Articles & Blog - Autism Awareness
We’re here for you during COVID-19, providing information and resources like we always have for the past 18 years. Let us know how we can help.

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.

Financial Stability for Autistic Individuals and Their Families – What Should Be Taken into Consideration?

In November, I spoke on a panel for the Public Health Agency of Canada National Conference to discuss aspects of the National Autism Strategy. My topic was financial stability. Each panelist only had a few minutes to speak about the issues and possible solutions. While I really enjoyed hearing my fellow panelists viewpoints and ideas, the experience left me upset…

Read More »

The Versatility of Using Visual Supports with Autistic People

Visual supports are the cornerstone of communication. They provide structure, routine, consistency and predictability. When a person understands the expectations and knows what to do, they are more independent and confident. Visuals can give a non-speaking person a voice or provide another way to communicate when anxiety and stress take over and words fail. There was a study that found…

Read More »

Social-Emotional Learning and Autism

Social-emotional learning (SEL) is the process of developing and using social and emotional skills. SEL skills are necessary to understand and manage emotions, set goals, make decisions, cooperate, resolve conflicts, feel empathy for others, solve problems, and work on a team (just to name a few). Children start to learn these skills from the time they are babies and continue…

Read More »

What is a structured environment? Why is it helpful for autistic individuals?

A structured environment describes the conditions under which a person should be taught and supported rather than where they should be taught or what to learn. This is a system for organizing environments, developing appropriate activities, and helping people understand what is expected of them. A structured environment is comprised of the physical set up of a room/space, schedules, work…

Read More »

Rethinking Social Skills

Over the years, my thoughts and opinions around social skills teaching have changed a great deal. Reading and listening to the viewpoints of autistic people has opened my eyes to the problems that social skills training can cause over time such as masking. When autistic thinking and neurology are not taken into account, social skills tend to be taught for…

Read More »

What is alexithymia and its relationship to interoception?

This is a guest post by author Kelly Mahler, reprinted with her permission.  What is alexithymia? We know alexithymia is a term that’s used to describe when someone has difficulty identifying their feelings–or more specifically identifying and describing their emotions. Researchers have found that one in 10 people can experience this alexithymia and these rates are even higher in people that…

Read More »

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…

Read More »

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…

Read More »

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…

Read More »

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…

Read More »

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…

Read More »

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.…

Read More »

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.…

Read More »

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…

Read More »