October 2022 - Hidden Talents ABA

What It’s Like to Be an ABA Therapist

You may be wondering what it’s like to be an ABA therapist.

After you read this article, you will know what a practitioner’s average day looks like, the job’s main pros and cons, how you, yourself, can become a successful ABA therapist, and more.

What is ABA therapy?

ABA therapy stands for applied behavior analysis. It is a therapeutic approach that helps autistic children and adults with controlling their behaviors and autism symptoms.

The ABCs of ABA

One of the basic concepts of ABA therapy is the ABC (antecedent, behavior, and consequence). Practicing professionals rely on the ABC to understand why an autistic patient is behaving a certain way.

First of all, ABA therapists identify the emotional, verbal, visual, physical, or other type of antecedent that led to the behavior. For example, the antecedent may be a word that upset the child, a bad thought that they had, or a loud noise that came from the TV.

The behavior is how the kid reacted, such as by crying, screaming, pulling their hair, or throwing objects.

Finally, ABA therapists determine the consequence that followed and its influence on the behavior. 

To illustrate, here is an example:

  1. Antecedent: An autistic child’s parents turned on the TV.
  2. Behavior: The child started to cry and pull their hair because they felt that the TV volume was too loud.
  3. Consequence: To stop the child’s behavior, the parents turn off the TV or (if they didn’t know why their kid was crying) give them some ice cream.

In this example, the consequence encourages that undesirable behavior since it teaches the child that they get rewarded with ice cream for crying and pulling their hair.

To address this behavior, an ABA therapist rewards the autistic girl or boy when they point at the TV, politely ask them to turn down the volume, or express themselves in another desirable manner.

Crying and hair pulling, meanwhile, would be met with silence or inaction.

Ultimately, ABA therapists use incentives like candy, ice cream, and toys to reward good behavior.

Interpersonal Therapy and ABA

A crucial aspect to ABA is interpersonal therapy.

This method looks at how a patient’s mental health is shaped by the way that they relate to and communicate with their family members, friends, classmates, teachers, and others in their lives.

Regardless of whether a therapist uses the ABC or interpersonal approach (or both), their main role is to help autistic children develop their social, academic, behavioral, motor, and overall skills.

ABA therapists typically engage in activities and routines that revolve around these goals.

What does a typical day look like for an ABA therapist?

If you are thinking about becoming an ABA therapist, here are examples of what you will work with autistic children on:

  • Behavioral Skills: Teaching them to sit still on the table, not scratching or biting when upset, and sharing belongings.
  • Communication: Showing them how to verbally ask for a toy or express that they’re uncomfortable or unhappy.
  • Social Skills: Guide them as they play with others, make new friends, and become confident enough to ask questions in the classroom.
  • Academic Performance: Making sure that they learn how to do their homework without being told to, put away their items when they’re done, and politely ask to watch TV or play with their toys after they’re finished.

To enable kids with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) achieve these objectives and more, ABA therapists have to utilize multiple mediums, settings, and locations.

Mediums That ABA Therapists Use

As a practitioner, you may take advantage of iPad apps to improve autistic children’s skills and play interactive digital and offline games with them.

The following are a few of the benefits of therapeutic iPad use:

  • You can watch and emulate yoga and exercise videos. This is particularly important because it shows autistic kids how to regulate their body movements and enhance their balance and coordination. 
  • An iPad stylus (a pen-shaped tool) helps girls and boys with autism learn how to write (via apps).
  • The stylus also allows them to develop their motor skills when they touch and navigate the iPad screen with it (instead of doing so with their fingers).
  • Dancing and music apps may act as a form of music and movement therapy.

In the same vein, practitioners spend a lot of time playing games and on ABA therapy activities for autism, which might include:

  • Dressing up dolls teaches a child new words/sentences and encourages them to speak.
  • Play dough calms the senses of patients with ASD and energizes their sensory processes.
  • Games that entail organizing items based on their colors.

While it’s common for therapists to play with the child individually, many autistic girls and boys find it therapeutic to engage with a group of kids.

Settings: Individual vs Group Therapy

ABA therapists observe children in one or both of the following settings:

  • Group Therapy: Here, the practitioner monitors how the child interacts with their classmates or treats them among a group of other autistic patients.
  • Individually: The ABA therapist holds one-on-one sessions with the boy or girl.

Keep in mind that, whether it’s a group or individual setting, ABA therapists have to regularly commute and practice their profession in multiple locations.

Locations That Therapists Work In

Here are a few potential places that ABA therapists could watch and work with patients in:

  • Home Visits: You would frequently spend most/all of the day at the child’s home and conduct ABA sessions there.
  • The Therapist’s Office: As a therapist, you will have to see and treat kids at your office, as well. However, it may take the patient more time to get fully comfortable with office sessions in comparison to at-home ones.
  • At School: Some practitioners go to the boy or girl’s school to help them with their social and communication skills.
  • Other Events: In the same vein, therapists commonly observe autistic children at playgrounds, family gatherings, and other social events.

In short, being an ABA therapist can be demanding.

In addition to balancing between the various mediums, settings, and locations that are involved in a treatment program, practitioners must also cater to their patients’ unique and evolving needs.

Is being an ABA therapist difficult?

