Category: Parenting

schedule for kids

Routines can be the backbone of day to day life for anyone. This is particularly true for children with autism. Creating a consistent daily schedule is essential for children with ASD to thrive and cope in any environment. Routines, especially when pairing with ABA strategies, help reduce tantrums and stress, while fostering a sense of order in your child’s life.

Research Support for Routines

Research supports the importance of consistency in daily routines for children of all developmental levels and learning abilities. Strengths in their social-emotional health show a 47% increase over time when they experience structure and consistency in their daily routines. Daily routines also support:

  • A reduction in power struggles
  • Improvements in cooperation
  • A stronger parent-child connection
  • Ownership of their activities and skills

Routines can help your child adapt and transition to even the slightest change. What may seem natural to a typically-developing child may present an array of challenges for a child with autism. These may include:

  • Visiting a new place, whether a park, store, or doctor
  • Transitioning between activities or tasks
  • Tasks out of order, including a different mealtime
  • Trying new foods
  • Visitors, whether planned or not
  • Leaving your house
  • Canceling an activity, even if due to illness or weather

Don’t forget to praise or reward your child for being flexible with changes. Implementing ABA strategies you and your child learn will go a long when introducing additional changes to your daily routine.

The Importance of Routines and Daily Schedules for Autism

Children with autism often have difficulty making sense of everyday life, including movements, sounds, and actions. The world, through their eyes, can be confusing and chaotic. Routines help them establish order in their lives as they learn what to expect and when they can expect it. For them, a predictable and reliable routine creates a safe space where they can feel more secure. Repetition tends to come naturally to them, so learning best through family routines should come as no surprise. They offer the benefit of lowering your child’s stress, providing an environment that allows them to learn and form new skills, habits, and behaviors more quickly. It’s a powerful tool and useful in continuing to incorporate ABA strategies every day.

Children with autism tend to thrive in environments that foster structure, predictability, and patterns. While all children experience diverse challenges and situations, consistent routines can help alleviate these challenges and support their goals. Through predictable routines, children learn to cope with anxiety-inducing situations. When an unfamiliar situation presents itself-creating changes in their daily norm-they are better able to adjust and feel more secure.

Your child will come to depend on knowing what to expect next at any given time of day, in each natural environment. Their patterns help decrease challenging behaviors, should unfamiliar events arise. Implementing routines provides your child with a comfortable and secure surrounding to return to after adjusting to a new situation.

The use of daily routines also helps your child understand that completing any task, including those they resist, will offer the reward of moving on to the next task. By combing the use of visual schedules, positive reinforcements, and ABA strategies, your child will continue to strengthen skills while adhering to their comfort zone of daily routines.

Creating a Successful Routine

Creating routines for your child does not need to be an overwhelming task. Providing such a structure for your entire family is beneficial. Follow these handy tips to help you get off on the right foot:

Create a Basic Routine

Begin with a simple list or outline. Identify each task your child must complete each day, and those you would like your child to complete. This list should include waking up, meals, self-care, school, play, and therapies. Think about how long each task will take, organize them by the time of day, and importance. Be sure to account for your family’s needs as well. This will give you an overall guideline when developing your final daily schedule.

Now think about how you can turn this daily routine into an engaging visual for your child. What does your child respond to? Perhaps it may be drawings, cut-outs of images, or photos of them working on tasks.

Now, combine your efforts and create your first daily routine chart. You can utilize a large family calendar or hang a chart on your fridge. The more your child sees and interacts with this visual cue, the more success you will have.

Stick to Your Routines

Life gets hectic. We know this. But we also know how crucial it is for your child to stick to a consistent daily routine to thrive. With today’s technology, there are also plenty of helpful tools to help you accomplish this:

  • Set a timer on your phone
  • Create calendar reminders for therapy sessions and doctor appointments
  • Keep mini timers in necessary areas, including the bathroom for monitoring brushing teeth and washing hands
  • Set controls on devices to limit screen time during free-play or reward activities

And make this a fun task! Choose different tones, songs, or animal noises for each alert. Perhaps your child’s favorite song signals it’s time for free-play, or a specific bell tone alerts them for meals. Over time, your child may even start transitioning tasks on their own after hearing each auditory cue.

 

Use Positive Reinforcements

Implementing ABA strategies will help your daily routines tremendously. Positive reinforcements will provide priceless motivation as you begin to introduce your household’s daily routines. It can be as simple as rewarding your child’s behaviors or completions of tasks with a sticker chart. You can also use this opportunity to practice goals and ABA strategies your child is working on during therapy sessions.

Communicate and Maintain Consistency

Communication is key to establishing routines, especially in the beginning. Be sure to refer to your visual schedule often throughout the day. These visual cues will help strengthen the importance of each task and the time you designate for them. Talk with your child about each task before, during, and after. Maintaining these patterns will soon become second nature, thanks to your consistent use of ABA strategies.

Use your ABA strategy toolbox often. Guide your child with prompting, modeling, and plenty of repetition. Praise them for completing tasks, attempts without tantrums, and for moving on to the next task on the schedule when it’s time.

As you continue to maintain consistency, your daily routine will become easier to maintain. As your child adapts, gradually add new tasks to the visual calendar with their help. These new changes can help your child strengthen flexibility and coping skills in the process. Be sure to practice ABA strategies to enforce new additions to the day.

Make Fun Routines with Visual Schedules

Visual schedules help reinforce your child’s routines by making them inviting, fun, interactive, and relatable. Think of the various ABA strategies you and your child use to incorporate play therapy when strengthening behaviors and learning new skills. Implementing daily routines should follow the same approach to enhance long-lasting behaviors.

Visual schedules are particularly useful for children who cannot read or are visual learners. We know through the use of ABA strategies that using visual cues can increase the success of learning new tasks, so why stop there? Creating a fun, visual schedule together can be just as helpful in establishing your daily routines.

There are several ways your family can adopt visuals to implement daily routines:

  • Poster boards for the wall
  • Colorful, interactive digital planners on an iPad
  • Scheduling apps on devices, particularly those for families of children with autism
  • Large flashcards which you can post to a wall, or keep on a ring or in a binder
  • Many of these tools help you continue the use of ABA strategies while helping your child and family
  • Focus on the task at hand
  • Visually see what task comes next
  • Motivates them to complete a current task to move on to a more desirable task
  • Check off items and track progress
  • Receive notifications of appointments and task reminders by alarms and sound
  • Stay on task with visual countdown timers
  • Utilize spoken texts for children who do not read or have difficulty reading

The Use of Social Stories

Social Stories are an excellent tool for children with autism and can introduce new environments and activities into your daily routines. Through the use of stories, you can introduce various social situations and help them learn and adopt socially appropriate behaviors and responses in any given environment. Social stories, or story-based interventions, help you implement basic ABA strategies you may currently be working on, to encourage acceptable behavior. Social Stories work well in combination with ABA strategies and across various therapies to replace socially inappropriate behaviors with desirable ones, including tantrums in a grocery store, or to adapt to playgroups.

Social Stories and Social Cues

Children with autism often misunderstand or struggle to read social cues. Social cues include eye contact, body language, facial expressions, and gestures. Social Stories offer a way for children to learn how to behave in various social settings by describing settings and what typically occurs in each setting. Through engaging stories, your child can learn to pick up on cues they may usually overlook.

ABA Strategies Help Children Cope with Changes

ABA strategies and continuous therapy continue to be an effective treatment in:

  • Building routines that reinforce positive behaviors
  • Breaking down resistance to changes
  • Easing into transitions

Your child’s sensory and verbal communication deficits make it more challenging to process and understand new situations. Implementing ABA strategies can help your child learn to cope with changes in their regular routines. One of the main characteristics you may notice with your child is limiting and repetitive patterns of activities, likes, and behaviors. They tend to be inflexible, anxious when facing changes, meticulous to the point of specific needs for:

 

  • Toy placement
  • A favorite book
  • Use of particular items including towels, clothing, dinnerware
  • Particular foods and the order they must eat them in
  • Specific words, or the repletion of them

For many children with ASD, deviations from their preferences can trigger the onset of tantrums or anxiety. Adhering to their routine can become obsessively imperative. Changes throw a wrench into their safety net, causing disruption, chaos, and meltdowns.

