baby feet
Autism and a New Baby

Autism and a New Baby: Navigating the Challenges and Embracing the Joy

Bringing a new baby into the family is a joyous occasion filled with excitement, anticipation, and sometimes anxiety. When there is a child with autism in the family, these emotions can be amplified, and new challenges may arise. Parents and caregivers need to understand the unique needs of both babies and their children with autism and learn how to support them during this significant transition. In this article, we will explore strategies for helping your child with autism adjust to the arrival of a new sibling, ensuring that every member of the family feels loved, supported, and valued.

Understanding Autism spectrum disorder

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental condition that affects communication, social interaction, and behavior. Individuals born with autism experience a range of symptoms that can vary widely in severity. Some common characteristics include difficulty with social interactions, repetitive behaviors, and sensory sensitivities. These traits can make it challenging for infants and children with autism to adapt to change and feel comfortable in new situations, such as a sibling’s birth.

Why a new sibling is a hard transition for children with autism

The arrival of a new sibling can bring a lot of change to the family dynamic. It can be challenging for children with autism, who may struggle with understanding and expressing their feelings about this transition.

They may also have difficulty adapting to different routines and accepting that they are no longer the center of attention in their family. Providing them and siblings with extra support and reassurance can help them cope with these changes.

Preparing Your Autistic Child for the Arrival of a New Baby

One of the most effective ways to help your child with autism adjust to the arrival of a new baby is by preparing them well in advance. Here are some suggestions for easing the transition:


Start discussing the upcoming arrival of your child with your child with autism as soon as possible. Use simple, clear language to explain what is happening and answer any questions they may have. Visual aids, such as pictures or videos, can also be helpful in illustrating the concept of a new baby.


Involve your autistic child in the preparations for the new baby. This can include helping to choose baby clothes, setting up the nursery, or picking out a special toy for the baby. Including your child in these activities can help them feel more connected to the situation and alleviate feelings of anxiety or jealousy.


Maintain your child with autism’s routine as much as possible, both before and after the baby arrives. Predictability is essential for children with autism, and maintaining a consistent schedule can help them feel more secure during this time of change.

Social Stories

Create a social story that explains the new baby’s arrival and the changes that will occur in the family. Social stories are short, personalized narratives for kids that describe a specific situation and provide guidance on appropriate behavior. By reading the social story with your child regularly, you can help them better understand what to expect and how to respond.


Encourage your autistic child to practice being gentle with toys, a baby doll, or stuffed animal, as they will need to be gentle with the new baby. This can help them develop the necessary skills and confidence to interact appropriately with their new sibling.

Supporting Your Autistic Child After the Baby Arrives

Once the new baby has arrived, it’s crucial to continue supporting your autistic child as they adjust their social skills and to their new role as an older sibling. Consider the following strategies:

One-on-one time

Make sure to spend quality one-on-one time with your child with autism, even if it’s just a few minutes each day. This can help reassure them that they are still important and loved, despite the additional attention the new baby requires.

Reinforce positive behavior

Praise your child with autism for any positive interactions they have with the new baby. This can include being gentle, using a quiet voice, or offering to help with baby-related tasks. Reinforcing these behaviors can encourage your child to continue engaging positively with their new sibling.

Address negative emotions

If your autistic child exhibits signs of jealousy, frustration, or anxiety, acknowledge their feelings and offer support. This might involve discussing their emotions, offering comfort, or seeking professional guidance from a therapist or counselor.

Create a safe space

Designate a quiet, calming space in your home where your autistic child can retreat when they feel overwhelmed by the noise and activity associated with a new baby. This same environment can help them regulate their emotions and prevent meltdowns.

Sibling bonding

Encourage your autistic child to bond with their new sibling early on by involving them in age-appropriate activities, such as reading a book, singing a song, or playing a simple game together. This can help foster a positive relationship between the siblings and promote feelings of acceptance and belonging.

Tips for bringing in the new baby

  1. Include your child with autism in the different processes (ex. packing a hospital bag, and setting up the nursery)
  2. Identify possible sensory triggers (ex. baby crying, smelly diapers) and try to remove them (noise-canceling headphones, tie up diapers)
  3. Visit a friends baby before
  4. Accept help form family and friends
  5. Let go of expectations

Embracing the Joy

Although pregnancy and the arrival of a new baby can present unique challenges for families with an autistic child, it’s essential to remember that this is also a time of immense joy and growth. Embrace the milestones, cherish the memories, and celebrate the love that expands within your growing family together. By understanding your autistic child’s needs and providing the necessary support, you can help ensure that every member of your family thrives during this exciting new chapter in your life.


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


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Autism Inclusivity: Creating a More Accepting and Supportive Society


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental condition that affects an individual’s social, communication, and behavioral skills. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in 54 children in the United States is diagnosed with ASD, making it essential for society to embrace autism inclusivity.

Autism inclusivity refers to the acceptance, understanding, and inclusion of autistic individuals in all aspects of life, including education, employment, and community involvement. This article explores the importance of autism inclusivity, the challenges faced by autistic individuals, and the steps we can take to create a more accepting and supportive society.

What is autism inclusivity?

Autism inclusivity means accepting, understanding and including individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in all aspects of life. To create an inclusive environment for autistic people, it is important to recognize their strengths and differences, as well as provide them with access to the same opportunities that are available to others. This includes appropriate provisions for education, employment, social activities and community involvement.


The Importance of Autism Inclusivity

Inclusivity is vital for the well-being and development of autistic individuals. By fostering an inclusive environment, we can help autistic individuals reach their full potential and contribute to society in meaningful ways. Some benefits of autism inclusivity include:

Social acceptance: When society is more accepting and understanding of autism, autistic individuals are less likely to experience discrimination, isolation, and bullying. This social acceptance is crucial for young people and their emotional well-being, positive behavior, and self-esteem.

Equal opportunities: Inclusive practices in education and employment ensure that autistic individuals have access to the same opportunities as their neurotypical peers. This allows them to develop their skills, pursue their interests, and contribute to society.

Improved quality of life: Autism inclusivity enhances the overall quality of life for individuals and children with autism by providing them with the support, accommodations, and resources they need to thrive in various aspects of their lives.

Increased awareness and understanding: Inclusive practices promote greater awareness and understanding of autism among the general public. This helps reduce misconceptions and stereotypes, leading to a more compassionate and empathetic society.

Levels of inclusion

There are three levels of inclusion strategies for individuals with autism: individual, interactive, and communal.

Individual level

 This level focuses on the individual needs of each person. This includes providing them with appropriate accommodations and support in order to meet their educational, social and behavioral goals.

Interactive level

 This level refers to the interaction between the individual with autism and their typical peers. It involves supporting students providing opportunities for professional development, socialization and communication with others, as well as teaching them how to interact with people in appropriate ways.

Communal level

 This refers to the larger community environment beyond general education classrooms that includes individuals with autism. This involves creating an inclusive environment by general education teachers promoting acceptance and understanding of students with autism through teaching strategies, raising awareness, and advocating for equal rights.

adults talking

Difficulties of Autism Inclusion

Despite the benefits of autism inclusivity, there are some unique challenges that individuals AND children with autism may face. These include:

Difficulty communicating: Individuals with autism may have difficulty expressing their thoughts and emotions, which can lead to misunderstandings or misinterpretations by others.

Sensory overload: Many people with autism experience heightened sensitivity to certain stimuli, such as sound, light or touch. This can be overwhelming and lead to anxiety or behavioral outbursts.

Trouble with transitions: Individuals with autism may have difficulty transitioning from one activity or environment or one classroom to another due to their need for routine and structure.

