Sunday, June 24, 2012

Review of AFLS

So I spent the money b/c I was curious about this assessment tool.  Here is my review:

  1. It is set up like the ABBLS-R
  2. The protocol for Functional Living Skills covers Meals at Home, Dishes, Clothing & Laundry, Housekeeping & Chores, Household Mechanics (i.e. addressing envelope, use plunger, replace batteries), Leisure ( looks at book/ magazines, play board games, engages in leisure activity with variety of partners) Kitchen and Cooking.  
  3. This is not a super think book, but is well done
  4. The protocol for Community Participation Skills covers Basic mobility (walking, driving, elevators), Community Knowledge (community signs, id community helpers, give others directions to home) Shopping (vending machines, locates items in store, pays for items), Eat in Public, Money, Phone, Time (calendar, calls others if running late)and Social Awareness & manners (excuses self is interrupting a conversation, responds approp to teasing).
  5. I love this one!!
  6. The protocol for Basic Living Skills covers Self Management (aggression towards otehrs, following directions from mult. caregivers takes approp action to deal with or report wrongdoing by others), Basic Communication (label location, prepositions, answer What questions) Dressing, Toileting, Grooming (mouthwash, rinses sink, clips and cleans fingernails), Bathing, Health, Safety & First aid (checks if things are hot, keeps door shut when stranger knocks), Nighttime Routine (set alarm clock, gets up indep in the morning when alarm rings)
  7. This one is also well put together but not as helpful to me as the others.  If I work with the adult population I feel this would be more helpful.
Overall I would say this is a great assessment tool.


AFLSbundle200 for 10% off

Behavior IS Communication: 5 Guidelines for Responding to Challenging Behavior

Behavior IS Communication: 5 Guidelines for Responding to Challenging Behavior

taken from

If your child is exhibiting challenging behavior, these 5 guidelines will help you to respond appropriately. When you begin looking at behavior as communication, you are able to determine what your child is saying and teach them appropriate ways to get what they want.

1) Be a behavior detective: Quickly determine WHY you think the behavior is occurring: Is it to get attention? Get food or a toy? Get out of something you asked them to do? What happened directly before the behavior? The answer to the WHY question is called the antecedent and can often be helpful when determining a behavior’s function, or why it’s occurring. What is your child trying to tell you? Did you just ask your child to do something? Even asking a child to communicate for what they want can be a trigger for challenging behavior. Remember, communication is a core deficit in Autism and is probably work for your child. That does not excuse challenging behavior but may give you insight into the behavior.

2) Formulate an action plan!

If you think the behavior is occurring:

a. To get something. Withhold the item! This is important. Wait until your child is NOT exhibiting challenging behavior before giving them the item. It’s ideal to have at least 10 seconds of NO challenging behavior before prompting your child for the correct response, whether that is with PECS, sign, or vocal language. Say, “You want, movie?” And fully prompt (if needed the correct response. THEN deliver reinforcement. If challenging behavior continues, remove reinforcement and walk away. Do not make eye contact.

b. To get OUT OF something- Require that the child complete the task. Even if you have to fully prompt the task, physically hand-over-hand getting your child to do it, it’s very important that they know they cannot “escape” a task with challenging behavior. When they have finished the task and are quiet, prompt them to respond with the correct sign/phrase for “break”, “finished” or “all done”.

c. Because it feels good:
Ignore the behavior (no eye contact and turn away) and remove reinforcing activities. One way to replace this behavior is to give your child more functional ways to get the same effect.

For all behaviors, PLEASE avoid any affection. We want to teach children that crying, screaming, whining are NOT appropriate ways to get our attention, toys, etc. Often, I see parents rub their children’s back while they are tantruming. They begin asking the child, “what’s wrong, why are you crying?” not realizing that they are accidentally reinforcing this crying behavior. Like I mentioned, it might seem cold, but our goal is to teach children appropriate ways to get what they want.

3) Stick to it! Even though behavioral techniques can at times seem harsh or cold, they will work if you implement them correctly and consistently. If your child knows they can sometimes get away with challenging behavior, they will keep trying to pull that lever till it works. They may even try new behaviors.

