recovery
Autism Recovery

Introduction

Autism spectrum disorder, usually referred to as ASD, is a neurodevelopmental condition that impacts speech and behavior. This article takes a deep dive into ASD to determine whether the condition is curable. It answers questions like: Can people ‘grow’ out of autism? Does the condition worsen with age? What is the significance of ABA therapy in ASD treatment?  

So without further ado, let’s dive in!

Autism in a Nutshell

A complicated developmental condition known as an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is characterized by ongoing difficulties with social communication and restricted interests. Autism is considered a disability that lasts a person’s entire life; nevertheless, the degree to which a person with autism is impaired in functioning due to the obstacles they face varies greatly.

In most cases, the symptoms manifest themselves during the early years, specifically between 12 and 24 months. However, a diagnosis might not be made until much later, mainly if the symptoms are vague.

Common Signs of Autism

People who have ASD may have contradictory symptoms. There are some children with ASD who do not want to be squeezed and cannot even accept a handshake. On the other hand, some children crave the sensation of being squeezed so desperately that they bump their bodies into other people. Some common symptoms include:

  • Difficulty coping with sudden changes
  • Not responding to their name
  • Being overly focused on a particular object
  • Sensory hypersensitivity
  • Stereotypical movements like hand flapping, spinning, rocking
  • Constantly arranging things in a very particular manner

Autism is a lifetime diagnosis, and there is currently no cure for the condition.   

Is It Possible to Recover from Autism?

According to experts, the answer is no; unfortunately, autism is not something that can be outgrown.

In some instances, where it seems as though the autistic symptoms have gone away, other conditions may have taken their place. However, this does not mean that the youngster developed another disorder in place of autism as they got older. If an individual diagnosed with autism does seem to outgrow their symptoms entirely, it indicates that they were not properly diagnosed.

Because autism is incurable, most specialists take an approach that focuses on managing symptoms or developing skills and support. Behavioral, psychological, and educational therapies are often the preferred route. 

Does Autism Worsen with Age?

It’s important to remember that autism does not change with age.

However, while your child’s autism may not worsen as they grow, they may always require the specialized assistance that a parent can only provide. According to studies, children whose parents are actively involved in their treatment from an early age demonstrate improved language and daily life skills when they reach their teenage years.

Helping children learn how to control their symptoms and develop crucial life skills can be significantly aided by receiving an accurate diagnosis and early intervention. Your child may learn coping methods to help control the symptoms that hinder your child’s adulthood, but these strategies may not eliminate the symptoms entirely.

The Latest Research Hoping to Cure Autism

The scientific community is becoming more interested in determining the elements related to autism as it continues to grow at an alarming rate.

The most recent studies on autism include investigations into factors associated with this neurotype, in addition to genetic polymorphisms, abnormalities in the gut biome, and neurological aspects that may contribute to it.

However, discovering and evaluating potential novel treatments for autism can be fairly difficult. Autism does not manifest itself in any obvious physical ways, such as elevated blood pressure or cholesterol levels. Therefore, it becomes challenging to evaluate the level of achievement.

When it comes to specific treatment alternatives, one approach utilized by many therapists, schools, and healthcare providers is applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy

What is ABA Therapy for Autism? 

Applied behavioral analysis therapy is a kind of treatment that emphasizes using positive reinforcement to enhance a patient’s behavioral, social, communication, and educational abilities. In ABA therapy, behavioral concepts are used to define goals, reinforce actions, and evaluate the effectiveness of treatment.

The ideas of behaviorism, in particular operant conditioning and the application of incentives and consequences to shape behavior, are the foundation upon which ABA therapy is built. In the 1950s and 1960s, practitioners in the field of mental health began using concepts such as token economics to treat various mental health disorders, including schizophrenia and developmental disabilities.

Types of ABA therapy include:

  • Discrete Trial Training (DTT)
  • Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI)
  • Early Start Denver Model (ESDM)
  • Natural Environment Training
  • Comprehensive ABA Therapy
  • Focused ABA Therapy

Benefits of ABA Therapy

Autism is not “treated” by ABA therapy, but it can be used to teach desired behaviors and to lessen or eliminate undesirable ones. ABA therapy may also be used to teach social skills.

For example, ABA may be utilized to treat autism to lessen the severity of tantrums, instruct a child to sit quietly or teach them to use words when making requests. By breaking desirable behaviors down into their parts and exposing ABA therapy, specialists are able to teach children which behaviors are suitable for particular circumstances. These children receive a prize after completing each stage of the process. 

How to Help Your Autistic Child Thrive?

If your child has just been diagnosed with autism, you are undoubtedly wondering and fretting about the next step. No parent would ever be ready to hear that their child is anything other than normal and healthy, and an ASD diagnosis can be incredibly unsettling.

The following are some things that you can do to assist, support, and encourage the development of your child with ASD.

  • Signing up for ABA therapy – Through therapy, your child will gain the skills necessary to lead more independent lives and participate in the communities in which they reside.
  • Ensuring your child’s safety – Children with autism frequently face concerns over their safety. Your child’s sense of safety and security will be supported, and the risk of the child hurting themselves or others will be reduced if you provide them with a designated safe spot to go to whenever they feel overwhelmed.
  • Connecting in non-verbal ways – You will be able to engage your child in a helpful manner if you learn functional communication skills and put them into practice. Finding a means to communicate with your child will strengthen your relationships.
  • Finding help and support – You can obtain information, treatment choices, services, and a feeling of community by assisting various specialists, organizations, and groups. You will be able to control your feelings of stress better and find a way to enjoy the unique bond you share with your child if you and your child have access to better assistance.

The Bottom Line

Although there’s no known cure for ASD, several treatment methods, such as ABA therapy, can assist persons with ASD in navigating daily circumstances and developing abilities. Find a group of caring and experienced specialists who can help you and your child on this path in order to make the most of it. 

If you are ready to work with the best ABA therapy provider in New York and New Jersey, 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 Is It Like to Have Autism

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex disorder that affects the development of the brain. These conditions are usually characterized by a varying degree of difficulty in social interaction, verbal and non-verbal communication, and other behavioral issues. 

While many people know about the disorder, most might not know what it is like to have autism and live with it.

People with autism often experience a sensory overload accompanied by anxiety and confusion when experiencing changes in their surroundings. Most individuals with autism try to cope with this chaos in their minds by repeating movements like rocking back and forth, flapping arms, and similar gestures. 

People might perceive this behavior as “unnatural” and even strange. However, understanding why these symptoms manifest in children with autism might help you understand and comfort them when they need you the most. Let’s dive deeper into what children with autism go through and how you can help. 

Struggles children with autism face

The biggest challenges that children with autism face daily include communicating their thoughts and needs and regulating their behavior. 

As their environment changes, children with autism are flooded with a range of emotions that create a state of turmoil in their brains. The state of confusion and anxiety, coupled with poorly developed communication skills, can make them socially awkward. 

Here are some of the challenges that children with autism face:

Anxiety 

Every child faces some level of anxiety, but children with autism feel anxious and stressed about things a typically developing child might not. Some of the situations when an children with autism might feel extremely anxious and worried include:

  • Even the smallest disruption in their schedules
  • Unfamiliar or unpredictable social situations
  • Certain sensitive stimuli such as bright lights, certain smells, and textures in food
  • Times of transition, such as starting a new activity

Some manifestations of these stressors include emotional meltdowns, social withdrawal, and increased reliance on obsessions and rituals. 

Poor communication skills

Communicating their wants, needs, and concerns helps children regulate their behavior, learn, and socialize. Children with autism struggle with sharing their thoughts, leading to subsequent difficulties regulating their behavior. 

Inability to communicate clearly can add to the already high level of anxiety and complicate the situation. Children with autism often require support to learn and practice their communication skills. 

The lack of communication skills is also partly due to the inability of children with autism to learn from and interpret social cues and non-verbal communication. 

Not being able to read social cues

Social cues such as body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions are paramount when navigating society. Unfortunately, children with autism often struggle with learning and interpreting social cues making it difficult to understand implied behavior and the conversation context. 

Children with autism often miss the non-verbal social cues leading to people having to tell them how to behave. It’s no wonder, then, that children with autism are often labeled a “problem child.” 

Motor skills

Studies have shown that children with autism might have difficulty with fine and gross motor skills, suggesting that children with autism can be six months behind compared to their peers. 

Difficulties with gross motor skills cause children with autism to have body awareness, balance, and motor control issues. Fine motor issues might lead to difficulties completing activities that involve precise movements like writing or playing an instrument. 

Resistance to change

Change can be difficult for children to handle. Children with autism find it particularly difficult to adjust even when there is a slight change in their surroundings. 

For instance, you might see children with autism resisting a change in the utensil they use to eat their food. While it might not be an issue with most children, it can be a huge change from a child with autisms perspective, leading to anxiety and frustration. 

