Posts

Best Dog Breeds for Children with Autism

Have your kiddos been asking for your family to adopt a fury friend?

If so, you might be worried about what dog is the right fit for your family. Lucky for you, we have come up with the top four dog breeds that we think are the best fit for a child with autism.  

  1. Golden Retriever– These dogs are more than just a pretty face! These dogs are gentle and love being around children! Golden Retrievers also serve as incredible guard dogs. Your kids will be sure to fall instantly in love with these lovable dogs. 
  2. Newfoundland– These dogs are truly gentle giants. Allowing your kids to sit down and groom these friendly balls of fur, will not only be calming, but also serve as consistent activity that they can take responsibility for. 
  3. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel– These dogs are the definition of a lap dog. Cavaliers make sure to love every person they meet and would be an incredible addition to any family.  
  4. Poodle– Not only are these dogs incredibly smart, they are also one of the most kid friendly dogs around! These are the perfect dogs to have your kids help train and take to the park. 

Making the decision about what type of dog to adopt can be stressful, especially making sure to account for your child’s needs. We hope that this helps make the decision a little less stressful.  

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.   

Autism Travel Guide

Here at Cayer Behavioral Group, we know that traveling with a child who has autism can be a very big challenge, but it can be done!

Success mainly depends on planning, preparation, and anticipating your child’s needs. We want to make your life a little bit easier this summer, so we have six  tips and tricks to help your trip run as smooth as possible! 

  1. Plan multiple airport visits ahead of the trip: This will help you desensitize your child to the sights and noises of the airport. It can also be a fun day trip where you can play a scavenger hunt with your child! 
  2. Use a calendar to build anticipation: You can use a calendar to count down the days until vacation and mark the days off as the trip gets closer. This will help your child get excited about going on a trip! 
  3. Explore airport resources for children with autism: Some of the larger airports may have some programs that help children with autism and can help prepare them and you for the flight. 
  4. Pack wisely: This is very important! Pack a carry on with your child’s favorite toys including an iPad and charger! It might also be a good idea to download some of their favorite games on the iPad so they have something to do! We also recommend having a change of clothes, in case there are any accidents on the plane. 
  5. Early boarding: While you are waiting to board the plane, be sure to go up to the gate and talk to the person about early boarding for children with a disability. They should be able to let you on the plane early, so your child does not have to wait in a long line. 
  6. Plan for sensory issues and comfort: If your child is going to be sleeping on the plane, be sure to have a blanket and another security item available. Consider bringing headphones and other items that are soothing and help regulate your child.  

Hopefully these tips and tricks help your summer travels go as smooth as possible, and give your child a fun new experience! 

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.  

 

Wrapping up the School Year | Evaluating Your Child’s IEP

It’s that time of the year again to meet with teachers, principals and other ESE folks to wrap up your child’s IEP.

The good news is, this is a sure sign that summer is right around the corner! Before you meet, Cayer Behavioral Group would like you to ask yourself these three simple questions: 

  1. Has the classroom met my child’s needs? 
  2. Were the goals listed in my child’s IEP meaningful and the methods used to teach the goals effective? 
  3. Has my child benefitted from this year’s IEP? 

If your answer is no to any of these questions, we encourage you to answer the 5 W’s. 

Who was responsible for your child during their school day? 

What were the obstacles your child faced this year? 

When were the individual goals supposed to be met?         

Where was the location and person in charge of helping your child meet their goals? 

Why weren’t you notified that progression wasn’t occurring?  

Having a true heart to heart with your educator and your family will help you recognize and ACCEPT both the good and bad the 2017-2018 school year delivered and will be helpful in developing next year’s plan.  Cayer Behavioral Group wishes you nothing but love and luck as you tackle the often dreaded IEP meetings. Hang in their mama’s and daddy’s. Longer days and hours of fun filled sunshine are right around the corner! 

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. 

Beyond the Diagnosis

“Autism is part of my child. It’s not everything he is. My child is so much more than a diagnosis.” -S.L Coelho

Do you have a child who was just diagnosed with autism? If so, you know exactly how easy it is to get stuck on the diagnosis…ASD! At Cayer Behavioral Group we urge everyone to look beyond those often, overwhelming words, and change your fear to motivation! Instead, focus on the autism diagnosis as an opportunity to access new found hope and understanding for you and your child. Correct steps immediately following the diagnosis will allow your child to grow and create goals of self-sufficiency which will help 100-fold in every aspect of their future.