4) Be prepared for things to get worse before they get better. The classic example is the vending machine. When a vending machine is not working, what do you do? You begin pressing buttons harder, thinking maybe I didn’t do it correctly. Then you begin changing your behavior- you start shaking, kicking the machine or trying other buttons. Your child will do the same thing if you begin behavior interventions, (often called an extinction burst) but it’s imperative that you be consistent! You will see results if you are consistent.

5) Always look for ways to teach your child to communicate what they want. Once you figure out the why of behavior, you can work with your child’s teacher to teach alternative, appropriate responses. You might teach the sign for “break” to give your child a break, or the sign for “up” if they want to be held, “movie” if they were tantruming for a movie.

When we begin looking at behavior as communication, you can understand your child better and as they learn new ways to communicate.

6 Tips for Teaching Sign Language to Your Child With Autism, Part 1

taken from

6 Tips for Teaching Sign Language to Your Child With Autism, Part 1

Photo by: daveynin
One of the first interventions for children diagnosed with Autism is communication training. This often begins with sign language, with the hope (supported by the literature) that signs will help produce spoken language. If you and your service provider decide that sign is for you, it is important that everyone, especially parents, are on the same page in order to see the most success. Here are a few tips that might help you to carry over what your child is learning in therapy into your home.
1) Reinforcers should be the first signs taught.
Begin with a handful of signs, all items your child seems to really love and is motivated by. What does your child consume every day that he/she seems to really enjoy? You might pick “milk”, “movie”, “puzzle”, etc.
Teaching your child to request what he/she wants is technically called “manding” but you can think of manding as “requesting”. It’s very important to begin this way to keep your child interested in communicating.
We want the child to see that communicating appropriately (not with challenging behavior) can directly benefit them. Part of decreasing challenging behaviors like crying is to teach new, replacement behaviors. You want to show your child that communicating appropriately is easier and more beneficial than engaging in challenging behavior.
So, if I haven’t said it enough it’s very important to begin with reinforcers!
2) Be Specific
Make sure the signs you introduce are as specific as possible! Teaching signs like “more”, “please” and “thank you” are often not functional for kids with Autism. “More” is too general and often I see children signing “more” for everything... it begins to mean that they want something. It can be fruitless to begin by teaching words like “please” and “thanks” because they have no meaning for your child and cannot get them access to what they really want.
In the beginning, try to choose very specific signs. (i.e. “chips” instead of “eat”). Teaching emotional states like “happy, “sad” or “love” are more advanced and can be learned once communication of wants and needs is mastered. You have to work with the developmental level of each child, trusting that they will gain skills and make progress communicating along the way.
3) Capture the moment!
Teach sign when your child actively requests something by pulling you over or pointing. Right away, fully prompt them to sign what they want, then say, “That’s right, you want movie” and you re-sign it correctly while saying the word simultaneously.
It’s important to say the word at the same time as you sign, so your child pairs the two together. Later, if they begin vocalizing, you can decide to only accept the sign when it’s paired with a vocal attempt, but that is another post for another day.
NOTE: If challenging behavior occurs, do not prompt the sign, but wait for at least 10 seconds of appropriate behavior before prompting and reinforcing! It’s easy to accidentally reinforce challenging behavior this way, making it more likely to occur in the future.
4) Practice!
Try to get as many trials as possible daily. A typical child will request hundreds of times per day, and that’s what we are trying to emulate. If they ask for drink, give them a few seconds of it, take it back while saying, “my turn” and then wait and prompt them to sign it again. Practice, practice, practice!
This can be done with “movie” too. After each request you can give about 30-60 seconds of the movie. This may seem redundant, but all of these trials will help your child.
NOTE: If you don’t have time for this much practice, you can stll prompt your child to sign just ONCE for access to a particular reinforcer, and then give them the whole drink. Remember, every little bit is helpful, no matter how much time you have.
5) Fade prompts!
If you can, begin to fade the prompt, “what do you want” as soon as is feasible so the child won’t become dependent on that phrase. You can do this by just using the item to prompt your child.
So, holding the juice nearby should be enough of a prompt to evoke the sign. The goal is for your child to be able to communicate a want for the item even when it’s not present, and the quickest way to achieve that is to ensure they don’t get prompt dependent!
6) Motivation is everything.
This is probably the most important piece of all. If your child does not seem to be motivated by an item, do NOT prompt them to sign for it!
Or goal is to capture the child’s motivation to maximize learning, so if they do not show outward cues that they are interested in an item (smiling, reaching, etc.), don’t prompt the sign. You can try to get them interested in it (aka contriving motivation) using a variety of tactics, but if you find that motivation is absent, then move on to something else!
Remember, we want this to be FUN for your child!
This is just the tip of the iceburg; there is much more to teaching signs than this, but hopefully these tips are helpful. Stay tuned for more tips on teaching sign within you daily routine! You are your child’s best teacher, so the more you can be equipped, the better.
Here is a helpful application where you can see videos of how to sign, which can often be much more helpful than just pictures.