The changes are often the most difficult to handle when they come suddenly and without warning. While children with autism can be taught to accept changes, it does involve a fair amount of training and assistance. 

Children with autism need to know that you understand them and acknowledge their opinions even though you might want to introduce a change. 

Others are not able to understand them

Autism comes with many issues that might make children with the disorder seem difficult and “not normal.” 

Peers of children with autism might not be able to understand why they behave in a certain way and treat them as social outcasts. Bullying is also a huge concern among children with autism. 

Bullying can hurt their mental health and self-esteem and make them withdrawn. With an already high level of anxiety and difficulty communicating, bullying can be especially bad for children with autism. 

Understanding what children with autism might feel like can go a long way in preventing such behavior and helping them integrate better. 

What’s it like to have autism?

While it’s true that you might never exactly understand what it’s like to have autism, you can try to understand what a child with autism goes through. The best way to do it is by comparing some situations we face daily. 

For instance, you must have felt shy or uncomfortable while meeting new people at some point in your life. Do you know that children with autism feel like that all the time? Imagine how difficult it was for you to handle that situation. Now imagine how difficult it must be for a child with autism to take it daily with limited communication skills. 

Being particular with their things can be a cute quirk for some people, but with children with autism, it can be a nightmare. Children with autism find it extremely difficult to handle any change in their routine, however minor it might seem. A change can be catastrophic to their mind, and they might lose control of their emotions and act out to reestablish a modicum of control. 

Controlling anger can also be a huge problem for children with autism. You might have experienced how irrationally you behave when you get angry. Now imagine your brain actively preventing you from acting rationally. 

That’s exactly what it is like to have autism.children with autism can’t control their emotions, including anger, and rationalize their behavior. 

Understanding these aspects of autism can help you better connect with a child with autism.

How to connect with an child with autism

Connecting with children with autism can be a huge challenge if you don’t understand where the behavior originates. A child with autism needs special attention and treatment different from a typically developing child. 

Here is how you can connect with a child with autism:

Take time to learn triggers

It is crucial to learn what triggers a bout of panic or emotional turmoil in children with autism. Things that can trigger such behavior might include:

  • Certain smells, tastes, and textures
  • Light
  • Color
  • Touch

It is crucial to monitor what causes the trigger so that you are in a better position to avoid it or deal with it when it is introduced. 

Say what you mean 

Remember that reading social cues and body language is not a strong suit for children with autism. If you want to communicate something, make it direct and clear. The child might be unable to interpret what you mean from the context of subtle non-verbal cues. 

It is best, therefore, to say what is expected of the child so they know exactly what you mean. Children with autism might also need more time to process new information, so if you truly want to connect with them, learn to be patient and give them the time to figure things out at their own pace. 

Monitor your reactions 

Children with autism and adults struggle with social skills. It might be difficult for them to address certain social situations with appropriate behavioral responses.  

It is important to ensure that you monitor their social responses and not misinterpret them as a sign of disrespect or insubordination. They are trying their best to assimilate, and your job is to give them the best chance through care and therapy. 

How can ABA therapy help your child with autism? 

Applied Behavioral Analysis, or ABA, is a treatment that teaches children with autism functional behavior and new skills. Several studies have proven the effectiveness of ABA in discouraging inappropriate behavior. 

ABA is one of the top treatment options for children with autism and can be tailored toward the child’s specific needs. The program helps you and your child set goals, break them down into actionable steps, and meet them in realistic timelines. 

ABA therapists meet your children in a one-on-one interaction in a familiar environment for the child that helps alleviate the anxiety and open up the child’s mind to learn new things. 

Therapists administer ABA treatment closely with your family and incorporate everyone in the therapy program, encouraging a family approach to modify behavior and induce learning.   

To conclude

Living with autism can be very difficult for your child. It helps if people around them try to understand what they are going through. Knowing how your children with autism feel makes you more empathetic, patient, and helpful in making their life easy to navigate. 

Here at Golden Care Therapy, we are committed to helping children with autism learn new skills and lead fruitful, happy, and independent lives. If you are ready to work with the best ABA therapy provider in New York or New Jersey, 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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Social Skills for Autism

Autism is a developmental disorder thought to originate from neural differences. Children with autism frequently show restricted interests, repetitive behaviors, challenges in paying attention, moving and learning, and difficulties with interaction, communication and social skills.

Social dysfunction is a core characteristic of autism, with responses ranging from avoiding social interactions altogether to dominating social interactions. This social inattention is one of the disorder’s principal identifiers.

 

What Are Social Skills?

 

Essential social skills straddle four broad categories:

  • Non-verbal: Non-verbal cues include facial expressions and body movements that communicate information in addition to spoken words. Frowns, smiles, and grimaces can express anger, surprise, sadness, happiness, disgust and fear, regardless of verbal communication. In addition, body movements – arm and hand gestures, posture and stance can convey feelings and attitudes.

Other forms of non-verbal communication include eye contact, touch, physical space perception, and tone of voice.

  • Verbal: These skills include active listening and asking questions, including open-ended questions. In addition, verbal ability relies on non-verbal skills, such as the faculty to identify and react to non-verbal clues. These non-verbal communication cues include facial expressions, body language and environmental cues.
  • Empathetic: Empathy, putting yourself ‘in another’s shoes’ to understand their point of view, emotions and challenges, is fundamental to all social skills. Most social connections rely on empathy and compassion, including making good social decisions and creating and building lasting relationships.
  • Written social skills: This skill set involves written communication abilities: being able to transfer facts, thoughts, and ideas clearly and understandably in writing.

 

Social skills tend to be goal-oriented and context-based, meaning how skills are applied on where, when and with whom interactions occur.

However, it’s not uncommon for children living with autism to struggle with most or all of these skills, leaving them vulnerable, whether at school, college, or with family or peer groups. Lacking familiarity and comfort with any of these skills can leave children with autism feeling overwhelmed, unable to learn and develop effectively or enjoy warm and supportive social connections.  

 

Why Do Children With Autism Struggle With Social Skills?

 

Difficulty learning social skills is rooted in the fundamentals of autism spectrum disorder: delays in acquiring verbal skills, challenges in reading non-verbal and social cues, obsessive, repetitive behaviors, and rigid routines making it harder for them to fit in.

Older children diagnosed as living with autism, particularly, can take longer to learn and develop these abilities, thanks to needing to unlearn old, less healthy habits and replace these with socially appropriate behaviors.

 

Learning Social Skills

 

Social skills are typically learnt naturally during social interaction. However, for children living with autism, knowing these skills are essential, what they are, and when to use them isn’t enough.

A genuine understanding of the skills and how they can benefit can help children living with autism to learn, build cognitive control over, and authentically develop and apply these essential social skills in daily life.

 

The Benefits of Good Social Skills

 

Children living with autism often can’t recognize or are slower to pick up on social cues, making them seem socially awkward, uncaring and inconsiderate.

Instead, learning and genuinely understanding adequate social skills can help children living with autism to:

  • Understand acceptable behavior in different social situations.
  • Make and keep new friends.
  • Find and enjoy new interests and hobbies.
  • Learn from the people around them.

 

Access to and control over reliable social skills may also positively influence emotional and mental health, helping children living with autism express their feelings in a more socially acceptable way and communicate their thoughts and emotions more effectively. 

This self-management can help reduce frustration and enhance confidence, self-esteem, social success and quality of life, especially by focusing on essential skills. 

 

Essential Social Skills to Teach Children Living With Autism

 

Crucial social skills for children with autism include:

 

  • Play: These sharing skills include patience, understanding and fairness, and respecting another child’s or adult’s needs. Play skills are usually demonstrated through sharing toys and having the self-control to take turns in playing.
  • Conversation: This ability includes understanding when to talk and when to listen, what and what not to talk about in social situations, and how to manage body language and eye contact.
  •  Emotional: Learning to manage emotions is vital in social and home settings. Emotional skills include identifying, understanding, expressing and managing strong feelings. 
  • Problem-solving: Play, conversation and emotional skills all rely on making appropriate decisions, so learning how to problem solve can significantly help children with autism manage and resolve conflict and other choice situations in social settings.

 

Social skills include listening, sharing, acceptable manners and cooperation skills. Learning these behaviors can help children living with autism set goals and boundaries, understand teamwork, show respect, appear more approachable, and make and maintain relationships. 

Respecting personal space and privacy, using appropriate eye contact, and following directions also increase learning ability, boost self-esteem, and enhance communication effectiveness.

In addition, good social skills help children with autism build independence, lead meaningful and productive social and work lives, contribute positively to society, and take on leadership roles.

Learning these social skills can be complex.

However, appropriate techniques such as Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) therapy is an effective and widely-used therapy for helping children living with autism.

 

How Can ABA Therapy for Children Living With Autism Improve Their Social Skills?

