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Summer Time Sports | Tips & Tricks 

Summer Time Sports Tips and Tricks

Have you been wanting your kiddos to get involved in a sport this summer?

If so, we know that this can often be a stressful and overwhelming task. As parents, you are focused on the health and safety of your kids! That’s why we have come up with some tips and tricks to help jump start their involvement in sports this summer. 

  • We recommend having a therapist go to practices initially. As time passes and your child becomes more comfortable, the therapist will fade out.   
  • Practice at home. Set up a similar field in your front or back yard. Maybe use a city park. Grab some neighborhood kids, snacks and bring a few adults along for reinforcement. Practice makes perfect and will aid in decreasing any anxiety your child may be feeling. 
  • Use the internet. YouTube offers a ton of videos that perfectly outline the playing rules for multiple sports/activities. Enjoy 15 minutes or so a day of mindless viewing with you child.  
  • Talk to the coaches. Most people volunteering as a coach have every child’s best interest in mind. Explain how your child learns best. Feel free to share your concerns…they will listen!  
  • Rally the other parents around your efforts. We often hear only the bad news through the daily outlets. Don’t let that scare you from talking to your teammates parents. The more you share, the more they’ll root for you and your athlete!  

We know that sports can be a very stressful topic especially for parents with a child that has autism. So, we hope that these tips and tricks can help diminish those fears. 

As always, if you have any questions, please feel free to contact Cayer Behavioral Group at 850-320-6555 or email support@cayerbehavioral.com for more information.    

Tracking Devices for Children with ASD

Tracking Devices for Children with ASD

I think we can all relate to the heart-stopping feeling you experience when “BREAKING NEWS” blares from the TV to announce, yet again…another school shooting.

Distasteful, but a reality in 2018. Considering our feeds are packed with news of homemade bombs, school shootings and bulletproof backpacks, Cayer Behavioral Group would like to take a moment to discuss the benefits of using tracking devices for our children diagnosed with ASD and other related disabilities. Simply clipping this device to your child’s belt loop may be part of the recipe to a better night sleep, knowing you have the ability to locate your child 24 hours of the day.

In hopes of helping you find the best match for your family, we have compiled a list of popular tracking devices on the market for you to consider:

AngelSense

Price: Tracker costs $150, with a monthly service plan of $45.

Pros:

  • Provides GPS tracking with detailed location history, and a feature that alerts you when your child arrives or departs from any location.
  • Provides voice monitoring that allows you to listen in on your child’s surroundings.
  • Compact product created with durable material that allows for multiple wearing options that were designed with sensory sensitivity in mind.
  • Allows for a chosen group of people to be alerted if child goes missing.

Cons:

  • Short battery life; however, the AngelSense app alerts you when the device needs to be charged.
  • More expensive monthly fee compared to similar products.
  • Not waterproof.

PocketFinder GPS Child Tracker

Price: Tracker is $129, with a monthly service plan of $12.95.

Pros:

  • Waterproof and extremely durable GPS tracker that updates your child’s location as frequently as every two minutes.
  • Provides option of setting up unlimited number of geofences so that you can be alerted when your child wanders off pretty much anywhere they aren’t supposed to be.
  • A unique feature about this product is that it gives you the option of modifying your services to accommodate your travel plans with international service at $29.95 per month, if necessary.

Cons:

  • No SOS button; however, wearer can tap the device three times on a hard surface to send an emergency alert to the parent’s phone.
  • No calling or listening-in features.

Trax Play GPS Tracker

Price: Tracker is $99, with three different prepaid plans to choose from, ranging from $4-$9 depending on which the plan you decide on.

Pros:

  • Small yet reliable GPS device that easily slips into pockets or is clipped onto a belt.
  • Updates several times per minute and can be set to monitor a specific area during certain times of the day.
  • Unique features about this product include the option to draw geofences in any shape, not just typical square or circle options, as well as an augmented reality feature that allows you to view the direction your child is located by panning your phone camera around you.
  • Reasonably priced.

