Autism F.I.R.S.T.

Autism F.I.R.S.T.

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Wondering how to receive in-home support and services for your child with special needs? TOMORROW, Dec. 7, join Autism F.I.R.S.T. and Moms In Motion - A Virginia Service Facilitation Provider for an in-person workshop with Moms in Motion Division Trainer and Client Outreach Representative Jessica R. Monaco at Reston Regional Library. Learn more and register: bit.ly/FCPL_Autism
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Relational Autism Care
We Work Together. Northern Virginia's only autism therapy practice to provide

Autism FIRST provides a collaborative, multidisciplinary approach to therapy focusing on support of the Autistic patient and their entire support system including the parents, siblings, and caregivers. We offer ABA therapy, speech therapy, occupational therapy, sibling support, parent training and support, and other caregiver training and support.

12/23/2022

Wishing all of you Happy Holidays!

Autism & Puppets: Yale Research Shows Potential for Connection 12/22/2022

Autism & Puppets: Yale Research Shows Potential for Connection

We love to use puppets in our therapy to engage children! Watch this video about the Yale Child Study Center/Jim Henson Foundation research project that explored why it’s so effective for children with autism.

Autism & Puppets: Yale Research Shows Potential for Connection For more information on this story or Yale School of Medicine, visit: https://medicine.yale.edu/lab/chawarska/autismcenter or https://www.hensonfoundation.or...

12/22/2022

Is it snowing where you’re at? Try making Snow Ice Cream! It’s a simple 5-minute recipe that is a sweet way to celebrate a snow day!

Photos from Autism F.I.R.S.T.'s post 12/17/2022

Need a winter holiday activity and want to work on fine motor skills? Download our Winter Coloring Page, grab your child’s favorite crayons and/or markers, and have fun!
https://bit.ly/3VH3gk3

12/15/2022

Learning that your child has autism brings a whirlwind of emotions. Feeling overwhelmed and panicked over not knowing where to begin is extremely common. The good news is that you’ve already found Autism F.I.R.S.T.! We are here to guide you every step of the way.
You may also find this “First 100 Days” kit from Autism Speaks helpful. It’s a tool kit to support families in getting critical information in the first 100 days after an autism diagnosis.

100 Day Kit for Young Children: https://www.autismspeaks.org/tool-kit/100-day-kit-young-children
100 Day Kit for School Age Children: https://www.autismspeaks.org/tool-kit/100-day-kit-school-age-children

Resources - Autism F.I.R.S.T. 12/15/2022

Resources - Autism F.I.R.S.T.

Learning that your child has autism brings a whirlwind of emotions. Feeling overwhelmed and panicked over not knowing where to begin is extremely common. The good news is that you’ve already found Autism F.I.R.S.T.! We are here to guide you every step of the way. Check out our resources that are readily available:

Resources - Autism F.I.R.S.T. We’ve rounded up our best tips, education and other resources to help you on your journey in the autism world. Have a question that we don’t cover? We’re always here to help! Contact us.

12/13/2022

With the holidays coming up means more events, which can disrupt your everyday routine. Here are some tips to help you and your family prepare for those Holidays!

-Have a comfort item: Helps keep calm and focus their attention
-Have a “break” signal: A word, signal, or sign that your child can use to tell you they need a break from what is going on around them.
-Create a safe space: (like a bedroom) for them to decompress in.
-Create visuals: To help prepare for conversations and meeting people outside of your normal routine create a photo album of who they may meet so they can visually recognize them
-Decorate slowly: If decorations and visual changes are tough, start with one room at a time and slowly introduce the new decor.

12/09/2022

Why do children love fidget ߷ toys so much?

Fidget toys have absolutely exploded in popularity with all children, but have actually been in use since the early 90s 😮. (Remember the stress ball?)

Children with ADHD, autism or other developmental challenges can find fidget toys especially helpful. When a child directs or controls their movement, they are able to improve focus and concentration. And some children get increased alertness when playing with fidgets, allowing them to stay engaged in activities.

