Challenging Behaviors and Appropriate Skills in ABA Explained

As I mentioned in my previous blog, there are thousands of published research studies to support the effectiveness of ABA in treating autism and Aspergers. Specifically, ABA seeks to decrease challenging behaviors and increase appropriate skills that are seen in many individuals with autism or Aspergers.

Challenging Behaviors and Appropriate Skills in ABA

To help understand what your ABA therapist seeks to accomplish, let’s cover what these terms mean:

What is Sensory Processing Disorder? Vlog with Autism Community Network

Medical Vlog with ACN

This is the first of a series of Medical vlogs on the topic of Sensory Processing. Adrienne Gaither, OTR, C-SIPT with Autism Community Network, addresses questions on this subject.

What is Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)?

Watch the rest of this medical vlog series:

Ultimate Guide: Understanding High-Functioning Autism & Aspergers Syndrome

 The following is an excerpt taken from the documentary: Coping to Excelling: Solutions for School-age Children Diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism or Aspergers SyndromeMedical reports reveal a profound discovery in the brain of those with High-Functioning Autism. Studies with MRI imaging document an actual physical difference in some areas of the autistic brain verses that of a neuro-typical brain.

Neurological pathways fire differently in Asperger patients than that of a typical brain function. It has become clear that individuals who are diagnosed as High-Functioning Autistic or Aspergers receive their gifts and struggles from a physical medical basis not behavioral, as you may have been pressured to believe. Once we understand exactly how the challenges occur, we can begin to lead our loved ones with Aspergers on the path from coping to excelling.

How Is Autism Diagnosed? (Part One)

So, how is Autism diagnosed?

Psychological therapy

Until recently, autism spectrum disorders (ASD), including Aspergers Syndrome, have been understood as a range of complex neurodevelopment disorders—characterized by social impairments, difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior.

Changes in definition have been proposed and accepted by different organizations and groups in the United States and other parts of the world. The changes have been discussed in other posts; meanwhile, I will address how autism is diagnosed.

At the present time, a single test to diagnose autism does not exist. We do know that a biological or single genetic marker has not been identified, thus, autism cannot be diagnosed with a blood test or imaging studies. It is rather a diagnosis that is primarily identified by behavioral and developmental differences.

Autism Intervention: Parent Mediated Approaches

There is a new trend in Autism intervention called: Parent Mediated Approaches. Carrie Alvarado (Occupational Therapist with the Autism Community Network) explains how this practice may benefit siblings, parent-child connections, and possibly decrease levels of parental stress or depression.

We divided this up into 3 Vlogs:

1) What are Parent Mediated Approaches?

2) Reasoning Behind the Surge of Parent Mediated Approaches 

3) The Research Supporting Parent Mediated Approaches and its benefits

The Autism Community Network is located in San Antonio, Texas with an emphasis on collaboration with autism service providers, early diagnosis, and providing services to underserved young children and their families.

This Medical Vlog series is graciously underwritten by: 

 

Should I tell my newly diagnosed child they have Aspergers Syndrome?

I get asked this question a lot at speaking engagements. Being an adult with Aspergers Syndrome, I feel that there will come a point when a parent will decide on whether they should tell their child if they have Aspergers or not. Some parents may want to hesitate on telling their child that they have Aspergers because they feel it might have negative repercussions on their child’s feelings.

Aspergers SyndromeOther parents will want to tell their child because they feel that Aspergers shouldn’t be kept a secret, and their child has the right to know about their gift.

In my opinion, I feel a parent should tell their child that they have Aspergers. My parents told me that I have Aspergers, and I wasn’t bothered one bit!

In fact, I encourage every parent who reads this to tell their child about Aspergers Syndrome, and what it is. More than likely they already know they’re ‘different,’ and knowing their diagnosis will mean they can better understand themselves.

My experience throughout the school-age years is that Aspergers is a big benefit, since I find socialization to be a hindrance to my school work – which should be the primary goal during that time. I would tell parents to think of Aspergers as a positive thing, and a gift that the whole family should cherish the remainder of their lives.

By Samuel Allen

Is Higher Education Ready to Support Students with Asperger’s? Part 3

Independent Living

In 2013, to fulfill the requirements of my doctoral degree, I surveyed disability service professionals at 578 degree-granting, four-year public institutions of higher education. The survey was designed to determine the current readiness of higher education to support the academic, social and communication, and independent living needs of college students diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder.

