Helping Children Meet Their Full Potential Faster

FAQ

Frequently Ask Questions

If you’re interested in learning more about early intervention with our Outpatient Services, ABA treatment options, or Intensive (Residential) Treatment, please take a moment to look through our frequently asked questions below. If you don’t find the question you’re looking for, please give us a call or reach out to us via our contact page.

  • How common is autism?
    Autism statistics from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2014, identify around 1 in 68 American children as on the autism spectrum – a ten-fold increase in prevalence in 40 years. Careful research shows that this increase is only partly explained by improved diagnosis and awareness. Studies also show that autism is four to five times more common among boys than girls. An estimated 1 out of 42 boys and 1 in 189 girls are diagnosed with autism in the United States.
  • How early can an autism spectrum disorder be recognized in children?
    Identifying an autism spectrum disorder is difficult before the age of about 12 months but diagnosis is generally possible by the age of 2 years. Characteristic features of the onset include delay in the development or temporary regression in language and social skills and repetitive stereotyped patterns of behaviour
  • What are autism spectrum disorders?
    Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a group of complex brain development disorders. This umbrella term covers conditions such as autism and Asperger syndrome. These disorders are characterized by difficulties in social interaction and communication and a restricted and repetitive repertoire of interests and activities.
  • Do people with autism spectrum disorder always suffer from intellectual disabilities?
    The level of intellectual functioning is extremely variable in persons with an autism spectrum disorder, ranging from profound impairment to superior non-verbal cognitive skills. It is estimated that around 50% of persons with ASD also suffer from an intellectual disability.
  • What parents can do to help their child with autism spectrum disorder?
    Parents have an essential role in providing support to a child with an autism spectrum disorder. They can help to ensure access to health services and education, and offer nurturing and stimulating environments as their child grows up. Recently, it has been shown that parents can also help deliver psychosocial and behavioural treatments to their own children.
  • How are autism spectrum disorders diagnosed?
    To date, no biological diagnostic tests exist that detect autism. But scientists are hopeful that advanced imaging techniques and differences in blood levels of proteins in autistic versus normal children may have implications for diagnosis. Already, improved diagnostic procedures have allowed clinicians to diagnose children at a younger age. Formal diagnosis involves parental input and structured and systematic screening instruments, such as the Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT) and the Autism Behavioral Checklist (ABC) for older children. The Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS) and the Autism Diagnostic Inventory-Revised (ADI-R) are used, as well. These tools measure the prevalence of symptoms. Symptoms may be present from birth, or may occur after months of normal development. However, no two children with these disorders behave the same way. Children as young as 18 months may be diagnosed, but have different clinical features than an older child with autism.
  • Can adults be diagnosed with an ASD?
    Yes, adults can be diagnosed with an ASD. Diagnosis includes looking at the person’s medical history, watching the person’s behavior, and giving the person some psychological tests. But, it can be more challenging to diagnose an adult because it is not always possible to know about the person’s development during the first few years of life, and a long history of other diagnoses may complicate an ASD diagnosis. Because the focus of ASD has been on children, we still have much to learn about the prevalence and causes of ASD across the lifespan. Behavioral interventions can be effective for adults coping with a new diagnosis of autism. Source - CDC.
  • What are mitochondrial diseases or disorders?
    Mitochondria are tiny parts of almost every cell in your body. Mitochondria are like the powerhouse of the cells. They turn sugar and oxygen into energy that the cells need to work.In mitochondrial diseases, the mitochondria cannot efficiently turn sugar and oxygen into energy, so the cells do not work correctly. There are many types of mitochondrial disease, and they can affect different parts of the body: the brain, kidneys, muscles, heart, eyes, ears, and others. Mitochondrial diseases can affect one part of the body or can affect many parts. They can affect those part(s) mildly or very seriously. Not everyone with a mitochondrial disease will show symptoms. However, when discussing the group of mitochondrial diseases that tend to affect children, symptoms usually appear in the toddler and preschool years. Mitochondrial diseases and disorders are the same thing.
  • Is there a relationship between mitochondrial disease and autism?
    A child with a mitochondrial disease:
    ● may also have an autism spectrum disorder,
    ● may have some of the symptoms/signs of autism, or
    ● may not have any signs or symptoms related to autism.
    A child with autism may or may not have a mitochondrial disease. When a child has both autism and a mitochondrial disease, they sometimes have other problems as well, including epilepsy, problems with muscle tone, and/or movement disorders. More research is needed to find out how common it is for people to have autism and a mitochondrial disorder. Right now, it seems rare. In general, more research about mitochondrial disease and autism is needed.
  • Is there a relationship between autism and encephalopathy?
    Most children with an autism spectrum disorder do not and have not had encephalopathy. Some children with an autism spectrum disorder have had regression and some have had a regressive encephalopathy.
  • WHAT ARE EARLY SIGNS OF AUTISM.
    Early signs of autism include, but are not limited to
    ● Avoiding eye contact,
    ● Having little interest in other children or caretakers,
    ● Limited display of language (for example, having fewer words than peers or difficulty with use of words for communication), or
    ● Getting upset by minor changes in routine.
  • How does a child get autism?
    We know that there's no one cause of autism. Research suggests that autism develops from a combination of genetic and nongenetic, or environmental, influences. These influences appear to increase the risk that a child will develop autism.
  • What is autism spectrum disorder (ASD)?
    ASD is characterized by varying degrees of difficulty in social interaction and verbal and nonverbal communication, and the presence of repetitive behavior and restricted interests. This means that no two individuals with an ASD diagnosis are the same with respect to how the disorder manifests. However, the severity of the disorder is a reality for all individuals with this diagnosis and their families. Because of the nature of the disability, people with ASD will often not achieve the ability to function independently without appropriate medically necessary treatment.
  • EIBI (Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention)
    Consists of 20–40 hours per week of individualized instruction for children with autism who begin treatment at the age of four years or younger and who usually continue for 2 to 3 years.
  • What causes autism? What are some signs that my child may have autism?
    Get answers to these questions at these links: Autism Society and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you are concerned about your child’s development, please consult your child’s primary care physician.
  • What is Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)?
    ABA is the design, implementation, and evaluation of environmental modifications to produce socially significant improvement in human behavior. ABA includes the use of direct observation, measurement, and functional analysis of the relations between environment and behavior. ABA uses changes in environmental events, including antecedent stimuli and consequences, to produce practical and significant changes in behavior. These relevant environmental events are usually identified through a variety of specialized assessment methods. ABA is based on the fact that an individual’s behavior is determined by past and current environmental events in conjunction with organic variables such as their genetic endowment and ongoing physiological variables. ABA focuses on treating behavioral difficulties by changing the individual’s environment rather than focusing on variables that are, at least presently, beyond our direct access. ABA provides evidenced based techniques and strategies that are targeted to increasing developmental skills in communication, higher cognitive functions, social interaction learning readiness, play and motor skills, self-management, and daily living skills.

