discipline
How to Discipline a Child With Autism

As a parent of an autistic child, you may be facing unique challenges when it comes to discipline. 

Children with autism spectrum disorder often display undesired behaviors that are difficult to control and it may take a lot of time and patience to correct them. 

In this article, we explain the most common autism-related behavior problems and offer useful tips on how to discipline your child

What is Discipline?

Discipline is a term used to describe the methods and strategies that parents use to guide their children’s behavior and help them learn appropriate ways to interact with the world around them. For parents of children with autism, discipline can be particularly important in helping their child develop social skills, communication skills, and self-control.

It’s important to remember that discipline should always be done in a loving and supportive manner. Children with autism may have difficulty understanding social cues and may become overwhelmed by intense emotions, so it’s important to approach discipline with patience and empathy.

Challanging Behaviors seen in children with autism

child screaming

Children with autism typically display a range of challenging behavioral issues. The first step in correcting unwanted behaviors is to understand why they occur in the first place. 

Before disciplining your child with autism, it is essential to determine whether the child is misbehaving or the behavior is related to the autism diagnosis. For example, if your child frequently throws tantrums when given instructions, it may be due to their sensory overload or their inability to handle unfamiliar or unexpected situations.

Read on to find out more about the common behavioral issues in autistic children and how to deal with them.

Obsessive behaviors

One of the main characteristics of autism is engaging in obsessive behaviors. Your child may show excessive interest in a particular object, toy, or TV show and become upset if you ask them to move on to a different activity. Most autistic children are resistant to transitions, which makes it even more challenging for parents to control obsessive behaviors.

What you can do

To help your child disengage from an activity, try giving them several reminders well in advance. This will make the transition to a new situation easier. 

You can also use the object of your child’s obsession to motivate good behavior. For instance, a child who loves numbers can use them to learn to identify and communicate emotions. These downloadable cards use the numbers to help children with autism describe their feelings and learn new coping strategies.

Aggressive behaviors

Children with autism often display aggressive behaviors towards parents and caregivers, such as hitting or throwing and breaking objects. 

What you can do

Always put the safety of your child first. If your child becomes aggressive, remove them from the situation that is emotionally or physically unsafe for them or others as quickly as possible. 

Let your child calm down before you explain that aggression is not acceptable. At the same time, you should suggest alternative behaviors that can help your child deal with frustrations. For example, if your child always hits you to get your attention, you can work on replacing that behavior with a more appropriate one such as tapping your shoulder or asking for help.

Physical tantrums

Tantrums in children with autism are rarely a sign of misbehavior. While temper tantrums in neurotypical children are motivated by a desire to obtain something, autistic meltdowns are impulsive without any reasoning behind them. For example, an autistic child may throw a tantrum because he or she has difficulties dealing with a sensory overload or an unexpected situation. 

What you can do

Take your child away from the situation and explain that their behavior is not acceptable. It often helps to have a sensory toy such as a fidget on hand to help your child calm down.

Self-injury

In addition to being aggressive toward others, some autistic children also resort to self-harm that may consist of excessive scratching, head banging, and hand biting. Sometimes, self-injury is the only way for an autistic child to deal with stress and anxiety. 

What you can do

It is important to manage non-negotiable behaviors like self-injury, harming others, and damaging things. If your child shows tendencies toward self-injury, it is advisable to consult your pediatrician or applied behavior analysis specialist as soon as possible. They will help you develop a safety intervention plan according to the severity of your child’s behavior. 

Not sitting still

Attention deficit is one of the main symptoms of autism. Many children with autism spectrum disorder have sensory processing issues that can make it challenging to sit still and concentrate

What you can do

To help your child focus on an activity, make sure to provide short, simple, and specific instructions. This will prevent them from feeling overwhelmed. Don’t forget to offer praise and reward your child’s efforts.

Not following instructions

Children with autism can feel overwhelmed if you ask them to do several tasks at once or to follow complicated instructions. They may refuse to do something, for example enter a noisy or crowded room, due to their sensory sensitivities.

What you can do

Start by providing simple directions so that over time, you can gradually ask your child to follow more complex instructions. Always give positive directions and tell your child what to do, for example “put your book on the table” instead of “don’t put your book on the floor.” It is also important that instructions are appropriate for your child’s communication level so that they can understand what is expected from them.

Social issues

Most children with autism spectrum disorder are not able to grasp the emotions of other people and the nuances of social interactions, such as gestures and facial expressions. Aggression may be an indication of their anxiety or frustration with social and communication difficulties. 

What you can do

You can teach your child about the rules of social interactions using social stories or visual schedules. These tools will clearly show your child what behaviors are expected in different situations and break those behaviors into simple steps. 

Techniques for Disciplining Your Autistic Child

Disciplining an autistic child is certainly challenging but it is essential for helping your child learn appropriate behaviors, understand and manage emotions, and get along with others. Although traditional discipline techniques may not always work for autistic children, strategies such as positive and negative reinforcement can be successfully used to modify unwanted behaviors. 

Positive reinforcement strategies

Positive reinforcement strategies consist in rewarding your child’s appropriate behaviors. A reward can be anything from a toy, a sticker, or a preferred activity to praise and attention. It will help your child to associate the desired behavior with a positive outcome and motivate them to keep behaving well. Research suggests that children with autism respond well to discipline techniques that use positive reinforcement strategies

Things to keep in mind
  • In order to be effective, the reward or praise for your child’s positive behavior has to be concrete and immediate. 
  • Make sure to describe the aspect of the child’s behavior that you are trying to encourage, for example: “you did well to stay calm even if you had to stop watching the show.”
  • If your child has limited verbal skills, you may need to adapt your communication to their abilities and use simple language and visual aids. 
  • Keep in mind that some autistic children don’t respond well to praise. For example, a child who regularly withdraws from others will not be motivated to behave in a certain way just to please someone else.
  • Depending on your child’s preferences, you can use visual schedules, token boards, or sticker charts as a form of positive reinforcement. These tools will convey your expectations more clearly and at the same time serve as a visual record of their progress. 

 

Negative reinforcement strategies

Negative reinforcement is another effective strategy of disciplining autistic children, including those who have significant behavioral issues. Negative reinforcement—a method that is not to be mistaken for punishment—refers to removing an unwanted element from the environment to create the desired behavior. 

For example, your child may be scared by the sound of hand dryers in public restrooms and become disruptive when they hear them. You can decide to stop taking your child to public restrooms in order to avoid the problem, however, this will only reinforce the unwanted behavior. On the other hand, you can equip your child with noise-canceling headphones so that they don’t become distressed when they hear the noise. This is an effective form of negative reinforcement because it removes the “aversive stimulus,” that is, something your child is trying to avoid.

Things to keep in mind
  • The child who engages in an undesirable behavior should not be allowed to get something out of it. For example, if your child throws a tantrum to get candy, you should not give in just to stop the behavior. Incorrect use of negative reinforcement can encourage behaviors you’re trying to correct.
  • Consistency is the key when it comes to negative reinforcement techniques. In other words, it is important to follow through with your strategy. Autistic children often prefer structured discipline and they do much better when the outcome of a situation is predictable.

outline rules and expectations for your child

For children with autism, having clear rules and expectations is crucial for their development and well-being. Children with autism often struggle with social and communication skills, which can lead to misunderstandings and difficulties in understanding the rules of social interactions. By outlining rules and expectations in a clear and consistent manner, parents can provide structure and predictability for their child, which can help them feel more secure and confident in their interactions with others.

Clear rules and expectations can also help children with autism develop self-control and self-regulation skills. Children with autism may have difficulty understanding the impact of their behaviors on others, and may struggle with impulsivity and emotional regulation. By providing clear rules and expectations, parents can help their child understand what is expected of them in different situations, and provide them with a framework for making appropriate decisions and managing their emotions.

Teach Self-Calming Techniques

Self-calming techniques can be an effective tool for disciplining an autistic child by helping them regulate their emotions and behavior. Many children with autism struggle with sensory processing and may become overwhelmed by sensory input in their environment, leading to emotional outbursts and challenging behavior.

Self-calming techniques, such as deep breathing, mindfulness, and sensory activities, can help children with autism learn to manage their emotions and sensory input in a more effective way. By providing a safe and calming outlet for their emotions, children with autism can learn to self-regulate and manage their behavior in a more appropriate manner.

In addition to helping with emotional regulation, self-calming techniques can also promote a sense of empowerment and autonomy in children with autism. By learning how to manage their emotions and behavior independently, children with autism can develop a greater sense of control over their lives and their interactions with others.

child playing

ABA therapy can with discipline 

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapy is the most effective form of autism treatment. ABA therapy techniques are successfully used in disciplining autistic children by changing unwanted behaviors and reinforcing desirable ones. ABA can help your child learn skills such as:

  • Learning how to avoid negative responses or behaviors
  • Learning the acceptable alternative behaviors
  • Learning how to communicate anger and other emotions in an acceptable manner
  • Learning the coping skills for emotional regulation
  • Learning appropriate social interactions and communication. 
How does it work?

ABA therapy generally relies on positive reinforcement strategies to encourage behavioral changes. When the desired behavior of an autistic child is immediately followed by a reward, such as a special toy or preferred activity, the child is more likely to repeat the action in the future. 

ABA therapy sessions consist of a combination of play, fun activities, direct instructions, video modeling, adaptive skills training, and parent guidance. The therapist will break down the essential skills that you want your child to learn into small steps and then build toward more significant changes over time. It is important to keep in mind that ABA is a long-term treatment and your child may require anywhere from 25 to 40 weekly hours of therapy to see improvement. 

Because each child with autism is different and has unique behavioral challenges, ABA therapy offers targeted intervention based on individual strengths and weaknesses. By understanding the reason behind the unwanted behaviors, the therapist can provide your child with the necessary tools to replace these behaviors with positive ones. The therapist will develop a customized plan with a combination of strategies that are suitable for your child.

For more information on ABA therapy, contact Golden Care Therapy by phone at (732) 402-0297, email at [email protected], or fill out our contact form and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible. 

Now that we’ve seen what you can do to change your child’s unwanted behaviors, let’s turn to the methods that should be avoided when disciplining an autistic child. 