Steps to Promote Autism Inclusivity

Creating a more inclusive society for autistic individuals requires concerted efforts from various stakeholders, including policymakers, educators, employers, community and family members. Here are some steps we can take to promote autism inclusivity:

Raise awareness and understanding: Educate the public about autism and its diverse manifestations through awareness campaigns, workshops, special education and other initiatives. This will help dispel common myths and misconceptions and foster greater empathy and understanding.

Promote inclusive education: Schools and teachers should adopt inclusive education practices that cater to the unique needs of autistic students. This includes providing appropriate accommodations, special classes, individualized learning plans, and specialized support services.

Create supportive work environments: Employers should implement policies and practices that support the inclusion of autistic employees. This may involve offering flexible work arrangements, providing necessary accommodations, and fostering a culture of understanding full inclusion and acceptance.

Build inclusive communities: Community organizations, school administrators, and local governments should work together to create inclusive spaces and programs that cater to the needs of individuals with autism. This includes accessible public spaces, recreational activities, and support services.

Advocate for policy change: Engage with policymakers and advocate for legislation that promotes the rights and well-being of autistic individuals. This includes anti-discrimination laws, funding for support services, and policies that promote inclusive education and employment practices.

Support research and innovation: Invest in research to better understand autism and develop innovative solutions that can improve the lives of autistic individuals. This includes advancements in diagnostic tools, interventions, and assistive technologies.


Ideas for Inclusivity in the Classroom and Teaching Students with autism spectrum disorder


In a classroom setting, there are a number of strategies that can be implemented during school day to foster inclusivity for students with autism. Here are some ideas:

  • Provide structure and routine: Create an environment with clear expectations and routines so that students can better anticipate what is coming next. This helps reduce anxiety and confusion.
  • Focus on strengths: Encourage students with autism to identify and develop their strengths. This will help build confidence and self-esteem.
  • Promote peer and social interactions: Create opportunities for students with autism to interact with their peers in meaningful ways, such as through group activities or collaborative projects.
  • Provide accommodations: Modify the curriculum for teaching students if needed, and provide appropriate accommodations so that students with autism can access the material. You can use visual aids to help the students with autism.
  • Monitor progress: Monitor the progress of students with autism and provide timely interventions to address any issues.
  • Ensure safety by educating students: Create a safe environment where all students feel accepted, respected, and valued. This includes establishing clear rules and expectations around behavior, as well as providing support when needed.
  • Foster a culture of understanding: Encourage all students to be open and accepting of their peers who have autism. Educate them about the condition and celebrate differences. This will help foster greater inclusion in the classroom.
  • Create meaningful connections: Develop relationships with students with autism that go beyond academics, such as through shared interests or activities. This can help students with autism feel more connected and supported by other students.
  • Encourage self-advocacy: Teach students with autism how to advocate for themselves and ensure their voices are heard. This can help them feel empowered and have a greater sense of control over their own lives.
  • Celebrate success: Recognize the accomplishments of students with autism, both big and small, to celebrate their successes and build positive self-esteem.

Implement these strategies to create an all inclusive classroom environment that caters to the unique needs of students with autism. With these measures in place, all students can benefit from a safe and supportive learning experience.

Autism Inclusivity in Sports and Recreation

Sports and recreation activities provide an excellent opportunity for individuals with autism to practice social skills, build confidence, and have fun. To ensure inclusivity in sports and recreation activities for individuals with autism, here are some ideas:

  • Provide accommodations: Modify rules and equipment if needed to allow autistic participants to participate safely. This includes providing extra supervision, quiet spaces for breaks, and modified instruction.
  • Build relationships: Spend time getting to know autistic individuals on a personal level and create meaningful connections with them. This will help foster trust and understanding.
  • Create an understanding environment: Educate coaches, teachers, parents, and peers about autism so that everyone can understand how to


Autism inclusivity is crucial for creating a more accepting and supportive society for individuals with autism. By raising awareness, promoting inclusive practices, and advocating for policy change, we can help children with autism overcome the challenges they face and enable them to lead fulfilling lives. Ultimately, an inclusive society benefits everyone by fostering empathy, understanding, and diversity.


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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Developmental Milestones of a Child with Autism

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that affects communication, social interactions, and behaviors. Children with autism often exhibit delays or differences in reaching developmental milestones compared to their peers. Understanding these milestones and the potential signs of autism can help parents and caregivers provide the necessary support for their child’s growth and development. In this article, we will discuss the developmental milestones, why children with autism may miss them, and what to do if your child has developmental delays.

child in the rain

What Are the Developmental Milestones?

Developmental milestones are a set of skills or behaviors that most children achieve by a certain age. These milestones serve as a guide for parents, caregivers, and professionals to monitor certain milestones in a child’s development and identify potential delays or concerns. The milestones are categorized into four primary domains:

Physical development – This includes gross motor skills (using large muscles for crawling, walking, running) and fine motor skills (using small muscles for grasping very small objects, holding objects, drawing).

Language and communication development – This encompasses a child’s ability to express themselves through words, gestures, and body language, as well as their ability to say new words and understand and follow verbal instructions.

Cognitive development – This is child development that involves normal development of thinking, learning, problem-solving, and memory skills.

Social and emotional development – This includes social skills, forming relationships, expressing emotions, and understanding the feelings of others.

Milestones for 3-year-olds from the CDC

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides a list of developmental milestones that most children reach by age three. Although each child develops at their own pace, these milestones can serve as a general guideline for parents and caregivers. Some of the key milestones for 3-year-olds include:

  • Climbing well
  • Running easily
  • Pedaling a tricycle
  • Understanding the idea of “mine” and “his” or “hers”
  • Showing a wide range of emotions
  • Separating easily from mom and dad
  • Dressing and undressing themselves
  • Speaking in sentences of 4 to 5 words
  • Naming familiar things
  • Showing affection for friends without prompting

It’s essential to remember that children with autism may not reach these milestones at the same time as their peers. They might exhibit delays or differences in one or more developmental domains.

child playing

Why Children Miss Developmental Milestones

There are several reasons why children with autism may miss developmental milestones. Some of these reasons include:

  • Social communication challenges – Children with autism often have difficulty understanding nonverbal cues, such as facial expressions and body language. They may also struggle with forming and maintaining relationships, which can impact their social and emotional development.
  • Repetitive behaviors – Many children with autism engage in repetitive behaviors, such as hand flapping, rocking, or spinning. These behaviors can interfere with their ability to learn new skills and reach developmental milestones.
  • Sensory processing issues – Children with autism may experience heightened sensitivity to sensory input, making it difficult for them to focus and engage in activities that promote development.
  • Cognitive differences – Some children with autism have cognitive differences that affect their ability to learn and process information. This can result in delays in reaching developmental milestones, particularly in language and communication.

When Developmental Delays May Suggest Autism

While it’s essential to recognize that all children develop at their own pace, certain developmental delays may suggest autism. Some signs that may indicate autism in a young child include:

  • Lack of eye contact
  • Limited or no response to their name
  • Delayed or absent speech
  • Repetitive behaviors or interests
  • Difficulty understanding or expressing emotions
  • Challenges with social interactions

If you notice any of these signs or have concerns about your child or baby’s development, it’s important to consult with a healthcare professional for further evaluation.

motor skills

What to Do If Your Child Has Developmental Delays

If you suspect that your child may have developmental delays or autism, the following steps can help guide you in seeking support and intervention:

Consult with your child’s doctor or pediatrician – Share your concerns with your child’s pediatrician, who can help determine whether further evaluation is necessary.

Seek a comprehensive evaluation – If recommended by your pediatrician, seek a comprehensive evaluation from a team of professionals, including a developmental pediatrician, psychologist, speech therapist, and occupational therapist.

Early intervention services – If your child is diagnosed with autism or exhibits developmental delays, early intervention services can provide crucial support. These services may include speech therapy, occupational therapy, and behavioral interventions tailored to your child’s unique needs.