Autism Quotes

Autism Quotes Part 1

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things." -- Robert Brault
“If you’ve met one child with Autism, then you’ve only met one child with Autism.” -Unknown
“Just because your child isn’t communicating verbally doesn’t mean he isn’t communicating” Nichole Lillenthal
"ABA therapy isn’t bribery. ABA therapy is good teaching." -Unknown
“If a child cannot learn in the way we teach ... we must teach in a way the child can learn.”-Mother of child with Autism
“I want to support others with Autism, and help create a world where, as a friend of mine says, normal is just a setting on a washing machine.” -Kate Goldfield
“Good teaching can eliminate almost all errors so that the child spends the maximum amount of time learning...“Being right, and more importantly, being reinforced for being right, is how you learn" Christina Burke
“I am happy. My life is fulfilling. I worry sometimes, but I also find love and pleasure in my life every day. And, much of that is because of May, not despite her."
"There are many people in the world who are alone and unhappy. Pity them.”-Stacie Lewis, mother of a child with special needs
“If I made it OK, they can too" -J.E. Robison, adult on the Autism spectrum
"Be patient and stay optimistic. Your child, like every child, has a whole lifetime learn and grow." -unknown
“Mother love is the fuel that enables a normal human being to do the impossible.” - Marion C. Garretty
"Children are not things to be molded,but people to be unfolded." -Jess Lair
"I am different, not less "
-Temple Grandin
“People are always looking for the single magic bullet that will totally change everything. There is no single magic bullet.”
-Temple Grandin
"I cannot emphasize enough the importance of a good teacher." -Temple Grandin
"You have got to keep autistic children engaged with the world. You cannot let them tune out." -Temple Grandin
"Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies."
-Mother Teresa
Taken from

