Sunday, January 15, 2017

Behavior on the spectrum-High Functioning

Parenting is a whole different ballgame when you are raising kids on the spectrum, mild to severe. The typical parenting "rules" don't exist in an autism house which his why autism parents are the most judged people.

For example, behavior problems is one of the areas of autism. Most often people think that a person/child with autism that is misbehaving is doing it just simply because they want to or cause they can get away with it. WRONG!

Maladaptive behavior or misbehavior is done in order to simply survive in our scary world. Our world for any person on the spectrum can be confusing and difficult. Things come at them differently. They hear things, see things much differently than we do. They don't interrupt language like we do or it takes them much longer to process it.

High functioning kids often get overlooked which can lead to depression as they get older or other issues.  Life is hard for them so they react to it by misbehaving. It is hard for them to behave properly when all of a sudden their schedule has changed because they depend on the consistency in their schedule. They may display maladaptive behavior because they are stressed from school because they can't make friends.

Often these behaviors are displayed because they don't understand what is being asked from them because they depend a lot on being within inches from a person face in order to be able to understand what is being said to them. When they are sitting in a class the teacher can't always be right there to explain things much slower and much more precise than the other students require.

Kids on the spectrum interpret language different than typical people which plays a huge role in their behavior. Often times they are asked to do something but the person used the word "to" and in their mind they are thinking of the number 2 and they are stuck on trying to figure it out and they never get to what they were told to do because they can't get their mind off of the "to"....and it escalates from there because the person who asked them to do something is now getting mad and reprimanding the child with autism for not doing what they were told but in their mind they are still trying to understand what was being asked while using a word "to" "two".....does that make sense? That is just one scenario but I think you can get what I am trying to say.

Below are a few article to explain a little on high functioning autism.

https://www.med.or.jp/english/journal/pdf/2012_04/303_306.pdf


https://www.iidc.indiana.edu/pages/Tips-for-Teaching-High-Functioning-People-with-Autism

Andrew is changing all the time. On some days he can handle things a little better than other days. Maladaptive behaviors are coming out more and more all the time and I am confident that it is the stress of school. He tells me often that everyone his age has friends except him....and it breaks my heart to hear him say this. When Andrew is uncomfortable he closes the world around him down and he keeps to himself. He shuts everything else out which is why he will appear to be quieter around others and most of the time he won't talk much. He is simply trying to shut the world around him down. When he gets home in the environment that he is most loved in and is comfortable in, his body releases what he has been overstimulated from earlier. Again, this is VERY common among kids with autism.  We as typical people do this all the time. You may get home from work and release from your day by sitting on the couch and relaxing....or reading...or having a cup of coffee...smoke....whatever you do to release and feel better. Kids with autism do the exact same thing, it is just they do it in a much different way because of their behavior challenges.

  At home we are doing a sticker chart and it helps him to remember to make good choices. Constant praise is crucial for kids on the spectrum. They really do respond to good praises and it helps to prevent maladaptive behaviors! Andrew loves being praised and getting stickers for good choices:) Doing what you need to do to prevent the misbehavior is what we need to do. Once the maladaptive behavior happens, it can be difficult to get the good behavior back in the same day.


Friday, January 13, 2017

Pictures

Two of my favorite pictures this week.

Right after we took this picture, Andrew said, "Moochies you are so pretty in that orange shirt." Andrew is seriously the sweetest little boy I know. I don't tell him to do this stuff, he just does it. He has such a good heart. I love it!

What this picture doesn't show is the anxiety meltdown he had about 20 minutes after this picture. His white body was blanketed with red spots all over him. This picture also doesn't show the aggressive behavior that came out after he was overstimulated. I will discuss later in a post of some of these issues we are having lately.
 My new favorite picture of Trenton and I. This picture speaks volumes to me!

Article

An article of mine that was published on this website:)

https://autismawareness.com/the-day-my-child-accomplished-potty-training/

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

ABA & NET

There are a few different types of therapies and ways to help your child with autism. For my boys, Applied Behavior Therapy (ABA) has proven to be the best for them. I am a 100% believer in this type of therapy.

Behavior analysis focuses on the principles that explain how learning takes place. ABA is simply the application of behavioral principles, to everyday situations, that will, over time, increase or decrease targeted behaviors. ABA has been used to help individuals acquire many different skills, such as language skills, self-help skills, and play skills; in addition, these principles can help to decrease maladaptive behaviors such as aggression, self-stimulatory behaviors, and self-injury

When a behavior is followed by some sort of reward, the behavior is more likely to be repeated and this is called positive reinforcement. Through decades of research, the field of behavior analysis has developed many techniques for increasing useful behaviors and reducing those that may cause harm or interfere with learning.
ABA is the use of these techniques and principles to bring about meaningful and positive change in behavior. ABA is widely recognized as an effective therapy for individuals on the autism spectrum.