Educate yourself – Learn as much as you can about autism and developmental milestones to better understand your child’s needs and advocate for appropriate support.

Connect with other parents – Join support groups, attend workshops, or participate in online forums to connect with other parents and families who have children with autism. This can provide valuable information, resources, and emotional support.

Remember that early identification and intervention are crucial for improving outcomes for children with autism. By understanding developmental milestones and recognizing potential signs of autism, you can ensure that your child receives the support they need to thrive.

Don’t forget to seek professional help if you have any concerns about your child’s development. A healthcare provider can provide an evaluation of your child’s development, and make recommendations for appropriate interventions. Additionally, connecting with other parents who have children with autism can provide valuable information and emotional support during this journey. Working together, you and your child’s healthcare team can help them reach their full potential.

Finally, it’s important to recognize that parenting a child with autism is not easy, it can be incredibly rewarding. With the right support and therapies in place, your child can reach developmental milestones and have an improved quality of life. On this journey, don’t forget to take care of yourself as well. Reach out for help and support when you need it, and remember to celebrate the small successes.


Raising a child with autism can be rewarding but it often brings unique challenges. Early identification and intervention are important in order to ensure that your child receives the support they need to reach developmental milestones. Be sure to consult with your pediatrician if you have any concerns about your child’s development and connect with other parents for emotional support during this journey. With proper care and intervention, your child can have an improved quality of life. Don’t forget to take care of yourself too! Reach out for help when you need it and celebrate the small successes along the way.

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How to Childproof Your Home for Children with Autism: A Comprehensive Guide


Parenting a child with autism can be a challenging and rewarding experience. One of the most important aspects of this journey is ensuring that your home environment is safe and secure. Children with autism often have unique sensory needs and may engage in behaviors that put them at risk for injuries or accidents. As such, it’s essential to take extra precautions to create a home that is both comfortable and safe for your child.

In this article, we will discuss the importance of home safety and living space for children with autism, provide examples of home security measures, highlight various home safety strategies, and offer tips for parents to create a safer living environment for their child.

Why Home Safety is Important for Children with Autism

Children with autism often have different sensory perceptions and may not always understand the dangers present in their environment. They may be prone to wandering, impulsivity, and self-injurious behaviors, which can put them at a higher risk for accidents and injuries. Furthermore, some children with autism may have difficulty communicating their needs or discomfort, making it even more crucial for parents to create a safe space for them.

By childproofing your home and implementing safety measures, you can reduce the risk of accidents, protect your child from potential choking hazards, keep children safe, and create an environment where they can thrive and develop.

Dangers to look out for in a home with a child with autism

The first step to ensuring your home is safe for a child with autism is to identify potential hazards. It’s important to look out for any danger that could be potentially hazardous, such as cords and sharp objects, chemical products, and narrow spaces or crawl spaces. Additionally, you should consider if there are any escape routes in the house that your child might use to exit the house or access other areas of the home.

some items to look out for are :

  • medications
  • cleaning supplies
  • ovens, stoves and barbeque grills
  • lighters and matches
  • sharp items
  • furniture to climb on

Examples of Home Security Measures

Fencing and Gates: Installing fencing and gates around your property and sleeping areas can help prevent your child from wandering off and getting lost. Ensure that the gates are locked and secure, and consider installing alarms on the gates to alert you if your child attempts to leave the property.

Window and Door Alarms: To further prevent wandering, install alarms on all windows, window blinds and doors. These alarms can alert you if your child tries to open a window or door, allowing you to intervene before they leave the home.

Security Cameras: Installing security cameras in and around your home can help you monitor your child’s activities and ensure their safety. You can also use these cameras to review any incidents or accidents that may occur, helping you identify potential hazards and improve your home’s overall safety.

Childproof Locks: Secure cabinets, drawers, and closets with childproof locks to prevent your child from accessing dangerous items such as cleaning supplies, sharp objects, or medications.

Identification Bracelets: Have your child wear an identification bracelet with their name, your contact information, and any pertinent medical information. This can be especially helpful if your child is prone to wandering, as it can assist others in identifying and helping them if they become lost or disoriented.

Examples of Home Safety Strategies

Electrical Safety: Cover all electrical outlets with outlet covers to prevent your child or young kids from inserting objects or fingers into them. Use cord organizers to keep electrical cords out of reach and secure any appliances that could tip over, such as televisions or bookshelves.

Furniture Safety: Anchor heavy furniture to the wall to prevent it from tipping over if your child climbs on it. Remove any sharp edges and corners from furniture by using corner guards or padding, and consider using furniture with rounded edges whenever possible.

Stair Safety: Install baby gates at the top and bottom of staircases to prevent your child from falling. Ensure that bathroom doors and handrails are sturdy and provide a secure grip for your child when navigating stairs.

Water Safety tips: If you have a pool, install a fence with a self-closing, self-latching gate to prevent unsupervised access. Always supervise your child around water, and consider enrolling them in swimming lessons to improve their water safety skills.

Fire Safety: Install smoke detectors in each room of your home and test them regularly. Create an emergency escape plan and practice it with your child. Keep fire extinguishers in easily accessible locations and ensure that your child knows how to use them.

Tips for Parents

  • Create a Sensory-Friendly Environment

Children with an autism spectrum may often have sensory sensitivities, so consider incorporating sensory-friendly elements into your home. This could include soft lighting, noise-canceling curtains, or calming colors and textures.

  • Establish Clear Boundaries

Set clear boundaries for your child by using visual cues such as signs or colored tape on the floor. This can help them understand which areas of the home are off-limits or require adult supervision.

  • Keep a Routine

Maintaining a consistent routine can help reduce anxiety and confusion for children with autism. Establish a daily schedule and try to stick to it as closely as possible.

  • Communicate with Your Child

Regularly discuss safety rules and expectations with other family members around your child. Use simple language and visual aids to help them understand the importance of following these guidelines.

  • Involve Professionals

Consult with your child’s therapists, teachers, or other professionals who work with them to gather additional ideas and support for creating a safe home environment.

How to use social stories to keep children with autism safe

Social stories are short, simple narratives that help children with autism better understand expected behaviors and safety rules. They can be used to explain a variety of topics related to home safety, such as how to use stairs safely or why it’s important not to play near open windows. Social stories often feature pictures or illustrations alongside text in order to make the story more engaging.

When creating a social story for home safety, it’s important to keep the language simple and straightforward. Describe the situation in detail and explain why the behavior is beneficial or necessary. Use positive reinforcement such as praise or rewards whenever possible to encourage engagement with the content of the story. It can also be helpful to review safety rules regularly and ask your child to practice them. This can help reinforce the messages of the social story and give your child an opportunity to apply what they have learned.

By following these tips, you can use social stories as an effective tool for teaching home safety skills to children with autism. Doing so can provide your kids with peace of mind and improve their overall safety.


Childproofing your home for a child with autism may require extra effort and consideration, but the benefits of providing a safe and secure environment are immeasurable. By childproofing your home for autism through security measures, addressing potential hazards, and adapting your home to meet your child’s unique needs, you can create a space where they can grow, learn, and thrive. Remember to involve your child in the process, communicate with them regularly about safety, and seek support from professionals when needed. Together, you can build a home that is both comfortable and safe for your entire family.


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

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Co-Occurring Conditions with Autism

Understanding Co-Occurring Conditions with Autism: A Guide for Parents

As a parent of a child with autism spectrum disorder, you may already be aware that your child’s condition is not an isolated one. While autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex neurodevelopmental condition that affects communication, social interaction, and behavior, it often co-occurs with other medical and mental health conditions. In fact, research shows that up to 70 percent of people with ASD have at least one co-occurring condition.


