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.

Does my baby have autism? Infant behaviours that may predict ASD

The first year of a child’s life is normally a non-stop daily or weekly celebration of “firsts” – first smile, first crawl, first steps, first words…first full night’s sleep (with any luck). But what if your baby doesn’t seem to be reaching these milestones? Every child is different, and meets these milestones at different times, so when should parents start…

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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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Sleep Baby Sleep: Bedtime Tips for Those with Autism

Parents at one time or another struggle with a child who has difficulty falling asleep turning bedtime into a stressful time of the day. Instead of being a comforting time to wind down, tempers flare and tears fall. Children with autism seem to be particularly prone to poor sleeping habits that surface when trying to go to bed, in the middle of the night, or in chronic early waking.

I have several friends with autistic children who struggle getting their child to sleep. “It’s awful,” complains Andrea.

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Small Talk Can Loom Large: Teaching your child the flow of conversation

At a holiday gathering, your 8-year-old son is telling his aunt exactly how he went about constructing a complicated Lego spaceship. He spares no detail as Aunt Ann smiles and nods, eyes glazing over. You walk over to join them and try to help him become aware of her nonverbal clues and wrap up his one-sided conversation.  With no success,…

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Inclusion at school: new study finds that public school may reinforce negative self image for those with autism

Inclusionary measures for those with disabilities in the public educational system have become far more widespread in the last few decades. With more understanding and support at the public school level and programs like Sesame Street developing characters with autism, we have come a long way to creating inclusion for those who don’t fit the mold. Continuing to educate our society as…

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The Low Arousal Approach at Home

Dr. Andrew McDonnell, creator and founder of Studio III UK and the Low Arousal Approach, was recently at my home to meet my family. He commented that my home embodies the tenets of low arousal. It got me to thinking – what have we done to make it that way? How have we kept life on an even keel with…

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Flying and ASD: How to Make Holiday Travel Easier for Those with Autism

My son, Marc, and I took our very first flight together last November. We did a 4 day trip to Montreal, Quebec. The trip was a great success but only because Marc was well prepared for the trip, meaning there was a high degree of predictability and comfort level which reduced anxiety. We have taken many road trips and stayed in…

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What Can I Do For My Child While Waiting for an Autism Diagnosis?

Here is something I hear quite frequently – “My child has been placed on a waiting list for assessment. We have to wait several months before someone will see my child. Is there something I can do in the meantime to help my child before a diagnosis is given?”

Anxious parents don’t want to wait to start intervening if they suspect something is amiss. If a diagnosis of autism is suspected, there is much that can be done even before an official diagnosis is given. If suspicions turn out to be incorrect, the help given will not have been harmful in any way. I was in this waiting position with my own son, seeking a diagnosis for him at 10 months of age. The diagnosis did not happen until 2 years later even though I was persistent. In the meantime, I felt helpless as I watched Marc lose what few words he had, become increasingly frustrated, and his challenging behavior escalated. I wanted to do something but didn’t know where or how to start.

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Visual supports for autism: a step by step guide

Answer: People on the autism spectrum tend to learn best using visual supports rather than through auditory input. Seeing it, rather than saying it, helps the person retain and process information. Temple Grandin, the most famous woman in the world with autism, describes being a visual thinker in her excellent book Thinking in Pictures.

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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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