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ABC Employee of The Month – November

Chris Bieszk is November's Employee of the Month! Chris is November's employee of the month. Chris is doing an awesome job taking on a bigger role with his current team and handling the day-to-day program. He does a great job replacing targets appropriately and effectively as well as reaching out when he needs help guiding the direction of the client's program. He asks great questions and updates his teams client page with important info as well as all of the client's accomplishments! We all love seeing all the kids' accomplishments, no matter how small. Keep up the great work Chris.

Meet Our Therapy Dog Lego!

Meet Our Therapy Dog Lego! Dogs have long been used to aid and assist people with health and physical conditions. Whether as part of a formal therapy via a therapy dog or in everyday assistance from a service companion. A relatively new area in assisting people with autism is training therapy dogs to work in session with the therapist and child. The therapy dogs are trained to provide comfort in therapeutic situations, as well as promote social interaction and have a calming influence on the child. In the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, a review was published in which it states that children with autism were more vocal and engaged in sessions when a therapy dog is present. Other studies also showed that children were less aggressive and friendlier when interacting with the dog throughout the session. The emotional benefits and sensory interventions brought upon by the assistance of a therapy dog seem to have a positive impact for most children. Behavior intervention, redirecting repetitive behaviors, as well as calming and preventing meltdowns are just some of the ways therapy dogs assist children. It is recommended for parents of children with autism to speak with their doctor about the benefits of therapy dogs and if it aligns with the child’s needs and abilities. Below are some of the advantages in integrating therapy dogs into sessions with children: Social Engagement: A therapy dog can assist in motivating a child to interact with their peers, focus on a task and divert attention away from negative behaviors. Calm During Meltdowns: In most cases a therapy dog can help reduce the severity or completely redirect the onset of a meltdown. The dog has the ability to sense the emotions of the child they are attending to and are trained to remain calm and be supportive during the tantrum. Cognitive and Emotional Growth: Therapy dogs promote positive feelings of love and care. The child has the ability to nurture that bond with the therapy dog by touching, cuddling and hugging. Sensory Support: A therapy dog can be trained to assist in various games and activities like hide and seek, tug of war and massage. Reducing Repetitive Motion: A well-trained therapy dog can recognize the onset of an episode and redirect the child. Children can spend less time exhibiting repetitive movements when a therapy dog is present in session. Improving Vocal Skills: Studies indicate that children speak more frequently when a therapy dog is around. The most significant and obvious advantage is the impact it can have in the promotion of speech. Companionship: One of the most fulfilling roles a therapy dog fills is that of a companion to the child. The therapy dog has the ability to bond with the child quickly and help them experience friendship. This will help the child in becoming comfortable around others.

ABA Coverage: A Need for Change

ABA Coverage: A Need for Change In the United States, the CDC has estimated that Autism affects about 1 in 68 children.  Children with autism who are not properly diagnosed or do not receive the proper treatment miss out on effective interventions during critical periods of development resulting in permanent and varying developmental and neurological delays.  This is a devastating reality for many children who are not diagnosed early on in life or children who may never receive a proper diagnosis at all. Even more distressing are children who are diagnosed at an early age, recommended for scientifically proven effective interventions like ABA therapy by their physicians, but are still unable to gain access to services. Many families are faced with the reality of not having access to the services they need, even though they are immensely aware these services are needed and services exist as an effective treatment but are just out of their reach.  This is a reality that many families in the state of Illinois are faced with.  It’s hard enough, walking out of a doctor’s appointment with a diagnosis of autism, a recommendation page a mile long, and the overwhelming feeling of wanting to do everything in your power to help your child, only to be told that what’s best for your child is not covered under your current insurance policy.  They are given the proper diagnosis at an appropriate time in their development in order to successfully receive an intervention that has the potential to make them indistinguishable from their peers, and yet many of those children are not given access to the funding needed for the interventions because their insurance policies are state funded. The state of autism laws in the state of Illinois has recently been brought to the forefront. More specifically, the rules and regulations regarding ABA coverage for Medicaid recipients have been brought to light and there are major discrepancies in autism coverage for private health insurance policyholders and those with Medicaid. These are actual violations of Illinois law dating back to its origination in 2008. The state of Illinois passed the Illinois Autism mandate near the end of 2008. At the time, even private insurance companies attempted to deny the legislation of coverage for ABA for children with autism for years following this passage. It was only as recently as 2017 that private insurance companies had an official policy regarding autism/ABA coverage within the state of Illinois. Even though the law passed in 2008, it took another nine years before it was officially and formally acknowledged. Now, we have a new challenge. For many families residing in Illinois, proper autism treatment is still too far out of reach. The necessary treatment for children with autism that fall into the Medicaid category simply do not receive it in our beloved state. It is time for parents to stand up and take what is crucial for their children. No longer in the state of Illinois should it be acceptable for a child with autism to be deprived of the most necessary and basic form of care available to them. The time has come for all parents in Illinois to be reassured that socio-economic status will not preclude them from appropriate and essential interventions. There should be no question in 2019 about what is medically necessary for children, adolescents, and adults with developmental disorders. Applied behavior analysis (ABA therapy) is the only medically recommended therapy by the U.S. Surgeon General in the last two decades. The conversation should no longer be about what to do; it should be about how to obtain it for your child. We here at Applied Behavioral Consulting, are here to spread awareness about autism and answer any questions that you may have. For more information visit or give us a call at (630) 402-6060. 

Parent Child Interaction Therapy

Parent Child Interaction Therapy             Children with autism and other developmental delays are often faced with challenges interacting and socializing with family and peers.  In many cases, parents find it difficult to interact with their child in a way that is meaningful and beneficial for both the child and the parent.  ABA incorporates a treatment approach called parent-child interaction therapy (PCIT) that focuses on developing a positive parent-child dynamic and increases positive interactions while simultaneously decreasing inappropriate interactions.  This therapy has led to greater relationship satisfaction between children and their parents.  PCIT includes two phases: the first phase is child-led, and the second phase is parent led. The first phase focuses on building the parent-child relationship.  In this phase, parents get on their child’s level, they do not place any demands, ask questions, or use negative talk with their child.  Phase one includes a lot of positive reinforcement for appropriate behavior from the parents including labeled praise, reflecting on the behavior displayed by their child, and describing the behaviors of their child.  It also includes the parents interacting with their child by imitating them and echoing them, which seems a little peculiar at first but helps tremendously when creating a positive and encouraging environment.  In the second phase of PCIT, parents lead the session.  In this phase, parents place a direct demand that is positively-stated and includes only one command that allows the child to respond correctly or incorrectly.  If their child complies with the command, the parent should use labeled praise, reflect on, and/or describe the child’s behavior.  If their child does not comply, the parent then gives the child a warning, before putting him or her in timeout.  Once timeout is over, the parent presents the command again and follows the same procedure until their child responds appropriately to the demand being placed. At ABC, we strive to train parents throughout PCIT to ensure they receive the maximum benefits of this therapy and cultivate a healthy and reinforcing relationship between the child and the parents.  Creating a greater relationship satisfaction between individuals with autism and their families is a goal we aim to achieve through all of our services, including PCIT. As a parent, it's hard to always know the answers. We're here to help! For more information visit or give us a call at (630) 402-6060. 

Autism Facts and Figures

  Studies from professionals have revealed causes, facts, and figures related to Autism. We here at Applied Behavioral Consulting, are here to spread awareness about Autism and answer any questions that you may have. The facts are found below:   Prevalence: In 2018 the CDC stated that approximately 1/59 children are diagnosed with Autism; more specifically 1/37 boys and 1/151 girls. The reason boys are more likely to be diagnosed is not yet determined.   The Causes: A vast majority of cases show that genetics are involved in the development of Autism. Children who are born to older parents have a higher risk for being born with Autism. Over the decades, many research has asked if there is a link between vaccinations and Autism and findings have shown vaccines don’t cause Autism.   Support: Early interventions can help improve social skills and learning. Therapies such as applied behavioral therapy (ABA) are the most researched and used therapy for children with Autism. Other beneficial interventions and therapies that have been highly used are speech and occupational therapy.   Challenges Associated with Autism: It has been estimated that 1/3 of people diagnosed with Autism are nonverbal. In home Autism therapy can help your child feel more comfortable by expressing themselves through nonverbal ways to communicate. Another challenge that some may face is wandering or bolting from safety.   Health Conditions: Autism can affect a persons’ whole mind and/or body. Some other conditions may be diagnosed along with Autism like Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). Anxiety and depression can also affect a child with Autism (11-40% for anxiety) and (7% for depression).   We hope that you can walk away feeling you have a better understanding on Autism and how a child can be affected. If you or someone you know are looking for “ABA therapy near me” or “Autism therapy near me”, visit us at Applied Behavioral Consulting today. We take pride in giving the best care and treatment for your child. See our Autism therapy in La Grange, IL.