It can be overwhelming to navigate all of the potential issues that come with co-occurring conditions, but understanding them can help you provide better care for your child. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the most common co-occurring conditions with autism spectrum disorder and how they may impact your child’s development and daily life.

What are co-occurring or comorbid conditions?

Co-occurring conditions are medical or mental health issues that occur alongside autism. They can range from physical issues such as digestive problems to psychological ones like anxiety and depression. Co-occurring conditions can present differently in each person, and may also change over time. It’s important to be aware of the potential for comorbid conditions and to keep an eye out for any changes in your child’s behavior or health.

Common Co-Occurring Conditions with Autism spectrum disorder

There are four categories of co-occurring conditions that are commonly seen in children with autism spectrum disorder: medical, developmental delays, psychological and genetic disorders. Here’s an overview of the most common issues within each category.

Medical Conditions

Common autism medical comorbidities that present itself with autism include:

  • Sleep disorders: Poor sleep is often more common in children with autism spectrum disorder and can affect their day-to-day functioning. Common problems include difficulty falling asleep and sleep disturbances.
  • Gastrointestinal (GI) issues: A variety of GI issues, such as chronic constipation, diarrhea, and abdominal pain may be present in those with autism.
  • Seizures or epilepsy: Epilepsy or other seizure disorders are more common in children with autism than those without.
  • Allergies: Allergic issues, such as asthma and sensitivities to certain foods, may be present among individuals with autism.
  • Tourette syndrome: Tourette syndrome is a neurological disorder characterized by involuntary motor and vocal tics.

Developmental Conditions

Some developmental delays that are commonly co-occurring with autism include:

  • Intellectual disabilities: Approximately one-third of individuals with autism also have an intellectual disability.
  • Speech and language delays: Delays in speech and language development are common for children with autism, though these may improve over time with treatment.
  • Sensory processing issues: Children with autism often experience sensory sensitivities or difficulties that can affect their ability to interact with the world around them.
  • Fine motor skills and gross motor skills delay: Motor skill delays, such as difficulty with balance and coordination, can be present in those with autism.

Psychological Conditions

Some of the most common psychological conditions seen with autism include:

  • Anxiety: Anxiety is often present in those with autism, and can be linked to difficulty interpreting social cues or other issues related to their disorder. Other Anxiety disorders such as social anxiety fall under this category.
  • Depression: Children with autism may also experience depression due to challenges they face in life or difficulty interacting with others.
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): ADHD is a neurological disorder characterized by hyperactivity, impulsivity and inattentiveness that may be seen alongside autism.
  • OCD: Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a type of anxiety disorder that can present in those with autism.
  • Bipolar disorder: Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterized by extreme shifts in mood and energy that can be seen in those with autism.

Genetic disorders

There are certain genetic disorders that may be more common among those with autism, including:

  • Fragile X syndrome: Fragile X syndrome is an inherited condition caused by a mutation of  the FMR1 gene and is seen in approximately 5-10% of those with autism.
  • Tuberous sclerosis: Tuberous sclerosis is a genetic disorder characterized by the growth of noncancerous tumors in various parts of the body that may co-occur with autism.
  • Angelman syndrome: Angelman syndrome is a rare neurological condition caused by a mutation in the UBE3A gene that may present with autism.
  • Down syndrome: Down syndrome is a chromosomal disorder caused by an extra copy of the 21st chromosome that may be seen in those with autism.

It’s important to be aware of these comorbid conditions and to keep an eye out for any changes in a child’s behavior or health. If you have concerns, it’s always best to speak with a health care provider. With early intervention and treatment, many of these conditions can be managed effectively.

How does co-occurring conditions make diagnosing a child with autism more difficult?

Co-occurring conditions can make it more difficult to accurately diagnose a child with autism spectrum disorder, as some of the symptoms of these conditions may overlap with those of autism. This is why it’s important for healthcare providers to thoroughly assess the individual and ask questions about their medical history in order to arrive at an accurate diagnosis.


Additionally, some co-occurring conditions may need their own treatment plan in order to manage them effectively, which can be an additional challenge for families.  It is important to seek help from experienced healthcare providers who are familiar with autism and the other conditions that may be present. With early intervention and proper care, many of these conditions can be managed successfully.

How do co-occurring conditions affect the quality of life and independence of a child with autism?

Co-occurring conditions can have an impact on the quality of life and independence of a child with autism spectrum disorder, as they may need extra support in order to manage their symptoms. For example, if a child has difficulty processing social cues due to their autism, they may also have difficulty regulating their emotions if they suffer from anxiety or depression. This can make it difficult for them to interact with others and achieve independence.


Additionally, some children with autism may require extra support in order to manage physical difficulties such as motor skill delays or sensory processing issues. With the right treatment plan and support, however, many children with autism are able to find their own way to independence and lead fulfilling lives.

How can parents of a child with autism and co-occurring conditions provide the best support?

Parents of a child with autism spectrum disorder and co-occurring conditions can provide the best support by taking an active role in their child’s care. This includes staying up to date on the latest research about autism and co-occurring conditions, learning about different treatment options and working with healthcare providers to create an individualized treatment plan for their child. Additionally, parents can provide emotional support by being understanding of their child’s needs and encouraging them in whatever activities or interests they may have. By being involved in their child’s care, parents can ensure that their child receives the best support possible to help them reach their full potential. 


Co-occurring conditions with autism can present unique challenges for parents and caregivers of children with autism spectrum disorder. It’s important to be aware of these potential issues and work with healthcare providers to provide comprehensive care for your child. While each child’s needs may be different, taking a proactive approach to addressing co-occurring conditions can help improve your child’s quality of life and overall well-being.



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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Schizophrenia vs Autism

Schizophrenia and autism are two complex neurological disorders that can often be confused due to their shared symptoms. However, it is important for parents of children with autism to understand the differences between the two and the unique challenges each presents. In this article, we will discuss the symptoms, causes, treatments, and differences between schizophrenia and autism, and whether it is possible to prevent someone with autism from developing schizophrenia.

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a developmental disorder that is characterized by difficulties in communication, social interaction, and behavior. Although it is a spectrum disorder, individuals with autism often exhibit impairments in three main areas: 

Symptoms of autism can vary greatly from person to person, but some common indicators include delayed speech and language development, difficulty making eye contact or reading body language, repetitive movements or behaviors (such as hand flapping or rocking), and difficulty adapting to changes in routine or schedule. While the symptoms of autism can cause challenges in daily life, early intervention with therapies such as behavior, speech, and occupational therapy can help children improve their skills and lead fulfilling lives.

What is Schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is a chronic mental disorder that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves. It is often characterized by a range of symptoms that can be divided into three main categories: 

  • positive symptoms (such as delusions and hallucinations)
  • negative symptoms (such as a lack of motivation or an inability to show emotion)
  • cognitive symptoms (such as difficulty with memory or attention).

Positive symptoms of schizophrenia include hallucinations, delusions, and disorganized speech or behavior. Negative symptoms include a lack of motivation, social withdrawal, and difficulty expressing emotions. Cognitive symptoms of schizophrenia can include difficulties with memory, attention, and decision-making. While there is no known cure for schizophrenia, it can be effectively treated with a combination of medication, therapy, and support services.

How are Schizophrenia and Autism Similar?

Although schizophrenia and autism are distinct disorders with different causes, symptoms, and treatments, there are some similarities between the two. Both disorders can cause social withdrawal, difficulties with communication, and challenges in daily life. It is important to note, however, that the specifics of these shared symptoms can differ greatly between the two disorders.

Individuals with both schizophrenia and autism may struggle with sensory processing issues, which can lead to difficulties with processing sensory input such as light, sound, and touch. Additionally, individuals with both conditions may struggle with changes in routine and may resist transitions or new situations. However, the underlying causes of these issues are different between the two disorders.

