Articles & Blog - Autism Awareness

Articles & Blog

Maureen Bennie curates a news blog for Autism Calgary called "What in The World is Going On About Autism". Her blog often mines and expands on the articles and events that she has detailed in that news feed, as well as looking at current best autism resources, news stories, and events on a variety of topics about autism and ASD.

Teaching Flexibility – An Important Skill

Not everything in life goes according to plan – when change happens, we need to be able to adapt. While autistic people need predictable and consistent routines, it’s still important to be able to cope with changes both planned and unplanned. Having flexibility will build resilience, problem solving skills, and help a person to overcome changes and challenges. In order…

Read More »

How can perseverative thoughts be lessened?

Perseveration is when a person has repetitive thoughts and dwells on negative incidents, causing them to become “stuck”. Perseverative thoughts can happen because a person may be trying to manage stress, process information, shift attention, can’t stop thinking about certain things, or can’t control behaviors. This kind of thinking, or looping thoughts, is not done consciously or on purpose. It…

Read More »

Supporting Autistic Children through Structured Play

Engaging in play is an important part of child development. There are numerous benefits derived from playing such as developing imagination and creativity, cognitive growth, building social skills, improving literacy, encouraging independence and promoting physical fitness. While autistic children enjoy playing, they may find some types of play difficult. This can be due to the development of social and communication…

Read More »

How can we recognize depression in autistic individuals and find the support they need?

While depression is a mental health condition that can affect anyone, autistic individuals are 4 times more likely than the general population to experience depression. Research suggests that up to half of all autistic people will be depressed at some point in their lives. Depression should not be ignored and is treatable with the right support. If you or someone…

Read More »

Collaboration in Education – Working Together for Positive Outcomes

In the educational setting, in order for families of autistic children to feel understood, supported, and experience success, they need a village around them. They need to collaborate with teachers, educational assistants, school based teams and community partners. Think of the TEAM acronym: T – Together  E – Everyone  A – Achieves   M – More For collaboration to happen, people…

Read More »

The Struggle of Aging Caregivers

I read an excellent article in the Globe and Mail about the struggles an aging population has with trying to balance work, personal life, and caregiving responsibilities. While caregiving is a labor of love, it also has another side to it that affects employment, physical/mental health, and well-being. As we age, we also have to assess how feasible is it…

Read More »

What is autistic inertia?

An autistic person wrote to me and asked what might be the reason they are experiencing difficulty starting a task. This got me thinking about autistic inertia. Quincy Hansen, autistic blogger, defines it as: the tendency that autistic people have to want to remain in a constant state. When we’re asleep we want to stay asleep, when awake we want…

Read More »

Ten Tips for an Autism Friendly Christmas

Christmas can be a magical time filled with decorations, treats, presents, twinkling lights, and excitement. It can also be a stressful time for autistic people because of schedule changes, visitors, sensory overload and unpredictability. Here are a ten tips to help make this holiday season an autism friendly one. Maintain routines for predictability. Try to stick with routines like bedtime,…

Read More »

Financial Stability for Autistic Individuals and Their Families – What Should Be Taken into Consideration?

In November, I spoke on a panel for the Public Health Agency of Canada National Conference to discuss aspects of the National Autism Strategy. My topic was financial stability. Each panelist only had a few minutes to speak about the issues and possible solutions. While I really enjoyed hearing my fellow panelists viewpoints and ideas, the experience left me upset…

Read More »

The Versatility of Using Visual Supports with Autistic People

Visual supports are the cornerstone of communication. They provide structure, routine, consistency and predictability. When a person understands the expectations and knows what to do, they are more independent and confident. Visuals can give a non-speaking person a voice or provide another way to communicate when anxiety and stress take over and words fail. There was a study that found…

Read More »

Social-Emotional Learning and Autism

Social-emotional learning (SEL) is the process of developing and using social and emotional skills. SEL skills are necessary to understand and manage emotions, set goals, make decisions, cooperate, resolve conflicts, feel empathy for others, solve problems, and work on a team (just to name a few). Children start to learn these skills from the time they are babies and continue…

Read More »

What is a structured environment? Why is it helpful for autistic individuals?

A structured environment describes the conditions under which a person should be taught and supported rather than where they should be taught or what to learn. This is a system for organizing environments, developing appropriate activities, and helping people understand what is expected of them. A structured environment is comprised of the physical set up of a room/space, schedules, work…

Read More »

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…

Read More »

What is alexithymia and its relationship to interoception?

This is a guest post by author Kelly Mahler, reprinted with her permission.  What is alexithymia? We know alexithymia is a term that’s used to describe when someone has difficulty identifying their feelings–or more specifically identifying and describing their emotions. Researchers have found that one in 10 people can experience this alexithymia and these rates are even higher in people that…

Read More »