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Resources for Therapists Working With Autistic Children

If you’re a therapist, social worker or another specialist who works with children, you will eventually find yourself working with a child on the autism spectrum. If you lack experience with autism, it can be intimidating, and you may not be sure of what to expect or how to be effective. Even when you are eager to learn, the latest scientific knowledge and best practices are not always easy to access or understand, leaving you to rely on common stereotypes or old, cliched models.

Autism and Parenting Online Course

Whether your child was recently diagnosed or your family has been living with autism for some time now, you know that parenting a child with autism can come with unique stresses and challenges. Maybe you’ve tried different approaches to parenting without much success. If you’ve found it difficult to teach or discipline your child or share what should be joyful moments with them, you might feel like giving up on having the parent-child relationship you’ve always wanted – but there is hope. Learn more about what RDI® can do for your family with this online course for parents of children with autism.

Autism and Bullying – Helping Your Kid Cope

Studies have found that children and teens with autism are more likely to be bullied than their typically developing peers. Over 60% of children, teens and young adults with autism experience bullying. Among them, high schoolers are more likely to be bullied. If the rate of bullying among autistic individuals is so high, you might be wondering: Why isn’t more being done about it? To start with, a lot of parents don’t know that their child is being bullied.

Choosing an Advanced Autism Certification

If you’re an autism professional or aspiring autism professional, you might be considering an advanced autism certification. An advanced certification can help you to accelerate your career growth, but there are so many choices available; how do you know which certification is the right one for you?

Using RDI® To Address Behavior Issues in the Classroom

In this video, I discuss a case study about using RDI® to address behavior issues at school. I’ve been working with this particular family for about 17 years, so I’m very familiar with the child and his history. Over the years, I’ve had the opportunity to observe the student in the classroom several times, either in-person or through video review or a live Zoom feed. In one instance, I was asked to observe some video taken in the classroom to look for a potential bullying situation.

Anxiety and Young Children: How To Help Them Cope

We all experience anxiety sometimes. Long ago, when resources were more scarce and we lived more dangerous lives, anxiety helped us to recognize threats like predators. Even today, it can help us in certain situations. Children can also experience anxiety and, just like with adults, if it isn’t managed, anxiety can make day-to-day life less enjoyable and more difficult.

Can a Public School Deny Access to My Child With Higher Support Needs?

By law, children with support needs have the right to school services. If your child is denied access or you’re dealing with roadblocks, you should take the necessary steps to make sure they receive appropriate services. This process can be intimidating, but it’s part of advocating for your child and ensuring that they receive the education and other services they’re entitled to.

Treating Language Delays or Disorders in Autistic Children

We believe that using RDI® as the foundation for the treatment of autistic language delays and disorders in your practice encourages growth and forward motion and in the child. In the RDIconnect podcast episode, “RDI and Non-Verbal Children,” a discussion between Kat Lee and Dr. Rachelle Sheely illustrates how our model approaches communication first, and how other treatments miss that important factor.

How To Keep Your Older Child or Teen Safe Online

Many of us enjoy the benefits of being online. We connect with people from all over the world, we pursue our interests, we are entertained, and we can learn about any topic that we are interested in. Our autistic children and teens benefit as we do from the online world; however, our youngsters can be more vulnerable to cyber threats such as predators, pornography, and bullying if they do not understand the dangers, and if they do not establish and use internet safety skills.

Adults and Teens: How to Deal with the Anxiety that Comes with Change

Many of us experience difficulties when dealing with change in life. But if you are an autistic adult or teen, you may find yourself particularly subject to anxiety with the big life shifts that you face, such as starting high school, college, switching jobs, moving out on your own, and the inevitable changes that happen with relationships. Is there any way to help with this?

Autism and Puberty: Do Sensory Challenges Make It Harder?

Puberty can be daunting for any young person. Puberty wafts into a teen’s or pre-teen’s life with physical changes, as well as changes that are unseen, such as increased cortisol levels that often lead to shifts in emotions and struggles with behavior regulation. An adolescent can switch from having a happy and low-stress day to crying within minutes. These changes can be even more difficult for autistic young people who typically deal with sensory challenges.

Autism, Eating and Food – Why Are There So Many Issues?

An autistic individual can experience eating or food challenges at any age, but studies indicate that even though eating difficulties can and do carry over into adulthood, they typically improve. A compilation of studies published by Science Direct, authored by Susan D. Mayes, Ph.D., and Hana Zickgraf, Ph.D., report that atypical eating behaviors are significantly more common in autism (70.4%) compared to children with other disorders (13.1%), and neurotypical children (4.8%).

