Parents Make the Difference in the Treatment of Toddlers with Autism

autism

Parents Make the Difference in the Treatment of Toddlers with Autism

If you’re a regular reader of this site, you know how much I believe in parent training during therapy sessions. Research confirms that parents make the difference in the treatment of toddlers with autism! As therapists, we must, must, must teach parents how to work with their children at home so that therapy continues long after we’re gone.

In a 2014 study from Florida State, Dr. Amy Wetherby’s team (love her!) found that the model of teaching parents at home during individual sessions WITH their children focusing on play and every day routines. Daily routines include meals, snacks, chores and care giving. Along with teaching a parent how to teach a child to participate in community outings, these things resulted in the achieving the best outcomes for improving language, understanding, and social interaction.

Other findings that support things I teach everyday around here:

1. Parents should shoot for 20 to 25 hours a week of intervention AT HOME with their child.

What counts as intervention at home? Any direct one on one time counts when you’re focused on interacting with the child. It doesn’t matter who is providing the contact either – whether it’s mom or dad implementing the strategies or a child’s therapist.

That amount of time scares some families. Some families believe it’s un-achievable. It is A LOT of time, but I have seen incredible results from family after family after family who commit to this level of ‘home therapy.’

Other families are intimidated by the enormity of such an undertaking. Moms routinely say to me, “What in the world would I do during all that time?”

I can teach you EXACTLY what to do! Scroll down below for the resources section to find specific books and DVDs to lead you through the process.

2. Parents should learn to push a toddler during fun interactions since this is the optimal time for changing his little brain.

Here’s what I say in every course I teach live: “When we get parents on board and teach the right strategies to toddlers when they’re 1 and 2 and 3, we can literally change the trajectory of that child’s life forever!”

The “pushing” part is critical and is what makes every day interactions therapy-like. A skilled therapist should have no problem modeling this with a child so parents can SEE this approach in action, but it doesn’t stop there. We must coach a parent until the “pushing” feels natural and is just as much a part of the child’s day as any other activity.

3. “Early diagnosis, however, does little good without early intervention.”

So true it doesn’t even need an explanation, but I’ll make one small comment. What good is it if a family knows a child has autism or ANY developmental disorder if we’re not helping a family learn exactly what they can do every single day to help that child progress?

Read the summary of the study for yourself at Science Daily.

The original journal reference is from Pediatrics:
A. M. Wetherby, W. Guthrie, J. Woods, C. Schatschneider, R. D. Holland, L. Morgan, C. Lord. Parent-Implemented Social Intervention for Toddlers With Autism: An RCT. PEDIATRICS, 2014; DOI: 10.1542/peds.2014-0757

 

Resources to Help YOU Help a Child with Autism:

Remember that parents make a difference in the treatment of toddlers with autism! Here are tools to help you know what you can do to help a child learn to interact and communicate with others.

DVDs

For many parents, ordering the 3 DVD Set (Teach Me To Talk: The DVD and Teach Me To Listen and Obey 1 & 2) will be the best choice. Parents can SEE play-based therapy strategies with a variety of toddlers with both receptive and expressive language delays, including autism. The 3 DVD Set is specially priced at $84.99. Order that set here. Here are details about each of the 3 DVDs:

Teach Me To Talk: This DVD is where I ALWAYS recommend parents begin! The best-selling DVD was my first DVD and explains the basic beginning strategies appropriate for any toddler or preschooler who is not yet talking. You’ll see therapy clips with young children ranging from 9 months old to 3 years old. The DVD highlights the six easiest and most successful ways to elicit first word attempts with young children during play-based activities. This DVD is an excellent training tool for both families and professionals. Many practices require that new families view this DVD between the evaluation and first therapy session so that parents understand what therapy looks like and are equipped to target language at home. Therapists also use clips from this DVD to introduce a strategy by watching together with parents during a session and then implementing the strategy with the child. University graduate programs and practicum sites throughout the USA use this DVD during clinical training for speech-language pathologists and early childhood education majors. This DVD is also helpful for clinicians who may be new to early intervention and working with toddlers and their families – not only because of the “how-to” therapy examples but also for providing a “family-friendly script” to use in discussions with parents. Parents email me every day to tell me how this DVD turned things around for their families because it taught them HOW to interact with their child in a way to facilitate language. (Regular price is $39.99) Click here to order Teach Me To Talk the DVD.

 

Teach Me To Listen and Obey 1 discusses receptive language delays or language comprehension deficits in very young children and demonstrates strategies for teaching toddlers to understand what words mean and to follow simple directions using an easy to understand the cueing system. This DVD is most appropriate for parents and professionals working with toddlers who are functioning below the 24-month developmental level and older preschoolers with significant receptive language delays. (Regular price – $29.99) Click here to order this DVD.