Does your child love fidgets? What’s their favorite? Comment below ⬇️!

12/09/2022

Why do children love fidget ߷ toys so much?

Fidget toys have absolutely exploded in popularity with all children, but have actually been in use since the early 90s 😮. (Remember the stress ball?)

Children with ADHD, autism or other developmental challenges can find fidget toys especially helpful. When a child directs or controls their movement, they are able to improve focus and concentration. And some children get increased alertness when playing with fidgets, allowing them to stay engaged in activities.

Does your child love fidgets? What’s their favorite? Comment below ⬇️!

12/07/2022

Avatar: The Way of Water is coming out in theaters and their special showings are the first shows of December 17 & 20. Regal’s My Way Matinee gives everyone the opportunity to experience a movie with the lights turned up and the volume turned down. This is a safe space where their guests are free to express themselves while enjoying new movies!

12/05/2022

Winter Break is right around the corner! While some of the holiday traditions may be exciting, the change in routine may be scary for some. Here are some Autism F.I.R.S.T. tips to help you prepare for it.

-Communicate with your child that they’ll have a winter break: Like being home on the weekend, but a little longer
-Connect with your child’s team: Ask your therapists and teachers what their recommendations are to help maintain your child’s progress.
-Prepare in advance: Utilize a calendar to mark off the days till break so they have a visual representation of when their break starts.
-Keep as much of a routine as you can: Waking up/Going to sleep at the same time and eating lunch around the same time will help keep a routine for when the break is over.
-Share stories about the holiday season and what they can expect.
-Most importantly: Remember your child is on vacation, relax and enjoy the family time!

12/01/2022

🗓️ Join us next week for our monthly autism support group. Open to anyone in our community who needs a little extra support and understanding. Spread the word!

RSVP at autismfirstus.com/events.

11/24/2022

That sums up how we feel about working with all our families. Happy Thanksgiving from the Autism F.I.R.S.T. family to yours 🥧!

Autism & Puppets: Yale Research Shows Potential for Connection 11/22/2022

Autism & Puppets: Yale Research Shows Potential for Connection

We love to use puppets in our therapy to engage children! Watch this video about the Yale Child Study Center/Jim Henson Foundation research project that explored why it’s so effective for children with autism.

Autism & Puppets: Yale Research Shows Potential for Connection For more information on this story or Yale School of Medicine, visit: https://medicine.yale.edu/lab/chawarska/autismcenter or https://www.hensonfoundation.or...

Photos from Autism F.I.R.S.T.'s post 11/17/2022

We love getting our team together to catch up and get a chance to meet some new team members! And of course we couldn’t have the team meeting without some Chick-fil-A and some new shirts!

11/16/2022

We're expanding our team to help meet the needs of our families! We are looking for dedicated and motivated individuals to proudly represent Autism F.I.R.S.T. If you're interested, you can apply by emailing us your resume to [email protected]!

11/15/2022

Q: “How do you match a therapist with a child?”
A: Our intake process begins with a call with our patient-family advocate who will listen to your needs and match you with the therapist or therapists that are a good fit for your child and family. If you would like a specific provider, you may request them at any time.

11/11/2022

Did you know we offer a complete range of services for your child all under one roof? We provide:

👍 ABA
💬 Speech
🤏 Occupational therapy
🦶 Physical therapy

Visit autismfirstus.com/services to learn about our services.

11/11/2022

Happy Veterans Day! Thank you for your bravery, service, and sacrifice. 🇺🇸

11/03/2022

Tips for the Time Change

Don’t forget we are setting the clocks back this weekend! Children, especially those who thrive on routine, can have some trouble adjusting - even though it’s just one hour.