The most effective therapy offered to children with autism is exactly what CBG specializes in. Applied Behavior Analysis! What exactly is ABA? In a nut shell, Applied Behavior Analysis focuses on behaviors that are meaningful and significant to YOU! Further the science of ABA allows us to better understand the function, or “why,” your child engages in the behaviors you are seeing on a daily basis. Through a series of assessments and behavioral techniques and principles our therapists are able to help you realize meaningful and positive changes in your child’s behavior across every environment in their life. Engaging in ABA is a life changer!!!

At CBG we offer an array of services to create the best-specialized care for each individual child. Calling CBG is an excellent first step! To learn more about the services we offer check out our website!

Remember accessing an autism diagnosis is the first step in accessing all the tools necessary for the brightest, possible future!

If you have any questions about the services that we provide, as always, 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

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

Just seven weeks into 2018, there have been eight shootings at US schools that have resulted in injury or death.

In light of the unthinkable tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, Cayer Behavioral Group would like to take a moment to discuss conversation points for parents to have with their child’s teacher regarding their school/classroom safety plan. For those of us who live, breathe, walk and LOVE a child on the spectrum, it is especially important to have an open and honest conversation covering the who, what, where and when of safety.

Conversation starters:

  1. How will the school communicate with me in a crisis situation?
  2. Is there a crisis hotline?
  3. What is the role of the teacher in the crisis? Will he or she remove my child from the classroom, or do they engage in “lock down” procedures? If they remove my child from the classroom, where do they go? If the policy is to “lock down” the classroom what does that procedure look like and how often is it practiced?
  4. What other school personnel will be responsible for my child with special needs?
  5. My child is on medication. How is the medication transported in a crisis situation?
  6. Has my child had access to community helpers (police, fire and emergency responder men and women) in a non-crisis environment?
  7. Will my child have an identifier on his or her clothing?

We are hopeful you will utilize the following 7 talking points to begin a necessary conversation with your child’s teacher. It’s unfortunate our world causes us to pause and react to thoughtless violence. At times like this we must remember there is more good in the world than bad. At times like this we must remember we are our child’s protector. Cayer Behavioral Group is hopeful you will find peace in the following quote:

“You protect what you love.” – Jenna Ryan

Cayer Behavioral Group will continue to protect your child and we are exceptionally grateful for the opportunity to work with your sweet kids in our fantastic community. For more information on Cayer Behavioral Group please visit our website at www.cayerbehavioral.com or contact the office at 850.320.6555.

Krista Cayer, MA, BCBA

CEO and Founder, Cayer Behavioral Group

 2331 Hansen Court

Tallahassee, FL 32301

850.320.6555.

Who hasn’t had concerns about the children we love and today’s technology?

Technology is a major part of our children’s socialization, education and realization of what we call life.  Whether we like it or not, technology is here to stay!

Today’s blog features a special guest, Bryan Gibson. Bryan functions as the Cayer Behavioral Groups Virtual CIO and has been working with CBG for 5 years. He is also the Owner and Principal Consultant of i2xsolutions, a local Tallahassee tech company. Bryan has an in-depth understanding of technology, which is helpful when discussing safely navigating our everyday tech-world.  Bryan recently spent a few minutes with us providing insight into different devices, avoiding app pitfalls and pairing positive parenting with screen time.

  1. As a parent, what are a few devices you feel are worthy of an investment?

Bryan recommends the use of tablets for children, especially those who are on the spectrum. As you know, we all strive to find outlets where our children are able to express themselves while learning.  Tablets can prove useful for children who are verbal or non-verbal.  The mobility found in tablets allows parents to teach their children whether they are at school, home, or with their BCBA’s. By using these devices, your child is able to use his/her senses and visualize different things happening within the device. Here are some tablets available for you and your children: the iPad, Microsoft Surface, Samsung tablet, Amazon Fire for Kids tablet, Leapfrog, and the Nabi tablet.