 

Teach Me To Listen and Obey 2 discusses receptive language delays or language comprehension deficits in very young children and demonstrates strategies for teaching toddlers to understand more complex words such as verbs, prepositions, and descriptive words and to understand those words to follow more complicated two-step directions. This DVD is most appropriate for parents and professionals working with toddlers who are functioning at and above the 24 months developmental level to the 3 1/2 to 4-year-old developmental level. It also includes a special section on disciplinary strategies appropriate for toddlers with language delays and highlights the importance of considering a child’s developmental age in determining behavioral expectations. Many parents tell me that their child did not make progress with expressive language in therapy sessions until they implemented the receptive language strategies they learned from this DVD at home.  (Regular price is $39.99) Click here to order this DVD.

Order BOTH Receptive Language DVDs and SAVE! The Set price is $54.99 for Teach Me To Listen and Obey 1 & 2. Click here to order the set.

The 3 DVD Set is specially priced at $84.99. Order that set here.

 

DVD and Book Sets

For parents who are looking for more specific, step-by-step instructions for how to engage a toddler who is difficult to connect with and teach during play, Teach Me To Play WITH You, is also recommended in addition to the 3 DVD set. The description of the book Teach Me To Play WITH You is below; the description of the DVDs is above. This is bundled as the Helping Toddlers with Autism Set. Order this set.

Teach Me To Play WITH You is a 188-page therapy manual written for parents working with young children who have difficulty interacting socially and connecting with others. Instructions are included for beginning play with developmentally-appropriate activities using simple games and toys that are readily available in most homes. There are separate chapters with explicit directions, words, and hand motions for many familiar fingerplays and traditional childhood songs. Activities are written so that professionals can copy pages of a specific activity, complete the activity during a session, and share the copy with parents with “homework.” The final chapter explains approximately 20 different common problems related to sensory processing issues that we see interfere with a child’s ability to engage others along with multiple strategies for addressing these challenges during play at home. Parents RAVE about this book both to me via email and to their SLPs who use these activities in therapy and share copies with them! (Regular price is $48.) Click here to order this book.

 

For very committed parents who want a detailed step-by-step explanation of “how-to” and “what to” work on for at-home therapy, order Teach Me To Talk: The Therapy Manual, Teach Me To Play WITH You and the 3 DVD Set. This combination is also recommended for professionals who need additional resources and teaching tools to help families of toddlers who have been (or will be) newly diagnosed with autism. Read descriptions of the books below and DVDs above. This set is bundled as the Helping Toddlers with Autism Comprehensive Set. 

Teach Me To Play WITH You is a 188-page therapy manual written for parents working with young children who have difficulty interacting socially and connecting with others. Instructions are included for beginning play with developmentally-appropriate activities using simple games and toys that are readily available in most homes. There are separate chapters with explicit directions, words, and hand motions for many familiar fingerplays and traditional childhood songs. Activities are written so that professionals can copy pages of a specific activity, complete the activity during a session, and share the copy with parents with “homework.” The final chapter explains approximately 20 different common problems related to sensory processing issues that we see interfere with a child’s ability to engage others along with multiple strategies for addressing these challenges during play at home. Parents RAVE about this book both to me via email and to their SLPs who use these activities in therapy and share copies with them! (Regular price is $48.) Click here to order this book.

 

Teach Me To Talk: The Therapy Manual is 220 pages written specifically for speech-language pathologists and other early intervention professionals who work with young children birth to 4 with receptive and expressive language delays and disorders. Because this project was written for professionals, it may not be as family-friendly as other teachmetotalk.com products, but many committed mothers report that this manual gave them more direction and specific instructions for what to work on at home than any other resource they’ve used. This manual is especially helpful for short-term goal writing and for designing FUN and developmentally-appropriate treatment activities for toddlers and young children functioning from the 6-9 month developmental level up to the 48-month developmental level. It’s the ultimate “how-to” tool for working with infants and toddlers with language delays. SLPs tell me this is their “EI Bible.” What a compliment! (Regular price is $54) Click here to order this book.

 

Building Verbal Imitation in Toddlers – Learn the 8 levels of teaching a late talker to learn to imitate. Many times parents and therapists don’t see success with late talking toddlers because the adult isn’t working on the right things. The child actually needs to learn several ‘in-between’ steps before he’s ready to begin to imitate words and learn to talk. Professional treatment plans can also fail when the techniques are too clinical for parents to be able to remember and practice at home with their own child. This simple, straight-forward approach is easy for both parents and therapists to understand and implement during familiar play-based activities and daily routines. The ONE PAGE charts of the levels and the handouts for familiar toys and daily routines have been described as INDISPENSABLE TOOLS for SLPs doing home visits and with programs that emphasize parent training and coaching models. (Regular price is $48.) Click here to order this book.