How Are Schizophrenia and Autism Different?

While there are some similarities between schizophrenia and autism, the two disorders have distinct differences in their symptoms, causes, and treatments.

One major difference between the two disorders is the age of onset. Autism is typically diagnosed in early childhood, while schizophrenia often appears in late adolescence or early adulthood. Additionally, while the symptoms of autism can be relatively constant over time, the symptoms of schizophrenia can fluctuate and worsen over time.

Another key difference between the two disorders is the presence of positive symptoms such as delusions and hallucinations in schizophrenia. These symptoms are not present in autism, which is characterized more by social communication and interaction difficulties. Additionally, while individuals with autism may have difficulty with self-expression, those with schizophrenia may experience disorganized speech patterns and thinking.


Symptom ASD Schizophrenia
exaggerated speech
incoherent speech
talking to oneself
repetitive body movements
lack of body movements
repetitive behaviors
sensory sensitivities



Treatments for the two conditions also differ. While both conditions may benefit from medication and therapy, the specific medications used and the types of therapy recommended may differ between the two. 

Medications such as antipsychotics are often used to treat schizophrenia, while medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) may be prescribed for individuals with autism to improve mood and reduce anxiety. Therapy approaches such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), applied behavior analysis (ABA)  and social skills training may be beneficial for those with schizophrenia and autism, respectively.

Can Autism Lead to Schizophrenia?

Although there is no conclusive evidence to suggest that autism can directly lead to schizophrenia, there are some studies that suggest that individuals with ASD may be at a higher risk of developing schizophrenia later in life. One study from Denmark found that people diagnosed with ASD were more than twice as likely to develop schizophrenia as those without ASD. Another study from the UK found that individuals with ASD were seven times more likely to develop schizophrenia than the general population.

While more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between autism and schizophrenia, it is important for parents of children with autism to be aware of the potential risk and to seek professional support and intervention if they suspect their child may be at risk for developing schizophrenia.

Preventing Schizophrenia in Individuals with Autism

While it is not currently possible to prevent someone with autism from developing schizophrenia, early intervention and treatment can help to minimize the risk and improve outcomes for individuals with both autism and schizophrenia. Early intervention may include the use of medications, therapies, and other interventions to address symptoms as soon as they arise.

Additionally, providing a supportive home environment with strategies such as positive reinforcement and promoting healthy habits like regular exercise and good nutrition can help to reduce stress levels and promote overall mental health in individuals with ASD.


By understanding the differences between schizophrenia and autism, as well as the potential risks of developing schizophrenia in individuals with autism, parents and professionals can work together to create individualized treatment plans that are designed to meet the unique needs of each person with either disorder. With early intervention, support, and treatment, it is possible for those with both schizophrenia and autism to live a fulfilling and successful life.


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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Equestrian Therapy: A Promising Treatment for Autism

Equestrian Therapy: A Promising Treatment for Autism

More and more people are becoming interested in alternative therapies for various health conditions, and the field of autism is no different. One such therapy that is gaining popularity in recent years is equestrian therapy, also known as equine-assisted therapy or horse therapy.

Equine therapy is a form of therapy that involves interacting with horses to improve physical, emotional, and cognitive abilities. This therapy has been found to be particularly beneficial for individuals with autism, helping them to develop better communication, socialization, and physical skills. In this article, we will explore the ins and outs of equine-assisted therapy and how it can improve the lives of individuals with autism.

What is Equestrian Therapy?

Equine assisted therapy is a type of therapy that utilizes horses to help individuals improve their physical, emotional, and behavioral functioning. The therapy is a collaborative effort between a certified therapist, a horse handler, and the horse. The therapy is designed to provide individuals with autism a safe, controlled opportunity to interact with horses in a way that is both therapeutic and educational.

The theory behind the effectiveness of equestrian therapy is based on the unique nature of horses. Horses are incredibly sensitive and aware of their surroundings, making them excellent partners for individuals with autism. Additionally, horses don’t communicate verbally and often use non-verbal cues and body language. This is an essential aspect for individuals with autism, as they may struggle with language and communication.

What is Equine therapy used for?

Equine therapy can be used for a variety of purposes, depending on the individual’s needs such as addiction, depression, and anxiety. Equine therapy has also been found to be beneficial for individuals with autism, helping them to develop better communication, socialization, and physical skills. Through horseback riding, grooming horses, or simply spending time in nature with a horse, individuals can learn to communicate more effectively with others and build trust.

Equine Therapy for a child with autism spectrum disorder

Equine therapy has been found to have positive effects on children with autism spectrum disorder. The horse activities are designed to teach individuals to control their emotions, accept responsibility for their actions, and learn how to trust others. The activities are designed to be safe and controlled so that individuals can interact with the horse without feeling overwhelmed or scared.

An emotional bond is often formed between the individual and the horse, which can help to improve self-esteem and confidence. Additionally, these activities promote positive social behaviors by helping individuals learn how to interact with others in a healthy way.

The physical benefits of equine therapy are also significant for those with autism spectrum disorder. Horseback riding helps children with autism develop balance, coordination, and core strength. Additionally, interacting with horses can provide a calming effect that helps to reduce anxiety. It is also a form of physical exercise.

What Does a Typical Equine assisted therapy Session Look Like?

A typical equine-assisted therapy session for someone with autism may involve grooming the horse, leading the horse, or even riding the horse. During the therapy sessions, a therapist will closely monitor and guide the horse, ensuring the individual with autism is properly supported and feels safe. The horse handler will ensure that the horse is responsive and healthy, while the therapist will structure the activities for the therapy session.

The therapy session may also involve tasks or games that are aimed at improving particular skills. For example, a session may involve a game where the individual with autism must guide the horse through obstacles, with the therapist providing guidance and support. Such obstacles may include cones, jumps, or other small obstacles and may help improve coordination, attention, and problem-solving skills.

The Goals of Equestrian Therapy

The primary objective of equine therapy is to help individuals reach specific developmental goals, such as improving communication, socialization, physical development, and behavior. These goals can vary from person to person and can be customized according to the individual’s needs, strengths, and interests.

Horse therapy takes a holistic approach to therapy and aims to improve physical, cognitive, and emotional functioning by using the interaction with horses as a therapeutic tool. Moreover, equine assisted therapy has been found beneficial in helping individuals with autism to learn responsibility, empathy, learning how to work with others, and develop leadership qualities.

Benefits of Equestrian Therapy for Individuals with Autism

Equine assisted therapy has been found to provide numerous benefits for individuals with autism.

  1. Social Skills: Oftentimes, children with autism struggle to interact socially and form meaningful relationships. Equine therapy provides a safe, controlled environment that encourages the individual to practice their social skills in an engaging and natural way. This can them to become more comfortable in social settings and foster better skills overall.
  2. Physical Development: The physical activities involved in equine therapy can help children with autism to improve their motor skills and coordination. Additionally, riding a horse helps to strengthen the core muscles and increase posture, balance, and agility.
  3. Cognitive Development: Equine assisted therapy has also been found to help improve cognitive functioning in individuals with autism. Tasks such as obstacle training can provide great opportunities for problem-solving, decision-making, and even creativity.
  4. Overall well-being: Equine assisted therapy also provides numerous benefits to the overall well-being of children with autism. It has been found to help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression while promoting relaxation and improving self-esteem.
  5. sense of purpose: While interacting with horses, individuals with autism are able to find a sense of purpose and meaning. They can form meaningful connections with the horse while working towards achieving specific goals. This often provides them with a sense of accomplishment that in turn boosts their self confidence.
  6. Emotional regulation : Emotional regulation is very difficult for children with autism. Equine assisted therapy can help these children to develop better awareness of their own emotions and feelings. This can be done through activities such as grooming the horse, which encourages the individual to become more in touch with themselves and find strategies for managing difficult emotions.
  7. Adaptability: Horse therapy also encourages individuals with autism to become more adaptable and flexible. This is because horses are very sensitive animals and require a patient, consistent approach in order for them to respond positively. For these reasons, equine therapy has been found to be an effective form of treatment for individuals with autism, providing numerous mental and physical benefits.
  8. Distress tolerance: Equine therapy can also help individuals with autism to manage distress and build tolerance for difficult or uncomfortable emotions. This is because the horse provides a safe, non-judgmental environment in which the individual can learn how to regulate their emotions without fear of criticism.
  9. Social awareness and relationships: Through the activities involved in Equine assisted therapy, individuals with autism can learn to identify and understand social communication and cues and form better relationships with. Furthermore, interacting with horses empathy and how to intuit another being’s needs.
  10. Self awareness: Equine assisted therapy also has been found to help children with autism gain self-awareness and insight into their own emotions. This can be done through activities such as grooming, which allow the individual to observe their own feelings while in the presence of a calm animal.