  1. How should parents monitor their children on the apps and the devices they use on a daily basis?      

The safety of our children on tablets and applications is something we should all view as most important. Bryan explained on all devices, tablet or PC, there are family security suites. This suite is an application that monitors what your children are doing and places that data into a “cloud” so you, the parent, can see what they are up to. From the cloud, a parent can authorize the use of various applications. Bryan highly recommends using the family suite if you are considering letting your children run solo on a device as this is one of the only ways you will be able to fully monitor their internet habits.  The suite acts as a parental monitor and can be found in general settings in any device. Using the family suite puts parents in the driver seat, seeing first-hand the who, what, when and where of their child’s virtual activity.

  1. How can you tell if the app you are downloading is “real” and will be useful for children?

Yes, there are apps out there that can prove to be phony. Parents must engage in due diligence to ensure they’re not downloading dangerous material. The primary key is educating yourself on the app before you purchase. Make sure the app has a lot of reviews (not only by the developer, the developer’s mom and a few of her book-club friends). And, check other online platforms to see if it was useful to other parents. According to Bryan, and this is unfortunate, there really is no true way to know if the app is legit until you install and open. Bryan suggests monitoring the download and opening of the application in real time. If it looks fishy, immediately delete the app. His advice to tackling this real-world problem is to do what we have always done as parents, investigate everything before making any purchases. And, do not shy away from a hard “no” when it comes to purchasing an application which doesn’t pass the smell test.

  1. Is it worth it to pay for the apps?

Bryan 100% recommends paying for any and all apps you or your children are downloading. Free version of applications tend to have off topic “pop up” ads. One click and your children could be on a completely different site, possibly a dangerous site.  If your children have a history of wandering the internet please make sure they are using apps verified and paid for you, by you.

  1. Would you recommend children have their own device?

Bryan recommends having a family device for your children to use. He suggests giving your children their own device is if it is locked down to the point where they could only access what you are wanting them to see and hear. While there are some devices made for everyone to use, they do make children specific tablets, such as the Leapfrog, Amazon Fire for Kids, and Nabi tablet. On the Nabi tablet, Bryan explained how it has different modes the parents can “lock” down and remain fairly secure. These modes include children modes but also “daddy” and “mommy” modes. Through these different modes, parents can review their child’s history and if necessary tweak their level of “locked” security.

Lastly, Bryan recommends sticking to a schedule outlining when your children can have access to these devices, as too much access is never good. In 2016,  The American Academy of Pediatrics published new guidelines that all parents should take into consideration when deciding on the amount of screen time for their children. The AAP recommends children from the ages of 2 to 5 have one hour of screen time a day while children older than 6 have limited use of screen time per day. The latter guideline is nebulous at best. Essentially, the less screen time, the better!  Further the AAP recommend parents sit with their children while they are on the devices and explain the different visuals they are seeing. If you are interested in creating a media plan for you and your family, check out the AAP Media Plan at https://www.healthychildren.org/English/media/Pages/default.aspx.

An important piece to draw from this post is, “devices do not take away the need for parent involvement, in fact, they reinforce the need for parents.” Devices are excellent catalysts for communication, learning and exploring. Not an absolute replacement for the irreplaceable parent/ child teachable moments.  Please remember to reach out to Cayer Behavioral Group  at (850) 320-6555 or your BCBA for more information on this subject! We are glad to help you and your children benefit from using these devices and becoming familiar with assistive technology! We also want to thank Bryan for taking the time to sit with us and give us some new insights about the realm of technology!!

#AutismAwarenessEveryDay #WeCayer #AutismandTechnology #AssistiveTechnology

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

Guest Blog By Jessica Duncan, Fun4TallyKids.com

After-School Care should be something to look forward to for every child and parent, but if your child has Autism / Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), sometimes finding the best fit can be difficult. You want the best care for your child, and it can be overwhelming to search through the many after-school care programs Tallahassee has to offer.

Before enrolling your child, there are some specific things you can ask the care program’s owner to make sure staff is qualified, experienced, and open to inclusion in their after-school care programs.  

