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Rethinking Social Skills

Over the years, my thoughts and opinions around social skills teaching have changed a great deal. Reading and listening to the viewpoints of autistic people has opened my eyes to the problems that social skills training can cause over time such as masking. When autistic thinking and neurology are not taken into account, social skills tend to be taught for…

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Unscheduled – The Benefits of Free Time in a COVID-19 World

Restrictions and lockdowns, now a regular occurrence in our pandemic world, have had both drawbacks and positive effects. There is something to be said for unscheduled days. Free time provides the chance for contemplation, exploration, creativity, and reflection. Moving at a slower pace allows for more practice time to build critical mass, a chance to learn a new skill without…

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Developing Leisure Activities for Autistic Individuals

Leisure activities are an important part of life for everyone. Engaging in activities that are fun, enjoyable and interesting increases a person’s well-being, happiness and satisfaction in life. Leisure activities can be done alone or in a group, at home or out in the community. We learn activities by watching others, taking lessons, joining clubs, reading instructions, or simply by…

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Autism x 2: Transitioning into Adulthood

A few years ago, I wrote a post about the experience of raising my two children with autism. I first wrote this piece from the point of view when my son and daughter were quite young. Recently, someone from China contacted me to ask if she could translate the post because it would encourage families and give them hope for…

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What might the future look like?

Last summer, my husband and I were shopping for a fire bowl for our backyard. Since we knew nothing about them, I wanted to ask for guidance from a salesperson. This young man came walking down the aisle so I inquired if he could direct us. I told him about our vision of having our two autistic adult children, Marc…

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Recognizing Autistic Interests as a Strength

If you ask a parent what the most important goal is for their child, they would probably say being happy and healthy. What things in life bring happiness and a sense of well-being? The answer to this question is often found through interests. Interests are a strength! Supporting an autistic person’s interests and passions are important because they are motivating,…

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Supporting Autistic Students in the Classroom

Teaching an autistic child can be both rewarding and challenging at times. If this is your first time teaching an autistic person, it can feel overwhelming figuring out what to do or how to best support that child in order to set the stage for optimal learning. Educators must teach to children’s strengths, create a predictable environment, and be aware…

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Community Inclusion for Autistic People – Ideas and Options

Community inclusion is best described as when there is an opportunity within a community for all its members to live, work, contribute and participate without barriers or obstacles to do so. In an inclusive community each person has their individual needs and differences not only accommodated, but celebrated and valued. Community inclusion means that every person should be treated as…

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Autism x 2 in Isolation

I am the parent of two children, now adults, on the autism spectrum. Marc is 23 and Julia is 21. They’ve been out of school for almost 3 years now. We’re constantly at work building skills, expanding interests, exploring new recreational activities, volunteering in the community, exercising, cooking, and furthering their education. Things were moving along quite well, then COVID-19…

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Great Expectations – Starting the School Year Off Right

September is here which means the start of a new school year. Great expectations and high hopes abound. Maybe your child is going to a new school this year or attending school for the first time. Parents and children can feel both excited and anxious. How can you make this year a successful one? What is both reasonable and attainable this school year?

At Home

  • To make mornings a little less stressful, lay clothes out the night before, make lunches and check agendas for communication, forms etc.
  • If your child has trouble waking up, set the alarm 15 minutes earlier than needed to allow time to rise.
  • Post a visual schedule or checklist where your child can see it to know what needs to be done before leaving in the morning – bathroom routines, packing a backpack, dressing etc.
  • Be cautious about overscheduling with extra-curricular activities. For many children with ASD, it takes great energy to cope with the school day and down time can be needed after school. Look at alternative ideas such as one day events or weekend activities for things to do.
  • Decide if your child will do homework or not. If you decide to do homework, assign a quiet spot where it can be done and a regular time in the schedule.
  • Create some visual organizers for items that have to go back and forth to school. This could be a basket or bin by the front door.

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Preparing For Employment with ASD

The unemployment statistics for those with autism is in the range of 70 – 80%. Reading such a statistic makes one ask, “Why is this so?” As a parent of two young adults with autism who finished school in June 2017, I am starting to see firsthand why finding a job is difficult. There are so many skills needed to…

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Bloomfield, Barbara

Barbara Bloomfield is a veteran speech and language pathologist with more than 30 years’ experience. She has specialized in offering direct services and consultation to individuals with autism spectrum disorders in a variety of settings. Barbara has designed and published numerous commercially available teaching materials for students with special needs including Super Symbols: A Book of Positive Behavioral Directives. She…

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