Saturday, September 25, 2010

Autism DVDs blogspot

10 Autism Myths

Nearly everyone knows someone who has been touched by Autism. Despite its prevalence, Autism is still misunderstood. Perhaps the myth and mystery come from the fact that its etiology remains unknown. Here are ten common myths of Autism:

1. A special diet will get your child to talk.

A healthy diet can do a lot of things, but it isn’t that “magic pill” that we are all searching for to increase speech. Some parents swear by a gluten or casein-free diet, thinking that it alone can help their child with Autism to talk and acquire skills. Although there have been many studies on this topic, there is no evidence that that these special diets increase verbalizations.

2. A child will grow out of Autism.

In the early stages of an Autism, many parents are under the assumption that the developmental delays are just a phase that their child will grow out of. This denial can cause parents to avoid getting a diagnosis and appropriate treatment. When parents suspect something is wrong, they should go to a developmental pediatrician to get it checked out. Therapy and early intervention can help a child tremendously, but avoiding the issue will only do harm in the long run.

3. People with Autism do not like physical contact.

Some people with Autism don’t like physical touch, however this is not the case for all. Autism is a spectrum disorder, so the manifestations and behaviors of Autism vary. Many people with Autism are very affectionate and thrive on physical contact, “cuddle time”, or really strong physical hugs, just like any typically developing child.

4. People with Autism live in their own world.

Many people with Autism are overstimulated by their environment. Tuning out, or seeming unfocused may be the only way to effectively block out people, sights, sounds, or smells. It is possible that this behavior is used as a way to escape difficult situations that are hard to process. Therapy can help teach coping skills to children, so they find less of a reason to tune out and are more motivated to stay engaged.

5. People with Autism have parents that are poor disciplinarians.

Contrary to popular belief, the behaviors of a child with Autism aren’t the result of lenient parents or “cold” mothers, as was previously thought. Parents of children with Autism often feel guilty, however they didn’t cause their child’s Autism and shouldn’t be blamed for it. Believing parental actions contribute to Autism is a common misunderstanding but has no research basis.

6. People with Autism have a “hidden” talent.

Call it the “Rain Man” effect, but many people think individuals with Autism are all genius’ with amazing memories, math skills, or abnormally high intellectual aptitudes. Fact is, it is rare that people with Autism are savants. Some are, but the numbers are probably similar with individuals with Autism as they are in the general public.

7. You can be “cured” from Autism.

While I wish it were true, there is no cure for Autism. There is no way to change the brain’s biology, however, there are effective ways to implement change over time with lots of hard work. The earlier one can begin therapy, the more progress is possible, and some children will be able to achieve “normal” functioning and participate fully in a regular education class after years of early, intensive (30-40 hours weekly) behavior intervention in pre-school. Additionally, other, less severely affected children who haven’t had intense therapy, may be in a typical classroom with only minimal support. No matter the functioning level, therapy can benefit a child with Autism. No one, however, will ever be “cured” of Autism.

8. People with Autism will never learn to speak.

Current estimates are that about 50% of children with Autism are non-verbal. While part of Autism is a language delay, parents can help. Early intensive behavior intervention can teach language to a child with Autism. Even for older kids, behavior therapy can help them acquire speech. For children who do not acquire language, other forms of communication include sign language, PECS (picture exchange communication system), and augmentative communication devices.

9. People with Autism will never be contributing members in their communities.

This myth is not only false, but hurtful. Don’t limit what a child will do or become, as you’ll see that they will always be rising above your expectations. Some will go on to college and hold professional jobs, just like their peers. Research has shown that individuals with even the most severe disabilities can be meaningfully included in school, church, and community life when tasks are modified to fit their abilities. With the help of job coaches during the end of high school, children with disabilities can maximize their strengths by finding a job that they enjoy.

10. People with Autism are unaware of their environment.

They are more aware than we often realize. Just because a child has few language skills does not mean that they can’t understand adults around them. Many kids with Autism have high receptive language skills, and absorb a lot of what you say about them. Don’t underestimate what they understand by talking about them like they are invisible.

Autism is not the end of life, but the beginning of a new journey. Embrace a child on the spectrum, and whatever you do, don’t underestimate their potential. And if I haven’t said it enough; intervene as early as possible for the best possible outcome.

