The California Association for Behavior Analysis is hosting their annual 30th Western Regional Conference from Wednesday February 15th - Saturday February 18th. This year, our own Dr. Joyce Tu is the Conference Co-chair. In addition, the Center for Behavioral Sciences will be presenting the topic: Using a Verbal Behavior Approach to Teach Skills to Children with Autism.
For the first time, CalABA will be hosting a parent conference. The Center for Behavioral Sciences' own Dr. Junie Lazo has organized this inaugural event. The theme of the conference is Helping Children Achieve Their Potential by:
- Using behavior analysis in the home
- Accessing Insurance for In-Home ABA programs
- Obtaining Appropriate Educational Services
Conference information including schedule can be found using the following link http://calaba.org/2012Conf/program.shtm
Here’s to a New Year and a New Resolution!
Hello 2012! The start of a new year always brings with it the excitement and hope of all the possibilities for the next 365 days. We come up with resolutions that tend to be more focused on the things we are NOT going to do this year. I’d like to offer you an alternate view to your resolutions.
Rather than focusing on the “not”, let’s look at what you “are” going to do in the new year. With our children, we often focus on what they are “not doing” when compared to their typical peers. In your behavioral programs you will find the complete opposite. Praise and reinforcement are given for successive approximations of the ultimate behavior, thus shaping the behavior we desire.
This can be applied to your new year’s resolution. Let’s take exercise as an example. Your ultimate goal may be to exercise 5 days a week. If you are not exercising at all, this could be an unattainable goal. Rather than not meeting your goal and giving up by February, look at the number of times you have exercised thus far. Praise and reinforce yourself for the smaller accomplishments. Even if you have exercised only once this week, give yourself a pat on the back, a special treat. Acknowledge the step towards your ultimate goal. Then the next week, focus on increasing the number of times from the previous week and so forth. You will see that reinforcing yourself along the way to your ultimate goal is much more satisfying; and, it will increase your chances of actually reaching your goal and fulfilling your new year’s resolution.
You can do the same thing when viewing your child’s program. Is there one program that you want to learn to implement, or you want your child to master? Remember, these short tips and you will be well on your way to achieving your goals:
1.Determine the Ultimate Goal- Decide what it is that you want to do.
2.Define the Ultimate Goal- create a description of what you want to achieve. This should be specific, observable and measurable. This way when someone closes their eyes based on your description they can visually see the goal you are setting.
3.Break the goal to smaller steps- By breaking the goal down, it will be attainable.
4.Determine your reward schedule- From the onset decide when you are going to give yourself that special treat. In the beginning, the rewards should be fairly frequent to increase your chances at maintaining; and as you get closer to your goal the rewards should be infrequent and random since you are closer to achieving your ultimate reward of accomplishing your goal and meeting your New Year’s Resolution.
These tips offer an alternate way of viewing any new year’s resolution! Happy New Year!
Dr. Junie, BCBA-D
Disclaimer: The recommendations provided are general. For specific recommendations for you and/or your child please consult with a behavior analyst.
Now that the excitement of the holidays has subsided, it is now December 26th and you, or rather, the kids have at least one week of NO SCHOOL! The thought of entertaining the kids throughout the entire day can be daunting. The best way to combat this stress is to arm yourself with a bag full of activities. This may mean you need to fight the crowds and head over to your local craft store, or limit play with the new toys that Santa has delivered so they can be incorporated as a new activity during the week. As you would plan out your meals if you were on a diet, you need to plan your activities for the days ahead and be prepared.
Here are a few simple things that can help you beat the no school boredom and prevent behavior problems.
- Use a schedule board to indicate to the child the list of activities ahead of them for the day. If your child does not read, pictures of each activity to indicate what is next. More than likely, your child has a visual schedule board at school and one for his/her home program. Therefore, creating one for the entire day at home will provide for them prompts and a sense of structure for the day. For your neuro-typical kids, this can be helpful in reducing the incessant asking of “what are we going to do…I’m bored”.
- Plan activities. Incorporate activities that require both interactive and independent work. Be sure to rotate or evenly space out the time for an interactive activity and an independent activity. Independent activities can be taken from mastered programs in your home program. For example, puzzles or games that the child was taught to do on their own.
- Go outside as an activity. Take advantage of the beautiful California weather. Schedule your activities so that you are outside in the afternoon, go to the park, or play in the backyard. The kids run around quite a bit at school and they need the same amount if not more when they are not in school.
- Try a Community outing. For you locals, Disneyland, Knot’s Berry Farms, and the Long Beach Aquarium are all community outings that I’m sure will entertain. On a budget? As we know, all of those amusement parks could get pricey. Instead of the aquarium, go to your local fish store. The kids will be able to look at the fish for free and will likely still get the same excitement. I know my kids enjoy it.
- Schedule a Play Date. It’s always nice to get the kids together, but more importantly it’s nice to be able to at least commiserate with a fellow caregiver J
Now that you know what I’ll be doing during this winter break, I hope these suggestions are helpful for you. It is also important to remember that it is vacation so a day of non-structure and snuggling in front of the television with your little ones is more than okay.
