Weighted Blanket: What Is It & How To Make It?


Difficulty communicating is one of the first signs of autism. Social, communicating and language skills develop differently and more slowly in children with autism in comparison to “regular” children. Autism can be diagnosed at as early as 18 months old. … Continue reading

Applied Behavior Analysis: Opening New Doors

aba applied behavior analysis

ABA need not teach children with autism to be someone else, but rather, to develop into a different version of themselves- a version where they have control over their own behavior, socialization and communication. Continue reading

Finding the Perfect Fit: Enrichment Programs for Your Child

autism resources

Enrolling your child into one or more ‘enrichment’ programs designed for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder can significantly improve not only their cognitive skills, but their social skills as well. The only caveat is figuring out which program would work best for your child. Continue reading

Group Training for Parents Proves Highly Beneficial

parent training study

Antonio Hardan and his colleagues at the Stanford University School of Medicine and Lucie Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford conducted a study where they found that training parents in groups about basic autism therapy was a beneficial method in helping children … Continue reading

“BIP Builder” Proven Useful to Creating Effecting Behavioral Intervention Plans

When creating effective IEP’s (Individualized Education Program) for a child with autism, professionals want to use evidence-based and proven therapy methods. The Skillsé program is an online tool to help professionals and educators select child-specific treatment methods, that according to the Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD), provides access to

  1. Assessment- an evaluation of the child’s skills
  2. Eight Curricula- step-by-step instructions on activities that help children with autism acquire the skills they need
  3. Positive Behavior Support Planning for Challenging Behavior- a tool for setting up and storing BIPs for challenging behavior
  4. Progress Tracking- keeps a record on how the child responds to treatment, and how a range of events impacts on his or her progress
  5. Analytics- provides probably clinical outcomes, team evaluation and cost analyses[i]

One of the components of this program is the “BIP Builder” (Behavioral Intervention Plan). A successful randomized, controlled study showed that this program is effective in function-based intervention components. Jonathan Tarbox, PhD, BCBA-D, Director of Research and Development at CARD commented,

“We were excited to be able to evaluate a web-based tool that we hoped would be a useful and practical resource for clinicians who are in the trenches, providing effective behavioral intervention for children with autism spectrum disorder on a daily basis. Overall, we found that the too was easy to use, and it provided information that helped clinicians write better behavior intervention plans.” [ii]

Creating effective behavior plans for students who display unwanted behaviors is important for the success of removing these behaviors from the child’s daily routine.

[i] “Skills for Autism.” How to Use Skills –. N.p., n.d. Web. 31 Oct. 2013.

[ii] “Medical News Today” Web-based autism intervention tool shows promise. 26 Oct 2013. Web. <http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/267959.php>

Years of Silence Broken Through Use of IPad

Watson Dollar was born typical, but at the age of two regressed and was eventually diagnosed with autism. Although not seen or discussed everyday, there are many children who develop “normally” the first two years of life—socializing, learning language, communicating, showing emotion—and then eventually, slip away. Watson’s parents, Pam and Don, reflect on his first years as being an active child, singing and dancing around the house, until he became distant and his 150 word vocabulary was no longer there. Watson was enrolled in different therapy programs and learning facilities, but to no avail. He was silent until November 11, 2011 when he communicated his first words with his mother, typing on an IPad.

Both confused and excited, Pam tested her son’s ability to communicate and was impressed to learn he was able to express emotion and recall memories of his childhood to his mother. He remembered growing up, naming names of classmates who were both nice and mean to him, and recalling experiences with his childhood friend, Chaneka Roby. This new-found communication came especially handy, as Watson was now able to express why he was feeling agitated and expressing his wants, rather than having emotional and behavioral meltdowns.

When asked if there was anything he wanted people to know about autism he responded, “For people (to) try to understand me. Then they will be nicer to people with autism.” [i]

The use of non-vocal communication is becoming more prevalent in the autism community, and even here with our students at Shema Kolainu-Hear Our Voices. Using non-verbal communication tools, such as the IPad, enables the child to express his or her needs, and therefore reduce unwanted behaviors.

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[i] “USA Today” Autistic man breaks through the silence. 14 Jul 2013. Web. <http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/07/14/autistic-man-breaks-through-the-silence/2516527/>