 

ABA therapy is a tried and tested approach based on behavioral and learning science. It helps users understand what drives behavior, how it’s affected by environmental factors, and how learning happens. 

The customizable therapy then turns this deeper understanding into real situations to reduce harmful habits and promote helpful behaviors, including: improving language and communication skills.

  •         Boosting attention, focus, memory, and social and academic skills. 
  • Minimizing challenging behaviors.
  • Increasing play and motor skills.
  • Encouraging self-care.

This flexible and person-first therapy uses numerous techniques, applies various situations and locations, and offers individual or group therapy formats.

One of the therapy’s main strategies is focusing on positive reinforcement to encourage positive change over time. This approach involves initial evaluation, planning, goal setting, and ongoing progress assessment for dynamic, individual, family and milieu-specific assistance.

First, goals are developed and adjusted for age and ability. Skills are then broken down into small, practical steps, with each stage introduced and taught in turn. Parents and caregivers, too, are provided with knowledge and skills to continue learning at home.

 

Additional Strategies for Teaching and Developing Social Skills 

Beyond social skills training and positive praise and reinforcement for children living with autism, additional beneficial activities include games, visual supports, video modeling and role-playing:  

 

  • Playing games: Game playing, including video games, helps develop motor skills, essential problem-solving skills, learning from mistakes, and encourages persistence in the face of loss or challenge. Games also promote a flexible attitude, resilience and adaptability.
  • Visual supports: Visual aids, whether pictures, checklists, prompt cards, or words, can help children living with autism learn, remember and develop social skills and their context, reminding them what they already know or introducing new concepts.
  •  Video modeling: This technique involves a video of the skill modeled by a child living with autism, another child or an adult. Video modeling is an effective method of demonstrating social skills and can be reviewed as a reminder.
  • Role-playing: This interactive activity helps familiarize children with appropriate behavior, language and emotional tone during various social situations. Role-playing can provide guidance and direction and, importantly, offer an opportunity to practice talking and interacting, with immediate feedback and a chance to try again using a different approach.

 

Learning a robust set of social skills for children living with autism is thus an accessible, achievable and worthwhile goal.

It may take some time, especially in older children diagnosed later, but with patience, understanding and compassion, combined with appropriate and effective techniques such as ABA therapy, social comfort, control, and success are possible.   

If you are ready to work with the best ABA therapy provider in New York or New Jersey, 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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Social Skills Worksheets for Autism

Everyone needs a level of social awareness and skills to get by in today’s world. However, individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may find it difficult to cope with daily living due to their lack of social skills.

 

In this article, we’ll go over how social skill worksheets can help people with autism.

Why are Worksheets Helpful for People With Autism?

People on the spectrum often find it challenging to learn new things or interact with others using casual language.

 

For instance, children with autism may not be able to discern social cues, such as when to begin a conversation, how to react when others make social approaches, and how to adapt to unspoken social rules quickly. Fortunately, with the aid of a social skills worksheet, individuals with ASD can learn various social skills and how to use them in real-life situations.

Worksheets are helpful learning tools for individuals with autism. Because these worksheets provide visual aid, they are effective for teaching people, especially children on the autism spectrum. 

 

Going forward, we’ll examine the relationship between social skills and autism spectrum disorder.

Socials Skills and Autism

Although the impact of autism spectrum disorder varies from person to person, difficulties with facets of social interaction, like communication, social connection, and relationship forming, are common among people on the autism spectrum.

 

Because social communication is often difficult for people with ASD, they may struggle to hold meaningful conversations or build social connections.

 

Even though most individuals on the autism spectrum are willing to socialize, they may not know how to relate with friends or may even become overwhelmed in social situations.

 

Naturally, communication goes deeper than spoken words and verbal messages, as people tend to interact more without saying anything. In fact, a 2010 PMC study shows that about 60% to 65% of human communication is conveyed through non-verbal behaviors.

 

These non-verbal behaviors, referred to as social norms or cues, are a significant part of social interaction. For example, in the United States, attending to others during a conversation is a social norm, and anyone who does not conform to this standard may be perceived as shy, nervous, or even odd.

 

People on the spectrum usually find it hard to recognize and adhere to social norms and cues, causing challenges with socialization. 

 

Hence, you must ensure that social skills and cues are taught to your child with autism at home and school to help them get along with others, boost their self-esteem, and become more independent.

 

There are various social skills to teach your kid on the autism spectrum. This article highlights these skills that neurodivergent children need to interact with their surrounding world just as well as their neurotypical peers.

What Social Skills to Work On

You can teach your child who is on the autism spectrum to relate better with others by getting them to improve on these social skills:

 

  • Maintaining eye contact during conversations with other people.
  • Understanding facial expressions and body language.
  • Discerning what other people are thinking and feeling.
  • Forging and maintaining healthy relationships.
  • Recognizing boundaries and respecting others’ personal space.
  • Knowing how the concept of turn-taking works in a social setting or gathering.
  • Using the appropriate voice tone and volume during various types of conversations.
  • Adapting to new, unexpected social situations.
  • Knowing how to resolve conflict, disagree with other people politely, and respect other people’s opinions.
  • Sharing interests and cooperating with other people.
  • Recognizing and understanding unwritten social rules and non-verbal cues.

 

Teaching your child with autism how to interact socially is essential, and a social skills worksheet is one of the most effective ways to do this. Continue reading this piece to find out how and why.

What are Social Skills Worksheets?

Simply put, a social skills worksheet is a material created to teach children with autism and other disabilities how to interact and engage with others in their environment. Given that most children, especially kids on the spectrum, learn better with visual aids, worksheets effectively teach social skills to your child.

 

Social skills worksheets offer excellent resources to help your child with autism to develop and hone their ability to communicate and relate with others. This way, they can build confidence and become more socially active. 

 

From pre-school and primary school children to teenagers, social skills worksheets can benefit the social development of kids across different age groups. 

 

Moving forward, we’ll emphasize the wide variety of worksheets effective for teaching social norms and behaviors to children with autism.

Social Skills Worksheets for People with Autism

Various types of worksheets can assist you in inculcating interactive skills and social awareness in your child. These materials are uniquely designed to address specific areas of social well-being in autistic individuals.

 

The following are the different types of social skills worksheets for people with autism.

  1. Worksheets for Emotional Health

Recognizing who they are and managing how they feel is an essential aspect of social and emotional development in kids. However, children on the autism spectrum often find developing their emotional awareness challenging. This is where emotional health worksheets come in handy, as it helps in teaching your child how to work out theirs and others’ feelings.

 

Emotional Cues Worksheet 

 

This worksheet is created to help your child recognize others’ feelings through their body language. The emotional health material teaches various facial expressions, body gestures, and the tone of voice that should accompany them.

 

Body and Voice Language Worksheet

 

This emotional health worksheet explains how the tone and volume of one’s voice convey different emotions. Also, it will teach your child to express their feelings with their body rather than voice.

 

Empathy Skills Builder

 

Being able to perceive and understand how others feel is fundamental to developing empathy. The empathy skill builder uses demonstrative pictures to teach children with autism to identify a person’s emotions through their facial expressions and body language.

  1. Worksheets for Object Identification

These worksheets help your child learn to recognize common objects, enhance their visual memory skills, and improve their reasoning and pre-reading abilities.

 

Where Does It Belong?

 

This object identification worksheet will teach your child to apply their reasoning skills when discerning an object’s position. While on the sheet, as your child decides where an object rightfully belongs, they also learn to recognize the words written beneath each image.

 

Identifying Common Objects Cards

 

These cards will assist your child in identifying everyday objects while working on their word pronunciation.

 

Circle & Identify Object Worksheet 

 

This object identification worksheet is designed to enhance your child’s observation skills. To complete their task on this worksheet, your kid will be required to spot and circle the picture corresponding to each object.

  1. Worksheets for Anger Management 

People on the autism spectrum should be taught effective ways to manage strong emotions like anger. With anger management worksheets, your child can learn how to deal with their anger in different social situations.

 

Below are the different worksheets for controlling anger in people with autism.

 

  • Anger triggers worksheets 
  • Anger signs worksheets
  • Anger expression worksheets
  • Problem-solving worksheets

 

Anger Management Skills Cards

 

Your child can learn to control their anger using the healthy anger management techniques depicted in this 12-card set. 

 

Autism Anger Management Problem Solving Wheels

 

These worksheets – in the form of a wheel – will give your child insights into how to react when angry. For example, the material teaches kids to ‘wait and cool off’, ‘go to another activity,’ or ‘talk it out’ when upset.

 

Angers Signs Worksheets

 

These sheets will enable your child to identify and interpret common anger signs such as clenching jaws, flushed skin, and loud voice tones. 

  1. Worksheets for Communication

As already noted in this article, social communication can be a challenge for people on the autism spectrum. Fortunately, these worksheets will help your child with autism develop excellent communication skills.