Seven Autism Truths Most People Don’t Know

Seven Autism Truths Most People Don’t Know

Because I work in the field of autism, I often get questioned by strangers which reveal that the current knowledge about autism is not widely understood by the general public. With statistics and myths all over the place, sometimes it is tough to separate the truth about autism from fiction. Here is what we know:
1) There are many theories as to what causes autism, but no cause has been scientifically proven
It seems like everyone has an hypothesis about the cause of autism. Fact is, we don’t know the cause yet. While there have been a number of studies that have disproven some ideas, we will just have to wait to find out the definitive cause. Researchers know that genetics are involved, and they speculate that a genetic predisposition, combined with some unknown environmental exposure act together to cause autism. The cause of autism is still largely a puzzle.
2) Autism occurs far more frequently in boys than in girls
In fact, autism occurs at a 4 to 1 male to female ratio. Much like the cause, the reason why autism is more frequent in boys is also unknown.
3) The prevalence of Autism is now 1 in 110
The number of individuals with an autism diagnosis has drastically increased in the past 30 years. Experts aren’t sure if this is due to increasing awareness of the disorder by both parents and doctors, the widening of what falls under the autism “umbrella”, or if it’s a true increase. For example, Aspergers is now considered to be an autism diagnosis.
4) Autism is characterized by deficits in three areas
We know that Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are a range of disorders and individuals with ASD have varying degrees of deficits in social skills and verbal or nonverbal communication, and have restricted, repetitive patterns of interest.
5) Autism has a strong genetic component
We also know that autism has a strong genetic component, and that a sibling of a person with autism is anywhere from 20 to 40 times more likely to develop the disorder. A more mild form of autism that could actually be undetected in a family member may show up in a child as a more severe form of autism. It’s more complicated than other genetic conditions, such as Down’s syndrome, which have a single chromosome missing.
Researchers have found that autism affects many genes however they can’t yet determine a pattern among those affected. Of course, researchers also suspect an environmental issue plays into this as well, but as mentioned earlier that is as yet unknown. What we know now is that there is a genetic component to this disorder.
6) Autism is a spectrum disorder
Autism is not a one size fits all diagnosis. There’s a saying: If you’ve met one person with autism, then you’ve just met one person with autism. In reality, there are many different levels of functioning in people on the autism spectrum. Some are indistinguishable from typical functioning adults with mainly small undetectable social skills differences, while others are unable to talk and suffer from many more severe symptoms. Each child does share the key deficits in social, communication, and restricted patterns of interest, but there is wide variation withing the term “autism”.
7) There are many forms of treatment, but there is no "cure" for autism
Just as there are many different levels of function for people with autism, there are also different forms of treatment. There are rare cases of children that can become “indistinguishable from their peers” after many hours of early intensive behavior intervention, but still, there is no known cure and autism remains a mystery.


How To Help Your Child Transition Well

Transitions are part of everyday life, but they can be difficult for a student with Autism because of their preference of predictability. Yet, with the right supports and modifications in place, a student can easily make a meltdown-free transition. Here are a few strategies you can try. You may find that some work better than others but test them out, and use the ones that work for your child.
1) Use a visual schedule
Not all kids with Autism are visual learners, but many respond well to visual supports. This can help make the environment predictable and decrease your child’s anxiety about what comes next. It can also increase independence, as your child can check their schedule periodically to complete tasks. A visual schedule is a simple list of pictures that describe which activity comes next. Usually these are made with icons, but if you can get pictures of your child doing each activity, it is preferable. Laminate each picture and place them in order each day. Show your child which activity you’re transitioning to when you prompt them to switch activities.
2) Familiarize your child with their new environment
This can be done by visiting the place where the field trip will occur, showing them a videotape of a new place, or making a social story about a particular transition. You can do this for routine transitions, like going to lunch, P.E, or recess, but also for one-time events like field day. Use as many mediums necessary to prime your child about an upcoming transition. Talk about what will happen during the transition at down time, read the social story if you anticipate it will be a difficult transition, and use videotapes if needed. Give your child as much preparation as possible to learn what comes next.
3) Give a cue before transitioning
This is especially important if you are transitioning from an unpreferred activity to a preferred activity.
Verbal cue: Say, “Ok Mark, you have 5 minutes to play.” and then remind him again at the 1 minute mark. Give your child as much time to prepare as possible.
Visual cue: A timer (either a visual timer or an electronic timer) can be particularly helpful when given with these warnings. Additionally, you could keep a bell or other noise maker as a signal that transition is near. Here is a great example of a visual timer
Auditory cue: Use a song to initiate the end of an activity for little ones that will signal a transition is near. Ensure the song is age appropriate. It can be the “Clean Up” song for little ones, or any song you prefer. Just make sure to only use the song during transition times.
4) Build behavioral momentum Give your child easy demands BEFORE you give them a difficult one
If transitions are hard for your child, give them several “easy” demands that they are likely to follow, and THEN give them your transition demand. You might say, “Give me high 5”, “Give me high 10”, and then follow those by “Put up your toys”. Your child will have built a momentum of being successful, hopefully to make a tantrum-free transition more likely.
If a student is are able to transition with ease, they can spend more time with their peers, have sense of control over their environment, and have less challenging behavior in school, home, and in the community. For transitions to be successful in all settings, you might have to give some of these strategies to your child's teacher, so that everyone is on the same page. Transitions are a part of everyone's daily schedule, but often you don't even think twice about them. Teaching your child to transition well as early as possible will help him/her in multiple environments for the rest of their life.