The Harm in Infantilizing Autism

Providing support for our autistic teen or adult is a necessary part of being a parent, and this is often one of our top concerns. But as we do so, we can unknowingly fall into a default mechanism that infantilizes the individual and treats them as if they are not capable of being their own person. We typically do this with the underlying belief that we are giving the best support, and that we have our teen or adult’s best interests in mind, however, infantilizing them is unnecessary, and innately dangerous.

Autism and Higher Education

How can RDI® provide real-world support for your child, teen, or young adult to prepare them for higher education, or a real-world job? In Dr. Steven Gutstein’s words, “Dynamic Intelligence is the mental ability that enables humans to successfully navigate the world and our relationships….and we have developed many resources to meet the mental challenges encountered in dynamic environments.”

Preparing Autistic Teens for Adulthood: Money Management

Even though this can look different for every autistic person, autistic individuals – especially children, commonly struggle with executive functioning. Individuals with executive dysfunction can lack acquired motivation to achieve goals and prepare for normal events in day-to-day life (i.e., money management), and they often experience difficulties picking up on skills such as organization, planning, and reasoning without guided learning experiences. Despite these challenges, autistic individuals can learn to manage money.

Are You Guilty of Not Letting Your Kids Fly?

As loving parents, we want our children to succeed in life. But sometimes, this pushes us blindly into overcompensation. We find ourselves frequently sneaking in and organizing our autistic teen’s school work to ensure they have a positive next day in class. Or we continue to do our kid’s laundry because we do not trust that they will do it themselves and that they will end up with no clean clothes in their closet. By not letting our kid fly on their own, we teach them that they are not accountable and lack responsibility. In turn, we presume incompetence, even if it only pertains to some areas of their lives. This can lead our children to feel that independence is either impossible or that they are flawed.

Autism and Depression – How it Can Present Differently in Neurodiverse Individuals

Millions of people in our population are diagnosed with depression every year. Most individuals are diagnosed based on common ‘by the book’ symptoms, but this can leave an entire segment of our population out. Depression often presents itself differently in neurodiverse individuals, which makes it much more difficult to pinpoint as an autistic, and to diagnose as a clinician.

Should I Force Socialization on My Child Who Is Happy Being Alone?

Some children, and adults as well, gather strength in private alone time. Solitude can feel good to these individuals, so they seek it. But this can lead parents, especially those that feel a personal need to be socially active, into the throngs of concern, “My kids do not want to socialize. They are happy being alone. Should I force socialization?” We understand that a child’s desire for aloneness can present real concerns for parents, but rather than forcing socialization (which does not work), here are some key points to consider:

Battling the “Am I Doing Enough” Parenting Guilt Trap – and how to move forward

All parents feel guilty sometimes, but it seems to occur more often when you’re parenting a child who has special needs. You might feel stressed, sad, or even angry or resentful sometimes – and then you feel guilty for having these completely normal emotions! And of course, there are the feelings and worries that go with the types of treatment you choose for your child!

Activities in RDI®

RDI® activities can be as small as moving items from one place to another together, or can be bigger – like playing with toys or a game, sports, or outdoor activities. The most important thing to remember is to keep your goal in mind! If you don’t remember or aren’t clear on your goal, don’t be afraid to ask your consultant. They are here to help!

RDI® for Dads

Learning how to guide your child with RDI® – like any skill – takes practice. When you take the time and effort to learn, practice, and implement the skills needed to guide your child, you, your child, and your entire family will reap the benefits.

Am I Overparenting or Overcompensating?

Parents that set boundaries are less apt to overcompensate for their children, but many parents find it difficult to set limits and end up overcompensating for their child when they are stressed or tired, feel guilty, or simply because they feel that it won’t work. But setting limits can improve your child’s behavior, reduce their anxiety, and help them to develop a greater ability for self-regulation. It also teaches them respect for and consideration of others.

Is Autism an Intellectual Disability?

It is a myth that all autistic people have an intellectual disability. The truth is that 2/3 of people on the spectrum have average or above-average IQs. IQ is not an indicator of future progress. IQ tests measure static intelligence, whereas (RDI®) treatment progress is measured by how well the child can navigate the dynamic world.

Updates to Language

Over the past 30 years, the DSM and public understanding of autism have evolved. Our original work from the 1990s may use language and terminology that make it sound outdated by current standards,...

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