Our CEO and founder, Tracy Sekhon, was just featured on an episode of the “How It’s Built Podcast”, with Billy Cook.
In the episode, Tracy talks about how, through a series of events a few years ago, she had the idea to create a center of resources for families that have kids on the spectrum. This was no easy task, but by working with a coach she was able to put the idea into motion, and in 2019 ARTC was officially formed.
She shares many insights about leaving a thriving business to pursue her passion on helping other families dealing with autism, starting ARTC and more, regarding children being diagnosed as well as treatment options.
Check out the podcast here
Here is also a short video peak from the Podcast!
That wise old real estate adage of "Location, Location, Location" is as relevant for psychology and medical professionals as it is for retail entities. If you're looking to move to a new location or opening your first clinical practice, choosing the right spot is essential to your ultimate success.
Based on a 2014 report from the Associated Press, 50% of patients weigh the location of a healthcare practice when choosing a professional. That's why putting careful consideration into where your clinical practice is located is important. Consider these five elements when choosing a new location.
This is the most obvious consideration when looking for a location for your clinical practice. You need a location that's in an area potential clients will be comfortable going to but you also need to keep your costs to a minimum. This is especially true if you are starting a new clinical practice rather than move an established one. The careful balancing act between quality and cost can be assisted by utilizing the services of a realtor or other professional familiar with properties in the area.
Determining how many providers there are in an area, as well as how large their practices are, what their specialties are and what they specialize in is a pretty basic aspect of choosing a new location. To position yourself so that patients come to you, you need to check the population-to-professional ratio for the area you're considering. This info can be found at the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
The lower the number of professionals within your industry that are in the area, the less competition there will be and vice versa. Often, healthcare professionals will saturate upscale areas and completely miss the enormous opportunities which exist only a few miles away in middle- and lower-income areas.
With that said, referring partners should not be considered “competition”. They may be in your field, providing something that compliments your services Therefore, it is just as important to align your referral network in close proximity.
Another consideration is how accessible your location is for your patients. Consider locations near bus routes, major highways and train stations for patients who need to commute from nearby communities. Most realtors will tell you that a good location is within 20 minutes of the area you intend to serve.
For patients who drive themselves, you will need adequate parking. A location that allows you to provide your patients with free parking is ideal and makes your services more accessible for those with lower incomes.
Consider what it is like for your patients to receive multiple services. Offer options that allow them easier access to you AND easier access to those services that compliment yours.
The look and feel of your location's outer appearance will be the first impression potential clients have of your clinical practice. Any location that projects the concepts of cleanliness and health will appeal to patients, while one that isn't may turn these potential clients off from retaining your services.
The design at a Resource Center allows for your client to visualize a myriad of options. Collaborating with other providers and resources help gain trust and long term care. Ultimately, patients can access more support through the design of a Resource Center, uniting a comon goal.
The professional resources in an area that you can utilize to help your patients is another consideration. Resource Centers are one of the factors that you should consider when choosing a location, as well as the proximity of referring physicians that may send new patients to your clinical practice. This ability to collaborate with a full healthcare team allows you to provide inclusive services to your patients.
Additional community resources and clinical support groups are another consideration. The Autism Resource & Treatment Center (ARTC) is one of those groups.
Wrapping It Up
There are a number of criteria to consider when choosing a location and the above list is only the beginning. Making a poor choice of location can sink even the best clinical practice.
One way to guarantee you choose a great location is to work with the Autism Resource & Treatment Center. We take the doubt and danger out of finding a new location by providing you with our established center. If you are a professional psychologist (or you are a licensed professional who serves the Autism community) strongly consider working with or offering your services through the ARTC center, contact us today!
5 Essentials to Building a Successful Patient Referral Program
You provide vital support to people with ASD. You offer treatment and recommendations, provide stewardship and a safe space for care. You offer support, with an array of options, to those with ASD. You improve the whole world of Autism. This often goes unseen and, the truth is: you need support, too.
There are many providers, programs and opportunities within the community to help give your ASD patient a well-rounded life while keeping you apprised of their treatment journey outside your office. Here are five essentials to recommending additional resources and treatment for your ASD:
1. Provider Trust
As you provide recommendations, what is your process for vetting the providers in your network? For example, sometimes children with ASD are left behind with low Medicaid rates. Some waiting lists are years long, and by that time, children are all grown up but without the skills to match. Not only concerns such as that, but does the program or provider have a solid reputation?
2. Shared Patient Progress
Gain access to knowledge of your patient and their progress outside your office with more viewpoints. Add this supplemental information to your progress notes to keep up with symptoms and growth. For example, you can better monitor the effectiveness of a patient's practice of a healthy coping mechanism for a change in routine.
