Navigating the World of Autism

The Autism Society of America, or ASA, defines autism as “a complex developmental disability that typically appears during the first three years of life and is the result of a neurological disorder that affects the normal functioning of the brain, impacting development in the areas of social interaction and communications skills. Both children and adults with autism typically show difficulties in verbal and non-verbal communication, social interactions, and leisure or play activities. Autism is one of the five disorders that falls under the umbrella of Pervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD), a category of neurological disorders characterized by severe and pervasive impairment in several areas of development.”
A person with an ASD might:

    • Not respond to their name by 12 months of age
    • Not point at objects to show interest (point at an airplane flying over) by 14 months
    • Not play “pretend” games (pretend to “feed” a doll) by 18 months
    • Avoid eye contact and want to be alone
    • Have trouble understanding other people’s feelings or talking about their own feelings
    • Have delayed speech and language skills
    • Repeat words or phrases over and over (echolalia)
    • Give unrelated answers to questions
    • Get upset by minor changes (inflexible)
    • Have obsessive interests
    • Flap their hands, rock their body, spin in circles, or engage in other repetitive behaviors
    • Have unusual reactions to the way things sound, smell, taste, look, or feel

Having any of these “red flags” does not mean your child has autism, but could indicate that further evaluation is needed.

Understanding the power of Applied Behavior Analysis

“Applied behavioral analysis is simply the application of the science of learning to socially significant behaviors.”(Newman, Reeve, Reeve, & Ryan, 2005)

Behaviors are learned. This simple truth is the basis of all applied behavior analysis. Though some behaviors may be developed early on, as early as in the womb, behavior analysts operate on the basic premise that behaviors are learned and are either strengthened or weakened by the consequences that follow. Behavior is also considered to be functional. That is, the behavior serves a purpose and meets a specific need. Thus, we believe that if an individual is taught an appropriate and alternative method of getting the same need met, just as new behaviors can be learned, old behaviors can also be unlearned.

We look forward to the opportunity to work with you and your family to equip you with the ability to promote positive and lasting behavior change.