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A Parent’s Guide to Autism Treatment and Support

If you are learning your child has autism, figuring out your next steps may seem complicated. No one is prepared to hear their child is anything but happy and healthy, and hearing Autism Spectrum Disorder can come across as frightening, so let’s define it.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is defined “as a developmental disorder that affects communication and behavior.” Children do not “grow out” of ASD, but they can receive treatment to help them develop new skills and overcome these developmental challenges. Early intervention is the most effective way to help your child find the right treatment and program type.  

Common treatment plans include 

Lexington Services offers autistic support services to kids with autism and other disabilities. Lexington Therapy Services provides children with skilled therapists and individualized plans for children to achieve their goals and thrive in life.

Lexington also provides an After School Program, Adult Program, and a Summer Program for individuals with Developmental Disabilities. Members can take advantage of several types of therapies in a center or in a home environment. 

Support is an essential part of you and your child’s journey. The right kind of support can bring together answers and ease in the same setting. Support groups and respite are great forms of autism support. 

Support groups allow parents to share information, receive advice, and really lean on each other for things emotional. Respite, which is provided by Lexington, can give parents a break from time to time. Lexington would match your child with a caregiver who will take over temporarily for a few hours or even days and provide autism help.

Another essential thing to remember is your own self-care. Raising a child is not easy, and raising a child with special needs provides more challenges. Making sure you are taken care of will bring out the best in your child too.

When looking for treatments, you will also come across programs.

These programs may include:

  • Government programs
  • In-Home Behavioral
  • School-based programs

Government based programs can begin as soon as a parent suspects something. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), children with disabilities are eligible to receive free or low-cost services. Infants through the age of two years old are eligible for early intervention programs. These early intervention programs are tailored to your child’s unique needs. 

To qualify, a child must undergo a free evaluation. Once the assessment is complete and if a developmental problem is found, the parent will then work with the providers to determine an Individualized Family Service Plan to describe the needs and specific services for the child.

Children three years and older are eligible for school-based programs. In school-based programs, children with ASD are placed in small groups with other children of the same level to receive more individual attention and specialized instruction. Depending on their abilities, these children may still spend part of their day in a regular classroom.

To receive school-based services, your local school system will have to evaluate your child. After the evaluation, an Individualized Education Plan (IEP) is created to address your child’s needs and the educational goals for the school year.

Lastly, in-home behavioral programs are also available. In-Home Behavioral Services “offer support to a youth who has a challenging behavior that interferes with everyday life.” Here, a team works with the child and parent to create a behavioral plan to improve their functioning. 

Although a diagnosis for your child may seem frightening, taking the first steps don’t have to be. With the right treatment and programs, your child can thrive. Lexington Services is committed to tailoring to every child’s needs and building a foundation for students to achieve their highest potential. Learn more about us today. 


Disclaimer: This post attempts to publicize ideas and comments that we find would be useful for our community to know. Our post is by no means intended to prompt you to handle your challenges in any specific way. We desire to bring helpful information to all our audiences and shine a light on popular topics.

8 Great Tech Tools for Children With Special Needs

Advances in technology have radically revolutionized education for students with special needs. Apps, websites and digital tools, when chosen carefully, can help bridge developmental and achievement gaps. Parents and caregivers can successfully address developmental delays among students in both classrooms and homes using these tools. Check out eight of our favorite tech for children with special needs.

1. Otsimo
Otsimo is a mobile app that offers special education to children with autism through games and speech therapy. It helps develop receptive language ability in children with speech-language impediments.
2. Rufus Robot
The Rufus Robot series includes mobile apps like “Feelings and Emotions” that help kids on the spectrum identify facial expressions and emotions. “Boys and Girls” can help them distinguish between male and female faces and become familiar with atypical features. “Categories” teaches pattern recognition through shapes, sizes and colors, and “Numbers” teaches counting and comparing quantities.
3. Proloquo2Go
Among augmentative and alternative communication apps for iOS, Proloquo2Go is a symbol-based voice app that helps with daily communication and builds language skills It’s excellent for students who have speech impairments due to disorders like traumatic brain injury (TBI), Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy (CP), autism, apraxia or aphasia.
4. Super Why!
The Super Why! mobile app contains interactive literacy activities and games with letters, words, spelling and rhyming that enhance reading and writing skills. It’s especially effective for students with fragmented reading abilities.
5. ArtikPix
ArtikPix is an engaging iOS articulation app with flashcard and matching activities for children who have speech and language delays. It’s equipped with child-friendly language that children can use independently, with a speech-language pathologist or with parents.
6. Grace App
Originally created for people with autism, Grace App is a simple picture exchange app that empowers nonverbal people to communicate their needs by building semantic sequences from relevant images. It’s available for iOS. Usage requires minimum support from caregivers and users can choose between vocal and non-vocal modes.
7. eSpecial Needs
The eSpecial Needs website offers a variety of adaptive therapy products, including toys, adaptive equipment, learning tools, assistive technology tools, aquatic therapy resources and items of daily living. All are geared toward early intervention and improvement of handwriting, movement, speech-language skills, and cognitive and sensorimotor functions.
8. Smart Tutor
Smart Tutor’s online reading and math curriculum is individualized for each child based on an automated assessment that determines each child’s strengths and weaknesses. It’s particularly helpful for students who have learning disabilities due to Asperger’s syndrome, high-functioning autism or ADD/ADHD Students can use it with a tutor or as part of a homeschooling curriculum.

