Autism Projects

Biometric Literacy and Language Indicators for Neurodevelopmental Disorders in Children (BLINC)

Lsquared Project

The title of the project “Lsquared” is derived from the research that indicates that access to rich literacy (AKA reading) experiences can exponentially increase language and communication skills.

The purpose of this project is to establish sustainable, parent-directed, comprehensive community supports for literacy and language (Lsquared) of children with ASD, prioritizing those with limited spoken language. The strain on parents of children with ASD are already great without adding the burden of continuously creating novel literacy experiences for their children. This is why our parent-directed training will also equip the community to be able to meet literacy needs so that parents and their children can go into the community and access universally designed literacy experiences. We will do this by providing comprehensive L2 training to parents, librarians, speech language-pathologist, teachers, and other child-centered community partners. Our focus will be on improving the home, community, and school literacy environment for individuals with ASD with the greatest support needs through evidence-based literacy instruction, functional communication training, and augmentative and alternative communication training.

Who is eligible?

Parents and Guardians of children with autism spectrum disorder ages 4- to 8-years-old.

Our goal is to support you as your read to your child and we want to improve your child’s early reading skills and communication skills. In this brief 8-week program we hope to teach you skills that you can build into your daily routine to support your child in reaching his/her potential. We may not see large growth during the 8 weeks, but we know that with persistence and long term practice your child will make gains over time.

Parents who participate in this project will receive the following:

  • In-depth assessment of your child’s reading and communication skills
  • Individualized Coaching supports for improving the reading and communication experience with and for your child
  • An iPad with a pre-programmed reading and communication app*
  • A new book each week for you to keep and read with your child

*We will give you a provisional iPad, owned by Texas A&M University to use during the course of the 8-week program. Upon completion of all eight sessions, we will collect this iPad and give you a personal iPad that is yours to keep.

Parent commitment

  • Scheduling and attending 8 1-hour sessions (note the first assessment session may take up to 2 hours)
  • Reading regularly (minimum 3-4 times/week) for 10-20 minutes with your child and recording the sessions (we will give you a special audio recorder to do this)
  • Videotaping yourself at least once per week reading 5-10 minutes with your child to share with and received feedback from your Lsquared coach.

Schedule

Session 1: Assessments

Session 2: Goal setting and introduction to the reading program.

Session 3: How to arrange the environment for a successful reading session.

Session 4: How to increase communication between you and your child during your reading time.

Sessions 5-7: Individualized sessions to support progress toward your child’s reading and communication goals.

Session 8: Follow-up assessments, overall review, and wrap-up.

Where does the coaching occur?

  • For individuals living within 1-hour drive from Texas A&M University, the assessments and coaching will occur at your home unless you prefer to meet at our lab on campus.
  • For individuals living further than 1-hour drive from campus, families will need to attend Sessions 1 and 8 in our lab on Texas A&M campus. The remaining sessions can occur on campus or online.
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Emergent Literacy Assessment (ELA) for Autism Spectrum Disorders

The purpose of this project is to develop and test an emergent literacy assessment that includes eye-gaze and touch-based responses with standardized behavior protocols to accurately pinpoint strengths and weaknesses in the literacy skills of individuals with ASD who are pre- or minimally verbal.

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Coach to Communicate

Coach to Communicate

The Coach To Communicate project provides a webinar and face-to-face/online individual parent coaching sessions at no cost for parents, caregivers, teachers, and service providers of children with autism spectrum disorder. Participants will be instructed in how to improve the communication skills of their own children.

This project serves Texas parents, caregivers, teachers, or service providers who have a child up to age 22 with autism spectrum disorder or similar characteristics and who need instruction in communication skills.

Intensive Parent Coaching

Parents may register for intensive, individual coaching sessions to learn to implement a communication intervention with their children. Your child will also receive communication/behavioral assessments and an individualized communication parent treatment plan.

  • Complete online module

Webinar/Online Self-Paced

Parents and service providers may attend a 2-hour webinar on techniques to help increase their children’s social communication skills

  • 2 hours
  • Can be accessed anytime
  • Overview of parenting techniques intended to increase your child’s social communication skills

Once the webinar is completed, parents can sign up for individual coaching sessions, if they wish:

  • One-on-one coaching
  • 1-hour sessions
  • 12-14 sessions total
  • Scheduled according to parent availability offered year-round
  • Available in English or Spanish