ABA strategies, including positive rewards and modeling, help ease their resistance to change. In many cases, the implementation of ABA strategies is a significant focus in helping children with autism adapt and adjust to new environments and situations that interfere with their typical daily routines. When implementing ABA strategies correctly, routines can become a powerful tool in introducing new people, environments, and activities.

 

Working Through Change

Reinforcing your child’s routines can help them reduce their reliance on them. While this may sound counterproductive, think of it this way – using ABA strategies, such as repetition and rewards, helps a new skill or behavior become a long-term, second-nature habit. Routines offer a similar result. As your child develops a sense of predictability in their routine, they develop security and trust. Nurturing these characteristics sets them up for more successful transitions when a new twist presents itself in their typical routine. Coping skills step in as you communicate changes in schedules. Utilize your visual schedules to prevent traumatic reactions to changes in their daily routine. Talk about it beforehand when possible, reassuring your return to their schedule upon completion.

 

One helpful way to communicate these changes is with backup images or cue cards. If a doctor’s appointment arises unexpectedly, temporarily replace the visual card for that hour with one demonstrating a trip to the doctor. Discuss the change, pointing out the usual activity that follows the appointment. Allow as much preparation as possible for changes in schedules and utilize your ABA strategy tools when possible to help them make a smooth transition. While these visual tools may begin to seem monotonous to you, they help your child make sense of the changes occurring.

 

Through proper training by highly-skilled professionals, you and your family can learn how to create effective routines while incorporating individualized ABA strategies across all their natural environments. Here at Blossom Behavioral Wellness Center, we offer an all-encompassing clinic which focusses on family-centered therapy practices and the whole child. We know the importance of creating structure and routines to help your child thrive while meeting your entire family’s demands and goals. We invite you to learn more about our therapies, programs, and free resources today.

 

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Art is an exciting and natural way for all children to explore and learn to express themselves. Through various avenues, such as painting, drawing, and building, children learn to read and explore emotions, develop coping skills, and experience social interactions. While children with autism process the world differently, art allows them to learn how to understand and develop skills they may struggle with. Through a combination of ABA therapy and art therapy, your child can experience multiple sensory stimuli in a safe environment.

 

What is Art Therapy?

According to the American Art Therapy Association, art therapy engages the mind, body, and spirit through the use of integrative methods in ways that are distinct from verbal articulation alone. Art therapy also supports your child’s personal and relational ABA therapy treatment goals by improving:

 

  • Cognitive skills
  • Sensorimotor functions
  • Self-esteem and self-awareness
  • Emotional resilience
  • Insight
  • Social skills
  • The ability to reduce and resolve conflicts and distress
  • Executive functioning skills – a set of mental skills, including working memory, flexible thinking, and self-control.

 

Seeking Treatment Through Art Therapy

Implementing art therapy offers an array of possibilities for children with autism. Art provides a way to help them develop their imagination and understanding of the world around them. Expression through art offers an alternative way to build or enhance their communication skills. It’s also useful in meeting various goals, including:

 

  • Enhance visual skills
  • Define fine motor skills
  • Encourage social skills
  • Improve behavioral issues through integrating ABA therapy
  • Develop sensory integration
  • Decrease off-task behaviors
  • Increase learning opportunities

 

Art Therapy Enhances Communication Skills

Children with autism struggle with the ability to communicate effectively, read cues, and express their basic wants and needs. Using art therapy, in combination with ABA therapy, provides an alternative way for your child to build or enhance their communication skills. Through art, they can form meaningful bonds with their therapist and caregivers while learning to explore a new, less intimidating expression method.

Art therapy provides a way to help your child develop their understanding of the world around them. They benefit by exploring and expanding their imagination and expression. Your child’s therapists will help them learn to find other ways to use receptive and expressive communication through:

  • Symbolism
  • Kinesthetics
  • Sensory exploration
  • Perception

 

Art Therapists

Art therapists are master-level clinicians who complete education and training under strict supervision to serve their needs best. While they work across many areas, your child will receive focus on their strengths and challenges set by their ABA therapy team. Children with autism typically have their sessions focused on their medical and mental health issues, emotional, communicative, and behavioral growth.

While there is an array of settings for art therapists to work with your child and family, you will typically find art therapy services in:

  • ABA therapy clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Schools
  • Private practice
  • Psychiatric and rehabilitation facilities
  • Community clinics
  • Crisis centers

 

Strengthening Positive Behaviors and Executive Functioning

Art therapy offers children with autism a way to replace and strengthen their behaviors. Art therapy has been in use as a successful form of early childhood intervention for children with autism for years. Studies show children with autism exhibit fewer behavioral challenges after engaging in artistic activities. It offers an opportunity to increase cognitive function through expression, by enhancing their imagination, and encourages abstract thinking. Enhancement of executive functioning skills includes strengthening their working memory and flexible thinking through concentration and attention to detail during art sessions.  Art activities also provide an incredible chance to facilitate cognitive development while helping to build and strengthen their visual-spatial and fine motor skills.

 

Combining Art Therapy and ABA Therapy

Through the use of ABA therapy, children learn to replace undesirable behaviors with new skills and behaviors. ABA therapy relies on modeling, repetition, and the use of positive reinforcements. For children with autism, combining ABA with art therapy offers an antecedent-based intervention or ABI. Similar to ABA therapy practices, ABI offers evidence-based practices that introduce stimulus changes prior to undesirable situations occurring. This method allows the use of similar positive reinforcements, such as selecting their favorite art activities or allowing them to make various individual choices during therapy.

The combination of ABA therapy with art therapy dramatically enhances the overall strengths of your child. They become more independent and begin to develop appropriate social skills. Children with ASD also tend to be visual and concrete learners, allowing the introduction of art therapy to help them better communicate emotions, feelings, needs, and wants through art-based activities that match their learning styles. Art therapy reduces stress and anxiety levels by focusing on your child’s creativity rather than verbal communication difficulties. When they feel more comfortable expressing themselves through art, they feel a level of acceptance from their therapists, caregivers, and peers.

 

Assessing Your Child Through Art

Art therapy and ABA therapy pair well together for assessment purposes. Art offers a wide variety of assessment opportunities in a safe, relaxing environment. Observing your child’s progress includes noting improvements in fine motor skills while demonstrating the ability to focus and improve sensory processing. Cognitive development and behavior are also areas of assessment easily seen through art therapy. It offers an environment that is not over-stimulating while still providing structure, modeling, and opportunities for language and communication strengthening.

 

Art Therapy: Group Session Benefits

Group sessions continue to show valuable benefits for children with autism. By adding a social component to art sessions, they experience and learn to thrive in social settings requiring interaction. Children learn to recognize and read social cues, develop self-esteem, and express their needs. Additional improvements include enhancing:

  • Focus
  • Eye contact
  • Verbal skills
  • Social skills
  • On-task behaviors

Art therapy offers tremendous benefits to help your child thrive across all areas. At Blossom Behavioral Wellness Center, we believe in providing an all-encompassing approach to meet the various needs of your family. From ABA therapy to art and speech, we are here to provide you with the tools you need. We invite you to explore our resources, and if you are in the Michigan area, allow us to help your family navigate this journey.

 

 

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Summer camp offers a positive experience for children with autism. It provides an enriching environment for your child to continue ABA therapy practices while expanding social, communication, and overall general life skills. However, finding the best fit for your child’s goals and needs can be overwhelming and will require some thorough research on your part. Allow us to help guide you through the basics of finding a summer camp to accommodate your family’s needs best.

 

Summer Camp Benefits

Children with autism tend to thrive with consistent routines, making summer camp a fantastic opportunity to continue their growth. Transitioning into a summer camp offers your child additional time to work on  ABA therapy services in a natural, enjoyable environment. Your child will learn to strengthen skills by focusing on speech therapy, social skills through art therapy, and additional group activities. Summer camp is a wonderful way to reinforce ABA therapy practices while allowing your child to explore, experience, and flourish.

 

Research suggests children with autism thrive in intensive, year-round ABA therapy.  Maintaining consistency helps prevent regression in the skills and progress your child has been making. Summer camps offer a setting for all children with autism to continue ABA therapy practices outside the clinic or classroom. Camps allow exposure to sports, creative activities, animals, and nature.