We hope you’ll take advantage of these outstanding tools. If you’re a parent or caregiver of a child with special needs and are looking for a fun learning environment that fosters academic and emotional growth, Lexington Services may be your one-stop shop. We serve the Phoenix metropolitan area and Show Low through multiple autism schools that offer individualized curricula and services to grades K-12. We also offer therapy, afterschool care and adult programs. Contact us to learn more about our outstanding, personalized and professional services.

Understanding Speech And Occupational Therapy

The Need For Therapy

The effort to improve the lives of individuals through therapy is driven by the desire to expand the quality of life that people can enjoy. Professionals are focused on providing their services as a path to allow people the ability to access their full potential. As the collective understanding of developmental disabilities and autism has expanded, therapies have become a staple in many early development programs to provide children and young people with the best experience possible. Some of the most popular therapy programs that benefit people with special needs are speech therapy and occupational therapy. Therapists in these fields work with patients in order to expand their functions in speech, movement, and everyday activities that contribute to a meaningful daily outlook. With professional help, people have been able to greatly expand their quality of life and to foster their own independence.

Overview: Speech And Occupational Therapy

In order to understand the necessity for these services for individuals with special needs, it’s important to know how they work and what they do to benefit those involved. While there are many variants and experimental versions of each program, based upon individual needs as well as the professional philosophy of the therapist, each of these therapies boil down to one thing at their center: improved quality of life.

Occupational Therapy

Occupational therapy isn’t necessarily involved with the development of work skills, despite the name connotation with employment, although it is possible that therapists may work with individuals on work skills. Occupational therapy (OT) is concerned with the development and strengthening of fine motor skills and Activities for Daily Living (ADL). The range of conditions that an occupational therapist might help with is vast, with a very diverse patient list and very different working venues. “Occupations” are activities that humans are concerned with for a meaningful life.

For an adult, these motor skills might be more work-related or skill-related, whereas a child’s “occupation” would center more on play and school work. In children, OT professionals work to sharpen skills involved in these occupations and on strengthening the developments in formative growth. Occupational therapists are seen as creative problem solvers, adapting ideas to strengthen skills in children and adults that incorporate science, compassion, and empathy into programs that each individual will benefit from. An occupational therapist might customize a program for a child with autism that incorporates sensory activities that improve motor skills while simulating play in order to improve.

Speech Therapy

Speech Therapy might be easier than OT to understand contextually, but the program can be very complex. Speech therapy specifically deals with communication disorders like speech disorder, where individuals have difficulty producing words and sounds, or language disorder, where patients might have difficulty understanding words and putting together sentences to communicate. Speech therapists might also help with feeding conditions such as dysphagia which is a condition where individuals have difficulty swallowing.

Speech therapists are similar to occupational therapists in that both professions need patience and empathy for individual needs and both professions need to find creative ways to help individuals develop their skills. Where an occupational therapist might simulate motor activities to help their patients develop, a speech therapist is an expert on replicating communication scenarios to help their patients grow. Speech therapy can be critical for children with ASD whose communication skills can improve greatly with therapeutic intervention.

Both of these programs require a special person with the creative aptitude to apply scientific practices to create a unique therapy program for their patients. For patients, the skills that they struggle with can be very frustrating and the deep impact of these therapies is the expansion of understanding and physical execution necessary for everyday activities.

What Can Therapy Do?

Therapy programs, particularly speech and occupational therapy, are designed to develop, nurture and maintain some normalcy in people’s lives so they can thrive. OT professionals might help an individual who had a stroke to return function to their extremities and perform tasks that they currently have difficulty with, while they might help a different individual with autism to expand their motor functions and social skills. Speech therapy could help that same stroke patient deal with speech issues, while helping a different patient to expand their communication skills to formulate and understand sentences. Because the focus is on the individual and because both professionals have to tailor creative solutions to manage improvement, the outcomes are highly individualized.

One thing that’s certain about speech therapy and particularly occupational therapy is that early intervention is key, especially for kids with developmental disorders and specific conditions like autism. The goal of these programs for children is to enhance their development to avoid delay, working on these skills early in life for an optimal outcome as they mature into adulthood. The things that an individual with special needs might learn in a therapy program could make a huge difference in how they perform academically and in future employment.

Seeking Therapy Services

Seeking therapy can be one of the most difficult decisions that someone has to make for themselves or for someone else. There are a lot of things to consider, including the expertise of different therapists, the cost out-of-pocket, and how to make therapy work for a specific schedule. However, taking a “wait and see” approach to therapeutic intervention might actually cause more problems in the long run, particularly when it comes to children.

When choosing a professional therapist, make sure that you are aware of their personal philosophy and what conditions they typically work with. Some OT professionals are very effective when working with people who are trying to regain movement skills after an accident or stroke, but they might not be the best choice possible for individuals with special needs.

Lexington has a skilled staff of therapists that serve Phoenix and the surrounding area. Our clinic-based programs offer both Speech and Occupational therapy solutions for individuals with special needs. Our therapists have a lot of experience and compassion for the members we serve.

In our occupational therapy program, parents can expect our pediatric occupational therapists to help children develop skills needed for independence while increasing fine motor skills, sensory-motor skills, and visual-motor skills.

Our pediatric speech therapy program treats communication disorders, both in expressive and receptive language, that cause children to have difficulties with verbal communication. Speech therapy through Lexington also helps with articulation, auditory processing, and social skills.

If you are considering therapy options in the Phoenix area, our staff can help and you can contact us here today.

For a similar topic, read the previous blog post.