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.

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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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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