  • What is the ratio of staff to kids? You may even go further to ask if they have availability for one-to-one staff when needed. The added attention to your child can help them to feel included in activities, and to make sure any outburst or issue that may arise is handled in a positive manner. 
  • What are the qualifications of your staff and after-school counselors? Don’t take a simple “yes, they’ve been trained” as an answer; ask about the specific training that was provided, including: Applied Behavior Analyst (ABA), Autism Spectrum Disorder Specialist (ASDS), Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), and Registered Behavior Technician (RBT).
  • Do your staff members and after-school counselors have experience with kids on the spectrum? There are some after-school care programs in Tallahassee with over 20 years of experience!  Some care programs are brand new, but their staff and counselors may have experience working at other programs or camps. Just ask.
  • Will you consider my child’s specific challenges in group situations? Many after-school care programs have forms for parents to fill out so that every need can be met when it comes to individual personalities, interests, and behaviors. 

  • Can you provide a visual schedule? Your child may have less anxiety if he/she can see pictures of what to expect at after-school care each day. If the program doesn’t regularly provide this, many of them will be more than happy to show you pictures of the activities and fun their kids have.  
  • Will my child be integrated and included?  The correct answer is “Yes.” The program’s owner should tell you that they make sure all of their campers are included in groups and activities, that they teach kids about inclusion, patience, and making friends with children on the spectrum, and staff encourages kids to help one another.  
  • Will the after-school care staff communicate with me, the parent? Your child may not be one to jump in the car after camp to tell you all about their day, so communication is very important between the staff and parents. Find out if they are willing to provide you with a written note at the end of each day letting you know how their day at camp was, or you might ask to speak to a staff member who was with your child that day when you pick them up.  
  • Will my child be safe? This is an important question and concern for a parent of any child. The bottom line is, when you know your child is safe, YOU can enjoy your day.  

In addition to finding the answers to these questions when looking for an after-school care program, be sure to choose one that you think your child will actually be interested in.  

Jessica Duncan is the owner of Fun4TallyKids.com, an online resource for families to find things to do with and for their kids. To see a comprehensive list of resources in the Tallahassee area, visit http://fun4tallykids.com/. Follow on Facebook, and subscribe to receive weekly events email at http://fun4tallykids.com/Newsletter-Signup/. She can be reached at jessica@fun4tallykids.com or (850) 877-4357.

Navigating insurance coverage for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD)

gavel pounding

 

Florida enacted autism insurance reform on May 2, 2008, under the Steven Geller Autism Coverage Act. As a result, large group health insurance plans and HMO large group health plans provide coverage for diagnostic screening, intervention and treatment of ASD. However, coverage for ASD is not required by state law for small employer (50 or less employees) group plans or self-insured plans.

HOW DO I VERIFY WHETHER I HAVE ASD COVERAGE?

To verify whether your policy covers treatment for Autism, check your policy booklet under the terms “Applied Behavior Therapy,” “ABA Therapy” or “Autism Therapy.” If access to your policy booklet is not readily available, contact your insurance plan directly using the telephone number listed on the front (or back) of your insurance card. If you verify by telephone, make sure you  keep a record of the reference number for the call, and the name of the representative you spoke with.

 

INSURANCE & CBG

Calculator, receipt, and pen on a desk for insurance

After you have completed the new client paperwork, our billing department will take care of the insurance process. CBG will contact your child’s insurance company to verify benefits for ABA therapy. The billing department will compose an explanation of benefits and parameters of payment document detailing the cost for ABA therapy services.

Benefits will vary depending on the employer group plan. HMO plans generally have a copayment per day with a designated out-of-pocket maximum amount. Most PPO plans utilize a deductible which must be satisfied; afterwards, the plan will cover 80 percent of the allowed charges while you cover the other 20 percent. As with the HMO plans, the PPO policies have a maximum out-of-pocket amount that must be satisfied. With both policy types, once the out-of-pocket maximum has been satisfied, the insurance company will cover 100 percent of the allowed charges.

 

Cayer Behavioral Group’s billing procedure is as follows:

  • services are provided by your child’s therapist(s);

  • the following week, the services are submitted to the billing department for submission to the insurance company;

  • the claims are submitted electronically through the individual insurance carriers clearinghouse (or website);

  • your insurance plan generally remits payment within 10 business days; and,

  • CBG will send you an invoice for the copayment or deductible amount due on the 10th and 25th of each month.

Contact Cayer Behavioral Group today to let us help you find your new normal!

happy family laughing in the car