Professional therapists often run into difficulties and challenges in applied behavior analysis that require patience, organization, and dedication, such as the following:

  • Taking on physical tasks like sitting or standing beside the child as they eat or play, keeping up with their energy levels, and preventing them from causing damage.
  • Addressing problematic and troublesome behaviors. For example, a kid may excessively yell or cry, damage furniture, and throw objects when they’re upset or stressed.
  • Managing a high amount of caseloads.
  • Finding an appropriate work-life balance.
  • Switching between a therapist-patient/child approach to a collaborative one when they talk to the parents or teach them behavioral management techniques.

With that being said, this profession comes with a lot of positive aspects, too.

Is being an ABA therapist a rewarding job?

Yes, it is. In fact, many ABA therapists appreciate and enjoy the rewarding and fulfilling nature of their job due to the following reasons and more:

  • They get to see autistic children improve their skills and reach important personal, academic, social, and developmental milestones.
  • ABA practitioners witness the happiness and pride that they brought to a family firsthand.
  • Throughout the day, therapists experience the joyfulness and lightheartedness of working with kids.
  • They fulfill their passion for giving to others and making a difference in people’s lives.

If you are motivated by these benefits and rewards, especially passion, you are likely to become an effective and successful ABA therapist.

How can I be a successful ABA therapist?

To attain a successful and fruitful career as an ABA therapist, here are some of the qualities that you want to develop or hone:

  • A passion for the career.
  • The patience and willingness to invest in growth and progress. After all, you won’t reap the rewards or notice a major change overnight.
  • You enjoy engaging with children, playing games with them, and participating in other activities for kids.

In addition to demonstrating these qualities, you also have to obtain the proper certification to be a professional ABA therapist.

How do I get started on becoming an ABA therapist?

The Behavior Analyst Certification Board (BACB) is in charge of overseeing the processes that aspiring ABA therapists have to go through to get certified.

There are three types of certificates that allow you to practice ABA therapy:

  • Board Certified Assistant Behavior Analyst (BCaBA)
  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA)
  • Board Certified Behavior Analyst-Doctoral (BCBA-D)

Each of these will require you to have an undergraduate or postgraduate degree.

Alternatively, you may obtain a registered behavior technician (RBT) certification with a high school diploma, which enables you to assist and work with practicing ABA therapists.

However, RBTs aren’t permitted to directly provide the treatment, while BCaBAs and BCBAs can.

Become a BCaBA with a Bachelor’s Degree

To get your BCaBA certification, follow these steps:

  1. Get your undergraduate degree. If your degree is from a college or university that is accredited by the Association for Behavior Analysis International (ABAI), skip step 2 and go to step 3.
  2. If your school is not accredited, enroll in 225 classroom hours’ worth of behavior-analytic courses as you work towards your degree. To clarify, this is equal to 15 semester credits or about 23 quarter credits.
  3. Complete 1,000 to 1,300 field hours under the oversight of a supervisor who meets certain requirements.
  4. Submit your application and documents (including your degree and verification that you finished your fieldwork program). 
  5. You can expect to hear back within 45 days with an approval or a denial.
  6. If your application is approved, schedule your exam and pass it.
  7. Check your local or state rules for ABA therapists and, if there are any, make sure that you meet them. 

After that, you may immediately start practicing ABA therapy as long as you have a BACB-registered BCaBA supervisor

From there, you must maintain your BCaBA certificate. Here is how:

  • Regularly work as an ABA practitioner and avoid stopping for prolonged or extended periods.
  • Be consistently supervised.
  • Meet ethical requirements.
  • Renew your certification every two years.

These rules also apply to BCBA and BCBA-D certificates. Yet, BCBA and BCBA-D therapists can work without being supervised.

Become a BCBA with a Master’s Degree:

This what you have to do to become a certified BCBA:

  1. Get your master’s degree. Skip to step 3 if your degree is from an ABAI-accredited institution.
  2. If your school is not accredited, complete 315 classroom hours (21 semester credits/32 quarter credits) of behavior-analytic courses or, alternatively, finish 3 years of work as a behavior-analytic faculty or research member.
  3. Complete 1,500 to 2,000 field hours under the oversight of an eligible supervisor.
  4. Submit your application and documents.
  5. Wait until you get a response within 45 days.
  6. If your application is approved, schedule your exam and pass it.
  7. Check and meet your local or state rules for ABA therapists.

Next, you may begin working as an ABA practitioner right away and without a supervisor. From there, you want to make sure that you renew your certification every two years.

Become a BCBA-D with a Doctorate Degree:

The steps for becoming a BCBA and BCBA-D are very similar. To illustrate, this what getting a BCBA-D certification looks like:

  1. Gain 10 years of work experience as an ABA practitioner (teaching doesn’t count) with a national, state, or local certification.
  2. Complete 500 hours of field work.
  3. Follow the rest of the steps that you would take to get your BCBA certification (steps 4-7 above) and renew it every 2 years.

Apart from the eligibility rules and certificate designation, the roles, responsibilities, and permitted scopes of practice are identical for both BCBA and BCBA-D certificate holders.

As a matter of fact, a similar thing could be said about practicing ABA therapy, in general. Everything goes back to the ABCs, positive enforcement, and other basic therapeutic techniques.

Just as importantly (and regardless of the certification that they have), a typical day for almost any ABA therapist entails playing with children, dealing with behavioral challenges, and reaping the rewards that come with seeing their patients’ lives change.

