Congratulations Debrah!

Debrah Worland has been promoted to Clinical Director for BehaviorWorks. 

We are thrilled to have her blazing ABA trails as our Clinical Director.  

Debrah Worland has been a BCBA for almost 8 years. She studied Psychology at Valparaiso University and earned her Master’s degree from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. She specializes in Precision Teaching and has a passion for learning. She loves working at BehaviorWorks because he feels that the staff and kids teach her something new everyday. She has two young boys that keep her on her toes and she is currently moving through courses to become a yoga teacher. She is also learning more about how to utilize ABA in schools and hopes to never stop learning how to help kids of all abilities.

Congratulations Debrah! 

Celebrating the Hoilday Season


5 ways to make the Holidays Autism-Friendly

The holiday season is here, a time for family, food and friends. A time to celebrate gratitude and reflect. It’s a time for cheerful joy.  The season is an exciting time for children, and children with special needs are no different. Weather you celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, or Kwanze, or any other holiday celebration, the lights, the  chaos of people, and visual stimuli can be too much for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) . To help reduce daily stressor that come along with the holiday season we have put together a few autism-friendly tips.

Festive Lights & Holiday Decor

Allow your child to be involved with the tree lighting and decorating of the christmas tree. Create social stories to help them prepare.  You can make it a fun experience for them by spotting different christmas trees and light while out of the home. Avoid decorations with sound, glittery objects, or any flashing lights.

Crowds and Noise

For most, long lines and crowds of people can be overwhelming. For children on the spectrum it can be very overstimulating that can cause anxiety or trigger a problem behavior. Try avoiding crowds by heading to stores during non-busy hours, early in the morning or later in the evening. Maybe shopping while your child away in school or online can help reduce sensory challenges during holiday shopping.

Sensory-Friendly Events

Indy is filled with sensory- friendly events throughout the holiday season. Look for events that tailor to your kids needs to allow them to enjoy the holidays like everyone else.  Sensory-friendly events are designed to be less sensory stimulating and overwhelming. This can make it easier for individuals with sensory sensitivities, and who are sensitive to loud noise, lights, colors, and crowds of people. Also, sensory-friendly events are a non-judgement free zone. Your kids are allowed to be who they are without worries. There are plenty resources out there tomake sure your child have a successful outing.

Check Out: Ease The Winter Blues for more sensory-friendly events aound Indy.

Receiving Gifts

Opening  up presents with others around can be over stimulating for those with sensory challenges.  In advance, it’s recommended to let others know what your child likes and dislikes to help reduce any added stress and anxiety. If your child is not a fan of crowds, maybe set up a wrapping hour for him/her. It’s okay to open gifts at a later time or in a more comfortable space.  Sometimes less is more.Your child may be more comfortable opening presents in the comfort of their home. Allowing the child to open gifts on their time can help reduce meltdowns or any other problem behavior triggered by over stimuli.

Provide Social Stories

Those who have a hard time deviated from their normal routine can find the holiday season challenging, especially kids during winter break. Social stories can help ease some of that  anxiety to help with the disruption of their daily routine.

  • Suggested Social Stories

    • Decorating the Christmas Tree

    • Shopping During the Holidays

    • Meeting Santa Claus

    • Opening Gifts

    • Winter Break Routine

Have A Wonderful Hoilday Season.

Ease Winter Blues: Around Indy


Sensory-Friendly Activities in December

“Oh, the weather outside is freezing".  

Winter is here and it is staying a while. These upcoming winter months can leave parents contemplating what they can do to keep the kiddos engaged. Many families look for indoor entertainment since it is too cold to run outside in the backyard, or spend a day at the park. Fortunately, the communities around Indy are offering more and more "sensory-friendly" options so individuals with autism and their families can enjoy the same as activities as other families.  December is filled with sensory friendly activities all month long. 

Grab a coat, pair of mittens and discover what Indy has to offer for your family during the holiday season. 

Around Indy: Sensory Friendly Fun

1. Skyzone

They offer sensory friendly jump times. During sensory hours the music is turned down for an quieter jumping experience. Below are locations that participate each month.

Plainfield  : 1st Wednesday of every month from 4 PM - 5 PM

Indy South: 2nd Tueday of Each Month from 4 PM- 5-PM

Fishers:  2nd Tuesday of each month from 4 PM - 5 PM  


2.AMC Movies 

AMC Theater is a proud partner with the Autism Society. Sensory Friendly Program is available on the 2nd and 4th Saturday every month, check  your local listing for showtimes. 

3. Kid City Indoor Play Space at Greenwood Community Center

The two-story space is a year-round indoor play zone for children, with STEAM-focused activity centers that incorporate educational themes, art, science and music.