Overall, riding horses has been found to be an effective form of treatment for many individuals with autism. Through this type of therapy, they can gain countless benefits in terms of social skills, physical development, cognitive functioning, overall well-being, sense of purpose, emotional awareness and distress tolerance. This can ultimately lead to improved functioning and quality of life for those with autism. Review: In conclusion, equine therapy has been found to be beneficial in helping individuals

Who can give Equestrian therapy?

Riding instructors, physical therapists, occupational therapists, and psychologists are some of the professionals who may provide equine assisted therapy. The therapist should be knowledgeable about autism in order to create an individualized plan according to the person’s needs, strengths and interests. Some states also require that practitioners have a specific license or certification for working with horses in therapeutic settings.

Equine assisted therapy for mental health treatment

Riding horses can also be beneficial for individuals with mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, PTSD and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Interacting with animals has been found to have calming effects on the nervous system, which can help reduce stress levels and improve overall well-being. Additionally, equine assisted therapy can help individuals identify their emotions, better manage difficult emotions and develop

Research on Equestrian Therapy

Research has shown that Equine assisted therapy has a significant impact on improving the quality of life for individuals with autism. In one study, researchers found that horseback riding led to improvements in behavioral, emotional, and social skills in children with autism. Another study found that horseback riding improved motor and cognitive processing skills in children with autism.

Studies have also shown that equine therapy can help children with autism develop better communication skills. In one study, researchers found that children with autism who participated in equine assisted therapy showed significant improvement in communication and socialization skills over a six-month period.


Equine therapy has many potential benefits for individuals with autism. There is growing evidence that it can help improve physical, cognitive, and emotional functioning in individuals with autism. Additionally, equine therapy can help reduce anxiety and other behavioral challenges commonly found in those with autism. Finally, it can also help individuals with autism develop positive relationships with horses. Clearly, equine assisted therapy should be supervised by experienced professionals and tailored according to the individual’s needs and goals. With proper guidance, equestrian therapy can be an incredibly helpful tool for individuals with autism to improve their quality of life.

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shy child
Social anxiety vs autism

Social anxiety disorder and autism spectrum disorder are two of the most common mental health issues. While they have a number of similarities and overlap in symptoms, such as social difficulties, they are distinct conditions with different diagnostic criteria. Understanding the similarities and differences between social anxiety disorder and autism can help individuals better understand their own experiences and seek the support they need.

What is Social Anxiety Disorder?

Social anxiety disorder (SAD), also known as social phobia, is a mental health condition characterized by intense fear or anxiety in social situations. People with social anxiety disorder often experience physical symptoms such as sweating, trembling, and rapid heartbeat when they are partaking in social interactions. They may fear being judged or evaluated negatively by others and may avoid social situations altogether.

What is Autism Spectrum Disorder?

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that affects social communication, social interaction, and behavior. It is typically diagnosed in early childhood and is characterized by difficulties in social cues, repetitive behaviors, developmental delays, and restricted interests. Individuals with autism may have difficulty in social settings, expressing emotions, interpreting nonverbal cues, and may have trouble with maintaining eye contact.

Nonverbal communication is also often affected in people with autism, as well as language development. People with ASD may have difficulty understanding jokes or subtle expressions and may take things too literally.

Social Anxiety vs Autism

Both autism and social anxiety disorder share a number of symptoms and challenges. For instance, both conditions can be characterized by difficulty with social interactions and a tendency to avoid social settings.


Individuals with social anxiety disorder and autism may also have physical symptoms like increased sweating, rapid heartbeat, and trembling when faced with social situations. Both groups may also struggle with activities or situations that are perceived as unpredictable or unfamiliar. Consequently, this can lead to restrictive behaviors and inflexibility in their routines.


Another commonality between autism and social anxiety disorder is the heightened sensitivity to outside stimulations like noise, touch, or light. This hyper-sensitivity can lead to sensory overload and anxiety, making it difficult to remain focused in social situations or/and noisy environments.


Differences Between Social Anxiety Disorder and Autism

While there are similarities between social anxiety disorder and autism, there are also distinct differences.


One of the key differences between autism and social anxiety disorder is that social anxiety is a mental health disorder while autism is a developmental disorder. Autism can involve challenges in areas beyond social interaction, such as restrictive behaviors and repetitive movements.


Children with autism may also have more trouble with communication than people with social anxiety disorder. They may struggle with understanding and using nonverbal cues like body language, facial expressions, and tone. People with social anxiety, on the other hand, may be more adept at reading nonverbal cues, but can be hyper-focused on negative feedback and critical evaluation from social situations.


Another differentiating factor is that social anxiety disorder may only occur in particular social contexts, while autism is pervasive throughout various areas of life, including communication, behavior, and social skills. People with social anxiety disorder feel anxious or apprehensive when in social situations, but may not experience the same level of anxiety when engaging in solitary activities. Conversely, individuals with autism may experience communication difficulties and restrictive behaviors in all situations and across various environments.

Conditions that may overlap with Autism and Social Anxiety

There are other conditions, such as mental disorders, that may overlap with autism and social anxiety disorder, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), and major depressive disorder. Additionally, people with autism are more likely to experience comorbid anxiety disorders, including social anxiety disorder.

How to Differentiate Social Anxiety Disorder and Autism

While there are similarities between these conditions, clinicians are trained to evaluate, differentiate, and diagnose social anxiety and autism based on specific diagnostic criteria.


Generally, an individual with social anxiety has poor social skills in other contexts, but becomes socially anxious and uncomfortable when interacting with new people or in a specific type of social situation. Whereas, autistic individuals will have prolonged and pervasive difficulties with communication, behavior, and social interaction across multiple contexts.


To diagnose social anxiety disorder, clinicians will look for evidence that the patient is experiencing marked fear or anxiety in one or more social interactions. To diagnose autism, clinicians will examine communication and social skills, as well as behaviors and interests.

Treatment Options

Here are some ways to treat social anxiety disorder and autism:


Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a specific type of psychotherapy that can help individuals with social anxiety and some aspects of autism. CBT is a short-term treatment that focuses on identifying and changing negative patterns and beliefs.


You can find a psychotherapist through referrals from your primary care provider, or by researching local mental health providers. Your child’s school or therapist may also have some recommendations


ABA therapy

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a type of therapy that focuses on changing behaviors through positive reinforcement and other behavioral strategies. ABA can help individuals with autism manage symptoms, such as restrictive interests or repetitive behavior. It can also help children with autism develop social skills to use in different settings.


Various medications can be useful in managing social anxiety, including anti-anxiety drugs and antidepressants. However, medication for autism is generally reserved for comorbid conditions, as there is no medication that “cures” autistic symptoms.