Macrocephaly in Children with Autism

You’re probably wondering what macrocephaly is and whether this condition is particularly common among children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

When you’re done with this article, you will know what macrocephaly is, its main symptoms, how it impacts autistic kids, the other problems that it may cause, and more.

Do children with autism have large heads?

In recent decades, researchers and scientists conducted a lot of studies about head circumference and brain size in autism spectrum disorder.

When it comes to macrocephaly (having an abnormally large head size), here are what these studies have found:

  • Up to 15.7% of autistic children have macrocephaly.
  • This condition typically appears in the patient’s early childhood years.
  • Macrocephaly impacts kids that were diagnosed with low-functioning autism more frequently than those with less severe ASD symptoms.

Other research reports point to a correlation between gender and having a large head. That is to say that autistic boys are more likely to develop macrocephaly than girls.

At times, the condition shows up when the child is still in their mother’s womb, and it usually goes away by their fifth birthday.

It is hard to know exactly when and how macrocephaly affects patients. This is because the many experts who examined this topic over the last 80 years relied on different research methods and techniques.

How was this discovered?

Autism’s relationship to head size is explained by almost eight decades’ worth of data and analysis, starting with a paper that Leo Kanner authored in 1943.

Kanner observed 11 kids with ASD and noticed that “five had relatively large heads”. However, this sample size was too small and Kanner didn’t study or comment on this issue any further.

In 1999, nearly 60 years later, a report came out and indicated that macrocephaly was prevalent among 20% of autistic patients.

Yet, the Autism Phenome Project disputed these figures in 2011. They argued that the 20% estimate only accounts for children with a bigger-than-average head size.

In turn, the Autism Phenome Project looked at the number of kids with ASD whose head was disproportionately large in relation to their body size. They concluded that 15% (and not 20%) of autistic patients have macrocephaly.

Lastly, but certainly not least, is a 2015 study with over 8,000 participants that found that those with an ASD diagnosis tend to have a bigger head than typically developing children.

Nonetheless, the 2015 review didn’t examine the relationship between the head and brain or body sizes.

Does macrocephaly also mean the child has a large brain?

Those with a large head are more likely to have a brain overgrowth, as well. In fact, brain enlargement impacts 9.1% of children with ASD.

Remember, though, that having a large head doesn’t necessarily mean that an autistic child will also have a large brain.

Which parts of the brain are enlarged?

The cortex is the main part of the brain that gets enlarged. To clarify, the cortex is the thick outer layer that surrounds the brain from the top and takes up most of its volume.

Several studies about brain structure changes in autism explained that multiple areas experience an enlargement, including:

  • Amygdala: Some autistic children might develop an enlarged amygdala (the part that processes emotions) while they’re very young. 
  • Cerebellum: Even though most areas of the brain get bigger, kids with ASD are more likely to have less cerebellum tissues than their neurotypical peers. The cerebellum oversees functions related to bodily balance, cognition, and socializing.
  • Hippocampus: Similar to the amygdala, the hippocampus (the part that creates and preserves memories) commonly increases in size, too.

Scientists and medical experts aren’t sure what the enlarged parts of an autistic child’s brain and cortex are made from or contain. 

One finding suggests that ASD can lead to an excess in cerebrospinal fluids. This is the clear liquid that’s present across the nervous system and regulates many of its physical, sensory, and other processes.

According to a separate study, autism is linked with an excess of neurons in the prefrontal cortex among boys with brain overgrowth. These neurons were identified in the parts that are responsible for a person’s communication capabilities and cognitive growth.

Is macrocephaly problematic?

In addition to how it affects the brain’s structure, macrocephaly is concerning because it goes hand-in-hand with other problems and issues.

Here are some examples:

  • Macrocephaly is linked to shortcomings in communication and social skills, and it sets back an autistic patient’s ability to speak.
  • Children with enlarged brains tend to run into more difficulties with day-to-day tasks (for instance, eating with a fork and knife) than those with a normal-sized brain.
  • A two-year-old or younger autistic child’s head size can indicate how severe their ASD symptoms will be by the time they turn four years old.
  • Kids with a relatively big brain size could see their skills and capabilities decline up until their sixth birthdays.

In light of this, if your autistic son or daughter was diagnosed with macrocephaly, you want to make sure that you prepare for the developmental hurdles that they may run into in the future.

This will allow you to address and minimize the severe symptoms as early and smoothly as possible.

If your child didn’t receive an official diagnosis, you should keep an eye on the potential symptoms.

What else may macrocephaly cause?

In the immediate term, macrocephaly could lead an autistic kid to experience the following symptoms:

  • Vomiting that isn’t explainable or provoked
  • Unusual or strange eye movements
  • Irritability
  • Head bulging
  • Head tightness
  • Crying in an irregularly high-pitched tone

These signs may mean that there is an overflow in brain fluids. They might also manifest themselves when the skull’s bones excessively grow, as well as for other reasons.

Now that you know what the symptoms of macrocephaly are, you should take your son or daughter for a diagnosis once they start to display them.

Remember, up to 15% and 10% of autistic kids get macrocephaly and an enlarged brain, respectively.

These conditions frequently appear during the first two years of a child’s life, and they suggest how severe their ASD will be in the following ones.

Therefore, if your autistic child received a macrocephaly diagnosis, you want to make sure that you prepare for more intense autism symptoms before they even show up.

This allows your child to develop and grow in the healthiest way possible.

