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.

Out and About and On the Go This Summer

The arrival of summer and good weather allows for more time outdoors and being on the go. The school break means changes in the day’s structure and routine and more free time. Summer camps and activities, field trips, a family vacation, and visitors fill the day. Autistic individuals can find these changes and different demands challenging, even if they are…

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Making the Most of the Summer Camp Experience for Autistic Children

Summer camps offer a safe and support environment for autistic children to learn, have fun, gain independence, and make new friends. Camps provide an opportunity for outdoor adventure, physical challenge, and a change from the typical daily  routines of home or school. The main goal of camps is to create an inclusive and accepting environment where autistic children can develop…

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Autism Awareness Centre Celebrates 21 Years

The month of June marks the Autism Awareness Centre’s (AACI) 21st anniversary. Another year has just flown by! Over the past 21 years, I’ve had the opportunity to run conferences, workshops, and trainings all over Canada and the UK. Many of the people I’ve met became lifelong friends who have supported me both professionally and personally. You’ve made my life…

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Co-Regulation – The Bridge to Self-Regulation

Co-regulation is defined as warm and responsive interactions that provide the support, coaching, and modeling that young children need to understand, express, and module their thoughts, feelings and behaviors (Murray et al 2015, 14). In order for an autistic child to be able to self-regulate, co-regulation has to occur. It is the bridge to self-regulation. Kelly Mahler, OT, explains co-regulation…

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Receiving an Autism Diagnosis in the Teen Years

Many autistic children are diagnosed in early childhood, but for others their signs and symptoms do not become apparent until adolescence. If a teenager is capable and academically able, they may not receive a diagnosis as a young child. This can sometimes occur more often in girls than in boys because girls are generally more adept at copying neuro-typical behaviors,…

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What does it mean to debrief after an incident occurs?

Most schools and organizations engage in reflective practice. After an incident occurs, we try to answer some questions about about an incident: What happened? Where did it happen? When did it happen? Who was involved? Why did it happen? How did it happen? How are we going to deal with it if it happens again?  While these are important questions…

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Insistence on Sameness and Routine – Understanding a Hallmark Autism Trait

The DSM-V lists restricted and repetitive behaviors as one of its diagnostic criteria for autism. These behaviors can look like repetitive movements, restricted interests, insistence on sameness, and atypical responses to sensory stimuli. Mirko Uljarević, clinical assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University in California, says these four types of repetitive behavior described in the DSM-V may…

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How can we develop a better understanding of behaviors of concern?

All behavior is viewed through a judgmental lens. The observer brings their beliefs, past experiences, expectations, emotions, understanding and knowledge into every situation. We react when we see and experience behavior from the person we support. We have to understand that the behavior we observe is just like the tip of an iceberg; below the surface of the waterline lies…

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The Role of Exercise in Stress Reduction

The following extract is from a recent practitioner article on the role of exercise in reducing stress, written by Assistant Psychologist Matt Cotterill at WALK, UK. The full article can be accessed here. Providing care and support to people in the caring professions is often fraught with stressful interactions. The stress-induced cascade of hormonal and molecular responses can, if left…

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What is the whole-school saturation model and how can it improve outcomes for autistic students in inclusive settings?

One of the most important, challenging and controversial aspects of autism education is improving experiences and outcomes of autistic learners.  This process is far from straightforward. Autistic students share as many differences as they do similarities and to expect a single approach or intervention to meet the needs of all is naïve. What is the whole-school saturation model? The whole-school saturation…

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Mealtimes, Eating Difficulties and the Autism Spectrum

Parents of autistic children often finding eating, feeding and mealtimes a struggle. If parents reach out for professional help, they may not be able to find it because of the limited number of specialists dealing with eating and feeding disorders; finding a specialist who understands and has experience with autism spectrum disorders can be even more difficult. Picky eating, food…

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Bullying and Autism – How We Can Help

The Anti-Bullying Alliance defines bullying as the repetitive, intentional hurting of one person or group by another person or group, where the relationship involves an imbalance of power. Bullying can be physical, verbal or psychological. It can happen face-to-face or online. This definition encompasses four key elements of bullying – hurtful, repetition, a power imbalance, and intentional. Bullying tends to…

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Sweet Dreams – Autism and Sleep

Autistic individuals often have difficulty falling or staying asleep.  It is estimated that 40 to 83% of autistic individuals have some form of sleep disturbance. Autistic children are twice as likely to have sleep issues as typical children or children with other developmental conditions. Disordered sleep is also one of the first concerns reported by parents. As diverse as autism…

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Christmas with Autistic Children: Ho-Ho-Hold the Expectations

The Christmas holidays are a time of great excitement and anticipation. Holidays also mean changes in the schedule, visitors, crowds, line-ups, noise, and socializing. For children with ASD, the Christmas holidays can be a stressful and anxious time. Meeting family demands can be especially nerve-wracking, particularly if you want to break with time-honoured traditions that just don’t work for a child with autism. Here are a few ideas for making the holidays happy.

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What accommodations are helpful for an autistic student?

Autistic students often find learning in the classroom environment overwhelming. There are many demands and expectations such as shifting focus, taking tests, listening, following instructions, doing homework, coping with a noisy environment, processing information, socializing, and organizing tasks. These are just a few examples. Most autistic students will require accommodations to support their unique learning styles and needs. The word…

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