Autism CE Courses for Therapists (and some parents!)

Is It Autism? Recognizing and Treating Toddlers and Preschoolers with Red Flags for ASD is a two-part series that can be purchased together or separately – Part 1 is 4.5 hours and focuses on walking you through the official diagnostic criteria for ASD with a thorough discussion of each indicator and video examples. Part 2 is 6.5 hours and focuses on intervention. If you’re ever confused (or frustrated!) when you’re working with a little one you’re not sure is on the spectrum, this course is for you! Read details about that course. Order Is It Autism? (Regular price is $175.) 

 

If you’re not sure what you need, email me with a description of your situation and I’ll make specific recommendations. Type MAKE RECOMMENDATIONS in your subject line and send that to Laura@teachmetotalk.com.

 

 

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2 Comments

  1. Charity on May 21, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    Thanks, this is far much helpful. Mine are 4.4yrs old twin boys recently diagnosed with ASD.They can’t fully express themselves, mostly repeat words they hear n record on daily basis. Poor social interaction (cover eyes) when they meet strangers, cover ears when shouted at, or any loud sound,stretch themselves a lot on hard surfaces I.e table or the edge of the bed. Slow in academics,don’t even identify numbers or the alphabet nor write, only good at recitals n songs. Any help will be highly appreciated.

    • Laura on May 21, 2015 at 4:21 pm

      Hi Charity. Are your boys in therapy? I would highly, highly, highly recommend that you speak with their SLP, ABA therapist, OT, preschool teacher and anyone else they see for what you can do at home to help them. Because they know your little boys, they will be much more specific than I can be. That being said, I have some OUTSTANDING resources for parents who are looking for specific ways to help their children learn to understand and use words at home.

      Begin with articles in the autism section. You can find those under the word BLOG at the top of the page. Click BLOG and a list of categories will pop up. Other helpful information will be under Receptive Language and Expressive Language.

      As far as products go, I always recommend that parents begin with my 3 DVD set so you can SEE play-based strategies for helping young children at home and it addresses both receptive language (what a child understands) as well as expressive language (what a child says or communicates to you with gestures, signs, pictures, body language, facial expressions, ANYTHING and EVERYTHING he uses!)

      I also want to tell you about 2 other resources here on the site. Almost every day I hear from someone who first found me through My Therapy Tip of the Week videos. They are completely free and available to watch any time to give you new ideas for teaching language with toys and familiar activities. You can access those here in the VIDEOS tab or in the BLOG category by clicking on Therapy Tip of the Week. You can also watch from youtube. Search ‘teach me to talk’ or Laura Mize or Therapy Tip of the Week.

      The next resource is my podcast. I have done over 260 hourly shows about helping young children with language delays. You can access the show here on the site in the podcast category or search Teach Me To Talk on iTunes. It’s a wealth of information for you, especially if you’re a listener and auditory learner.

      Hopefully, you’ll find a TON of ideas to help you help your little boys. Good luck to you!! Laura

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Teach Me To Talk Testimonials

Happy Therapists, Teachers, Parents & Children

"I purchased the book on autism and have watched the #400s series podcasts. Laura Mize has been more effective in teaching autistic tendencies, than many professors, shadowing professions, and the 100s of books, articles and classes or videos, or live workshop speakers, have been at teaching effective practices for a child with ASD. Some of the many lessons she has taught, which I will now use, to be a more effective Interventionist, include but are not limited to: red flags, typical behaviors, self-stimulating behaviors, not taking away toys, rather showing child to play with toy appropriately. She gives examples of child's actions, "inappropriate," explains the reason for: why the child is engaging in these behaviors and how they can be replaced with more appropriate, effective fuctional and age-appropriate skills."

"I’m sure Laura gets these messages all the time, but I thought I’d share. I stumbled across Laura‘s "Autism or Speech Delay?" YouTube video when I really needed it. This video finally listed and explained some of the red flags my son was showing for autism. I share the link anytime a parent is questioning in my FB autism group. This mother I don’t even know said Laura's video changed her life. I know exactly how she feels because It changed families too. Thank you to everyone at Teach Me To Talk."