 

Summer camps offer an environment of peer models for your child to learn from. They provide children with high-functioning autism a chance to interact with typically developing children in all-inclusive camp settings. Their social interactions strengthen their communication skills through the ongoing use of speech therapy tactics during activities like art therapy, physical fitness activities, and other group activities.

 

Summer Camp for Social Skills

Children with autism typically prefer solitary activities rather than interacting with others. They often experience difficulty engaging with and cooperating in group settings. While reading social cues and communicating their wants and needs are challenging, summer camp helps strengthen these necessary life skills. By continuing ABA therapy practices in a summer camp setting, children continue to work towards creating life-long skills.

 

Integrating Art Therapy

When searching for a high-quality camp, inquire about their art therapy curriculum. Art therapy offers tremendous benefits, including increases in:

  • Executive functioning skills
  • Sensorimotor functions
  • Self-esteem and self-awareness
  • Cognitive skills
  • Insight
  • Social skills

 

Art therapy offers a safe environment for your child to experience sensory exploration and express themselves without the pressures of verbal communication. Art therapy opens a whole new avenue for your child to enhance their creativity while developing a better understanding of the world.

 

Integrating Speech Therapy into Summer Camp

By integrating speech therapy practices in conjunction with art therapy, your child learns to read cues, express wants and needs, and develop or strengthen overall communication skills. Speech therapy best practices during summer camp activities help promote various methods of communicating with staff and peers. Activities may address speech therapy concerns, including humming, parroting, or yelling, while replacing these behaviors with more effective language skills.

 Finding the Right  Summer Camp

To help you begin your research, the American Camp Association offers a list of accredited summer camps which will maintain focus on your child’s ABA therapy goals. Before researching your summer camp options, make a list of must-haves. Do you prefer a more relaxing setting for your child to focus on social interactions? Perhaps you prefer a camp offering extra speech therapy. You’ll be able to sort through hundreds of recommendations and specify these wants and needs when exploring the ACA site.

 

Summer camps are not a one-size-fits-all, and your selection should support your child’s ABA therapy goals to provide the most successful experience. Camp programs include:

 

  • Inclusive Summer Programs – An inclusive program that will integrate typically developing children and children with special needs. Children with various strengths and abilities are welcome, while staff, therapists, and activities offer challenges and support for everyone’s needs.
  • Specialized Summer Programs – Summer camps for children and teens with autism and other special needs offer a more direct ABA therapy These camps work towards the continuous development of your child’s goals, preventing the regression summer breaks may bring. Specialized summer camps use tools, including speech therapy methods, to enhance successful social interaction with peers and staff during activities.
  • Extended School Year Programs (ESY) – If your child is of school age, their school may recommend a summer camp program if they feel your child is at risk of regression over the summer. ESYs vary in each school and state, but their overall design is to help children with autism continue to work towards their Individualized Education Plans (IEPs) using ABA therapy tools and practices.

 

Trustworthy Recommendations for Summer Camps

As with any program, reach out to your support group and other families for recommendations. Ask about their experiences, including success stories and struggles. Talking to other parents who have children with autism will give you great insight into your local programs. Your child’s therapists and special education teachers can also provide recommendations and guidance according to your child’s strengths and struggles. Finding a high-quality program from trustworthy sources is invaluable.

And don’t be afraid to ask the camp for parent references. Programs should be willing to accommodate your needs and answer all your questions to ensure a proper fit. Prepare a list of questions and inquire about their methods, priorities, and best practices. You may wish to include questions from our staff’s helpful list to ensure alignment with your child’s summer goals:

 

  • What licensure does your camp have? Does your staff have ABA therapy training?
  • Do you provide speech therapy, art therapy, ?
  • What credentials and qualifications do the rest of your staff have?
  • If an inclusive program – what is your camp’s philosophy regarding integrating children with special needs into the general population of campers?
  • What structures and activities are put in place to help integrate campers?
  • What does your camp’s daily schedule of activities include?
  • How does your staff communicate with each family to provide progress, updates, tips for home, and respond to questions?
  • What are your medical and emergency protocols?
  • If the camp is specialized – what is your philosophy on encouraging socialization and skill-building? How do your activities and staff support these goals?
  • Do you offer scholarships, grants, or other financial assistance?

 

Financial Considerations

While finances are indeed a significant factor with summer camp, there may be help. Keep in mind, all programs and states vary. Some summer camps offer grants and scholarships to ease the burden for your family. Your child’s ABA therapy clinic may also provide grants or have resources to offer you in your search. Don’t forget to enlist the help of:

  • Your child’s school district
  • Local community clubs, including Kiwanis, Rotary, and Lions
  • The Autism Support Network – you’ll find an interactive list of various organizations that offer local grants to families.

 

Summer camp provides an incredible experience for your child while strengthening the skills and behaviors they learn in their therapy and school settings. From art therapy to speech therapy,  summer programs can offer your child continuous growth during the summer months. For additional resources, contact us today and allow our team to assist you with your child’s summer needs.

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Whether you’ve been part of the autism community for years or are just beginning your journey, you may find that you are underrepresented as a dad. While that may be the case now, there are many fathers in the autism community that aim to change that, one voice at a time. As the father of a child with autism or another special need, you play a critical role in their care and upbringing. Today, we want to highlight a few resources specifically for the dads in the autism community so that you can feel more empowered than ever in this journey, and above all, know that you are not alone.

 

The Importance of a Father

When we talk about parents and the critical impact they have on their child’s physical, emotional, and psychological well-being, you’ll notice that often researchers discuss a mother’s influence. While we all know that moms are critical to providing the much-needed love, affection, and support that nurtures a happy, healthy child, we often overlook the impact that a father can have. Research suggests that when a father is present and engaged in a child’s life, children are less likely to avoid high-risk behaviors and are less likely to drop out of school or spend time in jail.

 

Gone are the days when dads were discouraged from being in the delivery room or caring for their infants. These days, fathers want to be involved, and research shows they should include themselves, for the benefit of their children. But when your child has special needs or is diagnosed with autism, caring for them and finding the right ways to connect with them can require more effort and openness to asking for help, like seeking out behavioral therapy or ABA therapy.

 

Why Therapy?

For years, a majority of men believed that any form of behavioral therapy was for those with “real issues,” thus men often refused to participate. Getting to a vulnerable place with a therapist and loved ones is a very uncomfortable reality for many men. Because therapy puts a man’s emotional weaknesses on display for all to see, it can make a man feel less strong than he cares to admit. However, admitting that there may be issues in a relationship, whether a marriage relationship or a family relationship, is the first step to making strides to improve upon those relationships. All parties must come together to do what’s best for their child, especially in relationships that may be strained or complicated with the addition of an autism or special needs diagnosis. That often means being open and receptive to a child’s need for behavioral therapy or participating in family therapy in your child’s ABA clinic.

 

Let’s take a look at behavioral therapy, ABA therapy, and play therapy and how each can impact the relationship you have with your child. Plus, we’ll give you tips for how you can get more involved in your child’s therapy, not just in the ABA clinic, but at home, too!

 

What is Behavioral Therapy?

Behavioral therapy is a broad term to describe any type of therapy that helps treat a mental health disorder. Common behaviors that behavioral therapy is proven to address include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Panic disorders
  • Anger issues

 

However, in recent years, counselors have made great strides with the following disorders when it comes to different types of behavioral therapy:

  • Eating disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Bipolar disorder
  • ADHD
  • Phobias
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Self-harm
  • Substance abuse
  • Autism and ASD

 

There are many forms of behavioral therapy out there. For our purposes, let’s look at the significant therapies one might have exposure to following an autism diagnosis: applied behavior analysis (ABA therapy) and play therapy.

 

ABA Therapy 101

On the heels of an autism diagnosis, you’ve likely had plenty of acronyms thrown at you, and you’re probably unsure what they mean, why they’re critical, and how you can best support your family through them. You’re in luck! We’re about to teach you all things ABA therapy, so the next time it comes up in conversation, you’ll know what to say, and you’ll be able to advocate for your child’s specific needs.

