Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are complex developmental disabilities that are characterized by impairment in reciprocal social interaction, impairment in communication, and the presence of repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behaviors, interests, and activities. There are multiple disorders on the Autism Spectrum including Autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder – Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS), and Asperger Syndrome. These three conditions share some of the same diagnostic symptoms; however symptom onset and severity differ. Pervasive Developmental Disorders include these three developmental disabilities, as well as Rett Syndrome and Childhood Disintegrative Disorder.
In 2007, 1 in 150 eight-year old children had an ASD, and in 2009 there was a clear increase in prevalence, with the Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring (ADDM) Network reporting that one percent of all children ages 3-17 and 1.3% of all children ages 6-8 in the United States had an ASD – the prevalence of ASD 4.5 times higher among boys than girls.
In response to the growing rate of occurrence, the Combating Autism Act (CAA) was passed in 2006 authorizing $920 million dollars in federal funding to support Autism. In 2009, President Barack Obama included $211 million dollars for Autism in his Fiscal Year 2010 budget. This is the first year since the CAA was passed that funding for Autism has been included in a president’s budget proposal.
Even with these efforts, parents of children with ASD have one of the highest reported levels of stress when compared to other parent groups. Additionally, culturally diverse children with ASD may have an increased risk of low developmental achievement because cultural barriers prevent their families from having access to information about available services. Furthermore, the majority of evidenced-based interventions have not included many ethnically diverse participants in their studies. Current information pertaining to families with a child diagnosed with ASD indicates a need for parent interventions that target stress and coping, social skills training for children, and culturally responsive treatments for ethnic minorities.
Learning Dynamics seeks to serve as a support for primary caregivers of children with ASD. We developed a culturally responsive, evidenced-based, parent education program that assists parents in positively reinforcing social skill development in children with ASD. Participants in our course learn how to assist their children in generalizing adaptive skills into their everyday lives. This program is also intended to assist parents in managing stresses associated with their child’s diagnosis of an ASD.
To learn more about our program GO HERE. Our course has been approved by the North Los Angeles County Regional Center.
NOTE: The puzzle piece is the symbol chosen to represent Autism by the National Autism Society in 1963. You may also see the multicolored puzzle ribbon (not pictured) as the official image.