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.

Unscheduled – The Benefits of Free Time in a COVID-19 World

Restrictions and lockdowns, now a regular occurrence in our pandemic world, has had both drawbacks and positive effects. There is something to be said for unscheduled days. Free time provides the chance for contemplation, exploration, creativity, and reflection. Moving at a slower pace allows for more practice time to build critical mass, a chance to learn a new skill without…

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A Different Kind of Christmas

This Christmas will be a holiday like no other we’ve had before. The pandemic has set new boundaries and protocols that must be followed to ensure everyone’s health and safety. Even with these changes, you can still create memories and enjoy this special time of year. Here are some ideas to make the holidays bright. Take a Drive Having a…

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How the Pandemic is Affecting Sleep

I am seeing a spike in questions in around sleep difficulties since the pandemic started. Some of these problems are new or some are a return to past sleeping difficulties. Rebecca Robillard, director of clinical sleep research at the Royal Ottawa Institute of Mental Health Research, published a new study on sleep changes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Robillard collected…

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How do I know if I am in an abusive relationship? What is different about family violence in the ASD community?

November is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Canada. COVID-19 has caused a spike in domestic violence and abuse worldwide. The pandemic has disproportionately affected women. It has also affected the autism community in different ways due to loss of supports, suspension of some services and in-person visits, loss of income, additional health issues, and changes to how we live…

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Addressing Challenging Behavior and ASD – Going Beyond What We See

Every week, I receive detailed e-mails describing various aspects of challenging behavior. The person has made a list of everything the child has broken, what they said, and the advice and strategies they have tried to help the child. When talking about challenging behavior, we have to go deeper and look beyond the behavior itself. Think of the behavior you…

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The Importance of Play for Children with ASD

Play is an important part of a child’s development. It builds fine and gross motor skills, social skills, communication skills, language, thinking and problem solving skills. In children with ASD, play can be very limited. For example, a child may want to play alone, engage in repetitive play like lining up toys or moving from them from point A to…

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What is anger rumination and how does it affect individuals with ASD?

Have you ever experienced challenging behavior like a meltdown, hostility, anger, or aggression when supporting a person with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)? Did the incident seem to come out of the blue? More than likely, there was a trigger that you didn’t notice or something that was building for a period of time. That “something” could be anger rumination. What…

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Constipation, Witholding and Overflow – A Deeper Dive into Bowel Problems for Individuals with ASD

The article that I wrote June 2019 on fecal smearing has generated a lot of mail and comments over the past year. When it comes to toileting difficulties, many challenges center around bowel movements and these 3 occurrences – constipation, withholding of the stool, and overflow. All three of these problems can be a cause of fecal smearing. Let’s have…

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School Changes and Protocols in a Pandemic World

Going back to school is always a little nerve wracking at the best of times. It’s filled with change as we say goodbye to summer and hello to fall. This year, back to school is going to look very different for every town, city and country. Preparing our children and students with for the return to class will involve many…

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Literacy – A Skill for Life for Individuals with ASD

Literacy is an important life skill for many reasons. Literacy opens up a whole world of possibilities and greater independence. Reading improves self-confidence, increases vocabulary for both internal thought and communication, allows for greater participation in society and the workplace, expands interests, and supports understanding in how to navigate in an environment. Print matter is everywhere in our environment –…

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Am I Autistic? A Guide to Diagnosis for Adults

With the availability of  information about autism spectrum disorders (ASD) on the internet and other media sources, some adults may start to question whether they have ASD. The path to self-discovery may start when your child is diagnosed (this happened to my friend, Judy Endow), someone in your life may point out that you have some ASD traits, or you…

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Count Me In! ASD and Physical Activity

Physical activity has soared to the top of the priority list since COVID-19 started to support health and well-being. It should be a part of everyone’s week throughout their lifespan. Regular exercise lessens anxiety, improves sleep, increases endurance, builds muscles, develops motor skills and offers opportunities for socializing. Whether being involved in organized sports on a team, solo activities (swimming,…

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