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Autism 101: Evidence-Based Practices


When choosing an intervention for your child with autism, you may be overwhelmed with the amount of choices offered. It is important to choose an intervention that has been researched and shown to be effective. The National Professional Development Center* on Autism currently identified 27 interventions as effective through research. Below are some of these interventions (if a book is available for an intervention, the image is below. Click the image to see it on Amazon):

Antecedent-Based Interventions

“Antecedent-based interventions can be used to decrease an identified interfering behavior and increase engagement by modifying the environment.”

Differential Reinforcement

“Differential reinforcement is an application of reinforcement designed to reduce the occurrence of interfering behaviors (e.g., aggression, self-injury, stereotypic behavior).”

Discrete Trial Training

“Discrete trial training consists of an adult using adult-directed, massed trial instruction, reinforcers, and clear contingencies and repetition to teach a new skill or behavior.”

Functional Behavior Assessment

“A functional behavior assessment can be used when the intensity, duration, or type of interfering behavior creates safety concerns or impacts a child’s development.”

Functional Communication Training

“Functional communication training can be used to replace interfering behaviors with more appropriate and effective communicative behavior.”


“By using modeling (MD), the learner with ASD can acquire and generalize new skills/behaviors.”

Naturalistic Intervention

“Grounded in behaviorism, naturalistic intervention (NI) consists of applying principles of applied behavior analysis during a learner’s everyday routines and activities in order to increase a target behavior or decrease an interfering behavior.”

Peer-Mediated Instruction and Intervention

“With a foundation in behaviorism and social learning theory, PMII involves systematically teaching peers without disabilities ways of engaging learners with ASD in positive and meaningful social interactions.”

Picture Exchange Communication System

“The Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) is used to teach learners with limited functional communication skills to initiate communicative exchanges and interactions within a social context.”

Pivotal Response Training “PRT was developed to create a more efficient and effective intervention by enhancing four pivotal learning variables: motivation, responding to multiple cues, self-management, and self-initiations.”


“Prompting is an effective practice to increase success and generalizability of target skills or behaviors for learners with ASD.”

Social Narratives (Social Stories)

“Social narratives (SN) describe social situations for learners by providing relevant cues, explanation of the feelings and thoughts of others, and descriptions of appropriate behavior expectations.”

Social Skills Training

“SST refers to any adult-directed instruction in which social skills are targeted for improvement. “

Video Modeling

 “Video modeling is a mode of teaching that uses video recording and display equipment to provide a visual model of the targeted behavior or skill.”

Visual Supports

“By using visual supports (VS), the learner with ASD might be able to process information easier and more quickly.”

Training modules are available online for all evidence-based practices through Autism Internet Modules

*Information is from the National Professional Development Center on Autism

**This post contains affiliate links

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Autism 101: Warning Signs


With autism, there are many characteristics* that can be listed as ‘red flags’ or ‘warning signs’. It is important to be aware of these signs as a parent and a professional.


Lack of eye contact

Does not respond to name (post-12 months)

Monotone voice

Plays alone

Lacks boundaries

Does not understand feelings


Delayed speech

Loss of speech

Repeats words

Limited gestures and pointing

Does not understand jokes or sarcasm


Lines up toys

Lack of functional play

Spins objects (wheels, propellers)

Repeated play with same object

Rigid routines

Obsessive interests



*Note: Every child is different. Just because a child does or does not have these red flags does not mean that they for certain have autism. If you suspect your child has autism, take them to a local agency for a formal diagnostic evaluation.

Parent · Professional · Student · Uncategorized

Social Skills Pretending Cards

Many children with autism and developmental disabilities have deficits in their social skills. Teaching them how to pretend can help them with peer play and imaginative play.


These social skills pretending cards can be used to help foster their pretending skills. You can teach these skills during intensive teaching or DTT sessions. Once mastered, you can use them as a game and have the child select a card and act it out. They can take turns with you and their peers. You can then use the cards paired with toys and objects in the natural environment to further foster pretend play skills.


Click the image below to check them out!


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Glitter Sensory Bottle


Sensory calm down bottles can be an excellent tool for our kiddos! Scroll down for directions on how to make this glitter sensory bottle:


Materials Needed:

~1 part Baby Oil

~1 part Water

~Empty VOSS bottle


~Food Coloring


1: Fill up bottle halfway with baby oil. You can use any oil, but baby oil is clear and settles faster than other oils.


2: Add some glitter to the oil. You can add as much as you want and use whatever color you want! I used multi-color semi-fine glitter.


3: Add 4 drops of any color food coloring to the water.


4: Add the water to the bottle and your sensory bottle is complete! I love to watch the glitter float around on the bottle, and if you turn it on its side, it looks like an ocean wave!

*this post contains affiliate links*