Speech And Language Therapy
People with ASD may need help with communication skills. Some are very vocal while others may not speak at all.
Knowing many words does not mean that someone with ASD can communicate in a way that is easily understood. And knowing only a few words may mean that someone with ASD communicates in their own way.
Some people with ASD are well spoken when talking about their favourite topic. However, they may be unable to communicate effectively in other areas.
A speech-language therapist can help people understand and use words to:
- ask for help
- look at books and tell stories
- start, stop or take turns in a conversation
A speech-language therapist can also help people understand and use gestures to communicate. They may:
- work directly with the person using a personalized program
- teach the family, caregivers or teachers helpful skills
Submit Your Expense Form
The expense form reports, categorizes and summarizes how you spent the money so the ministry can reconcile the funding.
Do not submit invoices, receipts or other proof of payment with your expense form.
You must keep original records of all receipts, invoices and any supporting proof of payment of your expenses for seven years from the date shown on the invoice or receipt. These documents may be requested if you are audited.
You can submit the expense form before your funding end date if you have spent the entire amount of your Ontario Autism Program interim one-time funding and you have proof of payment for your expenses.
How To Seek A Second Opinion
Whittaker says you dont have to discuss that you wish to seek a second opinion with your healthcare professional, though it can be helpful for the second practitioner to get the information from the initial diagnosis.
Your healthcare professional can also refer you to someone else. Theyre used to patients asking for second opinions, Whittaker says.
From there, you can call different healthcare professionals to discuss your situation and unique needs.
Social anxiety and autism can feel overwhelming at times, but support is available. Whittaker shares several resources to help you navigate testing, therapy, and support.
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Understanding Autism Spectrum Disorders
Autism is not a single disorder, but a spectrum of closely related disorders with a shared core of symptoms. Every individual on the autism spectrum has problems to some degree with social interaction, empathy, communication, and flexible behavior. But the level of disability and the combination of symptoms varies tremendously from person to person. In fact, two kids with the same diagnosis may look very different when it comes to their behaviors and abilities.
If youre a parent dealing with a child on the autism spectrum, you may hear many different terms including high-functioning autism, atypical autism, autism spectrum disorder, and pervasive developmental disorder. These terms can be confusing, not only because there are so many, but because doctors, therapists, and other parents may use them in dissimilar ways.
But no matter what doctors, teachers, and other specialists call the autism spectrum disorder, its your childs unique needs that are truly important. No diagnostic label can tell you exactly what challenges your child will have. Finding treatment that addresses your childs needs, rather than focusing on what to call the problem, is the most helpful thing you can do. You dont need a diagnosis to start getting help for your childs symptoms.
Whats in a name?
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Signs And Symptoms Of Autism In Babies And Toddlers
If autism is caught in infancy, treatment can take full advantage of the young brains remarkable plasticity. Although autism is hard to diagnose before 24 months, symptoms often surface between 12 and 18 months. If signs are detected by 18 months of age, intensive treatment may help to rewire the brain and reverse the symptoms.
The earliest signs of autism involve the absence of typical behaviorsnot the presence of atypical onesso they can be tough to spot. In some cases, the earliest symptoms of autism are even misinterpreted as signs of a good baby, since the infant may seem quiet, independent, and undemanding. However, you can catch warning signs early if you know what to look for.
Some autistic infants dont respond to cuddling, reach out to be picked up, or look at their mothers when being fed.
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What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder Previously Called Autism And Pervasive Developmental Disorders
Autism spectrum disorder is a neurodevelopmental disorder characterized by the following:
- Difficulties in social communication differences, including verbal and nonverbal communication.
- Deficits in social interactions.
- Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests or activities and sensory problems
Many of those with ASD can have delayed or absence of language development, intellectual disabilities, poor motor coordination and attention weaknesses.
Dealing With Social Skills Issues In Asd Patients
Its difficult to deal with social dysfunction because social skills cover such a broad gamut of capabilities. These include:
- Verbal and non-verbal communication
- Sensory perception
- Understanding of context in social situations
There is limited research on the outcomes for social skills training but what exists suggest that it is hampered by a failure to emphasize social skill development and implement it effectively. A 2007 meta-analysis by Indiana University of 55 social skills intervention programs used in school-age ASD populations found that they were largely ineffective. Not surprisingly, social skills training that took place when autistic students were segregated from the general student population was far less effective than if it took place in their usual classroom alongside neurotypical kids as if a study was needed to figure that out.
Nonetheless, school programs were found to be more effective than programs offered in other contexts, which suggests that training social skills in social environmentsa naturalistic approach often used in ABA therapyshows the most promise. And some therapists have suggested that most ABA therapy aimed at improving social skills simply isnt intense and immersive enough to help patients develop more socially appropriate behavior and abandon bad social habits and responses.
