Wetting the bed is a very common issue that occurs with many children. Below are some preventative and reactive strategies to help decrease bed wetting from occurring.
Preventative Strategies for Wetting the Bed
It is important for children to drink liquid throughout the day to stay hydrated, but it is best to stop drinking liquids before bed time. This may prevent the bladder from having to be emptied while the child is asleep.
Scheduled bathroom breaks help empty the bladder when it may need to be emptied. Many times when children are engaged in a preferred activity they choose to not use the bathroom when it is needed. Bathroom breaks/schedules throughout the day can prevent other issues like infection or wetting pants during other parts of the day. Using the bathroom multiple times or at least one time right before bed may help the child from needing to empty the bladder while he or she is sleeping. Parents can also wake their children up when they are getting ready for bed and have them use the restroom one more time.
Reactive Strategies for Wetting the Bed
When a child does wet the bed, use waterproof bedding, blankets, and padding to prevent any damage to mattress. Clean up will also be easier.
Sometimes children are in such a deep sleep that the signal of wetting the bed does not wake them up. There are alarms that can be bought to help signal/wake the child when he or she needs to use the bathroom in the middle of the night.
It is important to not embarrass your children or make them feel bad when they wet the bed. This can be a sensitive topic and it is important for open communication and to make you child feel comfortable when it happens.
https://secureservercdn.net/188.8.131.52/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/Blog-Wetting-the-Bed-FeaturedImage.png?time=1560908753186183Kristin Francescohttps://secureservercdn.net/184.108.40.206/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngKristin Francesco2017-02-17 05:30:222017-02-10 13:47:51Help! My Child is Wetting the Bed
Life can already be busy enough making sure your child gets through all of the tasks he or she needs each day. The last thing you need is your child refusing to follow directions. Here are some proactive and reactive strategies for when you need help with defiance.
Preventative Strategies for Defiance
When asking your child to complete a task, make sure you are crystal clear with the directions. For example, if you ask your child to clean their room, your child may go pick up their clothes off of the floor and then say they are all done. When you go to check the room you say, “Your room is not clean.” This may cause an argument/conflict. To your child, a clean room means there are no clothes on the ground. To you, a clean room is a made bed, clothes folded and put away, and a clean desk. Clearly state your expectations to leave no room for confusion and make success more achievable for your child.
Sometimes, your child may get overwhelmed and become defiant if they have numerous tasks to complete. Giving them the option to choose what tasks they need to complete each day may make them more compliant and successful. For example, give your child the option of making the bed or cleaning the clothes off the ground. Another example is giving your child the option of which homework assignment they would like to complete first.
I know many teachers who use this tip when working with students who refuse to do their work. For example, they might give a student a math worksheet of 20 problems and ask them to complete 15. Another way to use this tip is asking them to work on one problem or one part of the task and then increasing the number of problems/parts of the task over time. Following strategies like this may feel like you are giving in to them, but in the end they are still completing part of the task, as opposed to refusing to address it at all.
Many children are motivated by rewards. When stating your expectations, ask them what they would like to earn after they complete the task or give them options of what they can earn. You want to make sure you do this while stating the expectations. If you do not, and your child engages in defiant behavior and you then offer the reward, it becomes a bribe. Bribes are dangerous for growth because they teach children that if they refuse to do something at first, they will eventually get something extra. We want them to learn that they get a reward by complying with the task. For example, “What do you want to earn when you complete your chores? You can get 15 minutes on the iPad or a candy bar.” Make sure the rewards are activities or items that your child enjoys and will motivate them. If earning a reward is not enough, you can also present the consequences of what will happen if they refuse to do the task.
Reactive Strategies for Defiance
After the child decides what they want to earn, they still may not complete the task. Their behavior shows that the reward may not be motivating enough for them. You can offer new choices or remind them what they are earning if they complete the task.
When your child is engaging in defiant behaviors you want to stay calm. Use a neutral tone when you speak to them and make sure your facial expressions stay neutral, too.
Stay Consistent and Follow Through on Expectations
If you offer your child a reward after they complete a task, make sure you give it to them immediately. If you do not, your child may not be motivated by rewards because they will become skeptical. Additionally, you can’t give them the reward at a later time if they do not complete the task.
Deliver Verbal Praise for Appropriate Behaviors
When your child is being compliant instead of showing defiance, please deliver verbal praise!
Biting can be a very challenging behavior to deal with. It can result in physical and emotional distress to all individuals involved. In order to accurately address biting situations, we must determine why the individual is engaging in that behavior. In other words, we need to know the function of the biting. Like any behavior, biting has a history of reinforcement. This history plays a big role in the function of biting.
We can determine the function by analyzing what occurs immediately before the behavior (antecedent) and what occurs immediately following the behavior (consequence). Sometimes we may not be aware that our own behavior is impacting the child’s behavior. Once we are able to identify why a child is engaging in a behavior, we can change our own behavior which will lead to changes in their behavior.
