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Hello.  I am Dr. Stacy Goresko – an autism professional and also a mother of a child with autism.  As an autism professional and a parent of an ASD child, I witness firsthand the gifts and challenges that Autism Spectrum Disorder brings to our lives.  As a Relationship Development Intervention (RDI) Program Certified Consultant, it is my job to empower parents and professionals, to help ASD individuals become more competent in problem-solving, flexible thinking, and in learing how to navigate and successfully participate in the social world.

In my blog it is my hope that I will be able to discuss quality of life issues in Autism, Asperger’s, PDD-NOS, that really matter.  I invite my readers to get at the heart of what is getting in their way of enjoying life and preparing our population to lead full and fullfilling lives.  We are in this journey together!!

Enriching Children’s Vocabulary

I just saw an interesting article. It’s short so will post it here also.

“Don’t just talk to your toddler — gesture, too. Pointing, waving bye-bye and other natural gestures seem to boost a budding vocabulary.”

“Scientists found that those tots who could convey more meaning with gestures at age 14 months went on to have a richer vocabulary as they prepared to start kindergarten. And intriguingly, whether a family is poor or middle class plays a role, the researchers report today.”

“Anyone who’s ever watched a tot perform the arms-raised “pick me up now” demand knows that youngsters figure out how to communicate well before they can talk. Gesturing also seems to be an important precursor to forming sentences, as children start combining one word plus a gesture for a second word.”

“University of Chicago researchers wondered if gesturing also played a role in a serious problem: Children from low-income families start school with smaller vocabularies than better-off classmates. It’s a gap that tends to persist as students age. In fact, kindergarten vocabulary is a predictor of how well youngsters fare in school.”

“One big key to children’s vocabulary is how their parents talked to them from babyhood on. Previous research has shown that higher-income, better-educated parents tend to talk and read more to small children and to use more varied vocabulary and complex syntax.”

“Do those parents also gesture more as they talk with and teach their children? Yes, they do, researchers reported in the journal Science, and their children produce more gestures with meaning and have better vocabulary comprehension.”

Parent Packet

Just added and updated the terms and conditions of my services to my site. This document explain in detail how I work with my clients. It covers more about my background, what is RDI®, proceedures and requirements of what is needed for my clients to engage my autism services.

Autism Treatment

I thought I would post the link to a video of a newscast by KFYR-TV News in North Dakota of a Workshop that I taught there.

Here is the news release…

Nearly 150 parents of children with autism and professionals who work with them met at the Ramkota Hotel on 4/14/2008 to learn more about new types of autism treatment.

Because one in every 238 children in North Dakota is autistic and the number continues to rise, learning how to effectively treat the disorder is of growing importance. That`s why the Anne Carlsen Center of Children is hosting an Autism Treatment Conference.

The severity of autism ranges from person to person, but the Autism Society of America says regardless of the severity, children with autism can learn to function normally and show improvement with appropriate treatment. That`s where Dr Stacy Goresko comes in.

“What kids on the spectrum are lacking is that social piece, they don`t really know how to connect with other people,” says Dr. Stacy Goresko, an RDI® Specialist. “We`re interested in re-establishing that fundamental connection, which is the foundation of all human interaction, that back and forth piece between a mother, father and a child.”

Dr.Goresko specializes in teaching RDI®, a method of treatment that focuses on increasing a child`s communicative skills with the help of the parents.

“RDI® is really for parents who want to be involved, who want to be engaged, because we as RDI® consultants help parents become the professionals so instead of having someone come in and work with your child for 20 hours or 40 hours, I work with a parents each week for an hour or two,” Dr. Goresko says.

She works with parents and professionals to let them know they should be treating the core issues of autism, such as not being socially connected to others, rather than the symptoms of autism like having a limited vocabularly.

Autism Diagnosis

Five years ago plus, my son was diagnosed with autism.  I, like many, got the shock of my life.  What happened after is material for another blog but the point here is that as one door closes another one opens.  While I thought that life as I imaged was over, I found the career of my lifetime that is so satisfying and rewarding on so many levels.  I am now grateful for all the gifts that autism has brought not only into my life, but my entire family’s life as well.

It was a colleague of mine at the school where I was working who first introduced me to Relationship Development Intervention (RDI®).  She had known that I was looking for a career change and told me that the Connection’s Center in Houston “was doing some really cool things,” for the treatment of Autism Spectrum Disorders.  I was so intrigued by what she was telling me that I can remember going back to my office immediately and Googling RDI.  The more I read, the more I was hooked.  I contacted them straight away and asked them how I could become a Certified Program Consultant.  That is one decision in my life that I can honestly say I have never regretted.

Toilet Training

I wanted to share ideas on how and when to decide to work on toilet training with children who have autism. Looking back, I thought this was something that had to be accomplished and fast. I decided that during the summer months of my son’s 3rd year of life, I would tackle toilet training. Big Mistake!!!!! He clearly was not ready and I spent two long months of basically not leaving my house for long periods of time so I could be him in case he needed to pee or poop. My life and the life of my family was revolved around this. Not surprisingly when I didn’t see the results I wanted, I was not happy, my son was not happy, and the rest of the family was not happy.

The best decision I made after that two month period was to let it go. I decided that it would happen when he was more ready. For now, I needed a break and needed some normalcy again (as normal as you can when you have a child with autism.) The summer later, without too much effort, Ylann (my son) learned to use the toilet. It was so much easier this time. Lesson learned? Developmental readiness plays an important role. My advice: don’t take on more than you absolutely have to. In the long run, who cares if he learned how to use the potty at four rather than three. It was more of my goal, than his. As soon as I realized this, I could let it go.

If any of you have stories you would like to share about potty training and readiness, please do.