When to Start ABA Therapy

Are you trying to learn about ABA therapy as a form of treatment for autism? If so, you’re in the right place.

When you’re done reading this article, you will know what ABA therapy entails and how to determine if it’s the right treatment for your autistic son or daughter.

What is ABA therapy?

ABA therapy stands for applied behavior analysis, and it is considered to be the most effective way to manage and minimize the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

ABA therapy revolves around the concept of positive reinforcement. Simply put, it entails using rewards (such as candy and toys) to incentivize an autistic boy or girl to follow desirable behaviors.

As an example, when the TV volume is too loud, a desirable habit would be for the autistic kid to ask an adult to turn down the TV volume instead of getting agitated or throwing objects at the screen.

Over time, children with ASD learn how to act in a desirable and socially-acceptable way without being incentivized by a reward. This happens gradually as your son or daughter continues to attend ABA sessions on a regular basis.

How do I know if ABA therapy is right for my child?

On most occasions, primary care providers will refer you to an ABA therapist when they believe that your kid has some of the common signs of autism.

After that, the ABA therapist conducts a thorough assessment and screens your child for ASD symptoms.

Symptoms of Autism

You want to take your son or daughter for an autism assessment if they develop one or more of the following signs:

  • Difficulty with communicating their feelings and talking about their emotions.
  • Doesn’t make eye contact and avoids smiling back.
  • Doesn’t respond when his or her name is called.
  • Engages in tasks and activities that may lead them to hurt themselves.
  • Firmly follows a daily schedule, up to the point where they get angry or sad when their routine changes.
  • Interpreting phrases (like “break a leg”) in a literal way and taking them too seriously.
  • Making movements or saying phrases in a very repetitive manner.
  • Obsessing with and getting overly interested in activities, objects, and/or subjects that they like.
  • Physical coordination problems and irregular bodily movements.
  • Struggling to socialize or make friends (in fact, many kids with ASD would prefer to be alone rather than engage with others).

If your son or daughter is displaying any of these autism symptoms, you want to take them in for an assessment as soon as possible.

This way, in the event that they get diagnosed with ASD, you can get them the help that they need right away.

When should my child start ABA therapy?

In short, the sooner that your child starts ABA therapy, the better. After all, your kid’s life will be much easier when they learn how to control and manage their symptoms from a young age.

Here are some of the main benefits to undergoing ABA therapy at an early point:

  • A higher likelihood that the child will successfully form and enhance critical developmental skills.
  • The kid learns how to take care of their health and well-being from the time that they’re really young.
  • They learn how to make friends at an early life stage, which is arguably among the top 10 reasons children with autism deserve ABA.
  • Parents can identify the most effective parenting techniques for their son or daughter and work on establishing a healthy parent-child relationship when the latter is still a little kid.
  • Autistic boys and girls become fully capable of taking care of themselves well before their parents get older and can no longer assist them.
  • It minimizes and/or prevents issues that could impact the child’s school performance.
  • You can set up a long-term academic and career plan for your son or daughter while they’re in elementary school or younger.
  • If the cost of the ABA sessions is a problem, an early start gives you enough time to look for support and obtain financial assistance.
  • Problematic habits and developmental delays may be identified and addressed before they turn into bigger and challenging issues.
  • Their IQ score could go up, even more so when their ABA treatment is initiated at a young age.

Another indirect benefit to early ABA treatment is that it allows your son or daughter to get the extensive and longer sessions out of the way sooner.

How long does ABA therapy last?

The overall duration of your child’s applied behavior analysis treatment and the length of each session are based on various factors.

Most kids attend ABA sessions for about 1 to 3 years. It goes without saying that those with severe autism symptoms and/or complex needs may have to undergo treatment for a relatively longer period.

Many autistic children take on daily sessions, which add up to between 25 and 40 hours per week.

In general, the following aspects will influence the length and duration of your kid’s ABA treatment:

  • Their strengths, weaknesses, and needs
  • The child’s goals, including their academic, social, physical, and personal objectives.
  • The severity of the patient’s ASD symptoms.
  • How well the boy or girl responds to the treatment.
  • The amount of time it takes for the child to get comfortable with ABA.
  • How long it takes the therapist to identify the best techniques for helping your son or daughter.

Keep in mind that, even after your child completes their ABA program, you still have to work on managing their symptoms and potentially enrolling them in other forms of treatment.

What do I do after my child stops ABA therapy?

When your child stops attending ABA sessions, you must have certain strategies in place to help them adapt.

First of all, consider putting together a transition plan with their therapist. This could be done through having them slowly reduce their weekly ABA hours and working on implementing some of the treatment methods at home.

Secondly, make sure that your child stays engaged and challenged emotionally, socially, academically, and physically.

This is attained by communicating with them regularly, collaborating with their school teachers, and participating in activities that enhance the kid’s motor and coordination skills.

Lastly, but certainly not least, is to consider other autism treatments that your boy or girl can attend once they conclude their ABA sessions.

Here, you want to focus on the treatments that improve your child’s weaknesses, enable them to attain their goals, minimize the problematic ASD symptoms, and, above all, build on the ABA techniques that were the most effective and beneficial for your child.

Autism Support Groups in Macon

One of the biggest challenges after your child receives an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis is knowing where to find the assistance they need. 

Wading through programs and resources is daunting and can quickly become frustrating without help. An autism support group can serve as an essential first step.