College Students with Asperger’s: Academic and Campus Accommodations Necessary

 

40% of the institutions surveyed (230 colleges), participated in the survey. The survey was designed around the Benchmarks of Effective Supports for College Students with Asperger’s Disorder (Ellison, Clark, Cunningham, & Hansen, 2012), a checklist of efforts determined by experts as integral to effective college supports for this student population.

The 2013 study demonstrated college students with Asperger’s Disorder required specialized supports, and that disability services available traditionally on campus to this population were generally ineffective. It explored, in part, whether or not colleges had specialized supports for this student population outside of traditional disability services.

This article is the third in a three-part series that reports the outcomes of that research. Read Part 1 and Part 2.

Announcing: “Driving with Autism” Texas Decal

Order yours today!

The Autism community is a tight-knit group. We grieve together, learn together, fight together and celebrate together…that’s just how we roll! Great strides in Texas have been made recently educating law enforcement on Autism and other communication impediment disorders. Through the Aspergers101 “Driving with Autism” initiative, Texas Trooper Recruits are being trained specifically for understanding the autistic traits they may encounter such as delayed response, coping mechanisms and nervous ticks during a typical pull-over. This coupled with the Driver License Restriction Code, Communication Impediment with a Peace Officer available directly on the Driver License or Texas ID will soon set the stage for other states to follow.

Maybe you are driving and have Autism, Aspergers or other challenges with communication and want this to be recognized, or perhaps you are a parent, relative, friend or supporter of someone who does…either way…Aspergers101 is proud to offer the official “Driving with Autism” decal for your vehicle!drivig-with-autism-decal-with-texas-2

Offered as either a magnet or vinyl decal, this full-color decal is a generous 6 inches in diameter. Best yet, all proceeds go to support the free “Driving with Autism”printed materials (brochures, posters, booklets) offered to schools, libraries and autism organizations throughout the great State of Texas. You can order here: Driving with Autism Decal

How a community designed our logo

Ever hear of the brilliant eco-artist, Grant Manier? Grant and his amazing Mom (talk about a supportive parent) Julie M Coy suggested a car decal for our “Driving with Autism” initiative. Grant got to work and offered us the artwork that established the foundation for our final product. Julie continued supporting and lending her efforts until a final design was voted on by you our readers and supporters! Overwhelming response with differing opinions and suggestions which formed our final logo! Thank you for your involvement and we at Aspergers101 will continue to work on behalf of our Autism Community…in Texas and beyond!

-Jennifer Allen/Founder Aspergers101

EPSON MFP image

by: Eco-Artist Grant Manier

Julie M Coy, Grant Manier

To see more of Grant Manier’s amazing work, go to: Artwork by Eco-Friendly Artist Grant Manier

Suspect Aspergers?

So did we, and this checklist helped

Our son has Aspergers Syndrome. However, getting the diagnosis didn’t come easy and the path to that diagnosis was rocky to say the least. That was over 10 years ago and still the following checklist we received from our school district is the best heads-up to having Aspergers Syndrome that I’ve seen to date. It cuts to the chase.

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The following is only meant as a ‘checklist’. Remember, this is not an official document, and is only meant to act as a flag for a strong suspicion of Aspergers Syndrome, a doctor or trained therapist would need to make the official diagnosis.

However if you are looking for a guideline of sorts, it doesn’t get much better or black and white than the form below. It was spot on for us describing our son Sam. We’ve also put it in a downloadable format at the bottom. May it lead you towards illumination!                  -Jennifer Allen/Aspergers101

Employment and Adults with Asperger Syndrome

As increasing numbers of children and adults are identified as having either Autism or Asperger Syndrome, there will inevitably be more studies done to study specific employment issues. The authors solicited information from six adults with Asperger syndrome (AS), a classification, which they used synonymously with high-functioning autism, to determine what they had experienced in the world of work. While the study makes no attempt to generalize this anecdotal information to all individuals with AS, it does present certain consistent themes for these six individuals.

Female Supervisor Using Digital Tablet At Warehouse

One theme was that of frequent job changes, periods of unemployment, and working at jobs for which they were overqualified. Four of the six individuals had college degrees, and one of them had two masters degrees. Fairly typical is the case of Rosalind, a 43 year-old woman with an accounting degree and a fairly recent diagnosis of Asperger syndrome. She chose her college major despite having no real interest in the subject matter, did poorly in school, and after years of failed attempts at whatever job she could get, found some degree of enjoyment and success working in a pre-school for children with special needs.

These individuals all felt that they would have experienced a more consistent level of employment were it not for problems related to socialization and interpersonal communication with co-workers.