There are many possible functions for the biting which can include: escape, attention seeking, gaining access to materials, or sensory stimulation. Below you will find a detail of the functions and suggestions to decrease biting given that particular function.
Functions and Working Tips for Biting:
Escape or Avoidance: The child might behave in a way to get out of doing an unfavorable task/activity or to remove themselves from a particular situation. The child might engage in biting in order to avoid doing something they do not want to do.
Working Tip: If you ask a child to follow your instruction, but they engage in refusal behavior and biting occurs, it is important that you continue to present the request for the child and follow through with your instruction. By not allowing the child to escape the demand, biting is no longer resulting in an inappropriate escape of demands.
Attention seeking: The child might bite as a way to gain the attention of others. When a child bites you or themselves it is natural to react in a certain way. You may raise your voice, make different facial reactions or pull away quickly. By providing this attention after biting occurs, the child may be more likely to repeat this behavior in the future to gain your attention.
Working Tip: If a child is biting to gain your attention, ignore this behavior by providing no facial or vocal reactions. Instead, provide attention for appropriate behaviors during periods of time when no biting is occurring. If the child is engaging in self-injurious biting behavior, you can block the behavior without giving additional attention to the child to ensure safety.
Access to materials: The child might bite to gain access to preferred items or activities. If you are giving a child something they want after they bite you, you are likely reinforcing this behavior.
Working Tip: It is important to refrain from giving the child access to any preferred items or activities when this behavior occurs. Instead, provide access to these after they engage in other appropriate behaviors (i.e. asking appropriately, handing you the appropriate picture exchange card, etc) to tell you what they want.
Automatic (sensory stimulation): The child may be biting because it is something that feels good to them.
Working Tip: To address this behavior you can give the child something more appropriate that they are allowed to bite on like a rubber chewing item.
Things to Remember When it Comes to Biting:
Consistency is key: Once a function of the behavior is determined, it is important that everyone who interacts with the child addresses the behavior in the same way in order for the intervention to be effective. As long as the biting behavior is working for the child to get what they want, even if only on some occasions, they will continue to engage in this behavior.
Reinforcement: Reducing/eliminating the biting behavior is important, but at we also want to teach children appropriate behaviors to replace biting to ensure they are getting their wants and needs met. By applying the principles of behavior, you can teach your child more appropriate ways to gain attention, access to preferred materials, or to ask for a break from a non-preferred activity.
https://secureservercdn.net/220.127.116.11/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Blog-Biting-FeaturedImage.png?time=1560908753186183Melanie Pomavillehttps://secureservercdn.net/18.104.22.168/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngMelanie Pomaville2016-12-22 05:30:412016-12-16 11:45:20Help! My Child is Biting
When it comes to creating goals for kids with autism, it can be overwhelming where to start. What goal do you pick? When should they meet their goal? How can everyone work on it together? Rest assured, creating effective goals is as simple as making sure it is a SMART goal: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Following these simple guidelines will help your child achieve the goals you set in place.
It is easy to have a general goal in mind for kids with autism, such as increasing their language or self-help skills. However, general goals are hard to work on since they do not have specific behaviors that you are looking to increase. Being as specific as possible with your goal is the most effective way to ensure your child will meet their goal.
When we create a goal, we have to make sure we can measure a child’s success. If our goal isn’t measurable, we cannot accurately determine if the goal was met. The two most common ways to make goals measurable are frequency (e.g. 3 times per day, etc.) and accuracy (e.g. with 80% success, in 4 out of 5 opportunities, etc.).
Before we start working on a goal, we have to make sure it is something the child can attain (i.e. a goal they can achieve). We need to look at prerequisite skills (i.e. skills the child needs in order to achieve the current goal). We also need to look at how realistic our goal is. We cannot expect a child to get dressed by themselves each morning if their underwear drawer is too high for them to reach.
Relevant goals are goals that will make a difference in the child’s life. If the goal isn’t relevant to the child, the child will not be motivated to achieve it. If a goal is determined to not be relevant to the child or the one helping teach the goal, it will need to be adjusted to become relevant.
If all goals had an eternity to be achieved, there would not be a desire to teach and attain the goal in the near future. Making goals time-bound ensure that the goal is mastered in a realistic time-frame. Determining the time-frame of your goal should be dependent on the goal. The more challenging the goal, the longer the time-frame should be.
Example of a SMART Goal
Your goal is to work on your child asking you for help when you are in another room. At this time, your child does not ask you for help when you are in the same room consistently. Let’s go through each criterion to make our SMART goal.
Specific: Child will say “help me” while handing the object they need help with to the adult
Measurable: 4 out of 5 opportunities
Attainable: We will first work on when an adult is in the same room
Relevant: Your child frequently needs help when playing with new toys or opening and sealing food
Time-bound: 2 weeks
Now that you know how to write SMART goals, start making some and see your child blossom!
