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.

Autism Aspirations – Landing That Dream Job

Our children have many hopes, dreams and aspirations for a job that would make them feel fulfilled and happy; however,  there is often a disconnect between the dream and actually making it happen. This can occur for a number of reasons – lack of opportunity, no skills or training, lack of experience and unavailability of supports for success. While some…

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Back to School with Autism – Elation or Deflation?

Most parents have mixed feelings about sending their children back to school. The relaxed schedule of the summer is suddenly gone and evenings become hectic with homework, extra-curricular activities, making lunches and getting clothes ready for the next day. On the other hand, it can be a relief to get back into routines and a scheduled day. Most parents need a break from their children by the end of the summer.

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Sleep disorders in autism directly affect social skills: new study

Sleep disorders have long been a topic of discussion around those with autism. With an estimated 50 to 80 percent of children with ASD suffering from insomnia, sleep behaviour is finally getting the study it deserves. From blue light being linked to sleep disturbances in older children and teens who use tech devices, to the hypothesis that there may be a…

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Tantrums in Autism: new study says it’s behaviour not frustration

We’ve all been there: watching as our child completely breaks into uncontrollable rage/tears in front of us. Sometimes it’s in the privacy of our own homes, but when you have a child with autism, more often than not it will be in public as well. Up until recently, there has been a common misconception that poor communication/low verbal skills in people with…

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How to Teach Money Management for Independent Living with Autism

Becoming an independent adult with ASD involves a large skill set that needs to be planned out over the lifetime of your child. I recently posted an article on establishing clear guidelines around sexuality early on. Money management is no different. Being able to pay for items and stick to a budget is a barrier to successful independence. Many people –…

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Story PALS: How Reading to a Dog Gave My Daughter a Voice

My daughter, Julia, and I discovered a public library program called Story PALS back in 2009. The program is designed for reluctant readers ages 6 – 12. A child comes to the library and reads aloud to a dog once a week to make them less anxious about reading aloud in front of people. The dogs come from an organization called…

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When Interventions and Support Go Wrong: How to Reframe Challenging Moments and Create Predictability for Success

For many of us with children on the spectrum, support people like doctors, therapists, extra school staff, teachers, aids etc…are a big part of life. We depend on the help we get from various sources, but what happens when a situation goes badly? Even more important, how can we create predictability for our kids with autism so we can ensure greater…

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Bone Tired: Autism and Parental Fatigue

One of my most popular Facebook posts this month was about University of Regina’s Sarah Elizabeth Ivens’ thesis about parental fatigue entitled Fatigue in parents of children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: The role of parental and child factors for mothers and fathers. While most parents of newborn children have experienced some level of fatigue, many of us who have children…

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Temple Grandin: Still Going Strong at 70

Autism Calgary celebrated its 25th Anniversary on February 22nd with an exciting event – an evening with Temple Grandin. Temple spoke at the Calgary Hyatt Regency Hotel to a huge, enthusiastic audience of nearly 1200 people. She was in top form, delivering a two hour talk full of insight and practical information. Temple’s energy and enthusiasm for the subject of…

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What’s Cooking? Life Skills for Kids with Autism!

I attended an excellent seminar last night sponsored by the Autism Calgary Association. The guest speaker was Penny Gill, President of the Autism/PDD Family Alliance in Southern Ontario. Her presentation, Overcoming the Challenges: Teaching Someone with Autism Spectrum Disorder to Cook Really Well, showed us that you can teach someone with an ASD the important life skill of cooking provided the challenges are understood and the right supports are in place. Penny runs a cooking school out of her home for people with ASD ages 18 and over. Her eight week sessions work on more than just cooking; her students work on social skills, sensory issues, motor challenges and food aversions.

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Autism and (trans)gender: dysphoria, ambivalence, and gender fluidity in ASD

People who feel significant gender distress because their gender identity differs from their birth sex have higher than expected rates of autism. This is a growing topic of study and discussion as our acceptance for those with gender dysphoria grows. What is gender dysphoria? Gender dysphoria (GD), also known as gender identity disorder (GID) is the condition of distress (or…

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Should we insist on eye contact from children with autism?

Making eye contact has been a long debate in the autism community. Eye contact is a necessary skill for navigating social landscapes at work and school. Lack of eye contact is one of the hallmarks of autism, but should we insist on it? Why do children find it difficult to make eye contact? A new study, published in November in…

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