4. We Rock The Spectrum The Kid Gym In Greenwood

Indoor sensory friendly gym geared towards children with special needs. Opened in 2016, the gym “provides children with a fun and motivational environment to help them in the areas of strength, movement, sensory processing, communication, positive behavior modification, social interactions, and self-care skills”. 

5. Carter’s Play Place

Indoor Adaptive Play. ”Carter's Play Place was born out of seeing a void in our local community for a truly inclusive play place for children with all abilities.” 

Mon-Fri 9 AM - 4:30 PM

Sat-Sun 12 PM - 4 PM


Any other ideas ? Comment below 🙂

Fall into September w/ fun fall activities

Falling Leaves 


Have your child help rake the leaves with you and also create a pile with those leaves. Small activities as in having your child run and jump in the leaves can bring so much joy to them. You can also get creative with the leaves. Create leaf angels or just make different images with the leaves. Do not forget to participate in any activity they do as well. Make sure you take pictures to document these memories.l take pictures to document these memories.

Leaf Sensory Bin


Another way to get your child involved is to try to help them understand what they are feeling, touchin  g, and seeing. Grab a container bin. Apply some leaves, pine cones, popcorn seeds, acorns, and whatever else you see from outside. Explain to your child what each item is, even if it something so small. You can also decorate their room with some of those items, to match the current season.

Paint a Leaf 


Before you decorate the home with those items, have you and your child decorate the items first! Grab a paint brush or simply use your hands and create something out of those items. Hang it up, and that will do wonders for the child. If things get messy, that’s fine! It’s these moments with them that will help develop and mold their character as they grow older.

Explore Nature 


 Last but not least, explore the outside world. Take them for a walk, either at the park, or in the woods. Anything they seem fascinated about, explain to them the details of that item. It is also great exercise for them. You can also create a scavenger hunt in your backyard with items that you and your child collect during those walks. This will help make them feel that they are involved in everything that you do, even if you are just doing it for them.


Talking to your child about special needs

  Niece: Auntie, what do you do for work?

  Me: I work with kids who have special needs.

Niece: Why are they special?

Me: ....

This is a short snippet of a conversation that took place between my niece and I while driving to the store. It’s often that I get asked by adults what I do for a living, but  when my niece asked I pause to take the time to explain the importance and acceptance of others not like her.


Here’s five things to keep in mind the next time you talk to your child about people with special needs

1. Address your child curiosity  . 

It’s okay for kids to ask questions. Take the lead and start the dialogue to bring awareness and acceptance in others not like them.

2. Kids with special needs are different and that’s not a bad thing.

3. Each and every person living is unique  and one of a kind.

Separate  the disability from the individual to help your child understand that those with special needs are still the same.

4. Be careful with your words.

Kids listen and absorb everything they see and hear. When talking about others with special needs, remember your choice of terminology. Choose your words wisely and stay away from derogatory words.

5. Find additional resources.

Do your research and get the proper support. There’s several children’s book to help explain disabilities to your child.


How you response will affect the way your child thinks about disabilities and treat others as the grow up.  Model acceptance and inclusion. 


No Label Necessary

After high school, people on the spectrum often find themselves on disability without much to do. In fact, "35 percent of young adults (ages 19-23) with autism have not had a job or received postgraduate education after leaving high school." (Shattuck et al., 2012)

Now open in Carmel, No Label at the Table baked food company's mission is to "provide employment opportunities and job skills training for people with autism." When asked by the Indy Star about her company's name, founder Shelly Henley explained, "No label or diagnosis will define my employees, and no food label should limit someone to not having good food."

In the interview, Henley also encouraged other businesses to hire persons with autism explaining that simple, repetitive tasks that seem tedious to some people are engaging and rewarding for a person with autism.

BehaviorWorks ABA uses, supports and advocates natural treatment for our patients. We will be buying treats from No Label at the Table!

College Transitioning for Students with ASD

Ball State's Center for Autism Spectrum Disorder is sponsoring the 2017 Conference on Post-secondary Options and Supports for Transitioning Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. 

The purpose of this conference is to showcase best practices that allow  students with autism to access, persist in, and graduate college and succeed in finding and maintaining meaningful, competitive employment. This conference is important due to the increase in students diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders who are reaching transition age. The conference was developed for students with autism in high school and college, researchers and faculty, higher education personnel, community agency staff, program staff, parents and teachers to learn about best practices in the field and the current state of research. In addition, the goal of the conference is to help further the opportunities and supports available to transition-age students with ASD to pursue and succeed in college.

Read more on CASD's page.