Yearly Archives: 2017


Toys & Games To Help Build Speech & Language Skills


Shopping List Ideas – Toys & Games to Help Build Speech & Language Skills  It’s that time of year!  One thing I am often asked by parents is suggestions for toys or activities they might be able to gift their children for the holidays which could help with building speech and language skills.  Below you will find some of my favorites: Stacking Sets These are toys that may seem simple but can be great to start to work on early problem solving skills, colors, shapes, spatial concepts (on top, underneath, next to, etc.), quantitative concepts (more, most, least, less), and qualitative concepts (biggest, smallest, etc.).  With endless possibilities of putting them together, it’s a toy that could provide hours of fun! Mr. Potato Head This is a toy that has been in my toy bag since I first became an SLP.  This toy allows children to start to recognize body parts (“Find Mr. Potato Head’s eyes, now find your eyes.”), colors, and shapes.  Also, it can help with learning prepositions (“Put the nose ON Mr. Potato Head,” “Put the shoes IN Mr. Potato Head’s back.”) Don’t be surprised if your child starts to verbally label items and narrate the adventures […]

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What Are You Saying!?! – How to Decode ‘ABA Speak’ in Regards to Verbal Behavior


As you enter the world of ABA therapy for your child with autism, you will likely encounter a strange language.  ABA itself is an acronym for Applied Behavior Analysis.  What this means for you as a parent is that we focus on increasing socially-desired behaviors and decreasing problematic behaviors.   We use data to analyze your child’s behavior levels and make changes based on that data to either increase or decrease the targeted behavior. At the Applied Behavior Center for Autism, we pride ourselves on communicating with parents in ways that are easy to understand.  Although we speak in user-friendly terms, it is important to understand the differences in language functions and how they impact your child’s therapy.  Here are the most common ABA terms that you will hear, from time-to-time, in parent meetings or when looking at your child’s program:   Mand: a request that your child makes for what they want or need Examples: Asking for a snack, asking to go to the bathroom, asking for information Tact: labeling something Examples: seeing snow fall and saying “snow!”, smelling popcorn and saying “I smell popcorn!”, being asked “What is it?” when shown a ball and then saying “ball” Listener Responding: […]

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Where Should We Turn?


When our son Jayce was first diagnosed we weren’t sure where to start.  Our 2 year old had gone from grinning and engaging with us to not even acknowledging we were in the same room or even smiling for pictures.  We were devastated and had no idea what was going on or that we would ever get to see the boy we knew again. We had heard of the great success stories parents of children on the spectrum were seeing through ABA and knew that was where Jayce belonged, but we didn’t know how to start the process.  So I turned to the internet and found The Applied Behavior Center for Autism (ABC) and at that point everything became so easy.  We didn’t have to deal with insurance or filling out the tireless repetitive forms.  It was a breath of fresh air in a whirlwind of paperwork that I had already been filling out and re-filling out for his other programs.  ABC at that time was solely based out of Indianapolis but they traveled to Terre Haute several times to make sure Jayce and I understood the program and felt 100% comfortable before beginning therapy. It wasn’t long after therapy […]

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Repeat After Me – What to Know About Echolalia & How to Use it To Expand Expressive Communication


By: Emily Bess, M.A., CCC-SLP The Basics Echolalia is the repetition of words, parts of words, or phrases either immediately after it was said or with a delay. Many children with autism, especially those who are just beginning to communicate verbally, will use echolalia as a way to participate in an interaction when they do not yet have the skills to come up with something to say on their own. Several important social and expressive language skills can be learned through using echolalia including turn taking, vocal inflection, and using longer utterances to communicate. Echolalia can also serve as time that a child is taking to fully process what was said. When a child is mainly echolalic, it can be confusing and frustrating to know exactly what to do and how to help them build off of that in order to become effective communicators. Question-Answer Format One of the most frustrating exchanges involving echolalia is when a child repeats a question back instead of giving a response. It is possible to use these repetitions to help teach the question-answer format and improve upon this language skill. It is always best to begin by using simple questions that have answers that […]

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An ABC Story: Bentley Breaks the Odds


Bentley was born premature at only 4 pounds 4 ounces. I was terrified and had to have an emergency c-section. He was tiny but healthy and seem to hit all his milestones until he turned 1. That’s when I noticed he wasn’t starting to talk. He babbled dada dada all day long, but that was about it. I thought he was delayed and not around other children, so it was okay. When he was 2 I put him in daycare to try and help him start talking and being social. He did not do well in daycare.  He would hit the other children and have meltdowns all the time. He wouldn’t sit still long enough to eat or do activities with the other children. That’s when the red flags became clear. After lots of denial and tears I made him a doctors appointment and began the process of an Autism diagnosis. At 3, I put him in developmental preschool that was 2 hours a day 5 days a week. He still struggled socially and could not communicate. I started looking into other alternatives for him and came across Aba therapy,  so I joined some Facebook support groups and read all the stories about how Aba worked wonders. It […]