    The successful remediation of core deficits of ASD, and the development or restoration of abilities, documented in hundreds of peer-reviewed studies published over the past 50 years has made ABA the standard of care for the treatment of ASD (Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc. 2012).
  • A-B-C DATA
    A description of a RESPONSE in terms of the Antecedent (A), Behavior (B), and consequence (C) of the response.

    * Antecedent is the stimulus that immediately precedes the behavior.

    * Behavior is a description of the response in terms of its topography.

    * Consequence is the immediate outcome of the behavior.
  • Functional Assessment
    Includes a variety of tools used to determine the function of behavior, such as collecting ABC data of live events, or completing an interview with caretakers.
  • I.E.P. (Individualized Education Program)
    Document listing specific educational goals and objectives for the child and describes the educational services that will best achieve them.
  • Incidental Teaching
    Refers to teaching that “takes advantage” of naturally occurring opportunities to teach, often with student-initiated activities. In clinical usage, this is often used when discussing generalized training, with skills being practiced with stimuli “accidentally” encountered in generalized settings (actually pre-arranged conditions). Note: incidental teaching is when the child initiates the interaction, not the clinician.
  • P.E.C.S. (Picture Exchange Communication System)
    A system for communication for children who do not yet use vocal communication, in which a child exchanges a picture to ask for something he/she wants or to make comments about things in his/her environment.
  • Person Centered Planning
    An approach to program and placement construction wherein the student is an active participant in designing the program.
  • References
    1. (2014, January 1). Retrieved August 12, 2014, from www.autismspeaks.org

    2. Center for Disease Control, www.cdc.gov/

    3. Behavior Analyst Certification Board, Inc. (2012). http://www.bacb.com/Downloadfiles/ABA_Guidelines_ for_ASD.pdf

    4. Newman, R., Reeve, K., Reeve, S., & Ryan, D. (2003). Behaviorspeak. ISBN # 0-9668528-4-2
  • DTT (Discrete Trial Teaching)
    Three term contingency (Antecedent–Behavior–Consequence) relationship as applied to teaching new skills, where each trial is a separate attempt to teach a new behavior or reinforce a previously learned behavior. Example: The person working with the child asks the student to select a toy and the child selects a toy.