What Are Autism Support Groups?

An autism support group is a community of individuals affected by ASD who work together to share victories and struggles, offer advice on techniques and programs, and provide a sense of community to those who feel isolated. 

Professionals or other parents can lead autism support groups. They may have a set theme for each meeting or use an informal structure that allows parents to bring their most pressing issues to their peers.

The Importance of Having an Autism Support Group

All parents and families need a solid network of support. Unfortunately, finding those who can help becomes much more challenging when your child has ASD. 

Raising a child with the unique challenges of autism can be especially difficult and isolating when those around you have different struggles. An autism support group lets you share your stories, experiences, and concerns with parents facing similar challenges. 

Meeting with a support group may lead you to discover new programs, therapies, or techniques; create new friendships and connections; and be part of a community of families who understand what you’re going through.

While many autism support groups target parents and caregivers, there are also groups for siblings, children on the spectrum, and whole families.

The 5 Best Autism Support Groups in Macon, Georgia

Parents, caregivers, and families seeking support groups in Macon, Georgia, have several options to fill their needs. These groups offer families a resource to celebrate their victories, challenges, and discoveries as they raise children with ASD.

1. Central GA Autism, Ltd.

Central GA Autism is an active nonprofit organization providing support and resources to families whose child has been diagnosed with ASD and is composed entirely of families whose loved one has ASD. In addition, Central GA Autism offers group meetings and outings, mostly tracked on the group’s Facebook page.

Those interested in joining can follow the organization’s social media accounts or contact the group directly.  

2. Anchor of Hope Foundation

The Anchor of Hope Foundation provides spiritual and financial support to families with disabilities and offers encouragement, services, and community resources to those in need. 

Its programs include a regularly scheduled parent support group, monthly parents’ night out events that offer parents free care for their children while they reconnect, and other valuable resources. 

Families can get involved via the foundation’s website or by emailing aohfoundation@gmail.com.

3. Parent to Parent of Georgia

Based in Atlanta, Parent to Parent of Georgia offers online and in-person support groups throughout the state as well as the Supporting Parents program.

Supporting Parents is a volunteer, mentor-based program that trains and matches experienced parents with those who may be new to an ASD diagnosis or struggling with new challenges. 

4. The Arc Macon

Formerly known as the Advocacy Resource Center, The Arc Macon is a nonprofit organization that supports those with developmental disabilities. It offers supported employment, residential services, and recreational and social support programs. 

The Arc Macon hosts family support meetings quarterly. These meetings vary from a focused topic to a get-together that allows families to connect. 

Gatherings are free and open to the public, and families can stay updated through the group’s Facebook page.

5. Navicent Family Support Services

Navicent Family Support Services provides families with programs and resources to support children with ASD, including developmental assessments, therapies, and recreational activities.

Its Autism Development Center offers regularly meeting support groups for families. You can learn more about the meetings by calling 844-482-2264.

Conclusion

We hope you found this list of autism support groups useful. If you have a child with autism and are looking for ABA therapy in Macon give us a call. Our dedicated team will be able to answer any of your questions.

Autism Walks in Macon, Georgia

When someone you love has autism, it’s easy to see the value in events that raise awareness, provide community support, and fund research and treatments. 

Autism walks in Macon, Georgia are among the most impactful fundraisers for autism, and the Central Georgia community has several to choose from. 

What Are Walks for Autism?

Walks for autism are events that inspire people to raise money and learn more about the autism community while participating in a healthy, exercise-based activity. 

Some autism walks and runs in Macon are locally minded, created to increase funding for nearby programs that support those with autism and their families in living independent, successful lives. 

In addition to their fundraising benefits, autism walks and races create inclusion, knowledge, and awareness of autism in the region while also encouraging everyone to rally around a worthy cause.

Autism Walks in Macon, Georgia

Autism walks bring people together, inviting participation from people of all ages. In addition, since they’re fundraisers that don’t require tremendous resources to set up and run, the money raised can go where it’s needed most. 

Macon and Central Georgia host three main events every year. 

Macon Tracks Autism 5K

The Macon Tracks Autism 5K Trail Race and Fun Run is part of the annual Autism Awareness Festival held with the Anchors of Hope Foundation to benefit their programs. 

The Autism Awareness Festival is an annual event occurring on the last Saturday in April at Dayspring Presbyterian Church in Forsyth, Georgia. The community event includes a resource and craft fair, entertainment, food vendors, a kids’ play area, and the 5k trail race and family fun run. 

Anchors of Hope serves a critical role in the autism community of Macon, providing families with scholarships, resources, support groups, and respite care. You can become involved in the 5k trail race and fun run by following the event online or by contacting Anchors of Hope directly. 

Middle Georgia 5K for Autism

The Middle Georgia 5K for Autism is an annual event held in April that offers food, fun, and entertainment while raising money for a worthy cause. The organizations Suffered in Silence Incorporated, Single Moms Connect, Inc., and Bossladi Enterprises sponsor the event. 

Held in Lane Southern Orchards in Fort Valley, Georgia, the race offers beautiful views, fun, and community engagement. All of the event’s proceeds go to the Middle Georgia Community Action Agency’s Head Start program supporting students on the spectrum. 

In addition, the event helps fund family support events offered by Middle Georgia Autism Projects.