Children with Autism & Hypersensitivity- Tips to Help Communicate

  Does getting caught in a rainstorm and having to walk in wet clothing make you feel uncomfortable? When you hear skid marks from tires on the road does it make you shriek? In those types of situations you have experienced hypersensitive sensory dislike.   Some children with autism suffer from Sensory Processing Disorder where messages from their senses do not get regulated properly. Because they are not regulated properly, some children get frustrated and angry when they cannot accurately explain their experiences. At Applied Behavioral Consulting, we understand and are here to give you some solid tips to help communicate.   Number one and one of the most important is to locate the source of discomfort for your child. Because your child may not be able to process all sensations, they can become overwhelmed or frustrated when experiencing things like a clothing tag rubbing. When you work with your child to help identify the source of discomfort, it will lead to a resolution where they feel comfortable.   Next up is to model descriptive words. When your child tells you “ew” or “I don’t like it” it doesn’t give much about what sensory feature is bothering them. In situations like above, you can model descriptive words for touch, taste, sight, smell, movement and sound. An example for touch would be greasy, slippery or sticky.   Often, with broader vocabulary you can better figure out your child’s sensory preferences they like. Going back to the wet clothing in the rainstorm, the wetness has a spectrum of damp-moist-drenched and your body spectrums from cool-cold-freezing. When you are using broader words to describe those spectrums you can compare to figure out which your child prefers better.   We know that Hypersensitive Sensory Processing Disorder can be frustrating and upsetting at times for your child. Using ABA therapy and communicating with them is the best way to connect and provide reassurance to your child. Communicating and working with them to identify what is bothering them when they cannot goes a long way in providing comfort.   Looking for ABA therapy nearby or in-home autism therapy? Visit us at Applied Behavioral Consulting today to learn more about our approach. For years we have provided autism therapy in La Grange, IL. Give us a call today to learn more at (630) 402-6060.

6 Myths About Autism

Not everything out there today is true about autism, but we want to make sure you know what in fact is true and false about it. We have put together 6 myths about autism to help end misconceptions and spread knowledge.   Myth number one: people with autism don’t want to have friends. Some children with autism may suffer from social skills which make it seem that they are unfriendly or shy. It is not because they don’t want friends that they do not talk, but because he or she is unable to communicate the way you do.   Myth two: people with autism cannot feel and express their emotions. Autism does not make that individual unable to feel emotions, it just makes them communicate or express their emotions in different ways that might be hard to tell. ABA therapy is one way to help detect and express emotions.   Myth number three: people with autism cannot understand other people’s emotions. While autism does affect an individual’s ability to understand unspoken interpersonal communication, it does not mean that they cannot detect when one is feeling ad. When emotions are communicated more directly, those with autism can better understand others feelings and emotions.   Up next with myth four: people with autism are intellectually disabled. This is totally a myth because majority of the time people with autism have high IQs and some even excel at math or arts.   Myth five: people with autism are just like Dustin Hoffman’s character in Rain Man. Because autism is a spectrum disorder, its characteristics vary significantly from person to person. When you know one person with autism it means exactly that- you know one person with autism and others may be affected differently.   Myth six: people who display qualities that may be typical of a person with autism are just “odd” and will probably grow out of it. Autism comes from biological conditions that affect the brain’s development. For many individuals who have autism it is a lifelong condition and use autism therapy to help with obstacles along the way.   Are you looking for in-home autism therapy or ABA therapy nearby? Visit us at Applied Behavioral Consulting today to learn more about our services. We provide high-quality therapists that provide the best treatments for your child. Give us a call today at (630) 402-6060.

9 Holiday Travel Hacks for Parents of Kids with Autism

9 Holiday Travel Hacks for Parents of Kids with Autism With the holidays approaching, traveling is bound to happen. But traveling to visit friends and family can disrupt the schedules and routines of children on the spectrum. Below are some helpful tips to consider before, during, and upon arrival to your holiday destination. Consider the location Make sure to research the location of your family’s holiday trip. If your child enjoys and is relaxed around nature, consider planning a family hiking trip. The holidays are busy enough, but taking the time to research different locations allows you to make the best decision for your family. Talk about the trip To prepare your child for the upcoming trip, open communication between you and your child is vital. This means that parents should talk often about the forthcoming trip with as much detail as possible. Planned activities, the dates of the trip, what will be done each day of the trip, and even role playing may help reduce and anxiety within your child. Plan before you pack Planning ahead ensures that everything goes as smoothly as possible. Whether that be creating a checklist of items or simply looking something up on the internet, it is crucial to have everything your child needs during a holiday trip. For example, a checklist of items your child absolutely needs during an outing will eliminate disconcerting feelings. Bring activities There is a lot of down time while you’re traveling. Sitting for hours is not always fun, but bringing toys and activities for your child to play with will combat the relentless, “Are we there yet?” questions. Have fun Holiday trips are all about fun, love and family. Make sure to enjoy your time together and create a lot of memories. Looking through scrapbooks and photo albums is always a cherished family tradition around the holidays. Click here for more information about in home autism therapy, or contact ABA therapy for autism therapy in La Grange, IL. Happy holidays and safe travels from ours to yours.

5 Things to do While Waiting for an Autism Evaluation

5 Things to do While Waiting for an Autism Evaluation It is not uncommon for families to have to wait some time until their child’s diagnostic evaluation. We at ABC Behavioral Therapy know just how difficult waiting can be. If you are currently waiting for your child’s evaluation, there are some ways you can prepare below. The first recommended way to prepare is to learn more about autism. Learning will help develop a list of questions you might want to bring up during the evaluation. This will also help you prepare to take action if your child is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Number two is to gather your child’s information. Putting all of your child’s medical records and previous developmental or behavioral evaluations your child has received in one folder is a good way to stay organized. Bring the folder and notes with you when you attend the evaluation. The next thing you should do to prepare is learn what to expect at an evaluation. Some evaluations are run by a specialist, and some are done by a developmental pediatrician, or even psychologist. Learn about how the evaluations work and direct interaction between the provider and your child so you do not feel overwhelmed. No matter the evaluator, the process should include a play-based and very structured assessment known as the Autism Diagnostic Observation Schedule. As a parent at that time, you will be asked questions about your child’s behavior development. Number four is to arrange support. At times the evaluation might feel overwhelming and emotional, so it is good to invite someone you trust to accompany you. It will help you feel better by having someone there for you and your child. The last one is begin researching services. Whether your child gets diagnosed or not, the evaluation might reveal a developmental delay that could benefit from services such as ABA therapy, speech therapy, etc. Programs such as in-home autism therapy is something else to start researching as well. Looking for “autism therapy near me” or “ABA therapy nearby”? Visit us at ABC Behavioral Therapy to learn more about our services. Our team is dedicated to help your child with the most effective treatment that will make an incredible difference in their life! For more about our autism therapy in the western suburbs give us a call at (630) 402-6060.

People with Autism Read Emotions Using Body Language

People with Autism Read Emotions Using Body Language There is a stereotype that people with Autism are individuals who lack empathy and can’t show/understand emotion. The idea that people with autism lack empathy and can’t understand emotion is wrong. People with autism are just as good at reading emotions in body language as kids without the disorder according to Rachel David from New Scientist, “The findings call into question whether people with autism really do have trouble reading others emotions, or if previous studies mistakenly focused on reading emotion from faces and eyes rather than the body as a whole.” Children and adults with autism tend to struggle with eye contact, but the study shows that reading body language isn’t quite that difficult. In the study, Peterson and her colleagues showed children between the ages of 5 and 12 full-body photos of trained actors portraying happy, sad, angry, afraid, disgusted or surprised emotions. The actors’ faces were blurred. The children with autism did just as well as the children without the disorder in identifying the posed emotions. In a similar test that just showed people’s eyes, the children with autism did not score as well as those without. The kids were able to look at the pictures and judge emotions without the added social pressure of interacting with a real person. People with autism seem to have trouble adapting their behavior in response to others emotions-simply recognizing an emotion in body language is just part of the picture. The information that kids with autism can read body cues might help the teachers, parents or clinicians who work with them every day. Body language is an important way for people with autism to communicate with those who do not have the disorder. For more information regarding in home autism therapy or how to get started, visit Applied Behavioral Consulting today! Our staff of Registered Behavioral Technicians are ready to help and also answer any questions you may have. 

Tips for Bringing Together Family and Your Child with Autism

Tips for Bringing Together Family and Your Autistic Child You want your family and friends to understand, believe in and love your child. Sometimes that's not the case-the closest people in your life may not know how to act or behave around your child and vice versa. Because of this, you may dread the reactions of your family and friends. Fortunately, thinking and planning ahead-taking everyone into consideration, it should be possible to build an inclusive environment. Below are some tips and tricks to help make the family event runs smoothly!  Consider the situation you're stepping into If your child is likely to act out, meltdown or cause any unwanted attention, you may not want to bring them along. Instead, try to plan for a someone to watch them while you attend the event. They, understandably, are a member of the family and should attend most if not all family events, but there's a time and place for meltdowns(formal or non-formal events are not necessarily the best place). Offer some autism training Many people may not know much about autism and may need some coaching in order to learn the ins and outs in order to keep up with the needs of your child. If anything, you can provide some information to update their knowledge on the subject of autism.  Plan for a quick, graceful getaway Most people with autism are quickly overwhelmed by lots of noise, lights, smells, and social interactions. Knowing this, it makes sense to set the stage for a graceful getaway when your child shows signs of stress. Know how you'll handle a meltdown You're visiting the family and you can tell that a meltdown is going to happen. Have you planned ahead? Have you scoped out a quiet place to cool down? Have a plan for lowering your own anxiety level When you have a child who has autism, you sometimes need a break yourself. How will you let off steam? Take some time to yourself to relax and unwind. Have a designated spot in the house or during naps or tv time where you can let that happen. Knowing you have somewhere to unwind can make or break a family visit.  Have support on hand There are situations in which it's almost impossible to help your child with autism cope with stress while also being a good daughter, son, sister, brother, or parent to sibling. Knowing that that's the case, it's wise to have at least one other adult on hand who can take over, either by helping your child or by supervising the other children (or demanding adults) in your group. For more information regarding in home autism therapy or how to get started, visit Applied Behavioral Consulting today! Our staff of Registered Behavioral Technicians are ready to help answer any questions you may have.

