autism about this disorder, it is important to make special time for them as well. In many situations, children with autism get more attention, or a different type of attention than their siblings do—and this can be confusing to many kids.

Spending one-on-one time with your typically developing children ensures that they still feel special and that their feelings are met. You want to make sure that all of your children feel as though their thoughts and feelings matter. Making this special time will help boost your child’s confidence and curate a sense of belonging in the family.

It’s so important to help your children with autism and your children without autism as special as possible, even if they need different types of attention. Plus, when children feel special and heard, it can help them gain the confidence they need to have a better relationship with their sibling.

Here are some tips on creating special time for the siblings of your child with autism:

  • Set aside regular time for your typically developing children every day. Even if its not the same amount of time you spend with your child with autism helping them with certain tasks, it’s important that you set aside this time for your other children as well. This can be a few minutes together in the morning, making dinner together at night or reading stories together before bed.
  • If your child without autism wants to tell you or show you something, do your best to make time to give them your undivided attention, even if it’s only for a moment. Making your child feel seen and heard is a great way to create balance and fairness in the home.
  • Try to find a trusted respite caregiver or babysitter to help look after you child with autism on a regular basis—this way you can spend more one-on-one time with your other children without your attention needing to be divided—even parents with the best intentions can accidentally place more attention on the needs of their child with autism, so getting help can be a great way to make sure every child has the unique type of attention that they need.

It’s not always about making big, grand gestures, but instead about the little things and taking small steps and making a concerted effort to balance your attention between all of your children.

Finding Ways For Children with Autism and Their Siblings to Spend Fun Time Together

Managing the relationship between children with autism and children without autism can sometimes be a challenge. In general, most children with autism have positive feelings towards their siblings, but sometimes these sibling dynamics could improve, especially if your child with autism has challenges with social communication.

It can also be challenging for your child without autism to want to spend time with their sibling with autism, if there are communication complications.

So, how do you foster a better relationship between these siblings?

One of the easiest ways to do this is to find games or activities that everyone can participate in and have fun in. This may be playing certain video games, sports or doing something like puzzles. Finding that common ground activity can serve as a foundation for their quality time together.

Managing Siblings’ Negative Feelings

Just like with any sibling relationship, chances are, there are going to be negative feelings from time-to-time. While adjusting to their sibling’s autism, it is not uncommon for your other kids to harbor some negative or complicated feelings.

It is normal for siblings to feel jealous of the amount of time that their parents spend with their siblings, but there are other potential negative feelings that can arise as well. This may include:

  • Feeling frustrated if their sibling with autism doesn’t want to play with them.
  • Feeling discouraged if they believe they are treated differently by their parents.
  • Feeling protective or upset with other kids if their sibling gets made fun of.
  • Feeling embarrassed by people’s questions or unwanted attention while out in public.
  • Feelings of concern or resentment over the perceived notion that they will have to care for their siblings when they are older.

These are all common and understandable feelings for siblings to have. Parents may want to address these negative feelings head-on to prevent additional negative feelings from forming, or they may consider taking their children to a specialist who works with children.

There are other things that parents can do on a day-to-day basis such as acknowledging your child’s feelings when they emerge. You should agree that certain things such as dealing with a sibling who doesn’t know how to share toys can be frustrating. However, you should always talk to your child about their feelings and the situation in a non-judgmental way.

 Your child should feel heard but also see an example of you as a parent reserving judgment towards your child with autism. Frustrated feelings are acceptable, while judgmental ones are not. To help foster a better dialogue, make sure to share your own feelings so your child can see that this is normal and that sharing is a positive thing.

Encouraging A Support Network Outside Your Family

Your family can be a great resource for your children, especially if they have siblings who have autism. However, friendships outside the family can help your child feel as though they are more than just the sibling of a child with autism. There are both autism family support groups and sibling support groups available as resources.

If you feel as though your child is struggling in their relationship with their sibling with autism, it is always a smart idea to reach out and get outside assistance from others who can act as a support system. Having a sibling with autism can be a beautiful and rewarding experience, but it can also come with challenges. The best thing parents of these individuals can do is to be caring and supportive for all of their children as they navigate these waters together as a family.

 

If you are ready to work with the best ABA therapy provider in New York, New Jersey or Indiana, give us a call at (732) 402-0297. Our dedicated team is ready to help and we will treat you like family.

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Art Therapy For Autism

Many types of therapy can help children with autism have an ideal quality of life. One of the best forms of assistance is art therapy. This article will talk about how art therapy helps children with autism, an expression for kids with autism, and how to get started.

How Does Art Therapy Help Autism?

Art therapy is an incredible choice for children with autism. Art allows kids to communicate visually, expressing themselves through unique mediums without opening their mouths to speak.

 

Here are a few additional ways art therapy helps children with autism:

 

  •     Communicate and express themselves without speaking
  •     Speaking through creative expression
  •     Better abstract thinking and improved communication
  •     A way to create stronger relationships, encouraging children with autism to open up to other perspectives
  •     Improved sensory integration and coping skills
  •     Better development along with visual and spatial skills
  •     Increased emotional and sensory control, positively impacting behavior

 

It’s an incredible way to give kids another way to shine.