Your progress notes, including the assessment, diagnosis and treatment plan, can help social groups, support networks and other resources to better align their care toward the individual with ASD.
3. Multi-Speciality Benefits
A 2017 Tel Aviv University study recently found that outdoor challenge-based interventions offer some relief in the severity of ASD symptoms. The research discovered that children with ASD experienced significant improvement in autistic mannerisms, social motivation and social cognition after participating in outdoor adventure activities. You can engage in conversation and activities with your patient in office, but such programs offer multi-speciality benefits that provide a well-rounded treatment plan that enriches the patient's life while helping them achieve progress.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there is "no one standard treatment for autism." As each person with ASD differs in personality, interests and needs, so does the treatment plan. Symptoms can even vary extremely in twins with ASD. The therapy or intervention that works for one person with ASD won't work for another. However, most patients with ASD respond the best to highly specialized and structured programs. Many patients go on to progress rapidly in achieving clear and positive social exchanges, as well as other goals.
4. Social Opportunities
Humans are a social species that require connection for survival and evolution, but in a modern context, that includes personal growth and development. The world is more social than ever, even if that's behind a smartphone screen at times. Humans still need real facetime.
Social groups and social counseling sessions are available for patients with ASD at all ages, from elementary to adult. These services allow folks on the spectrum to claim their social independence. These groups provide a supportive, comfortable and consistent that encourages success in learning social skills and increasing behavioral and social awareness. Be sure to look for these traits in the programs that you vet.
What needs do your patient have? Are they applying to college or need more peer-based interaction? What kinds of social opportunities would you like to offer your patients on the spectrum?
5. Community Support
Though conversations surrounding autism have increased, many families and patients on the spectrum still feel the stigma of their diagnosis. No one wants their patient to feel invisible and without adequate resources in their community.
However, there are many resources in the community where those with ASD can feel more relaxed and understood while enjoying activities and milestones that "everyone else" does. Increasingly, many theaters offer sensory-friendly film nights and coffee shops offer designated quiet areas. Colleges hire personnel to work with those with ASD to make their academic journey feel less harrowing and more geared toward success.
More community spaces, such as grocery stores, places of worship and recreation centers, hold Awareness Days as an opportunity for self-education and public education. With more encouragement, education and advocacy, successful community integration is more than possible with community support.
In fact, there are over 100 Parent Training and Information Centers (PTIs) and Community Parent Resource Centers (CPRCs) in the U.S. and Territories that work with families from birth to age 26. These centers assist parents with effective participation in their children's development and education. CPRCs also partner with policy-makers and professionals to improve life outcomes for children with ASD and other challenges.
Also, state agencies and councils exist as legal entities charged with protecting and advocating for those with ASD and other developmental disorders or disabilities. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services the roles of these agencies are:
Recommendations matter in clinical practice. In fact, they are intrinsic in their timeliness and earnestness to be an active part of a patient's life.
Partner with us to offer your services or join our staff at our Autism Resource Center in San Diego by searching our career opportunities and reach out with any questions or ideas. We'd love to hear what you have to say.
By Autism Speaks
Autism’s core symptoms are:
Many people with autism have sensory issues. These typically involve over- or under-sensitivities to sounds, lights, touch, tastes, smells, pain and other stimuli.
Autism is also associated with high rates of certain physical and mental health conditions.
Social communication challenges
Children and adults with autism have difficulty with verbal and non-verbal communication. For example, they may not understand or appropriately use:
Restricted and repetitive behaviors vary greatly across the autism spectrum. They can include:
By Eileen Lamb; The Autism Cafe
Autism checklist for adults
I was diagnosed with high-functioning autism as an adult. Read my post about it here. I often get asked what the signs are and if I knew I was autistic. I started to question whether I was on the autism spectrum after my son was diagnosed with severe nonverbal autism at 2 year old.
If you’re here, you probably found this post on Google looking for “Signs of autism in adults“. If you’re wondering if you are on the autism spectrum, then I hope you’ll find this list helpful. If you feel like a lot of these bullet points apply to you, you may want to follow up with a specialist for more information. Seeking a diagnosis can help. It makes me feel better having an explanation for why I’ve always felt different. I also hope it will help people be more understanding. That said, I try not to use autism as an excuse for anything. If you think you may have autism and wants to find answers for yourself, make an appointment with your PCP and try to get a referral for a specialist in autism who does therapeutic assessments. Only they can diagnose autism, and they can help you with your journey if they do.
