Maureen Bennie's Autism Blog
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Autism News - Blog

Maureen Bennie’s blog on a wide variety of subjects pertaining to autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Maureen is a mother of a son and a daughter ages 24 and 22 with autism. She has managed an at-home Intensive Behavioral Intervention Program for eight years for her children. She has written hundreds of articles and book reviews that have appeared in publications and on websites throughout North America and the UK. Maureen also gives presentations both live and online across Canada on various topics about autism, available books and resources and how to use them.

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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What is autistic burnout?

Maybe you’ve heard the term autistic burnout and wondered what it is and how this term come about. We usually hear the term “burnout” used in professional life, which is characterized by exhaustion. The autistic community began applying the burnout term to all areas of life. Autistic adults have reported times when they could no longer cope, lost skills, had…

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Masturbation and ASD – A Part of Healthy Sexuality

The subject of masturbation is one that people often feel uncomfortable talking about, yet it is a topic I receive many questions about. Some people believe that if a person is autistic, has intellectual or physical disabilities, they won’t have sexual urges. This simply isn’t true! Masturbation is a normal part of healthy sexuality.  One thing to keep in mind…

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Autism Community Support – What Can You Offer?

Community based organizations and groups reach a variety of individuals with varying needs and wants. Not every organization will have access to trained professionals in all requested areas of support, but there is a lot you can provide at the grassroots level. There are several options that can be offered in the community around support, interaction, and information. Four ideas…

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