Environmental Modifications for Children with Autism: How to Shape the Environment to Boost Success

Creating an effective environment, one that helps children adapt adequately, often maximizes your child’s chances of success. Totally revamping a living agenda is often unfeasible, but some small environmental changes may provide some help and help your child thrive. Some of the following ideas can help get you and your family started on providing a more comfortable home. Creating a Cool Down Room Any unused spaces or rooms can be easily turned into cool-down rooms in your home. The purpose is to provide a safe space for your child when they experience aggression and need an outlet that promotes de-escalation. The room essentially creates a space they can be alone and relax. Furnish the room with your child’s safety in mind, typically using soft objects and minimal clutter. Keep furniture clear from windows and have sensory objects available when needed. Install Alarm Systems and Utilize Safety Locks Utilize safety locks and equip all windows and doors with them to prevent your child from wandering, a tendency usually displayed with autism. Available today, smartphone based locking systems function without keys and allow you to control them from almost anywhere. Alarm systems are also another resource to prevent unexpected and unwanted exiting. Provide a Suitable Workstation Children with autism need a space where they can create and work productively, regardless of work, therapeutic tasks, etc. Equipping your child’s room or study area with a large work station that is free of clutter is essential. Keep in mind how your child sits and works; some thought should go into their chair style to keep them safe and secure. Adding padding to the surrounding areas is a reasonable idea to limit any potential dangers and prevent aching joints after hours of playing. Pay Attention to Colors Take note of your child’s color preferences to create the most comfortable and effective space. Colors can often have a significant impact on mood, so you’ll want to include colors in your home they find pleasing. Install Comfortable Lighting Similar to color, lighting can have a large impact on mood and energy levels of everyone in your family. For children with autism, environmental conditions with regards to lighting can even be more impactful. Avoid fluorescent lighting, as they can cause fatigue and shorten attention spans. For more information regarding in home autism therapy or how to get started, visit Applied Behavioral Consulting today! Our staff of Registered Behavioral Technicians are ready to help answer any questions you may have.

Autism – It’s Different in Girls

Autism – It’s Different in Girls Throughout recent years, scientists have diligently worked toward formulating explanations for autism’s lopsided gender ratio. They have found social and personal factors that often hide symptoms of ASD in females more so then men. Other research states that biological factors may actually prevent development in the first place. Francesca Happ, a cognitive neuroscientist from King’s College London, and her colleagues conducted a study in 2012 that compared autism traits and their occurrence and formal diagnosis in a sample of more than 15,000 twins. What they found was quite interesting; if boys and girls had similar levels of traits, the girls studied often needed to show more behavioral problems or significant intellectual disability to be diagnosed. The striking results suggests that many females often are less diagnosed with ASD even though they may show similar traits as their male counterparts.   Kevin Pelphrey, a leading autism researcher at Yale University’s world-renowned Child Study Center and a father to children with autism, is among a group of researchers who want to understand what biological sex and gender roles can teach us about autism. Pelphrey is leading the charge along with researchers at Harvard University, the University of California, Los Angeles, and the University of Washington to study girls and women with autism. Pelphrey says that researchers want, “every bit of clinical information we can get because we do not know what we ought to be looking for.” Throughout the study, girls will be compared with autistic boys, as well as typically developing children of both sexes using genetic testing, brain scans, and many other tests. These studies have helped Pelphrey discover that girls with autism are significantly different from other girls in how their brain analyzes social information. In fact, “they are not like boys with autism. Each girl’s brain instead looks like that of a typical boy of the same age, with reduced activity in regions normally associated with socializing.” Essentially, the brain of a girl with autism may be more like the brain of a typical boy than that of a boy with autism.   Even when women are considered “easy” to diagnose, they still face many challenges with regard to their social development. During elementary school, for example, autistic girls usually develop friendships easily, but when they advance to junior and are exposed to the world of flirting, dating and unpredictability, they hit a wall. Change is quite challenging for any child going through the leaps and valleys of puberty and early adolescence, but those with autism continually persevere and succeed into adulthood. As awareness of autism grows, women and girls are already increasingly likely to be diagnosed; this generation clearly has significant advantages over those past.   For more information regarding autism in children or in home autism therapy, visit ABC – Applied Behavioral Consulting today! Our friendly and professional staff is always available to answer any questions you may have! 

Siblings Could Shed Light on Roots of Autism

Siblings Could Shed Light on Roots of Autism Traditional research regarding the correlation between autism and its link to siblings has mainly focused on studying two parents and two autistic children; however, new research is beginning to shy away from traditional practices and focus on learning more from siblings who do not have autism. Erin Lopes, a mother with a son diagnosed with autism and a daughter who is nuerotypical, or not on the spectrum, and her family volunteered to partake in a study focusing on their DNA and how autism relates to family genetics.   Erin’s children, Evee Bak, nuerotypical, and Tommy, autistic, cause many to ask one simple question: given that autism is a developmental disorder, one that impairs communication and interaction skills, why do girls get it at much lower rates than boys? In fact, according to a 2011 study conducted by an international team of psychiatrists and pediatricians, one-fourth of brothers of autistic children were likely to be on the spectrum. For sisters, that rate drops to roughly 9 percent. As mentioned, scientists have historically focused on studying a “quartet” of two biological parents and two autistic children. Today, more research is geared at understanding unaffected siblings, particularly girls.   Alycia Halladay, chief science officer at the Autism Science Foundation, and her staff want to understand why a diagnosis is often missing. Some sisters, according to Halladay, carry the same genetic mutations as their siblings but won’t actually develop the symptoms associated with autism. “We have to figure out what the protective factor is,” says Halladay. “Then we could use this information to develop a therapy for both boys and girls.”   In April, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) announced it had increased its estimate of children with autism by 15 percent, up to 1 in 59 versus 1 in 68 from a few years ago. Cracking the genetic code of autism is more important now then ever. Autism, now being understood in more detail, is much more complex than originally thought. Researchers are beginning to view autism as a series of disorders that work on biochemical pathways in the brain.   Ever since the first break in sequencing the first human genome in 2003, researches have been able to analyze all 3 million DNA base pairs to see mutations. Mapping genomes has helped many foundations, like the Simons Foundation, collect and store genomes belonging to people with autism and their unaffected families.   Nuerotypical siblings, according to one Stanford data scientist, will also be able to help solve the question, why do their brothers and sisters with autism have different gut flora? Families with autistic children and nuerotypical children often have similar diets, thus proving how unaffected siblings can further forward research regarding the matter.   The Bak siblings, both Tommy and Evee, now play in a band together, called the “Bak Pak.” Tommy appreciates his family donating their genetic material to further understand autism and he hopes it will lead to better services to improve communication and independent living skills for his peers with autism.   For more information regarding autism and its effect on children and families, visit our website or stop in today! Applied Behavioral Consulting has many resources regarding autism therapy, specifically in home therapy.  

Early Intervention

Early Intervention Early intervention in the lives of children with special needs is critical to cognitive and educational development. Early intervention is the “best hope” with regards to improving the core behavioral symptoms of autism and each families overall dynamic. The benefits do not stop there, as early intervention often offers resources, support, and extensive training that will build a better connection between your family and child. Not all interventions are equal, however. Generic intervention programs are less effective when compared to specialized autism programs. With regards to early intervention, it’s important to understand what resources are available, especially educational resources. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) was enacted in 1975 and enforces public education for all eligible children and holds schools accountable for providing necessary services that will benefit children. Fully understanding the imperative legislature surrounding your child’s education can be a daunting task but can deliver added support.   To continue exploring the educational importance of early intervention in children with autism, IDEA provides children with disabilities a “free and appropriate” education. The word “appropriate” and its meaning is vital to interpreting the law. Although you and your child’s teachers or therapists may want to provide your child with the best and optimal programs and services, the school district is simply required to provide an appropriate education. The process to equipping your child with special needs with the best education possible is a collaborative process and significant negotiation may manifest.  Furthermore, IDEA entitles children with disabilities to the “least restrictive environment,” or LRE, in schools. Essentially, this law states that your child must be educated in regular classrooms, with non-disabled peers. They are supported with aids and services required to make this possible; the objective is to mimic a natural learning environment to further promote growth without much isolation. Early intervention services (EI) for children under the age of 3 is offered through IDEA with many federal grants available to institute early intervention programs. The programs can range from state to state, however, the services should address your child’s needs and not be limited to what is currently available. Special education services for children ages 3-22 are also available through your local school district. For more information regarding autism therapy or in home autism therapy, visit Applied Behavioral Consulting today to talk to a licensed therapist.

How Many Hours of Therapy Will My Child Need?

How Many Hours of Therapy Will My Child Need? It can be exhausting researching the different types of therapies available for children with autism. Like many parents, you have chosen to use Applied Behavioral Analysis therapy to help your child, but how many hours of therapy does your child actually need?   Therapy can be very costly, so it is necessary to known how many hours of therapy your child actually needs. Much research suggests that autistic children should receive 40 hours of ABA therapy a week. 40 hours of therapy a week has produced amazing results in autistic children’s learning, education, life skills and social skills.   The amount of therapy a child should receive a week also depends on the individual child, too. After autistic children start understanding their new structured routine of therapy, they will begin gaining skills that will allow them, overtime, to receive less hours of therapy per week.   It is usually beneficial for autistic children to start out receiving 40 hours of ABA therapy a week. 40 hours every week might seem intense, but this gives your child a structured routine that continuously increases their skills.   40 hours of ABA therapy can be expensive, but your child will quickly gain skills and confidence. Click here for more information about the ABA services located near you, or visit Applied Behavioral Consulting near Countryside, IL to talk to a licensed therapist about setting up a therapy plan for your child.