Social Groups

Social Groups Through Behavior Matters LLC
  8-Weeks- Week of June 4, 11, 18, 25 July 9, 16, 23, 30

week of June18
Primary T-ball Firelake El.- Bowling Alley ER Skill:
Tween- Coastal Trail Picture Scavenger hunt and Yoga Rain: Bowling on Base Skill: Gather items on list, approaching strangers
Teen- Swimming at HS $$

week of June25
Primary T-ball Firelake El.- Bowling Alley ER Skill:
Tween- Geocaching on Coastal Trail Rain: 5th Ave Mall Scavenger hunt Skills: Following directions
Teen: Geocaching on Coastal Trail Rain: 5th Ave Mall Scavenger hunt Skills: Following directions

week of July 9
Primary-Treasure Hunt Nature Center Rain: Ice Cream Social $1 per child Following directions on a list with a partner
Tween- Bear Paw Festival and The Crave
Teen- The Crave

week of July 16
Primary- Geocaching Scavenger Hunt Rain: Ice Cream Social $1 per child
Tween- Egg Drop- Water Balloon Cottonwood Park Rain: Library Card Tournament
Teen: Battleship/ Card Tournament UAA Library

week of July 23
Primary: Kites Rain: Pump It Up
Tween- Fishing location
Teen- Fishing location

Wed. August 1
Combined Group- H2Oasis

9-10:30 Itty Bitty’s- Aiden, Noah, Kayli, Spencer, Jacob, Tristan, Keegan
July 13
July 20
July 27
Social Groups resume week of Aug 20

August 10-11 Contractors Weekend!!!

Social Groups  8-Weeks- Week of June 4, 11, 18, 25 July 9, 16, 23, 30
Tuesday Group (1:30-3:30 pm), Intermediate group ages 8-12 "Tweens Coordinator: Jenna, Rebeka BCBA
Wednesday group (1-3 pm)- Teen Group ages 13-16 Coordinator: Chad, Rex BCaBA
Thursday group- (1-3 pm) Primary Group ages 5-7 Coordinator: Sara, Maya BCBA
Friday group "Itty Bitty's" 9-10:30 ages 3-6

Family Field Trips- All families are invited to these trips.  Please let your tutor know if you need them.
June 22 9-12 Zoo Point of Contact is Sara Mansilla 504-884-2679 (If you own a Behavior Matters T-shirt Please wear it)

June 29 10-12 Reindeer Farm Palmer

Friday July13 11am-2pm (July 11-15 Bear Paw Festival)  We are going to have a float and would love to have some of the kids ride :)  They need to be dresses up as a zoo animal.I need to know if you would like for your child to ride on the float, walk along side (age 6 or older) or if you (parents) would like to ride on the float or walk along side (along with your shirt size).

July 27 U-pick Farm Butte

July 28-29 Air Show

August 3-5 Camping Weekend  Location TBA
9-10:30 Itty Bitty’s- ages 3-6
Will meet at the Clinic and with a music and movement based theme

July 13
July 20
July 27

Social Groups resume week of Aug 20

Financial Assistance Sources

Financial Assistance Sources

Got this from Yahoo Group Military Families Autism Support

Autism Research Institute offers a military family web page at with the following benefits.

*FREE "Recovering Autistic Children” book*, a 468 page paperback book, which normally costs $24.00. To order- print, complete and fax or mail in the form at the web link of, along with a copy of the front of your military ID card. Please fill out all the blocks, so we can start a database on what services military children with autism may be getting from TRICARE. Fax the form to 619-563-6840 with a
copy of your military ID card along with your name and postal address, or mail it to Autism Research Institute, 4182 Adams Avenue, San Diego, CA 92116. There is a strict limit of one copy per family. Recovering Autistic Children, edited by Stephen M. Edelson, Ph.D. and Bernard Rimland,
Ph.D. is the extensively updated and enlarged revision of Treating Autistic Children, which was published in 2003.

