The Benefits of Early Behavioral Intervention

Researchers have analyzed the success of early behavioral interventions. (photo:

A recent review provides evidence of the effectiveness of early intervention, specifically interventions with behavioral approaches based on applied behavioral analysis (ABA) principles. Continue reading

Dealing with Challenging Behavior

Kim Ceccarelli is a behavioral coordinator and crisis specialist at the Northshore Education Consortium in Beverly, Massachusetts who has worked in the autism field for 25 years. “My work involved providing safe and effective behavior management—including de-escalation strategies and behavior intervention—for about 25 students who have autism and fall within the ‘severe’ category,” Ceccarelli explains. Her students range from ages 7 to 21 years old and many of them are completely nonverbal.

In her classrooms, she works with her staff to grasp that idea that their behavior is their form of communication. As caretakers, you need to become detectives and actually analyze why your child may be acting out by running around, kicking, or screaming.

Ceccarelli noticed that whenever a child would act out aggressively, they always seemed remorseful after the act, for example by rubbing the area they may have hurt someone, which made her realize that her students didn’t want to act out.  She notes that once she started acknowledging that many of her students didn’t have much control over what their bodies did during a meltdown, she was able to look at their behavior from a different perspective. She began to analyze what exactly was triggering certain behaviors and what she could do avoid this behavior or change it.

“I still remember one 20 year old student who would lose control of his body, flailing forcefully when upset, until finally he slammed his head into a wall—almost as if that was the only way to stop the episode or get relief,” she explains. “At the onset, we began prompting him to sit and put beads in a pipe cleaner with his forearms resting on the table. Having his forearms on the table was incompatible with the flailing. Other students just needed to learn one word—wait—when in a crowded hallway to replace body slamming the walls. These are small interventions, but they made a huge difference.

Whenever she taught a student a replacement behavior, they had a tendency to choose the replacement behavior over their original more challenging behavior, and they appear to be grateful for it. The hardest part is figuring out what it is that your child needs, but even the littlest adjustments can make the biggest difference.

On Day 1 of our upcoming conference, we will have a workshop lead by Dr. Brian Iwata on “Functional Analysis & Treatment of Severe Problem Behavior”. For more information and tickets to the event, click here!

To read more about Ceccarelli’s learning points for children with autism, click here!

New Online Course For Parents of Children With Autism Designed by Medical & Educational Experts






The University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Eunice Kennedy Shriver Center has launched an online course designed to help parents of children with autism better understand behavioral intervention, advocate for their child’s needs in school programs, and navigate the legal rights of disabled persons. The course is divided into ten-modules, allowing parents to set the pace, and is intended for use as early as diagnosis. The lessons follow six families of children with autism spectrum disorder through common scenarios to guide parents in the implementation of Behavioral Intervention strategies. The program manager, Maura Buckley, a mother of two young teenagers with autism, used her experience navigating the various systems of care and education to form this parental guide. Buckley notes having felt uninvolved and uninformed about her children’s daily lives while in school and therapy. She asserts the benefits of the new program saying, “Being able to interact with the professionals who are helping my child, and being able to advocate for what they need is so important.”[i] Seminars can be difficult to coordinate attending, especially for a parent of a child with autism, so an online program allows accessibility to up-to-date information on intervention strategies and educational approaches, bridging the gap between specialists and parents. Additionally, equipping parents with the knowledge of behavioral intervention will allow parents to reinforce their children’s progress from school and therapy programs, providing the most comprehensive care for individuals on the autism spectrum. Parents who take the course will know what and how to inform specialists of behavior at home as well as how to best respond in particular circumstances. The course is available for monthly, quarterly, and annual subscription The experts responsible for the course are in the process of creating an Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA) course for paraprofessionals, to be released this summer.

[i] Meindersma, Sandy. “Medical School Launches Online Course for Parents of Children with Autism.” Worcester Telegram & Gazette. N.p., 26 May 2013. Web. 28 May 2013. <>.

SKHOV recovering from Hurricane Sandy


Shema Kolainu - Hear Our Voices

Shema Kolainu - Hear Our Voices

Shema Kolainu – Hear Our Voices is recovering from Hurricane Sandy. Our School & Center was closed Monday and Tuesday October 29th and 30th. We will be open again tomorrow Wednesday October 31st. We are eager to have all of our kids back in school as it can be difficult for children with autism to have a change in routines. With Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) it is important to have continuity and cross-over of learning and skills from the school setting to home setting. When this pattern is disrupted it can be difficult for the child and family to get back on track. Our staff is ready with open arms to welcome the children back to school and help them through the transitions and changes in routines.

Tricare ordered to cover ABA therapy for military families

Tricare has been ordered by a federal judge to cover autism therapy for children of military families.  Unfortunately the reimbursement for applied behavior analysis (ABA) treatment could take years as the issue is still tied up in court.

Judge Reggie Walton, of U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia who made the ruling, could also extend ABA coverage for active-duty dependents, considering it a medical treatment that would fall under Tricare’s basic program. Continue reading

Treating Autism – An Array of Options

Trawling the internet for literature on autism treatments can be a daunting task.  As you start digging, you’ll find dozens of options available.  As every child’s needs are different, it is nearly impossible to find the “best” treatments.

Below are a selection of some of the most well known and researched treatments most likely to have a positive outcome.  However, it is important to remember that often treatment options work best when used in conjunction with others.  Trial and error can be the best way to figure out what treatment plan will best suit an individual’s particular issues.

Continue reading