You can learn more through the event’s webpage and Facebook page

FBBC Parents of Special Needs Children Autism Walk and Family Fun Day

The April FBBC Parents of Special Needs Children Autism Walk and Family Fun Day in Warner Robins, Georgia, advocates for autism awareness, acceptance, and inclusion. 

The event funds the Waves Autism Center, which offers day camps, social programs, parental support, and educational workshops for families touched by autism. It takes place in Memorial Park at 800 Armed Forces Boulevard and includes games, food, and other entertainment. 

If you want to learn more about FBBC Parents of Special Needs Children, you can contact the organization directly by emailing posnc@fbbchome.org. You can also follow the event online.

Conclusion

We hope you found this information about the available autism walks in Macon useful. If you have a child with autism and are looking for ABA therapy in Macon give us a call. Our dedicated team will be able to answer any of your questions. 

Autism Walks in Savannah

Autism walks promote awareness, research, and community support for those whose lives are affected by autism. 

There are several autism walks and races in and around Savannah. The events always need participants and volunteers, so whether you get involved beforehand or on event day, there are numerous ways to help.

What Are Walks for Autism?

Autism walks are among the most significant fundraising events dedicated to supporting people with autism and their families. These events bring together the autism community and local residents for a positive, healthy activity that drives community awareness.

Autism walks and races raise funds to sponsor new research around treatments and therapies and supply programs and services. 

In addition, the funds raised by autism walks and races support families who lack the financial ability to pay for schools, therapies, and other critical programs that help those with autism achieve their full potential. 

Autism Walks in Savannah, Georgia

While some autism walks are national events coordinated on the same date throughout the country, others are local, benefitting specific programs in the community. Savannah has three main autism walks and races scheduled annually in the spring or fall.

Kennedy 3K Heart and Sole Walk for Autism

The Kennedy 3K Heart and Sole Walk for Autism is held in April by the Paris Baker Foundation to raise money and awareness around autism throughout Savannah. 

The event raises funds for families who need assistance paying for support programs to foster independence and social skills for their loved ones with autism. 

Typically held on Easter weekend in Daffin Park, the Kennedy 3K Heart and Sole Walk for Autism has a festival-like atmosphere. Past years included food, games, a flag football tournament, an Easter egg hunt, and a carnival. 

Those interested in participating or volunteering can follow the event online or visit the Paris Baker Foundation on Facebook to learn more. 

Autism Awareness 5K and Bubble Run

Located in Bluffton, South Carolina, the Ignite the Senses Autism Awareness 5K Bubble Run & Children’s DASH raises money for the Autism Smile Charity, which provides children and young adults with technology to facilitate communication. The race is a flat, fast course and begins with the Children’s DASH event before the 5K starts. 

All Autism Awareness 5K and Bubble Run finishers earn a medal and cross the finish line in a shower of bubbles representative of special needs. Local businesses support the event, which begins at the LowCountry Community Church.

This year’s event was held in September, and those interested in participating in future events can follow the Ignite the Senses page on Facebook or learn more online

The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism Virtual Walk/Run

The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism is a Savannah preschool for all children and a year-round day school for autistic children, teens, and young adults. The Center’s advocacy team works with families in southeast Georgia impacted by autism and special needs.

The Matthew Reardon Center holds a virtual walk/run to raise money for the Center’s school and advocacy programs and encourages a $25 donation from participants, who can join the event from anywhere in the world. The virtual walk/run offers prizes as well. 

Registrants can enter by posting pictures on the Center’s Facebook page with the appropriate hashtags.

You can keep track of the April event via the Center’s website or Facebook event page

Conclusion

We hope you found this information about the available autism walks in Savannah useful. If you have a child with autism and are looking for ABA therapy in Savannah give us a call. Our dedicated team will be able to answer any of your questions. 

Support Groups for Autism in Savannah

Families navigating the complex world of programs and services for children with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) diagnosis often feel overwhelmed and alone. However, the help of a support group can offer guidance and encouragement from those who understand their struggles best.

What Are Autism Support Groups?

Autism support groups offer parents and caregivers of those with autism the chance to exchange information, resources, and emotional support with other families in similar circumstances. 

These support groups can be formal or informal. They may address specific topics or give you the chance to vent, ask questions, and establish positive relationships with those who have comparable experiences.

The Importance of Having an Autism Support Group

Living with an autism diagnosis can be isolating without the support of peers undergoing the same challenges. Autism support groups may work with parents, caregivers, siblings, or the child on the spectrum. 

These groups allow you to share information, insights, stories, experiences, and advice. For example, an autism support group can help a parent or caregiver learn about new programs or therapies, share their frustrations with those who understand, or offer problem-solving techniques.

As you forge new friendships through a support group, you can also share childcare with those who have experience with the unique challenges of autism, and siblings can find new companions who may provide additional support. 

The 5 Best Autism Support Groups in Savannah, Georgia

Several support group services in and around Savannah, Georgia, meet the needs of parents, caregivers, and families seeking a community of individuals with the same challenges and experiences.

1. Parent to Parent of Georgia

Parent to Parent of Georgia is an Atlanta-based organization that serves needs across the state. One of its most beneficial offerings is the P2P Supporting Parent program, which matches parents throughout the state with mentors who have experienced similar difficulties. 

These pairings provide guidance and help as participants obtain resources and engage in programs to help their children develop essential skills for success.

2. Effingham County Navigator Team, Inc.

The Effingham County Navigator Team aims to strengthen and advocate for families with disabilities. The nonprofit organization offers a parent-led support group for parents and caregivers, their special needs child or children, and siblings. 

It meets on the second Tuesday of every month at its Resource Center at 711 Zitterour Drive in Rincon, Georgia. The group actively encourages newcomers and members to take advantage of its support and resources.

3. The Lowcountry Autism Resource and Support Group

The Lowcountry Autism Resource and Support Group holds meetings on the last Monday of the month at the Kicklighter Resource Center. Behavioral consultant Ann Shipley and occupational therapist Linda Fruin facilitate these meetings. 

They guide monthly meetings to offer families affected by autism the support and resources they need to teach children with ASD about living independently. For updates on this group, email lowcountryautism@gmail.com.

4. Autism Support Corner, Inc.

Autism Support Corner is a nonprofit organization that provides families affected by ASD with the resources necessary to understand the condition and support their loved ones with special needs.

Autism Support Corner meets on the second Tuesday of every month at St. Anne’s Holy Hall in Richmond Hill, Georgia, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. Contact Jeanette Orr at ascrh@yahoo.com or 912-445-0233 to RSVP and find childcare. 

5. Easterseals of Southern Georgia

Families can take advantage of family support services as part of the many offerings found through Easterseals of Southern Georgia

These services include parent and family training; individual, group, and family counseling; and other services aimed at strengthening families and helping them find and use essential resources in their communities.

Conclusion

We hope you found this list of autism support groups useful. If you have a child with autism and are looking for ABA therapy in Savannah give us a call. Our dedicated team will be able to answer any of your questions. 

Autism Resources in Savannah

An autism diagnosis can be daunting. Fortunately there are ample resources for families seeking support in Savannah. 

The resources available in Savannah and the surrounding counties can help patients with ASD and their families navigate challenges and form new connections. 

Resource List for Children with Autism in Savannah, Georgia

Savannah has various organizations that provide aid, guidance, and recreational activities geared toward including those with ASD.

Georgia Autism Center

The Georgia Autism Center provides families with assessments that help pinpoint a diagnosis. Since ASD is a spectrum of conditions, diagnosing a child’s difficulties often requires several tests, including developmental, social, cognitive, adaptive, and behavioral functioning. 

In addition to correctly diagnosing ASD, the Georgia Autism Center coordinates care. It offers educational support and planning, including assisting with developing IEPs and ongoing financial and emotional support for families of children with ASD and other special needs. 

FOCUS Georgia

Originating in Atlanta, FOCUS (Families of Children Under Stress) provides programs and services for families of children with disabilities to enhance their everyday lives. FOCUS works with children up to 29 and supports families who face a wide range of health challenges. 

FOCUS offers support services for over 4,500 families in Georgia. It provides support groups, family activities, overnight camps, adaptive swim teams, and assistance for families seeking resources. 

Chatham County Safety Net

Chatham County Safety Net works throughout the county to offer behavioral and primary health care, improve access to care, and strengthen the infrastructure of the county’s health department. 

Chatham County Safety Net helps those navigating the challenges of the health care system to identify the resources available to them. It works with Children’s Medical Services, Family Support Services, and other programs to ensure that children and families receive the care they need.

F.R.I.E.N.D.S. of Coastal Georgia

Finding Resources in Educational Needs and Developmental Services (F.R.I.E.N.D.S.) of Coastal Georgia offers community services and recreational activities for children with an ASD diagnosis. 

Initially developed in 2009 to provide summer camps and other activities to children with ASD, the organization now offers multiple programs and activities for people in Savannah and the surrounding areas. 

Offerings include summer camps, social and community-based services, social skills groups, parents’ night out events, peer mentoring, and a supportive employment program. The group works with children ranging from school-age to young adults.

Parent to Parent of Georgia

Parent to Parent of Georgia provides services for Georgia families with special health care needs and disabilities. Working with those who have disabilities, from birth through age 26, Parent to Parent of Georgia matches families with the resources they need and provides peer support to those navigating a new diagnosis and challenges. 

The organization has a vast database of providers and groups, information on how to access resources and services, training, and special events geared toward those who may struggle with sensory issues or other challenges. 

Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities

The Georgia Council on Developmental Disabilities (GCDD) works to create social and policy changes that make new opportunities for residents with developmental disabilities and their families. 

GCDD’s Real Communities Initiative is a nationally recognized concept that offers inclusive activities throughout Georgia, focusing on projects that allow those with and without disabilities to work together socially and civically to develop their communities. 

The organization offers valuable information on inclusive schools, activities, and programs.

Children 1st

Georgia’s Department of Public Health’s Children 1st program identifies and collaborates with families, schools, health care providers, and agencies to support at-risk and developmentally delayed children. 

The program connects eligible children with early intervention programs, public health initiatives, and community-based resources. 

Easterseals of Southern Georgia

Easterseals of Southern Georgia works with children, young adults, adults, and caregivers to support those with autism and their families. Its mission is to provide services, education, advocacy, and outreach to engage those with autism and provide them with the skills necessary to participate actively in their communities. 

They offer family, residential, vocational, rehabilitation, and respite services to provide relief to caregivers. 

Katie Beckett Medicaid Program

The Katie Beckett Medicaid Program allows the state of Georgia to disregard family income when considering the needs of disabled individuals who live at home. Children who meet the criteria can qualify for Medicaid based on the institutional level of care they require. 