 

Social Communication for Autism

 

This set of 29 communication worksheets will teach kids with autism how to strike good conversations and be empathetic towards other people.

 

Clothes and Dressing Communication Cards

 

Your child will find this visual communication tool helpful as they learn how to make clothing-related decisions and requests.

 

Communication Worksheets for Children with Autism

 

These sheets are specifically designed to assist children with autism build effective communicative skills. 

 

Asides from employing these worksheets, there are other ways to help your loved one improve their social skills. For example, therapy is a proven way to assist individuals with autism spectrum disorder.

How Golden Care ABA Can Help Those With Social Skills Need

At Golden Care therapy, we provide ABA therapy to children with autism spectrum disorder and help them lead happy, independent, and fulfilling lives.

 

ABA, which stands for applied behavior analysis, is a procedure of therapy that teaches functional behaviors and new skills to individuals on the autism spectrum. And this treatment will improve your child’s social life in the following ways:

 

  • It assists your child in harnessing their communication and conversational skills.
  • ABA therapy enhances your child with autism’s social awareness, focus, and memory.
  • It also helps your loved one understand facial expressions and body language.
  • Your child will learn to manage their emotions better with ABA therapy.

 

If you are ready to work with the best ABA therapy provider in New York or New Jersey, 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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New Jersey Medicaid for Autism

New Jersey Medicaid, also known as NJ FamilyCare, covers ABA therapy and other services for children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. 

In this article, we provide comprehensive information about New Jersey Medicaid for autism and explain how families can access this benefit for their children.

What Medicaid Benefits Are There for Children with Autism in New Jersey?

Medicaid started covering applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy and other treatments for autism in April 2020. Children on the spectrum residing in the state of New Jersey can benefit from Medicaid assistance for a wide range of autism-related services.

“ASD services are available to any NJ FamilyCare Medicaid child member, under the age of 21, who has been diagnosed with ASD, defined by ICD-10-CM diagnosis codes F84.0 through F84.9″ New Jersey Department of Human Service

 

The following treatments are currently covered through the NJ FamilyCare program:

 

  • Applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy
  • Physical therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Speech therapy
  • Augmentative and alternative communication
  • Clinical interventions
  • Sensory Integration therapy
  • Developmental and relationship-based interventions. 

Coverage of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) Therapy

New Jersey has the highest prevalence of children with autism in the nation, out of which more than 40% are in need of ABA therapy. All children diagnosed with autism can get reimbursed for the costs associated with ABA therapy, as long as they are protected under a Medicaid plan. 

NJ FamilyCare reimburses Medicaid-enrolled ABA therapy providers for the following autism treatment services:

  • Behavior identification assessments
  • Supporting assessments
  • Adaptive behavior treatment
  • Individual, group, and family adaptive behavior treatments.

 

Continue reading to learn more about eligibility criteria for autism treatments covered by Medicaid.

How to Qualify for Autism Medicaid Services in New Jersey

NJ Family Care members ages 0-21 who have received an autism diagnosis from a qualified healthcare professional are entitled to receive Medicaid services. Since New Jersey residents who qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are automatically eligible for Medicaid, autistic children can also qualify for Medicaid due to their SSI eligibility.

Receiving an autism diagnosis

To benefit from Medicaid-covered services in New Jersey, your child must have an official autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis. NJ FamilyCare services can’t be denied based on pre-existing conditions, which means that you can get access to benefits also If your child has an existing autism diagnosis. However, without a formal diagnosis, you won’t be able to use Medicaid benefits, even if your child needs them.

Determining treatment plan

The physician will recommend a treatment for your child or direct you to a specialist who will create a suitable plan. Note that insurance companies will only pay for therapies and treatments that are considered medically necessary.

Finding a provider

After receiving a diagnosis and a treatment plan, the next step is getting in touch with different ABA services to check whether they accept Medicaid. Services must be provided by a licensed or certified clinician contracted with Medicaid/NJ FamilyCare and/or your managed care organization. 

 

Below, we list the best New Jersey Medicaid programs for children with autism spectrum disorder. 

The Best Medicaid Programs for Children with Autism in New Jersey

Aetna

Aetna’s autism benefit covers occupational therapy, speech and physical therapies, behavioral health treatment, and applied behavior analysis (ABA). There are no visit limits for these treatments. However, some Aetna plans don’t cover educational services that are part of your child’s schooling, experimental procedures (allergy testing, acupuncture, art therapy, hippotherapy), and communication aids.

 

Aetna’s Autism Advocate Program can help you understand your benefits, find a suitable network provider for your child, and connect you with resources for caregivers and family support.

Cigna

Cigna covers behavioral health treatments, such as behavior modification, family therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy, and other medically necessary therapies for children with autism. 

 

To be eligible, your child must have a formal autism diagnosis. Proposed services must be appropriate in terms of type, frequency, and duration, provided by a behavioral health care professional, and therapy must be expected to lead to a meaningful and measurable improvement.

 

Some Cigna plans don’t cover speech-generating devices or services that are not considered medically necessary, for example, classroom environmental manipulation, academic skills training, and parental training. Coverage of medications related to the treatment of autism is subject to the pharmacy benefit portion of the applicable benefit plan.

UHC/Optum

UHC/Optum reimburses ABA services for children between 18 months and 21 years old covered under the NJ FamilyCare Medicaid Program. To be eligible, your child must have autism as the primary diagnosis.

 

Coverage is provided for medically necessary interventions based on the principles of applied behavioral analysis (ABA), in addition to physical therapy, occupational therapy, and speech-language therapy with no benefit limitations. Prescribed assistive communication devices are also covered, as long as they are used as aids in communication related to lack of speech due to autism. 

 

New Jersey benefits don’t include coverage for Picture Exchange Communication Systems (PECS), speech-generating devices, and outpatient prescription medications.

Horizon

Horizon NJ Health covers all medically necessary ABA services for autism determined by a qualified healthcare professional. The following autism-specific treatments are also covered:

  • Physical therapy, speech therapy, and occupational therapy
  • Sensory integration (SI) therapy provided by an occupational therapist
  • Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) assessments and devices

In addition, the Horizon NJ Autism Care Management Program provides resources, care coordination, as well as psychological and social support for families of autistic children. 

Wellcare

To benefit from the Wellcare coverage, your child must be diagnosed with autism by a multidisciplinary team of practitioners. In addition, the team must indicate that your child’s condition is likely to result in developmental delay. 

 

Wellcare-funded autism services include: 

 

  • ABA therapy
  • Allied health (occupational, physical, speech, and language therapies)
  • Clinical interventions
  • Augmentative and alternative communications
  • Sensory integration therapy

 

In addition to services available through NJ FamilyCare, children diagnosed with autism who also have an intellectual or developmental disability (IDD) may qualify to receive skill acquisition and capacity-building services. Eligibility for these services is determined by the Department of Children and Families.

Beacon

Beacon enables families of children with autism to access the full range of health services and benefits under their coordinated model of care. The following services are covered in addition to ABA therapy:

  • Referrals to behavioral health therapists in order to obtain a comprehensive evaluation and assessment
  • Case management
  • Care coordination with families and caregivers, healthcare providers, community programs, and education
  • Psychotherapy and psychiatric services
  • Social skills training
  • Paraprofessional supervision

Moreover, Beacon offers parent training and coaching support to educate families about autism diagnosis, available treatment options, coping strategies, support groups, and advocating on a child’s behalf.

EmblemHealth

EmblemHealth (formerly known as GHI) covers ABA therapy services for eligible Medicaid members under the age of 21 who have received a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder and are referred by a Medicaid-enrolled physician.

 

Autism-related services must be provided by licensed behavior analysts (LBA) or certified behavior analyst assistants (CBAA) working under the supervision of LBAs. Accepted settings include private and group practices, homes, clinics, hospitals, residences, and community settings.

Note that ABA services delivered through telehealth or in school-based health centers, as well as services that are part of an Individualized Education Program (IEP), are not covered by EmblemHealth plans. 

If you are ready to work with the best ABA therapy provider in New Jersey, 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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Music
Music Therapy for Autism

Music therapy can be a complementary treatment to ABA therapy and other interventions for autism. 

 

It uses interactive musical activities to improve communication, social, and emotional skills in children with autism. 

 

Here’s how music therapy works and what you can expect from a therapy session. 

What Is Music Therapy?

Music therapy is an evidence-based approach where music is used to teach new physical, cognitive, emotional, and social skills and build upon existing ones in children and adults with special needs. Music therapy is not a stand-alone treatment. It is used as a complementary therapy along with applied behavior analysis (ABA) and other types of interventions.

 

Music therapy has been used in the United States since the early to mid-1900s. Austrian-American psychiatrist Leo Kanner (1894-1981) was the first music therapist to work with children with autism. He demonstrated the therapeutic benefits of music for children’s cognitive development and communication. 

