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    What Is Natural Environment Teaching?

    Last updated 1 month ago

    Natural environment teaching is often used during autism therapy. As the name implies, it involves teaching children with autism to learn skills that they can apply across a range of environments. For example, a child who learns how to take turns at an autism therapy center will need to exercise turn taking in the classroom, on the playground, at home, at grandma’s house, and in all other settings that comprise the child’s natural environment, or day-to-day surroundings.

    By being able to apply newly mastered skills to all environments, rather than just one or two, children with autism can more readily interact with others independently. Parents can work with their child’s autism therapist to learn how to help their youngster apply skills across different environments. Consistent and positive reinforcement of these skills is necessary for progress. Additionally, the autism therapist may create the appearance of different environments at the therapy center to help children understand the contexts for their skills.

    The specialists at STAR of CA use evidence-based methods such as natural environment teaching to help children with autism reach their full potential. For more information on autism therapy, call (805) 583-8060.

    ABA and Autism: A Parent's Guide

    Last updated 1 month ago

    Children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) face many different challenges. They often have trouble making friends, dealing with social interactions, and overcoming behavioral challenges. They may display atypical body movements, have trouble coping with routines, and struggle to express their needs and feelings. If your child has autism, understand that there is help available for him or her. An autism specialist can evaluate your child to determine his or her unique needs, and develop an autism treatment plan using Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA).

    Understanding ABA

    Behavior analysis is a discipline that seeks to understand how individuals learn. It works toward understanding behavior and how behaviors may be affected by any aspect of the environment, namely, social or physical factors. Applied Behavior Analysis is the application of the principles and techniques of behavior analysis to help children with autism replace challenging behaviors with desirable ones. ABA techniques have been fine-tuned since the 1960’s and they are substantiated by scientific evidence of their effectiveness.

    Identifying the Benefits

    By working with an ABA therapist, children with autism can learn new skills that can facilitate greater independence. They can learn how to listen to others and to follow directions. They can learn how to become active participants in the classroom and to navigate other situations in the home, at the grocery store, on the playground, and elsewhere. Above all, ABA can help children develop their full potential.

    Exploring a Therapy Session

    ABA is a highly personalized approach. An autism specialist will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of the child’s skills, deficits, interests, and preferences. The goals of the family as a whole will also be considered. Then, an intervention plan is developed that includes target goals for communication, academic skills, motor skills, and other areas.

    California parents can turn to STAR of CA for the help their children need to excel. Our autism specialists provide therapy sessions based on the evidence-based principles of Applied Behavior Analysis. Give us a call today at (805) 583-8060 to join our supportive autism community.

    Examining Evidence-Based Treatment Options for Autism

    Last updated 1 month ago

    Parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) are often so desperate to help their children overcome their challenges that they sometimes try non-evidence-based practices. Just as the name implies, scientific evidence to substantiate these practices is lacking. Fortunately, however, there are evidence-based autism treatment options that have helped many children make remarkable progress with their language abilities, social skills, and behaviors.

    Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

    Applied Behavior Analysis has long been considered to be the gold standard of autism therapy. ABA is a systematic approach to replacing negative behaviors with desirable ones through the use of positive reinforcement. ABA is also used to help children with autism master new skills and learn how to apply these new skills in a variety of settings. Different types of therapies are based on ABA principles, such as discrete trial teaching (DTT) and pivotal response training (PRT).

    Speech Therapy

    In addition to working with an autism therapist during sessions structured around the principles of ABA, children with autism can greatly benefit from speech therapy. Some children with autism have trouble initiating conversations and following conversations, while others may have difficulties with pragmatic language skills, which refers to the use of language within a social context. Speech therapy can help children with autism learn how to communicate their needs and wants, and to competently navigate social interactions.

    Physical Therapy

    Children with autism who have gross motor skill deficits may work with a physical therapist. Physical therapy is an evidence-based practice that can help kids develop better balance and coordination, which in turn can help them become active participants in daily activities.

    Occupational Therapy

    Many children with autism spectrum disorder have trouble with typical daily activities, particularly those that require fine motor skills such as fastening a button and using eating utensils. Occupational therapy can help these children learn basic self-care skills to become more independent.

    If you’re concerned about your child’s development, you can schedule an evaluation at STAR of CA. Our autism specialists only use evidence-based autism treatment options such as Applied Behavior Analysis. If you have any questions, please call (805) 583-8060 to speak with a friendly staff member.

    The Autism Spectrum Explained

    Last updated 1 month ago

    If your child has recently been diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), you’ll likely want to learn as much about autism as you can to better help your child. It’s important to understand that every child who is on the spectrum is unique and has different characteristics, skills, and needs. However, children with autism tend to have difficulty across similar areas, including speech and language, social interactions, and behavior.

    You can hear more about these challenges by watching this video. This expert from The National Center for Learning Disabilities explains a few different types of autism and discusses some indicators of autism. These may include speech delays, lack of eye contact, problems understanding abstract language, and atypical behaviors such as arm flapping.

    Here at STAR of CA, our team has extensive experience working with children who are developing atypically. If you would like to schedule a consultation with one of our autism specialists, please call (805) 583-8060.

    Spotlight on Our Mental Health Services

    Last updated 1 month ago

    At STAR of CA, you’ll find a comprehensive suite of services for families facing an autism diagnosis, including mental health services. Children, adolescents, and adults can receive evidence-based treatments such as counseling for individuals or couples, parent education, group therapy, and family psychotherapy, in addition to psychodiagnostic assessment.

    Although our center is perhaps best known for providing autism therapy, our licensed psychologists, licensed Marriage and Family Therapists (MFTs), and other professionals also work with individuals who are struggling with anxiety, bipolar disorder, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, ADHD, grief, and other challenges. Our professionals take pride in helping individuals work through difficult situations with cognitive behavioral therapy, behavioral classroom management, parent management training, family focused therapy, and other modalities. Families who wish to explore our mental health services are invited to schedule an intake interview, at which time they can ask all of their questions and discuss a recommended treatment plan.

    To schedule an intake interview, please call STAR of CA at (805) 583-8060. Or, visit our website to learn more about our mental health services and autism treatments, such as Applied Behavior Analysis.

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  • Hours:

  • 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM Sunday
  • 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM Monday
  • 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM Tuesday
  • 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM Wednesday
  • 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM Thursday
  • 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM Friday
  • 6:00 AM to 8:00 PM Saturday


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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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