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.

What in the World Is Going On – November 2013 Edition

This will come of no surprise to most parents, but a recent study in the Archives of Disease in Childhood on sleep revealed that children with autism have poorer sleep quality than do other children. They both sleep less overall and are prone to frequent night wakening. “Clear differences in sleep patterns began to emerge around 30 months of age…

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Designing Buildings for People with Autism

Dr. Magda Mostafa, Assistant Professor at the Department of Architectural Engineering at the American University in Cairo who also serves as Deputy Vice-President for Africa in the UNESCO-International Union of Architects’ Education Commission and Validation Council, was asked back in 2002 to design Egypt’s first educational facility for autism. She was surprised to find no guidelines for such a project existed anywhere. Dr. Magda decided to do her own research in order to create designs with the sensory and social needs of people with autism in mind.

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What in the World is Going On – October 2013 Edition

We’re now starting our second month of school with IEP meetings, extra-curricular activities and upcoming report cards. How is your child/student settling in? Parents want to know how each school day went, but asking a child with autism “How was your day?” is a very complex question and one that’s not easy to answer. Answering this question requires language processing,…

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What in the World is Going On – September 2013 Edition

September is back to school month and educational issues are uppermost in many people’s minds. I came across a good article on effective IEP meetings on a site dedicated to ADHD. The article gives tips on how to prepare for an IEP meeting, what to do during it, and how to follow up afterwards. Since student accommodations are critical to…

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What in the World Is Going On – August 2013 Edition

We often think of summer as a slower, laid back period but it certainly has not been so for new research. We’ve had two groundbreaking studies released this past month – the first one led by Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children’s Dr. Stephen Scherer and the Centre for Applied Genomics lab. This new research identified genetic risks for autism in…

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What in the World Is Going On – July 2013 Edition

Another theory has emerged on a possible cause for autism – pollution. Lead researcher Dr. Andrea Roberts, of the Harvard School of Public Health, found that exposure to vehicle fumes and industrial air pollution dramatically raises a woman’s risk of having a child with the autism. Researchers analyzed information from about 325 women who had a child with autism and…

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Autism Awareness Centre Inc. Celebrates Ten Years of Service

This month marks Autism Awareness Centre’s 10th anniversary. Our past 10 years have been peppered with many memorable conferences, heartfelt letters, and projects all over the world. We’ve hosted 79 conferences since February 2004 – 9 in the UK and 70 all across Canada. AACI has hosted a conference in every province and the Northwest Territories. It’s been rewarding meeting…

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What in the World Is Going On June 2013 Edition

Father’s Day is on Sunday, June 16th. Dads are not always recognized for all that they do for their children with ASD. The Father’s Autism Network group, hosted by Autism Calgary Association, recognizes the need for fathers to have a place where they can talk about their feelings and challenges they face having a child on the spectrum. The support…

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What in the World Is Going On in Autism May 2013 Edition

A story that’s grabbing headlines this month is the Telford’s struggles with their adult son who has severe autism. Amanda Telford left her son at the Ottawa offices of Developmental Services Ontario, the Ontario government agency that connects adults with disabilities to services in the community because she said she can no longer care for him. Phillipe has complex needs…

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What in the World is Going On April 2013 Edition

April is Autism Awareness month. April 2nd marks World Autism Day, which was created by the United Nations in 2008. Autism Speaks celebrates this day with their Light It Up Blue Campaign. Check out their blog which gives daily updates as they count down until April 2nd. See how people around the world are planning to light it up blue…

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What in the World is Going On March 2013 Edition

It has long been thought that music therapy has a positive effect on children with autism. Pertanika Journal highlighted a study where improvements were seen, particularly in inattentive behaviours over a ten month period, in 41 children with autism. Music and movement therapy has been used to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals of all ages. The researchers hope that their research will help children and young adults with autism to modify behaviour. To read the article, click here.

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Video Interviews with Maureen Bennie

Video: Maureen Bennie part 1

Maureen Bennie, mother of two teenagers with autism, talks about how a program at Calgary’s The Ability Hub is teaching her children the daily-living skills that prepare them for independent living in adulthood.

(video re-directs to the Ottawa Citizen website)

Click here to view the video

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What in the World is Going On, February 2013 Edition

The beginning of the 2013 has been peppered with new research studies. Chuck Hensel, an author on the new research study which has identified 24 new gene variants associated with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), was published in PLoS ONE. Hensel is the senior manager of research at the genetic diagnostics company Lineagen. This research confirms that 31 variants previously linked to ASD may serve as useful genetic markers for identifying those with the condition.

Hensel worked with researchers from University of Utah and the Children’s Hospital of Philadephia and created a two-pronged approach for hunting down genetic markers of autism. “First, the researchers chose 55 people living with autism, all from families with many members diagnosed with ASDs. The scientists then sequenced the genomes of these subjects, and compared the genetic profiles to those from a reference population, using the Utah Genetics Reference Project. That allowed them to find regions where the autistic individuals differed from people without the disorder, and led to 153 gene variants, or genetic red flags for the condition.”

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What in the World is Going On January 2013 Edition

The big news this past month was the finalizing of the DSM-V which will be published May 2013. There was much discussion around the possibility of Asperger Syndrome no longer being classified as a separate diagnosis. Asperger Syndrome will now be a part of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), a new term added to the manual. ASD is a term already used by many experts in the field. The new category will include individuals with severe autism, who often don’t talk or interact, as well as those with milder forms. Catherine Lord, an autism expert at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York who was on the psychiatric group’s autism task force, said anyone who met criteria for Asperger’s in the old manual would be included in the new diagnosis.

The changes to the manual are important for the insurance industry in deciding what treatment to pay for, and for schools to decide how and what to fund for special education. Experts have weighed in on the new changes to the DSM-V. The changes to the DSM-V will continue to be a hot topic once published because assessments and the diagnostic process may change according to the new ASD classification.

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How and when do you tell a child about their ASD diagnosis?

Answer: There are a number of frequently asked questions around when you should tell a child about their ASD diagnosis. How do you tell a child about their diagnosis of ASD? Is there a right age? How do you know when the child is ready to hear the information?

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