Music therapy is based on two methods: 

 

  • The passive (receptive) method which involves listening to music, and 
  • The active method where the child plays an active role in creating music. 

 

Music therapists originally used only the receptive method, whereas today it is frequently combined with the active form that allows improvisation and the expression of feelings.

Music therapy intervention techniques

The most commonly used intervention techniques in music therapy include: 

  • Listening to live or recorded music
  • Interactive educational activities
  • Composition and songwriting
  • Improvisation.

The goal of these techniques is to strengthen different skills in the therapeutic context to then gradually transfer them to other parts of daily life.

Who practices music therapy?

Music therapy is practiced by licensed, board-certified music therapists who have obtained the following qualifications: 

 

  • Bachelor’s degree or higher from a college or university program approved by an American Music Therapy Association (AMTA)
  • Successfully completed national examination by the Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT)
  • A minimum of 1,200 hours of supervised clinical work through internship programs.

 

Music therapists have an excellent understanding of how listening to certain types of music, playing an instrument, or participating in interactive activities like singing or dancing can change reactions in the brain and influence emotions and behaviors. 

 

Music therapists are typically part of a multidisciplinary team where they work together with other professionals to ensure that the therapeutic goals are being achieved. 

Approaches to music therapy

Music therapists use different approaches, for example:

Behavioral approach

The behavioral approach focuses on the changes in the child’s behavior in response to music.

Sensory integration approach

The sensory integration approach can help children who are hypersensitive or hyposensitive to stimuli or display sensory-seeking behaviors to manage their physical reactions.

Creative approach

The creative approach to music therapy involves improvising and composing music in order to improve motor skills, cognition, memory, and sociability.

Benefits of Music Therapy

Numerous research studies have shown the immense benefits that music therapy has for children with autism. 

 

Music can rewire the brains of children with autism and improve their neural connections, helping them reduce undesirable behaviors and enhance social and other skills. What’s more, studies have indicated that interactive activities involving music have more effect on autistic children than activities that don’t involve music.

 

Below, we list the main benefits of music therapy on children with autism.

Improve communication

Most children with autism spectrum disorder experience at least some degree of verbal and non-verbal communication issues. Music therapy is a fun and effective way to promote communication in autistic kids through listening to songs and creating music. These are easier ways of conveying thoughts and emotions than verbal communication.

 

It also allows non-verbal or children with limited communication skills to find alternative ways to communicate by singing, dancing, playing instruments, and writing songs. Music improvisation and other activities can help them express emotions like happiness, anger, fear, and sadness without having to use words. 

Enhance social skills

Many children on the autism spectrum have difficulties with social interaction, interpreting other people’s behaviors, and knowing how to act around others. Music can be used to enhance social skills, like taking initiative, making eye contact, sharing, and waiting for a turn. This form of therapy teaches children how to participate in activities in more appropriate and socially acceptable ways. 

Regulate emotions

Music has a strong impact on emotions. It is a valuable tool for helping children with autism regulate stress and find calm in challenging situations. Music therapists use specific melodies, rhythms, and sounds to help children express feelings such as frustration or anxiety. 

Reduce challenging behaviors

Restlessness, fidgeting, and inattentiveness are frequent challenging behaviors among kids with autism. Since hearing and motor functions are controlled in the same parts of the brain, music therapy can effectively improve these behaviors. Due to its calming effect, music can also help reduce aggression, self-injuries, and temper tantrums in children with autism. 

Sensory integration

Most children on the autism spectrum experience sensory issues such as hyposensitivity and hypersensitivity (oversensitivity). While some children are hypersensitive to the information they receive through their senses, causing them to avoid these sensations, hypersensitive kids find loud noises, bright lights, and touch overwhelming. Music therapy may help children with sensory aversions cope with sound and other sensitivities and improve sensory integration. 

Learn new skills

Because children with autism are often able to focus better on information that is sung than on spoken language, music therapy can be an effective way to help them learn new skills. This can be done by pairing each skill with a musical cue, for example, a therapist may write lyrics about taking turns and sharing to the melody the child is familiar with. Once the child has mastered the skill, cues are no longer necessary. 

Heighten self-confidence

Music therapy offers a sense of security and familiarity, encouraging children with autism to attempt new tasks and foster a sense of achievement. Because there can be no mistakes in improvisation, children can easily build their confidence while playing a musical instrument. In fact, many children with autism have discovered outstanding musical abilities through music therapy. 

Establish stronger family bonds

Family-centered music therapy can help improve communication between children on the spectrum and their family members by teaching verbal and non-verbal communication skills. Besides, playing instruments or listening to music together promotes the feeling of closeness and understanding among family members.

Other benefits of music therapy

  • Increase vocalization and verbalization 
  • Facilitate vocabulary comprehension
  • Enhance cognitive functions, such as attention and memory
  • Enhance auditory processing
  • Improve alertness, concentration, attention, and motivation
  • Improve body awareness and coordination
  • Help develop sensory-motor and perceptual-motor skills
  • Improve fine-motor and gross-motor skills
  • Enhance body awareness and coordination
  • Help identify and appropriately express emotions
  • Reduce negative and self-stimulatory behaviors
  • Learn musical skills
  • Improve independence.

Music therapists use a variety of musical activities to teach children with autism new skills and behaviors. Here’s what you can expect from your child’s music therapy session.

What Does a Music Therapy Session Look Like?

Music therapists follow four steps when creating a therapy session for autistic children: assessment, goal-setting, activities, and evaluation.

Assessment

The treatment starts by assessing the child in order to find out their specific needs. Since music therapy for autistic children is almost always used along with other forms of interventions, the therapist will typically consult your child’s pediatrician and other specialists for additional background information.

Goal setting

Once the assessment is completed, the therapist will develop an individualized treatment plan that includes specific goals and objectives for your child.

 

The plan may include one or more of the following therapy forms:

  • Receptive music therapy that involves listening to recorded or live music
  • Compositional music therapy where the child creates music or writes lyrics to existing melodies
  • Improvisational music therapy where the therapist helps the child create music
  • Recreative music therapy that involves learning to play an instrument
  • Activity music therapy that includes musical games such as musical chairs or musical emotions bingo. 

Activities

During music therapy sessions, the therapist will introduce activities that aim at the specific needs determined during the assessment phase. These activities may include songwriting, moving to music and dancing, singing, playing musical instruments, listening to music, working in groups, and improvising.

 

Music therapy sessions can take place at home, school, outpatient clinics, private practices, and other healthcare and educational settings. Therapy can be provided in several different ways: 

 

  • One-on-one customized treatment sessions where the therapist works with the child on achieving individual goals
  • Group sessions where the focus is on the interaction with peers
  • Family-centered therapy sessions where family members participate in the treatment. 

Evaluation

Music therapists regularly evaluate the music therapy programs to ensure that the child is learning new skills according to the therapy plan. Based on the child’s progress, they can make necessary adjustments.

How Long Is a Music Therapy Session?

The length of a music therapy session depends on the individual needs of each child. Sessions may last anywhere between a few minutes to an hour. Most children attend sessions once a week for about 20-50 minutes. 

 

If you are ready to work with the best ABA therapy provider in New York or New Jersey, 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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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Autism

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Autism

Cognitive behavioral therapy is used to treat a variety of conditions, including autism. But what exactly does this type of therapy entail and what can you expect from a treatment session? 

 

Here’s a closer look at CBT, along with a list of the best therapy providers in New Jersey. 

What is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy?

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a form of psychotherapy used to treat a range of mental health issues, from depression and anxiety disorders to post-traumatic stress and severe mental illnesses

CBT is based on the belief that our thoughts and feelings are not determined by a situation but rather by the way in which we interpret that situation. As a result, negative behaviors are often caused by unrealistic thoughts that set off false feelings and emotions. 

How Does it Work?

Cognitive behavioral therapists use a variety of strategies to help patients change the way they interpret and respond to different situations. Once they become aware of patterns in their thoughts and behaviors, they can learn how to replace them with the help of new coping mechanisms.

Below, we list the most common techniques that are used in cognitive behavioral therapy. 

Techniques Used in CBT

Cognitive restructuring

Cognitive restructuring refers to identifying and reframing negative thought patterns into more positive and productive ones. It helps understand negative feelings and challenge the automatic beliefs that cause them.

Guided discovery 

During guided discovery, the therapist challenges a patient’s beliefs by questioning their assumptions about a problematic situation to help them see things from another perspective.

Exposure therapy 

In exposure therapy, a patient is gradually being confronted with a situation that provokes fear or anxiety. Patients learn coping techniques that will help increase their confidence. 

Relaxation techniques

Relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing, visualization, muscle relaxation, and guided imagery, are typically used to help overcome different phobias and social anxieties.

Journaling

The journaling exercise consists of writing down negative thoughts along with the positive ones that can replace them. 