 

What Not to Do when Disciplining your Child with autism 

child yelling

Punishment

Punishing a child with autism is an ineffective discipline strategy. Your child may simply not be able to understand the connection between their behavior and the consequence. What’s more, punishment can potentially have negative effects and reinforce the behavior you are trying to reduce. 

It is particularly important not to remove your child’s soothing object as a consequence of unwanted behavior. Calming sensory objects like fidget spinners are often essential for helping autistic children deal with stress and relieve tension. These objects should never be associated with punishment. 

Physical discipline

Physical punishment is another method that should not be used when disciplining an autistic child. It may temporarily stop the undesirable behavior, but physical discipline won’t show your child what is the correct behavior. 

Time out

You should avoid time out as a discipline strategy for your child. Children with autism who appreciate being alone will consider a traditional time out rewarding. They simply won’t be able to understand that this is a negative consequence for their behavior. 

Yelling, threatening, and criticizing

Yelling, threatening, and criticizing can be counterproductive and lower the self esteem of your child. The goal of disciplining an autistic child is not to make their negative behavior stop immediately, but rather to provide them with an opportunity to improve by learning from mistakes.

 

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

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25 Autism Charities

With over 3,000 children receiving an autism diagnosis every year, New Jersey has one of the highest rates of autism in the country. Fortunately, there are many local and national charities you can donate to and support the autistic community. 

 

Here are the 25 best autism charitable organizations to give to right now.

1. The Asperger/Autism Network (AANE)

The Asperger/Autism Network was founded in 1996 to provide education and information to families of autistic children and professionals. 

 

The nonprofit works in close partnership with many national and international organizations to offer extensive resources on all aspects of autism. Their free online support groups and discussion forums are an opportunity for parents to connect, share experiences, and learn more about autism diagnosis. 

 

As an independent nonprofit, the AANE relies primarily on memberships and donations.

 

More information: The Asperger/Autism Network 

people on a bench

2. The Autism Community in Action (TACA)

The Autism Community in Action is a nonprofit that focuses on educating, providing resources, and supporting families struggling with autism. All programs are run by parent volunteers and are provided at little or no cost to families. 

 

TACA’s charitable initiatives include the Parent Mentor Program that matches families with experienced mentors for one-on-one guidance. Parents of autistic children and anyone interested can navigate TACA’s website to learn more about all aspects of autism, including symptoms, diagnosis, special education, and therapies

 

TACA also provides scholarships for medical and therapeutic interventions for autism. The availability of these scholarships relies on the generosity of individual donors, foundations, and the fundraising efforts of TACA chapters.

 

More information: The Autism Community in Action 

3. Autism Connect Association

Autism Connect Association strives to bridge the gap between parents of autistic children and professionals. This nonprofit provides families with easy access to information about treatment options so that they can make the best decision for their children. In particular, they offer extensive information about new treatments for autism, such as cell therapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. 

 

Autism Connect offers a list of local support groups, therapists, and professionals, in addition to comprehensive autism-related resources such as apps, books, and therapeutic accessories. Their international prize-winning forum, Parent Connect, is the place for autism-related discussions managed by parents of autistic children. 

 

More information: Autism Connect Association 

4. Autism National Committee (AutCom)

Autism National Committee is an advocacy organization dedicated to “social justice for all autistics.” It was founded in 1990 with the goal to protect the human and civil rights of individuals with autism and ensure that they are treated equally and with dignity.

AutCom offers information, support, advocacy, and ongoing reappraisal of fundamental autism research and treatment issues. They organize a range of events and national conferences on topics like employment, law enforcement and autism issues, and civil rights for people with autism. 

More information: Autism Nation Committee

5. Autism Research Institute (ARI)

The Autism Research Institute has spent over half a century supporting the autistic community by conducting and disseminating cutting-edge autism research

 

In addition to having awarded more than a hundred research grants over the past decade, the charity has hosted numerous autism-related educational events. It has also funded a tissue bank for the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development at the University of Maryland and a specimen bank for non-autistic individuals that provides comparison controls for researchers. 

 

The ARI offers ample resources on all aspects of living with autism, including diagnostic checklists and the newest treatments. All donations go directly to the funding of autism research and education.

 

More information: Autism Research Institute

lab

6. Autism Science Foundation (ASF)

The Autism Science Foundation was established in 2009 by Alison Tepper Singer, a former senior executive of Autism Speaks and Karen Margulis London, co-founder of the National Alliance for Autism Research, both parents of autistic children. 

 

The ultimate goal of this charity is to support autism-related research. Donations help provide funding to graduate students, scientists, and organizations who conduct and disseminate autism-related research and the development of more effective treatments. To date, the ASF has awarded close to $3 million to the funding of autism research. 

 

More information: Autism Science Foundation 

7. Autism Society of America (ASA)

The Autism Society of America is the nation’s largest grassroots autism organization. Its goal is to provide information about autism, available therapies, and services. It supports families through a nationwide network of local chapters, but also advocates at the state and national levels to improve public policy, increase awareness, and promote autism-related research.

 

The ASA toll-free national helpline provides support to families who need crisis management, referrals for expert help, or general information about local, state, and national programs and services.

 

More information: Autism Society of America  

8. Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism

Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism was founded by Doug and Laurie Flutie, whose son was diagnosed with a rare and severe form of autism. The foundation helps children and families struggling with autism gain access to necessary therapies, programs, and financial assistance to improve the quality of everyday life. 

 

Joey’s Fund and Hope Fund distribute grants to families of autistic children to help them cover additional expenses like respite care, art classes, and camp tuitions. 

 

More information: Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation for Autism

9. Have Dreams

Have Dreams uses donations to help improve the quality of life of autistic individuals through a variety of services and information. In addition, they provide a wide range of downloadable resources, training materials, and support for parents of autistic children, professionals, and schools.

Their best known charitable initiative is the Have Dreams Academy, a development program for young adults with autism who are interested in pursuing competitive employment. Other programs include parent training and after-school programs for elementary, middle and high school students on the autism spectrum.

 

More information: Have Dreams

playing

10. The Miracle Project

The Miracle Project is a New Jersey theater and film program designed to help children and young adults with autism build communication skills and self-esteem through music, acting, and dance. The charity provides expressive arts and social skills classes for individuals with autism of all abilities, including non-speakers. 

 

The Miracle Project designs expressive arts classes specifically for autistic children who use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices. They also offer inclusive professional acting training for television and film and social skills groups for kids and teens with autism. 

 

More information: The Miracle Project

11. NEXT for AUTISM

Founded in 2003, NEXT for AUTISM addresses the needs of children and teens with autism and their families by creating and supporting educational, clinical, and vocational programs. The charity partners with multiple national, regional, and local organizations to help improve services for people with autism.  

 

NEXT for AUTISM dedicates its funds to charitable programming, including the New York charter school for autistic children. They also founded Project SEARCH Collaborates for Autism, dedicated to helping autistic high school students transition from school to work and opened the Center for Autism and the Developing Brain to provide clinical services to autistic people.

More information: NEXT for AUTISM 

12. Autism New Jersey

Autism New Jersey is the largest statewide organization dedicated to improving the lives of children with autism and their families. This accountable nonprofit is committed to promoting autism awareness and public policy initiatives. The organization focuses on disseminating information on laws, regulations, government policy, education rights, and programs to help individuals with autism advocate for themselves.

Autism New Jersey membership is the best way to stay informed about the upcoming events and news in the local autism community.

More information: Autism New Jersey 

13. Autism Family Services of New Jersey (AFSNJ)

Autism Family Services of New Jersey was founded in 2004 as an affiliate of The Family Resource Network, an umbrella organization for community-based programs that serve individuals and families with disabilities

 

AFSNJ is dedicated to providing respite care, after-school care, medical assistance, case management, as well as recreation programs for autistic children and their families throughout the state of New Jersey. They also hold the largest gathering for families affected by autism in New Jersey at the Annual Autism Beach Bash in Belmar.

More information: Autism Family Services of New Jersey 

family

14. Autism Speaks New Jersey

Autism Speaks is the largest autism research organization in the country. This nonprofit sponsors autism research in addition to conducting awareness and outreach activities. 

 

The Autism Speaks New Jersey chapter is dedicated to helping individuals with autism and their families through advocacy and support. They partner with governments and organizations to promote the understanding and acceptance of people with autism on a global level.

 

More information: Autism Speaks New Jersey 

15. Autism MVP Foundation

Established in 2015, the New Jersey Autism MVP Foundation supports higher education, recreation and therapeutic-based programs, organizations, and initiatives.

They provide scholarships to graduate students from Monmouth University and Temple University who wish to pursue a career in the fields of autism education and therapy. By increasing the number of educators and therapists in the state, the organization aims to help more children on the autism spectrum reach their potential.

More information: Autism MVP Foundation 

16. Greenwich Autism Alliance Foundation (GAA)

New Jersey based Greenwich Autism Alliance Foundation uses 100% of its funding to provide local grants to families of children with autism and special education teachers. They have granted over one million dollars to families and agencies, schools, and professionals who work with individuals with autism, such as Autism New Jersey (ANJ), Rutgers University DDDC (Douglass Developmental Disabilities Center), Autism of Delaware, and New Jersey Daredevils.

 

More information: Greenwich Autism Alliance Foundation 

17. Autism Healthcare Collaborative (AHC)

The Autism Healthcare Collaborative is an internationally recognized nonprofit that focuses on facilitating medical services for families affected by autism. 

The AHC connects families and local physicians with medical experts around the world via videoconferences. This model allows families to avoid the unnecessary costs associated with medical travel, while providing expertise to local providers to ensure quality care. They have also donated medical equipment to the Developmental Learning Centers in Warren and New Providence, New Jersey, devoted to helping children with autism overcome their fear of medical exams.

To date, the organization has reached over 12,000 individuals through its programs and services.

More information: Autism Health Collaborative 

18. Merlin’s Kids 

Merlin’s KIDS is a nonprofit organization based in Midland Park, New Jersey, that pairs service dogs with autistic children to improve their socialization skills and self-confidence. The foundation is known for its thorough evaluation and training of service dogs to meet each child’s unique needs. All dogs are rescued from shelters, rehabilitated, and trained specifically for the children they will serve.