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Diagnosis Of Autism And Co
Many of the young people in the study had multiple needs in relation to their autism and were often assigned to learning disability or mental health services. While social workers in learning disability services were well equipped to respond to their needs, sometimes a young persons autism was overshadowed by their learning disability diagnosis.
This was even more prevalent where the young adult also had mental health conditions, with mental health services not always fully understanding, or catering to, their needs relating to their autism. This sometimes led to a misunderstanding about the root cause of behaviours of concern and even misdiagnosis.
Upon reflection and conversations with practitioners, the chief social workers felt that stand-alone autism services integrated with health and care services could include specialist clinical staff and social workers. This could lead to more creative and personalised service development as well as earlier access to sensory reviews and support to improve living environments.
Where there was a jointly produced care plan between health services and social workers, this led to positive outcomes for young adults and their families.
How Is Asd Diagnosed
There is no simple medical test for diagnosing ASD.
To diagnose a child with ASD, a healthcare professional observes the childs levels of:
This could include the childs:
- verbal skills
- how they relate to others
- behaviours related to their interests and activities
- repeated actions related to how they speak, move or use objects
To determine the severity of ASD, the healthcare professional observes the amount of difficulty the child has with:
- social communication
Medical professionals use the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders to evaluate ASD.
If a health care provider thinks that your child may have ASD, get a referral for a diagnosis. A specialist will create a detailed description of your child’s strengths and challenges. A team of health professionals may work together for this assessment.
Testing for ASD will also make sure that this is not a different condition. For instance, sometimes hearing loss can explain your childs unresponsiveness in social situations or when their name is called.
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What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder
Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental disability that can cause significant social, communication, and behavioral challenges. The term spectrum refers to the wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of impairment that people with ASD can have.
ASD affects people in different ways and can range from mild to severe. People with ASD share some symptoms, such as difficulties with social interaction, but there are differences in when the symptoms start, how severe they are, the number of symptoms, and whether other problems are present. The symptoms and their severity can change over time.
The behavioral signs of ASD often appear early in development. Many children show symptoms by 12 months to 18 months of age or earlier.
Why Autism Struggles With Social Cues
There are different theories that can help explain why social cues, body language, and non-verbal communication are so complex for children on the spectrum, but these explanations do little to explain why autism often struggles with other forms of social communication and the complexities of language. In general, one theory on the nature of missing non-verbal cues involves the natural inclination among children with autism to avoid eye and facial contact.
While we teach our children that its polite to look at another person when they are speaking to you, for children on the spectrum, doing so is incredibly uncomfortable and feels threatening. Research indicates that deficits in the ability to recognize expressions among patients with ASD may link to a heightened response.
Although most people learn to read faces intuitively and become experts in recognizing cues during normal conversation, people on the spectrum avoid looking at the face as an adaptive strategy, due to increased activity in the amygdala. Put plainly, they are more likely to be agitated and to experience feelings of anxiety when making eye contact. This is because making eye contact is perceived as threatening in the brain, and while this is overcome in most people depending on the context of the situation , people with ASD have a heightened reaction to direct eye contact.
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Rigidity In The Way People With Autism Can Think May Make It Difficult For Them To Compromise Or Cope With Changes In Routine
Having a routine provides predictability and comfort it is a way of reducing anxiety. Therefore, they may struggle if other people change their minds after plans have been arranged or turn up late. This can cause immense frustration. This can also mean they may struggle to see other peoples perceptions of situations.
High Functioning Autism Symptoms
- Fixation on Particular Subjects or Ideas
- Linguistic Oddities
- Development of Repetitive or Restrictive Habits
- Dislike of Change
- Focus on Self
- Unusual Movement Patterns
Diagnosis rates for autism continue to rise, especially as parents and professionals become more familiar with the symptoms of high-functioning autism. Many patients are getting the assistance they need to live full, productive lives because their unusual behaviors are no longer seen as simple social awkwardness or eccentricity. As more caring medical and mental health professionals learn to recognize the most common symptoms of autism, the number of interventions available to people with autism will rise.
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How Is Autism Spectrum Disorder Diagnosed
There are no laboratory tests to determine ASD. However, certain healthcare providers receive specific training and can do screenings and evaluations if needed and who might ask parents or teachers to record observations. These providers might include specialized physicians, psychologists and speech-language pathologists.
Whats The Opposite Of Autistic
Reeling people in Chris has Williams Syndrome , a rare genetic disorder affecting around one in 18,000 people in Britain. It has often been dubbed the opposite of autism. People with WS are empathetic, social, friendly and endearing but they tend to have a low IQ, making tasks such as counting money difficult.