Why Personalized Care is Better

Why Personalized Care is Better The licensed therapists at Applied Behavioral Consulting are trained in delivering personalized care to help children with autism. Our therapists tailor the curriculum and programs to every individual child to teach the essential social, educational, and life skills needed to thrive is all environments.   We offer many programs that help your child learn and grown. Our curriculum consists of three sections: The Beginning Curriculum, The Intermediate Curriculum, and the Advanced Curriculum. Your child will progress through all three sections as they expand their knowledge and acquire more skills.   The Beginning Curriculum teaches skills such as imitating, matching, early receptive language, basic attending skills, and fine/gross motor skills. The intermediate Curriculum teaches social skills and pre-academic skills. The advanced curriculum teaches independence, appropriate social interactions through conversation, and advancing play skills.   After completing all three sections of our curriculum, your child will understand the skills that are required to be successful in a typical classroom setting. Also, we offer many programs that coincide with our curriculum. These programs include potty training, feeding, parent training, and peer interaction therapy.   Here at ABC, we understand that no two kids are alike. Instead of taking a “one size fits all” approach to your child’s education and growth, we hand-tailor our curriculum and programs to fit every individual child. Working with your child on a personal level will not only create a consistent routine that is familiar, but your child will also feel comfortable meeting and exceeding their goals.   Our licensed therapists are RBT certified, CPR/AED certified, and certified in handling seizures. Click here for more information about the wonderful services at ABC near Countryside, IL.

Eclectic Approach vs. ABA Approach

Eclectic Approach vs. ABA Approach The therapists at Applied Behavioral Consulting understand the importance of early education and social interaction. That’s why our licensed therapists go into the homes of kids with autism to work with them on a personal level. Not only do they help families enter into the world of their child to understand them from a different viewpoint, but they also help children find their voices, too!   Although there are many different approaches to helping autistic children, our autism curriculum at ABC parallels the core tenets of the ABA approach. Over the years, we have found that this curriculum helps children grow and learn the most effectively. A study conducted at the University of California recently compared the “eclectic” intervention approach to the ABA approach to determine which approach helped autistic children learn and grow the best. According to the Center for Autism, ABA “is the application of the principles of learning and motivation from Behavioral Analysis, and the procedures and technology derived from those principles, to the solution of the problems of social significance”. The “eclectic” approach involves multiple transitions per day from one activity or therapy to another. This study found that the children who received forms of intensive behavioral analytic treatment, like ABA, for 14 months vastly outperformed the children who received the “eclectic” approach of treatment in ever measure. This means that the children who received forms of treatment similar to ABA has large improvements in intellectual functioning, communication skills, and adaptive behavior.   Children with autism do not respond well to changes in their routine, and that is why the “eclectic” form of treatment was not beneficial to their growth. The therapists at ABC use and trust the ABA Approach when working with your child. Our Autism Curriculum at ABC encompasses three sections that are derived from the ABA approach. The first section is the Beginning Curriculum. Therapists specifically target skills relating to imitation, matching, early receptive language, basic attending skills, and fine/gross motor skills. Additionally, children learn and meet therapeutic goals in the Beginning Curriculum. In the Intermediate Curriculum, therapists will work with your child to develop social skills, pre-academic skills, and early conversation skills. The last section, the Advanced Curriculum, teaches children appropriate social interactions through conversation, reading gestures, social ques, and nonverbal communication. This section also advances play skills, independence, and quality of life.   Click here for more information about ABC therapy and services near Countryside, IL. 

Making Autism Acceptance Year-Round

Making Autism Acceptance Year-Round As Autism diagnoses and the interest in home-based autism services increase, so too does the need for reliable information, guidance and acceptance. And while April may be the nationally recognized month for Autism Awareness, there are so many benefits and opportunities in continuing autism acceptance all year long.   National Autism Awareness Month Every year, the month of April is dedicated to the national awareness, education and acceptance of autism—specifically April 2nd, the official World Autism Day and “Light It Up Blue” campaign. Pioneered by Autism Speaks, an autism advocacy organization, this day has been designated for starting a conversation and clearing misconceptions about Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).     Autism Acceptance All Year Whether you are a part of the autism community yourself or someone interested in expanding your knowledge about autism your knowledge, here are just a few of the endless benefits in practicing acceptance all year:   Creating a stress-free and welcoming environment for all families Keeping the voice of autism in headlines, minds and communities Creating a platform for new information and services to be shared Showing those with autism that you care beyond one month of the year Continuing positive conversation and awareness   How You Can Support Autism All Year No matter how big or small, there are so many ways to show support year-round: Getting involved with volunteer programs that benefit the community’s autism foundations and organizations Donating to local or national research to continue the development of services and therapies offered Reading the many reliable articles and resources to clarify misconceptions Having conversations with others about autism Reaching out to family, friends or neighbors in the autism community and asking how you can help   We’re here to answer any questions you may have about autism or the ABA therapy curriculum we offer. Search for ‘autism therapy near me’ and let us help guide you to the best fit for your family.  

The Importance of Celebrating Your Child’s Successes

The Importance of Celebrating Your Child’s Successes Celebrating your child’s success is an incredible way to nourish and encourage their progress and growth. By praising both in-therapy and everyday successes, no matter how big or small, parents unlock one of the most powerful tools to support and connect with their child in their continued development.   Guiding Your Child Through the Highs and Lows As a parent, there’s nothing more exciting than seeing your child overcome obstacles and take risks—whether they even realize it themselves. Both the milestones and little accomplishments reveal just how far your child has come.   Although it can be discouraging to hit bumps in the road during day-to-day interactions and sometimes during in-home therapy sessions; parents are their child’s number one advocates. ABC understands there can sometimes be a feeling of responsibility when there are delays along the way.   Just as we strive to learn from events that may arise during our day-to-day activities, during our autism therapy at home, we encourage you to treat your child’s successes as an equal, if not more important, chance to grow.   The Benefits of Celebration Genuine, enthusiastic celebration is one of the most impactful techniques you can use to help your child. Regardless of how you celebrate—and consider ways that are developmentally and age appropriate—there’s bound to be a significant change in not only your child’s approach to life, but you to your own as well.   For Your Child: Praise equals progression. When you take the time to cherish achievements, you’re teaching your child about the things you’re proud of and what you’d like them to continue to do. Additionally, it’s another opportunity to show them that people are welcoming and fun to interact with. Not only will it be a special time shared by both of you, you’re also establishing a safe place for them to continue developing the areas that still need work.   For You: Simply put, it’s fun to celebrate! The more you do it, the more energy and motivation you’ll have to navigate the rest of your—and your child’s—journey. More than that, working on your ability to be present with your child will result in a lifetime of benefits between you.   What Works Best for Your Child Everyone is different. Your child may not react well to loud or energetic displays of excitement, even if they deserve all of the praise. In that case, consider ways to celebrate them that work on their terms. This can be accomplished a number of ways including: Allowing them to finish the conversation they had with you or task they completed, and then telling them how proud you are of what they did. Laidback celebration doing something they love to do. (this could be a game, a movie, or even going out for ice cream) Showing your excitement nonverbally with hand gestures and facial expressions.   Both accomplishments and setbacks are opportunities to learn. Remember to take everything one step at a time and appreciate the accomplishments small, big, and everything in between. Have questions? We’d love to help. While looking for “Autism therapy near me,” we’d be happy to answer any questions you have along the way.

10 Ways Your School Can Support Your Child With Autism

10 Ways Your School Can Support Your Child With Autism Often times children with autism are provided with an Individualized Education Program (IEP) in school that’s designed to make accommodations and modifications to the child’s schedule, in addition to setting specific goals for them to reach. However, there are some cases where parents may be unsure of what should be addressed in an IEP or how their school can provide the accommodations needed or listed in the outline.   But there are so many ways your child’s school can help them grow in their social skills and education—even if there is no IEP to work from. We’ve listed 10 ways that your school can support your child, in addition to the ABA therapy they’re receiving at home.   1. Allow Time for Exercise The research that supports the benefits of exercise in improving self-esteem and decreasing anxiety/stress are seemingly endless. Exercise can help your child channel their energy in a positive manner that also allows them to take part in a social activity with the class.   2. Follow a Clear Schedule Children with autism, like most, are people of routine. Much like in home-based autism services, a schedule—whether written or visual—makes for smooth transitions from one task to the next. Plus, clear instructions give your child a better chance to succeed when they know what’s expected of them.   3. Make Use of Visual and/or Hands-On Activities Research shows that visual and hands-on activities help your child thrive in the classroom. Incorporating various shapes, colors, or textures into an activity can access the key to retaining knowledge in a fun, colorful way.   4. Read Social Stories Social situations like going to school or playing at recess can be some of the most anxiety-inducing situations for your child. A teacher that can find and read stories about going to school or a friend’s birthday party can calm their nerves and give them a better idea of how to handle different situations.   5. Provide Breaks When Needed As you’ve probably seen in your child’s autism therapy service, movement breaks, for any child, are a terrific way to release any built-up energy. Whether it’s standing up to shake out arms and legs, taking a walk around the room, or stepping outside for a few minutes, a small break in between activities can improve focus and interest in the task.   6. Incorporate Child’s Interests We all are more engaged in a learning environment that includes our personal interests and strengths. Let teachers discover what your child loves and what they’re good at—maybe it’s puzzles or drawing—and find ways to incorporate those interests into the class activities when possible.   7. Use Positive Instructions Switching up the way we give instructions, may encourage increased compliance when asked to complete a task. By specifying what is expected, rather than what they cannot do, we eliminate any possible confusion.   8. Buddy Up Some children have difficulty finding a buddy in class. By pairing them up with another child that has similar interests, there’s a possibility for connection and friendship in and outside the classroom.   9. Make it Clear How Long Activities Will Last Children often do best when they know how long and activity will last. Not only will this make transitions easier, but it will also improve their participation and focus on the task at hand. Using a timer can make clear how long an activity will last.   10. Practice Social Skills While your child may benefit the most from this, social-based activities can help the whole class in learning how to communicate and interact with each other. There are board games and card games that present social scenarios in ways that require children to discuss and think about how they’d move forward in the game and in a similar real-life scenarios.   A sure way for your child to succeed is to maintain a cohesive support system between the home and the classroom. Informing your child’s teacher on what they can do only strengthens that bond and opportunity for growth.