 

More information: Merlin’s Kids 

dog

19. FACES 4 Autism

FACES 4 Autism started as a small support group known as Families for Autistic Children created by the Mosca family whose son was diagnosed with PDD-NOS in 2002. 

Today, the charity focuses on creating inclusive opportunities for those with autism, as well as programs that foster self advocacy, independence, and dignity. They organize a variety of family activities, community awareness programs, and educational events, in addition to providing resources on autism to families and educators in the South Jersey area.

More information: FACES 4 Autism 

20. REED Autism Services

Since its foundation in 2003, REED Autism Services has been supporting individuals with autism through high-quality educational programs. 

 

REED Academy is a private, nonprofit school for autistic children in Oakland, New Jersey where educators work one-to-one with autistic students, focusing on academic as well as life skills.

 

The REED Next program provides comprehensive support and services for adults, including job training, community integration, and support with daily life skills. The foundation has also launched Greens Do Good, the first hydroponic vertical farm in New Jersey. The farm offers job training and employment opportunities for teens and adults with autism.

 

REED Autism Services heavily rely on donors to raise critical funds to support their programs.

 

More information: REED Autism Services 

school

21. Spectrum360 

Spectrum360 provides educational and therapeutic programs for individuals on the autism spectrum who have learning, language, and social challenges. Donations make it possible to offer programs and services to individuals with autism that they cannot obtain from other resources.

The organization offers continuing education for students from age 3 to 21 in Verona and Livingston, New Jersey. In addition, it runs day programs for adults that offer vocational and internship opportunities, including a culinary institute and a film production studio.

More information: Spectrum360 

22. Eden Autism

Eden Autism is another New Jersey-based nonprofit organization with more than four decades of success in providing services to autistic children, young adults, and their families.

The Eden School is a private school for children with autism from ages 3 through 21, accredited by the National Commission on Accreditation of Special Education Services (NCASES) and approved by the New Jersey Department of Education. The school offers early intervention, vocational training for adolescents with autism, as well as residential and employment services. 

 

Donations to Eden Autism support a range of the nonprofit’s education, employment, residential and outreach services. 

 

More information: Eden Autism 

23. Paper Mill Playhouse

New Jersey’s largest producing theater, Paper Mill Playhouse, fosters a creative environment that promotes inclusion and access for all.

The innovative Lend Your Voice Project enables children with autism to gain confidence by performing in a school musical. The theater offers autism-friendly performances modified to accommodate individuals with autism and their families. Paper Mill also actively mentors arts organizations across the country to help them serve families of children with autism in their communities as well.

Paper Mill Playhouse’s accessibility programs have been recognized by the National Endowment for the Arts, VSA arts/MetLife, and the New Jersey Department of Recreation as a role model for performing arts organizations in the country.

More information: Paper Mill Playhouse 

24. American Autism Association

Since its foundation in 2010, the American Autism Association has been offering educational material through its Autism Help Hotline and workshops for families of children with autism, along with free therapeutic athletic programs to low-income families. 

The association provides extensive resources on autism to families, educators, and advocates, including grants, scholarships, assistance finding the best local therapists, health care providers, and schools for autistic children. 

More information: American Autism Association 

25. Turning Pointe Autism Foundation

Turning Pointe Autism Foundation was established in 2007 with the goal to raise the quality of educational support for autistic children and young adults. The nonprofit works with schools to increase independence and improve communication and social skills in individuals with autism.

The foundation operates two programs. The CN Day School offers autistic students a full-time aid, learning behavior specialist, and a team of inter-disciplinary clinicians. The Career College program, on the other hand, focuses on practical training. Students who graduate from this program are guaranteed an interview with one of Turning Pointe’s employment partners and 98% of students secure employment after graduation. 

 

Donations to Turning Pointe Autism Foundation go towards supporting the students and teachers at the two schools. 

More information: Turning Pointe Autism Foundation

 

 

 

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

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High-Functioning Autism and Anger

Children with high-functioning autism have better cognitive and communication abilities than others on the spectrum, but they still face many challenges like anxiety, frustration, and anger.

Continue reading to find out what are the typical anger issues among high-functioning autistic children and how ABA therapy can help them regulate emotions and reduce angry behaviors. 

Causes of anger in HFA children

What Is High-Functioning Autism? 

Autism spectrum disorder is a complex disability that encompasses a wide range of conditions. It is characterized by communication and social skill challenges, in addition to sensory issues and repetitive behaviors. The severity of the condition spans from requiring full-time assistance to being able to function independently.

 

Children diagnosed with high-functioning autism (HFA), sometimes also referred to as level 1 autism spectrum disorder, are on the most functional end of the autism spectrum. They need little or no assistance in completing daily tasks and have better communication skills and cognitive functioning than other autistic individuals. 

Symptoms of high-functioning autism 

High-functioning autistic children experience many of the common symptoms of autism spectrum disorder despite their advanced communication and cognitive abilities. 

Communication challenges

Children with high-functioning autism typically have a good understanding of language and develop a rich vocabulary. Still, many face difficulties when it comes to basic social language skills that are necessary to communicate with others. For example, they may be unable to understand sarcasm, metaphors, and other figures of speech that are not meant to be taken literally. What’s more, they often find it hard to decipher social cues like facial expressions and body language.

Social skill difficulties

Due to verbal and non-verbal communication challenges and their restricted areas of interest, social interactions are often difficult for children with autism, even when they are on the high-functioning end of the spectrum. The fact that they find conversations with their peers complicated and uninteresting may prevent them from creating and maintaining friendships.

Sensory issues

Almost all autistic children, no matter where they are on the spectrum, are to some degree affected by sensory inputs that may be more overwhelming than their brains are capable of processing. Sensory overload can result from crowds, loud noises, bright lights, as well as strong tastes and smells.

Resistance to change and transitions

Even when they are high-functioning, autistic children typically prefer routines and repetitive activities which make them feel safe. They may struggle to control their emotions in new and unpredictable situations or when transitioning from one activity or setting to another. 

Anxiety and depression

Anxiety and depression are fairly common among children and adolescents with high-functioning autism. They result not only from the lack of communication and social skills, but also the awareness of their being different from their peers. Research has shown that up to 40% of young people with autism suffer from high levels of anxiety and have some type of anxiety disorder.

Many children with high-functioning autism experience anger, but is there a connection between autism and angry outbursts? Read on to learn more. 

High-Functioning Children with Autism and Their Struggle With Anger

Approximately one out of every four children with autism displays aggressive behaviors that may involve everything from destruction of items to self-harm and violence towards other people. High-functioning autism and anger may look like the following:

  • Having a meltdown with crying and shouting.
  • Trying to escape the situation, which may potentially put the child in danger.
  • Exhibit aggressive behaviors towards others such as biting, smashing, hitting, kicking, or scratching.
  • Overreacting to the situation.
  • Being unable to calm down on their own but also being too upset to listen to calming suggestions.
  • Engaging in self-harm behaviors, for example, head banging and hair pulling.
  • Engaging in self-stimulatory repetitive behaviors, also known as “stimming,” like hand flapping and clapping.

High-functioning autism and the rage cycle

Anger in high-functioning autistic children often manifests itself through what is known as the rage cycle. The rage cycle consists of three stages: 

  • The rumbling stage or the anger build-up stage includes repetitive behaviors such as rocking and pacing, covering ears with hands, suddenly becoming very tense, and threatening others. 
  • The rage stage will occur if anger is not internalized in the rumbling phase and may turn into aggression.
  • The recovery stage ends the rage cycle. At this point, the child will usually withdraw, become physically exhausted, have contrite feelings, or in some cases won’t remember what happened. 

Is autistic anger the same as tantrums?

Autistic anger is not a tantrum, although it may look very similar. Temper tantrums in neurotypical children are often manipulative and motivated by a desire to obtain something. However, autistic meltdowns and angry outbursts are impulsive without any reasoning behind them. They are a sign that the child is no longer able to cope with the challenging situation, whether it’s sensory overload or an unexpected situation.

 

Below, we list some of the most common reasons why high-functioning autistic children may experience anger

Causes of anger in high-functioning Children with autism

Sensory overload

Autistic children get easily overwhelmed by sensory inputs and those with high-functioning autism are no exception. Anger outbursts and aggressive behaviors are sometimes simply immediate reactions to the feeling of physical discomfort that is caused by sensory overload. 

Changes in routine

High-functioning autistic children may become distressed when they face new situations and they are out of their comfort zone. The feelings of confusion and helplessness, accompanied by increased stress and anxiety levels due to change in routine, may result in a meltdown.

Being overwhelmed by multiple tasks

Children with high-functioning autism can get overwhelmed when you ask them to perform several tasks at the same time, especially when these tasks need prioritizing or when a new task interrupts their routine. These situations may lead to frustration and subsequent anger outbursts.

Other people’s behavior

Behaviors of other people are another contributing factor when it comes to anger in children on the high-functioning end of the autism spectrum. For example, they may be offended by insensitive comments or being ignored, all of which may trigger aggressive behavior.

Intolerance of imperfections in others

Angry behavior among autistic children may be caused by what they perceive as imperfections in other people, for example, a fast speaking pace or a high-pitched voice. 

Stress and anxiety

Changes in routines, not being able to fully understand their peers, communication issues and other factors can potentially lead to built-up stress and anxiety. Some autistic children will react by getting depressed and withdrawn, while others will become angry. Sometimes, anger is the only tool they have to deal with stress and anxiety. 

Anger ruminations

Autistic children who are high-functioning typically engage in repetitive thinking, including anger ruminations, constantly thinking about negative situations and angry feelings. These thoughts can lead to anger and meltdowns.

Impulse control issues

Angry outbursts and aggressive behaviors are common signs of impulse control issues in autistic children. Acting out in an aggressive manner provides them with an immediate outlet for the feelings they are not capable of handling. It allows them to feel at least some degree of control of the situations that are otherwise hard to grasp and deal with.

Medical issues

A range of other factors can affect your child’s ability to regulate emotions and control their anger, for example:

 

  • Metabolic issues
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Low blood glucose levels (hypoglycemia)
  • Vitamin and mineral deficiency or food allergies
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Ear infections
  • Poor sleep quality or inadequate amount of sleep
  • Underlying medical conditions like diabetes and seizures

 

If these medical issues are properly treated, aggressive behaviors may decrease or even disappear altogether in certain cases.

