If you have a loved one with autism, you may have worked with a speech-language pathologist (SLP) during their course of treatment. We sat down with seasoned SLP Jordan Segall to learn more about what SLPs do:

SLP_blog.jpgWhat does a speech and language pathologist do?

A speech-language pathologist evaluates and treats children and adults who have difficulties in areas such as speech, language, fluency, voice, swallowing and social communication skills. A speech-language pathologist has a master's degree or doctoral degree and has a state license to practice. Speech-language pathologists play an important role in the screening, assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of persons with autism spectrum disorder.

When should I consider having my child evaluated by a speech and language pathologist?

Generally, your child should: smile and/or make eye contact (birth–three months); babble (four–seven months); use gestures (seven–12 months); understand what others say and process simple directions (seven months–two years); say his or her first word (around 12 months); and have an expressive vocabulary of 200 to 300 words by 18 months and approximately 1,000 words by 36 months. The general rule of...

IMG_4706.jpgMy experience as an occupational therapy intern at Berkeley and Eleanor Mann residential treatment center (RTC) introduced me to the transformative learning model, which forced me to step outside of my comfort zone on many levels, resulting in personal and professional growth that I truly feel could not have otherwise been achieved. Throughout my internship, I have described my daily experiences and emotions as a roller coaster ride. There were moments of clarity when I felt as though everything suddenly made sense, and it is also true that there were moments of complete chaos, which left me feeling as though I should probably start looking into another profession. Amongst this roller coaster of emotions, one thing remained certain, I was inspired.

Each day as I continued to work with the residents, it became clearer to me that we were on this transformational journey together. Although, I was there to provide them with occupational therapy services and teach them strategies to increase successful participation in daily activities, they were also teaching me and helping me to grow both personally and professionally. I was able to build a therapeutic bond with several of the residents,...

autism_positives_blog.jpgLook into your children's eyes
Enjoy the light that's there
That light’s not seen by everyone
But only those who care

They challenge all of us to know
What lies beneath the deep
Recessess of their hearts and minds
Awake or when asleep

To find your child is not the same
As others you will meet
Can be a crippling blow for you
Do not accept defeat

Take your child’s face in your hands
And gaze into their eyes
And you will see the wonders there
which may be a surprise

They live and learn a different way
But live and learn they do
A different pace to understand
That certainly is true

But OH, the wonders of your child
That gift that’s yours alone
If only others all could see
The child that you’ve been shown

Some may not speak some may not learn
At paces that are fast
But if you look you may just find
Some talents unsurpassed

A cookie-cutter child they’re not
But how droll would that be?
To be the same as everyone
Is not necessity

And if the time comes when they need
Some extra lessons taught
They can be brought to us you see
We’ll help them with their thoughts

We’ll teach them coping skills so they
Can navigate their world
Confusing things may separate
And not seem quite...

The question of whether or not to obtain guardianship is one that sometimes does not cross the minds of parents who have children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. An 18th birthday does not change much in your day to day life. Unless you have been given a heads up about the fact that legally your child is now considered an adult no matter their level of functioning, you may not realize that things have in fact changed with the passing of that 18th birthday. Your child now has the right to make decisions that you may not think they are capable of making. They now have confidentiality rights that exclude you from receiving information about their medical records and treatment without their consent. Some of the scariest stories I hear are in reference to this very issue. You may say, “I am his (or her) mother, of course I should be able to decide what medication my child receives or get a call if he is transferred from the emergency room to Sheppard Pratt Health System.” Can you imagine showing up to the emergency room where you believe your child is located after displaying unsafe behaviors at home or school, only to find, they have been transferred to another hospital? I have heard...

leisure_skills.jpgLeisure skill building is very important for the development of both children with and without disabilities. Leisure skills are skills a child can utilize to occupy themselves when they have down time or free time; these are skills they can do without the help of others. These skills give children the ability to engage in activities such as coloring, reading, listening to music, playing a game, playing with toys, or watching a movie or television show. When children have adequate leisure skills, they are able to engage in appropriate leisure activities during idle times, rather than engage in maladaptive behaviors. Without these skills, the maladaptive behaviors may become their preferred activity. It is best to prevent maladaptive behaviors from occurring in the first place, rather than trying to get rid of them after they have started. In some cases, children may be unsure of what to do during down time, and must be taught appropriate leisure skills. This means the child can independently choose an activity and independently engage in the activity during appropriate times.

Children with autism may have difficultly developing appropriate leisure skills; however, with the proper tools,...

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