In the meantime, if you’ve been wondering about yourself, see if most of the following autism symptoms apply to you.
Signs of high-functioning Autism (Asperger’s) in adults:
Communication (Verbal and non-verbal):
by Spectrum Sense | Oct 29, 2018 | Diagnosis |
What is The Difference Between Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder?
I see and hear this question all the time. It’s in my sensory processing groups, my autism groups, and all around the therapists’ offices. A lot of people on the spectrum have sensory issues, so what is the difference between autism and sensory processing disorder? Is there a difference?
Most parents of autistic kids say their children have sensory processing disorder, but do all kids with SPD also have autism? Are they the same thing? Why do most people with autism have so many shared symptoms with sensory processing disorder? It’s so confusing sometimes! Can you relate? When I first started this journey, all the terminology made my head hurt, so I’m going to try to make this simple.
What is sensory processing disorder?
Before we talk about similarities and differences, let’s just make sure everyone knows what SPD is in the first place. Sensory processing disorder is basically where the brain misinterprets incoming sensory signals, causing it to misfire and give the wrong response.
Imagine a kid with poor vision trying to play baseball without their glasses. When you throw the ball to them, their brain misinterprets its location. If they can’t see it clearly, they may swing the bat too late, too early, or not at all. It may cause them a huge deal of frustration, which could lead to a tantrum.
Sensory processing disorder is pretty much the same, except it includes more than just one sense. Your brain can misinterpret visual, tactile, auditory, gustatory input, or olfactory input, making it seem unbearable. Kids with sensory sensitivities are often called sensory avoiders.
The opposite can also occur. Sensory seekers are those who require much more input than usual. They may like their music too loud and their food extra spicy or sour. They may crash into things, in order to feel deep pressure, to get the tactile input they need.
Sensory processing disorder makes it difficult for the brain to respond appropriately, so it often reacts instead. This can cause stimming behaviors and meltdowns. Sadly, SPD is not recognized as a diagnosis – it is a symptom of an underlying disorder, so services are usually not covered by insurance. Parents are often encouraged to seek a medical diagnosis to figure out what the underlying cause is, but the cause cannot always be pinpointed.
What is autism?
Autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder that is characterized by difficulties in communication and social interaction, and restrictive, repetitive behaviors. Often times, these restrictive and repetitive behaviors are sensory related.
Stimming is a term that is used a lot in the autism community. A child may flap their hands, rock back and forth, bang their head, fidget, or insist on holding a particular object at all times.
Speech is often delayed in children with autism spectrum disorders, but not always. Some kids on the spectrum begin speaking at an appropriate age, but become nonverbal under stress or excitement. Others learned speech according to the developmental tables, but have trouble using it properly. Some have other speech difficulties like stuttering.
Social interaction is another area that autistic children struggle with. Since it is a spectrum, there are many ways this can present. While some kids may be very distant and seem to live inside their own world, completely oblivious to people around them, others may appear overly social because they don’t recognize social boundaries. Still others can simply be socially awkward.
So how are SPD and autism different?
Both of these disorders involve sensory problems, stimming, and meltdowns. Sensory aversions lead to sensory overload, which can cause meltdowns. Likewise, the need for sensory input can cause stimming and apparently unruly behavior, as the child tries to fill the urgent need for sensory stimuli. These types of symptoms are seen in children with autism and sensory processing disorder.
But children with autism also have issues in the areas of communication and social interaction. Sensory issues can cause an array of learning struggles and social problems. For example, certain stimming behaviors may cause other children to tease or avoid your child. But that type of social demise is different than an autistic child, who does not understand the rules and regulations of socializing appropriately. If your child has been labeled with sensory processing disorder, and they are not hitting major milestones like talking and parallel play, or if they have other communicative and social setbacks, it may be time to talk to their pediatrician about an autism evaluation.
If you’re hesitant to move too quickly in that direction, you may want to get a better understanding of autism spectrum disorders first. My autism eBook provides a comprehensive yet simple overview of the most important topics surrounding an autism diagnosis. It’s an affordable next step in your journey.
The sooner you get the answers, the sooner you can get your child the help they need to have the best possible chance at success!
What is ABA Therapy?
ABA stands for “Applied Behavior Analysis”. It’s therapy that’s based on the science of learning and behavior. Behavior analysis helps us understand how behavior works, how it’s affected by our environment and how learning happens. ABA therapy applies our understanding of how behavior works in real life situations. The goal with ABA therapy, is to increase the behaviors that are helpful and decrease the behaviors that are harmful or affect learning.
What can ABA Therapy help with?