Does anger become more severe in children with high-function autism as they age?

The severity of autism can vary greatly from person to person, and some individuals with high functioning autism may experience challenges throughout their lives, while others may not.

In general, high functioning autism does not become more severe with age. However, some individuals with autism may experience additional challenges as they age, such as increased anxiety or difficulty with daily living skills. It is also possible that certain behaviors or traits may become more pronounced over time, particularly if they are not addressed through appropriate interventions.

That being said, with proper support and interventions, many individuals with high functioning autism are able to lead successful and fulfilling lives. It is important to work with a healthcare professional who specializes in autism to develop an individualized treatment plan that meets the unique needs of each person with autism.

 

ABA Therapy for Controlling Anger

Therapy is an essential part of helping your child with high-functioning autism control their anger. Children who don’t learn to manage anger may have a hard time processing their emotions and dealing with built-up stress. Early intervention is essential in ensuring a better quality of life for children with high-functioning autism and their families. 

How can ABA therapy help with anger management? 

Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) is an effective treatment that can help reduce and prevent aggressive behaviors in high-functioning autistic children. This type of therapy can help your child learn a range of anger management skills, for example:

  • Learning how to avoid negative responses or behaviors.
  • Learning what are acceptable alternative behaviors.
  • Learning to identify and appropriately communicate anger and other emotions.
  • Learning the coping skills for emotional regulation.
  • Learning appropriate social interactions and communication that don’t result in aggression. 

ABA therapy is considered one the most successful interventions for helping children with autism learn desired behaviors through positive reinforcement, with a close to 90% improvement rate. It can help your high-functioning child reduce angry and aggressive behaviors using a variety of techniques. 

ABA techniques for dealing with anger

ABA is a highly adaptable and flexible intervention tailored for the specific needs of each child. 

An ABA therapist will spend some time with the child, analyze their behaviors, and determine their specific strengths and challenges, before he or she makes an assessment that will serve as the basis for anger-management therapy. 

ABA therapists use many different techniques to help high-functional autistic children regulate their emotions and work on their impulse control. Here are a few of them. 

Positive reinforcement 

ABA therapy is based on the principle of positive reinforcement. It consists in motivating the child to display appropriate behaviors through the use of reinforcers that can be anything from a favorite toy or activity to a hug or words of praise.

At the same time, negative behaviors such as aggressive outbursts are given little attention, unless they are harmful to the child or the others. Encouraging the child’s positive behaviors will motivate them to keep engaging in positive behaviors. 

Neutral redirection

ABA therapists commonly use a technique known as neutral redirection to teach children with autism about impulse control. Children are encouraged to use socially acceptable behaviors to express their needs instead of responding to anger and aggressive behavior. Neutral redirection focuses on rewarding the desired non-impulsive and non-aggressive behaviors.

Alternative behaviors

When it comes to anger management in high-functioning children with autism, it is crucial to offer them appropriate alternatives to anger outbursts. Once they learn more effective ways to communicate, they can avoid the frustration resulting from an inability to describe their emotions and anger ruminations. 

Proactive intervention

ABA therapists prioritize proactive strategies that will prevent your child from becoming overwhelmed and frustrated in the first place. These strategies include creating calm and predictable surroundings and other ways to minimize anger triggers in their environment.

Modeling techniques

Modeling techniques used as part of ABA therapy encourage children with high-functioning autism to learn positive behaviors through copying others. For example, the child may be asked to imitate characters in a video, the therapist, or other children in small group sessions. 

Positive feedback

Negative feedback after an aggressive outburst can reinforce the undesired behavior. That is why ABA therapists focus mainly on providing positive feedback for anger management and impulse control. Feedback and praise are usually provided before the angry outburst occurs, if the child displays an appropriate, non-aggressive behavior.

What can parents do to help their children with autism and anger issues?

Parents of children with autism who experience anger issues can take several steps to help their child manage their emotions and behaviors.

  1. Identify triggers: Parents should observe their child to identify what triggers their anger. Common triggers may include changes in routine, sensory overload, frustration with communication, and difficulties with social interaction.
  2. Develop coping strategies: Once the triggers are identified, parents can work with their child to develop coping strategies. This may include developing a routine, practicing relaxation techniques, or providing a safe space for their child to retreat to when they feel overwhelmed.
  3. Teach emotional regulation skills: Many children with autism have difficulty regulating their emotions, so teaching emotional regulation skills can be very helpful. This may include using visual aids to help the child recognize and label their emotions, and providing strategies to help them calm down when they feel upset.
  4. Seek professional support: Working with a healthcare professional who specializes in autism can be very helpful in managing anger issues. They can provide guidance on developing a behavior plan, teach new skills and strategies, and provide support for the child and family.
  5. Practice positive reinforcement: Finally, it’s important to reinforce positive behaviors and successes. Praise and rewards for appropriate behavior can help motivate children to continue making progress in managing their anger.

Overall, managing anger issues in children with autism requires patience, understanding, and a willingness to try different approaches until the right combination is found. With the right support, children with autism can learn to manage their emotions and behaviors and lead fulfilling lives

ABA with Golden Care Therapy

At Golden Care Therapy our team of dedicated and experienced ABA therapists provide service to children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and their families throughout the state of New Jersey. Our use of scientifically proven ABA methods will make a positive difference in the life of your child. 

Our ABA therapists will start by assessing your child to create a custom treatment plan that will meet your child’s goals, regardless of their level of functioning.

Your child will learn how to regulate emotions, display appropriate behaviors, and reduce challenging ones. What’s more, they will have a possibility to practice their newly acquired skills while interacting with peers in our Social Skills Group.

 

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

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Headphones for Children With Autism

If you have a child with autism, you probably know that loud noises can cause distress and lead to meltdowns. Fortunately, there are effective ways to reduce sensory overload, such as wearing noise canceling headphones.

In this article, we’ll tell you more about the sound sensitivity issues that children with ASD face and help you choose the best noise canceling headphones for your child with autism.

Why Child with Autism Struggles with Noise

Children with autism spectrum disorder perceive physical sensations in a different way than their neurotypical peers. Many children with autism suffer from the condition known as Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD) that makes their brains hypersensitive to surrounding sounds. As a result, they are easily distracted by background noises and may experience loud sounds as physically painful. 

Children with autism with hypersensitivity to sounds are not always capable of distinguishing between important and irrelevant sounds. This may cause them to become easily overwhelmed in loud environments such as busy streets or shopping malls. They will typically react by covering their ears and eventually have a meltdown if they don’t know how to deal with the sensory overload. 

Children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder may experience different types of noise sensitivities, including: 

  • Hyperacusis—intolerance of everyday environmental sounds.
  • Phonophobia—a fear of a specific sound such as an alarm or general environmental sounds.
  • Hypersensitivity—extreme reaction to sounds with certain frequencies, especially above 70 decibels. 
  • Misophonia—sensitivity to certain soft sounds like breathing or eating that can provoke strong emotional reactions.
  • Recruitment—a sudden painful and shocking increase in the perception of sound.

Recognizing Your Child’s Sound Sensitivity

Although sound sensitivity in children with autism is not always easy to detect, there are some common signs to look out for, such as: 

  • Avoiding noisy places that other children typically enjoy, for example, cinemas, concerts, or playgrounds.
  • Noticing background noises, like beeping or buzzing, that other people don’t pay attention to.
  • Reacting to high pitched and low humming sounds, like the noise made by a refrigerator or air conditioning. 
  • Being easily startled by sudden noises, such as alarms, sirens, and slamming doors.
  • Being frightened by loud noises like fireworks or a fire engine alarm.
  • Being easily distracted by background noise like distant chatter or traffic sounds. 
  • Covering ears with their hands, especially in situations when there are no noticeable loud noises.

Noise Canceling Headphones and Children With Autism

Although there is no cure for sound sensitivity, you can implement small changes to make your child’s daily life more comfortable. Noise canceling headphones are perfect tools that can help children with autism of all ages deal with disturbing ambient sounds and loud noises. 

Noise canceling headphones can help reduce anxiety in places with background noise, like shopping malls, noisy streets, buses, or trains. What’s more, they can minimize the impact of sudden or loud sounds that your child may find frightening. 

In addition to noise canceling, some headphones can provide calming sounds when the noise can’t be completely blocked. They are a great choice if your child struggles with anxiety induced by sound sensitivity.

How do Noise Canceling Headphones work?

Active noise canceling (ANC) headphones use a microphone to pick up the noise signals from the environment. They create opposite sounds and send them to your headphones where the two sounds cancel each other out. Some headphone models allow you to set the level of external sounds that your child will be able to hear.

choosingthe right noise canceling headphone

  • Check the headphone’s noise reduction rating (NRR). This number shows by how many decibel sounds are reduced. For example, if the noise is 85 dB and your child is using headphones with an NRR of 20 dB, they will still be able to hear sounds of up to 65 dB. The highest NRR rating for earmuffs is 31 dB and 33 dB for earplugs. 
  • Consider your child’s noise sensitivity when checking noise reduction ratings. If your child is highly sensitive to sounds, you should opt for the highest possible noise reduction. 
  • Make sure the headphones fit as tightly against the ears as possible for optimal protection. At the same time, they must be comfortable enough for your child to wear them throughout the day. Keep in mind, however, that some children with autism are extremely sensitive to the pressure and texture of headphones.
  • Headphones for children come in many different colors and patterns, so make sure to choose a design that your child will enjoy wearing. 
  • Online reviews by other parents of children with autism can help you decide what headphones are the right fit for your child’s needs. 

There are many different types of headphones designed for children with autism. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and price ranges. The list below will help you find the best noise canceling headphones for your child.

What is the Difference Between Active Noise Cancellation and Passive Noise Isolation?

There are two main types of noise-canceling headphones available on the market: passive and active noise-canceling headphones.

