Articles, News and Research about Autism and related disorders
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Autism News - Articles

Autism Awareness Centre Inc. frequently has guest speakers post articles, news or research pertaining to their specific autism related topics on our site.

Turn It On: Using Media for Social Learning

By Anna Vagin, PhD. I’m working with a group of four third graders in a social learning group. As they play a cooperative board game, they are working on being flexible – listening to each other, sharing strategy plans, and letting go of their individual ideas when others present a better one. Oh, yes, and they are managing their uncomfortable…

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Autistic Kids and Cameras: A Good Combination

Verbal communication can be an area of difficulty for people with autism. Using a camera can be an alternate way of communicating and most children love to use them. Looking at what they take pictures of, angles, colours, and details can give you a peek into how the person with autism sees the world.

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Autism’s Social Barriers

The chances of detection and treatment depend on who you are and where you live

By PAULINE TAM, Published in The Ottawa Citizen

OTTAWA — It’s the unspoken rule about autism services that Anne Jovanovic knows all too well: Getting help for her son, Mica, requires her to wage a constant war with the gatekeepers of provincial programs.

Since Mica was diagnosed two years ago, Jovanovic has parsed government documents and doggedly pursued officials to press her case. In doing so, the federal public servant has established herself as a mother whose demands can’t be easily dismissed.

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Back to School Tips for Parents and Teachers

As the new school year begins, many parents of students who have Autism Spectrum Disorders are filled with trepidation as they know this involves establishing a relationship with their child’s new teacher, as well as the development of routines of communication and interaction. Many parents worry about how much the teacher knows about Autism Spectrum Disorders. They wonder: How much training have they had? Will the teacher be patient? Will he or she like my child? Will everyone get along and agree on goals and expectations?

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Helpful Guidelines When Planning, Making and Using Visual Supports

A visual support can be anything that shows a student what to expect and/or what is expected on the student. The image itself may take any one or a combination of forms: objects, photographs, line drawings, printed words. The benefits of using visual supports with students with ASD are well established and can be obvious to even the casual observer in a classroom, home or community setting.

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Differentiating Instruction

Five Easy Strategies for Inclusive Classrooms

Many general educators believe that they need specialized strategies to teach students with disabilities. While it can be beneficial to know about certain types of disabilities before teaching students with labels, often teachers are effective when they are accepting, look for strengths in their students, provide personal attention when necessary, and allow for differences in the ways students approach tasks and complete classroom work.

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Good Job

What’s your child with Asperger Syndrome going to do for a living?

Too early to start thinking about that? Really, it’s not. While your ten year old or teenager doesn’t have to immediately choose a career, he’s much more likely to find and keep a job when the time comes if you start preparing him in two important ways.

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Setting the Stage for Social Success

Persons diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome (AS) lack the understanding of nonverbal communication that so many of us take for granted. A nod of the head, a smirk, a change in voice tone is so often misinterpreted or totally missed by those with this diagnosis. If you do not read these non-verbal signals, you are not likely to send the appropriate non-verbal messages either. Additionally, youngsters with AS often interpret language literally and miss the more abstract references. These youngsters often have difficulty building relationships with their peers. For this reason many of these individuals also suffer with poor self-esteem. Yet traditional “social skills” programs have not been very successful in teaching these capable individuals the skills they need in our social world.

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The Contract for Communication: A Practical Approach for Improving Mutual Communication

There are many treatment options and teaching strategies in the field of autism spectrum disorders which assume that something must be changed about the person with ASD: their behavior, their responses, their thoughts, or their communication skills. The intent of this article is to introduce a broader, more inclusive, and possibly courageous, approach. We begin by first acknowledging that with the autism spectrum comes a different style of communication – different from the widespread style of communication that most (non-autistic) people are familiar with and unconsciously expect. Then consider the idea that miscommunication and misunderstanding often result from a mismatched style of communicating – and finally, that all of us are responsible when desiring improved communication.

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The 5-Point Scale and Emotional Regulation

Emotional regulation can be defined as the ability to separate your emotional responses to a problem from the thinking you must perform to resolve the problem. The 5-point scale is a visual system that can help to organize a person’s thinking when working through difficult moments, particularly those that require social understanding.

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A Cautionary Tale: If I got hit by a bus tomorrow…

One Sunday morning in March, I received a phone call. My best friend, Gertrude, had died in the night. Megan, Gertrude’s daughter, had found the body that morning. Megan has Asperger’s syndrome and at the age of 27, her adaptive functioning levels place her in the eight to eleven year old range. When the police arrived, she was in an hysterical state, threatening to kill herself. She was restrained, put in an ambulance and taken to the hospital. That evening, she was finally seen by a psychiatrist who, after a five minute interview, deemed her fit to go home.

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An Autism Epidemic: What a Wonderful Thing

“Worldwide Autism Epidemic!” screams the headline. I wish it were true. If we were in the midst of an epidemic of autism, then something, or someone, would be to blame, and with a bit of sleuthing we could eliminate the problem, and prevent even more children from suffering. And, if the epidemic were man-made, we could punish the guilty. Alas, there is precious little scientific evidence to support the notion of an autism epidemic.

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The Asperger Diagnosis Challenge

Being diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome in 1997 was one of the best things that ever happened to my son, Drew. Make no mistake, Asperger Syndrome can be duplicitous. It can give you abilities that make people shake their heads in wonder, and deficits that just make them shake their heads. In elementary school, Drew wowed his teacher and classmates with an encyclopedic knowledge of Greek mythology, but then annoyed them with a compulsion to talk incessantly about Perseus and friends.

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Have you made the Sensory “Rainbow Connection”?

During my 30 years as a pediatric occupational therapist, I have constantly searched for new ways to help make complex concepts such as sensory integration, more “user friendly”. Out of desperation a few years ago, after yet again another road trip of consultations and workshops which involved constant packing and unpacking of sensory toys and equipment, I began listening to expert advice.

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