Dr. Junie, BCBA-D
Stressed about the Holidays?
3 ways to reduce your stress and enjoy yourself.
The holidays are filled with excitement and joy. With it comes the attendance to multiple holiday functions. While you may be excited, you also may be feeling the stress. The stress comes from the unknown. Several questions may run through your mind… Will my child have a behavior problem? Will I get to enjoy myself? Or, will I spend the entire time worrying about the potential behavior problem that may occur?
I’m offering you a few simple strategies that may help you get through the holiday function and maybe even enjoy it a little.
- Set your expectations. Set your expectations for your child and for yourself. How long do you want to be at the party? How long can your child really be there? All kids have limits regardless of a disability and expecting any child to stay longer and behave then they really can, will only lead to anxiety and stress on your part. If it helps call the host prior to the party and state your attendance but that it will only be for XX amount of time. This way if and when you have to abruptly leave, they will know and understand. Thereby, reducing your anxiety and stress.
- Prevention. Prevention is key. I firmly believe in not waiting for a problem to happen but trying to prevent it from happening. For me, it is easier to prevent then to react in the heat of the moment. There are several things you can do to prepare you, your child, and your family for the party.
- Bring your reinforcers (i.e., items that your child is motivated for, such as their favorite snacks or toys). If your child is on a token system, bring your token system. The purpose of the reinforers is mostly for you to remember to praise your child for good behavior. We often get distracted at parties and ignore the child while they are being “good”. You need to switch your thinking. If the child is going to continue to exhibit the good behaviors that to remain motivated to do so. By having reinforcers available and placed on a schedule you will find that you actually have more time to enjoy yourself when everyone is happy.
- Bring games and activities that your child can do independently. Often, we expect children to be good, but the party or the house may not necessarily be child friendly. Therefore, making it difficult for you and the child relax because neither of you know what to do. If your child enjoys coloring, puzzles, or a particular game, bring it with you. Set your child in an area where they have their own space to play with their toys or activity that they can do on their own. If you child only enjoys watching videos bring your mini-dvd player, iPad, etc. Give yourself the night to enjoy and just let you child be with the videoplayer if that is going to reduce your stress. Every once in awhile is ok.
- Reactive Strategies. My philosophy for everything is to plan for the worst. This means, you need to know before you go to this party what you are going to do if a behavior problem occurs. Knowing your reactions will reduce your stress level, even if it means leaving the party.
As I stated earlier, “plan for the worst”. It is better to be over-prepared then overwhelmed. While the preparation part may be stressful, you will feel relieved that when you are at the party knowing, “you have a plan”. You may even be able to enjoy yourself knowing your strategies are in place to buy you time to talk or have a glass of wine even if it’s only for a short while.
I hope that you’ll find these tips helpful during the holiday season.
Dr. Junie, BCBA-D
Those looking to catch up on some reading this holiday season may want to take a look at the recommendations in this Washington Times article. It lists several their favorite books about autism.
Below is the list of recommendations with links to where you can find out more information about each book. Happy Reading:
Thinking Person's Guide to Autism
My Friend with Autism by Beverly and Craig Bishop
Not Even Wrong by Paul Collins
Born on a Blue Day by Daniel Tammet
Be Different by John Elder Robison
Seeing Ezra by Kerry Cohen
One of Us by Mark Osteen
Thinking in Pictures by Temple Grandin
Dude, I'm an Aspie by Matt Friedman
From Emotions to Advocacy by Pam and Pete Wright
Mapping Charlie by Jane Meyerding
Dirt by Susan Senator
Wit and Wisdom from the Parents of Special Needs Kids
Gravity Pulls You In
This is not meant to be a comprehensive list - just a great place to get started. The full article is located:
Save the Date for the First Annual parent conference on Saturday, February 18th, 2012. Center for Behavioral Sciences Director Junelyn Lazo-Pearson is the main contact for this amazing one day event.
Saturday, Feb. 18, 2012
CalABA presents a one-day conference for parents on:
Helping Your Children Achieve Their Potential by
- Using Behavior Analysis in the Home
- Accessing Insurance For In-Home ABA Programs
- Obtaining Appropriate Educational Services
Join Team CBS as we walk for Autism at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California - April 21, 2012. Register for Free right now www.walknowforautismspeaks.org/losangeles/cbs
Walk Now for Autism Speaks is a fun-filled, family friendly event and is our single most powerful force to fund vital research that will lead us to the answers we need. Experience the power of thousands united by a single cause by joining Walk Now for Autism Speaks. Autism is the fastest-growing serious developmental disorder in the U.S. – we need more volunteers to join our fight. Whether this is your first walk or the 10th, take the first step and register today. You will not only raise funds, but you will become a part of a fun and supportive family-focused community.
Every 15 minutes, another family receives the devastating news that their child has an autism spectrum disorder. Help us change that! Start fundraising today. Don't wait another minute - start a corporate, school or family team today!
We look forward to seeing you at the event! Don't forget to register for Team CBS www.walknowforautismspeaks.org/losangeles/cbs
4/21/12 – 10AM
1001 Rose Bowl Drive
Pasadena, CA 91103