Monthly Archives: March 2017

Light It Up Blue

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With April just around the corner we are gearing up for Autism Awareness month with Light it up Blue on April 2nd, where we encourage everyone to Light it Up Blue to support Autism Speaks and spread awareness of autism spectrum disorder.
We are proud to say that autism awareness continues to grow, and is constantly reaching new levels. Let’s continue to constantly show our support for autism awareness, acceptance and advancements in the field.
A great way to show support is to come together as a community on April 2nd for Light It Up Blue. Each year people across the world come together on this special day to kick off autism awareness month.
Here are some great and easy ways that you and your family can show your support.
1. Wear Blue!
2. Change your outside light at home to a blue bulb.
3. Post photos of yourself, friend and family as you come together and hashtag them #lightitupblue and turn your profile picture blue for the day.
4. Show support by making a donation, volunteering, and supporting autism causes in your area.
5. Host an autism-friendly event
Most of all remember to accept and appreciate the people in your community and around the world who are on the autism spectrum instead of being afraid of them. Be kind, be open-minded and know that we are all people learning and growing at our own pace. Some of us need a little added support, so be the support that someone needs, open your minds and your hearts , stop categorizing those that are not like you, and honor human diversity by making sure that everyone is valued, included and contributing what they can to society.

How To Fix Behavior Problems Using Reinforment Stratagies

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Sometimes behavior problems arise in children that can be difficult for many parents to deal with. When this happens, it is always good to know which reinforcement strategies work best on your kids. To start, here are four different types of reinforcers:

Primary Reinforcers: Unconditioned, automatic and unlearned. These are naturally reinforcing to individuals. EXAMPLE: food

Secondary Reinforcers: These are the reinforcers that a child learns to enjoy. EXAMPLES: high fives, stickers, and prizes

Positive Reinforcers: to add something preferred or pleasant to the situation. EXAMPLES: candy or juice

Negative Reinforcers: To take something non-preferred or unpleasant away from the situation. EXAMPLES: allowing your patient to leave the work table OR turning off a loud vacuum.

Since different situations call for different reinforcers, it is always good to first assess the situation and then figure out which of the above strategies to put into play in order to help your child decrease behavior problems. Many times parents turn to primary reinforcers, which are snacks or favorite foods. Although this is a good way to start reinforcing behavioral changes, it is important to find different things your child is interested in so that increased amounts of junk food or snacks are not introduced into your child’s diet, which can create other problems down the line. Take the time to find out what types of secondary or positive reinforcers your child likes. What are their hobbies? Are there specific games or toys they like to play with, etc. Also pay attention to things that may irritate your child and cause negative behaviors to come out; and try to either avoid these items or situations, or work with your child to help them become acclimated to them.

Once you find reinforcers that work, make sure they are ONLY available to your child when working with them on behavior modification techniques. Allowing your children to have access to reinforcers all the time decreases the effects of the reinforcer until it no longer serves its purpose. By keeping it locked away and out of site, the reinforcer becomes a powerful tool for a parent.

Another great strategy to use to get your child to participate in activities they are not fond of, such as cleaning up, homework, therapy, etc., is it use what professionals call the Premack Principle. Simply stated the Premack Principle is a reinforcement strategy that places a preferred activity after a non-preferred activity. For example,” first you finish your homework and then we can play video games”.

By enforcing this strategy in your home, your child learns that once they are finished doing what they have to do, they get to do something they like.

There are several ways to make reinforcers applicable and different ways will work for different people. Here are some ways that we found to make reinforcers effective:

Let your child select the reinforcer.
Only give reinforcer if your child responds correctly
Use social reinforcement/verbal praise to bridge the delay between correct response and the delivery of the reinforcer. Example(saying “good job” or giving a high five)

Vary your reinforcers so that your child doesn’t get used to it and it no longer serves as something that reinforces good behavior
By using these and other methods that you find helpful, you will be able to start working with your child on ways to modify their behavior and increase their tolerance for less preferred activities. Let’s do our best to put these tips to good use!

Staying Focused During Schedule Changes

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There are several times of year when routines change and adjustments need to be made. These changes can make it difficult for your child with autism to stay focused on school work. These are also times when you will need to remind your child on the spectrum of the guidelines that go along with times of transition.

Try to stay consistent – Your child with autism depends on a consistent schedule. Schools often have events such as assemblies, field days, or exams, and many children, who have been diagnosed with autism, find these schedule changes difficult. Minimize stress and anxiety by altering the schedule as little as possible. Continue with scheduled lessons and regular individual and group instruction so your child understand that expectations for learning and behavior are still in place.

Educate through scheduled events–Trips and activities can be exciting events in a child’s life. These experiences are opportunities for literacy, communication, and art activities. Work with your child on the spectrum on discussing an event or trip through drawings, visuals, stories, role playing etc. Paln out scenarios, talk to them and show them examples of what they may see, smell, hear; focus on what they can expect from the overall experience.

Develop Strategies for Using Energy –Schedule changes and special events can be exciting for many children. Provide opportunities for using physical energy such as stress balls, trampolines, or walks so your child with autism can positively focus their energy.

Whenever you know of a planned schedule change; whether it’s a school break, a holiday, day-light savings, family vacation, etc. Make sure you begin preparing your child on the spectrum for the changes in advance. It is very important that your child, on the spectrum knows what to expect whenever possible in order to stay focused.