 

  1. Passive NoiseCanceling Headphones: Passive noise-canceling headphones use physical barriers to block out ambient noise. These headphones typically have thicker padding and are designed to fit snugly over the ears, creating a barrier that blocks out noise. This type of noise-canceling headphone is often less expensive than active noise-canceling headphones, but it may not be as effective at canceling out noise.
  2. Active Noise-Canceling Headphones: Active noise-canceling headphones use microphones to detect external noise and generate a counter signal that cancels out the incoming sound waves. These headphones are typically more expensive than passive noise-canceling headphones, but they are generally more effective at reducing ambient noise. Some models of active noise-canceling headphones also have additional features, such as the ability to adjust the level of noise canceling, or to activate a transparency mode that allows the user to hear ambient noise when needed.

In addition to these two main types of noise-canceling headphones, there are also variations in design and features Which we will discuss next.

 

Variations of Noise Canceling Headphones on the Market

When it comes to noise-canceling headphones for individuals with autism, there are a few variations that may be particularly helpful. Here are some of the options to consider:

 

  • Over-Ear Headphones: Over-ear headphones are a popular choice for individuals with autism because they can provide a snug fit that blocks out ambient noise. Look for models with padded ear cups that are comfortable to wear for extended periods of time.

 

  • In-Ear Headphones: For individuals who prefer a smaller and more discreet option, in-ear headphones may be a good choice. Look for models with silicone or foam ear tips that can provide a snug fit and block out external noise.

 

  • Bone Conduction Headphones: Bone conduction headphones are a newer type of headphone that use vibrations to transmit sound through the bones of the skull, bypassing the eardrums. This can be helpful for individuals with sensory sensitivities who find traditional headphones uncomfortable.

 

  • Noise-Isolating Headphones: While not technically noise-canceling, noise-isolating headphones can still be effective at reducing ambient noise. These headphones use physical barriers, such as thicker padding or a tighter fit, to block out external sounds.

 

  • Wireless Headphones: Many noise-canceling headphones now come with wireless connectivity, which can be helpful for individuals who are bothered by cords or who need to move around freely.

 

When choosing noise-canceling headphones for individuals with autism, it’s important to consider their individual needs and preferences. Some may prefer a more snug fit, while others may find it uncomfortable. Experimenting with different types and models can help find the best option for each individual.

 

Considerations When Choosing your Noise Canceling Headphones

Before you purchase noise canceling headphone for your child with autism, be sure to take these considerations into account

 

  • Type of noise cancellation
  • Comfort
  • Fit
  • Battery life
  • Sound quality

 

By considering these factors, you can find noise-canceling headphones that provide the right balance of comfort, quality, and features for your child’s individual needs.

The 10 Best Noise Canceling Headphones for Children with Autism

1. BANZ Kids Headphones

The BANZ Kids Headphones are easy to wear and provide excellent protection from loud noises without completely canceling out ambient sounds. They are equipped with wide foam-filled cushions that make them comfortable to wear for longer periods. Highlights include an adjustable band with head supporting foam that extends to fit a variety of sizes.

These headphones are small enough to easily fit in a travel bag and are available in several different colors and designs. BANZ Kids Headphones are recommended for children aged 2 and up. 

 

Noise reduction: 24.8 dB

Weight: 190 g

Price: $29.99

Customer rating: 4.7/5

2. Baby BANZ Earmuffs

Baby Banz Earmuffs are among the most popular headphones for children with autism. They are specifically designed and safety tested for newborns through 24 months. Baby BANZ are both lightweight and small enough for your child to wear even while sleeping. This model comes with super soft padding to protect your child’s sensitive ears and has an adjustable headband. Plus, there are over 20 colors to choose from. 

 

Noise reduction: 31 dB

Weight: 124 g

Price: $34.95

Customer rating: 4.5/5

3. Comfort Wear Ear Muffs

National Autism Resources Comfort Wear Ear Muffs are designed to reduce any noise your child may find distressing, while at the same time allowing them to listen to you. They are comfortable enough for your child to wear them throughout the day or at night. 

Key features include adjustable headband and soft foam cushioned ear cups that will comfortably fit over your child’s ears. The headphones are foldable so you can easily take them with you wherever you go.

 

Noise reduction: 27 dB

Weight: 170 g

Price: $29.99

Customer rating: 4.7/5

4. Master & Dynamic MW65 Wireless ANC Over-Ear Headphones

Master & Dynamic MW65 wireless headphones are perfect for canceling loud noises or muffling them with ambient sound. Your child can choose between a high mode for extremely noisy environments and a low mode for canceling noise passively, for example on a windy day.

 

The headphones are crafted from lightweight aluminum and boast ergonomic design with super-soft lambskin memory foam padding. They are an ideal choice for children with autism and teenagers who want to control the sound but still look stylish.

 

Noise reduction: 31 dB

Weight: 249 g

Price: $489

Customer ratings: 4/5

5. 3M Folding Earmuffs

3M Folding Earmuffs are affordable and effective headphones that provide professional ear protection from any noises that are at 85 dB and above. The headphones feature soft, pivoting ear cushions and an adjustable headband for maximum comfort. They also fold up neatly and take very little space.

Noise reduction: 25 dB

Weight: 318 g

Price: $12.77 

Customer ratings: 4.1/5

6. Skullcandy Venue Wireless Active Noise Canceling Over-Ear Headphone

Skullcandy Venue headphones are a good choice for older children and teens with autism who want to control outside noise without compromising on style. They are fitted with active noise cancellation technology with an ambient mode option. 

The headphones are equipped with soft memory foam ear cushions to fit your child’s ears and an adjustable headband. With a 30 m Bluetooth range, your child will also be able to move around when using a computer or tablet.

Noise reduction: 31 dB

Weight: 275 g

Price: $179.99

Customer ratings: 4.5/5

7. Muted Designer Hearing Protection for Infants and Kids

Muted Designer Hearing Protection is functional and fashionable noise protection for children with autism from toddlers to teens. These headphones come with an extra-wide padded adjustable headband and cushioned ear cups that are angled for a secure fit. They are exceptionally lightweight and foldable and are available in a range of fun colors and patterns.

 

Noise reduction: 27 dB

Weight: 249 g

Price: $29.99

Customer ratings: 4.7/5

8. Puro BT2200 Volume Limited Bluetooth Headphones with Built-In Mic

Puro BT2200 are sturdy and reliable headphones for children with autism aged 3 years and older. They offer passive noise canceling that blocks 82% of the ambient noise, which is enough to tune out extra sound but allows you to get your child’s attention when necessary. 

 

Each pair is outfitted with an adjustable headband and cushioned ear pads with a durable aluminum build. They come in four different colors and a sleek design that will appeal also to older kids. 

 

Noise reduction: 31 dB

Weight: 150 g

Price: $ 99

Customer ratings: 4.9/5

9. Dr.meter EM100 Kids Protective Earmuffs with Noise Blocking

Dr.meter EM100 Kids Protective Earmuffs are specifically designed for babies and young children. The ear cups are lined with non-irritating, cushiony synthetic leather that is comfortable for sensitive ears. All materials are safety tested and certified. They come in five kid-friendly colors. 

 

Noise reduction: 27dB

Weight: 226 g

Price: $15.99

Customer ratings: 4.7/5

10. Mpow Noise Reduction Earmuffs

Mpow Noise Reduction Earmuffs are headphones with a high noise reduction rate, suitable for children between the ages of 3 and 12 with sensory processing disorders. They have adjustable headbands for comfort and soft padding that muffles out sounds and ensures a snug fit.

 

Mpow headphones are made of eco-friendly and non-toxic materials. This model is easily portable and comes with a convenient travel drawstring bag.

 

Noise reduction: 25 dB

Weight: 271 g

Price: $18.29

Customer ratings: 4.9/5

 

 

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

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Regressive Autism

Up to 50 percent of all autism diagnoses are considered to be of the regressive type, where a child seems to develop normally but then suddenly loses some of their acquired skills.

In this article, we take a closer look at regressive autism and the therapies that are used to treat the condition.

What Is Regressive Autism?

Signs of autism spectrum disorder can be noticed already in six-months-old babies, although the condition is typically diagnosed after the age of four. Despite the presence of early symptoms like avoiding eye contact or lack of communication, diagnosing ASD can be challenging because there are no medical tests to confirm the disorder. 

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS OF REGRESSIVE AUTISM

If your child seems to develop normally but all of a sudden loses their previously acquired abilities like verbal and nonverbal communication skills and starts following the standard autistic development pattern, he or she may have regressive autism. The onset of regressive autism is usually followed by a lengthy period of stagnation in skill development. 

 

Regressive autism is also known as autistic regression, autism with regression, setback-type autism, as well as acquired autistic syndrome. It used to be classified as a subtype of autism. However, children who are diagnosed with regressive autism are now believed to have subtle symptoms even before the regression takes place.

Autism onset patterns

Autism can have several different onset patterns, including:

 

  • Ordinary regression where there are no apparent delays before the loss of communication or other skills occurs.
  • Regression where early delays are followed by loss of acquired skills.
  • Early onset where early developmental delays occur, but they are not followed by loss of other skills.
  • Plateau where the child fails to learn new skills, although there are no apparent early delays or later skill losses. 

 

Regressive autism can take place very suddenly or gradually, but the child will in most cases have difficulties regaining the lost skills. 

The Difference Between Autism That Develops and Regressive Autism

Autism That Develops (Early-Onset Autism)

Autism that develops, also known as early-onset autism, refers to cases where symptoms are present from an early age, often before the child turns three years old. Children with early-onset autism exhibit developmental delays and differences in social, communication, and behavioral skills compared to their typically developing peers.

Regressive Autism (Late-Onset Autism)

Regressive autism, also known as late-onset autism, involves a period of typical development followed by a loss of previously acquired skills or a noticeable decline in social and communication abilities. This regression usually occurs between 15 and 30 months of age and can be sudden or gradual.

What Is the Age When Regressive Autism Starts?

Regressive autism usually starts developing in toddlers between 15 and 30 months old. On average, it is diagnosed around 19 months. 

What are the Signs of Regressive Autism?

The early signs of regressive autism include:

  • Avoiding eye contact 
  • Not responding when you call the child’s name 
  • Repeating the exact words or phrases uttered by others, also known as echolalia
  • Giving unrelated answers when asked questions 
  • Systematically using the pronoun “you” instead of “I”
  • Not being interested in pointing at objects or toys
  • Refusing physical contact
  • Having very limited or no social skills
  • Failure to understand their own feelings and those of other people.