 

What is ABA Therapy?

ABA therapy comes from B.F. Skinner’s theory of operant conditioning, which says that behavior can be controlled or taught when one controls the consequences of actions. ABA therapy delves into how your child behaves and how those behaviors are significantly impacted by their environment, either positively or negatively. Its foundations require a meaningful reward system to be put into place to better encourage your child to alter their negative behaviors and replicate the preferred ones. In ABA therapy, we not only encourage a parent’s involvement, but we think it’s vital to encourage your child to form lasting changes that will serve them long after ABA therapy is over.

 

How Does Positive Reinforcement Help?

Decades ago, behavioral therapy centered around the use of negative reinforcement strategies. Today, we’ve learned many takeaways from that, specifically for children with autism and with ASD. Mainly, that positive reinforcement, rather than negative, has proven much more effective in ABA therapy. As discussed before, this means pinpointing a reward system specific to your child that encourages them to replicate the desired behavior. Some examples of positive reinforcement strategies include:

  • Using verbal praise when your child executes the desired behavior
  • Giving money (or something like a sticker that adds up to a highly coveted prize) for desirable behaviors
  • Candy or another sought-after treat for each positive behavior

 

Often in the heat of the moment, it can be hard to remember these positive reinforcement tactics, instead falling into the ease of some sort of punishment, whether it be time out or raising your voice. Still, research shows us that those knee-jerk reactions often cause more long-term harm than good.

 

A Dad’s Role in ABA Therapy

So, how can you take an active role in your child’s ABA therapy? Truthfully, there are many ways you can make a difference in your child’s behavioral therapy experience, both in the clinic and outside of it. You know your child better than anyone, so your critical input will help your child’s ABA therapist get an inside look at your child’s everyday routines, likes and dislikes, abilities, and struggles. Plus, studies show that the more active and supportive role you take in your child’s ABA therapy, the more measurable improvements they will make. And at the end of the day, that’s what we all want, right?

 

A parent’s role in ABA therapy, or any behavioral therapy for that matter, means you need to wear quite a few hats. Often, at ABA clinics, we think of the parent’s role as a twofold endeavor. First, as reporters and second, as active participants.

 

Being a Reporter

As discussed before, you know your child best, and you’re around them more than their BCBA (board-certified behavior analyst); therefore, you know what works and what doesn’t. Beyond that, you can provide your child’s therapist with key behavioral therapy wins throughout the week and what is not working so well, so they can make much-needed modifications that will help your child thrive.

 

Being an Active Participant

Your job doesn’t stop once you get your child to their ABA clinic. In fact, therapists encourage parents to be a significant participant in their sessions, because the strategies worked on in ABA therapy will be incorporated in the daily routines that you take part in with your child. Why shouldn’t you practice them safely in the ABA clinic with a licensed ABA therapist at your disposal to ask questions and receive feedback?

 

You know that modifying behaviors will not happen overnight, so similarly, you may not master incorporating these strategies and techniques on the first try. But luckily, if you regularly participate in your child’s behavioral therapy appointments, you’ll have plenty of time to study and practice! Ask as many questions as you need to, that’s what your child’s therapist is there for. They know that your participation is critical, and they want to give you the tools and comfort you need to be successful when they’re not around.

 

Now that you know a little more about ABA therapy let’s take a look at a behavioral therapy you’ll likely see included in each session: play therapy.

 

A Closer Look at Play Therapy

Once you begin observing or accompanying your child to their ABA therapy appointments for any length of time, you’ll likely see them playing with their therapist. Often, that can seem counterintuitive, but if you recognize that most children that benefit from ABA therapy or another form of behavioral therapy often present with shorter attention spans, sensory issues, and communication barriers, you’ll realize that play is a vital way to communicate with them.

 

Here at Blossom Behavioral Wellness Center, we encourage our highly trained staff to engage your children in play, allowing them to freely move about their environment and explore as a child should! Just like how you need to be comfortable in a situation to open up and be receptive to learning new things, your child does as well. Through play, a licensed therapist can create a calm, natural environment that allows your child to learn these new desired behaviors in a less stressful way. To young children, especially, play can be its own language, that allows them to express themselves, but also allows you to model desired behaviors, as well.

 

A Dad’s Role in Play Therapy

Being active in your child’s behavioral therapy means more than just attending sessions at the ABA clinic. By incorporating play therapy at home, you are helping reinforce the vital lessons your child is learning in ABA therapy. This might also positively impact your relationship with your child in the long run, too. So, what can you do to bring play therapy home with you? Let’s take a look at a few examples of at-home play therapy.

 

  • Simon Says

Yes, the game you likely played as a child is a strategy that you can use at home with your child, too! This fun and easy game can help your child learn to mimic body language and study expressions or poses.

 

  • Pretend play

Pretend play is an excellent way to reinforce proper interpersonal behavior and relationships. Whether you use dolls to enhance excellent social skills or dress up as a fireman, policeman, superhero, or any of your child’s favorite characters to play out different scenarios, you’re on your way to incorporating play therapy with your child! Kids inherently love costumes, so this one is always a winner when practicing behavioral therapy skills at home!

 

One of the biggest takeaways to remember about play therapy is that there aren’t any rules on how to go about it or how long it should take. Developing your child’s imagination and introducing them to vital social and emotional skills is worth the time, too! We love that play therapy is so universal and can happen within the walls of your child’s ABA clinic during behavioral therapy appointments, but it can (and should!) happen at home, too! If you’ve ever wondered how you can take a more significant role in your child’s therapy, play therapy is an easy and fun way to do so! The time you spend with your child will be so rewarding for you both, as well.

 

Additional Resources for Dads in the Autism Community

As a dad to a child with autism, it can often seem like you’re alone. We’re here to tell you that there are plenty of resources popping up every day to help support you through your journey. We believe finding your community is vital. The days are often long and sometimes stressful, so having somewhere to turn is essential for dads, too! There are a few great resources we love for dads of children with autism that we think you’ll find beneficial:

 

Full-time single dad, Rob Gorski, has three boys with autism and is the owner of The Autism Dad blog. His mission in life is to show others in a similar circumstance that they are not alone while educating the rest of the world what families affected by autism deal with each day.

 

This documentary gives a voice to 14 fathers with children with autism or ASD, showing the world what their daily lives are like. The film’s director, Charles Jones, is not only the director of Autistic Like Me but also has a child on the autism spectrum.

 

  • Autism Speaks

The Autism Speaks organization provides a lot of relevant research articles, as well as real-life accounts of what dads of children with autism need to hear. Guest blog posts written by dads in the autism community highlight pieces of advice other dads need to hear as well as key takeaways from their family’s autism journey.

 

No matter if you’re new to the autism community or not, we hope you know how important you are to your child’s growth in behavioral therapy, and ultimately in life. By taking a substantial role in supporting their therapies, you are not only helping pave the way for a healthy, happy child, but also a stronger parent-child relationship, one day at a time. For more information on ABA therapy or any other resources for dads in the autism community, contact us today. We’d love to show you how we can partner with you and your child on your autism journey!

 

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Receiving your child’s autism diagnosis can be overwhelming. Along with the emotional components, you are now facing what seems like an endless list of tasks and research to begin seeking services and additional resources. Searching for a high-quality ABA clinic is vital. Finding the right ABA clinic can be life-changing for your child, as well as your entire family. While you may find several ABA therapy options, selection should be a systematic process to ensure you meet your child’s needs. While scouting for the ABA therapy center that will best fit your family, keep these critical guidelines in mind:

 

  1. Employs a highly qualified staff
  2. Practices a family-centered approach
  3. Offers an all-encompassing ABA clinic
  4. Utilizes an effective system for tracking data
  5. Positive reinforcement techniques are in use

What is ABA Therapy?