Behavioral experiments

Behavioral experiments are used to treat patients with anxiety disorders that involve catastrophic thinking. Patients are asked to imagine the worst thing that can happen in a situation that causes anxiety, so that they can test the accuracy of their beliefs. 

Activity scheduling

Activity scheduling refers to writing a list of all the tasks that need to be completed and scheduling them in order to lower the level of stress and anxiety.

Role play

Role play can help patients understand other perspectives through visualizing and practicing different ways of dealing with challenging situations. This technique is used for treating social phobias, improving communication and problem-solving skills, and increasing self-confidence.

Successive approximation

The successive approximation technique shows patients how to deal with difficult situations by taking on tasks that they consider overwhelming and breaking them into smaller, more achievable steps.

 

In the following sections, we take a closer look at the benefits of cognitive behavioral therapy for autism. 

Benefits of CBT for Children with Autism

Cognitive behavioral therapy is an effective tool in treating autism spectrum disorder. Researchers have found that CBT can help reduce anxiety and improve behavior in children with autism. It has been shown that after only three months of therapy, 78% of autistic children have seen improvement in their condition

 

Cognitive behavioral therapy has multiple benefits for children with autism:

 

  • It can help them cope with stress, anxiety, and other emotional issues
  • It can help them overcome fear, making it easier to face dreaded situations
  • It allows them to replace irrational and negative thoughts with positive ones
  • It enables older children to improve their communication and social skills.

What Does a CBT Session for Autism Look Like?

CBT therapy for autistic children can be done individually or in group sessions. Your therapist may also offer family therapy in addition to parent coaching. 

 

Your child will work with a specially trained therapist who will help them identify and analyze unwanted behaviors and the harmful aspects of these behaviors. The therapist will teach your child how thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are interconnected and provide strategies to approach difficult situations in a more constructive way.

To help your child learn necessary skills, a CBT therapist may use different techniques, for example:

    • Ask your child about their thought processes in a difficult situation in order to identify negative thought patterns. The therapist will then help your child reframe these patterns into positive and productive thoughts.
    • Teach your child how to cope with fear and anxiety by gradually exposing them to the situation that triggers negative emotions. 
    • If your child avoids an activity due to fear or anxiety, the therapist can help them establish a structure and a routine which will make it easier to accomplish the task.
  • Help your child visualize the potential risks before starting an activity to reduce unnecessary stress and anxiety.
  • Teach your child different relaxation techniques, for example, deep breathing, mindfulness, and guided imagery. These techniques are typically used to deal with anxieties and phobias.
  • Help your child practice positive behaviors through role play. 

Challenges CBT Therapists Face When Treating Autistic Children

Cognitive behavioral therapists who work with autistic children may encounter a number of unique challenges. 

Children on the autism spectrum must have the necessary skills in order to benefit from this type of therapy. However, recognizing emotions can be challenging for many autistic children and may pose significant difficulties during therapy.

What’s more, cognitive behavioral therapy requires strong linguistic and abstract thinking capacities, which may be another challenge for children with autism. Therapists must, therefore, find ways to introduce modifications and make CBT techniques relevant for autistic children. 

How Long and Often Are CBT Sessions?

There is no one-size-fits-all CBT treatment that can guarantee positive results in children with autism. Most children need at least 12-16 weekly therapy sessions, with each treatment lasting anywhere between 30 and 60 minutes. 

What Is the Difference between CBT and ABA? 

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and applied behavioral therapy (ABA) are evidence-based best practice treatments recognized by the American Psychological Association. Depending on your child’s specific needs, either one or both of these therapies might be good options.

 

Here are some main differences between the two types of therapy: 

 

  • Most children start ABA therapy when they are between 2 and 6 years old. CBT, on the other hand, is a more appropriate therapy form for autistic school children, teens, and adults diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder.
  • While ABA is effective for treating autistic children with severe symptoms and low-functioning autism, CBT is best used for children with milder forms of the condition as well as those with high-functioning autism.
  • ABA focuses on managing specific and immediate behavioral issues of autism, whereas CBT mainly addresses co-occurring mental health problems, such as ADHD, mood disturbances, and anxiety.
  • Children with autism often require anywhere between 25 to 45 hours a week of intensive ABA sessions for at least 1 to 3 years before you start seeing positive results. In contrast, you will be able to notice the results of cognitive behavior therapy already within a few months.

 

Continue reading for our selection of the best CBT providers in New Jersey.

The Best CBT Providers in New Jersey 

 

  1. Robert C. Ciampi, LCSW

 

101 Park Street (weekend availability)

2nd Floor

Montclair

NJ 07042

Tel: (973) 287-3843

Website: https://www.rciampi.com/ 

 

  1. Jacquelyn Bowe

 

Montclair

NJ 07042

Tel: (973) 833-5887

 

  1. CBT specialists of New Jersey

 

340 W. Passaic St., Third Floor

Rochelle Park

NJ 07662

Tel: (201) 844-9934

Website: https://cbtspecialistsnj.com/ 

 

  1. The Center for Cognitive & Behavioral Therapy of New Jersey

 

908 Vermont Ave

Lakewood

NJ 08701

Tel: (732) 961-7363

Website: http://cbtofnj.com/ 

 

  1. Ilyse Dobrow DiMarco

 

47 Maple Street

Suite L-22

Summit

NJ 07901

Tel: (973) 309-2593

 

If you are ready to work with the best ABA therapy provider in New York or New Jersey, 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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kids dancing
Autism Movement Therapy

If you are considering autism movement therapy for a child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), keep reading this article to learn about what it is, its benefits, and the primary purpose of this fun, unique, and engaging form of therapy.

What is autism movement therapy (AMT)?

Autism movement therapy (AMT) is an autism treatment method that revolves around music and dancing. It may be relied on to teach children with autism how to improve their motor skills, sensory functions, and other capabilities.

At a session, the therapist and your child may engage in one or more of the following activities:

  • Dancing to music.
  • Discuss and plan different dance moves and rhythms.
  • In group settings, kids may take turns playing different musical instruments or work together on performing a certain tone or song.

These activities require your child to use their body, communicate (both verbally and nonverbally), and memorize dance moves or musical notes. Because of this, autism movement and dance therapy can have plenty of academic, communicative, sensory, and psychological benefits.

Benefits of Autism Movement Therapy

Here are some of the main benefits that your son or daughter will attain through autism movement therapy sessions:

  • It stimulates the brain.
  • This therapeutic method assists children with ASD with developing communication and motor skills.
  • AMT enhances autisitc kids’ sensory processes.
  • Movement and dance therapy addresses and manages behavioral problems that are associated with ASD.
  • Perhaps most noteworthy, AMT shows children with autism how to have fun.

All of these benefits help serve the primary purpose of autism movement and dance therapy.

What is the core purpose of dance therapy?

There are several goals and objectives that movement and dance therapists try to achieve. A lot of them are related to the individual needs of the autistic boy or girl that they’re seeing. 

In other words, when you initially take your child to see a therapist, they will evaluate their condition and personal challenges. After that, the therapist works with you on creating a custom treatment plan for your son or daughter.

Generally speaking, one of the main purposes of movement and dance therapy is to allow austistic patients to experience a sense of joy, happiness, fulfillment, and overall well being. This is particularly important for children with ASD that suffer from depression and other related mental conditions.

Another goal behind these treatment sessions is to heal and help patients manage the debilitating symptoms of autism. 

Examples include finding healthy ways to stimulate the brain, refining their bodily balance and coordination, building up their motor skills, and strengthening the connection between the brain and the rest of the body.

To give a brief summary, autism movement and dance therapy is a fun, unique, and engaging treatment method for minimizing and managing ASD symptoms. It will allow your child to get better at communicating, reaching their academic goals, staying balanced when they move their body, and in other areas of their life.

 

If you are ready to work with the best ABA therapy provider in New York or New Jersey, 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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oxygen
Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy for Autism

If you are considering hyperbaric oxygen therapy for autism, you may be wondering: How does it work? What does a session look like? Does insurance cover it?

In this article, you will find all the answers that you’re looking for (and more) about how this treatment can benefit your autistic child.

What Is Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy?

Abbreviated as HBOT, hyperbaric oxygen therapy helps the body naturally recover from injuries and illnesses through supplying it with large amounts of oxygen.

HBOT is generally administered in a straightforward and non-invasive manner.

What does it look like?

When undergoing therapy, patients initially step into a hyperbaric oxygen chamber.

The ambient pressure in these chambers can be three times higher than the ambient pressure that’s in the air that we normally breathe. In turn, this allows patients to inhale 24% to 100% more oxygen than they would in a typical setting.

Why does it work?

Since HBOT increases the solubility of oxygen, its molecules can reach deep into the patient’s tissues and organs. In comparison to the oxygen that’s in the air that we regularly breathe, HBOT lets the molecules go 400% deeper.

As a result, the patient’s heart rate, thinking processes, and physical movements dramatically improve, and so do their other bodily functions that rely on oxygen.

