As I begin my journey as a parent of a newly diagnosed child with ASD, I delve into the many resources available about autism and its facets. Right now I am reading: Early Intervention and Autism is by James Ball, ED.D., BCBA. Thank you for lending the book Harbor Regional Center Torrance Resource Center!
An inspiring quote on early intervention
“Think about looking up at a stage with accomplished actors, vibrant sets and skilled crew. Wonderful, engaging, profound and beautiful performances are produced on this stage. We “play out” the stories of our lives on this stage, for it is big and wide and deep enough to accommodate every one of us who can find our way to it. Those who cast make it onto the stage become observers; they miss the chance to play out their stories in a way that others appreciate.
Early intervention for children with autism spectrum disorders is a child’s access ramp to the stage of life where wonderful, engaging, profound and beautiful performances occur. As parents, it’s our job to light the way for your children. Let your light be ever so bright.” –-Judy Rudebusch, Director of Special Programs, Irving Independent School District, Irving, TX (as quoted in Early Intervention and Autism by James Ball, ED.D, BCBA)
Some Key Takeaways from the book
- The importance of early intervention cannot be emphasized enough. Young children are still very moldable and teachable, allowing them to benefit in an optimum manner from early intervention. According to Ball, “That’s why early intervention is so crucial to development; it provides the structure a child needs, within which learning can occur. The brains of very young children are like a sponge– learning can occur at a rapid pace (Ball xii).
- “Children with autism are children first. Their autism is part of their functioning, but autism is not all of who they are” (Ball 3). As a parent newly thrust in this interesting, sometimes strange world, sometimes I forget that before Ethan was diagnosed with autism, he first was my baby. He is still my one and only son.
- Autism Spectrum Disorder, as it name implies, is based on a spectrum. There is variety, uniqueness and difference within a behavioral spectrum. My child’s areas of need are in the social communication part of development, and the psychologist commented that his temperament is fairly calm and stable. Will be updating this blog with his specific diagnosis. “Children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are very different from one another. They will present with a variety of strengths, weaknesses and combinations of characteristics. Autism is a spectrum disorder, meaning that at one end of the spectrum, kids can be extremely challenged, have mental retardation present, be nonverbal, and self-injurious or aggressive. On the other end of the spectrum are kids who are academically gifted, have a stellar vocabulary, and manifest their biggest challenges in the area of thinking and social skills” (Ball 3).
- It is not helpful to label a child is high or low functioning autistic, because it may blow up our expectations or set them too low, causing us to “withhold opportunities from children.” Ball continues, “we need to stay focused on strengths and challenges, and never stray way from what is most important: capitalizing on the abilities the child brings to the interaction or experience” (10).
(To be continued).
Ball, James. Early Intervention & Autism: Real-Life Questions, Real-Life Answers. Future Horizons, 2008.