There are many other signs and symptoms of regressive autism that are similar to typical ASD traits, for example:

  • Repetitive behavior or stimming, such as flapping hands or spinning in circles
  • Extreme anxiety
  • Impulsive actions
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Difficulty to accept changes routines and transitions into new situations
  • Oversensitivity or under sensitivity to sounds, smell, taste, and touch 
  • Unusual eating habits and preference for certain types of foods
  • Sleep regression
  • Atypical interests and behaviors
  • Playing always in the same way, for example lining cars or building blocks
  • Obsessive interest in specific parts of objects, such as the wheels of toy cars.

 

How to Diagnose a Child With Regressive Autism?

Regressive autism is diagnosed in the same way as autism spectrum disorder in general. In other words, a multidisciplinary team that is composed of a psychologist, a speech pathologist, and a pediatrician or child psychiatrist will observe your child’s behavior, communication patterns, and interactions with others, in addition to looking into your child’s developmental history. Once the child is diagnosed with regressive autism, the team will develop a personalized treatment plan.

 

Can Regressive Autism Be Reversed?

There is no cure for autism. However, in many cases, children who are diagnosed early enough and go through rigorous therapy will acquire the necessary tools to improve their skills and function independently. It is important to keep in mind that every child is different, and progress will vary depending on the severity of the condition and other factors.

 

Below, we list some therapies that offer a targeted treatment of regressive autism based on your child’s individual needs.

Therapies for Children with Regressive Autism

Several behavioral and educational therapies and combinations of therapies have been proven effective in treating children diagnosed with regressive autism. 

Applied behavioral analysis (ABA)

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a form of behavioral therapy developed by psychologist O. Ivar Lovaas in the 1970s. It has been successfully used in treating autistic children ever since. ABA therapy can help improve skills such as:

  • Activities of daily living
  • Potty training
  • Following directions
  • Understanding nonverbal communication, including facial expressions and body language
  • Responding to questions
  • Social skills and interacting with others
  • Play skills
  • Visual skills, for example, matching, sorting, and recognizing patterns
  • Reducing problematic behaviors like tantrums.

ABA therapy is considered to be the most effective form of autism treatment, although it typically requires a strict regimen of at least 25 hours of therapy per week, and in some cases, up to 40 hours weekly. However, ABA has been proven successful in close to 90 percent of cases, where nearly half of the children see improvements so significant that their behavior is indistinguishable from that of neurotypical children. 

How does it work?

ABA therapists break down each skill that needs to be improved into smaller steps. They can then gradually build toward larger and more complex tasks. 

 

ABA focuses on changing unwanted behaviors while reinforcing the desirable ones. Therapists use rewards and praise as a method of positive reinforcement. At the same time, they ignore negative behaviors or distract the child from them. An ABA therapy session typically consists of a variety of fun activities and games, in addition to practicing adaptive skills. As a parent, you can also expect to be heavily involved in working on your child’s progress.

Sensory integration therapy

Sensory integration therapy was developed by occupational therapist A. Jean Ayres in the 1970s. It is designed to help children who are diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder cope with sensory processing difficulties.

 

Sensory processing dysfunction is one of the most common symptoms of autism. The dysfunction can manifest itself either as oversensitivity or under-sensitivity to light, sound, smell, taste, or touch. Typical behaviors of children who experience sensory issues are exaggerated movement including jumping or spinning, as well as stimming, such as hand flapping, or rocking.

How does it work?

Sensory integration therapy includes a range of activities that stimulate sensory responses, for example, swinging, bouncing, and climbing. The treatment can help autistic children better understand sensory information and learn how to use multiple senses simultaneously without becoming overwhelmed. 

Sensory integration therapy is provided by occupational therapists. It is often combined with other treatments, like speech therapy, behavioral therapy, and educational therapy. 

Speech therapy

Most autistic children have at least some level of communication issues. Some may have limited use of speech or no language at all. Speech therapy can help improve both verbal and nonverbal communication and interaction with others, including:

  • Responding to questions
  • Matching a picture with its meaning
  • Strengthening the mouth, jaw, and neck muscles
  • Learning how to make clearer speech sounds
  • Modulating the tone of voice
  • Matching emotions with the correct facial expression
  • Learning nonverbal skills and body language.

How does it work?

Speech therapy is done by speech-language pathologists. For children with autism who are able to talk, speech therapy consists in encouraging functional and spontaneous communication in a variety of settings, as well as articulating therapy, oral motor therapy, or a combination of these methods.

 

On the other hand, autistic children with severe language problems will highly benefit from using augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) therapy. Sessions are dedicated to teaching the use of picture exchange communication systems (PECS), sign language, or speech output devices like DynaVox.

child with therapist

Vision therapy

Vision training is effective in helping children with autism feel less overwhelmed by visual stimuli and interact more easily with their environment. Vision training may lessen or totally eliminate some vision-related sensory issues. The treatment is also proven to be beneficial for improving posture, head-tilt, spatial awareness, and coordination in children with regressive autism.

 

The most common visual problems in autistic children include: 

 

  • Hypersensitive vision
  • Light sensitivity
  • Lack of eye contact
  • Eye movement disorders
  • Staring at spinning objects or light
  • Fleeting peripheral glances
  • Side viewing
  • Crossed eyes
  • Visual stimming, such as flapping fingers in front of eyes
  • Visual defensiveness or avoiding contact with specific visual input like bright lights.

 

How does it work?

Vision training is done by a vision therapist who uses a variety of exercises to stimulate eye movement and the use of the central visual system. The child might need to wear ambient prism lenses during the session. Some typical autistic behaviors related to the eyes like poor eye contact, looking through or beyond objects, extreme aversion to light, unusual reaction to sight can be effectively treated through vision therapy using this type of lenses.

Auditory integration training (AIT)

Developed by French ear, nose, and throat doctor Dr. Guy Berard, Auditory Integration Training (AIT) is a type of sound therapy whose aim is to reduce auditory sensitivity issues in autistic children. This therapy addresses hearing distortions, oversensitive hearing, and other issues related to processing sounds that may cause discomfort and confusion. AIT not only effectively retrains hearing and improves auditory processing, but it also enhances concentration, speech, and language skills.

 

How does it work?

Auditory integration training usually lasts for two weeks with two 30-minute daily sessions.  The sessions involve listening to specialized music through headphones, first by presenting familiar sounds to then transition to more challenging ones with a high or low frequency. This way, children can gradually get used to the sounds until they no longer represent a problem.

 

Although some therapists are certified Berard AIT practitioners, no formal qualification is required to provide this type of therapy and it is usually offered by speech and language pathologists or occupational therapists.

 

Other types of sound therapy

Besides auditory integration training, there are several other forms of sound therapy available to autistic children. All of them are based on strengthening the foundation of a child’s neurological functioning, including auditory processing and attention. 

The Tomatis approach 

The Tomatis approach is designed to improve listening, speech, and communication skills in autistic children, in addition to reinforcing balance and coordination. The child uses headphones to listen to electronically modified music and other sounds. This treatment exercises the muscles in the ear and stimulates connections between the ear and the brain.

The Samonas Sound Therapy (SST)

Samonas sound therapy is based on using therapeutic music to provide direct stimulation to the child’s central nervous system and train the auditory system to process the full range of sounds without experiencing distortion, hypersensitivity, or frequency loss.

The Listening Program (TLP)

TLP is music-based therapy that provides auditory stimulation through psychoacoustically modified classical music. TLP can be used as a stand-alone intervention or integrated with other treatments such as ABA therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy, and neurodevelopmental programs.

 

Continue reading for a list of resources that you may find useful if your child has been diagnosed with regressive autism.

Tools for Parents to Cope With Regressive Autism

Associations

  • Autism Speaks is the largest autism awareness organization in the country. It is a good starting point if you need to find information about any aspect of autism, from signs and symptoms to diagnoses and treatments.
  • National Autism Association (NAA) is a parent-run non-profit organization. The NNA website provides comprehensive information on issues related specifically to regressive autism, but also topics such as severe autism, autism safety, autism abuse, and crisis prevention.
  • Sibling’s Guide to Autism from Autism Speaks explains the condition to siblings and tells stories of other families with an autistic child. 

Support groups

  • MyAutismTeam is a social network for parents of children with autism where you can connect with other parents, receive emotional support, and share your experience about caring for an autistic child.
  • Autism Support Groups are where you can meet others in a similar situation as well as join after-school clubs and activities. 

Communication tools

  • Social stories can help children with autism spectrum disorder improve their communication and social skills. Many social story templates are available for free download on this website
  • Noodle Nook is a space dedicated to educators of children with autism and other disabilities. It offers plenty of useful information on communication and other topics, in addition to a dedicated YouTube channel and a podcast. Here you can download Autism Communication Boards and other printable resources for free. 

Apps 

  • Language Therapy for Children with Autism is among the most popular autism apps. It uses the Mental Imagery Therapy for Autism (MITA) approach to help children with autism reach language development milestones and start speaking confidently. 
  • CommBoards Lite – AAC Speech Assistant is an Android app that serves as a communication board. It can help children with limited verbal abilities communicate with others. When a child taps on an image, they will hear the word pronunciation, which can help them verbalize their thoughts. You can record your own words and add your images for a personalized experience.  

 

 

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

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ABA Therapy Horror Stories

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is an effective and safe therapy for autism. But if a therapist is not qualified and not right for your child, the treatment may become harmful and cause new problem behaviors.

Keep on reading to find out more about ABA therapy and what you should know when looking for a therapy provider for your child. This will help you have a positive ABA therapy experience and avoid becoming your own ABA therapy horror story

child and parents

A quick look at ABA Therapy

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a form of behavioral therapy that focuses on changing unwanted behaviors and reinforcing desirable ones in children with autism and other developmental disabilities. 

ABA therapy has been successfully used to treat autistic children since the 1970s. With an improvement rate of more than 90%, it is currently considered the most effective form of autism treatment. It is supported by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Psychological Association, as well as the National Institute of Mental Health. 