 

Art therapy can help children with autism express themselves in ways they otherwise could not access. But how? Let’s discuss the ways art therapy benefits these kids.

How Art Therapy is Helping Children with Autism Express Themselves?

Art therapy permits children with autism to create a method to express feelings and show their impressions of the world. They can use creativity to select colors, then utilize materials to bring their vision to life. They utilize these colors and materials to form what they are feeling.

 

In time, children with autism will get more and more used to using art to express their feelings. It might become a pathway for caretakers, parents, and teachers to speak with their children in ways language does not allow. Art therapy can help kids with autism to take control of their lives, and you can understand their view of the world.

 

If you are interested in art therapy for your child with autism, it can be overwhelming to pick a place to get started. There are several routes for starting art therapy with your child.

 

How to Get Started With Art Therapy Activities for Children With Autism

Art therapy can start early in a child’s life as early as two years old. It’s better to begin earlier rather than later, as art can be a valuable communication tool as a child with autism grows up. Art provides a solution for this child’s thinking style that can ease their mind in a confusing world.

 

It’s best to speak with other parents or caretakers of children with autism for advice on a starting point. Your ABA therapist can also come in handy, providing valuable insight on what they think will best suit your child. They may offer a few different recommendations to determine the ideal fit.

 

We have a few recommendations for ways to get started on the creative journey with your child. Let’s discuss each of the strategies to determine the best starting point.

Ice Cube Drawings

Ice cube drawings are a unique form of art that includes sensory experience with the creation of gorgeous pieces. Children with autism can experiment with different mediums and make something that will communicate how they feel to others.

 

All you need for ice cube drawing are:

 

  •     Ice cubes
  •     Food coloring
  •     Ice cube trays
  •     Paper
  •     Gloves

 

The food coloring should be frozen in the tray.

 

Put the paper out on a table and place the ice cubes in a bowl. Have your child put on the gloves, then sit them down at a table.

 

The children can then grab the ice cubes and move them around on the paper to create beautiful designs. If your child doesn’t do well with cold and hot sensations, you might want to try something that operates at a more stable temperature.

Sand Art

Sand art is another excellent form of art therapy. Children get to play in the sand, creating sculptures and designs. Sand art can occur with traditional and or kinetic versions that stack and stay in unique shapes.

 

Here’s what you will need for sand art:

 

  • A sandbox or container
  • Sand/Kinetic sand
  • Toys and sculpting tools
  • Items to clean up after a session in the sand

 

It’s an easy art form to set up.

 

Sand art is one of the best ways to introduce children with autism to art. One study showed that a 10-week sand play program permitted verbal expression, social interactions, and spontaneous play along children with autism. Kids can have fun, create art, and work on their social skills.

 

Of course, it’s critical to note that sand has a particular texture. Some children with autism might have a tricky time handling this material, so take note of their interactions in the sand.

Playdough Sculptures

Playdough sculptures are another excellent tool for autism. The dough can help improve motor skills, foster creativity, and grow hand-eye coordination. Plus, the structures they create are fun to look at together and enjoy.

 

Here’s what you need to make playdough sculptures:

 

  •     Playdough in several colors
  •     Wooden tools that can’t cause harm
  •     A flat, clean surface

 

It doesn’t take much to get the job done.

 

Playdough is affordable, feels good, and is simple to shape into exciting creatures. Children with autism will be excited about what they can do with this material.

 

We have some tips for art therapy to ensure it goes as well as possible. Let’s talk about some quality practices.

Best Practices for Art Therapy

Art therapy with a child with autism is a little different than traditional techniques. There are several practices and tips you should keep in mind to help each session to go as well as possible. The more art therapy sessions you practice, the clearer these will become in your life.

 

Here are a few of our best suggestions for art therapy:

 

  •     Use the same routine when conducting an art therapy session, keeping a sense of structure in place
  •     Use curiosity and intrigue to teach a child a new skill
  •     Explain instructions in a consistent way for a better understanding
  •     Keep track of transitions when completing activities
  •     Do not be overly directive or too lax when giving instruction
  •     Avoid art materials that are too stimulating or too open with their options
  •     Keep away from being restrictive or forceful with communication techniques

 

These will help everything go right in your art therapy session.

 

If art is something new in your child’s life, it will take some work to establish a routine. Stay consistent and work with what they enjoy to create a comfortable space. In no time, you will have art therapy and a new interest in your child’s life.

Final Thoughts

Art therapy is one of the best things a child with autism could incorporate into their life. Art allows kids to express themselves through various mediums and colors. They can improve their motor skills, work on hand-eye coordination, and display emotions through colors and shapes. There is a world of opportunity with art therapy for autism.

 

We hope this information was helpful! If you are in charge of caring for a child with autism, it can be tricky to find something your kid loves. For a solution that will change their life, try art therapy. It will equip them to communicate and provide an exciting activity.