ABA therapy, or Applied Behavioral Analysis, is a scientifically validated therapy which provides a clearer understanding of how your child’s environment may be affecting their behaviors. ABA therapy is a widely used behavioral therapy in practice for over five decades. ABA therapy takes an in-depth look at how behavior and learning take place. This form of treatment focuses on using a reward system which is most meaningful to each child individually, to replace undesirable behaviors with a beneficial skill or behavior. ABA therapy provides an in-depth view of your child’s skill set and behaviors in their natural environments and real-life circumstances while determining their strengths and weaknesses. ABA therapy relies heavily on parent participation to help your child form positive, lasting changes while replacing those that could cause harm to your child or interference with their ability to learn. ABA therapy touches many areas, including their:

 

  • Home environment
  • School or daycare environment
  • Social skills
  • Self-care skills

 

What is Behavioral Therapy

Behavioral therapy offers a well-structured intervention approach and is often where most recently diagnosed children will begin. Along with ABA therapy, behavior therapy will help meet the additional needs of your child by providing:

 

  • Social Skills Groups: Focus is on helping your child develop the skills to engage with others, practice their communication skills, and reinforce new, positive learned behaviors. Your child’s ABA therapy team will guide you to help your child understand and determine which responses are appropriate for various situations.

 

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: For children with mild symptoms, this form of behavioral therapy will help your child choose alternative behaviors. By using the tools they learn, they will begin to determine and utilize more appropriate actions or responses as they learn how to recognize their triggers and reactions.

 

  • Verbal Behavioral Therapy: This form of behavioral therapy helps non-verbal children communicate effectively and with intent. Your child’s ABA therapy team will evaluate and choose a particularly stimulating motivator for your child to help them understand that utilizing language skills will bring desirable outcomes.

 

A Highly Qualified Team

You must know who will be working with your child, so don’t be afraid to ask questions. Find out what training the ABA clinic’s staff has. What certifications do they hold, and is ongoing training a requirement? Your child and family will have a team of dedicated members, but knowing their education, training, and their requirements for continuous study will ensure you are considering a highly qualified ABA clinic.

 

The top credential practitioners of ABA therapy are Board Certified Behavior Analysts or BCBAs. This requires rigorous training involving a master’s degree in a relatable field such as behavioral therapy, speech therapy, special education, or psychology.  ABA therapy courses, final exams, and 1,500 hours of supervised fieldwork are requirements towards certification.

 

A Family-Centered Approach

A high-quality ABA clinic will offer a team of clinicians who believe in the power of family involvement. Behavioral therapy is most effective when your child’s team values the need to communicate with your family frequently. As a parent, you are your child’s advocate and can offer crucial insight into their daily routines, behaviors, and what may or may not be working in their natural environments. The right ABA clinic and the team will be willing to train and offer guidance while requiring your participation during specific sessions as well as at home. Choosing an ABA clinic that prioritizes the family-centered approach will bring tremendous benefits, vital to your child’s success.

 

An All-Encompassing Approach

An all-encompassing approach to providing essential services for your child and family is extremely beneficial. By offering multiple services, including behavioral therapy, physical therapy, and more, your child’s needs can be met all under one roof. The all-encompassing approach to therapy helps ensure all therapists and team members are on the same page, working together towards your child’s individual goals. Rather than running around to independently scheduled therapy sessions at various offices, a center such as Blossom Behavioral Wellness Center provides your family with the convenience of all therapies in one familiar location.

 

Tracking Data

Ensure the clinic you are considering practices regular and ongoing data collection. It is a vital part of evaluating the progress your child makes towards goals. Your child’s team bases critical decisions regarding goals and therapy sessions from ongoing data collection. While collecting data during behavioral therapy sessions, they should also stress the importance of your own data collection. As a parent, your natural environment recordings bring light to the improvements or setbacks the team will not witness, allowing them to make any necessary adjustments. Consistent data collection provides the potential to discover why particular behaviors are occurring.

 

What is Positive Reinforcement

Positive reinforcement is a form of behavioral therapy management offering one of the most effective interventions for children with behavioral issues and autism. Its use of ABA therapy helps implement a change in maladaptive behavior while strengthening lasting behavioral outcomes. It is an individual reward system using items or privileges your child considers to be profoundly meaningful. Ultimately, the goal of positive reinforcements in behavioral therapy is for personalized rewards to provide enough encouragement to result in a new, positive response. When the new behavior or skill is not successful, the reward is not given. This process repeats as necessary, providing your child the time they need to practice and adapt to their new skills and behaviors.

A more meaningful reinforcer will motivate them to use new skills and behaviors throughout all areas.

 

Here at the Blossom Behavioral Wellness Center, we offer a dynamic, all-encompassing approach to ensure your child’s success. Our highly qualified team provides dedication and care by providing your family with the additional services your child needs. We are here to answer your questions, guide you through the process, and support you in every way we can. While working with your entire family, our team of trained therapists wants to help you on your journey. Learn more about us and why the Blossom Method is the preferred choice for children with autism and related disorders.

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Whether or not you receive support from immediate family and friends, parenting a child with special needs can often leave parents and caregivers stressed, sad, and angry. As a provider of ABA therapy, we see parents as much as we see their children with autism in the clinic, so we get to know them well. One thing we know for sure is that parents and caregivers need support networks, just like their children!

 

Here at Blossom Behavioral Wellness Center, we strive to set parents up for success by hosting parental support groups led by licensed counselors. They are trained to listen to difficulties parents encounter as they raise children with autism. The best part about these support groups? They encourage socialization with other parents just like you, who walk through these struggles every day. They can help support you too, whether this is the very beginning of your journey or if you’ve been at it for years! We can’t say enough about the importance of a strong support network. Let’s take a look at a few reasons why parents of children with autism need to begin establishing a support network today.

 

Why You Need a Support Network

Raising a child through complicated developmental milestones (or lack thereof) can often make you feel like you’re alone and are the only one dealing with the specific difficulties that arise. However, that’s not the case! Often, you’ll find other parents are going through the same situations, and some may have the insight to share that ends up helping you in the long run! We believe that there are three main reasons or benefits for joining a support network. Let’s take a look.

 

  1. Support
  2. Understanding
  3. Life-long friendships

 

  1. Support

It seems obvious, and it is. At their very core, support networks lend support to those who feel alone and need it the most. After a few sessions, you’ll soon realize that you aren’t the only one frustrated, sad, mad, or tired. Finding that core group that “gets it” can transform your world, and in turn, by getting the support you need, your children and loved ones will benefit too! Many of these parents are also supporting their children through ABA therapy and can become yet another valued resource if you need more specialized support.

 

  1. Understanding

Many well-meaning people in the world will listen to you as you vent and tell you they understand what you’re going through. But the truth is, no one knows unless they are walking the same path as you. That’s why joining a support group with other parents of children with autism is critical! They truly do understand the struggles and can help talk you through solutions that worked in their family so you can try them too. Struggling with some of your ABA therapy work at home? Making friends with fellow clinic parents is a great way to have another line of communication in addition to your child’s therapist. Since they’ve likely been through something similar before, they’ll be happy to help answer quick questions or provide solutions that have worked for them!

 

  1. Life-Long Friendships

You might see the same familiar faces when you come into the clinic with your child for ABA therapy, but you may not know them well enough to stop and get to know one another. However, if you join an autism support network, you’ll have the opportunity to form meaningful, lasting relationships with fellow parents of children with autism that can sustain you through the tough days. At their very core, friendships thrive and blossom thanks to shared commonalities—so it should be a no-brainer that forming friendships within the clinic might be just the support you and your child needs!

 

Empowering the Whole Family

Here at Blossom Behavioral Wellness Center, we believe in serving the needs of your entire family, not just children with autism. We do this through ABA therapy that includes parental participation, parental support groups, counseling, and a whole host of other services depending on each family’s specific needs. We want you and your children to feel loved, supported, and empowered when you leave our clinic, but we also want you to find ways to care for yourself as well. We think you’re doing a great job and deserve the very best. Contact us today if there are any counseling services you’d like to learn more about!

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Coronavirus Disease 2019, or COVID-19, is a relatively new respiratory illness that is spread rapidly from person to person, similar to the flu. Unlike the flu, however, COVID-19 patients are asymptomatic for as much as a week, meaning they can spread the virus even if they show no outward signs of sickness.

 

We know that discussing a pandemic can be a topic filled with anxiety and stress for parents and caregivers. Still, children are resilient and need us to be honest with them, especially in these uncertain times. Here at Blossom Behavioral Wellness Center, we always strive to give you and your child the tools you need to be successful in both ABA therapy and everyday life. So today, we want to help you feel more comfortable talking to your kids about COVID-19.

