Articles & Blog - Autism Awareness
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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.

Supporting Autistic Students in the Classroom

Teaching an autistic child can be both rewarding and challenging at times. If this is your first time teaching an autistic person, it can feel overwhelming figuring out what to do or how to best support that child in order to set the stage for optimal learning. Educators must teach to children’s strengths, create a predictable environment, and be aware…

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How do autistic girls present differently than boys?

It is becoming more acknowledged and recognized that girls on the autism spectrum present differently than boys do. The diagnostic ratio has been 3 boys to every 1 girl diagnosed, but is this a true representation of the female population? Autistic females are not being diagnosed due to their differences in presentation, and on average are diagnosed 2 – 3…

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Autism Awareness Centre Celebrates 19 Years

The month of June marks our 19th anniversary at Autism Awareness Centre Inc. (AACI). The past 2 years have transformed us and influenced how we’ll go forward in the new “normal”; although I keep asking myself, “Are we there yet?” I don’t know a person who has not been deeply affected by the events of the pandemic. Most of us…

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Autism, Atypical Eating Behaviors and Eating Disorders

Atypical eating behaviors are common in autistic people. According to a study by Mayes & Zickgraf, 2019, 70.4% of autistic children have atypical eating behaviors as compared to 13.1% for other disorders and 4.8% for typical children. They found that only autistic children had pica or pocketed food. For 92% of autistic children, the most common preferred foods were grains…

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Community Inclusion for Autistic People – Ideas and Options

Community inclusion is best described as when there is an opportunity within a community for all its members to live, work, contribute and participate without barriers or obstacles to do so. In an inclusive community each person has their individual needs and differences not only accommodated, but celebrated and valued. Community inclusion means that every person should be treated as…

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Supporting Autistic People in the Workplace

Having a secure job improves a person’s quality of life, self-esteem, and well-being. Employment can add meaning and focus to the day, build skills, create a wider circle of support, the opportunity for human connections and friendships, and feeling a part of something. The reality is that the ASD population continues to be chronically underemployed or not employed at all.…

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How do I keep an autistic person safe and well online?

Most people enjoy aspects of being online and this technology has many benefits such as connecting with people all over the world, pursuing interests, watching films and video clips, and finding information on just about any subject you can think of. Since COVID-19 started, internet use has increased significantly worldwide. Technology itself is not good or bad, healthy or unhealthy.…

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Understanding Echolalia in Autism Spectrum Disorders

Echolalia is the precise repetition or echoing aloud of words, sounds, or sentences. An autistic child may repeat the words of people they know (family, friends and teachers) or say sentences from their favorite videos and films. I can remember when my son, Marc, was in elementary school he could repeat entire scenes word for word from the BBC’s Pride…

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What is misophonia?

Misophonia is an extreme sensitivity to certain sounds such as chewing, pen tapping, sniffling, throat clearing, or scratching.  Its main symptom is a strong negative reaction when hearing triggering sounds. Small sounds can be unbearable and cause a fight or flight response to these triggering sounds. Some sound triggers may cause such distress that a person will avoid situations where…

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Understanding Why Autistic People Need Alone-Time

When my autistic children were in school, they used to need about 90 minutes of alone-time when they got home with no demands or interruptions. I respected their need for a quiet period to regroup and recharge their batteries before connecting with me. As adults, they still have this need to have time to themselves, finding it throughout the day.…

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If at First You Don’t Succeed, Wait, Wait and Try Again

I had an eye opening experience with my daughter, Julia, last month. She had a doctor’s appointment for a physical assessment that was required in order to enroll in a fitness course. Her doctor told her she had low blood pressure, asked if she had any symptoms, and said that she may be anemic. I saw the surprise in her…

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Building Resilience – An Important Life Skill

Throughout life, every person faces challenges, obstacles and difficulties that they must overcome. The ability to bounce back through adversity is called resilience. Resilience involves working through challenges in a proactive way which helps build confidence and mastery in overcoming difficulties. Being able to do so supports personal growth, mental health, and contributes to positive feelings of self-worth and self-esteem.…

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What is autistic masking?

Autistic masking, camouflaging, or compensating is a conscious or unconscious suppression of natural autistic responses. It is hiding or controlling behaviors associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that may be viewed as inappropriate in situations. Autistic people may feel the need to present or perform social behaviors that are considered neurotypical or may hide neurodiverse behaviors in order to be…

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A Good Life for Autistic People Starts with Well-Being

I receive many emails from overwhelmed parents and caregivers about not knowing what to focus on to help the autistic children and adults in their care. Concerns can encompass troubling behaviors, sensory issues, education, the need for employment, healthy relationships, physical well-being, or how to improve daily living skills. At the heart of it all is the need for an…

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Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas This Year!

The Christmas season is upon us and with that comes expectations and busyness that many autistic people find anxiety provoking. The holidays mean changes in the schedule, visitors, crowds, line-ups, noise, and socializing. Meeting family demands can be especially nerve-wracking, particularly if you want to break with time-honoured traditions that just don’t work for an autistic person. Here are a…

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