ABA uses Natural Environment teaching (NET) which is basically teaching the child and performing ABA in a natural setting. It is not sitting behind a school desk all day like typical children learning. Instead it is simply teaching the child during play. Natural environment teaching leads to an individual being able to learn skills in one environment and generalize them to other environments. It focuses on an individual’s specific needs and embeds them within the child's interests.

If I could give any bit of advice to new parents facing an autism diagnosis.....get your child in a good ABA program that utilizes NET as soon as you can if it is possible!!

Parents play a CRUCIAL role in their child's ABA program and how they respond. This is what one website said...

What is the role of the parent in an ABA program?

Parents are indispensable in the child’s program. They play a necessary and critical role.  Studies show that children whose parents are actively engaged in the process make measurable gains (4). First, no one knows the child better than the parent; the parent’s provide critical and insightful information that will help guide the ABA program. Second, parents are able to continue to prompt and reinforce the child through his and her various daily activities - an essential component to generalizing skills. Finally, parents are in a position to be able to record and track ABC data in the home and community setting. This information is vital in hypothesizing the function (the “why”) of specific behaviors as well as for determining what conditions encourage behaviors to occur.

Trenton goes to Harsha Autism Center and we just love our team there! Lately, Trenton has been going out in the community. He goes to certain stores and he even goes to a restaurant and works on his goals!!! I am so thrilled about this part of his training. I have worked so hard the past few years implementing this myself and now we are doing some training with this through Harsha Autism Center. I am one excited Mom!!



Sunday, January 8, 2017

Trenton's Play

A few pictures I wanted to share of how Trenton "plays".
Last week at speech, Trenton thought each of his books needed their own chair:)
 On Saturday, he played a lot with some of my canned goods. Then he placed one of his animals on each one. I guess his animals were hungry:)
This is the small things that make me smile:)
LOVE LOVE LOVE IT!!!

Our Answers

I am sure the majority of you have heard about the four people in the Chicago area that did what they did to the man with a disability. As a parent of two children with special needs, stories like these make my stomach turn. It hurts to hear what happened. It infuriates me to say the least. 

I know it made the special needs community upset as every story similar to that one does.

I am not sure why situations like this happen in the world. I simply don't know. But, it has happened from the beginning of time. I often hear people talk about how the world is getting worse and worse. Yes, it feels like it is. However, it has been like this since the beginning of time.

The first murder was Cain killing Able and that can be found in the very first book of the Bible!  Slavery happened in the beginning of the Bible. So many accounts are right there. The horrible stuff that is going on in our world has been going on since the beginning of time.

On the other side, bravery and courage has been happening since the beginning of time, too. There are numerous accounts of the horrible things in the Bible but there are also wonderful, amazing stories of courage, bravery, wisdom, and so forth.

It is all right there for us to read and to find the answers to our life. It is all right there as a guide for us. The Bible, the most amazing book that anyone can pick up and read.

So when you think you don't deserve what is going on in your life, just know that God never told anyone that they deserve the picture perfect life. God never said life was going to be easy. He clearly made his point  from the beginning that life was hard and had it's hard times.

It is so easy to say bad things about the people who do the cruel things in this world. But, what we are really suppose to be doing is praying for them. Those people need the prayers of this world.

Luke 6:27-31
But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. 31 Do to others as you would have them do to you

I hope and pray that a situation like what that man went through never happens to either of my boys. It is one of my fears and always will be. As a parent we want to protect our children. We don't want them to suffer from the cruelty of the world. When you have a child/ren with special needs, it is a huge worry because they can't care for themselves and are going to be much more susceptible to bullying and hate crimes.

When I have my moments where I want to get so mad that stuff like this happens in the world, I remind myself how I need to be praying for the enemy. But, what I remind myself the most of is no matter how hard this world is to live in, we are not here forever. We are only here for a little while and we can get through the pain and the hurt of the world because our eternal life is what matters. The pain and hurt that I go through raising children with special needs, going through a divorce, health problems, and so forth...it simply doesn't compare to the pain and hurt that Christ went through on the cross in order for me to live. He could have saved himself but he didn't. That is all I need on some days to keep on going through this scary world.

Therefore, I will keep letting God lead me on my journey in life while reading His word and finding the answers to everything in life. It is all right there for us to read. All of our answers are right there! I'm not telling you they are the answers you want, but they are our answers.

Saturday, January 7, 2017