Your Guide to Getting Your ABA In-Home Therapy Covered

Your Guide to Getting Your ABA In-Home Therapy Covered Think back to when your child was first diagnosed with acute autism. The feeling of hope in learning about ABA therapy from your child’s pediatrician, and the subsequent feeling of frustration in learning from your insurance company that the therapy is covered, but there are no providers in-network. That decision—to take the hit financially in order for your child to receive therapy—is the exact one a local veteran mother is making for her son. It’s what we do for our children. But families shouldn’t have to struggle so much in order for their child to receive the care they deserve.   Here at ABC Behavioral Therapy, we understand how life-changing ABA therapy can be. As one of the most popular and successful evidence-based aides for Autism, we’ve seen firsthand how applied behavior analysis (ABA) has improved social skills, communication, attention, focus, and so much more. But we also know how difficult the journey can be, which is why obtaining coverage for home-based autism services should be as stress-free as possible. We’ve rounded up all of our knowledge on statewide and nation-wide insurance laws to provide you with the knowledge and tools to make the best decision for your family.   A Breakdown of Illinois Autism Insurance Reform Law – Public Act 95   Established in 2008, Public Act 95 required many private insurers to start covering diagnostic assessment and treatment costs of up to $36,000/year for people with autism under the age of 21. Additionally, the law required that early intervention services be provided by certified specialists as cleared by the state—ensuring that your family would receive the right assistance from the right people.   Under this law, ABA was specifically listed as a covered form of rehabilitative care. It was a huge success for the autism community because it opened the door to families across the state that could not otherwise afford therapy. Act 95 not only mandated health insurance companies to comply with IL state law, it also required licensed clinicians to create and implement treatment plans, as opposed to the insurance companies.   We’re Here to Help   Unfortunately, there are still problems and setbacks facing families desperate for assistance. An exception to the law above are ‘self-funded’ policies, which are insurance plans whose terms and conditions are dictated by your employer. Even if ABA services are covered, many families find there are no providers in-network. So what then?   “It seems like we are constantly fighting with insurance companies to get coverage for these children’s therapy,” says Nina Koehler, Program Manager at Applied Behavioral Consulting.   That’s where ABC comes in. With such a beneficial approach to autism, we’re here to help you obtain coverage for ABA therapy.   We have a working relationship with Blue Cross Blue Shield, Cigna, Humana, Aetna, and United Behavioral Health, and are always wiling to make a call on behalf of your child If you have an employer-sponsored insurance plan and you’re unsure if they cover ABA therapy, consider purchasing a singular plan from the Health Insurance Marketplace just for your child with autism ABA is an essential health benefit that’s required to be covered in Marketplace plans Private insurance will cover a significant portion of the cost of care. Deductibles typically paid out of pocket can be anywhere between $1,000-$5,000. After that, insurance usually covers 80% of the cost until the out-of-pocket maximum is reached. Then, services will be fully covered   Still have questions? Please feel free to reach out to us. Navigating your insurance plan can be stressful and confusing, especially when it seems you aren’t receiving the individual attention you require. Parents are always the most dedicated advocates for their child, and we’re here to guide you from start to finish – from walking through your insurance plan to providing your child with the tools to help them succeed. Here

How to Encourage Your Child’s Independence

How to Encourage Your Child’s Independence Although each stage of life looks different and children’s behaviors and motivations may shift, there is an abundance of ways parents can support and encourage a healthy independence in their children’s lives. This kind of support is vital in both their growth as an individual and also in their mental health. Small steps that encourage independence can go very far in a child’s development of self-esteem and confidence.   Just as we strive to be ambitious during our autism therapy at home, we encourage you to grasp that same sense of determination and set goals to help your children be more independent.   Create Opportunities In addition to asking your son or daughter what tasks he or she would feel comfortable taking on, seek out additional responsibilities for your child. For kids with ASD, this could be as simple as giving them more opportunities to make their own choices. Rather than focusing at a timeline of age, look at the developmental stage your child is in and find new skills you can help them learn and take responsibility for. Anything from cleaning up toys or watering plants to setting the table or helping you make dinner are excellent ideas.   Start Small & Build Rather than assigning an entirely new task, start with one aspect and build off of that step by step. Let them try something new out and gain confidence in their abilities as you help them and add new instructions. For toddlers, this may mean you putting on their shirt and pants, but encouraging them to pull on their socks.   Focus on Priorities Many tasks take a child much longer to do, especially in the beginning stages. If there is one particular job you’d like your child to learn, understand that it may not come quickly. Encourage them to feed themselves during snack time and carry this across to mealtimes, then encouraging the use of utensils. Show them how to brush their hair and allow them practice doing so.   Ask, Adapt & Adjust While one child may pick up a new skill quickly, that does not mean this will be the case across the board. If a child is very timid towards a new task, don’t be afraid to modify it and make it a little easier for them to grasp and learn. Turn their uncertainty into encouragement and confidence by reworking your plan for them. If they are still discouraged, talk to them and ask them to describe why they don’t want to perform the task instead of just bribing them into doing it. And don’t be afraid to have a little fun.   Also, it’s important to note your child’s health and mental state—if they are sick, stressed or tired, this is not a good time to try and introduce new responsibilities.   Let Them Learn from Accidents From home-based autism services to elementary classrooms, the process of learning is largely a positive one, but there are still instances when it is not so fun. While independence does largely mean the development of new skills and confidence to do them, it also means that sometimes we have accidents. As a parent, it can be hard to let your child make mistakes, but it’s an important part of learning. Assess the risk and allow your children to understand and experience consequences of their decisions.   Celebrate All Successes Milestones are wonderful, but the smallest of accomplishments also should be celebrated. Even just teaching your children to make their own choices is a great step towards independence. They may put on their shoes (but not tie them) or squirt toothpaste on their toothbrush (but not yet brush them). Even then, encourage the little things. Remember that it is one step at a time.   “It’s important to recognize and acknowledge any good behaviors, not just the negatives. Remember to give your children verbal praise throughout the day for all the good they are doing,” says Nina Koehler, Program Manager for Applied Behavioral Consulting.   Small skills build to bigger ones and when children practice these things, they are working on small motor skills and developing a new sense of confidence. These are two aspects we focus on at ABC with every child we work with. We provide therapy to children with developmental delays, as well as autism. If you are looking for “Autism therapy near me,” we’d love to chat and see how we can help your child.

ABA Therapy Explained

  ABA Therapy Explained           Endorsed by the U.S. Surgeon General and considered one of the best treatments by the American Psychological Association, applied behavior analysis (ABA) is one of the most popular and successful evidence-based treatments for autism.   In A Nutshell        Applied behavior analysis is an approach used to understand and modify behavior based on scientifically validated principles. Therapists use this learning program rooted in behavioral psychology to encourage and reinforce positive behaviors and discourage negative behaviors in those with autism or other developmental delays. The results range from improving social skills, communication and self-control, to school-readiness, attention and focus, among many others.   Behaviorism Beginnings       While roots of ABA come from a psychological science that is over 100 years old, modern ABA typically regards its establishment with Dr. Ivar Lovaas’ evidence-based work in 1980, which stemmed from the work of American psychologists J. B. Watson and B.F. Skinner (who is said to have “popularized” the psychology branch of behaviorism).   In Dr. Lovaas’ study, which was published in the 1987 article “Behavioral Treatment and Normal Educational and Intellectual Functioning in Young Autistic Children,” more than 90 percent of children that received 40 hours a week of intensive behavioral therapies had significant improvements. The therapies followed Lovaas’s methods for two to six years and the results included advances in socialization and substantial cognitive developments.   Soon thereafter came the first Journal of Applied behavior Analysis in 1968, which featured Baer, Wolf and Risley’s “Some Current dimensions of Applied Behavior Analysis” article that established the seven core principles off of which ABA practices are built.   ABA Today Often used in classrooms and in both center- and home-based autism services, ABA therapy takes many forms and utilizes a number of different techniques. It is a broad approach, not a one-size-fits-all program.   Because of this, highly trained professionals assess each client individually to get a better understanding of where they are and what behaviors need development and attention. They will then determine goals and develop a personalized approach to each client that is based upon an established curriculum and focuses on increasing useful behaviors and decreasing problematic responses and harmful behaviors that may hinder learning.   Some of the different types of ABA, highlighted by the CDC and several different studies, include:   Discrete Trial Training (DTT) Early Intensive Behavioral Intervention (EIBI) Pivotal Response Training (PRT) Verbal Behavior Intervention (VBI) Prompting Environmental Modification Task Analysis (TA) Time Delay (TD) Functional Communication Training (FCT) Differential Reinforcement Visual Supports (VS)   Advantages & Benefits The benefits of ABA therapy range in scope and depth. It really does all depend on the individual. However, it has been proven time and time again to develop a collection of life skills, from increased attention and focus to more self-control, academic skill development, problem behavior reduction and functional communication improvement.   In fact, according to the Autism Society, research has shown that almost half of all individuals with developmental delays who undergo early intensive ABA therapy have improvement so significant they can’t be distinguished from peers.   It is not something we take lightly. ABA is an approach we believe in and have seen results from in our clients. If you are in the southwest Chicagoland suburbs searching for “autism therapy near me,” we serve clients all around the Western Springs area and would love to talk to you today.

