Maureen Bennie's Autism Blog
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.

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.

The Positive Effect of Animals for People with ASD

The positive effects animals have on individuals with autism was recently highlighted in a study from the NIH/Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. The study found when animals are present, children with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) have lower readings on a device that detects anxiety and other forms of social arousal when interacting with their peers.

Read More »

The Relief of a Late Autism Diagnosis

Receiving a late diagnosis of autism in adulthood can be a relief. For high-functioning individuals, it’s not uncommon to receive a diagnosis later in life.Once a diagnosis happens, it can open many doors such as finding suitable employment, obtaining a higher education, securing a supported living situation outside the parental home, or accessing financial assistance and services.

Read More »

Horses Can Benefit Those with Autism

We’ve known for some time that interaction with dogs can have a positive effect on those with autism and other disabilities. Horses are now being recognized for their psychological benefits by a growing numbers of therapists who work with autistic children. Scientists have found levels of oxytocin, the hormone which promotes social interaction and increases bonding and empathy, increase when interacting with horses and dogs.

Read More »

Finding a Program that Works for Your Child with ASD

It is an overwhelming task for parents to choose the right program for their child with autism. We do our research through media, family, friends, and ask other people in the autism community what is working for them. We then enroll our child in that program only to find it isn’t working for them. So what went wrong?

Read More »

Preparing for Adult Life with Autism

Most parents don’t like to think about what adult life will look like for their child with autism. It’s too daunting and overwhelming, but long-term planning is essential for the best possible outcome. Once a child leaves school, you have to find other programs and supports in the community to ensure a meaningful day and that takes time. Waiting lists can long or few spaces available in good programs.

Read More »

How do I explain autism to a sibling?

Siblings of children with autism play a unique role in the family. Important as that is, they are often the ones who get less attention, alone time with parents, and adjustments to make in their lives due to the demands of the child with autism. The key to family harmony is fostering an understanding of autism and the importance of the role a sibling plays in a child who has autism.

Read More »

Parental Concerns About Autism Often Dismissed by Doctors

Receiving an early autism diagnosis remains a concern for parents because new research shows that pediatricians are still dismissing parental concerns about autism.The study found that doctors often reassured patients that their child would grow out of it rather than refer them to a specialist or send them for developmental testing.

Read More »

Inclusive Design – Creating Spaces to Accommodate Sensory Issues in ASD

We are aware of the sensory issues that people with autism have, but only recently have we realized the need to design spaces to accommodate those needs. Lights, textures, sounds, and colours can all affect a person’s well-being. Designing spaces around these needs for people with autism can be challenging because autism is a complex disorder; the needs vary greatly from person to person.

Read More »

Is homeschooling a good option for my child with autism?

Once a child with autism reaches school age, parents ask themselves how to provide the best possible educational program for their child who has special needs. There are a number of options: public education, private school, or homeschooling, but what is the best option? Read on to help choose what might work best for your child.

Read More »

Autism Awareness Centre Celebrates 11 Years

What strikes me most about the past 11 years is the development and increase of knowledge in the field of autism. There is a greater awareness about autism in the general public thanks to film, documentaries, blogs, websites, books and media coverage. I can remember when our bookstore started, we had 90 titles which was considered a a lot. Now, we have almost 700 titles and I add 5 new ones to the collection every month. The new additions to the literary scene have been wonderful, with books on education, speech development, communication, anxiety, challenging behaviour, medical management, personal accounts, and the growth of relationship literature because we are recognizing life partners who are on the spectrum.

Read More »

How do I keep a person with ASD safe from abuse or mistreatment?

No parent ever wants to think that their child may be harmed or abused, but it can happen. We can’t always be present, supervising at all times. Children go to school, visit other people’s homes, take the bus, work, and interact with others. People with developmental disabilities are more at risk for abuse than the general population. People on the autism spectrum often have a strong desire to be socially accepted and have difficulty reading emotions and social situations, and therefore may miss important cues that something is not right. This post looks at the newest research and programs that can help us keep our kids safe from harm.

Read More »

How do I teach a person with ASD to be more independent?

Teaching independence is a baby steps process that starts at an early age. When working with children with autism on any skill, you have to think it forward. How will this look and function at age 5, 10 or 18? Imagining where you want this person to be as an adult is a good motivator to teach independence skills. It gives a framework to set goals. This post looks at the small, gradual ways you can help your child to build independence.

Read More »

‘Quiet’ Santas welcome kids with autism across the country

Sitting on Santa’s knee and telling him what your Christmas wishes is a childhood tradition, but for children with autism this isn’t always a reality. Long line-ups, loud music, screaming children, and a busy shopping mall can be too stressful for a child with autism. Enter the Quiet Santa Program – geared to children with autism and special sensitivities. The…

Read More »