Autism Spurs Parents to Act; Program Offers Training to Teach Children at Home

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), December 11, 2007 | Go to article overview

Autism Spurs Parents to Act; Program Offers Training to Teach Children at Home


Byline: Shelley Widhalm, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Twenty-year-old Brittney Taylor says "pasta," and Josef Zupan, a 7-year-old child with autism, hands her a picture of noodles on a plate. She says "fur," and with some prompting, Josef hands her the tiger picture.

"High five," Ms. Taylor says, and Josef gives her one.

"Nice job. That's right," are other words of encouragement she uses to reward Josef and keep him on task as they work on vocabulary and following directions.

Ms. Taylor has been teaching Josef, who is completely nonverbal, since July through a training academy sponsored by Parents of Autistic Children of Northern Virginia (POAC-NoVA). The parent-run nonprofit organization, based in Fairfax City, focuses on improving the quality and quantity of education for children with autism. It has 350 families, primarily from Fairfax County, on its membership list.

"There is no quick fix for autism," says Ms. Taylor, a senior at George Mason University (GMU) in Fairfax who is majoring in therapeutic recreation. "It takes dedication and hard work."

Ms. Taylor is among the first eight students, including two parents of autistic children, to graduate from the POAC-NoVA Verbal Behavior Instructors Academy (PVBIA), which trains therapists for running a home program for children with autism.

"We have to, as parents, band together. We want our kids to get a good education, and we need help," says Theresa Wrangham, director of educational development at the U.S. Autism & Asperger Association. The association is a nonprofit organization

based in Draper, Utah, that provides educational and family support for those affected by autism spectrum disorders, a category of neurological disorders that includes autism. She is the parent of a 17-year-old girl with autism.

Parents often can find a consultant to design a home program, but they may have difficulty finding a therapist to work the program, says Justine Chang, who oversees therapist trainers for POAC-NoVa.

"It requires the parents to have a lot of patience. It takes a lot of time. And it puts a heavy impact on their finances," Ms. Chang says.

The shortage of therapists has resulted, in part, from an increase in the rate of autism, which affects 1 in 150 American children, according to POAC-NoVA.

"Autism is a constellation of symptoms that are seen in children who have primary social interactive impairments," says Dr. Stephen Mott of Georgetown University Hospital in Northwest, where he is medical director of the Autism and Communications Disorders Clinic and division chief of pediatric neurology and neurodevelopmental pediatrics for the Department of Pediatrics. He also is an associate professor of pediatrics and neurology at Georgetown University Medical School.

Children with autism have developmental abnormalities in their ability to communicate both verbally and nonverbally, Dr. Mott says.

"It is a disorder that has no primary medical treatment," says Lauren Kenworthy, director of the Center for Autism Spectrum Disorders at the Children's National Medical Center in Northwest. She holds a doctorate in clinical psychology. "The most important treatments we have for autism are behavioral and educational," she says.

PVBIA uses Applied Behavior Analysis/Verbal Behavior (ABA/VB) and other research-based methodologies to build verbal skills and achieve social connectedness.

ABA is a method of teaching that includes breaking tasks into smaller steps that each must be mastered before moving to the next one, says Wendy Fournier, president of the National Autism Association, a nonprofit organization based in Nixa, Mo. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Autism Spurs Parents to Act; Program Offers Training to Teach Children at Home
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.