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.
Many individuals with autism enjoy using tech devices such as tablets and the iPhone, but a new study shows that their use at night can cause sleep disturbances due to reduced levels of melatonin. Melatonin is a hormone that typically increases in the evening and helps induce sleepiness.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
World Autism Awareness Day is on April 2nd this year. This year’s theme is Employment: The Autism Advantage. Jean Vanier was the winner of this year’s prestigious Templeton Prize. Help children to understand and manage their anxiety, and children and teens with autism can be particularly vulnerable to online dangers.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…