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.

The Death of James Delorey, Child with Autism

Our autism community was in the headlines again last week over the tragic death of James Delorey in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. James, a non-verbal 7 year old with autism, ran from his house into the woods to chase the family dog. He was miraculously found alive 2 days later but had severe hypothermia from being out in the winter weather with no proper winter clothing on. He died the following day.

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The DSM-V Quandary

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV), published by the American Psychiatric Association, is used by medical professionals world wide to diagnose mental disorders. The revised manual, the DSM V, is due out in 2012.

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Creating Predictablility

I have a friend in the UK, John, who is 22 years old with Asperger Syndrome. He has taught me a great deal when it comes to helping my children effectively. John has never liked the triad of impairments used to define autism. He has his own triad which is the need for predictability, motivation and the uneven cognitive profile.

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Taking Time For Yourself

Setting aside time just for yourself is not something any mother does readily. We know we’re supposed to look after ourselves but that usually comes after childcare, a job outside of the home, housecleaning, grocery shopping, meal preparation and running errands.

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A Curriculum for Teaching Hygiene

Some of my most frequently asked questions by both parents and professionals are on the topic of hygiene. Questions like, “How do I get my son to brush his teeth in the morning?” or “How do we teach our students to flush the toilet or wash their hands after using the washroom?” are commonly asked.

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Introducing Autism to Elementary Students

I went to my daughter Julia’s grade 4 class last week to give a presentation about autism. My main goal was to give the students a basic understanding of what autism is, what the strengths and difficulties are, and how they can be a friend to Julia.

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Toileting – When To Start

I am often asked the question when is the best time to start toilet training and how does a parent know when their child is ready to be trained. Personally, I think the summer can be a great time to start because school is finished and there are fewer day to day demands on the child. The less people involved in the toileting process, the easier it is. If you are a family that stays at home for the summer or just takes a short holiday, the summer break can be an ideal time to start. Both of my children were toilet trained over the summer – Julia at age 6 and Marc at age 9.

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Reading with Dogs

I recently enrolled my 10 year daughter, Julia, in a program called Story Pals at our local public library. The premise of the program was for struggling readers to practice reading aloud to a dog. Dogs are not judgmental nor do they correct a person when they read aloud so it seemed like the perfect situation to lessen Julia’s anxiety around reading. My biggest concern, though, was Julia’s intense fear of dogs. Would she even come into a room with dogs?

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Improving Speech and Eating Skills in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: An Oral Motor Program

Maureen Flanagan’s new book Improving Speech and Eating Skills in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders shows how to implement a program at home or school. Ms. Flanagan states, “Working on oral motor skills will help expand the child’s diet, accept oral input from a toothbrush, increase the number of sounds that are produced, and assist with imitation and initiation of speech production.” Written for parents and teachers, this book details techniques and activities to work on oral motor skills and explains the reasons for working on these skills.

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