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When You Have An Interest It’s Intense And All
Obsessions are a very common part of autistic experiences. They tend to involve learning everything possible about one particular thing or range of things, from television shows to objects to people. It can either be an entire topic or something seriously specific, too. It’s not the same as being a super-fan, though a “special interest,” as it’s termed for the autistic, is an integral part of your identity and how you live your life, and is pursued in every avenue possible. One study calls them “intense, interfering, and idiosyncratic,” which sounds like a trio of children’s book characters. And pursuing your special interest is also deeply comforting.
You Are Often Focused On Small Details Rather Than The Big Picture
The autistic brain is good at certain things and not at others. It’s exceptionally detail-oriented, able to pick up on a lot of tiny information at once, but it finds it harder to put together into a big picture. A 2013 study from NYU indicated that autistic brains process information in a different way than non-autistic ones, possibly because of lower levels of oxytocin, which both influences our social bonding and helps our brains sort and prioritize information.
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The Autism Risk For Families With Certain Traits
Looking at it from another angle, does the presence of a certain level of autistic traits in one or both parents increase the chances of having a child with autism?
Yes, according to a research team that included psychiatrist John N. Constantino, the developer of a questionnaire for measuring autistic traits, the Social Responsiveness Scale. The risk of ASD in a child rose by 52 percent if one of his parents had a high score on the questionnaire, and by 85 percent if both parents had high scores.14
The team found higher scores in both parents of children with autism more often than would be expected by chance alone. That points to the possible role of assortative mating. That’s a scientific way of saying people tend to choose partners who are like themselves, whether they are aloof or sociable. This study did not directly address whether the parents’ occupations had anything to do with this. Its data happened to be drawn from a huge study of U.S. nurses, a profession popularly believed to attract caring and empathetic people.
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Above All Else, Believe
Believe that your child with ASD is capable of learning these skills. If you dont believe that there is potential for change, your efforts to teach new skills may not be fruitful. The ability to engage in social interactions and play predicts many other outcomes related to ASD, such as cognitive skills, self-esteem, regulating emotions, and motivation. We can mitigate the risk of developing issues in other areas by improving social confidence through the use of these strategies for building social skills.
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Relationships And Social Attachments
You find it hard to making and keeping friends, although you have lots of acquaintances. People with autism, on the other hand, often lack the skills to grasp basic things like tone and body language that are part of social communication.
Autism is not so much characterized by “social awkwardness.” It is more about not being able to interpret or process social cues central to human interactions.
The Flavors Of Autism
Genes can be passed directly from parent to child, but not all genetic changes, or mutations, come from parents. Children also can have mutations that occur by chance or by virtue of some environmental influence. Parents’ ages are one example of an environmental influence children born to older parents are more likely to have genetic changes that they did not inherit from their folks.7 These mutations are de novo, a Latin expression that means new.
Researchers theorize that families who have more than one member with autism are more likely to be passing down genes for autism. If that’s true, then those parents are more likely to show autistic-like characteristics than families who have only one member with autism. Scientists hope to figure out what those genes are, and how they trigger autism in their children. For example, would genes associated with rigidity or obsessiveness in parents be related to repetitive behaviors such as hand-flapping in their offspring with autism?
Some researchers believe there are different types, or flavors, of autism, and examining genetic influences can help pinpoint them.
Understanding the different types of autism, and the spectrum of traits related to autism, could lead to better and more individualized treatments, she said.
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Supporting Autism Families: Meet Our New Social Worker
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One of the unique services we provide here at Healing Haven is counseling for a variety of people impacted by an autism diagnosis. Our counselors support autism families through working directly with individuals with autism, as well as their parents and siblings.
Navigating an autism diagnosis can be complex for parents, as well as for some children and teens who feel different compared to their peers. Some may also struggle with social skills and interacting with others, or need help in understanding and controlling their emotions. We did a previous post on counseling and autism, featuring our onsite therapist Danielle. And now we are excited to announce the newest addition to our team, Mallory Meter. Mallory is a social worker who started providing counseling services for autism families here at Healing Haven in September 2019.
Mallory worked in the Chicago area for the past four years. She has aBachelors of Arts from the University of Notre Dame where she majored inpsychology. She then received her Masters of Social Work from The School ofSocial Service and Administration at University of Chicago.
In preparation for her transition here to Healing Haven, we sat down with Mallory to get to know her better. Learn about her experience and approach to therapy, and how she might support you and/or your child:
HH:Why did you want to work with kids with autism / special needs?
HH:What motivates you coming to work every day?