Support groups

People with social anxiety and autism can benefit from support groups where they can meet others who share their experiences. Support groups provide a safe space where people can share their thoughts and feelings.


You can find a support group in your area through local organizations, psychiatric hospitals, and mental health organizations.

Resources for Support

If you or someone you know is struggling with social anxiety and/or autism, there are a variety of resources available to provide support. Support groups and online resources can be very helpful in offering advice and providing a listening ear. Additionally, there are numerous organizations dedicated to helping people with social anxiety and autism.


Social anxiety and autism share several common characteristics, yet they each have their own unique qualities that make them distinct from one another. It is important to recognize that both conditions can be managed with the help of a qualified healthcare professional or support group. It is also important to remember that individual experiences will vary and resources are available if needed. With an accurate diagnosis, medication, psychotherapy, and/or other forms of support, individuals living with social anxiety and autism can lead happy and fulfilling lives.


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Normal Toddler Behavior vs Autism

According to the Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network, approximately 1 in 54 children in the United States has Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Autism is a broad term that describes a range of conditions that affect a child’s social, behavioral, and communication skills. While the symptoms of autism can vary widely, early diagnosis and therapy are crucial in helping children with autism reach their full potential.


As a parent, it can be challenging to distinguish normal toddler behavior from symptoms of autism. Many typical toddler behaviors are similar in children with and without autism. However, there are specific behaviors and developmental milestones that are delayed in children with autism. This article aims to explore the developmental differences between typical toddler behavior and symptoms of autism, equipping parents to better detect early warning signs of autism.


Why are developmental milestones important?

Developmental milestones are important because they provide a guideline for tracking a child’s progress in terms of physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development. Delays in achieving developmental milestones can be an early warning sign of autism or other developmental disorders. It is essential for parents to familiarize themselves with the typical timeline for each developmental milestone so that any delays can be quickly identified. Early detection and intervention are key to helping children with autism reach their full potential.

What are the differences between typical toddler behavior and symptoms of autism?

Typical toddler behavior may include delayed speech development, sensory issues, and difficulty transitioning from one activity to another. Children with autism often demonstrate similar behaviors but to a much more pronounced degree. They may demonstrate extreme difficulty in developing speech and language skills, an inability to make eye contact or respond to their name when called, repetitive behaviors such as rocking or spinning objects, and hypersensitivity or hyposensitivity to various sensations. 


Additionally, children with autism often show signs of impaired social interaction and communication. These can manifest as difficulty making friends, engaging in conversations, or understanding social cues.


In conclusion, it is important for parents to be aware of the typical timeline for milestones and to take note of any developmental delays or difficulties their child may be having. While these behaviors may be indicative of a wide range of conditions, they could also be warning signs of autism. 


If you have concerns or have noticed any delays in your child’s development, it is important to consult with your pediatrician or a qualified professional for further evaluation. Early diagnosis and intervention can make a world of difference for children with autism.

Normal Toddler behavior versus autism

Typical Child’s Development

Many children develop and grow rapidly during the first few years of life. They learn new skills and abilities through exploration and interaction with their environment. The following four categories are the most critical areas of toddler development: speech, social communication, play, and motor skills.


Speech development begins with cooing and babbling in the first few months of life. By six months, a baby can recognize familiar voices and can differentiate between different sounds. At around nine months, infants can utter simple words like “mama” and “dada” and understand simple commands. They start putting two or more words together at the age of 2, and their speech becomes more complex as they grow older.


Social interaction is another critical aspect of early childhood development. Young children need interactions with their parents, siblings, and peers to develop their social skills. They learn how to empathize and understand others’ emotions through play and socialization. As early as 18 months, toddlers start to play with other children and show interest in making friends. They can also recognize familiar faces and respond to social cues, such as smiling or waving.


Play is an essential aspect of toddler development that helps them learn new things, develop their cognitive and creative abilities, and improve their social skills. Toddlers love to play with toys, explore their surroundings, and engage in imaginative play. They may become increasingly interested in certain objects or themes, such as toy cars or animals.


Motor skills development is also a key area of toddler behavior. They learn how to sit, crawl, walk, run, jump, and climb during their first few years of life. They use their motor skills in everyday activities like playing with toys, dressing up, and eating.


Overall, typical toddler development involves fast and exciting changes. Toddlers reach various milestones at different stages during this period, and the range of development is vast. Many children develop faster or slower than their peers, and it is essential not to compare a child’s development with that of others. Instead, parents should focus on their child’s progress and provide opportunities for growth and development.

Areas where children with autism spectrum disorder are delayed

While there’s a broad range of what’s considered typical toddler development, children with autism spectrum disorder often experience delays in certain areas of development. Some of these areas include:


  1. Speech development – As we’ve mentioned, children with autism can have difficulties developing speech. Communication may be difficult or delayed, and children may have trouble understanding language or showing interest in communicating with others.
  2. Social skills – Social interactions can be particularly challenging for children with autism. They may struggle to initiate social encounters, read facial expressions and gestures, or understand how to engage in conversations.
  3. Motor development- Children with autism may also experience delays in their motor development. Activities like walking, running, throwing, and kicking can take longer for children with autism to master than their peers. Of course, they may also struggle with fine motor skills in everyday activities like playing with toys, dressing up, and eating.
  4. Cognitive development – Children with autism may have difficulty understanding abstract concepts or problem-solving tasks. It can take longer for them to develop the same abilities as other children of the same age.

Early Signs of Autism

Although there are various symptoms of autism, there is a cluster of behaviors identified in Autism Spectrum Disorder.

  • Lack of eye contact

Children with autism may have difficulty making eye contact, avoiding eye contact, or have difficulty maintaining eye contact as usual.

  • Delayed speech or language development

Autism can cause difficulties in speech and language development. A child with autism might use fewer words or have trouble communicating or becoming verbose or repetitive in their speech. They may also have difficulty speaking in complete and complex sentences.

  • Difficulty with imaginative play

Toddlers with autism may not engage in imaginative play or mimicking activities that other children of their age enjoy. They may not engage in pretend play or find it difficult to pretend, fantasize, or engage with make-believe toys.

  • Repetitive movements

Repetitive behavior like flapping or rocking is also common in children with autism. They may repeat words or phrases, or repeatedly speckle items.

  • Difficulty with social interaction

Children with autism may have difficulty picking up social cues, initiating social interactions with others, or sharing toys or aspects of self.


The challenges that children with autism face can make it difficult for them to integrate socially, academically, or physically. They may need significant support to overcome these challenges, making early diagnosis and intervention crucial.


It’s important to note that children with autism may also exhibit some typical toddler behaviors, such as enjoying the company of other children, laughing, and playing with toys. Autism presents itself differently in every child, and recognizing the early warning signs early can be tricky.

behavioral challenges in children with autism

In addition to delays in a child’s development skills, children with autism spectrum disorder may also display challenging behaviors which can have an impact on their social functioning, learning, and daily living. These may include:

  1. Tantrums – Children with autism may experience intense temper tantrums or meltdowns when faced with changes in routine or difficult situations. They may respond to frustration with aggression, biting, or hitting.
  2. Inappropriate behavior – Children with autism may demonstrate inappropriate behaviors like public displays of affection, verbal outbursts, and refusal to follow instructions.
  3. Self-injury – Some children with autism may also exhibit self-injurious behaviors, such as head banging, biting themselves, and scratching.
  4. Hyperactivity – Autism can also cause hyperactivity in children that make it difficult to focus or engage in activities over longer periods of time.
  5. Sensory sensitivities – Children with autism may be highly sensitive to loud noises, bright lights, certain textures, tastes, and smells. This can make it difficult for them to participate and engage in activities with other children.
  6. social communication- Children with autism may find it difficult to interact with peers and adults. They often have difficulty understanding body language, tone of voice, and facial expressions. They may also find it difficult to initiate conversations with other children of the same age.

