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    A Parent's Guide to Safety at Home

    Last updated 4 hours 42 minutes ago

    Children have a tendency to be unaware of their own vulnerability. Unfortunately, children with autism take this to the extreme, often exploring dangerous places and playing with potentially hazardous objects. Parents can work with an autism specialist to learn more about potential hazards and how to keep kids with autism safe from harm at home and in other environments. An effective safety plan will have a multipronged approach. That is, it will focus on teaching children correct behaviors while modifying the home to improve safety.

    Modify Your Windows

    Some children with autism have a tendency to climb out of windows. Parents can place locks on windows to safeguard their kids. In the event that a child engages in self-injurious behaviors, such as pounding on the glass, parents can replace the panes with Plexiglas.

    Lock Up Hazardous Items

    There is a wide range of objects that could pose danger to a child with autism. Parents should keep all medications, chemicals, detergents, pesticides, cleaning supplies, and similar items locked up, away from the child’s reach. Other potentially dangerous items include sharp objects, matches, and lighters.

    Use Visual Reminders

    Many parents have found visual reminders to be successful. For example, parents of kids with autism frequently place printouts that look like stop signs on the interior of all doors to prevent wandering. You can use these visual reminders in any other potentially dangerous place that your child may try to explore. Some parents also place brightly colored tape along floors or walls to remind children of set boundaries. This can be particularly helpful if your child has a tendency to climb up on tall objects or wander away from your watchful eye.

    Work with an Autism Specialist

    An autism specialist can help your child learn about appropriate and inappropriate behaviors. He or she can help instill safety skills through the use of social stories and roleplaying, for example.

    STAR of CA provides a comprehensive range of autism therapy services, all of which are based on clinically proven principles. Our autism therapists can design a behavioral intervention plan for your child that can reduce problematic behaviors and improve his or her safety in various environments. To request more information about Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and our intervention services, call (805) 804-5671.

    Coping with a Crisis at School

    Last updated 8 days ago

    Children with autism may experience crises at school, such as disruptive, self-injurious, destructive, or aggressive behaviors. When a crisis occurs at school, the school has a responsibility to protect the well-being of all students and staff members, contact the parents immediately, and write up an incident report. When the situation is under control, the school may need to conduct a functional behavioral assessment and re-evaluate the student’s behavioral intervention plan.

    This video explains the role of the school in handling crises. It features an autism expert who shares information regarding when a school may suspend a student and what parents can do if this happens. This expert also discusses what parents can do in the event the school is not capable of helping the student or isn’t helping enough.

    Families who are experiencing challenges related to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can find the comprehensive therapy and support services they need at STAR of CA. You can schedule a consultation with an autism specialist by calling (805) 804-5671.

    The Steps of Preventing Wandering at School

    Last updated 15 days ago

    For children with autism, the risk of wandering at school is something parents and faculty need to work together to address. With good planning and attention to the problem, parents can feel confident that school is a safe place for their child with autism. If your child has a tendency to wander, here are some ways you can help manage the behavior at school.

    Address the Issue

    When you work with the school on your child’s IEP (Individualized Education Program), be sure to address the issue of wandering. Alert the school to past incidences of wandering so that the staff members are aware. It’s also a good idea to have a meeting with your child’s IEP team and school administrators to address the issue. Even if your child doesn’t have a history of wandering, this presents a great opportunity to educate the school staff about the risk of wandering with autism so that they are in the best possible position to give your child the attention he or she needs.

    Document Incidents

    Ask that the school notifies you of any wandering incidents that occur, however minor. Documenting these experiences will help the school and you notice any patterns to wandering incidents that may identify specific triggers. Carefully documenting the incidents may also make it easier to find your child should a significant wandering incident happen. Be sure that all episodes of wandering are also documented in the IEP.

    Talk to School Security

    School security staff should be informed that your child might wander so that they can be vigilant. You should also take the time to talk to the staff about your child’s autism and the best ways to interact with him or her—for instance, explain whether or not your child tolerates touch. Introducing your child to the security staff can also ease any future interactions.

    At STAR of CA, we can help you develop a plan for working with your child’s school on all issues related to autism. Our autism therapies can also help you and your child reduce problems that can cause issues in the school, such as wandering. Learn more about our evidence-based autism programs by calling (805) 804-5671.

    Understanding the Symptoms of Autism

    Last updated 23 days ago

    For family members of people with autism, it might be easy to recognize autism symptoms, but understanding them is not quite as simple. It isn’t easy for people without autism to understand the different ways those with autism process their environments and what that means for how they approach the world. Fortunately, people with autism have been able to explain what the world is like for them, so family and friends can have a better understanding. Here is a look at some of the things they’ve had to say.

    Imbalanced Senses

    Having autism can feel like your senses are imbalanced or tuned to the wrong stimuli. While people without autism may be able to walk into a room and determine which sights and sounds are important cues for decoding the situation, a person with autism may walk into that same room and be overly distracted by sounds or sights others may barely notice, such as the whirl of a ceiling fan or a pattern in the wallpaper. This information overload can make it extremely difficult and frustrating for someone with autism to read certain circumstances.

    Speech Challenges

    People with autism do not have diminished intelligence. However, speech delays are a common part of autism. They have nothing to do with intellectual development and instead are caused by difficulties understanding how to use language. Most people with autism do become vocal and often have very large vocabularies. However, expressing feelings may always be a challenge, which can be isolating.


    Because having autism can make it harder to read the world around them, many people with autism feel a need to compulsively organize things or talk obsessively about a specific topic. These urges may be attempts to instill a foundation in a world that feels chaotic. This may also be the same reason why a person with autism might struggle with last-minute schedule changes.

    At STAR of CA, we’re committed to helping whole families thrive when a member has autism. Our proven autism treatment program and support services for family members could be the solutions you’ve been seeking. For more information, call us at (805) 804-5671. 

    Actions to Take During a Crisis at Home

    Last updated 28 days ago

    When you’re facing a crisis at home that involves your child with autism, it’s not always clear what steps you should take. The important thing to remember is that help is available. This video explains more.

    During a crisis, focus on dealing with the immediate situation and not your behavior plan. It is okay if you have to abandon your plan to deal with the crisis, and then work on getting back on track in the future. Don’t be ashamed or afraid to reach out for help. If there is a local autism support group, turn there. If not, build a network of community members you can call on in a crisis. You may be surprised by the number of people who are willing to help.

    STAR of CA is here to provide California families with the evidence-based autism support they need. Find out how we can help your family by calling (805) 804-5671.

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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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