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    Your Roadmap to Life After an Autism Diagnosis

    Last updated 4 days ago

    It’s all too easy for parents to panic after hearing that their child has autism. They may be unsure of what the diagnosis means for their youngster’s future, where to turn for help, and what services the child may need. With the help of an autism specialist, parents can become better informed about their child’s diagnosis, they can discover local resources, and they can join a supportive autism community.

    Evaluation

    Before you can get your child the help he or she needs, an autism specialist will need to conduct a complete evaluation. Each child with autism copes with his or her own challenges. After conducting an evaluation, the autism specialist will have a thorough understanding of the child’s unique needs. You’ll meet with the specialist to discuss those needs and your own observations regarding your child, and to explore a personalized treatment plan.

    Autism Therapy

    There are many types of autism therapy available to families these days. However, not all types of therapies are clinically proven. It’s important that parents learn to discern which practices are evidence-based and which are not. For example, Applied Behavior Analysis has been clinically proven to help children with autism improve functioning. You can expect to bring your child to regularly scheduled autism therapy sessions. You’ll also work directly with the therapist to learn how to implement Applied Behavior Analysis techniques at home and in other settings.

    Community Support

    A diagnosis of autism can be stressful for the whole family. Although you’re busy caring for your child and arranging for services, it’s also important to care for your own emotional well-being. Parents may benefit from joining support groups or parent training classes. These resources can provide invaluable support and information.

    After an autism diagnosis, California parents can turn to STAR of CA for comprehensive solutions. At our autism therapy center, your family can access mental health services and autism treatment, in addition to our supportive online community forum. Give us a call at (805) 804-5671 and let us know how we can help your family.

    What Is the TEACCH Program?

    Last updated 11 days ago

    The Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication-Handicapped Children (TEACCH) program was designed to be utilized within an educational setting. This program provides for structured learning that encompasses visual cues to help children with autism master fundamental skills.

    As you’ll learn by watching this video, the primary mission of the TEACCH program is to help individuals with autism reach their full potential and to become as independent as possible when they reach adulthood. This interview with a TEACCH educator includes explanations of some of the visual tools that are used. You’ll also see a glimpse of the physical arrangement of a TEACCH classroom.

    STAR of CA provides interventional services to children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families. Call (805) 804-5671 if you would like to request more information about our approach to addressing autism-related challenges.

    Putting an End to Myths About Autism

    Last updated 17 days ago

    Research regarding the causes and effective treatments of autism has advanced greatly during recent years. Unfortunately, plenty of myths about autism still persist. These myths can cause serious challenges when they interfere with a child’s ability to access effective autism therapies and when they lead to difficult interactions with children with autism.

    Myth: Vaccines Can Cause Autism

    One of the most damaging myths about autism is that the disorder is caused by vaccines. This myth began when Dr. Wakefield published a paper in 1998 that claimed the measles-mumps-rubella (MMR) vaccine led to the development of autism. The paper was later discredited, no evidence was found to substantiate the assertion, and Dr. Wakefield has been banned from practicing medicine. However, the myth still persists. It has prompted many parents to refuse to vaccinate their children.

    Myth: Alternative Medicine Can Cure Autism

    Another potentially harmful myth about autism is that alternative treatments can cure it. Although researchers have yet to find a cure for autism, some individuals claim that special diets, chelation, or even vitamins can eliminate autism symptoms. While scientific evidence does not substantiate these claims, there is clinical evidence that Applied Behavior Analysis can help children with autism develop important skills and improve function.

    Myth: Children with Autism Cannot Speak

    It’s commonly thought that all children with autism are nonverbal. Indeed, some individuals with autism do not speak. However, every child is unique and faces his or her own challenges. Many individuals with autism can communicate well and may only struggle with a few language-related issues, such as interpreting social cues, “reading” facial expressions, or speaking with an expressive tone of voice. Children who do have speech and language difficulties can work with an autism therapist to improve their communication abilities.

     STAR of CA welcomes new families into our supportive community. Our autism specialists can provide your child with an individualized program based on Applied Behavior Analysis. For more information about effective autism therapy or our parent training initiatives, call an autism specialist at (805) 804-5671.

    Spotlight on Understanding Autism

    Last updated 27 days ago

    Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) refers to a group of disorders that affect brain development. Autism affects millions of individuals in the U.S. and around the world. Thanks to intensive efforts by researchers, it is now known that autism is likely caused by several different factors. Certain rare gene mutations have been associated with autism development. In a small number of cases, autism may be caused by these mutations alone. However, much of the time, it is believed that autism arises from the combination of autism risk genes and environmental factors such as advanced parental age, birth difficulties that involve oxygen deprivation, and maternal illness during pregnancy.

    The signs of autism can develop very early in life. In many cases, families can recognize the signs of autism by the second or third year. It’s important to understand that every child with autism will face unique challenges. However, there are some commonalities. ASD frequently affects an individual’s social skills, speech and language abilities, physical health, and motor coordination.

    The team of autism specialists at STAR of CA is dedicated to empowering families of children with autism. You can learn more about our services and methodologies on our website or by calling (805) 804-5671.

    What are the Benefits of Speech Therapy?

    Last updated 1 month ago

    Speech and language difficulties are a common challenge associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Children with autism experience varying degrees of speech and language impairment. Some youngsters may be unable to speak at all; others may make unusual noises or repeat the same phrases over and over again. Speech therapy can help these kids overcome these challenges, enabling them to thrive in school and beyond.

    Language Comprehension

    For some children with autism, language comprehension is a serious impediment to interacting with others and succeeding in an academic environment. Some children may memorize what they’ve heard, yet not fully understand it. They may have difficulty understanding the true meaning of words and phrases, which creates problems when those words are used outside of the original context. Speech therapy can help youngsters with autism develop a better understanding of the meaning of words and phrases.

    Nonverbal Communication

    When a child with autism is nonverbal or has extremely limited speech, a therapist can help that youngster communicate more effectively in a nonverbal manner. Doing so can greatly reduce frustration for the child because he or she will be able to let others know what he needs and wants. Additionally, nonverbal communication sets the stage for the later development of verbal communication. During speech therapy sessions, kids can learn to use augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) devices. There are many types of AAC devices, ranging from sign language to picture cards to electronic talkers.

    Pragmatic Language Skills

    It’s common for a child with autism to have trouble with pragmatic language. This refers to the use of language within a social context. For example, a child may be unable to “read” another person’s body language, facial expressions, or other subtle cues that complement a conversation. Speech therapy can help children with autism develop better pragmatic language skills, which in turn can improve their social interactions.

    Parents can turn to STAR of CA for the help their youngsters need to improve their communication, behavior, and social interactions. Our autism specialists use evidence-based practices to help children with autism reach their full potential. If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of our caring autism specialists, please call (805) 804-5671.

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  • 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM Sunday
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STAR California, a division of Support and Treatment for Autism and Related Disorders, provides Psychological and ABA Services to children and families in home and community settings. This division does not provide school-based educational services.
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