As a new school year has begun, your child may be facing quite a few new changes in the classroom, whether that be a new school, new teachers and peers, or even new, and challenging coursework. These changes can generate some difficulties in your student in terms of following academic or social expectations. Maybe they begin getting notes sent home about their inappropriate behavior in class or you begin finding failing grades on recent assignments. Either way, these can be discouraging to parents and their student. As a parent, it is important to identify these challenges early on and follow through with keeping your child on track for their own success.
Here are a few tips on how to help your child through failing grades:
Be proactive. Parents should contact the teacher as soon as they notice their child having difficulty in a class. Follow up with any notes home or call a teacher to have a conference about the recent failing grade on an assignment. Ask the teacher for extra assignments or activities that can be done at home. It’s important to develop a plan with the teacher for collaboration purposes. The teacher may also have better insight into more specific skills that need to be acquired.
Create a routine. Creating an after school routine at home provides clear expectations and consistency. This routine can and should include homework completion, meal time with family, and a bedtime routine. Building a positive routine around homework completion and continued practice can not only provide a balance of work and play, but can also build strong sense of responsibility in your student. Try and remove or minimize other distractions during the homework routine and create more time dedicated to helping your child with homework.
Set expectations. As a parent, provide expectations and follow through. These expectations may begin with something small such as practicing number cards for 5 minutes before bed or making sure all books are brought home for the appropriate homework every night for a week. Whatever those expectations are in the initial stages, follow through and provide the appropriate praise and reinforcement contingent on the completion. It may be helpful to set up expectations with the teacher so you can map out short and long term goals.
Consistently provide encouragement and support. Failing grades may not only be disappointing to the parents, they may also be discouraging to the student. Provide praise and positive reinforcement for even the smallest of progress and the continuation of hard work in and outside of the classroom. Continue to be an advocate for support. Offer help when needed while still requiring the student to complete the work independently.
Look for underlying problems. While discussing specific difficulties with the teacher, look for potential underlying problems. Can there be difficulties with environmental variables such as, not being able to see or hear the teacher, forgetting to write down homework assignments, or being distracted by other classroom students or activities? Is there possibly an underlying learning disability? Is the child having difficulty attending to tasks? Whatever it may be, it is important to identify these things to make appropriate changes necessary for success.
https://secureservercdn.net/22.214.171.124/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/11/Blog-Failing-Grades-FeaturedImage.png?time=1560908753186183Carolyn Houzehttps://secureservercdn.net/126.96.36.199/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngCarolyn Houze2016-11-10 05:30:252016-11-04 16:22:045 Tips to Help Your Child Through Failing Grades
There are many benefits to providing children with Autism a collaboration of different therapies in addition to Applied Behavior Analysis services.
Occupational therapy (OT) provides children with skills to help regulate themselves. These skills may help decrease inappropriate stims and help provide children with more socially acceptable skills for regulation.
OT can provide children with strategies to help with motor skills.
OT can have a different perspective on activities of daily living and as such can provide different and alternative interventions to increase independence on self-care activities.
OT improves children independent living skills, such as self-care.
Speech therapy can help children with functional communication skills. Speech and Language Pathologists (SLPs) can provide additional support to the children to develop communication skills.
SLPs may also provide education and the introduction of alternatives to vocal communication in the form of augmentative devices or picture exchange communication system (PECS).
Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) develops personal one-on-one interventions for children to develop functional skills.
ABA focuses on helping children with social, academic, and behavioral concerns.
ABA will also focus on providing children with skills for functional communication.
Physical therapy (PT) can help provide children with additional motor function and can help with children who have low muscle town or balance issues.
PT can also help with coordination for children.
Collaboration of all therapies can help ensure that the most effective treatment is provided to the child in all settings.
Fusion of all therapies will provide children exposure to different strategies and interventions in different settings to help with day-to-day life.
All parents hope that their children will meet new friends and have an active social life—this is not any less true for parents of kids with autism! In fact, it is this very subject that is mentioned near the top of many parents’ wish lists when asked what their greatest hope is for their child on the autism spectrum!
It can occasionally be more challenging for friendships to occur naturally due to the reduced interest in social interaction demonstrated by kids on the spectrum. However, as with many of the academic, life, and self-care skills that are taught systematically to these kids, social interaction skills and rules of friendship may be slowly introduced and put into action!
In order for these skills to be taught and practiced, however, there are a few things that parents can do to set their child with autism up for success in this area:
Ask your child’s teacher about possible peers: There are frequently a few kids in each general education classroom that appear empathetic and interested in our kids with autism. These are great candidates for peer interactions and possible friendships! Your child’s teacher will most likely have a few ideas about whom might pair well with your child in this manner, within the first few weeks of school.
Observe your child’s classroom, if possible: Most schools have parent observation policies that designate times of day that are best suited to seeing what’s going on in the classroom. Take some time to notice which kids are approaching him or her and whether these might be kids to ask over for a play date!