Ease the transition with these quick tips:

⏰ Adjust bedtime and wake up times by 15 minutes each day so it’s not as noticeable
⏰ Exercise in the day to help speed the internal body clock adjustment
⏰ Try special visual clocks like the Ok to Wake Clock
⏰ Talk it out in advance if your child is old enough to understand
⏰ Make quick, fuss-free meals as appetites may be off

And as always, we are here to help! Visit autismfirstus.com/resources for more tips.

11/01/2022

🗓️ Our next support group is tomorrow morning in our Herndon office!

Join us for companionship and encouragement from others in the autism community.

PRO TIP: Add our support group to your calendar as a recurring event - every first Wednesday of the month.

RSVP at autismfirstus.com/events.

10/31/2022

Happy Halloween from our team at Autism F.I.R.S.T.!

10/27/2022

Cool product alert! We love these temporary child ID tattoos you can get custom made with your phone number in case your child wanders off. Get yours here:
new.safetytat.com

10/20/2022

What is stimming? If you love someone with autism, chances are you’ve seen them exhibiting self-stimulatory behaviors like hand-flapping, rocking, spinning or other repetitive motions or sounds. While strangers may not understand this behavior, people with ASD often stim when excited, nervous or frustrated as a way to keep themselves calm or engaged.

Most of the time, stimming is nothing to be concerned about. However ABA therapists can help reduce stimming if it is resulting in self-harm, limiting learning and socializing or becoming overly disruptive in certain environments like a movie theater or library.

Interested in learning more?
Visit our website: autismfirstus.com

10/18/2022

Please help us welcome our new Director of Operations, Brandi Harris!

Brandi is a leader in ABA operations with over ten years working in the field. She is passionate about growth that leads to increased access to medical services for children. Brandi is an advocate for creating a positive work environment and culture that enhances staff retention, increases morale and embraces cultural differences. Brandi is honored to be part of the mission-driven team at Autism F.I.R.S.T.!

Brandi is a California native, but she currently resides in Orlando, Florida with her two children. She loves to travel, try new restaurants and interior design.

10/14/2022

Apples? Jack o'lanterns? It doesn’t get more fall than that!

Try this simple apple stamp craft with your child this month. It’s great for working on their fine motor skills. If your child doesn’t like their fingers to get sticky and wet on the apple, try sticking a fork into it for a handle.

10/11/2022

If you haven’t gotten your child’s Halloween costume yet, check out Target’s selection of sensory-friendly adaptive costumes: tinyurl.com/3abzart4. They're made from soft, lightweight fabrics with flat seams and no tags!

The Role of Caregiver Involvement in ABA Therapy | Behavioral Health Center of Excellence Accreditation 10/06/2022

The Role of Caregiver Involvement in ABA Therapy | Behavioral Health Center of Excellence Accreditation

“Parents and caregivers possess the powerful ability to make a positive difference in their children’s lives.” We couldn’t agree more. Read about what the research shows about parental involvement in ABA therapy in this article from .

The Role of Caregiver Involvement in ABA Therapy | Behavioral Health Center of Excellence Accreditation Learn how parents play a crucial part in the cognitive and behavioral development of children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

10/03/2022

The Hallothanksmas season is upon us!

We don’t have to tell you that this busy time can be more difficult to balance when you have a child with autism. Here are six tips we thought might help as we head into all these fun, but sometimes stress-inducing, holidays:

1. Communication: Using different forms of communication can help when dealing with the stresses of the holiday season. Social stories, videos, PECS system, a calendar to cross off days or a photo album to show which friends and family members will be in attendance are all great additional resources to help your child prepare for the season.

2. Go gradual with decor: Change can be difficult, so you may want to put up your holiday decorations a little at a time. Before you take your decorations down, snap a few photos so you can show your child next year.

3. Role playing: Practicing taking turns opening gifts, trick-or-treating and religious rituals beforehand can help prepare your child. If you are traveling, take a trip to the airport in advance.

4. Prep your family: Educate your family and friends on how to make things go as smoothly as possible for your child. Let them know in advance of food issues (and offer to bring anything special for your child if possible.) Ask if there can be a place for your child to take a break if they become overwhelmed. Explain what everyone can do should your child become upset.