 

What Do We Know About Coronavirus Disease 2019?

COVID-19 was first identified in Wuhan, China, after an outbreak in December 2019. Since then, confirmed cases of COVID-19 have grown worldwide, causing more than a quarter of a million people to receive a definite diagnosis. Of those cases, more than 10,00 have resulted in death across the world.

 

What’s the Good News?

In most cases, especially for patients that are not immunocompromised or high-risk (like patients over 60 years old), symptoms are minor and not life-threatening. Typically, these include a fever, cough, and sometimes difficulty breathing. Because of the rapid spread of this virus, doctors, scientists, and health professionals across the world have urged people to practice social distancing and other preventative measures to slow the spread of COVID-19.

 

What Can I Do?

As a parent or caregiver during this uncertain time, it can be difficult to ward off anxiety, especially since there are still so many unknowns right now. However, because we have kids and other adults looking to us for reassurance, we have to look for ways to cope and discuss this pandemic honestly, but also in a way that doesn’t heighten their fears. We’ve compiled a few of our favorite tips for talking to kids about COVID-19 that we think will be helpful for you to incorporate in the coming weeks as you continue to have discussions with your children.

 

Three Tips for Talking to Your Children About COVD-19

Before we jump into the tips, we want you to remember something essential: as parents or caregivers, we are the front line—our job is to help make sense of what our children hear in a way that is not only honest and accurate but also minimizes any fear or anxiety they may have. Now that we’ve discussed that let’s take a look at three tips that’ll help you talk through COVID-19 with your kids.

 

  1. Check-in with yourself first
  2. Remain calm and reassuring, but always be honest
  3. Don’t avoid the subject

 

  1. Check-in With Yourself First

Are you feeling frazzled and anxious? Have you just watched the news? If you feel like your anxiety has spiked, it is not the right time to talk to your children about COVID-19. Kids are sponges, especially very young children, so they will feed off your emotions and will start to emulate it if you aren’t able to keep it in check. However, that doesn’t mean you cannot feel anxious or worried. This is an incredibly uncertain time for everyone right now, and it affects everyone differently. Above all, we cannot care for our children if we don’t first take care of ourselves. If you have a child asking questions during a particularly stressful time, you can try one of these phrases:

 

  • “Let’s take a walk outside while I answer that question.”
  • “Before I answer this question, I think we should take three deep breaths to calm down. Do you want to do that with me?”

 

If you’re still feeling nervous during this conversation or you notice that your child might be tense, try having these conversations while working with play-doh, LEGOs, or coloring. Sometimes keeping busy while talking about tough subjects can help ease the anxiety you (and your child!) feel.

 

  1. Remain Calm and Reassuring, But Always Be Honest

The most important thing you can do as a parent, especially when discussing tough subjects, is reassuring your children that they are safe, and you are doing everything you can to keep it that way. Reassure them that mom and dad will make sure they are safe, loved, and happy above all.

 

Next, it’s essential to be honest. Kids pick up on it when we aren’t open or when we seem unsure, so even if you don’t know the answer to all their questions, that’s okay, but tell them that. While we aren’t going to know everything and we shouldn’t pretend to, we should project calm confidence that there are plenty of people out there that do and are working hard to make sure we all get through this. Here are a few honest phrases you can use as you’re talking to your children about COVID-19:

 

  • “I don’t know the answer to that question, but how about we look it up together?”
  • “I need to think about that, can we talk about it later?”
  • “You know, there are tons of people asking that same question right now. We are waiting on doctors and scientists to let us know more about it once they gather all the information about it that they can.”

 

  1. Don’t Avoid the Subject

The biggest mistake we can make when confronted with a tough topic is sweeping it under the rug and avoiding it altogether. Child psychologists agree that this may leave your child even more frightened. So, how can you bring up a conversation about COVID-19 without panicking your children?

 

Listen first, talk second

Listen to your child’s concerns, questions, and fears. This can be at playtime or before bed, whenever you can focus in on what your child is communicating. No matter their age, a quick reassurance from a calm parent and thanking them for asking good questions will go a long way in easing the anxiety COVID-19 may be causing in your home.

 

Make time to talk

Be sure that your kids know that they can come to you whenever they have questions or concerns. This doesn’t just apply to COVID-19, however. If you can make sure that you have an “open door” policy with your kids, they will trust that you are a safe place to turn in times of trouble and uncertainty, and the trust they have for you will blossom.

 

Now that you know how you can talk with your kids about COVID-19, we want to reinforce a few tips you and your family can practice staying safe at home and on the go.

 

How Can You Protect Yourself and Your Kids from COVID-19?

Health care professionals and scientists have a few simple tips that you can use to stay safe, whether you’re at home, work, or at the store grabbing essentials. These are two straightforward tips that you can teach your children so you can empower them to do their part to keep the family safe, too!

 

  • Stay clean
  • Take five

 

Stay Clean

Some simple everyday actions can keep germs at bay. Now is a great time to reinforce good personal hygiene habits like handwashing and sneezing and coughing appropriately.

         

  • Stay away from people who are coughing and sneezing
  • If you feel a sneeze or cough coming, grab a tissue or use your elbow
  • Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds—this is enough time to sing Happy Birthday twice—or you can pick your child’s favorite song
  • If soap is not available, teach them to use hand sanitizer safely

 

 

 

Take Five

A simple tactic that you can try, especially with smaller children, is to teach them to “take five”:

 

  • HANDS: Wash them often. Especially after using the bathroom, coughing, sneezing or touching things in public

 

  • ELBOW: Cough and sneeze into it if you can’t find a tissue

 

  • FACE: Touch it as little as possible, especially after coughing or sneezing

 

  • FEET: Stay more than six-fifteen feet apart from strangers and people not in your family (please check for updated information regarding this as it is being updated with new research)

 

  • FEEL: If you feel sick, always stay home. Practice social distancing even if you don’t have symptoms

 

What to Do If You or Your Kids Get Sick

If you or your kids come down with something, it can be easy to worry that you’ve got COVID-19, but that’s not always the case. Remain calm so your kids will stay calm too. Manage your symptoms as best you can from home, but if you do think you or your child has COVID-19, contact your healthcare facility to let them know your symptoms before you head there in person.

 

There are more and more resources popping up every day to help those with COVID-19 manage symptoms and get better quickly. Take advantage of telemedicine and other resources that allow you to stay away from hospitals and doctor’s offices if at all possible.

 

Here at Blossom Behavioral Wellness Center, we want to help support you and your family however we can. If you have any needs during this time, like support with at-home ABA therapy or anything else, contact us today. We’re here for you!

 

 

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research

Easily one of the most daunting aspects of a diagnosis of autism is wrapping your brain around the sheer number of therapies your child might require getting them ready for school. While this process can feel lonely and isolating at times, there are plenty of helpful resources, especially in Michigan, that can support you and your child throughout the journey. Here at Blossom Behavioral Wellness Center, we strive to help make your life a little easier by not only providing ABA clinic services but also by providing you with a list of our favorite resources. That includes our favorite five Michigan-based resources for parents of children with autism. Let’s take a look at all five right now!

 

  1. Autism Alliance of Michigan
  2. Michigan Alliance for Families
  3. Autism Society of Michigan
  4. Early on
  5. The Arc Michigan

 

1. Autism Alliance of Michigan

The Autism Alliance of Michigan, or AAoM, is at the forefront of leading efforts throughout the state, not just the Metro Detroit area, to improve the quality of life for those with autism and their caretakers. By helping those affected to gain access to education, ABA therapy, comprehensive services, inclusion efforts, and coordinated advocacy, AAoM hopes to give every Michigan resident with autism the tools they need to navigate the autism journey.

 

Why We Love Them

The AAoM has a Neighborhood Directory that provides parents and caregivers in Michigan with more than 700 resources that range from finding an ABA clinic, sensory-friendly summer camps, autism-friendly businesses, and so much more!