Volunteer to present a mini autism lesson, if possible: There are countless resources online for helping typically developing kids understand autism spectrum disorders, and what they can expect from someone who is on the spectrum. One I particularly like outlines some amazing books to help peers understand your child and his or her diagnosis: https://www.angelsense.com/blog/10-great-books-for-families-of-kids-with-autism/
Reach out to parents: Upon observing a child approaching or interacting with your child (or upon recommendation from the teacher), attempt to contact that child’s parents, and set up a time for the kids to get together!
Plan your play date: It will be very important that both kids are having a great time! Try to think of activities that are of particular interest to your child, and bring that peer along. For example, if your child really enjoys going to the zoo, and has an interest in animals, plan to visit the zoo on the kids’ first play date. This will pair the typically developing peer with something that is your child’s absolute favorite thing, and could lead to a stronger relationship!
Speak to the BCBA/supervisor in charge of your child’s services about programming for peer interaction: This is very common, and should be an integral part of any child’s treatment plan. Ensure that this is being programmed for specifically, and that there are opportunities to practice the skills both one-to-one during therapy, as well as in vivo with another child!
With practice, patience, and mindfulness on the part of adults, kids on the autism spectrum can develop meaningful and fulfilling relationships with their typically developing peers!
Rachel is a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) with over 10 years of experience working with children with autism, Down syndrome, and other developmental delays. After graduating from the Blitstein Institute in 2011, she went on to receive her Masters in Psychology specializing in ABA, from Kaplan University, while working full time as a pediatric behavior therapist. Rachel has worked with children in a variety of settings, including home, camp and school. She also worked for KESHET, an organization that provides services for children and young adults with varying developmental delays. Rachel is passionate about her work in helping children succeed to their fullest potentials in life.
https://secureservercdn.net/188.8.131.52/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Blog-Autism-Classmates-FeaturedImage.png?time=1560908753186183Jennifer Bartellhttps://secureservercdn.net/184.108.40.206/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngJennifer Bartell2016-08-09 05:30:402016-09-16 11:15:23Introducing Your Child with Autism to Classmates
Imagine that you go to work in the morning and spend your entire day not knowing how to navigate the parameters of your workplace. You’re unsure of your job description, title, and workplace culture….and no one will give you any answers. By the end of the day, you feel utterly exhausted merely as a result of attempting to navigate a world with no structure or boundaries. Now, imagine you’re a child. This is how children with limited play skills might feel as they are expected to respond to situations for which they don’t have the skillset each time they come in contact with a peer.
Play is the single most important mechanism children utilize to learn about their universe. Play provides a framework to explain imaginative and real events in a child’s world. It allows them to learn about independence, manners, and character, as well as build confidence and practice new skills. Yet, some children have difficulty learning how to properly navigate these interactions.
The good news? You can help.
Play at Any Age
Play skills are developed in a progression. Although there are times in which a child may fluctuate between all levels of play, the following indicates the age-appropriate development of peer interactions.
Solitary play (ages 0-2): Child is completely captivated with play and does not seem to notice other children.
Learns through trial and error
Copies other children and adults
Looks at other children playing but does not join in the play
Likes playing with adults as well as by himself/herself
Onlooker play (2-2 ½): Child is interested in other children’s play but does not join in. He/she may ask questions.
Parallel play (2 ½- 3): Child shares the same space with peers but doesn’t actively engage with them.
Begins to use symbols in his play, such as using a stick as a sword
Starts to show some reasoning skills… may still learn by trial and error.
Copies other children and adults’ behaviors and language
Associative play (3-4): Child is interested in pursuing social interactions with peers while they play.
Shows more reasoning skills
Begins to ask “why” and “how” questions
Plays imaginatively, for instance, dress-up
Cooperative play (4+): Children play in groups of two or more with a common goal in mind; they often adopt roles and act as a group.
Shows understanding and uses reason related to experience
Begins to understand simple rules in games
Plays cooperatively, taking turns
Should I Be Concerned About My Child’s Play Skills?
Flexible: child can add onto others’ play schemas*, play story** can change throughout, child does not become distraught if a peer/parent adds their ideas
Atypical or Disordered Play:
Ritualistic: child engages with toy in the same order/manner, every time he/she plays with toy
Difficulty with Generalizations:child has difficulty accepting new patterns or rules, attempts to utilize one general rule for all similar events (i.e. “I know the youngest person goes first in Sorry, so I expect that the youngest person goes first in all games.”)