There are a variety of medical issues and illnesses that impact the body’s ability to absorb oxygen.

What conditions are treated with HBOT?

In the past, deep-sea divers with decompression used to be the main group of patients that relied on this type of treatment. Their problems with decompression were addressed with hyperbaric chambers that are filled with oxygen.

However, in 2004, HBOT became a common way to treat and minimize autism spectrum disorder (ASD) symptoms.

Here are some other medical conditions that HBOT may help heal:

  • Alzheimer’s
  • Arterial gas embolism
  • Athletic injuries
  • Bone infections
  • Certain mental conditions
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Delayed radiation injury
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Neuropathy
  • Severe carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Smoke inhalation
  • Strokes
  • Treatment of gangrene
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Traumatic inadequate blood flow
  • Wound healing

Each of these conditions and illnesses require HBOT sessions to be conducted in a specific way. That is to say that an HBOT session for a stroke patient looks different than the one that an autistic child would attend.

How does an HBOT therapy session work?

Generally speaking, the doctor or medical professional will have your autistic son or daughter sit or lay down in a hyperbaric chamber. As your kid begins breathing in and inhaling the oxygen, the practitioner who’s overseeing the HBOT session gradually increases the oxygen levels.

Keep in mind that clinics deliver HBOT therapy in their own way. Therefore, you want to talk to multiple providers and identify the type of session that works best for you and your son or daughter.

Here are a few questions that you should ask:

  • Does the clinic’s staff specialize in or have experience working with autistic patients?
  • Can you enter the oxygen chamber with your child?
  • Is your kid allowed to watch a TV show or movie while they’re in the chamber?
  • Can you and/or your child play with a smartphone or tablet during the session?

Another aspect to inquire about is the type of chamber that the clinic uses.

Types of Hyperbaric Oxygen Chambers

The following are the two main types of HBOT chambers:

Monoplace Hyperbaric Chambers

In short, this chamber has the appearance of a long plastic tube that’s designed to fit one person.

Multiplace Chambers

Multiplace chambers are larger and can accommodate two or more patients simultaneously.

Both types of chambers provide you with the same treatment. With a multiplace chamber, however, a patient would have to use a mask or hood to breathe pure oxygen.

Equally as important is that professional clinics rely on medical-grade HBOT chambers that deliver air with a 100% oxygen level. The ambient air in mild chambers (mHBOT), which may be installed at home, only contains 21% oxygen due its lower ambient pressure.

You want to talk to your autistic child’s doctor to determine the most appropriate chamber for them.

Do you need a prescription for HBOT?

Yes, a doctor’s prescription is required to receive HBOT treatment.

How can HBOT help in the treatment of ASD?

HBOT assists autistic patients with the following:

Reduce Neuroinflammation

Neuroinflammation is considered to be one of the conditions that influences and causes ASD symptoms.

To clarify, with neuroinflammation, the brain and spinal cord get inflamed as a response to certain factors or stressful events. In turn, patients could end up developing cerebral hypoperfusion (a medical problem that’s characterized by an inadequate blood flow to the brain).

Autistic children that suffer from neuroinflammation-induced hypoperfusion tend to experience the following:

  • Communication barriers
  • Diminished or limited cognitive abilities
  • Problematic social interactions
  • They struggle with focusing and paying attention

Needless to say, HBOT therapy is one of the most effective ways for enhancing the quality of the brain’s blood flow and minimizing the symptoms of neuroinflammation and hypoperfusion.

Improve Behavior

In the same vein, research has shown that HBOT therapy can help autistic kids with their movements and cognitive capabilities. This allows them to get better at acquiring new skills, managing their behaviors, and initiating conversations spontaneously.

Improve Mitochondrial Dysfunction

Unfortunately, mitochondrial weakness is a common condition among children with ASD. It leads the patient to have low energy levels that could make their thinking process and bodily functions sluggish.

On the plus side, recent studies have indicated that HBOT therapy improves mitochondrial functions. Consequently, it can reduce autism symptoms and enhance an autistic child’s motor skills and balance.

Reduce Oxidative Stress

Oxidative stress results in brain tissue damage and a severely slower metabolism. This causes the patient to develop and show ASD symptoms. 

Oxidative stress occurs when the amount of free radicals and antioxidants in the body becomes imbalanced. However, according to the latest research, HBOT therapy enables the body to produce antioxidant enzymes that prevent the cells from oxidative stress.

When it comes to ASD symptoms, treating oxidative stress will improve your autistic son or daughter’s social skills, mood, and memory.

This is alongside the other general benefits that HBOT therapy allows them to attain.

Other Benefits of HBOT

Here are a few medical uses to HBOT therapy:

  • Abating anaerobic gut microbe colonies in a patient’s body 
  • Decreasing seizure activity
  • Increasing glutathione production
  • Lessening gut inflammation and bloating
  • Remedying a leaky gut through healing the intestinal lining
  • Speeding up the detoxification of heavy metals
  • Strengthening and enhancing the immune system

These benefits can be realized by autistic patients and neurotypical ones who suffer from other conditions.

Does hyperbaric oxygen therapy work for autism?

So far, the studies that looked at the link between HBOT therapy and ASD symptoms have produced mixed results, and medical professionals are still conducting more research.

Some studies indicate that HBOT therapy can decrease autism-induced brain and gastrointestinal system inflammations. In fact, both doctors and parents of autistic children reported that HBOT therapy had the following boons:

  • Better quality of sleep
  • Enhanced cognitive capabilities
  • Improvements in bowel movements
  • Improvements in focusing and maintaining attention
  • More affectionate and calm behaviors
  • Reduced sensory problems and issues
  • Refined and improved communication skills
  • A stronger connection between the autistic child and their family

With that being said, a lot of researchers believe that there isn’t enough empirical evidence to conclude that HBOT therapy is effective for children with ASD.

They specifically note that the existing research has these limitations:

  • The studies aren’t accurate because they aren’t duplicated across or extended to the at-large autistic population (in other words, only a few patients were tested on).
  • Concurrent treatments that are taken alongside HBOT therapy might falsely attribute the improvement in symptoms to the latter. 
  • Placebo effects may have impacted the findings and preciseness of certain studies.
  • Rigorous experimental controls and sound scientific practices are lacking.
  • While the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized using HBOT therapy to treat various medical conditions, they haven’t approved it as a safe autism treatment due to the insufficient scientific proof of its effectiveness.

Is hyperbaric oxygen therapy safe for autistic children?

In general, HBOT therapy is safe for children, and they can tolerate air with a 100% oxygen level for up to 2 hours per day at a maximum pressure of 1.5 atm.

Yet, just as with any other medical treatment, HBOT is occasionally accompanied by undesirable side effects.

Here are several of the main medical risks of hyperbaric oxygen therapy:

Sinus Damage

Sinuses are parts of the skull that are filled with air. HBOT therapy may produce unequal levels of air pressure across the sinuses.

Two common sinus damage signs are bleeding in the sinuses and severe pain.

Fluid Buildup in the Middle Ear

While HBOT doesn’t directly cause this problem, improper attempts to balance the air pressure that’s in the middle ear could unintentionally damage the membranes that separate it from the inner ear (which is filled with fluids).

When this happens, the fluids build up in the middle ear and create hearing impairments.

Lung Damage

Lung damage is a very rare HBOT side effect, and it mostly impacts severely-ill patients who require the treatment throughout the day or on an ongoing basis.

When the lung takes in air with highly-concentrated oxygen levels for several consecutive hours, a patient might experience chest pain and difficulty breathing.

Oxygen Poisoning

Oxygen poisoning can give rise to seizures because it’s toxic to the central nervous system.

However, oxygen poisoning is an infrequent HBOT side effect, and it primarily impacts patients that suffer from seizure disorders and low blood sugar (hypoglycemia).

Reversible Myopia

Reversible Myopia occurs when a patient’s nearsightedness (myopia) gets worse. As the name suggests, this HBOT side effect (brought about by changes in the eye lens’s shape) is reversible and temporary.

Claustrophobia

Some patients experience claustrophobia when they enter the small, fenced off oxygen chamber. This can be addressed by using a larger, multi-place chamber.

At times, those with severe claustrophobia might have to be sedated before their session.

How long do hyperbaric oxygen therapy sessions last?

The length of a typical HBOT session is between 90 minutes and 2 hours.

How many HBOT sessions are needed for autistic children?

In general, kids with ASD need to undergo 20 to 40 treatment sessions.

Is hyperbaric oxygen therapy covered by insurance?

Whether or not your insurance will cover HBOT therapy depends on multiple factors. You may want to carefully consider how they apply to your and your autistic child’s situation.

After all, paying out of pocket for this treatment is very expensive. An individual session can cost up to $250, which adds up to $10,000 for 40 sessions.

