Maureen Bennie's Autism Blog

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.

Enhancing the Life of an Autistic Individual Through Music

A woman who worked with a nonverbal, visually impaired young man with autism asked me an interesting question. She was told the young man had low cognitive ability but when he heard music, he came alive. Sitting in his wheelchair, he would rock back and forth in time to the music and hum along to songs. When the music was no longer playing, he would hum the songs and everyone around him recognized the tunes. She was wondering if there was a way she could explore this connection to music in some way to enhance his life and maybe teach him some things too. As a classical musician and former music teacher, my response was an enthusiastic yes!

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Autism and Vacationing – Ten Tips for Predictability

I’d like to share some thoughts for making travel with children on the autism spectrum successful. I have spoken about predictability in past blogs. Individuals with autism need to know what is going to happen to them. Leaving home means everything is going to be different. Here are 10 ideas to create predictability when travelling:

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How can I make the summertime fun on a small budget for my child with autism?

Summer around home doesn’t have to be boring, a chore, or expensive. With a little research and planning, you can create a fun, educational summer providing experiences for your child to grow and develop. Relax, take it easy and don’t get in a knot about the small stuff. Summertime provides a needed break from programming and therapy so make the most of your free time with the kids. Kick back and enjoy creating a memorable summer for your family.

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Voices of Those on the Spectrum

Some of our most powerful and insightful voices in the autism field are those on the spectrum themselves. Most people know Temple Grandin who has a powerful media presence, but there are many other excellent writers and speakers.

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How does a person with ASD date successfully?

For individuals with as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), dating can be a real challenge. It is a misconception that people on the spectrum don’t want relationships – often they do, but they just don’t know how to meet people or understand the nuances of relationships. How do we effectively teach relationship skills?

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The Positive Effect of Animals for Autistic People

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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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