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Teaching Language and Social Skills to Children with Autism


  • Published: 2010-07-26 (Revised/Updated 2015-02-07) : Author: Rethink Autism, Inc. : Contact: 19 West 21st Street, New York City
  • Synopsis: Parents Can Learn to Teach Social and Language Skills to Children with Autism.

One of the most common initial red flags reported by parents of children with autism is that they suspect their child may be deaf because he or she no longer responds to his or her name, and does not look at them when they speak. However, the lack of response or eye contact can point to an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). In fact, many children on the autism spectrum do not demonstrate typical language skills and social behavior, or even lose language or social skills they once had.

In their search to help their child develop social and language skills, parents are turning to evidence-based behavioral treatment methods, such as Applied Behavior Analysis or "ABA." One company that is helping parents utilize best-practice ABA strategies to teach social and language skills to their child is Rethink Autism (www.rethinkautism.com).

Rethink Autism's unique web-based program provides parents with a comprehensive evidence-based curriculum consisting of 1200+ video-based teaching steps, parent training modules, an assessment tool, and progress tracking features. The curriculum, endorsed by leaders in the field of autism treatment and research, spans the entire autism spectrum and covers a broad range of skills, including academics, language, social, motor, daily living, and behavior management.

As part of their service to the autism community, Rethink Autism also offers free and informative webinars on relevant subjects such as "Managing Problem Behavior at Home" and "Back to School." The next webinar in their series, "Teach Your Child Social & Language Skills," on Tuesday, July 27 at 2pm EDT (1pm CDT), features Ms. Lin Chong, Rethink Autism's Director of Programs and Services, who will speak about effective ways for parents to teach their child important language and social skills. The webinar will also include an interactive Question & Answer session. (Visit www.rethinkautism.com to learn more.)

When using Rethink Autism, a parent fills out a brief skills checklist online, and the program will then create an individualized ABA-based learning plan for the child.

"Our goal is to make ABA accessible to families without clinical jargon or a diagnostic maze. Each lesson plan includes several step-by-step videos that show ABA therapists working with a child with autism, so that parents know how to work with their children through very specific needs anytime and anywhere," said Jamie Pagliaro, executive vice president of Rethink Autism.

Recommended by the US Surgeon General and the American Academy of Pediatrics, ABA is the only treatment for autism that has been consistently validated by independent scientific research. The clinical report titled "Management of Children with ASD" (2007) issued by American Academy of Pediatrics states, "The effectiveness of ABA-based intervention in Autism Spectrum Disorders has been well-documented through five decades of research." The report also notes, "Children who receive early intensive behavioral treatment have been shown to make substantial, sustained gains in IQ, language, academic performance, and adaptive behavior."

Rethink Autism, Inc. seeks to ensure that every child on the autism spectrum has access to effective and affordable evidence-based treatment options by providing professionals, parents, and family members with the tools and information necessary to teach children with autism in a way that is easy to understand and apply. Rethink Autism was founded in 2007 and has its headquarters at 19 West 21st Street in New York City.

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