ABA therapy has been proven highly effective in helping children with autism develop and reinforce their social, sensory, emotional, and other skills, for example:

  • Improving language skills
  • Increasing attention, focus, and memory
  • Learning to follow instructions and directions
  • Learning to initiate conversations and respond to questions
  • Learning to understand non-verbal communication, such as body language and facial expressions
  • Decreasing problematic behaviors like aggressivity and meltdowns
  • Acquiring essential academic and pre-academic skills.

With early intervention, close to 50% of autistic children who go through ABA therapy reach a development level where they are indistinguishable from their neurotypical peers.

The National Research Council recommends that young children receive at least 25 hours of ABA therapy for maximum effect. 

Understanding the differnt Therapist who work in ABA

ABA therapists typically have a bachelor’s degree in applied behavior analysis or a related field such as psychology, counseling, or special education, followed by a master’s degree in behavior analysis.

In addition, certification is essential for working as an ABA professional and there are several types and levels of ABA certifications available.   

Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)

Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) is a graduate-level program that allows ABA therapists to practice independently. BCBAs are required to have a graduate degree in behavior analysis and experience working in a clinical setting. This certification is obtained through the Behavior Analyst Certification Board.

Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA)

Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA) is another certification by the Behavior Analyst Certification Board, however, it doesn’t allow its holders to practice ABA therapy on their own. BCaBAs are assistant behavior analysts who provide their services under the supervision of a BCBA. 

Autism Certificate (AC)

Autism Certificate (AC) is a certification program offered by the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES). It is reserved for professionals who have been working in the field for two years or more and have at least a master’s degree. The certificate must be renewed every two years. 

school

Certified Autism Specialist (CAS)

Professionals who have a master’s degree and have been working with autistic children or adults for at least two years, for example, teachers, speech therapists, occupational therapists, and physicians, are eligible to become Certified Autism Specialists (CAS). This certification shows their commitment and expertise in the field. It needs to be renewed every two years.

Registered Behavior Technician (RBT)

Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) is the basic certification in behavior analysis. A registered behavior technician works directly with autistic children using applied behavior analysis principles, under the close supervision of an RBT supervisor. Minimal requirements include a high school diploma, at least 40 hours of training, and passing the RBT exam. 

Read on for some useful tips for choosing an ABA therapy provider for your child.

 

Choosing the right ABA Therapy Provider 

To ensure that your child will receive the most effective therapy possible, it is essential to find a reliable provider who is in alignment with your values and the goals you have for your child. Here’s what you should look for. 

Credentials

  • Make sure that the provider has at least one staff member who is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) or more if they serve a lot of clients.
  • If the therapist your child will work with is not BCBA certified, ask how he or she will be supervised.
  • Look for highly trained ABA therapists who use data and the most up-to-date techniques.
  • Find out about the provider’s experience when it comes to working with autistic children: how many children they have worked with and for how long they have provided their services. 
  • Ask the provider for references and talk to others who have used their services.
  • Inquire about the stability of staff. A fast turnover can affect the quality of services that are provided.
  • Since January 2020, New Jersey requires licensure for behavior analysts. Providers should be able to show proof of their credentials that meet state requirements.

Methods

  • Because ABA therapy is based on individual strengths and weaknesses, sessions should be customized to meet your child’s needs. If the provider offers a limited approach, it might not be the right fit for you.
  • The therapist should develop a plan to teach your child skills that you find the most useful, for example, communication, toilet training, eating at a table, interacting with friends, or playing with siblings.
  • Find out more about your provider’s approach, for example, their use of visual supports and augmentative communication systems, as well as whether they prefer working in rigid or flexible environments. 
  • Beware of promises about fast results. Although ABA is an extremely intense therapy with up to 40 hours of weekly sessions, it may take months and even years before you see any significant progress. 

Goal setting

  • Your provider should have a clear plan for building and revisiting essential skills and be able to explain it to you in clear terms. 
  • ABA therapy should prioritize goals that would make a meaningful difference in the life of your child and your family. Make sure that you agree with the provider on the goals that would be set for your child.
  • Ultimately, your therapist should have a transition plan to move your child out of therapy and into more natural settings, such as school or community. Ask about the provider’s criteria for transitioning to a new setting, how they handle transitions, and their transitioning success rate.  

Communication

  • An experienced behavioral analyst should be able to regularly provide you with clear and easy-to-understand reports showing the improvement rate of your child.
  • Ask the provider about their protocol for observing your child in therapy and how often they usually schedule observations.

Cost

  • The rates of ABA therapy can differ significantly from provider to provider, so make sure to compare the costs of various providers before you make the final decision. 
  • The cost of your child’s program will also depend on how many skills they need to develop and the setting in which the therapy will be provided.
  • Keep in mind that more expensive providers don’t always provide better services.  
  • Make sure to ask about billing and insurance practices.

Early critisim of ABA therapy

The results of numerous studies have shown that ABA therapy is an effective form of treatment for children with autism spectrum disorder. However, some parents of autistic children and practitioners do not support its use. 

One criticism is that its earliest version of ABA therapy used punishments in addition to rewards. Even the founder of ABA therapy, O. Ivar Lovaas, used electric shocks to stop children from engaging in their obsessive behaviors and make them behave more like neurotypical children.

ABA therapy has evolved tremendously since then and punishment as a method is no longer acceptable. The BACB’s Professional and Ethical Compliance Code for Behavior Analysts requires that reinforcement strategies are always implemented before considering punishment procedures. Today, ABA uses evidence-based strategies to help children reach their full potential through play and fun activities. 

Still, some critics believe that ABA therapy may be too hard on autistic children because of its intense and repetitive nature and focus on eliminating negative behaviors instead of building new skills. If practiced incorrectly, ABA therapy can be harmful to an autistic child. 

Read on for some ABA therapy horror stories that resulted from unqualified therapists using abusive techniques. 

ABA Horror Stories

The wool hat story 

Gregg Santucci, an occupational therapist from New Jersey shares a story about his disturbing experience while working with an autistic child in a school setting. The school’s BCBA team designed and approved a method that consisted of using a “visual screen” to make the student calm down and prevent aggressive behavior. The teacher would cover the student’s face with a wool hat until the undesired behavior stopped. The boy was upset and scared, but since he was non-verbal, he was unable to communicate his fears. The only way to escape the situation was to comply with the teacher’s demands. 

The use of aversives

Aversives are a kind of punishment used for children and adults with autism and other disabilities. Due to pain or discomfort caused by aversives such as extreme heat or cold, bitter flavors, loud noises, and pain, the person will stop engaging in undesired behavior. This method is not only traumatic and harmful but it is also shown to increase aggression and anxiety. 

An ABA therapist in California went to court because the rough handling of an autistic person resulted in permanent spinal damage. Although the therapist was brought up on cruelty charges, she was not convicted because she was simply following a method described in a book that was accepted as standard protocol in her field of work.

Invisible abuse

Some autistic adults consider certain ABA methods they were exposed to as children as traumatic and wrong. For example, ABA therapists may deliberately ignore the child’s attempts to communicate or engage in behaviors that have not been demanded by the therapist. They address the child’s behaviors rather than feelings.

Some ABA therapists also prevent children from flapping their hands or rocking since stimming is considered to be a purposeless action that interferes with learning and social interactions. However, for an autistic child, stimming is a comforting self-soothing behavior that helps reduce stress and regulate emotions. 

The best ABA therapy provider in the New Jersey area

The Golden Care Therapy team of dedicated and experienced ABA therapists has been providing exceptional service to children with autism and their families since 2016. We are proud to offer compassionate autism treatment to families throughout the state of New Jersey.

We are confident that our accurate application of scientifically proven ABA methods makes a positive difference in the lives of autistic children and our five-star reviews and success stories are here to prove it.  

Our BCBAs create and deliver individualized treatment plans for each child. Using home– and center-based practices, our experts will help your child learn social skills and reduce challenging behaviors. In addition, Golden Care’s Social Skills Group will give your child the chance to practice the newly acquired techniques for interacting with peers.

 

 

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

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How to Help Your Child with Autism During the Coronavirus Lockdown

Due to COVID-19, schools and daycare centers in New Jersey and many other States have been closed. This is a stressful and challenging situation for all of us, especially for children with autism and their families.

We know that many of you must be asking yourselves how best to discuss this with your children and how to help them through this difficult period. That’s why we’ve put together this blog, which we hope will provide you with some practical advice and reassurance when it come to supporting your child with ASD during the Coronavirus lockdown. 

Talk to Your Child About the Coronavirus

You’ve no doubt already had plenty of conversations with your child about the coronavirus. However it’s really important that you continue to give them honest but reassuring information, while also debunking rumors or any inaccurate information they’ve heard from elsewhere. 

When having these conversations, make sure it’s your child that is leading them. Ask them questions like:

  • What has he/she heard about coronavirus?
  • How does he/she feel about it?
  • How do you feel about school closing?

Have some reassuring answers prepared. This will make sure you’re not caught off guard and say anything that may worry them further. It’s a good chance for you to quell their worries, set some expectations, and also connect with them. 

Look After Yourself

It’s perfectly normal for your child to be struggling to comprehend or come to terms with the current situation. However, you can help them by leading by example. 

If you have anxiety about the virus, try to work through it with exercise, mindful activities, or whatever else you may need. As you know, children with ASD are extremely perceptive and can pick up on doubt or panic in others. 

We completely understand that as a caregiver, it’s in your nature to put your child’s needs before your own. However, taking care of yourself shouldn’t be taken for granted at this time. It creates a brighter atmosphere for you and your child and the rest of your family. 

Make Washing Their Hands as Fun as Possible

Hand washing may be mandatory, but you can make it as fun as possible for your child. We’re all aware of the 20-second rule set out by the World Health Organization (WHO). To make this less of a chore for your child, get into the habit of singing a song when they wash their hands. 

Here’s a website where you can generate your own handwashing poster with lyrics from a 20-second segment of a song. You can use this if your child has a favorite song or artist or, if your child is a bit younger, here’s some nursery rhymes you can use.

Keep Up a Routine 

Get your child up at the same time as if they were going to school and then start setting a routine for the rest of the day. This can include things like study time, lunchtime, playtime, backyard time and screen time, which can all be spaced out at the same time each day.

You can even sit down with your child and write out a new routine together, one where school work is still a priority but there are still some fun activities, too.