Repetitive: child performs the same action repetitively with a toy that doesn’t suit its purpose, ie. flipping, stacking, ordering items or repeats the same phrase over & over again while engaging
Limited Interests: child frequently finds a way to steer play story to a few favorite interests
Rigid: may accept when parents and peers join his/her play schema, but only by child’s rules and with his/her interests
Difficulty “bouncing back” from unexpected events in play:may recoil when a peer introduces a dinosaur, for example, when child expected story to progress in a certain direction. May become upset at changes or quit altogether
Avoids eye contact, or eye contact may be fleeting
Often requires prompting for basic communication, i.e. saying hello when approached by peer
Often includes non-reciprocal language: response frequently does not match question
Difficult for child to enter into an already-developed play scheme: two peers are pretending to be firemen, third child wants to join but can only talk about/pretend to be a doctor
*Play schema: diagrammatic presentation; a structured framework or plan
**Play story: the story that is told through the play schema
Parent How-To Guide
If your child has underdeveloped play skills, here are some ways to assist in his/her development to encourage parallel, associative, and cooperative play:
Allow your child time for free play with same-aged peers
Don’t “helicopter” parent during free play, but provide modeling if necessary
Provide plenty of materials to encourage imaginary play, i.e. dress-up clothes, pretend food, cash register
Encourage symbolic play: child engages in imaginary play with an item and calls it something else, i.e. uses a banana as a telephone
Model Feelings & Behavior to Encourage Problem-Solving
Provide your child with words to explain feelings
“Jimmy, it looks like you’re sad because Sally isn’t sharing her toy with you. Let’s tell Sally how you’re feeling together.”
If your child is old enough, encourage him to use the words himself. “Jimmy, you can say, ‘Sally, I am sad because I want to play with that toy too.’”
Starting your modeling sentences with the phrase “you can say…” is a very powerful way to neutrally provide your child with the words he/she may not know how to express
Provide your child with options for independent problem-solving
“Jimmy, do you want to wait until Sally is done with the toy or ask her if she can share it with you?”
This allows the child to choose between 2 options and learn to find solutions independently
Set Expectations. Especially if your child demonstrates rigid behavior!
Be sure to set expectations before engaging in task
“Jimmy, we are going to the playground. At the playground, I expect you to play properly with friends. That means sharing the equipment, speaking nicely, and waiting your turn.”
Give Positive Reinforcement
Encourage proper behavior and play skills by offering both natural consequences and praise.
Consequence, stated before engaging in task: “Jimmy, if you don’t follow the rules we discussed at the playground, we will need to go home immediately.”
Praise, stated after task is completed: “Jimmy, way to go! You followed all the rules by taking your turn and speaking nicely to your new friends. I’m proud of you.”
Seek Outside Help
If your child doesn’t seem to improve with these at-home tips, seek the assistance of an occupational or developmental therapist for hands-on support for both you and your child.
https://secureservercdn.net/220.127.116.11/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Blog-Play-Skills-FeaturedImage.png?time=1560908753186183Jennifer Brownhttps://secureservercdn.net/18.104.22.168/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngJennifer Brown2016-07-14 05:30:032016-07-12 15:37:32The Do's and Don'ts of Play: A Parent's Guide to Helping Your Child Develop Better Peer Interactions
It might be hard to imagine what mental health concerns may look like for your toddler or preschooler. However, it is important to realize that children experience the same emotions as adults do. They experience happiness, sadness, anger, fear, loneliness and embarrassment, however, they do not always know how to express these feelings in appropriate ways, so it’s important to look for red flags. When their feelings get too big, children do not always have the words to use to express themselves, resulting in using challenging or unsafe behaviors to express these big feelings. These behaviors make learning, play and relationships at home, and in the classroom difficult and can be very distressing and frustrating for everyone involved.
Here is a list of common red flags that can help you to determine if your child needs support:
Extreme distress (crying, tantruming and clinging to you) when separating from you or knowing that they will be away from you.
The symptoms last for several months versus several days
The symptoms are excessive enough that it is impacting normal activities (school, friendships, and family relationships).
The continuation or re-occurrence of intense anxiety upon separation after the age of 4 and through the elementary school years.
Little interest in playing with other children.
Poor body awareness that impacts relationships with peers
Failure to initiate or to participate in activities
Difficulty making eye contact with others
Defiance: Failure to follow rules or listen to directions and is often argumentative with adults.
Overly Aggressive Behavior:
Temper tantrums that last more than 5 to 10 minutes.
Excessive anger through threats, hitting, biting, and scratching others, pulling hair, slamming/throwing objects, damaging property, and hurting others.
Difficulty with Transitions:
Difficulty focusing and listening during transitions
Extremely upset when having to transition from one activity to another. Before or during each transition, your child may cry excessively or have temper tantrums that last more than 5 to 10 minutes.
Excessive Clinginess or Attention Seeking with Adults
Excessive anxiety related to being around new and/or familiar people/situations.
Child freezes or moves towards you by approaching you backwards, sideways or hiding behind you. Your child behaves this way in most situations and no matter how you support them, they continue to avoid interacting with others.
Difficulty completing tasks and following directives on a daily basis.
Easily distracted and has difficulty concentrating or focusing on activities.
Daily Functioning Concerns:
Toileting: Difficulty potty training and refuses to use the toilet.