Personalized Treatments for Autism

    Personalized Treatments for Autism   Doctors and therapists commonly refer to “autism” as the Autism Spectrum Disorder (or ASD) because of how different each diagnosis can be. The Autism Society describes ASD as a complex developmental disability of which there is no single cause, explaining that it often manifests during early childhood and affects an individual’s ability to communicate with others. Those who have ASD typically have difficulty engaging and relating to those around them and struggle with repetitive actions. However, each case can drastically vary in severity and symptoms—from an individual who can live independently and support themselves to a person who needs in-house support their whole life. Because there is not one single indicator across every case (or even a majority of cases), it is much harder to treat this disorder. Each person needs a personalized treatment plan and not all autism therapy services are able to accommodate the unique cases they come into contact with. For this very reason, Applied Behavior Analysis, or ABA, therapy is at the core of our care at ABC. We use a variety of techniques to bring positive and encouraging change in behavior, not a one-size-fits-all approach. We offer home-based autism services that are tailored to the child and their family, taking into account the individual’s skills, interests, needs and preferences in the situation they live. The diversity in developmental delays and disabilities is a hard hurdle to overcome, but it is much easier to cope with, when there are foundations, studies and projects striving to break down the information barriers in front of us. One such undertaking is SPARK, Simons Foundation Powering Autism Research for Knowledge, which aims to “to speed up research and advance our understanding of autism to help improve lives.” The SPARK study is an online research partnership studying 50,000 individuals with ASD and their families, seeking to determine ASD genetics and risk factors. In addition to SPARK, there is also MSSING (pronounced “missing” due to the lack of information about autism), which was launched in 2014 by Autism Speaks with Google and the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto. While SPARK’s plan is to sequence the exome, MSSING goes a step further and aims to look at “all 3.2 billion letters of genetic code in the human genome,” according to a Newsweek article. “To provide guidance on personalized care to people with autism, it’s important to fully understand what genetic form of autism each person has,” MSSNG research director Stephen Scherer said. “To accomplish this, we need to perform whole genome sequencing on a large and diverse group of participants and provide this information to the research community in an accessible form.” Both projects are working to determine and understand the factors that cause different variations of ASD so more personalized treatments can be developed. Because it vital that each person with autism is thought of as a unique case. It’s something we are reminded of with each new family we meet—every situation is different—and that is why we are an autism therapy service that uses ABA therapy and offers home-based autism services. Because we believe building confidence in our clients starts in their environment and techniques need to be uniquely tailored to each person and family. For questions about our personalized treatments for autism, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Benefits of Home-Based Autism Services

  Benefits of Home-Based Autism Services   When there is a difference in development, one of the first places it’s noticed is inside your home. The place where children collect an immense amount of knowledge and create their first memories. It’s a natural environment for children where behaviors form and patterns immerge, which is exactly why many autism therapy services choose to provide home-based autism services. A Natural Environment for Children By having the ABA therapy sessions at home, children aren’t carted back and forth to a center, which (in itself) can be difficult to cope with. In home environments, our therapists are able to observe more genuine behaviors and how children interact in a comfortable environment. First-Hand Experience for Therapists Not only do home-based services allow ABA therapists to see children in their own setting, but it also gives them the opportunity to see challenges first-hand and address the behaviors as they occur. Instead of solely gathering information through interviews and assessments in a unfamiliar setting, home-based services are able to get a more comprehensive information base by taking family dynamics and everyday triggers (which may have not been divulged on paper) into account. Plentiful Learning Opportunities for Parents In addition to acquiring a different perspective, this type of therapy also allows therapists to help guide and train parents. As new challenges present themselves, therapists are able to talk parents through different techniques and ways of addressing issues. Instead of abstract ideas or lessons, parents are able to see, right away, how to alter their care to help encourage and promote better behavior. In addition to helping parents, it also gives siblings and other relatives or caregivers more opportunities for involvement, which lends to greater success. Specialized Treatment Plans for Each Individual Unlike store-front care centers that may have a more streamlined treatment plan, home-based services also allow therapists to create an individualized, unique treatment plan that is based on their first-hand knowledge. At ABC, we are striving to cater directly to our clients, which is why home-based autism services are important to us. Our autism therapy is cultivated to nurture and enable both children and their parents and we are committed to help children between the ages of two and eight years reach their maximum potential. If you want to learn more about our home-based autism therapy service, or even just ABA therapy in general, contact us at 630-402-6060.

We Come to You: A Personalized Approach to Autism Care

  We Come to You: A Personalized Approach to Autism Care   At Applied Behavioral Consulting (ABC), we strive to give each child and family the tools they need to reach their goals. No matter whether a parent came to us because of developmental delay or autism diagnosis, we will meet their child where they are at and work with both them and their family to help them reach their goals. We provide home-based autism services to give one-on-one attention to our clients in the environments they are comfortable in. It is not a typical doctor-patient relationship in which you visit once a year and get advice on where you could improve. We develop a more personal relationship and create a more individualized plan of therapy to benefit each client. When we knock on the door, many times the children and parents we are working with are thrilled to see us at their home at a time that is convenient for them. They are encouraged by our sessions and want to keep working together. While it is standard for ABA therapists to focus on the children, we aid this by also addressing and supporting their parents as well. By entering the homes of our clients, we are able to observe behavior firsthand and understand what specific teaching methods need to be implemented to help kids thrive. The personal relationships we build with clients allow us to instill confidence in the children we are working with and help parents in their journey. We understand that an autism diagnosis affects everyone in the family and we want to support each person, because, ultimately, this will help the child. By choosing autism therapy at home, we at ABC are able to form deep relationships with our clients. Once they are acclimated and familiar with their therapist, they feel more comfortable, are encouraged and often more motivated in their sessions. In other words, it becomes fun for them. “For young children with developmental delays, it’s important to take advantage of every possible opportunity to give a child the best possible long term outcome. The comprehensive nature of ABA therapy is a great start. The fact that therapy is done in-home gives the child that extra inside track to success by involving the familiar features of the home environment and its inherent proximity to parents who will ultimately have the most impact on their child’s long term development. The combination of these features creates an environment most conducive to success,” explains Joseph Mitchell, Project Director at Applied Behavioral Consulting. Giving them individualized attention and focusing on positive behaviors in our behavior plans is not only a lesson for them, but for their parents as well. Seeing them improve and how much they enjoy the therapy sessions is why we do what we do. We strive to help them meet milestones and become more independent, one step at a time, through ABA therapy. If you are searching for “autism therapy near me” and interested in how our therapists and Registered Behavioral Technicians can work with you and your child to help everything from their receptive language to basic attending and motor skills, give us a call at 630-402-6060. We are here to help develop important life skills and would love to talk to you today about how we can help your child.

Raising a Child With Autism: Five Myths of Autism

  Raising a Child With Autism: Five Myths of Autism   Autism Spectrum Disorder, or Autism, is characterized by challenges with social skills speech and non-verbal communications, repetitive behaviors, and by unique strengths and differences among those it effects. Autism is not the same in every person and in fact, there are many types; it is unique in each person and therefore was named to Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD. Understanding Autism and Autism Spectrum Disorder is important in order to understand whether the information is truth or myth. Therapies are successful in treating children and people with autism. ABC Consulting offers various therapies so we can support your child with a plan that is best for them. There are lots of myths surrounding ASD, five of which we will discuss below. Myth #1 Individuals with autism are unable or unwilling to form meaningful social relationships. This simply is not true, as those with ASD often have desires in place in childhood to interact with others. However, social development in children with ASD may be more difficult than for those without ASD. With therapies and support, like peer interaction therapy, children will develop meaningful social relationships. Myth #2 Autism is a mental health disorder. Autism is a neurological disorder and is not a mental health disorder. Neurological disorders are diseases of the brain, spine, and the nerves that connect them. Autism spectrum disorder refers to a group of neurodevelopment disorders. Autism is not related to mental health disorders. Many people with ASD successfully utilize skills learned in therapy and are able to work successfully and live independently. Myth #3 All individuals with autism have savant abilities. While the media and common understanding of autism may lead to the general public linking autism with “genius” traits, this in fact is a myth. Only about ten percent of individuals with autism exhibit savant abilities. It is likely that the general public mix up savant abilities for what may actually be a more accurately referred to as a splinter skill. Splinter skills are skills which typically go beyond ordinary ability level are skills in one or two areas which are above the child’s normal performance abilities. More specifically, the splinter skills are talents or abilities that are unrelated to other aspects of a person’s life, such as playing the piano exceptionally as a child or having exceptional knowledge in mathematics. Myth #4 Autism is caused by vaccines. There is no evidence that vaccinations during childhood cause autism. While we do not yet know the exact cause of autism, there is research being done to further understand autism. Genes are likely one of the causes of autism but are not the lone cause. The vaccine myth stems out of a 1998 study, which at the timed linked autism with vaccines. This study has since been retracted. Myth #5 Autism can be cured. ASD is different and unique in every individual and is treatable through therapies and programs such as applied behavior analysis and peer interaction therapy for children. Treatment and programs may eventually allow the individual with autism to develop the coping skills which allow them to lead successful lives and these individuals may be able to utilize the skills they developed to be able to no longer be diagnosed on the spectrum. ABC Consulting cares about you your child. We hope you will give us the opportunity to work with you. We can help you better understand your child and support you with successful therapies for their well-being. We have put together some simple steps to help you get started with us.

