Showing posts from 2019

Transitions for children with autism.

We all like routines in our daily lives. It helps us to feel in control and feel secure. Any kind of change throws us off. We as adults are better equipped to handle the changes to our daily routine. It is a very well known fact transition or any kind of changes in daily routine is very stressful for children on the spectrum as they love a structure. It helps them feel secure and in control to know what's going to happen in their day. There are certain things we can do to ease the transitions for children with autism. Visual schedules are a very good transition strategy for children with autism. This helps them to know how their day will be and what will come next. This helps them to be better prepared as they know what to expect. It helps them to remain calm as unstructured time can be very hard for these children. We all like to engage in preferred activities of our choice but for children with autism transitioning from a preferred activity to a nonpreferred activity can be v

Social Skills in children with autism

One of the hallmarks in children with autism is impairment in social skills. Social skills are a set of rules we use to interact with others.  Initiating interactions, play skills, joint attention, Turn-taking are examples of some of the social skills children have to learn to communicate and interact with other people daily. This was not an area of strength for Aarian.  He loved being around other children but never interacted with them. He would engage in parallel play around other kids. Eye contact was another area that Aarian struggled with. He would only make eye contact if he wanted something or he wanted to play with us sometimes. Aarian's ability to participate in a group activity was very limited. In a typical school day 20-25 minutes was set aside for Aarian to participate in a structured group activity. The group consisted of 3 to 4 students. They played simple games that focused on turn-taking. He was able to attend and sit through the group activity but rarely inte

The Second Diagnosis.

It is a well-known fact the majority of children with Autism have a secondary diagnosis. Our son around five years of age started saying single words. At one point he was saying 100 single words. I had kept a running record of all the words Aarian was saying. It was very encouraging for us to see Aarian was finally using single words to communicate. In the meanwhile, we were doing speech therapy for Aarian in order to help him develop communication and play skills.  This explosion of words stopped suddenly one day when he turned 7  The speech therapist was very concerned when we told him about regression in Aarian. He asked us to take him to a Neurologist.  We made an appointment with the Neurologist. He was very concerned when he heard the regression our son was demonstrating. He asked us to take him to a hospital to do an EEG to rule out the possibility of a second diagnosis of Landau Kleffner syndrome.  The results of the EEG were consistent with Landau -Kleffner syndrome which in

Picky Eating in children with Autism.

This is a very common problem in children with Autism. Most of the children with Autism are fussy or picky eaters and will eat only certain kinds of food.  A big reason for this is sensory issues and the way certain types of foods feel in their mouth. This creates difficulties for parents to feed their kids with a wide variety of foods to grow and thrive. Our son is a picky eater to this day. Right from the beginning he showed a preference for crunchy textured foods. He started disliking foods which were mushy or creamy in texture. This continues till today and he is very reluctant to even try or put those foods in his mouth. Children in general love junk food which has no nutritional value. My son loved eating junk foods. We did try to introduce him to a variety of foods when he was a toddler but we were unsuccessful in our attempts.  The good thing with my son is from the early days he started eating regular home-cooked food and disliked eating fast food. This a list of f

Sensory Issues in children with Autism.

Children with Autism have a lot of sensory needs. Aarian had lots of sensory issues. He had difficulty focusing and was not able to sit for more than a minute. He demonstrated lots of visual stims in which he used to tilt his head to one side and had a peripheral vision, meaning he looked through the corner of his eyes.  He was a toe walker right from the beginning and he used to wear bilateral ankle-foot orthotics also called AFOs to address this. He had poor motor skills. He used to have difficulty in walking, balance, and appeared clumsy at times. Fine Motor skills were another area Aarian struggled with. He used to have sleep issues. It was difficult for him to sleep throughout the night and used to wake up in the middle of the night. It used to take hours sometimes putting him back to sleep. It was stressful for the whole family to deal with this issue practically every night. The Sensory Profile Caregiver Questionnaire was administered as part of the assessment to determine w