5. Fill your cup: This is a time for full family fun. Make sure you schedule some one-on-one time with any other children you have and don’t forget about you! You can’t pour from an empty cup. So fill yours. (Maybe with pumpkin spice latte?)

6. Speak with your child’s therapists: Your Autism F.I.R.S.T. therapists can work with your child to prepare for holidays. Let them know what is coming up for your family, and they will work with you on the best approach and tactics.

Have fun!

10/01/2022

Our next parent and caregiver support group is this coming Wednesday.

Learn.
Share tips.
Feel a sense of community.

Join us! RSVP at autismfirst.us/events. (Reminder: Adults only!)

09/29/2022

How’s your school year going so far? Need a little more guidance? We offer two types of advocacy to help you make the most of your I.E.P.

Learn about our advocacy services here: autismfirstus.com/services/patient-family-advocate

09/26/2022

Learn more about our services and how we celebrate your child’s strengths: autismfirstus.com/services

09/24/2022

Shoes off! Our speech-language pathologist, Anne, is ready for her session!

09/20/2022

What a great perspective shift on how to look at autism spectrum disorder. Thanks !

09/18/2022

Developing fine motor skills

Using scissors develops fine motor strength and hand-eye coordination. Here are some tips to encourage cutting skills:

1) Start with thick paper to help with sensory processing and strength.
2) Draw a smiley face on their thumb and make sure they can always see it for correct positioning.
3) Cut to music to learn the “open, cut, open, cut” movement.

09/16/2022

We are here to support your family. Call us to take the FIRST step: (703) 496-4371.

09/14/2022

Wow! Watch Jacob Velazquez, a gifted musician with autism, play multiple instruments in one song! You may remember him from when he was much younger on shows like America’s Got Talent, GMA, The View and more.

Also, check out Jacob’s family’s blog for more inspiration: uniquedifferentcool.com
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l50xAEA1XG0

09/11/2022

Happy Grandparents Day!

Grandparents play such an important and special role in a child’s life. From being another loving presence in the child’s life to supporting their adult child, let’s give grandparents our thanks today, and every day!

For information on how a grandparent can best support their grandchild with autism, Autism Speaks has this great guide:autismspeaks.org/tool-kit/grandparents-guide-autism

Autism F.I.R.S.T. | Autism Therapy & Services | We Work Together 09/09/2022

Autism F.I.R.S.T. | Autism Therapy & Services | We Work Together

We are now serving families throughout Northern Virginia!

CLINIC SESSIONS available in our Loudoun and Fairfax offices:
Monday-Friday 9:00AM - 3:30PM

HOME SESSIONS available in Loudoun and Fairfax counties:
Monday-Friday 4:00PM - 8:00PM
Saturday 8:00AM - 6:00PM

Our clinic sessions offer a structured and controlled environment for your child. Our afternoon sessions provide in-home support in your child’s familiar environment.

Contact us today to learn more: (703) 496-4371 or [email protected]

Autism F.I.R.S.T. | Autism Therapy & Services | We Work Together Northern Virginia's only autism therapy practice to provide collaborative treatment, advocacy and support for your child, family and caregivers.

Videos (show all)

Developing fine motor skills
Playdough Recipe
Can you believe it’s almost time to go back to school???When you have a child on the spectrum, switching from summer fun...
Our founder, Kelli Atangan, gives great tips for going out to eat in this quick video!
ABA Word of the Day! OK, it’s three words. Cassandra Oldham, VP of Advocacy, explains what ABA stands for and what it me...
Welcome to our new office!

Telephone

Address


131 Elden Street Suite 302
Herndon, VA
20170

Opening Hours

Monday 8am - 7pm
Tuesday 8am - 7pm
Wednesday 8am - 7pm
Thursday 8am - 7pm
Friday 8am - 7pm
Saturday 9am - 1pm

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