Maureen Bennie's Autism Blog
We’re here for you during COVID-19, providing information and resources like we always have for the past 17 years. Let us know how we can help.

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.

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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Using Video Technology to Support Autistic Individuals

Video technology can be a powerful teaching tool for autistic people. The use of visual supports is a well-established and commonly used strategy with families and professionals. Using video technology for modeling takes visuals to the next level by combining the visual supports strategy with technology to create an even more effective teaching tool. Video technology is readily accessible through…

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The Increase of Child and Youth Mental Health Issues Due to COVID-19

COVID-19 has touched every aspect of our lives – the workplace, home, leisure activities, health, social life, and the family unit. For children and youth, their childhood experience has been anything but typical with online schooling, lockdowns, school closures, loss of extracurricular activities and separation from friends and extended family members. School opportunities disappeared that can really make a difference…

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The Pandemic Effects on Parent-Teacher Relationships

I read an interesting piece in the Globe and Mail by Bonnie Stelmach, a University of Alberta Education Professor, investigating the changes that happened with parent-teacher relations as a result of the pandemic. She drew her information from an Alberta web-based survey and interviews with parents and teachers. There were positives and negatives which are good to be aware of…

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A Cautious, Open Summer in the Age of COVID-19

Many restrictive measures around the world are being relaxed as we head into summer. With vaccination programs in high gear, life is starting to feel safer. Leaving lockdowns behind and entering back into a more free world can also cause anxious feelings. Will the virus come back or a new variant emerge? What things can we do this summer? How…

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Autism Awareness Centre Celebrates 18 Years

I can hardly believe that this June 2021 marks our 18th anniversary as a company. Where has the time gone? My children were only 4 and 6 years old when I co-founded Autism Awareness Centre Inc. (AACI) in 2003 – now they’re 22 and 24, young adults. Over years, AACI has crossed Canada from coast to coast offering 131 conferences,…

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What is a sensory diet?

A sensory diet, first created by occupational therapists Wilbarger and Wilbarger (1991) , is an individualized plan of physical activities and accommodations to help a person meet their sensory needs. This plan provides the sensory input needed to stay focused and organized throughout the day. For example, some people may feel overwhelmed or overloaded and need to get to a…

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Supporting Learning, Interaction, and Interests through Reading

The ability to read can foster greater independence, support mental health, and lead to positive outcomes in adulthood because reading is connected to employment opportunities, which in turn is connected to income and housing. 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…

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How do I know if my baby or young child is autistic?

Every week, I get emails from concerned parents who are worried that their baby or young child may be showing signs of autism. Parents send me a list of things they see and wonder if these are early indicators of autism. Every child is an individual and will not develop in the same way, hitting each milestone at the same…

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Successful Adulthood Starts in Childhood – Part 2

This blog post is the second part of Successful Adulthood Starts in Childhood– Part 1. It is a continuation on the theme of what we do now to support children can lead to positive outcomes in adulthood. Sensory Issues Sensory processing involves seven systems: Tactile (touch) Vestibular (balance) Proprioception (body awareness) Visual (sight) Auditory (hearing) Gustatory (taste) Olfactory (smell) Difficulties…

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Successful Adulthood Starts in Childhood – Part 1

When a child is diagnosed with autism, parents begin to worry about the child’s future. Will their child be independent? What will happen to them once school ends? Will there be jobs or further educational opportunities? Teachers and therapists also work to provide the skills foundation that will lead to future success and meet the goals of the parent and…

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Caregivers and Increased Demands During the Pandemic

The pandemic has changed many aspects of our lives. Caregivers have had increasing demands and responsibilities placed on them because of lockdowns, program cancellations, difficulty retaining staff, illness and quarantines, new protocols and school closures. Community organizations have closed their doors to in-person meetings and have switched to online and phone support for their clients and members. Increased isolation has…

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