LINDSAY

"Good Morning Laura,
I received your book (The Autism Workbook) yesterday and it is absolutely amazing! As I evaluate young children (0-3) for developmental delays and write plans for them with their parents, there are a ton of ideas that are ready to use. Others that reinforce what I have been doing, and saying, all along. Thank you so, so much for writing this incredible book and pulling everything together in one place!"

FRANCINE IN MICHIGAN

"Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge, experience, and guidance.
I’m a parent who bought the autism workbook and it’s the only clear resource I found to make a change in my son. I’m really thankful to Ms. Laura for helping out people like us all over the world."

"Laura Mize, all I have to say is that ALL YOUR STRATEGIES WORK."

ANNE, YouTube viewer

"We have 7 SLPs in our preschool (public) program for special needs children (ages 3-5) and we use your courses, books, and techniques every day! :-) We have seen our preschoolers make such great gains!"

 

"I just received Teach Me to Play With You, and it is ALREADY WORKING! WOW!

Girl…my son is 3 years old, and he NEVER asks for something using words. We were playing “Get Your Belly” (from Teach Me to Play WITH You), and after several times, he laughed and screamed "BEWIEEE!!!"  It was a hoot. And I can't believe he said it! I have played with him like this before, but this time I took your advice and acted CRAZY!! I will act like a total lunatic if it will get him to talk to me!  Now I can give him "the look" from across the room, and he will say it. That manual is so amazingly practical, and it is a GODSEND right now! Thank you SO MUCH!”

"I wanted to send you a quick email to say thank you. I started watching your videos/podcasts about 4 months ago. My son has gone from losing words he previously used, only having about 7 words at his 2 year check up in August (assessed at a blended 10 month language level) -- to now having so many words, increased social engagement, following commands, spontaneously requesting things, and naming letters & numbers (not in order) as well as colors. We had our monthly meeting with our SLP through the state infants & toddlers program and it felt like we were just bragging the whole time, but I knew in the back of my head it was because I have been using strategies you taught me.

We still have so much work to do with our sweet boy, but I know in my heart he would not have succeeded without the education you provided. I will continue to read your emails & watch videos as we go along this journey and face challenges, but credit is due to you, Laura.

Thank you so much, endlessly."

KATIE

"I just want to tell how fortunate I feel to have found your website and you!! I became a special instructor in EI almost a year ago and I started with hardly any applicable training. I felt so lost and confused as how to help the kids I work with learn how to use words and play. Honestly, I didn't even understand the importance of play, although I always played with my kids. But, once I started to watch your podcasts and get some of your manuals I felt a weight had been lifted off my shoulders and that I could finally teach these kids and their families something of value from a real therapist and based on research!. Thank you so much for seeing the need to help other EI service providers and providing a forum to share your knowledge and years of valuable experience. I'm sure you get a lot of these emails every week if not every day, but I wanted to make I could add to those notes of gratitude!! THANK YOU again!!"

SS

"Just wanted to say a HUGE thank you for these emails and your books, I have them all and they have seriously saved and improved my sessions with my kiddos. Huge thank you."

REBECCA

"I was very frustrated with how speech therapy was going for my child. I would take him and drop him off and not hear much of anything from his therapist and teachers other than, "He had a good (or a bad!) day." Your materials were invaluable for us because I learned how to work with him on his speech. I learned how to teach him to talk and play. I learned how to pay attention to his cues and work with him to teach him to communicate. Without it, I have no doubt he still wouldn’t talk."

BRITNEY

"Hi! I just wanted to say (from an SLT perspective) how incredibly useful I am finding absolutely all of your articles, blogs and resources - I only discovered your site last month and have just received all your books which I feel I am learning more than on my entire university training course!! But also the way in which you give specific, realistic, fun, encouraging ideas for working with parents is really just fantastic, I only wish I have your site sooner! Thanks so much from the UK! Kind regards."

HANNAH

"I just wanted to reach out to say thank you for making things a little easier to manage for me this year. I made the transition from school SLP to private therapist about a year ago. While the change was welcome, it was a lot, and I was just getting my footing in the clinic when I began teletherapy full time. Your website has been a huge lifeline in helping me work with late talkers and coach their parents in an accessible but effective way, even remotely. I look forward to getting your emails each week. I am floored by the amount of valuable, free information that your website provides, and I’m looking forward to investing in your workbooks soon. A sincere thank you for all you do!"

ALLISON

"You are an inspiration! I am truly grateful for the way you put into words and writing how to do what we do as SLPs. At this time in my 13 years of practicing, I find your encouragement keeps me going. As a single mom, I find it a stretch to buy materials these days and I am so thankful for the freebies you so generously share that help me teach my families. I don’t have much time to put together lists or quick references for parents!! Much gratitude!!"

ANDREA