Autism DVDs

My friend and mentor, Ashley S. Has a new website with wonderful tips. Articles are written byt Ashley, BCBA and her sister Jenna, a BCBA in training.

check it

How Do You Know If Your Child's Autism Therapy Is Working?

There is an old saying, “If it ain’t broke, then don’t fix it.” While this might work for some things, it isn’t a wise plan when it comes to therapy for a child with Autism.

Unfortunately, for some parents there is no rhyme or reason to the Autism therapy they employ. They might choose from the newest fad they heard about on television or try a therapy that’s worked for their friends’ child. Who can blame them? They are on a quest for anything that might help their precious children. However, it can be hard to tell whether treatment actually helps or not.

Parents can’t solely rely on their memory in determining if their child’s behavior is improving or if they are gaining new skills. Children deserve the most effective and targeted plan possible, and the only way to know if a child’s Autism therapy is actually working is one simple word: data.

Collecting data on behavior is the only way to truly see whether adaptive behavior is increasing and challenging behavior is decreasing. Any other method is too easily skewed by bias, perception or error. It’s important that your service provider graph the data as well, to give a visual regarding progress over time. It’s a necessary piece in helping therapists to create and modify intervention plans, which should be tailored to each child and change with them as they mature. Additionally, it can serve as a valuable record over the years when tracking a child’s progress.

Here’s a red flag. If your therapist or child’s teacher doesn’t collect data on his/her behavior, how will you know if the their procedures are effective? Even if it seems like behavior is improving, you won’t know for sure if you don’t have data. Continuing a treatment or procedure that’s not working could prevent your child from receiving effective treatments and waste your valuable time and money.

Stop therapies that don’t work. Therapy that seems to work but takes no objective measures can only sidetrack your child’s progress. Every moment counts! Please don’t waste time and effort on treatment that simply seems to work or even feels right if it is not backed up data.

If you start your child on a new diet, data should be taken. If you begin a new procedure to handle tantrums, data should be taken. Data doesn’t have to be scary. Ask your service provider for more information to make it work for your lifestyle. If they don’t do it already, it might be a red flag. Take data yourself if you’re not sure about a certain procedure’s efficacy, and if it’s working, then you’ll see the the numbers improve. Data collection should be a regular part of your life and will help your child progress as fast as possible.

Trackback URL for this post:

Homework tips from Bonnie Terry

Check out this website. Great tips, be sure to sign up for her newsletter!

Bonnie Terry's One Minute
Homework & Teaching Tips #26
Handwriting Problems? Part One
Sometimes a student has sloppy handwriting. Sometimes a student has sloppy handwriting all of the time, even though he or she spends time trying to be neat. There are several questions to ask when you are concerned that your student has a writing problem.
1. Is the student able to write in an acceptable manner in a structured teaching session but not in unsupervised settings?
2. Have you collected samples of your students writing over time to see the growth and maturity in the formation of letters? Have you compared the handwriting with other student's handwriting [from the same grade level]?
3. Are the letters sized correctly [touching the top, middle, or bottom line of the writing paper]?
4. What is the extent of the student's handwriting instruction?
5. Is the student using good posture, pencil grip, and paper positions?
After answering these questions, take a look at where you would place the student in the hierarchy of developmental steps to good handwriting.
Six Developmental Steps to Good Handwriting

Handwriting is a fine motor skill that one acquires over time. There are six developmental steps to the mastery of good handwriting.
1. Scribbling: Grasping a pencil and moving it to make random pencil movements.
2. Tracing: The ability to control pencil movements by tracing shapes or letters or connecting the dots in a dotted figure.
3. Copying: The ability to copy shapes and letters from a model which leads to being able to reproduce the model [shape or letter] from memory.
4. Completion of tasks: The ability to copy a figure or shape that is partially drawn [parts of it are missing] and put in the missing piece.
5. Writing from dictation: The ability to write letters as they are spoken, write words and sentences, supply missing words, and supply missing sentences.
6. Propositional writing: The ability to use handwriting to record and convey thoughts, ideas, and questions to others.
Breakdowns can occur in any one of those steps.
What's Coming Up?
Handwriting Problems Part 2: Three Types of Handwriting Problems
Be sure and check out more articles related to learning
Check out our website at: