Archive for the ‘Asperger’s’ Category

“Autism does not define me.” by Miss Montana

January 27, 2013

Alexis is very correct. Too many think that Autism is only about deficits.

People with Autism also have abilities, talents, positive feelings and dreams.



April 2012 is Autism Awareness Month

April 2, 2012

It is now April 2012 and the CDC released the increased rate of 1 in 88 children has Autism. However, the upcoming new DSM V will be making it harder for children to meet the criteria to get the diagnosis of Autism. In my opinion, this makes no sense.

Thus supposedly no more Asperger’s, no more PDD either – so then where are these children going to belong and how are they going to get help?

Autism Spectrum disorder was meant to be an umbrella. The classifications were helpful distinctions to differentiate the functioning level of the child. An Asperger’s child versus a child with Autism are two different children. Even if you compared any two Autistic children there would be differences.

Us professionals in this field and the kids’ parents are perplexed by this move in the DSM V to change the Autism diagnosis. It is a wrong move that will not benefit these kids.

We have an epidemic of Autism. The kids are here, so lets give them the help and supports they need instead of looking to lowering numbers based on a more strict criteria.

Hey Kids, Time to Go Back to School

August 25, 2010

I just love this commercial! The Advertisement company who did this for STAPLES was smart! 

So here it is for parents!  I am sure that you can relate.

It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

Time to Go Back to School

I have been working with many families lately and the current recurring theme has been … The parents can’t wait for school to start. I even mentioned this commercial to some and sang a few bars of it. The parents smiled, remembered this commercial and agreed strongly.

So I just had to share this commercial as one of my favorites that was right on target and has been timeless.

Celebrity Apprentice – 3rd Season – Good luck to Bret Michaels

May 23, 2010

I have to admit I love watching the Celebrity Apprentice. Though I know that the celebrities are ‘reacting’ to the cameras, it still has the ‘reality’ situations coming into play.

During this season, I had picked Bret Michaels to be a strong player and he has proven it too.

Additionally, it has been interesting to see the business / more personal sides of this group of celebrities.

Overall, Bret has been very creative, a go getter, has not thrown people under the bus, has worked hard, suffers from Diabetes, his daughter was diagnosed with Diabetes as well.  He actually showed a side of himself that was more interesting – being charismatic and intelligent in the pursuit to win money for his Diabetes charity versus the Rock of Love show that was in the conquest of just fooling around. Hey Bret, your creative, compassioniate and intelligent side of you is sooooo much more attractive = )  Also, some of the aerobic  moves for the exercise class task were good too lol.

Though during the month of April 2010, Bret had to have surgery to remove his appendix, then he had a near-fatal brain hemorrhage that thankfully and luckily he can recover from. Next in May he had a minor stroke which led to being diagnosed with a hole in his heart that will require future heart surgery. But the music man is not lying down, Bret Michaels has things to do like win Celebrity Apprentice.

Bret’s rep, Janna Elias, states “Bret wants everyone to know he cannot thank you enough for all of the well wishes, prayers, and good vibes you have sent his way. Even though these last few months have been tough on him and his family, especially this most recent setback, he is in good spirits, great medical hands and is positive and hopeful that everything is going to be OK. He is up, walking, talking, continuing his daily rehab and very happy to be alive but he has made it clear he is sick and tired of being in the hospital and is ready to rock again.” 

As for Holly Robinson Peete –  WOW, what a strong lady. I give her alot of credit for making it to the final two and beating out Sharon Osbourne. Of course I love her charity for Autism though Bret has been a more well rounded player. He demonstrated via the tasks that he was a better project manager and team player than Holly.

As for Trump wondering where is Bret’s passion for his charity compared to Holly ? Well Mr Trump he would not be there if he did not want to win, he stayed and continued on with the game when his daughter was diagnosed, he deals with Diabetes himself and now other medical issues.  I define Bret’s attitude during this game as a ‘collective and progressive’ passion, he had set his goal of winning and becoming the next Celebrity Apprentice. His game playing against the other celebrities has been impressive and rock solid.

So of course I think Donald Trump needs to make the right choice which is to HIRE Bret Michaels as the next Celebrity Apprentice !!!

Tune in Sunday May 23, 2010
9pm EDT on NBC

By the way, the charities of both Celebrity Apprentice Finalists are worthwhile. They both have brought more positive awareness to Diabetes and Autism. Please donate to these good causes.

As per
Bret’s charity is the American Diabetes Association (Sponsor of Camps for Kids With Diabetes)

When Bret was six years old he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. Today, he must take four shots of insulin a day and must always be in control of his blood sugars, oftentimes testing his blood up to six times a day. Because diabetes is such a major part of his life, Bret feels it’s his duty to raise money and awareness for the American Diabetes Association. With the ADA, Bret has a fund which sponsors diabetic kids and sends them to camp where they can meet other kids with similar conditions and have unlimited access to nurses and doctors who are there to help. When Bret was initially diagnosed with diabetes, his mother was an integral part in forming these diabetic camps, so Bret hopes to carry on the tradition.  ”

As per

Holly’s charity is the HollyRod Foundation

After watching her father struggle with Parkinson’s disease, Holly focused her attention on forming the HollyRod Foundation with her husband, Rodney. The HollyRod foundation sets out to support families who may not have the means to treat a loved one with a serious medical condition. When their eldest son, RJ, was diagnosed with autism, Holly and Rodney expanded their foundation and started to focus on autism. Autism affects one in 91 children and treatment can put an enormous emotional and financial strain on the family. The HollyRod Foundation paves its road through the simple act of providing comfort along the way with medical, physical, and emotional support to achieve a better quality of life for individuals and their families.

Bestselling author, actress, and national autism spokesperson Holly Robinson Peete has paired with her daughter Ryan to co-author this uplifting book based on their own personal experiences with Holly’s son and Ryan’s brother RJ, who has autism. Holly and Ryan will donate a percentage of the proceeds of “My Brother Charlie” to the HollyRod4Kids Foundation, to help children with autism gain access to affordable treatments and therapies. For information about HollyRod4Kids visit   “

ABA and National Healthcare Reform

March 29, 2010

H.R. 3590, the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.” was part of the Health Reform bill put into law on March 23, 2010.

New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez being a Member of the U.S. Senate Finance Committee, was very instrumental in developing the amendment for the provision requiring insurance plans to provide behavioral health treatments. Therefore in the future, health insurance plans created by the bill will be required to cover behavioral health treatments as a standard benefit. Since applied behavior analysis (ABA) is a behavioral health treatment for individuals with autism and other disabilities, it will be covered under the Health Reform Bill.

Overall, this is a very big step and deserved recognition for our field of Applied Behavior Analysis. ABA can help so many.

It is not surprising that NJ Senator Menendez pushed this through since February 2010 in our own state of NJ, all state level regulated Health insurance plans are mandated to cover behavior analysis related services up to the age of 21.

However, I have major concerns about this Health Reform bill.

– the Medicaid system is already over burdened
– this bill focused on quantity with no real quality assurances
– the funding for National Healthcare could be quite economically taxing, especially to the middle class
– allowables and benefit amounts have not been determined

This health reform bill that is 2700 pages long has many issues and unanswered questions.

Thus I am appreciative that Behavior Analysis is gaining more valuable recognition though it is my hope that ABA will be funded appropriately to provide quality care to those in need.

JABA – Journal Of Appled Behavior Analysis

October 18, 2009

For all of the ABA students that I supervise as they work towards their BCBA and the BCaBAs, I make it mandatory that they purchase a subscription to JABA. In fact, I strongly believe that all Board Certified Behavior Analysts (BCBA) and Assistant Behavior Analysts (BCaBA) should have JABA in their personal libraries.

Though is JABA for everyone ???


One may think that the Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis is only just about Autism research studies. Actually if you really think that then you are wrong.

Recently, I was at a lecture being presented by a psychologist on behavior interventions and I brought some reading materials with me. In between the breaks, I was actually reading up on the latest published issue by JABA for Fall 2009. A person sitting next to me noticed that I was perusing this journal and asked what it was. So I just said to them- take it and read it for yourself.

The subjects focused on in this particular issue varied broadly

 – Gambling           – typical developing children interventions

– customer service           – flight training

– preventing back injuries training      –  basketball success shots

– job skills              – teaching foreign language vocabulary

– placement of consumer products         – etc  etc ……

I smiled as I observed the intrigued person scanning my current copy of JABA. They commented to me that they thought ABA was just about Autism and that this type of journal would be boring. I said NOPE, ABA is applicable to Autism and numerous other things, even including assessing the group behavior of this audience for this lecture.

They were quite interested in the Journal and discussed our field of Appled Behavior Analysis further with me – so I made the sales pitch and gave them info on how to order JABA.

So here I am making a sales pitch to all readers of this blog.

JABA rec

Main Info page

Subscription info page

Personally, I really think that the JABA editors and contributors made a very smart decision a few years back to include a wider variety of ABA related studies. Overall, that decision has made this journal more interesting and useful which could  and probably already has expanded its audience of readers.

Good Deeds Teach Good Behaviors

July 29, 2009

phoebePhobe letter

Last June Phoebe did a good deed, she raised $3,736 that expanded to over $33,000 to feed poor families in San Francisco.

After seeing a man begging for food while her parents’ car drove her to preschool, this 5 year old girl was inspired to help feed the needy. She decided to do a community service project and mandated it for all the students in her school.

She originally came up with a $1,000 goal. Her teacher Kathleen Albert thought that was great but cautioned it was too ambitious. Phoebe remained determined anyway to help those in need.

Her project spurred on other agencies to do matching donations for her good cause.

End result from one good deed initiated by Phoebe?

$33,624 worth of food — or 17,971 meals — for the city’s hungry.

Her teacher, Kathleen Albert said, “I think it is very important to teach children to give back to the community. I see so many adults who walk around and have no idea of that. It doesn’t matter your wealth, you can still give back. It teaches kids that small donations can add up to big donations.”


I say, IMPRESSIVE and may God Bless this child for her good deeds. Phoebe is a very good kid.

Good deeds help others, it also helps the one who does the good deed. By doing good deeds, it positively shapes one’s character. Good deeds shape future behaviors.

So think about it parents-

What good deeds has your child done lately????

Note: Food banks are in greater need of food and cash donations. Those needing food have risen due to the poor economy. Please do a good deed today and donate to your local food bank or food pantry.

You can also check out

Good News: NJ Passes Law for Health Insurance to Pay for ABA

June 27, 2009

New Jersey Becomes the 14th State to Pass Autism Insurance Reform

NEW YORK, NY (June 25, 2009) — Autism Speaks today joined New Jersey families and other autism advocacy organizations in applauding the state’s legislature for passing the autism insurance reform bill, S. 1651/A. 2238, which requires insurance companies to provide coverage of evidence-based, medically necessary autism therapies ( and other developmental disabilities) . The bill now heads to Governor Jon Corzine’s desk for signature into law.

The New Jersey bill requires insurers to cover up to $36,000 annually for a child with autism that is 21 years of age or younger. Coverage includes Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy, which is recognized as an effective, evidence-based treatment for children with autism.

In many states, insurers explicitly exclude coverage of these therapies from policies, which places a significant financial burden on families seeking to provide their children with necessary services. Thirteen other states – Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Texas – have passed similar autism insurance reform bills. Nearly thirty states had bills introduced in their legislatures this year.

“With the passage of this legislation, New Jersey joins the ranks of states that have recognized the unfair and unreasonable burden being imposed on families of children with autism,” said Elizabeth Emken, Autism Speaks vice president of government relations. “Autism insurance reform has gained significant national momentum.”


A2238 – Requires health benefits coverage for certain therapies for the treatment of autism and other developmental disabilities. *
Passed both Houses

My thoughts on this ?
I think it is GREAT news for children and their families with disabilities.

It shall be an interesting process to see how all of this shall be implemented and monitored.

I did my part and contacted my NJ legislative representatives as a BCBA to pass this bill. Though I am concerned about those who are adults with disabilities, they also need behavior analysis supports too.

It is exciting that the families will have many therapeutic avenues that can accessed. Especially since many parents with children who have disabilities need training and coaching. Yes, parents can implement ABA programs and behavior interventions at home  and in the community as long as they have an experienced  Board Certified Behavior Analyst ( BCBA) that is a very good one working with them.

Highly Structured ABA Versus Natural Environment Teaching ABA

May 31, 2009

As a Behavior Analyst, I observe and work in various settings. Recently I came acrossed comments on another Autism related blog that proclaimed Applied Behavior Analysis just makes kids into robots due to its overly high structured protocols and interventions!

Whenever I read these types of comments, I think to myself- ABA is not just about highly structured interventions with massive discrete trials that rewards with M&Ms.

Yes, I have to be honest, I do come across some ABA programs that are too highly structured that lack fading procedures and Natural Environment Teaching. Yes, I do come across behavioral psychologists who joke about the ABA usage of primary reinforcers like M&Ms.

However, my response is usually this- A truly experienced Behavior Analyst will know what is necessary for each individual, group, situation or setting and will apply ABA principles accordingly.

I recently did a school observation of a child with Autism who is mainstreamed with typical developing children. It has been very nice to witness how this child has grown over the past few years being in regular school with some added therapeutic supports.

Does Natural Environment Teaching occur in the regular school system? Absolutely! This child has benefited from it. Though being the Behavior Analyst consultant, I did have to add some more structure and intervention. I advised on how to balance the teaching environment.

Thus, I have seen both sides, settings that were mainly Natural Environment Teaching that needed more sstructure and discrete trial additions to overly structured programs that needed to become more flexible and natural.

Is there an easy answer to all of this? NO.

It all DEPENDS upon many factors that have to be assessed and evaluated.

Do You Want to Become a Behavior Analyst?

May 5, 2009

Since I have started this blog, I’ve gotten numerous email and phone inquiries regarding career advisement in the field of Applied Behavior Analysis.

Though I must point out, as I always say, each person is unique, so is also a personal career choice.

People have many career questions about ABA such as;

– how much work is involved in becoming a Behavior Analyst?
– should I become a Board Certified Behavior Analyst?
– what ABA graduate programs should I apply to?
– what job options would I have?
– what can I do with my current work background?
– could I set up my own business or should I work for an organization/agency?

– do I have to only work with the Autism population to become a BCBA?
– how can I get work experience with the required BCBA supervision?
etc etc…

I will provide some basics here:

With a BCBA certification you could do a lot of good work and help people. Our field is in need of very good, competent Behavior Analysts. Though there is an ongoing debate now with the Behavior Analyst Certification Board as to go the licensure route or continue the certification model.  In my professional opinion, I still think the BCBA is the right thing to do if you utilize Applied Behavior Analysis in your working career.

By becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst, it will make you more credible, you will belong to an expanding intellectual group, it will make you more marketable and if you wish you can try to make your own positive impact upon our field.
As for the ABA graduate courses, they are a lot of work, so be prepared and structure lots of time to complete them. And yes, you have to study in order to pass the Board’s exam. 
So come on over to the BCBA side.
I will occassionally keep addressing various issues of ABA, including some basic questions about our field here at my blog, so check back for future blog entries. However, for the more specific questions for individuals needing career counseling in Applied Behavior Analysis, I will have to charge for my time.

Those interested in gaining more specific knowledge about ABA and becoming a Board Certified Behavior Analyst may email an inquiry at with the subject line ‘career’ to set up an appointment for a 15 minute or 30 minute career advisement session via phone. An informational email will then be sent regarding how to set up an appointment and fees.

Appointments can be set up quickly with credit card payment options through Paypal.

For free information about becoming a Behavior Analyst  please visit and review this site –

Thank you.