First of all, Medicare and private insurance companies might ask you to provide an HBOT treatment authorization in order to cover it.

Secondly, certain insurers (among them are BlueCross BlueShield, Cigna, Humana, and United Healthcare) will pay for your child’s HBOT sessions as long as they’re medically necessary. This includes for off-label conditions like autism.

Keep in mind that the coverage for these conditions could still get denied by some insurance carriers, while others may require you to initially pay an out-of-pocket deductible.

Third, given that the FDA hasn’t approved HBOT as a treatment for autism and considers it to be an experimental medication, Medicaid and private insurance companies typically do not cover it without the appropriate authorization.

Other Therapy Options for Autistic Children

If your insurance or Medicaid plan doesn’t pay for your HBOT costs or if your son or daughter has a health issue that could be exacerbated by oxygen treatment, you have alternative options.

With ABA therapy (which stands for applied behavior analysis), a trained and licensed practitioner can work with your kid on managing their ASD symptoms, improving their skills, and attaining a lot of the benefits that they would gain from HBOT treatment.

Above all, the majority of insurance plans and Medicaid will cover ABA therapy since it is the most commonly-used and widely-accepted ASD treatment.

If you are ready to work with the best ABA therapy provider in New York or New Jersey, 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 Resources in New Jersey

The State of New Jersey offers numerous resources for families with children diagnosed with autism. This comprehensive guide will help you find the best autism programs, support groups, and other useful resources near you.

Bergen County

Autism programs

The Arc of New Jersey

The Arc of New Jersey serves children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism. The organization offers a wide range of programs, support, and training for family members. It also advocates for quality health care for individuals with special needs. 

Support groups

Family Support Organization

The Family Support Organization of the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (NJDCF) provides support for families of children with emotional and/or behavioral challenges. This nonprofit organization helps families find information on workshops, forums, advocacy, and access other services free of charge.

Other resources

Bergen’s Promise

Part of the New Jersey Children’s System of Care, Bergen’s Promise is a community-based care management service for children with serious behavioral health or developmental issues and their families. The organization focuses on prevention and early intervention by providing young people with the care they need in order to remain physically and emotionally safe in their environment.

Brick

Autism programs

Parents of Autistic Children (POAC)

POAC is a nonprofit organization that offers a wide range of activities for the autism community, for example, parent and educator training, recreational and support services, and training for police and first responders working with children and adults with autism. In addition, POAC supports and promotes legislative issues that impact individuals with autism and their families.

Support groups

Sunny Days Sunshine Center

Sunny Days Sunshine Center serves children who are experiencing challenges with learning, speech-language, social skills, sensory processing, and/or motor development. They offer individual and group therapy, community-based activities, and at-home treatment sessions. Other services include social skills classes, mini camps, parent training , support groups, counseling, and more.

Other resources

Edu Music Inc

Edu Music Inc is a bilingual English-Spanish, multicultural music and movement program for children of all ages and abilities, whether they are neurotypical or have special needs. The program combines different aspects of physical, occupational, and speech exercises through music and dance. Music Instruments are also used to help children develop physical, emotional, and social skills. 

Cherry Hill

Autism programs

Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Southern New Jersey

The Jewish Family & Children’s Services offers a Special Needs Program for children with disabilities by providing affordable, quality services. The program consists of enrichment day activities, social and recreational events, as well as training for young people with disabilities that will help them achieve their full potential and lead independent lives. 

 

Support groups

ASPEN

ASPEN is a national volunteer nonprofit organization with headquarters in New Jersey. It provides children with autism and their families assistance with the issues surrounding the disorder, support, and advocacy when it comes to educational programs, medical research funding, and increased public awareness and understanding.

Other resources

South Jersey Jewish Abilities Alliance

The South Jersey Jewish Abilities Alliance (JAA) is the Cherry Hill Jewish community network. It provides services, support groups, workshops, and recreational programs to members with disabilities and their families. The organization offers resources to assist with everything from early identification and behavior management to special education, health services, financial resources and benefits, housing, and legal matters. 

Egg Harbor

Autism programs

FACES 4 Autism

FACES 4 Autism is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the education and support of children with autism and their parents. It is a central point of resources and information on autism for families and educators in the South Jersey area. 

Support groups

Special Education Parent Advisory Group (SEPAG)

The Egg Harbor District Special Education Parent Advisory Group is a state-mandated, parent group that allows families of children with special needs to provide direct input to their school district about different policies, programs, practices, and services. 

Other resources

Continuum Associates

Continuum Associates addresses the needs of children and adults with behavioral disorders and other developmental disabilities, including autism spectrum disorder. Continuum provides care and treatment both at home, in the community, and/or school setting, under the supervision of their professional Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBAs), Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBAs), and behavior technicians. Programs include a variety of social skills groups where individuals with disabilities can practice social interaction. 

Jersey City

Autism programs

Positive Development

Positive Development offers personalized developmental therapy to individuals with autism and related disabilities throughout New Jersey. Treatments are based on developmental relationship-based interventions (DRBI) rather than behavioral-based approaches. This comprehensive developmental therapy treats children with autism holistically and includes occupational therapy, speech therapy, and mental health therapy as part of the intervention process.

Support groups

VRCaPS

VRCaPS is a counseling and psychological service dedicated to training parents and caretakers of young children with autism in the Jersey City area. The organization aims to educate parents whose children are newly diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder about the condition, in addition to providing a variety of resources and information.

Other resources

Jersey City Special Needs Program

The Jersey City Department of Recreation offers a range of programs for residents with special needs. These programs give participants many opportunities to socialize with their peers while engaging in fun recreational activities.

The Project GLAD Summer Camp is held for Jersey City residents between the ages of 7 and 22 every year. Activities include swimming, arts and crafts, dance classes, outdoor sports, physical education, and field trips.

Newark

Autism programs

WAR Ministry Corporation

WAR Ministry Corporation is a nonprofit organization that provides services for children and adults with autism and other disabilities, including behavioral assistance, support services, respite care, social work, music therapy, early childhood intervention, and more. 

Support groups

Newark Autism Parent Support

Newark Autism Parent Support is a Facebook group created by parents of newly diagnosed autistic children. The purpose of the group is to share information and best practices, as well as to encourage families in all stages of their children’s lives. 

Other resources

Youth Consultation Service (YCS)

Youth Consultation Service is a private, nonprofit behavioral health agency that provides psycho-therapeutic and psychiatric treatment for young people with autism and other complex special needs. Services also include crisis intervention, foster care, and treatment home placements, and a variety of in-home and residential youth programs. YCS operates two special education schools for students with special needs, including autism. 

Paramus

Autism programs

New Bridges Restart Plan

The New Bridges Restart Plan program serves students ages 14-21 in the Bergen County Special Services School District. The program uses the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA) to help students transition successfully into adulthood. In addition, New Bridges offers a wide variety of support and services determined by the Individualized Education Program (IEP), for example, speech therapy, occupational therapy, physical therapy, and job coaching. 

Paramus Public Schools Special Services Autism Program

The Department of Student Personnel Services serves children with special needs and their parents through individual special education programs. The Autism Program, based on the principles of ABA therapy, focuses on teaching academic skills, language skills, play and social skills, and vocational skills to students from preschool through high school.

Other resources

Every Piece Counts

Every Piece Counts is an ABA therapy clinic dedicated to helping children with autism spectrum disorder and other disabilities improve their academic and social skills. The EPC offers clinic-based and home-based ABA therapy programs for young children with autism. 

Passaic

Autism programs

Passaic New Jersey Autism

The Passaic Police Department assists individuals who pose elopement or wandering risks and those who have communication challenges. Their website lists useful resources for parents of children diagnosed with autism.

Support groups

Passaic Autism Support Group

The Passaic Autism Support Group gets together on the fourth Friday of each month to discuss and share their experiences when it comes to raising children with autism. The group also provides information on autism workshops, conferences, and other events. 

Other resources

PassaicResourceNet.org

PassaicResourceNet.org lists autism-related resources for Passaic County families, such as therapy services, associations, support groups, and more. 

Trenton

Autism programs

The Trenton Public Schools Department of Special Education and Services develops educational programs and services for children with special needs, including autism. The department is responsible for ensuring that students receive a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) in the least restrictive environment (LRE).

Support groups

NJ Autism Warriors

The NJ Autism Warriors Facebook Page is the POAC online support group where parents of autistic children can meet and exchange experiences. This is also the official POAC event group that has many opportunities for children with autism and their families to get together and support each other. 

Other resources

Disability Rights New Jersey (DRNJ) 

 

The Disability Rights New Jersey is a private, nonprofit organization that advocates for the human, civil, and legal rights of New Jersey residents with disabilities and promotes public awareness and recognition. The organization also provides advice to families of disabled individuals through referral, technical assistance and training, legal and non-legal advocacy, outreach, and education.

If you are ready to work with the best ABA therapy provider in New Jersey, 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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