Look Out For Signs of Anxiety

You know your child better than anyone. Therefore, you’ll be able to spot any anxiety, ill temperament, or frustration in them very quickly. Again, this to be expected during this time period. 

If you do get in this situation or are generally struggling, it may be worth joining some autism support groups or finding parents in similar situations on social media. Remember, many people are in the exact same situation you are and may be able to offer solutions or a general outlet. We’re all in this together!

Overall, Just Be There For Them

This is a difficult period for everyone. However, by looking after yourself, remaining calm and open, and offering all the love and support that all of us parents provide to our children, we’ll be sure to get through this period without any major difficulties.

Featured image photo by Sandie Clarke on Unsplash

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Behavior Tech & Registered Behavior Technician Jobs in NJ

Working with children with autism is an extremely rewarding career. While the work can be challenging at times, no two days are ever the same. And with children in New Jersey having the highest rate of autism in the country, there is more demand than ever for talented and passionate professionals.

Who are we

We’re Golden Care Therapy, an in-home ABA therapy provider servicing children with autism and their families across New Jersey. Our mission is to help children with autism to live happy, independent and fulfilling lives. We do this by equipping them with the mental, physical and emotional skills they need to help them thrive. 

It’s thanks to the dedication and professionalism of our fantastic therapists that we’re able to deliver this mission. Our BCBAs take the time to truly personalize all of our clients’ treatment plans, to ensure every child receives the best possible therapy for their needs. While our Behavior Techs and Registered Behavior Technicians have the freedom to deliver the therapy on the ground how they see best.     

About the job

As a Behavior Tech or Registered Behavior Technician, you’ll be working on the front line, delivering ABA therapy in-home to the children that we work with. You’ll be supervised by an experienced BCBA and will base your therapy sessions on the treatment plans that they develop. This will involve running therapy sessions, tracking data and ensuring the client’s goals are being met, as well as working closely with their parents every step of the way.

Here’s what what we require from our candidates

  • Minimum 6 months experience in the ABA field
  • Reliable transportation
  • Ability to work well, and relate to children in a compassionate and effective manner
  • Integrity and reliability

In return, you’ll receive the following from us:

  • Flexible, per diem hours- take on as much or as little as you want!
  • Great hourly compensation!
  • Excellent clinical/ supervisory team
  • Client base within your local area

Our locations

We provide in-home ABA therapy throughout New Jersey, so have openings available across the state. Some of our in-demand areas include:

  • Atlantic County
  • Bergen County
  • Burlington County
  • Camden County
  • Cape May County
  • Cumberland County
  • Essex County
  • Gloucester County
  • Hudson County
  • Hunterdon County
  • Mercer County
  • Middlesex County
  • Monmouth County
  • Morris County
  • Ocean County
  • Passaic County
  • Salem County
  • Somerset County
  • Sussex County
  • Union County
  • Warren County

How to apply

If you’re interested in joining the team here at Golden Care Therapy, then you can apply for a Behavior Technician role on our careers page here

What if you’re not a Registered Behavior Technician but want to become one?

The Registered Behavioral Technician (RBT) is a paraprofessional qualification in behavioral analysis. It requires training, competency assessments and the successful completion of an exam. The below infographic, courtesy of the Behavior Analysis Certification Board, shows the steps required in becoming a BRT.       

Registered Behavior Technician training infographic

Featured image by Element5 Digital on Unsplash

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A Complete List of Autism Walks, Runs and Rides in New Jersey in 2020

Autism walks, rides and runs are a great way to be active, have fun and raise money for a cause that’s close to all of our hearts.

There are a large number of autism walks in New Jersey each year, as well as rides and runs, so everyone has the chance to participate no matter their fitness level.

In this article, we’ve put together a list of all the big events that are happening in NJ in 2020.

Autism Walks

There are two organizations that organize the major autism walks in NJ: Autism Speaks and POAC.

POAC Autism Walks

POAC is hosting the following walks in the following locations in 2020:

  • Lakewood, Ocean County – 11am, Saturday, May 9th 2020
  • Woodbridge, Middlesex County – 11am, Saturday, May 16th 2020
  • Ewing, Mercer County – 11am, Sunday, May 17th 2020
  • Sayreville, Middlesex County – 11am, Saturday, May 30th 2020
  • Manahawkin, Ocean County – 11am, Sunday, May 31st 2020
  • North Jersey, Passaic County – 11am, Sunday, June 7th 2020

You can either join a team, start your own team, or come and walk on your own. Find out more information and sign up here.

Autism Speaks Walks

This year’s Autism Speaks walks are being held on the following dates in these locations:

  • South Jersey Walk, Mount Laurel – 10:15am, Saturday, May 30th 2020
  • Northern New Jersey Walk, East Rutherford – 10:30am, Sunday, May 31st 2020
  • New Jersey Shore Walk, Long Branch – 11:30am, Saturday, October 3rd 2020
  • Union and Morris County Walk, Cranford – 11:30am, Sunday, October 4th 2020
  • Central New Jersey, Trenton – 10:30am, Sunday, October 11th 2020

You can view all of their walks and sign up here, either as part of a team, as your own team, or just by yourself.

Autism Rides and Runs

This year there are a number of autism rides and runs in New Jersey. Here’s a list of the main events.

Ride for Autism

Ride for Autism NJ is the biggest event of its kind in the region and is now in its 20th year, having raised more than $880,000 during that time.

All ability levels are catered for, with riders having a choice between six routes, ranging in length from 5 to 100 miles. 

And to celebrate the event’s 20th anniversary, there will also be a 5K fun run/walk, which is open to all abilities. 

  • Location: Brookdale Community College, Lincroft, NJ
  • Date: Saturday, June 13th 2020

Go the Distance for Autism

Go the Distance for Autism is another major fundraising event for autism in NJ. It offers a choice between different bike rides and a fun run.

For cyclists, you have the choice between 10, 25 and 50-mile events through Bergen County, while runners can take part in a 5K fun run.

  • Location: Bergen Community College, Paramus, NJ
  • Date: Sunday, June 7th 2020

Eden Autism 5K

The Eden Autism 5K is the biggest fundraising event that’s organized each year by the non-profit special education school. Join more than 1,500 runners and walkers who take part in the race each year.

  • Location: The Eden School, Princeton, NJ
  • Date: Sunday, October 4th 2020 

Want to explore more NJ autism resources?

Visit our blog for more amazing autism resources. Or if you would like to find out more about the NJ based ABA therapy services we provide to children with autism, you can get in touch here.

Featured image photo by Mārtiņš Zemlickis on Unsplash

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5 Ways to Help Your Child with Autism on Valentine’s Day

We all hold precious memories of Valentine’s Days from our childhoods. Cupid hearts, handmade cards and crafts, and more candy than was ever sensible to eat. But while they form a part of our cherished childhood memories, Valentine’s Day can create difficulties for children with autism. However, with some careful planning, you can ensure that your son, daughter or child in your class with ASD can form their own special memories of the big day.

Autism and Valentine’s Day – possible problems

Firstly, it’s important to understand the potential triggers that can accompany the day, which can include:

  • A break from routine
  • Different social norms and signals
  • Unfamiliar words and phrases
  • Unusual decorations and displays  
  • Group activities with unclear purposes

While it’s of course impossible to avoid all of these, there are however plenty of steps you can take to help prepare your child. And in this article I’ve listed what I consider to be the five most important, which any parent or carer can do.  

1. Write a Valentine’s Day social story

Social stories are short descriptions of a particular situation or activity which provides specific information on what to expect and why. For children with autism these can really help to build greater social understanding of everyday situations. It does this by enabling them to visualize and predict their role and its outcome.

First developed by the therapist Carol Gray, the great thing about social stories is that anyone can write one about any situation. All you need to do is consider the end goal of the story and what your child needs to understand to achieve this. You then create a story and place your child as a key character within it. 

So for a Valentine’s Day social story, you could write a story that has the end goal of your child giving Valentine’s cards to classmates. The story would show the significance behind this gesture, by explaining how other children feel when they receive these cards.

2. Incorporate your child’s specific interests

Incorporating your child’s interests is a great way to get them to engage with the day. So if your child loves Frozen they could draw their favorite character on the cards that they make. Or alternatively you could buy some cards that feature this.   

It’s also important to bear in mind, particularly on a day like Valentine’s Day, that your child may form friendships based on shared interests. Meanwhile, they may be less engaged in the emotional side of relationships. Therefore, ensuring that their specific interests take a lead role in their creativity and gift giving helps to ensure that your child remains engaged in these activities.    

3. Plan ahead with the school

As with any change of routine, these need to be planned carefully, by giving your child plenty of notice. So check with the school what Valentine’s Day activities they’re planning on doing and when. Make sure you get all the small details from the school as well. This includes things like the decorations they plan on putting up and any colored clothing that children are going to be encouraged to wear.  

Once you know the schedule for this, you can gradually increase your child’s exposure to this in the days running up to it. You can also incorporate elements of what the school has planned into a Valentine’s Day social story, as discussed above.

4. Prepare for specific activities with role plays 

As with social stories, role plays are another great way to “learn by doing”. This helps children with ASD to familiarize themselves with common social interactions. This in turn helps to equip them with the language and actions that are required to engage appropriately when in these situations.   

To prepare for Valentine’s Day, you could role play giving out cards to classmates, where you and other family members play the part of the classmates. This can help your child to practice what they say and how they act when they do this. Once you’ve completed this role play, reverse it so you’re giving cards to your child. This will help them learn how to process receiving cards as well as giving them.

5. Discuss the meaning behind Valentine’s Day

All of the above steps are of course quite abstract, so it’s important that you also discuss the meaning behind Valentine’s Day. How you do this and the level of detail you go into will depend on your child’s age and level of development. 

However, the most important aspect to get across is that Valentine’s Day is about celebrating the people in our lives that are the most important to us. This can therefore be used as a great way for your child to identify all the people in their life that are special to them.

Want to explore more autism resources for parents?

For more autism resources for families in New Jersey, visit our blog directory. Or if you would like to find out more about the ABA therapy services we provide to children with autism, you can get in touch here.

Featured image photo by Laura Ockel on Unsplash

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