What is ASD?
ASD stands for Autism Spectrum Disorder. It is a developmental disorder that is usually diagnosed in childhood. Individuals with ASD typically have a hard time with language and communication as it is used in social interactions. Some people with ASD cannot talk and learn to use a different system to communicate, such as sign language or a picture system or technology. Other people with ASD can talk extremely well but have a harder time with nonverbal communication such as reading facial expressions or understanding sarcasm. Individuals with ASD can also have a hard time with social skills, play skills, following instructions, moving from one activity to another or from one location to another, and change in routines. Children with ASD can also have difficulties with sleeping, eating, and toileting as well as with other daily activities such as getting dressed or brushing teeth. They also frequently have heightened sensory sensitivities such as to sound or smell. ASD can look very different from one person to another as it is a spectrum. ASD is typically diagnosed by either a developmental pediatrician, a child psychiatrist, or a child psychologist who have training and experience in assessment of ASD.
There is no cure for ASD. There are treatments that can help children learn skills to be able to communicate, to participate in school more fully, and to be more independent. The field of Applied Behaviour Analysis (ABA) has many well-researched tools and techniques to assist children with learning these skills. The main goals of ABA-based therapy are to help the child learn from their environment and to be as independent as possible. Intervention can be implemented by parents with the assistance of a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA). In this case, the parent is provided with guidance during sessions with the parent and child to develop skills or intervene with behaviour concerns. Intervention can also be conducted in a one-to-one interaction with a behaviour therapist for several hours per week. The behaviour therapist is trained and supervised by a Board Certified Behaviour Analyst (BCBA). The BCBA is also responsible for assessing the child's learning as well as programming the goals and how they will be taught based on the child's individual learning profile. Hours of intervention can vary and are dependent on the child's needs. When the child has skills that will allow him/her to benefit from group settings, it is helpful for the child to attend them to continue to develop skills such as learning in a group and social skills. It is also important that parents are aware of all goals and are provided with training to continue to help the child to use skills he/she learns in all environments.
Services We Offer
We offer several services for families of children with ASD.
Parent training - we use the RUBI parent training curriculum. The package includes 11 training sessions with a parent to develop skills to manage behaviour concerns and address common concerns for children with ASD. Throughout the training, an individualized behaviour plan is developed for the parent to use.
One-on-one intervention – we work with your child to help your child learn a variety of skills. All one-on-one intervention is supervised by a BCBA and all programming is individualized to your child.
School consultation - we can provide education to school staff regarding ASD and/or basic behaviour principles or we can consult regarding a child 's specific concerns.
Daycare consultation - we can provide education to daycare staff regarding ASD and/or basic behaviour principles or we can consult regarding a child 's specific concerns.
Parent coaching - if there is a specific concern that a parent would like assistance with, we can provide coaching regarding that concern. Coaching includes meeting with the parent to discuss concerns, an observation of the child and parent to assess the concern, development of a plan with the parent, and then weekly sessions with the child and parent to provide feedback on and guidance in achieving the goals. We have service packages for goals such as toilet training, early language development, sleep, and picky eating.
Behaviour assessment - if there is a specific behaviour issue that requires intervention, we can complete a behaviour assessment which will include interviews, data collection, observations, and a behaviour plan. Training in the plan and follow up after implementation are also included.