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World Autism Awareness Day

April 2nd, 2015

Littman Krooks AutismBy: Giulia Frasca, Esq.
April 2, 2015 is the eighth annual World Autism Awareness Day. Organizations around the world are celebrating with fundraising events and events to raise awareness. Within the last decade, research has led to the discovery of new information regarding autism. See some of these discoveries below:

  • Autism’s prevalence has soared within the last ten years. Ten years ago, autism was diagnosed in approximately 1 in 166 children. Today, it has increased more than 100% as it is prevalent in 1 out of 68 children.
  • Direct screening of children indicates that autism may be more widespread than current statistics suggest.
    Autism Speaks, an organization founded ten years ago to raise awareness and funding for research into Autism studies conducted a study in South Korea where it screened children in South Korean schools. The study concluded that 1 in 38 children were affected by Autism. The majority of the children were previously undiagnosed. A similar study is currently being worked on in conjunction with the CDC in the United States.
  • Early intervention makes a difference. It is now possible to have an Autism diagnosis by age 2. Early screening is important so that services can be administered. Early intervention affects underlying brain development and activity and may also reduce the need for interventions later in life.
  • Behavioral therapy for autism may be essential. Behavioral issues may be present in a child diagnosed with Autism. Behavioral therapy can have significant benefits in the development of a student with Autism. Health coverage for behavioral treatments is now available in 38 states. Many families can now benefit from behavioral treatment for children diagnosed with Autism.Littman Krooks Autism
  • One out of three persons diagnosed with Autism cannot speak. Assistive technology is necessary for one third of persons diagnosed with Autism to be able to communicate. These devices can be very expensive. Efforts are underway to help obtain insurance coverage for such necessary devices.
  • It is possible for a nonverbal child diagnosed with Autism to eventually speak. Appropriate services and therapy can make it possible for a nonverbal child with Autism to speak. It is important to communicate with the school district and providers regarding the child’s needs and to obtain evaluations to determine the needs of the child.
  • Many children with Autism suffer from gastrointestinal issues. Gastrointestinal issues and allergies to foods are common in children with Autism. The pain that results can exacerbate behavioral issues. It is important to understand the child’s gastrointestinal issues and make others who work with the child aware so that the issues can properly be managed, for example, following gluten- free or lactose-free diet.
  • Children with Autism often have trouble sleeping. Any trouble sleeping or sleep disturbances should be discussed with the child’s doctor so that interventions can be taken. The information should then be relayed to the school if the child is school-aged so that an appropriate program can be provided, such as planning instruction in the morning if the child gets sleepy in the afternoon.

 

Identifying the best services for someone with special needs can be daunting. We can help you navigate the system, understand your child’s legal rights, and establish the financial foundation that will enable as much independence as possible. Our goal is to empower families with the tools they need to advocate for their loved ones—for a free and appropriate education, public benefits, and social services.

Learn more about our special needs planning and special education advocacy services at www.littmankrooks.com or www.specialneedsnewyork.com.


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Innovative Ways of Reaching Children With Autism

April 2nd, 2014

By: Giulia Frasca, Esq., Littman Krooks LLP

There are an estimated two million people with Autism Spectrum Disorders in the United States.  Over 500,000 of those diagnosed are children.  The incidence rate of Autism increased to one in 68 children.  There is a five-to-one prevalence of Autism in boys over girls so that the incidence rate of Autism for boys is one in every 54 boys.  E ach child diagnosed with Autism and each case of Autism is unique such that there is not one particular treatment, program, or methodology that will work for all children diagnosed with Autism.  Recently, an article published in the New York Times titled “Reaching My Autistic Son Through Disney” by Ron Suskind discussed how watching Disney movies and relating to the characters in those movies helped one child diagnosed with Autism break through and communicate verbally, in writing and through art with other members of his family.

Today, school districts use several different, innovative methodologies for teaching children with Autism.  Most schools teach children with Autism using Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA), which has been proven to work for children with the most severe cases of Autism.  ABA focuses on changing the environment around the child in order to help the child achieve a task rather than simply telling the child what to do.  ABA aims to build a direct relationship between desirable outcomes and the environment the child is in.

Another methodology called Naturalistic Teaching Strategies involves creating an environment in which children are motivated to communicate a specific need or want by, for example, placing a favorite toy on a shelf, out of reach so that the child will be motivated to ask for it.  Children with more advanced language skills will be prompted to ask a question or speak a full sentence.

Yet another, newer methodology, Social Communication, Emotional Regulation and Transactional Support (SCERTS) combines several different treatments and identifies and builds on a student’s strengths, then creates strategies to improve the student’s weaknesses.

Autism Spectrum Disorder teaching methodologies are constantly evolving in order to address the broad spectrum of needs and the different ways in which children develop.  Littman Krooks LLP’s special education attorneys strive to keep abreast of new developments in these areas in order to be the strongest advocates for families with children with Autism Spectrum Disorders.

The seventh annual World Autism Awareness Day is Tuesday, April 2, 2014. Learn more about events in your area by visiting the Autism Speaks website or visit our blog at: http://www.littmankrooks.com/blog/ Was this article of interest to you? If so, please LIKE our Facebook Page by clicking here.

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