5 Autism Tips for Trick-or-Treating This Halloween

  5 Autism Tips for Trick-or-Treating This Halloween   Halloween is intended to be a fun and festive holiday to embrace being who you want to be. For parents of children with Autism, it may bring on feelings of worry, doubt or uncertainty of how to celebrate. Your child has likely anticipated this holiday too, positively or even with some worry. With a little planning and preparation, you and your child will be well on your way to an amazing Halloween celebration. To ensure a smooth holiday, here are some tips to consider as we approach Trick-or-treat season: Make your child excited and comfortable in their choice of attire, costume or not, simply be festive. Have your child propose a few costume ideas and even try a few. Maybe it’s last year’s costume, or maybe it’s a fun Halloween T-Shirt, whatever you decide on, it’s all about your child having fun and becoming whatever or whomever they want to become this Halloween. Consider the weather when choosing attire as well, the weather can often surprise us on the day of festivities. Focus on the experience being fun, don’t sweat the costume. Do what will be fun for your child and remember, don’t sweat the small stuff. Embrace what comes of the trick-or-treat journey and keep in mind, it’s not always about quantity of candy; it’s about the quality of the experience. Extra Tip: If your child is new to trick-or-treating, practice the process at home and let a few close neighbors know ahead a time to praise and encourage your child. Highlight Autism Awareness by getting crafty with your pumpkins. Decorate or carve using inspiration from past pumpkins. Throw a small, sensory-friendly Halloween party at your house. This gives you the opportunity to choose to celebrate with planned activities in lieu of, or in addition to trick-or-treating. Choose festive activities that you know the group will enjoy while avoiding sensory triggers. If your child may not be able to say Happy Halloween and Trick-or-Treat to others this Halloween you can use a print-out to wish a Happy Halloween and to also say Trick-or-treat. Help your child get to know the Trick-or-Treat routine early. You can start to discuss Halloween expectations one to two weeks before Halloween activities start to take place. This will allow time for your child to become familiar with the routine. Once the day arrives, remind your child of the routine as needed, give them guidance to encourage their success as they approach the door to the first house and continue to support and guide them with the steps, as needed. Remember, a child with autism does not need to be left on the sidelines this Halloween. You can prepare your child to participate in the festivities and trick-or-treat this Halloween by preparing in advance for accommodations your child may need in order to make this a fun, safe, and memorable Halloween.

Different Therapies for Autism

Different Therapies for Autism   When parents realize that their child has autism, coping with the reality is often difficult. They fear for their child’s future and whether or not he or she can handle the world as a normal person would. Just remember, however, that history is painted with great men and women who are autistic, such as Emily Dickinson, Benjamin Franklin, and Isaac Newton. So instead of wallowing on how and why it happened to your child, you should focus all of your time and energy in providing him or her with the best treatment for autism available. The Best Treatment for Autism 1 in every 68 children in the US is diagnosed with autism. This means countless parents are considering autism treatment as we speak. If your child has this kind of condition, here are some autism treatment options that you can consider: Occupational Therapy Speech Therapy ABA Therapy Social Skills Classes Hippotherapy through horseback riding GFCF Diet Psychiatrist/Psychologist sessions Swimming Mainstream Schooling Vision Therapy Early Intervention Treatment for Autism Early intervention autism treatment is crucial in addressing the condition in the early stages to achieve the best results. Years of scientific study and research on autism have concluded that there are indeed benefits in early intervention, which can lead to an improvement in learning, communication, and social skills in young children with autism. The two popular early intervention methods include the Lovass Model based on Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) and the Start Denver Model. Parents and medical professionals also identify success with other popular behavioral autism therapies such as  Floortime, Pivotal Response Therapy, and Verbal Behavior Therapy.  Normally, early intervention therapy will follow the below process: The child is given designed, therapeutic activities with a set number of hours per week Only autism specialists and professionals will provide the intervention. This usually involves a team from different disciplines including physicians, speech-language pathologists, and occupational therapists. The therapy follows an accurate and well-defined learning goals with regular evaluation on the child’s progress. It is centered on the key areas impacted by autism, which includes social skills, language and communication, motor skills and daily living. The child can interact with his developing peers. Actively involves parents both in the entire program Discover the Best Autism Treatment for Your Child It is important to note that every autistic child is unique and the best autism treatment ideal for every child in different parts of the autism spectrum will vary. An effective autism treatment that works wonders for one child on the spectrum may not do the same for another child with different developmental needs. Finding the best therapy and treatment that works best for your own child is therefore key. Asking autism experts on the best autism treatment options available specifically for your child is ideal. It is also important that you build relationships with other parents with children like yours to get a deeper perspective of the condition.

What is Autism?

What is Autism? A recent study conducted by the CDC (Centre for Disease Control and Prevention) revealed that 1 in 68 children in the United States is diagnosed with Autism. We’ve all heard of autism, but what exactly is it? Autism is defined as a neurodevelopment disorder that impacts how an individual communicates and interacts with other people and the manner in which they perceive their surroundings. Parents will usually notice visible signs of the condition during the first two or three years of their child’s life. When a child is diagnosed with autism, choosing the ideal autism therapy and treatment is crucial. Learning Will Vary An autistic child’s capacity to learn will differ from other children. Sometimes an autistic child will be able to pick up and digest knowledge quicker than the rest, such as reading long words but won’t remember them later on. They may also choose a challenging route in learning before grasping the easy way. Autism behavior therapy will help in determining the best way of educating an autistic child and harnessing their unique way of processing knowledge and information. Physical Tics and Obsessions Physical tics – movements that are normally jerky in nature – are a typical symptom in people with autism. Physical symptoms can also vary from one autistic person to the next; some can control them pretty well while others simply cannot. Most autistic children also have obsessions that are hard to stop. Behavioral therapy for autism will help greatly in controlling physical tics and obsessions in autistic children. This will help channel the child’s obsession into another medium such as playing the piano or painting. Not All Beliefs About Autism Are True Many people believe that autistic people are incapable of feeling. Nothing could be further from the truth! Just like the rest of us, they also feel love, happiness, anguish, and fear. They may express feelings differently from us, but they certainly feel the same way all of us do. If you have someone in your family that is autistic, always remember that the person is just like you in more ways than you can imagine. Autism is A blessing and Not a Curse Charles Darwin, Isaac Newton, and Thomas Jefferson are just a few names of autistic people in history who have been instrumental in shaping the world that we know today. While not all children with autism will become the next Mozart or Nikola Tesla, a sizeable proportion of people with an ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) possess incredible IQs and a unique talent for computer science. In fact, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, the two most influential people in the world of computer technology, are autistic. So if you have a child who is autistic, consider it as a blessing and not a curse. You actually have a genius in your family and all you need is the best autism therapy that will help unlock your child’s unique potential and capability.

Traveling Tips for Individuals with Autism and Their Families

    School is out, the sun is shining, and it is the time of year when we all begin to think about planning some down time – maybe even a vacation! Whether it is a family camping trip, or a visit to a foreign country, these vacations involve travel in some form or another. Many individuals with autism and their families do not travel because they are concerned with the changes and disruptions in routines that traveling today requires. This month, Community Connections offers you tips on how to make traveling with an individual with autism easier. Learn how to prepare for travel with advice from experienced moms and valuable web resources to get your summer vacation off to a smooth start. We hope your family decides to go and have some fun! Articles and Books Flying to See Janet: A Fun Guide to the Airport Experience Traveling by plane can be a stressful experience for anxious children (and their parents!) Prepare children for the unfamiliar sights and sounds of the airport experience in advance with this fun and gently humorous picture book. Traveling Tips for Families with an Autistic Child by Chantal Sicile-Kira 3 Things to Know Before you Close your Suitcase: Preparing for Traveling with a Child with Autism by Earl J. Campazzi, Jr, MD, MPH Planet Express Travelers Travel Guides for Kids by Laura Schaefer Starbrite Traveler: A Travel Resource for Parents of Children with Special Needs by Jessemine Jones and Ida Keiper Special East Coast traveling edition here! Travel Checklist by Earl J. Campazzi, Jr, MD, MPH Vacationing with Autism: Six Tips for Traveling with an Autistic Child by Amy Lennard Goehner Ten Strategies for Traveling with a Child with Autism How do we Survive the Trip? by Ann Schlosser Suzie Goes on an Aeroplane by Charlotte Olson Autism Awareness Month: What Travel Agents Need to Know Web Resources Family Travel and Autism: Time for Everyone to Have Fun! Medical Travel, Inc. The Disability Travel Experts Travelers with Children with Disabilities and Medical Conditions – What Parents and Guardians Should Do Transportation Security Administration ( See Attached Video ) Amtrak: Services for People with Disabilities and Special Needs Information for individuals with disabilities looking to ride the train. Autism on the Seas Group and individual vacation options for adults and families dealing with autism and related disabilities. Autism Adventure Travel Travel Services for special needs families. Our Specialists will plan your vacation itinerary or can book you on one of our great vacations all with your special needs in mind. NEW! Air Travel Regulations Adult passengers, age 18 and over, are required show a US federal or state-issued ID that contains the following: name, date of birth, gender, expiration date, as well as a tamper-resistant feature in order to be allowed through the checkpoint an on to flights. ID’s can include a driver’s license, state ID card, or US passport. Click here for information on how to get a US Passport, or go to your state DMV website to access information on how to obtain a state ID card. Visit our Resource Guide. We welcome new submissions as we continue to build the Resource Guide. We would like to hear from you! Share your story about your travels with individuals on the autism spectrum. E-mail us at Photos are welcome!

