Start Your Day with a Cup of Positivity…

Annie Tanasugarn, PhDc, BCBA CEO/AUTHOR, The Autism Analyst
"Autism Awareness simply means to acknowledge that Autism exists; Acceptance is to acknowledge its value."

Howdy everyone! Thanks for another amazing week of checking out our blog, emailing us your questions and signing up for the latest on Autism intervention and family support! It truly does take a village to raise a child, and we’re very happy to be here answering your questions, providing informative blogs and meeting with our clients in the Southern California area.

I’d like to take a second to discuss a really common issue I’ve seen and dealt with hundreds of times – if not thousands of times – in my 14+ years of professional intervention: Focusing on the negative. There are so many facets regarding an Autism diagnosis. School IEP’s, socialization, the diagnosis itself, ABA therapy, sensory needs, speech therapy, occupational therapy, meetings with school psychologists, meetings with neurologists….the list goes on. Any family who has a child with special needs knows firsthand that the road does not end with the diagnosis: it begins there. Unfortunately, it is easy to get overwhelmed with paperwork and negativity from others regarding your child’s diagnosis and progress.

How familiar do these sound to you?

…”Your son did OK in class today, except…..”

….”I would like to speak to you about some regression I’ve seen in your daughter’s speech program….”

….”Do you have a minute to go over his goals?”

…”Her stimming seems to have gotten worse…”

…”The graphs are showing a dip in progress…”

Arrrgh! Who honestly wants to be bombarded with one negativity after another? As a Behavior Analyst myself, it is my ethical duty to inform parents of their child’s progress (and yes, regressions when they occur). But let’s face it, parents have enough on their plate and that last thing a parent wants to hear is another problem that needs to be fixed.

There is help! Parents, you have the right to speak to their behavior team regarding your child’s programs (ABA, IEP, OT, speech) to ensure that meetings include both the strengths and weaknesses with your child’s progress. For example, when sitting with your behavior interventionist or case supervisor for your child’s 1:1 program, ask about the programs your kiddo has excelled in this reporting period before discussing weaknesses and regressions. Make it a habit for your behavior team to have your child’s progress and strengths discussed first, before opportunities for improvement, as this helps create rapport and sets a positive tone for the meeting!

Speak to your Behavior Analyst. Often, it is the behavior analyst who is assigned to your child’s home program and is in charge of creating, monitoring, and revising goals and programs for your child, so they are a great person to speak to regarding your concerns. If you want to know that your daughter has made an 83% increase in her independence in homework skills before regression in socialization is discussed, you have that right to let your wishes be heard and respected.

When you’re sitting down with the school IEP team for your annual or addendum meeting, ask them to discusses the successes with your kiddo has accomplished prior to discussing changing in program due to insufficient progress. As a parent, you have this right! Again, just the simple task of discussing your kiddo’s successes first, can build comradery between you and the school IEP team and foster a more supportive environment for discussing regressions. #ProgressFTW

Know that with every challenge, there is a success!! As parents of children with Autism know, we need to prepare ourselves for the inevitable bad news that often comes with discussing our child’s progress. Realistically, kids will be kids which includes both successes and challenges. …. (I mean, how many kids do you know that independently do their chores or homework all the time?!)

 

Your friends at,

The Autism Analyst

 

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