*25% discount on Autism Research Institute's (ARI) conferences. * You will need to show your military ID when picking up your materials at the on-site
registration booth at the conference. More info on this offer is at

*Possible Funding Resources:*

4-A Healing Foundation at can provide financial assistance for children that require biomedical treatments.

Advantages Online Private Schools at offers 15% off private school tuition for military families.

Aid for Autistic Children Foundation at

Air Warrior Courage Foundation at

Angel Flight at http://www.angelfli ghtmidatlantic. org or Mercy Medical at
http://www.mercymed, and Patient Travel at offer free air travel for special needs families.

Autism Escapes at arranges air travel on private jets for families in need of medical care for their children.

Autism Care and Treatment (ACT) Today at provides grant money for families that cannot afford or access the treatments their
autistic children need.

Autism Cares at helps families to cover costs associated with critical living expenses.

Autism One offers a $49 conference fee for the entire week to military families at

Autism Relief Foundation at assists
http://autismrelieffoundation. comfamilies financially.

Believe In Tomorrow Children's Foundation offers adventure programs, respite housing and vacations at
http://www.believeintomorrow. org/housing_ military. html.

Conover Company at has iPad grant opportunities.

Danny’s Wish and Let’s Chat Autism at

Disabled Children's Relief Fund at helps physically-challeng ed children.

Easter Seals Champions for Children at http://www.championsforchildrenga. org

First Hand Foundation at https://applications.cerner. com/firsthand helps children with health-related needs when insurance and other financial resources have been exhausted.

Friends of Disabled Adults and Children at is a national provider of mobility aids and daily living devices for people with disabilities

Friends of Man at

Generation Rescue family grants at family-grant.html.

Hannah’s Helping Hands grants at

HollyRod Foundation at is a source for an iPads donation.

Houston Enzymes at offers a military discount of 30% off retail price of enzyme products. This offer is for enzyme products only, and not in combination with other offers or discounts.

iHelp for Special
Needs< /Need_An_ iPad_App. html>at
http://www.ihelpforspecialneeds. com provides help in raising funds to purchase the assistive technology you need.

iTaalk Autism Foundation <> at is a possible source for an iPad donation.

Kirkman Labs at provides a 25% discount on all of their own products.

Laurel Springs School at home offers 15% off private school tuition for military families.

Lee Silsby Compounding Pharmacy at is offering a $20 savings for first time military customers (active and retired) and they
accept TRICARE. More info is at

K¹² Schools at families offers 15% off private school tuition for military families.

Lend4Health facilitates community-based, interest-free "micro-loans" as a creative funding option for individuals seeking optimal health at

Loud Mommy at provides some iPad's for families in need. Finances and child's condition are the deciding factors for Loud Mommy.

Master Supplements provides a $10 discount per bottle of their Theralac High Potency Probiotic Supplement by calling in an order to (800) 926-2961,
extension 3. More info is at

MyGOAL at ograms/index. htm offers enrichment grants to enable families to take advantage of socialization and
educational opportunities designed for individuals with special needs.

National Autism Association at has a list of helpful websites and grants through the Helping Hand Project at

National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass - FREE Access Pass at

Olive You Foundation at provides grants to help children who have speech and language disorders.

Patient Advocate Foundation at provides patients with arbitration, mediation and negotiation to settle issues with access to care, medical debt, and job retention related to their illness.

Project Devin (a partner of Abilities Network Project ACT) at

The Puzzling Piece at donates iPads as part of their sales efforts.

Small Steps in Speech at

Social Security Disability Benefits & SSi Disability Claims at offers assistance with those claims.

Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) has a Family Scholarship program. Scholarships are available for autism conferences, an autism doctor initial visit, and the holiday Adopt a Family program. See for details and applications.

United Healthcare Children's Foundation at

Washington Access Fund at offers low-income individuals with disabilities and their families up to $4,000 and receive an equal amount in matching funds to help pay for assistive technologies.