Study Casts Doubt on Music Therapy for Kids with Autism

By Susan Scutti, CNN - Updated 11:05 AM ET, Tue August 8, 2017 Ethan Jones thinks he was playing the piano. "I was with someone, and we were in a room, and we were just playing a piano," Jones, 23, a resident of New York, said of his first music therapy session. Mostly, he remembers vibrations, sounds. He was 3 years old.   "I like sounds," he said. "Unless it's an alarm that you hear on a police car, ambulance or fire truck ... it just makes my heart beat fast."   He likes the physical experience of music as well as the sound. This is true for singing, too: "Sometimes, I sing to myself or I sing karaoke," he said. "I just like harmonies." Jones, who has autism, "sang before he could speak," said Maria Hodermarska, a licensed creative arts therapist and a registered drama therapist who teaches in the graduate program at NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. "You see this actually in people who have had a traumatic brain event, like a stroke, where the capacity for singing remains but the speech center is impacted because they're two different centers of the brain."   Hodermarska is not only a therapist, she is Jones' mother.   Ethan Jones "That part of his brain was developed and functional," she said. Even though her son could sing a few lines from a Beatles song, he couldn't make even the most simple of requests like "I would like a sandwich." "It was the singing that led him into speech," Hodermarska said.   The point of music therapy for people with autism changes as a child grows up, observes Hodermarska, though she acknowledges that the qualitative benchmarks -- such as whether and how much music therapy improves the social skills of a person with autism -- may be "challenging to measure."   A new study published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association attempts to do exactly that. Measuring success   In the study, Norwegian researchers found that music therapy plus standard care for children with autism spectrum disorder did not improve their symptom severity more than standard care alone.   Led by Christian Gold of the Grieg Academy Music Therapy Research Centre in Bergen, the study looked at 364 children with autism. Half were randomly assigned to enhanced standard care for five months and the remaining 182 to enhanced standard care plus improvisational music therapy for five months. The children ranged in age from 4 to 7 years old, and the study was conducted in nine countries.   Enhanced standard care consisted of the locally available usual care for children with autism, plus parent counseling to provide information and discuss concerns. "This was by definition a varied category," Gold said, explaining that the point of the study was pragmatic in that it was seeking to determine "real world" effectiveness. "Most commonly, enhanced standard care included speech and language therapy, communication training and sensory-motor therapy." In improvisational music therapy, trained music therapists usually sing or play music with children, attuned and adapted to the child's focus of attention. Watch out, bullies: She's got the band behind her Donna Murray, vice president of clinical programs at Autism Speaks, said that in the US classes she's observed, musical therapy is typically "child-led music," in which a child and therapist create music together. "So let's say the child picks up a drumstick and starts beating on the drum, and the therapist might join in. It's a creative joint experience, if you will."   After five months, the researchers found that the amount of improvement in symptom severity for both groups was small.   "Children get a lot of things simultaneously, and sometimes that could be too much," Gold said. He noted that he and his team observed how the children who received music therapy along with enhanced standard care seemed "to reduce, a little bit, the other therapies." This natural "compensation" meant that in the end, the study made almost a "head-to-head comparison." What's at stake for older dads? Finding no significant differences in social measures between the two groups, the study does not support the use of improvisational music therapy for symptom reduction in children with autism spectrum disorder, the researchers concluded.   "People with autism, for as long as the term 'autism' has existed, many of them have been described as having a special interest in music," Gold said. "For those who have that interest, they should have the right to pursue that interest, whether or not it's called music therapy or just music, whether or not it is in a one-to-one setting or some other kind of setting, whatever fits."   The question is, he said, what is the right amount of therapy and right mixture for each child? "We need to consider the everyday life of those kids as well. They're also just kids, not just kids with autism. They need to have an ordinary life as well," he said. Gold added that since autism is also a personality trait, and not just a disorder, it's necessary to find the "right social context for children, where autistic symptoms are accepted and understood, instead of trying to remove those symptoms."   Though more research is needed, he believes music therapy might work best for children with autism who don't have a lot of verbal abilities and who may have multiple problems "because it uses music rather than words."   "It might be a good option for only those kids on the lower-functioning of the spectrum," Gold speculated. Strengths and weaknesses   "It's a strong study if you believe in music therapy as a medical intervention," said Kenneth Aigen, interim program director and associate professor of music therapy at NYU Steinhardt, who was not involved in the research. Another strength is the large number of participants, which are rare in musical therapy studies, he said.   However, the study was weak, Aigen said, "if you think of music therapy in a more humanistic sense" as providing

How Characters with Autism got Starring Roles on TV’s ‘Good Doctor,’ ‘Atypical,’ ‘Claws’

Bill Keveney, USA TODAY - Published 2:07 p.m. ET Aug. 15, 2017 | Updated 4:29 p.m. ET Aug. 15, 2017 As autism has increased in frequency and recognition in society, TV is welcoming more characters with the condition. The lead characters of Netflix's Atypical (now streaming), ABC's The Good Doctor (due Sept. 25) and a supporting character in TNT's Claws all have autism, which is characterized by difficulties with social perception and inflexible, repetitive behaviors. The characters are portrayed by actors who don't have autism. The series represent a growing trend toward depicting people who traditionally haven't been seen much on TV, such as the young man with cerebral palsy who is the central character on ABC's Speechless. But as TV seeks more representation of people with physical or developmental challenges, it's important to present accurate and honest portrayals, while not defining characters solely by their condition, says Freddie Highmore (Bates Motel), who plays young surgeon Shaun Murphy on Doctor. "I appreciate the way in which Shaun is a fully formed character. Often, people with autism on screen have been represented as somewhat emotionless or singularly focused on one thing, and that isn't true," he says. "We get to see Shaun in moments of joy, what makes him excited, alongside the very real struggle he's facing." Characters with autism have appeared on TV over the years, but there have been more depictions in the last decade or so, including young Max Braverman of NBC's Parenthood, Detective Sonya Cross of AMC's The Bridge and real-life professor Temple Grandin, played by Claire Danes in an Emmy-winning HBO film. Keir Gilchrist plays Sam, a teen with autism, on Netflix's 'Atypical.' (Photo: Greg Gayne/Netflix)   On Doctor, Murphy is a surgeon in training who has savant syndrome, which in his case manifests itself in a photographic medical memory, depicted on screen with anatomical graphics. Executive producer David Shore (House) says Murphy, who has difficulty with social cues, is fascinated by the ways people interact. "He comes at it from a pretty optimistic point of view. There's no judgment there," he says. "He will ask the most outrageous questions. He's genuinely asking why we do what we do." On Claws, which finished its first season Sunday and has been renewed for a second, Dean Simms (Harold Perrineau, Lost) is an adult who gets support from his sister, owner of a nail salon. And Atypical's Sam (Keir Gilchrist, United States of Tara) is a teen dealing with universal coming-of-age issues such as dating, but his autism poses unique challenges. "Because he does have the opportunity to have those 'normal' experiences, it makes things more dangerous" in terms of how setbacks might affect his progress, executive producer Robia Rashid says. "He's not out of the game, but the game is harder for him." People with autism have a range of traits and behaviors, and individual depictions don't represent the broader group, says Heather Volk, an assistant professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She cites a saying familiar to professionals: "When you've seen one individual with autism, you've seen one individual with autism." Harold Perrineau plays a man with autism and Niecy Nash plays his sister, a nail salon owner, on TNT's 'Claws.' (Photo: Scott Garfield, TNT)   Andrew Duff, a multimedia producer at advocacy organization Autism Speaks who is on the autism spectrum, welcomes the growing representation. He has seen Atypical and the pilot of The Good Doctor, and says Highmore and Gilchrist "did a great job. They did their homework. They didn't feel too cookie-cutter." Some have criticized TV shows and films for casting actors who are not on the spectrum as characters with autism. Atypical features an actor who has autism in a supporting role  and Shore says he "would love to see some representation" on the show. Producers considered casting an actor with autism in the Murphy role, he says. "We looked into it. It's tricky. But ultimately, Freddie Highmore came along and he's just been fantastic." Duff doesn't take issue with the Atypical and Good Doctor casting decisions, but says he'd  like to see people with autism getting more roles and help to shape characters. "It's important to get a voice from somebody on the spectrum."