It can help increase language and communication skills. It can also help improve attention, memory, focus, social skills and even academics!
The methods used in ABA therapy have actually been used and studied for decades. It’s been used to help children with Autism and other developmental disorders since the 1960’s.
How does it work?
ABA uses techniques to understand and change behavior. Programs and goals are designed for the individual learner. Therapy can be provided in many different locations; including in the home, at a clinic, in school or in the community. It teaches everyday life skills. The main strategy used in ABA therapy, is positive reinforcement, which encourages positive behavior changes. The overall goal is to help the individual work on skills that will allow them to become more independent and successful for a lifetime.
by Tracy Sekhon; Founder + CEO of ARTC
As a parent, I watched my child obsessively from the time he was born. I couldn't stop staring at him- from the perfect little fingers to the blue eyes gazing with wonder. It was easy to envelop my world in this little body. He was my "everything", and I was his.
This world of wonder grew as he developed new skills but I couldn't help comparing him to his older brother. His brother was just a bit older (16 months) so it became second nature to compare my younger son's development to my older son. From eating, to crawling, to talking, I compared it all.
When my youngest son was about 18 months there was a dramatic change from how he had been developing previously. These changes created greater concern with me as the gap between my sons became increasingly larger. I began addressing my concerns with his pediatrician who advised treating symptoms of hearing loss. The hearing loss was remedied with surgery and tubes. Even then, he wasn't progressing normally after his hearing was restored.
After being told that he was showing signs of Autism, I took him to our pediatrician, who completed the checklist and advised that his score indicated that he was no to low risk. I knew nothing about Autism until a speech therapist mentioned that she thought something more was going on than his hearing loss. It wasn't until I insisted he give me a referral to a specialist who could diagnose him, that I was directed to UCSD ACE for help.
According to Wendy L. Stone, PhD and Lauren Turner, PhD recent research results, "Compared with children with non-autistic developmental delays, children with autism have been described as less likely to demonstrate early social-communicative behaviors such as making eye contact, looking at others, greeting others, offering and giving objects, showing and pointing to objects, raising arms to be picked up, imitating, and using non-verbal vocalizations communicatively. They are also described as less likely to understand or respond to the communication of others, such as following the point of an adult to an object or responding to their names being called." (http://www.child-encyclopedia.com/autism/according-experts/impact-autism-child-development)
Finding commonalities gave me a sense of reassurance. The parts I had to let go were the general statements and standards of "normal", "typically developing", "neuro-typical". Such comparisons were not helpful to our journey. Here are a few tips, I found, to avoid getting trapped comparing my child with autism to "normal":
Little by little, I learned to love my son for all that he is, not just the parts that seemed "normal". I also ventured into new worlds that embraced what we needed most, which has been love and acceptance.
Asperger Syndrome is a term that was previously used to identify high functioning individuals with autism. It's no longer used as a subtype of autism, because all subtypes are now included in the autism spectrum disorder classification. Now, one with the characteristics of the previously termed Asperger Syndrome, is deemed on the lower end of the spectrum. These individuals have difficulty with social interactions, may have a limited interests and/or have repetitive behaviors. They could also have delayed motor development. They usually do not, however, have significant language delays or difficulties. Some even have amazing vocabularies and understanding of the meanings of words. As with all individuals on the autism spectrum, the strengths and challenges vary greatly from person to person.
A child with Asperger Syndrome is usually not diagnosed until they're having serious difficulties in school or with friends. Adults are often diagnosed when they show signs of significant struggle at work or with their personal relationships and/or are seeking help for depression or anxiety. Both seem to benefit from an understanding of their strengths and challenges, coupled with counseling and social programs that offer an opportunity to develop skills for effective social interactions.
Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, is a developmental disability that affects how a person communicates with and relates to other people. It also affects how they make sense of the word around them.
It is a broad range of conditions that include challenges with social skills, repetitive behaviors, speech and nonverbal communication.
Those with autism also have unique strengths and differences. It is a spectrum disorder, which means that, while all people with autism share certain difficulties, their condition will affect them in different ways.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently increased the prevalence to an estimated 1 in 59 children affected. Boys are more likely than girls to be affected.
The most obvious signs of autism that usually appear between 2 and 3 years old; limited or no eye contact, not sharing smiles or other non-verbal communication, no babble or use of words and not responding when their name is called.
The most obvious signs of autism at any age, are; repeats same words over and over, delayed language development or no language at all, gets upset by changes in routine, limited interests, limited diet, prefers to be alone and strong reaction to sensory stimuli (smells, sounds, textures, lights, tastes).