Eating issues: Refusing to eat, avoids different textures, or has power struggles over food
Sleeping problems: Difficulty falling asleep, refuses to go to sleep, has nightmares or wakes several times a night.
Children can exhibit concerns in the above areas off and on throughout their childhood. It is when these behaviors begin to impact peer and family relationships, cause isolation, interfere with learning and cause disruptions at home and in school that it is time to reach out for support.
Who can help?
Licensed Clinical Social workers (LCSW),
Licensed Clinical Professional Counselors (LCPC),
Marriage and Family Therapists (MFT)
Therapists will work with your child to help them to learn how to handle their big feelings and behavioral challenges. Therapists will use a variety of modalities during sessions including play, art, calming and self-regulation strategies, behavioral therapy, parent-child therapy, and parent education and support. They can also provide parent support and coaching to assist in diminishing the challenging behaviors at home. Often these professionals will collaborate with your child’s school and can provide additional support for your child within the school setting.
https://secureservercdn.net/22.214.171.124/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Blog-Red-Flags-FeaturedImage.png?time=1560908753186183Rebecca Kiefferhttps://secureservercdn.net/126.96.36.199/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngRebecca Kieffer2016-06-28 05:30:592016-07-01 09:50:27Social-Emotional and Behavioral Red Flags for Toddlers and Preschoolers
Self-care skills such as brushing teeth, washing hands, and dressing are important for children to learn as they affect their everyday lives. For children diagnosed with Autism, they often experience delays in learning these skills and may need a different way of teaching to acquire them. Using some behavior analytic techniques, these skills can be taught in an appropriate way suitable for your child to be successful.
Is your child ready to perform self-care skills?
Component skills: In order to ensure success with the desired self-care skill, make sure that your child can perform the basic skills necessary for the task. For example, for the skill of brushing teeth, this may include: pincer grasps, holding a toothbrush, moving a toothbrush in a back and forth motion, spitting out toothpaste, squeezing toothpaste tube, gargling water.
Attending: Can your child pay attention and tolerate the duration of the skill?
Complexity of composite skill: Can your child put together the component skills to perform parts of the desired task?
If your child is unable to perform the component skills, attend to the desired self-care task, or combine component skills, work on building up this repertoire before moving forward. Providing help and lots of positive reinforcement with these tasks will make learning the desired skill easier!
Now that your child is ready, how can you teach your child to perform self-care skills?
Chaining: This strategy involves breaking down the steps of the skill into multiple pieces. Once the steps are broken up, teaching can occur by linking steps together.
The steps can be linked together from the beginning of the skill. For example, brushing teeth can begin with allowing the child to put toothpaste on the tooth brush and run the tooth brush under the water. The rest of the steps of the skill can be prompted by an adult. As the child becomes more independent with the first few steps, more steps can be added for him or her to perform independently as a chain.
Steps can also be linked from the end of the skill. For example, for hand washing, you can have the child wipe his or her hands independently on the towel. As the child becomes more independent with that skills, you can also introduce turning off the water to the chain of steps. All the steps prior to those mentioned steps can be prompted by an adult.
Social Stories: These stories outline the appropriate way to engage in the desired task. Each page can describe the steps and how to complete the skill. They can be in the form of videos, audio, or written (with pictures). Each child may respond better to one form over another.
What supports can you use with these strategies?
Visuals: You can provide visuals of each step of the task posted in the location that the skill will occur in. For example, with hand washing, some pictures can include turning on the sink, hands under the soap dispenser, or rubbing hands with soap. Modeling the skill before the child engages in the skill may also help the child learn by imitating your actions.
Physical prompts: You can physically guide your child with your hands on top of theirs to allow them to get used to the motion of the task. Then, you can reduce your physical prompts (e.g., move your hands to their elbows or moving farther away and pointing to the correct step) until they can complete the skill independently.
Vocal prompts: You can vocally instruct the child to perform each step as they are performing the skill. Then, you can fade your prompts until they can do the skill independently.
Working on the component skills independently until the child can easily and reliably perform them can greatly increase their success with putting those steps together. A combination of different supports listed above can provide a way for you to teach your child how to engage in complex self-care skills. Providing and fading your physical and vocal prompts can take some practice. It may be beneficial to work with a BCBA to ensure the success of your approach and the acquisition of these skills.
https://secureservercdn.net/188.8.131.52/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Blog-Self-Care-Skills-FeaturedImage.png?time=1560908753186183Nathaniel Lachicahttps://secureservercdn.net/184.108.40.206/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngNathaniel Lachica2016-06-06 05:30:152016-06-15 15:25:20Self-Care Skills for Children with Autism
What behaviors does ABA seek to increase or decrease?
Applied behavior analysis (ABA) uses the principles of behavior for increasing and decreasing specific behaviors of social significance. Behaviors to increase or decrease are selected in collaboration with parents. Additionally, it is wise to involve other relevant stakeholders, like extended family or your child’s teacher.