 

Not only does the AAoM help to direct you to a licensed ABA clinic for ABA therapy and other essential therapies, but they a program called MiNavigator, a professional case management service that caters to Michigan families affected by autism. MiNavigator has a team of autism specialists on staff that can answer autism-related questions for parents and caregivers. Whatever assistance you need, they have someone on staff that can do their best to help support you and your family!

 

How Can You Contact the AAoM?

Whether you’re new to the autism diagnosis or have reached a point in your child’s autism journey where you need more assistance or support, you can contact AAoM, and they’d be happy to point you in the right direction or answer any questions you may have. Contact the AAoM through their website and join their monthly MiNavigator Newsletter to stay up-to-date with events, trainings, and other autism-related activities!

 

2. Michigan Alliance for Families

Do you have a school-aged child with autism and need help navigating the special education system? The Michigan Alliance for Families has a resource just for you, allowing you to connect with local parent mentors that have experience with most of the things you’re probably dealing with. Not only can they help you navigate this sometimes-stressful process, but they can also help you take the appropriate steps to learn how to be more involved in your child’s education, too!

Not only that, the Michigan Alliance for Families also has a vast arsenal of resources for any Michigan family with a child or children with disabilities, whether they be physical or otherwise. From more in-depth information about autism and ASD to referrals to local community resources that will help your child’s specific needs, like ABA therapy, the Michigan Alliance for Families makes it easier for Michigan families to get the care and representation they deserve.

 

Why We Love Them

Following a diagnosis of autism, it is easy to feel isolated, frustrated, and like no one understands your specific struggles. Thanks to the parent mentorship program at the Michigan Alliance for Families, you are seen and understood. Support is so important, not only for a child with autism but also for their parent or caregiver. By bridging the gap between Michigan parents of children with disabilities, the Michigan Alliance for Families is giving parents a much-needed outlet for discussing treatment plans like ABA therapy, picking an ABA clinic, and so much more!

 

How Can You Contact the Michigan Alliance For Families?

To get general information or to request support from a local parent mentor, check out the Michigan Alliance for Families website and fill out an information form. You should receive a response in as little as three days!

 

3. Autism Society of Michigan

The Autism Society of Michigan, or ASM, exists to provide education, respect, and the presumption of competence of all persons. By showing others that individuals with autism or autism spectrum disorders contribute in unique ways in not only their families but in school environments, too. ASM advocates for individuals with autism by making human connections and maintaining a supportive and integrated community through educational resources, workshops, seminars, and other services.

 

Why We Love Them

One of our favorite things about ASM is its comprehensive list of Michigan-based resources for individuals with autism and their caretakers. From a list of ABA clinics to ABA therapy resources, behavioral therapy, art therapy, and so much more, you can find the resources you’re looking for in your area with the click of a button! You can even breakdown your search results by county to make the search that much easier!

 

How Can You Contact the Autism Society of Michigan?

To gain more information or to get guidance on a particular question you have, contact the Autism Society of Michigan through their website to let them know how they can help you and your family today!

 

4. Early On

Early On Michigan is an excellent resource for parents of children under three years old to establish intervention services at an ABA clinic like ABA therapy. Because early intervention is crucial to the success of various behavioral treatments like ABA therapy, programs like this one must exist for Michigan families. Early On emphasizes the importance of both early identification and early referrals to help enhance the development of infants and toddlers with disabilities.

 

Why We Love Them

Early On was founded on several principles we believe in at Blossom Behavioral Wellness Center. First, that early intervention is not only essential but crucial to the success of your child interacting with their peers in various environments. Second, that a parent or caretaker’s role is just as important as a therapist’s role. Without you, there could be no real progress. And by giving you the tools you need to succeed, an ABA clinic can empower you with the guidance and support you need to use everyday activities to promote learning. Early On even breaks these tools down in a logical way that makes understanding them even more straightforward. Let’s take a look below.

  • Intervention: according to the team at Early On, this comes from the day-to-day caregivers of the child, like parents. By providing practice, encouragement, and guidance, you can help your child succeed.
  • Service: this encompasses the professional activity that happens between your Early On provider and you. It allows you the confidence that you have the interventions necessary at the ready for those moments at home or during playdates when you need to redirect your child’s behavior.

 

How Can You Contact Early On?

If you think that your young child may have a developmental delay, you can contact Early On for a referral for services that might help, like ABA therapy. For more information or to ask more questions about their services, check out their website!

 

5. The Arc Michigan

The Arc Michigan ensures that people with developmental disabilities are valued and that they and their families aren’t excluded from community activities because of their limitations. By helping residents (and their families!) with things like employment, education, forming meaningful relationships, and living independently in their community, The Arc Michigan is fulfilling dreams, one Michigan resident at a time.

 

Why We Love Them

One of our favorite things about The Arc Michigan is that they have multiple chapters across the state, available to serve individual communities better and more precisely. For instance, The Arc Detroit chapter covers the cities of Detroit, Highland Park, and Hamtramck, helping you find services like ABA therapy and ABA clinics in each of those cities.

All five of these Michigan-based resources are there to help you navigate your child’s autism diagnosis, from understanding how to advocate for your child, to the importance of ABA therapy, as well as finding other autism-related resources for your family, like a licensed ABA clinic.

Speaking of ABA therapy, let’s take a closer look at how it can change the way your child learns and behaves, both in school and at home!

 

ABA Therapy: Defined

Here at Blossom Behavioral Wellness Center, we believe that ABA therapy, or Applied Behavior Analysis Therapy, provides the basis for our therapists to look at how your child learns and behaves. More often than not, a reward system specific to your child encourages your child to replace an unwanted behavior with a desired one. Not bribery by any means, instead your child will receive the reward once the response is adopted, making it more likely to be repeated more often in the future. Children learn at different rates in ABA therapy, which is why your ABA clinic must take a personalized approach with each child, rather than a one-size-fits-all approach. As such, something that motivates one child (even sibling to sibling), may not motivate another, so your ABA therapy team getting to know your child on a personal level is vital.

 

How Can ABA Therapy Make A Difference in My Child’s Life?

To prepare your young child for success in school, we believe intervention must start early, so not only can your ABA clinic work with your child on daily life skills but social skills and classroom readiness skills, too! A few of the skills you can expect your child to work on throughout ABA therapy are listed below. Let’s take a look.

 

  • Social skills (with adults, peers, and in group settings)
  • Potty training
  • Feeding
  • Coping skills
  • Communication skills

 

By working on these skills and more throughout their ABA therapy sessions, your child will not only be more confident and comfortable, but they’ll also be ready to adapt to their school environment better.

 

Your Role as a Caregiver

We alluded to it before, but we firmly believe that to get the most out of your child’s ABA clinic and ABA therapy sessions, parental participation is vital. No one knows your child as well as you do, so by providing insight into their behaviors, strengths, and weaknesses, your child’s therapist can better coordinate their care plan. You are your child’s most influential advocate, and we value your opinion. Here at Blossom Behavioral Wellness Center, we strive to be an ABA clinic where your whole family can feel comfortable, included, and understood.

 

So, how can you continue the progress from your ABA clinic at home? Let’s take a look at a few ways below.

  • Play

Often, we hear that parents don’t know if they are using ABA therapy skills correctly at home and are unsure how to proceed. Have no fear! A lot of the progress we make in the ABA clinic is thanks to play therapy. This is a genius concept, especially for young children, because they have no idea that the game they’re playing is building social skills at the same time.

 

  • Don’t forget positive reinforcement

Whether your child responds to hugs, high fives, or special treats, remembering to compliment and reward desired behaviors while at home or out and about around town is key to keeping the momentum from your child’s ABA clinic going. This will also motivate them to keep repeating these behaviors with you consistently outside of the ABA clinic, too!

 

  • Take note

One of the other essential things you can do for your ABA therapist is keeping a running list of things that happen outside of the ABA clinic. Whether you have questions about specific things you want to save until your child’s next session, or you want to keep a list of achievements and struggles, taking a few detailed notes can help your ABA clinic know what skills still need fine-tuning.

 

Your Local ABA Clinic at Your Service!