How ABA therapy helps children with autism

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy is a widely accepted and effective method of intervention for children with autism. ABA therapists use positive reinforcement techniques to help children learn how to communicate effectively, interact with others, and engage in activities that they may otherwise find difficult or impossible. It can also help them develop problem-solving skills, improve their behavior, and enhance their quality of life.


ABA therapy is tailored to an individual’s specific needs and goals, and can take place in a variety of settings including the home, school, or clinic. It also provides an opportunity for family involvement by teaching parents how to work with their child to establish positive behaviors. 


With early identification, intervention, and ongoing support, children with autism can grow to reach their full potential. ABA therapy is an important part of that journey. By working with a therapist to identify positive behaviors and rewarding them for those behaviors, children with autism can learn new skills and be successful in the classroom, at home, and in their community.  As a result, they can lead fulfilling and meaningful lives.


Having a child diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder can be overwhelming; however, early intervention is essential in providing the best possible outcome for them and their families. There are many resources available to support children and parents living with autism, including therapies and social programs to help children reach their full potential. With proper care and guidance, all children can thrive in life no matter where they fall on the autism spectrum.


By understanding what to look for and getting an early diagnosis, parents can help their children with autism lead happy, fulfilling lives. If you have any further questions or concerns about your child’s development, please reach out to a medical professional. For more information on autism, and to start ABA therapy click here.



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weighted blanket
Weighted Blankets for Autism

A weighted blanket is a sensory tool that is used to help calm or comfort children with autism, in addition to reducing sleep problems and anxiety. Let’s dive in to learn more about the benefits of weighted blankets and how to choose one for your autistic child.

What Are Weighted Blankets?

A weighted or gravity blanket contains an evenly distributed weight that makes it heavier than a regular blanket. The pressure from the extra weight has similar effects to that of a therapeutic technique known as deep pressure stimulation (DPS) and provides a sense of relaxation and security.

How much do they weigh?

Weighted blankets can weigh anywhere from 5 pounds for children to 30 pounds for adults. The general rule, you should choose a blanket that is approximately 10% of your body weight.

How do they work?

Weighted blankets apply gentle pressure on your body, which increases the amount of dopamine and serotonin in the brain. These “feel good” chemicals help relax the nervous system, increasing the feeling of calm and well-being.


Read on to find out how weighted blankets can benefit children with autism spectrum disorder.

Are Weighted Blankets Good for Children with Autism?

Many children with autism struggle with sensory issues and experience difficulties when it comes to tactile sensory input. Signs of tactile sensitivity in your child may include:


  • Withdrawing from touch
  • Refusing to wear clothing made of certain fabrics
  • Eating only foods with certain textures, for example, smooth and pureed foods
  • Avoiding getting their hands dirty
  • Touching things only with fingertips in order to minimize contact.


The deep pressure that weighted blankets provide has a calming effect on the nervous system in children who are sensitive to touch, while at the same time, they fulfill the children’s sensory needs.


Furthermore, sensory and other issues can create anxiety and sleep problems in children on the spectrum. Deep pressure touch has been shown to stimulate the release of serotonin, which may help your child sleep more soundly. Weighted blankets are thought to improve both the ability to fall asleep, sleep throughout the night, relax during the day, and the ease of waking up. 

Are Weighted Blankets Effective?

Studies that focus on the effects of weighted blankets on sleep and anxiety in children with autism are limited. Most researchers rely on the results of a study from 1999 that explores the benefits of deep pressure stimulation using Temple Grandin’s Hug Machine


Although more research is needed, results have so far indicated that weighted blankets are beneficial for:


  • Reducing overall anxiety
  • Decreasing the amount of stress hormones in the body
  • Improving sleep quality
  • Creating calming effect on the nervous system
  • Lowering sensitivity to touch
  • Improving focus
  • Producing a sense of calm that can last for up to several hours
  • Increasing the feeling of security
  • Reducing meltdowns due to sensory overload
  • Decreasing self-injurious behavior
  • Enhancing social interactions.


Here’s how you can know your child is ready to use a weighted blanket.

Signs That Your Child with Autism Will Enjoy a Weighted Blanket

There are a few signs that may suggest your child will benefit from using a weighted blanket. You may want to consider using a weighted blanket if your child: 


  • Seeks out deep pressure or enjoys being hugged tightly
  • Enjoys contact, for example, cuddling with a pet
  • Struggles with sleep
  • Has trouble staying calm
  • Experiences sensitivities to touch or certain textures
  • Likes to use multiple blankets at the same time
  • Prefers to wear heavy clothes or layers.


Now that we have seen what weighted blankets are and how they can benefit your child, let’s discuss what you need to keep in mind before you purchase one.

How to Use Weighted Blankets

When buying a weighted blanket, it is essential to take into account the following factors:


  • The blanket should be roughly 10% of your child’s weight, plus an additional 1-2 lbs.
  • Your child should be able to remove the blanket without assistance.
  • A blanket used for sleeping should cover the child’s feet, legs, and abdomen for maximum comfort. For daytime use, you can opt for a smaller blanket. 
  • Make sure to take into account the size of your child’s bed and accommodate for growth.
  • Children are more likely to use a weighted blanket if it features a design they like. Ask for your child’s opinion and go for their preferred colors and patterns.


Depending on your child’s sensitivity, it is also important to consider the kind of textures they may be reactive to. For example, the waterproof material of some weighted blankets may be triggering to a child with autism. In this case, you can use a removable cover made of a fabric that fits your child’s sensory needs.


Finally, as with any new sensory tool, it’s crucial to monitor your child’s response to the weighted blanket and make adjustments if necessary. A healthcare professional can help you determine what type of blanket is the most suitable for your child.

Who should not use a weighted blanket?

Each child’s sensory needs are unique, and not everyone will benefit from using a weighted blanket. You should always consult with your child’s healthcare provider and consider your child’s specific needs before introducing a weighted blanket. 


Furthermore, you should not use a weighted blanket if your child experiences one of the following:

  • Respiratory problems, such as asthma
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Low blood pressure
  • Diabetes
  • Claustrophobia


You should also avoid using a weighted blanket in very young children, as it may increase the chances of suffocation. 

The best weighted blankets for children

Weighted blankets come in a variety of fabrics, colors, and sizes. They can be filled with micro glass beads, plastic pellets, and other materials that help apply consistent pressure to the body. Most are made of soft materials, such as cotton, mink, chenille, or fleece, for additional comfort. Blankets made of antimicrobial, waterproof, and cooling fabrics are also available.


Here’s our pick of the best weighted blankets for children with autism.

Mosaic Weighted Blankets

Mosaic carries a full line of weighted blankets for all ages, from toddlers to teens and young adults. They come in a range of fun patterns, colors, sizes, and materials. Prices start at around $80.

Gravity Weighted Blankets

Gravity offers several different types of weighted blankets, including flannel, chunky knit, and travel blankets. All blankets are machine washable. Prices start at around $195.

SensaCalm Weighted Blankets

SensaCalm sells premade as well as custom weighted blankets filled with hypoallergenic, non-toxic glass beads. The collection includes an all-weather weighted blanket featuring super soft fleece on one side for the winter months. Prices start from $100.

Harkla Weighted Blankets

Harkla carries soft weighted blankets and lap pads designed specifically for children with autism and sensory issues. Blankets are made of soft minky fabric and are available in several different colors. Removable covers make them easy to wash. Prices start at $85.

In Summary

Weighted blankets are a great sensory tool for children on the autism spectrum. The deep pressure sensation provided by the blanket can help promote relaxation, improve sleep, and reduce anxiety. With careful consideration, a weighted blanket may be beneficial for promoting sensory regulation and improving the overall well-being of your child with autism.

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