Cons:

  • Short battery life.
  • No SOS alerts, calling, or listening-in features.
  • No activity log.
  • Less durable than similar products.

We hope that this list was helpful in guiding your choice of tracking devices, and that the device you choose provides you and your family comfort and peace of mind in times of panic and stress.

Please remember that you can always reach out to us at 850.320.6555 or email support@cayerbehavioral.com if you have any other questions or concerns regarding assistance for your little ones on the spectrum.

#TrackingDevicesforASD #AutismAwarenessEveryDay #CayerBehavioralGroup #We Cayer

Happy Black History Month!

Acclaimed African-American poet, storyteller, and civil rights activist, Maya Angelou, once said, “It is time for parents to teach young people early on that in diversity there is beauty and there is strength.”

Maya Angelou

Every February we reflect on the many notable contributions and achievements of African-Americans throughout our nation’s history. Today, Cayer Behavioral Group would like to divert your attention to a conversation that has been pushed aside all too often: the recognition and celebration of people of color within the autism community.

It is said that autism rates among African-Americans are the same as rates among whites. Yet African-American children are often diagnosed with autism at an older age than white children, causing them to miss out on potential years of valuable treatment. Additionally, resources are extremely limited, if any, in primarily African-American and low-income communities.

Fortunately, there are organizations like The Color of Autism and The Answer Inc. who have committed themselves to serving this cause, and work hard to assist and educate African-American families with children on the spectrum.

In honor of Black History Month and the celebration of people of color within the autism community, we’d like to take the opportunity to remind you of something The Autism Pastor Dr. Lamar Hardwick said in a beautiful written article about disabilities and diversity:

“Diversity is beautiful, diversity is needed, and diversity is what will make our society stronger.”

Happy Black History Month!

With love,

Cayer Behavioral Group

#BlackHistoryMonth #AutismAwarenessEveryDay #CayerBehavioralGroup

#WeCayer

Assistance Dogs for Autism

When you think of a service dog, you’re probably not imagining one trotting alongside a person with autism…

However, thanks to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), service dogs are no longer limited to just the blind! Service dogs, along with therapy dogs and even companion dogs, can all provide emotional, social and physical support for your little one on the spectrum.

  • According to the ADA, an official service animal is defined as a dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for people with disabilities. These special dogs receive extensive training and official certification to earn the privilege of accompanying people with disabilities everywhere in our community. Dogs that serve children with autism are trained to provide comfort during sensory overload, find family members or community helpers for those who tend to wander, help decrease stimming behavior, and increase social interaction!
  • On the other hand, therapy dogs are used to provide psychological and physiological affection and comfort in therapeutic situations. Some therapy dogs are encouraged to forgo formal training, while others simply use their naturally stable and friendly temperaments to help children on the spectrum.
  • Lastly, a companion dog is a typical family dog that may or may not have formal training but is simply well-behaved. According to a post from Autism Speaks, an affectionate companion dog can provide unconditional love and friendship, a calming influence, and a great model for important social skills like caring behavior and consideration of a friend’s needs. Additionally, caring for the dog can teach responsibility and other practical skills.

Now that you know a little bit more about your assistance dog options, Autism Speaks suggests you consider a few more things before bringing home the first furry friend you find!

  1. Does your child/family like dogs?
  2. Might your child or anyone else in the household have allergies that could be aggravated by a dog?
  3. Is your family prepared and ready to take on the long-term commitment and expense of caring for a dog in sickness and in health?
  4. Are you comfortable handling a dog while caring for your child and other family members?

If you’ve answered “yes, no, yes, and yes” to these questions, then you may just be the perfect candidate for an autism assistance dog!

Whether you decide to choose a service, therapy or companion dog for your family, the most important thing to keep in mind is that every child and dog is unique, and selecting the right animal just means finding the right match for YOU. Cayer Behavioral Group hopes that this information helped to inform and guide your choice in assistance animal, or at least that you learned something interesting and new!