When selecting ABA goals, it’s important to consider:
For challenging behavior, it’s crucial to consider how much is the behavior impacting the child’s functioning, learning, social opportunities, or ability to access the community. If parents cannot take a child to the store because of tantrums, it can impact a family significantly. (e.g., decreased access to social skills, difficulty completing common routines, or cost of childcare so the parent can go to the store). Similarly, if a child cannot communicate his or her wants or needs, this may cause problems for the family system as a whole.
It is important to consider the following points for increasing skills:
* What should the child be doing?
* How far outside of typical development is this behavior?
* Typically, what should a child this age be doing or expected to do?
* In what manner are these skills pivotal to future areas of development?
Small steps may lead to a larger goal
All goals should be prioritized based on some of the questions listed above. It is also essential to consider prerequisite skills and look at the larger picture. It may be that before you get to the big point of concern that there are other smaller goals to meet along the way. If your child cannot wait at home for five minutes, then waiting at a store for a toy may be more difficult. First, work on the smaller skills to build to the larger ones. With patience and practice, your child will be on their way to achieving their goals.
ABA therapy can be implemented in different environments, like home, our clinics, or in the classroom.
At NSPT, your child will receive 1:1 therapy along with the ongoing analysis of his/her progress to ensure he/she is continuing to progress and succeed.
https://secureservercdn.net/220.127.116.11/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/pexels-photo-296308.jpg?time=15609087537501088Erin Shoshanahttps://secureservercdn.net/18.104.22.168/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngErin Shoshana2019-03-13 02:26:282019-05-15 09:43:37Increasing & Decreasing Behavior With ABA
Many parents often ask- What is a BCBA? And what exactly do you do every day?
Well, A Board Certified Behavior Analyst, or a BCBA, as defined by the BACB, is an individual who has received a doctoral or graduate degree, completed coursework in Behavior Analysis, and has completed countless hours of supervised practical experience, and lastly, has passed the BCBA examination.
Our job consists of creating, individualizing, maintaining, evaluating, and supervising your child’s ABA program and your team of behavior therapists. And to answer your next question; no, we do not only work with children who have Autism. We specialize in behavior management.
A BCBA spends his or her day working to maximize your child’s potential:
Face-to-face time: Your BCBA may arrange to come to your home or clinic visit to see your child in action. This time allows your BCBA face-to-face time with your child in order to make direct and objective treatment decisions based on observation and data in order to ensure your child’s success.
Supervision: Your BCBA will also observe the behavior therapist, provide constructive feedback, model programs and interventions, and answer questions. A well trained behavior therapist is quick, confident and motivated. It is the BCBA’s job to make sure that the behavior therapist remains supported.
Behind the Scenes: Your BCBA spends countless hours researching behavior analytic literature in order to stay up-to-date on effective programs, procedures, and practices. ABA is a science and involves many different technologies and principles.
Individualizing: Your child’s program is their own. The BCBA spends a lot of time working to ensure that goals and skills are tailored to how your child learns and what your child needs to grow. Whether your child needs help with communication, potty-training, etc; all programs are specific to your child.
Communicating: The BCBA also communicates with your child’s treatment team when applicable. We love to work together with your Speech Language Pathologist, Occupational Therapist, Pediatrician, Psychologist and YOU to ensure that we are aware of everything there is to know about your child, including progress the child is making in every area of their life and any difficulties your child may be having.
Parent Training: The BCBA works to help you and wants to ensure that we are providing a very thorough picture of your child’s strengths and weaknesses and how you can help your child when not in therapy. We provide parent training/parent coaching, and work to help you become and remain experts of your child’s ABA program.
When your BCBA is not with your child, do not fret; your BCBA is in constant contact with your therapy team, has access to treatment data, and team notes, and is always aware of what is happening in your child’s therapy. Your BCBA is also available to answer any clinical questions or concerns you have about your child’s ABA program via email and phone.
https://secureservercdn.net/22.214.171.124/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Blog-BCBA-Researching-FeaturedImage.png?time=1560908753186183Faith Champhttps://secureservercdn.net/126.96.36.199/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngFaith Champ2016-07-12 05:30:132019-05-15 12:45:28A Day in the Life of a BCBA - Who We Are and What We Do
Knowing what kind of services and how to navigate the ABA world can be hard, confusing and exhausting. When looking at an ABA program, you will always want a Board Certified Behavior Analyst on your team.
Here are 5 benefits to working with a BCBA and a team approach:
A BCBA has passed an exam that ensures he or she knows how to change behavior (both increase skills and decrease behavior) according to the principles of behavior – evidence based approach.
Working with a team typically results in creating a large and strong support system for the child, parents, and the entire family.
Working with a team helps to promote generalization of skills across people.
Working with a team allows a child to receive several hours (20-30) of therapy a week with 3-4 different therapists, which helps keep sessions fun, new, and entertaining.