Delays in communication and social skills

One of the hallmarks of Autism is impairment in social and communication skills. Communication is very essential for all of us but in children with autism it can be delayed or slow. Many of the children on the spectrum do communicate by using different modalities but never develop verbal speech and remain non-verbal. Aarian started babbling around 18 months of age but never developed speech and became silent. This is when he got the Autism diagnosis. After the diagnosis he started vocalizing however there were no words or word approximations that were noted. He would imitate some sounds. He used to take our hand and lead us to what he wanted. He did not engage in any play activities but used to play by himself. It was very difficult to engage Aarian at this age as he needed constant adult supervision. If we left him on his own he would just run from one end of the room to another as he used to seek a lot of movement throughout the day. We attended the More Than Words and Picture Ex

Starting School

It is a very important milestone for any child to start school. It was very important for us for our son to start schooling in order for him to learn communication skills, social skills, and also academic skills. Aarian got diagnosed with Autism in June of 2009 and started school in September 2009 as in Canada Ontario the province we live in children start school at 4 years of age. It was very important for us to make the right decision in terms of Aarians placement in the school system. we knew right from the beginning putting Aarian in a  mainstream class with 20 plus kids was not the right placement for him .what he needed to be was as a special needs classroom which has 4 to 5 children with a similar disability. It had 1 teacher along with 2 -3 Educational Assistants. It was a big transition for Aarian and it was very important for us we had the right Transition plan in place for him which included his strengths and needs, diagnosis and medical information, the skills he has, or

I was on a Mission to help my son.

Around the age of 3 after we got a confirmed diagnosis Aarian had regressed a lot. He had no speech, he did not connect with us. It was very heartbreaking to see him like this. The Early Interventionist used to come home once a month and tried to connect with Aarian by trying to play with him. Both me and Ben were at a loss as to how we could connect with our son to help him. During one of the visits by the Early Interventionist I expressed my concerns to her and if there was something we could do to help our son. She advised me if I really wanted to help my son I should go back to school. I decided to go back to school and learn everything I can about Autism to help my son. I started school in 2009.  It was a tough decision as I had to look after my 2 kids, my job, and to top, it off take care of a son with autism. After 3 years in the school I graduated with Honors in Autism Graduation certificate. This was one of the best decisions I took as I never looked back after that. I felt

Starting ABA therapy..

Once we got the initial diagnosis it was very important for us to provide Early Intervention for improving Aarians language abilities, social interactions and to teach him new skills which typically growing children acquire naturally but kids on the autism spectrum struggle to acquire these skills. We did a lot of research and found ABA was the most promising intervention to help Aarian learn new skills and help in his overall development. We decided to start Aarian on ABA therapy. ABA is short for Applied Behavioral Analysis. It is the science of behavior. It is the process of systematically applying interventions based upon principles of learning theory to improve socially significant behaviors to a meaningful degree. It is the most effective evidence-based approach for children with autism. Aarian started ABA therapy in March 2009 immediately after his diagnosis. The ABLLS provides the tools you need to assess, instruct, and monitor children with autism. It helps you to identify

How we started our journey on the spectrum.

My son Aarian was born on November 4, 2005. From the beginning he was a very quiet baby, rarely cried. In the beginning, Aarian almost hit all his milestones and there was never a cause to worry. I think the first signs of something is not right started when he turned 1 even though I and my husband did not notice anything unusual at that time. Aarians grandmother is a special needs teacher and it was she who bought it to our attention that he might have autism. Aarian started showing some early signs of autism around 18 months of age like he loved to be alone, there was no eye contact when we called his name, he rarely played with toys walking on his toes. .He babbled a little bit but there were no words its as if he went silent and there was no verbal speech. Around the age of 2, he started regressing. That's the time Aarians grandmother bought it to our attention this looks like autism as he was demonstrating classic signs.  I immediately booked a visit with his pediatri

Why i decided to start a blog

Autism or Autism spectrum disorders are characterized by difficulties in communication in way of spoken speech, social skills, repetitive behaviours. In today's world, it is one of the fastest-growing epidemics with alarming statistics of 1in 40 children are being diagnosed with autism.  It is very common in boys than in girls. There is presently no known cause for Autism Most of the children on the Autism Spectrum are nonverbal even though they have average or above-average intellectual abilities. I know there are hundreds of autism blogs already out there but as they say, if you have met one individual with autism you have met one individual with autism.    I started to blog is that I want to share the story of my son who got diagnosed with autism eleven years ago and how it changed our family.  I want to share our journey on the spectrum with our share of successes, failures, and ultimately realizing how blessed we are to raise this incredible boy. I know I am late to b