Remember that you can always reach out to 850.320.6555 or email support@cayerbehavioral.com if you have other questions or concerns about ways to help your little one on the spectrum.

#AutismAssistanceDogs #AutismAwarenessEveryday #CayerBehavioralGroup #WeCayer

Setting Healthy Goals for Your Family in 2018

Congratulations, you made it through 2017 and into the new year!

As we kick off 2018 and clink our glasses to new beginnings, we start to consider our New Year’s resolutions—the changes we’d like to make to our routines, and things we hope to accomplish in 2018. As a parent of a child with autism, that includes planning and setting healthy and attainable goals for you and your child. We know it can be difficult to get back into the groove of things after the hectic holidays, so Cayer Behavioral Group (CBG) has gathered some tips and tricks for making this year the best one yet!

  1. Take an interest in your child’s interests. Being a parent of a child with autism and having to juggle work, school, appointments, and therapies can make it very difficult to get quality bonding time. Making the small, conscious effort to take a personal interest in your child’s interests can go a long way in bringing you closer together. I bet you’ll find that their passion is contagious, fun and inspiring. Who knows? Maybe they’ll even teach you something new!
  2. But also take time for yourself. This one is difficult for a lot of parents, because their children tend to come first in most aspects of their life. That’s why it is important to remember that we give can only give our children our best, when we ourselves are at our best. So make your needs and well-being a priority in 2018, guilt-free, knowing you have your child’s best interest in mind. Take 3 to 4 days to blow off some steam at the gym, schedule a date-night for you and your spouse, or even just a few minutes to read a new book, listen to your favorite song, or take a hot bath!
  3. Don’t beat yourself up! Everyone has bad days, and there will likely be a few along the path to accomplishing your goals. But perfection is boring and unattainable, so give yourself the credit you deserve. Take a moment to reflect on 2017’s feats, and pat yourself on the back for surviving another year despite its mishaps. You are a devoted parent who works hard to take care of your special needs child, and thanks to you, their needs are being met with love and care. That in itself is something to be celebrated!
  4. Don’t be afraid to ask for support. Being open and honest about our struggles can be difficult. Maybe you don’t want others to see you as weak or inept, or are worried about being a burden, or just don’t know how to properly convey your emotions. But asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. There is an entire community out there of people who have been in your shoes, and who are not only willing, but eager to welcome you with open arms—CBG included! So don’t be afraid to reach out to your team at CBG and ask for support when you need it. You are resilient and resourceful, and asking for help will only make you more confident when facing stress next time around.

Wishing you and your family a prosperous 2018!

Two Kids Playing

Helping People with ASD: Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA)

What is ABA?

ABA, or Applied Behavior Analysis, is the most effective therapeutic intervention for individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). It is successful with both children and adults. The focus of ABA intervention is to improve a person’s quality of life by teaching skills necessary for day-to-day functioning, and to decrease behaviors that may inhibit success. Typically, ABA interventions rely on the use of strategically applied reinforcers that motivate the individual to learn a skill, or refrain from engaging in an unwanted behavior.

ABA is a form of therapy based on B. F. Skinner’s theory of behaviorism, which focuses on observable behaviors. ABA therapy is applied in a variety of ways, but each therapeutic intervention is customized to be meaningful to the individual.

ASD kid looking at a globe - ABA blog

Why is ABA so popular?

ABA is proven to be effective! Studies show that 30-50% of children with ASD who begin receiving quality, intensive ABA therapy from a young age go on to succeed in regular education classrooms. Moreover, their success continues to improve well into the future. ABA interventions also help improve family relationships by increasing positive behavior within the home, and enhance social skills, such as appropriate eye contact, reciprocal conversation, making and accepting bids, as well as many others.