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An ABC Story: Learning to Communicate


May of 2016, at the age of 2, our son Kooper, was diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and Severe Expressive and Receptive language disorder. Our world was flipped upside down and we were left with all this information on our lap about a diagnosis that we’ve only heard about. Kooper had in home therapy for about a year, and nothing seemed to work. We would see some improvement, but the lack of consistency really affected his progress. We were left feeling very defeated and heartbroken for our son. Luckily, our area had a center that specialized in Autism, and we took a gamble after his psychologist suggested we look into it. And going forward a year later, we couldn’t be more thankful for the progress that he has made! I remember when Kooper first started attending the Richmond Center, and we were so overwhelmed with the little goals Kooper hit. We always said we couldn’t wait to see the progress he makes at the year mark. Kooper became easily frustrated, and usually was in his own world when he got overstimulated. His lack of being able to communicate his wants left him a very upset little guy. After a lot […]

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An ABC Story: Caleb’s Transition


Caleb has been going to ABC since June 2017 when we moved to Westfield from the Cincinnati area. Caleb had been receiving ABA therapy services for a little over a year in Cincinnati before we moved and we knew from that experience that we wanted to continue his ABA therapy treatment. We did some research online and connected with ABC after discovering they had a location close to our new home and reading positive testimonials online. The process of getting Caleb enrolled there was pretty easy for us because ABC really took the lead on getting ABA approved by our insurance. Jane Grimes, the ABC contact that we worked with to get Caleb enrolled, was awesome in working with our insurance to get the necessary approvals and communicating with us throughout the process. Once our insurance gave ABC the approval, Caleb started within days which was excellent for us as we wanted to avoid a long period where he wasn’t getting ABA therapy. Caleb’s transition to ABC after starting could not have gone smoother. Like many kids with autism, transitions can be difficult and stressful for Caleb. We were amazed at how excited Caleb was even on his very first […]

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Back to School?!? Noooooo…


By Angela Bricker, Ed.D, BCBA-D Hopefully everyone has had an enjoyable summer and you have been able to get some rest and have some fun!  Now, just as your children are getting adjusted to the their summer routines…it is time to switch it up again. As your child begins the transition back to school, you may find that there are new challenges that come with the new school year. (Fun) Does your child have a new teacher or a new school?, How long have they been away from their routine?,  New clothes, New Shoes, New Supplies, etc. For some parents, getting their children back into the school routine is a blessing, but for other parents whose kids are faced with new school environments, new teachers or a school year beginning when the last one didn’t end on a good note…is enough to make a parent throw a tantrum. Here are some tips to help you get through the back to school blues: Create a social story or picture schedule for school routines. Start reviewing this a few weeks in advance. Work with the teacher or a behavior specialist to create a reinforcement system. Use this system to reward your child […]

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An ABC Story: Missing Milestones to Typical Brother Behavior


Bruno was diagnosed with Autism on July 14th, 2015. I had noticed symptoms as early as a year; by the time he was 18 months, he was missing milestones and not showing appropriate social behavior. I was devastated. I immediately began researching therapy options and felt that the best decision would be to enroll him in an ABA program full time. I chose The Applied Behavior Center for Autism because they are the largest and oldest ABA provider in the state; and just as importantly, they’ve also been an incredible source of support to me. ABC worked with me through the appeal process when insurance denied coverage. At one point, after the second request for services was denied, I spoke with the Director of Business Development about my frustration and she assured me that they wouldn’t give up; they would keep working to get Bruno’s  ABA approved no matter how long it took. Not only did ABC help me achieve my goal of getting treatment for my oldest son, the staff at the Carmel center has helped Bruno achieve more progress than I ever thought possible. He can now effectively communicate his needs and is also very skilled at communicating […]

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Embracing New Shoes with Sam


This will be Sam’s third year at ABC. Sam was in home day care until he reached age 2. We put him in a preschool at a church where our other children have attended and thrived in the past. His teacher loved him and could tell he needed some extra attention. We knew early on that Sam had some developmental delays and were utilizing First Steps therapies in our home for Occupational, Speech and Physical therapy. Sam was mostly non-verbal for the first year and didn’t even ask for mommy or daddy by name. He didn’t walk until he was almost 2, didn’t get any teeth until he was 14 months old, was and still is a very picky eater, and continues to be small on the growth chart. He used to have meltdowns frequently when presented with too much stimuli or in unfamiliar territory. In public, he used to insist on being carried everywhere until he was almost 5. He used to have to wear his “coat” anytime we traveled in the car, regardless of whether it was 90 degrees outside or not because he felt “safe” with it on. Trying anything new, I used to be very stressed […]

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