 

 

If you are ready to work with the best ABA therapy provider in New York, New Jersey or Indiana, give us a call at (732) 624-6475. Our dedicated team is ready to help and we will treat you like family.

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Anger Rumination And Autism

There are many characteristics associated with children and autism. One of the trickiest to handle is anger rumination. This article will cover anger rumination, determine why it stays, and discuss what you can do to help. The more informed you are about anger rumination, the better your child will fare.

What is Anger Rumination?

Anger rumination is an emotional process in the brain. When a person experiences anger rumination, they can’t get away from thinking about anger experiences in the past and frustrating moments. They get stuck and, thus, remain angry.

 

Children with autism experience anger rumination due to a maladaptive form of emotion processing. This part of their brain focuses on the stressor, causing repetitive and passive thinking about shortcomings, regrets, distress, and mistakes from the past.

 

Anger rumination can have an impact on children with autism. It can lower regulatory resources in the body, causing behavioral inhibitions to go down.

 

Many things can lead to anger rumination, but social anxiety is one of the most common. This lingering can eventually turn into severe expressions of anger or hatred. The fixation on bad experiences in the past is known as perseverance.

Perseveration

When a child with autism gets stuck on negative moments and experiences thoughts over and over again, they can’t remove themselves from the mindset. This moment of being stuck is also known as perseveration.

 

Children with autism might be worried about something that happened in previous years. They get scared or angry when the thought enters their mind and fear they will face the situation again.

 

Here are a few signs that a child with autism is experiencing anger rumination:

 

  • They ask the same question over and over, even after getting an answer
  • They repeat conversations and interactions in their mind over and over
  • They speak about something that happened a long time ago
  • They repeat an action over and over again, performing repetitive or restrictive behaviors
  • They provide the same answer to various questions, whether or not it makes sense

 

If you notice any of these symptoms, take note of potential anger rumination in a child with autism.

 

Although occasional rumination can be dealt with, lingering and repeated anger rumination can have consequences for a child. Mental health troubles could arise if you notice rumination happening too often.

Rumination and Mental Health Issues

Rumination might seem like a simple hurdle at first glance. However, if you leave it unchecked in a child with autism or any other person, it could lead to serious mental health troubles.

 

Here are a few mental health issues a child with autism could experience from rumination:

 

  •     Depression: They might look at self-defeating or negative thoughts. They might think they are set for failure in life.
  •     Anxiety: They may think about fears. Someone might be stuck on the idea that something will go wrong or a bad thing will happen to someone they love.
  •     Phobias: They might think about fears, especially when noticing a phobia trigger. They can’t think about anything else when faced with their fear.
  •     Obsessive-compulsive disorder: They might become obsessed with the smallest things, like checking a lock a thousand times. They have constant thoughts that things could go wrong.
  •     Schizophrenia: They might be so focused on thoughts that they hear voices or hallucinations. Depression is often a side effect.

 

These can lower their quality of life significantly.

 

Anger rumination impacts children with autism much more than other groups. If you are a parent or caregiver of a kid with autism, it’s critical to understand what it can do.

Anger Rumination and Autism

Experiences of the past and regrets do not define most of our lives. However, it can be tricky to explain that concept to a child with autism. They are caught in the situation and don’t know how to break from it.

 

Many teachers and parents of children with autism have strategies to help a child with autism who is ruminating in anger. Some techniques include anxiety tactics to help a kid focus on anything else but their current thoughts.

 

Here are a few additional techniques you can try:

 

  •     Exercising outside to lower stress and frustrating feelings
  •     Using distraction techniques to move the fixation
  •     Walking to lower tension and irritating feelings
  •     Enjoying nature, shifting the perspective of a child with autism
  •     Practicing meditation and other mindfulness techniques

 

These can help with anger rumination in a child with autism.

 

It might be tricky to help a child with autism as they experience anger rumination. There is one way that will help your kid more than others, though it might take practice to achieve.

How Can We Help Anger Rumination Through Improved Communication?

The best way to handle anger rumination is to work on communication. The better your child with autism can communicate with you, the easier it will be for them to express themselves. This communication could be of themselves, thoughts, or emotions. They can then push through the worst experiences much easier.

 

Although it might be tricky to understand communication processes at first, there are many available resources for assistance. Applied behavior analysis is an excellent place to start. This technique helps parents understand how to shift behavior in children with autism when they experience things like anger rumination.

Final Thoughts

Anger rumination is common in children with autism. They get stuck on angry or emotional moments in the past and can’t move forward. The best way you can help them is to work on communication on both parts. Applied behavior analysis is one of the best ways to help your kid with autism feel better and communicate their feelings to you for assistance.

 

We hope this information was helpful! Anger rumination is a trouble that impacts children with autism. It can cause frustration and even lead to mental health issues such as depression or anxiety. The more you know about anger rumination, the easier it will be to improve the quality of life for your child with autism. A little patience and love go a long way.

 

If you are ready to work with the best ABA therapy provider in New York, New Jersey or Indiana, give us a call at (732) 402-0297. Our dedicated team is ready to help and we will treat you like family.

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