Working with a team allows for different ideas to make progress across different skills and targets, especially when a child gets “stuck” on a target.
Things to keep in mind when using a team: all team members should be addressing behaviors the same way as well as teaching new skills the same way. Communication between team members is key for success. Lastly, therapists are different but implementation should be the same!
https://secureservercdn.net/188.8.131.52/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Blog-BCBA-FeaturedImage.png?time=1560908753186183Annie Goldberghttps://secureservercdn.net/184.108.40.206/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngAnnie Goldberg2016-05-05 05:30:482019-05-15 12:46:375 Benefits of Working with a BCBA for Your Child with Autism
As a Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) who continues to work with the pediatric population, I have often heard parents or loved one’s say, “I have no idea why he/she does this” or “It just happens out of nowhere,” when describing a specific behavior their child engages in.
Unfortunately, I can tell you that all behavior does in fact have a function, whether that behavior is an undesirable behavior or an appropriate behavior. More importantly, identifying that behavior function is an important part of effective behavior change.
In the field of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA), behavior can be defined as having one of these four functions:
Attention: This function is a means of gaining attention from another person or people and can take many forms. It can be provided by eye contact, a facial expression, telling someone “no,” laughter, or specific comments about a behavior. It is important to note that telling a child, “No,” “Stop,” or “I’m ignoring you,” after engaging in an inappropriate behavior is still in fact attending to the behavior despite the content of the words.
Access to tangibles: This function is maintained by gaining access to a specific item or activity. Access to these preferred items may be for a leisure purpose (e.g. playing with a toy, going to the park, etc.) or a functional purpose (e.g. accessing a toothbrush to brush your teeth).
Automatic: This function is maintained by automatic reinforcement in that the behavior in itself provides the reinforcement. Some examples of these behaviors may be thumb sucking or nail biting. If a child enjoys the oral sensation that is produced from these behaviors, you may see an increase in that behavior.
Escape or Avoidance: This function is to escape or avoid an unwanted event or activity. Often behaviors of non-compliance may post-pone or even terminate the completion of an unwanted task, putting your hands over your ears may terminate the sound of a non-preferred noise, or scratching your skin may terminate the pain of an itch.
It is important to note that all individuals engage in behavior despite physical or intellectual capabilities. As previously mentioned, that behavior does in fact have a function, and it is through the relationship between the behavior and its environment (people, places, things) to which that function is identified.
Cooper, J. O., Heron, T.E., & Heward, W. L. (2007). Applied behavior analysis (2nd ed.). New Jersey: Pearson Education, Inc.
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Does your child struggle with stereotypical or problem behaviors in your home? Are you exhausted from constant redirection and monitoring? Do you need a change? Can parents utilize the basic principles of ABA at home with their kids? Yes! Here are some quick tips and tricks to help behavior management in your home by applying ABA.
Give Behavior Specific Praise
Always praise appropriate behaviors! Providing this type of positive reinforcement for good behavior will not only increase your child’s motivation but will also allow you to see more of those behaviors in the future. Throwing in a specific praise statement gives the child feedback on the exact behavior you want to see increased. For example, saying “Nice job!” is good, but saying, “Nice job packing your back pack!” is even better and you’re likely to see them packing their backpack the next day.
Whenever possible offer your child choices. This can range from choosing when they take their bath to what shirt they wear for school and everything in between. Offering choices allows your child to be part of the decision making process, making transitions or undesired activities less of a hassle. The more choices, the better.
Provide Clear Expectations & Follow Through
Set clear, concise expectations for your child and follow through with them! Stating expectations before engaging in a specific activity gives the child a set of rules to follow. As a parent you’re able to refer back to these expectations as reminders throughout the activity. Once you set an expectation it should be followed no matter what (this is key!). Remember to provide attention and praise for followed expectations.
Don’t Prompt Too Soon
When your child is engaging in any daily living skills (tooth brushing, setting the table, tying shoes, etc.) allow them to perform the task independently before you assist them. This teaches independence and problem solving. If your child is struggling after 3-5 seconds of attempting, then provide prompting to help them complete the skill. We don’t want to see inappropriate prompt dependency.
Provide directive statements as opposed to questions
Make sure you’re communicating directions clearly. Instead of providing a question, give a directive statement that your child needs to follow. Sometimes we don’t even realize that we’re asking questions instead of directive statements. When asking a question, it gives the child the opportunity to respond with their choice; however, providing a statement only has one appropriate outcome. Changing, “are you ready for dinner?” to “it’s time for dinner” is a quick fix.
https://secureservercdn.net/22.214.171.124/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/BlogABAHome-FeaturedImage.png?time=1560908753186183Jennifer Casalehttps://secureservercdn.net/126.96.36.199/fnf.6b5.myftpupload.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/nspt_2-color-logo_noclaims.pngJennifer Casale2016-02-11 05:30:552019-05-15 12:50:44Applying ABA at Home