Specific, child centered  interventions are designed to teach functional skills that are important to the child. Examples may include: washing hands, tying a shoe, or a job-specific skill. The specific needs of the individual drive the design of his or her interventions. As a result, ABA-based interventions open up endless possibilities for learning and success, and encourage positive change in the lives of individuals and their families.

Kids playing in the classroom ABA approach

The Growing Field of ABA

As ABA grows in popularity, the number of services provided grows. Every day, more and more ABA-based services are provided in schools and in the community. A growing number of teachers and staff are embracing ABA and welcoming it into schools and classrooms. There has also been an increasing number of opportunities for older individuals with ASD. This makes it easier for adults with ASD to contribute their unique skills throughout the community.

Autism and a Degree- A Success Story

College is a dream many have, but some feel it may be out of reach because of a variety of disadvantages.

This is the story of Oscar Diaz and his pursuit of his college dreams:

Study book with glasses

​Oscar diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder at the age of 4. He started elementary school in a normal kindergarten class but soon was relocated to a class that could “fit his needs.” Several of his family members thought this was a tragedy because it wouldn’t entitle Oscar to much, but it was the beginning of Oscar’s path to success.

 

Getting switched into the a different class opened Oscar up to ABA therapy and sooner than later things started looking up. It took Oscar six years to graduate elementary school, but it was worth it. No one, not even Oscar, thought elementary school graduation was possible, nor did anyone believe Oscar would be able to go to middle school without any ABA services. However, Oscar completed both middle school and high school without any service dependency.

Stack of books

Once his necessary education was complete, Oscar wanted more. He always dreamed of going to college but never thought it was possible because of his family’s economic status. So he took a year off after high school to devote all of his time studying for the ACT and SAT. After receiving an exemplary score, he applied to five universities in Florida and received a full merit scholarship to Florida State University. Oscar is now 24 years old and just graduated college with a Bachelor’s degree.  

This is only one of the many success stories that began with the believed constraint of Autism. But Oscar did not let the stigma hold him back, and hopefully neither will other children like him.

The Importance of an Early Diagnosis for Children with Autism

A child’s first steps are both the scariest and the most significant. Overcoming that first fear sets the foundation to conquering future obstacles. From there, kids learn to run, ride a bike, and play soccer. Along with a child’s first steps they also discover a crowd of support as their parents cheer them on to keep going.

photo of parent holding child

Parents of children with Autism also have a vital first step to take: seeking the diagnosis.

No, it isn’t fun. The road will be bumpy. There will be obstacles. But it will put the child on the right path to reach their full potential. Parents will find the support of those who will advocate for their child, answer all their questions, and most importantly, celebrate the milestones.

 

The following steps will help guide parents during the diagnosis process:

  1. Consult your family doctor or pediatrician. They will refer you to an Autism specialist or a team of specialists, including but not limited to: a child psychologist, a child psychiatrist, a pediatric neurologist, a speech pathologist and/or a developmental pediatrician.
  2. Follow through with the evaluation. Getting evaluated for Autism Spectrum Disorder consists of parent interviews, a medical exam, a hearing test, and direct observations. Clinicians will assess the child’s level of social behavior, social understanding, speech and language, play behavior, motor skills and adaptive behavior (ex: eating, dressing and toileting)
  3. Gather resources to begin a treatment program as soon as possible. Research has indicated that undergoing intensive behavioral therapy as a toddler can significantly improve cognitive and language skills in younger children with Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Autistic child being held by parent

 

With an early diagnosis, little ones with Autism can receive intensive therapy as young as 15 months old. Therapists, a part of the support team, develop unique, individualized treatment interventions to build onto the child’s strengths. From emphasizing eye contact to reinforcing every little sound as an infant, a 5-year-old with Autism will be prepared to play with peers, ask for help, or tell stories upon their first day of kindergarten. The greatest developments will come from prompt action and a readiness to learn.

“Growth is never by mere chance. It is a result of forces working together” – James Cash Penney

Written by: Tori Mason, Registered Behavior Technician