Here at Blossom Behavioral Wellness Center, we want to help you and your family work through an autism or ASD diagnosis as seamlessly as possible. We accomplish this by providing support through intensive programs and individualized services for children up to age eight like ABA therapy, Occupational Therapy, and counseling. Plus, for children six to 12 years old, we offer after-school peer groups and services, as well. From the initial diagnosis to every year in between, we’re here to help you and give you the tools and confidence you need to help your child thrive. Contact us today to schedule a consultation or with any questions you may have!

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kids blowing confetti

Raising a child in Metro Detroit is an exciting thing, due in large part to all the various family events you can enjoy with your kids each week! Thankfully, there is no shortage of family events that can also double as a way to test out ABA therapy skills if any of your children have autism or ASD.

 

Sometimes, pinpointing the perfect activities for your kids can be hard, especially if you’re new to the area. If you have been here for years but just had children, you, too, might need some tips for the best family-friendly places in Metro Detroit.

 

You’re in luck because we’ve narrowed down the list, highlighting Novi specifically, so you can make plans to visit some of our favorite places and take part in all the family events going on at them this year. So, without further ado, let’s take a look at seven of our favorite family-friendly places in Novi!

 

Seven Family-Friendly Places in Novi

Whether it’s a rainy, wet Michigan day or if you’re looking for an outdoor venue where your kids can burn off their seemingly limitless energy in the summer, we’ve got a place for every occasion in Novi!

  1. Emagine Theatre
  2. Putting Edge
  3. Paradise Park
  4. Twelve Oaks Mall
  5. Novi Public Library
  6. Aqua-tots Family Swim School
  7. Novi Ice Arena

 

  1. Emagine Theatre

There are quite a few things that set Emagine Theatres apart from other movie theatres in the area. This luxury theatre is revolutionizing the way you enjoy your favorite movies. Combining a gourmet snack bar, luxurious recliner seating, in-seat service, and even valet parking, you might forget you’re at a movie theatre and not at a private screening once you sit down! But the best part of the Emagine Theatre experience in Novi is the inclusivity. If you have a child that needs a more sensory-friendly experience, they have a special showing just for them! Make your child’s next movie theatre experience more enjoyable thanks to brighter house lights, a lower movie volume, the ability to get up and move around during the show, and the freedom to bring an allergy-friendly snack if your children have food allergies or restrictions.

 

  1. Putting Edge

What kid doesn’t love mini-golf? Combine the fun of a regular mini-golf course with an interactive glow-in-the-dark course, and you have a winner every time! Kids can spend time enjoying some friendly competition, all while learning how to take turns, aim, and keep score! In this unique space with fun lights, colors, and sights, children (and kids at heart) can let their imaginations run wild while doing something far from ordinary! Plus, if playing arcade games is your child’s favorite hobby, there’s even a small arcade they can spend time in, too! Just make sure to secure your reservations in advance to avoid long wait times.

 

  1. Paradise Park

Looking for a fun location for an upcoming birthday? Paradise Park might be just the ticket. From go-karts, mini-golf, laser tag, a trampoline center, climbing walls, and soccer cages, there truly is something for everyone! The perfect place to spend a rainy day, Paradise Park, offers a little something for everyone, making it ideal for hosting family events.

 

  1. Twelve Oaks Mall

More than just one of the largest malls in the Metro Detroit area, the Twelve Oaks Mall is an excellent destination for families, too! The Children’s Play Area on the Lower Level in the Sears Court is our favorite part! It’s a great way to let your kids get out some energy during your shopping trip, plus they can interact with other kids at the same time. From climbing structures, tunnels, and interactive elements—there’s something to keep every kid engaged and happy. To ensure a safe and healthy play atmosphere, the foam sculptures are made with antimicrobial materials, too.

 

  1. Novi Public Library

The Novi Public Library offers plenty of opportunities for family events throughout the week from Lego club to storytime to dramatic playgroup, there is something for every child no matter their age, interests, or abilities! There are even specific storytimes by age-range to better cater to the needs of each child and their caregiver!

 

  1. Aqua-Tots Family Swim School

With a variety of swim classes to fit the needs of any child, Aqua-Tots Family Swim School is an excellent idea for those cold winter days in Metro Detroit when you need to get some pent-up energy out, but it’s too cold to head to the park. Plus, your children will learn how to stay safe in the water and gear up for those hot summer months on the horizon! From infant and baby lessons to swim lessons for children with special needs, Aqua-Tots has something for everyone.

 

  1. Novi Ice Arena

Did you know that ice skating is not only a great cardio workout, but it can also strengthen leg muscles and increase endurance, as well? Planning your family events at the Novi Ice Arena can be an excellent idea, especially if your kids have dreams of being the next Olympic figure skater or the next famous hockey player! From free skates to learn-to-skate classes, your child can work each week to increase essential skills like balance, coordination, and endurance as they learn to ice skate like a professional. If they get comfortable enough on their skates and want to try their hand at hockey, private lessons and instructional programs are available for all skill levels, too.

 

Proudly Serving Novi, Michigan

Here at Blossom Behavioral Wellness Center, our highly trained team has a dedication to provide families in the Metro Detroit area with early intervention therapies for children with ASD and other special needs. We believe that while a lot of the work happens during your child’s therapy at our clinic, practicing skills and desired behaviors outside of a therapy environment is vital to your child’s success, as well. That’s where sensory-friendly family events in and around Metro Detroit come into play. Contact us today so we can help you find the individualized support you, your child, and your family need!

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If you’ve recently found yourself confronted with a diagnosis of autism or ASD for one of your children, it can be a daunting and stressful time as you work to find the right therapies for them. Combine that with the possibility of being put on a waitlist for these ABA services, and it can cause more unnecessary stress. We’re here to tell you that there is hope.

Did you know that 1 in 59 children are diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder each year? But because of this, there are plenty of ABA clinics opening up their doors to better serve the autism community.

 

But First, What is ABA Therapy?

ABA therapy or Applied Behavior Analysis has become a popular option for children with ASD. By combining proven-effective teaching methods and interventions, ABA therapy uses basic behavioral principles to improve or change specific behavior.  ABA is vital to helping your child gain the skills they need to thrive in school and at home, by using data-based decisions to address each child’s needs individually.

 

Now that you know a little more about what ABA therapy is, let’s take a look at the bad news about waiting for these services at an ABA clinic.

 

The Bad News About ABA Clinic Waitlists

If you’re on a waitlist at an ABA clinic, it can be extremely frustrating, not only for you but for your child too! Let’s explore a few reasons why sitting on a waitlist for ABA services are a bad thing for both you and your child.

 

  • Early intervention is critical for success

This means that it’s a much easier process for your child to learn new skills before age 5. While it is not uncommon for them to learn these skills after that, it takes quite a bit more effort.

 

  • Loss of skills

During the wait, your child can fall farther behind their peers because they aren’t receiving the therapy they need to interact with them socially, emotionally, or mentally.

 

  • Increased inappropriate behavior

Similarly, if your child is not receiving therapy services at an ABA clinic, there will likely be an increase in the problem behaviors you are hoping to correct. Getting into a program as soon as you can is vital to effective therapy, which translates into success for your child.

 

  • Long wait times

Did you know that once on a waitlist for an ABA clinic spot to open up, you could be waiting for up to three years? Not only is that frustrating, but it also hinders your child’s potential progress, as well.

 

The Good News on ABA Clinics

However, there is good news in all of this. Instead of being waitlisted, you can find an ABA clinic like Blossom Behavioral Wellness Center that offers both comprehensive therapy services and support services, allowing your child to get the intervention they need as soon as possible! Plus, there are a few other reasons why you should schedule a consultation at Blossom Behavioral Wellness Clinic today!

 

Why Blossom Behavioral Wellness Center?

 

  • We’re community-focused

Here at Blossom Behavioral Wellness Center, we believe that in-clinic work is essential to overall progress for children with autism or ASD. Still, we know that progress also happens outside the ABA clinic, as well. That’s why we emphasize parent-led interaction and plan community events that allow your child to work on essential social skills in their natural environment.

 

  • We offer comprehensive therapy and support services for every child

Here at Blossom Behavioral Wellness Center, we are proud to serve the Metro Detroit area. We love helping local families in need of not only ABA services, but also occupational therapy, speech therapy, and counseling. Contact us to schedule a consultation so we can personalize a program of ABA Services and get your child off the waitlist today!

 

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