The program is also called a TEFRA waiver. It allows those approved to use Medicaid as their secondary insurance, providing coverage for medical supplies and services that primary insurance doesn’t fund. 

Families can pursue additional therapies, such as those offered through Easterseals, that support participants’ long-term success.

Lindsey’s Place Camp 

Lindsey’s Place Camp is a nonprofit organization that offers on-site recreational programs for those with special needs. The experience promotes self-confidence, self-esteem, and independence. 

It provides programs to support the personal growth of participants in a caring, nurturing environment that challenges and supports. Lindsey’s Place Camp hosts weekend retreats with campers at Wesley Gardens in Savannah. 

ABA Therapy in Savannah, Georgia

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a therapy for those diagnosed with ASD. Using the science of learning, ABA therapy increases positive behaviors while reducing negative, harmful behaviors and is considered to be the gold standard of therapy methodologies to support ASD.

ABA therapy centers on a highly effective approach. It aims to increase communication and language skills, improve social and memory skills, and help children with autism cultivate a longer attention span and focus. 

A quality ABA program does not take a cookie-cutter approach. Instead, they will customize a plan to meet your child’s individual needs. 

When it comes to ABA therapy in Savannah, Hidden Talents is the go to agency. Our dedicated team of therapists will treat your child like family. If you have any questions about ABA therapy, insurance, or how our program works, give us a call. We will be happy to answer any of your questions. 

Autism Resources in Macon, Georgia

An autism diagnosis can be tough for any parent to deal with. However, you are not alone. 

Below is a list we have compiled of autism resources for parents living in Macon. 

Resource List for Children with Autism in Macon, Georgia

The following resources include:

These programs support children with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs) and their families.

Central GA Autism, LTD

Central GA Autism, LTD is a volunteer-based organization that supports families affected by autism. The active group schedules community events, locates sensory-friendly activities, plans moms’ nights out, and identifies scholarships and other opportunities for children with ASDs and their families.  

Central GA Autism, LTD maintains an active Facebook page with regular updates on events and outings.

The Autism Community in Action 

The Autism Community in Action (TACA) is a national organization providing support, education, and hope to families living with autism. The national group offers free webinars, extensive resources, events, and conferences. 

Additionally, the local group offers support chats, a mentorship program where newly diagnosed families are guided through their new challenges with a family who has gone through similar experiences, and local resources.

Families can stay up to date on local and virtual upcoming events through the TACA Georgia Facebook page

Georgia Department of Community Health 

The Georgia Department of Community Health offers several options for families to bring health care benefits to uninsured children. These benefits include: 

  • Preventive care 
  • Specialist care 
  • Primary care
  • Dental care 
  • Vision care
  • Mental health care
  • Hospitalizations
  • Prescriptions 

Georgia families have a choice of health care plans, allowing them to choose the option that best suits their needs. 

Babies Can’t Wait

The Babies Can’t Wait (BCW) program through the Georgia Department of Public Health assists families with children experiencing developmental delays or who have a condition that can cause delays. 

BCW determines whether a baby or toddler is eligible for the program. The services coordinated through BCW are free to participating families, and the program may be able to provide financial assistance for additional services. 

Babies Can’t Wait is designated for children up to three years old. 

Parent to Parent of Georgia

Parent to Parent of Georgia is a program matching parents with similar experiences so they can support each as they navigate raising a child with special needs. In addition, they offer: 

  • An online database to locate local providers and groups
  • Information on navigating services and experiences
  • Training
  • Special events 

Parent to Parent works with families from birth until 26 years of age, from diagnosis through employment. 

Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program

The Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program awards funds to thousands of students yearly, allowing those with an IEP or 504 to receive aid to attend private schools that can serve their needs. The scholarship amounts range from $2,000-14,000 yearly. 

Navicent Health Autism Support Service Center

The Navicent Health Autism Support Service Center offers developmental assessments, interventions, and support for children with ASD and their families. 

In addition, they offer physical, occupational, speech and language therapy, pediatric psychology, family support groups, and recreational activities, including swimming lessons and music therapy.

Waves Autism Center

The Waves Autism Center provides children with ASD with in-person and online social and life groups, allowing them to connect with like-minded peers their age to form new friendships and develop social skills. 

The Waves Autism Center also offers summer day camps, including a six-week game design camp that allows members to build new skills while forming new relationships.

Miracle League of Macon

The Miracle League of Macon allows boys and girls ages five and up to learn, play, and enjoy baseball. The organization welcomes children of all skills and needs with weekly practices and games. 

The Macon branch of the national Miracle League plays in the fall and spring. 

Aerie Experiences

Aerie Experiences is an Atlanta-based organization that offers single and multi-day programs for those with emotional, behavioral, educational, and developmental needs. The expeditions focus on teaching character, independence, and self-reliance, and they include adventure-based counseling games and courses. 

In addition, they offer camps for kids, teens, and families and scholarships for those in need. 

ABA Therapy in Macon, Georgia

Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy for autism uses the science of learning and behavior to increase positive behaviors and reduce harmful or negative behaviors. 

It’s a highly effective methodology to increase verbal and communication skills, develop a longer attention span and better focus, and improve social skills, memory, and learning.

If you are looking for ABA therapy in Macon give us a call. Hidden Talents is the premiere ABA therapy provider in Georgia and we are ready to help.

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