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.

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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Tanzania Entry 8

We left for Bagomoyo this morning on the express bus and arrived at the Livingston Hotel where we are treating ourselves to a night and day at this lovely beach resort. William used to work here and recommended it to us. It is lovely and has high speed internet. I might even be able to send you some photos tomorrow!

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Tanzania Entry 7

What happened was, we went to the bus station at 8:30 on Wed. morning to catch our 9:00 bus. After much discussion between our cab driver and the ticket office staff, they tracked down a young man who explained to us that the 9:00 bus left at 8:00. We had missed it.

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Tanzania Entry 6

Saturday morning we packed up, bid Ibra good bye and the driver took us to the “Luxury” bus to Lushoto we thought we had tickets on. As in Alice’s Wonderland, nothing is as you think it will be. Fortunately it was a rather cool day and the sky was overcast because we were packed in like sardines for the 7 hour trip that was suppose to take 5.

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Tanzania Entry 5

Did I ever mention that the Dadas (teacher assistants) don’t speak English? Two of the new teachers don’t speak much either and do not let us know when they are not understanding what we are saying. They are wonderful people and very good with the children. The teachers help translate but we definitely have had some communication breakdowns.

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Tanzania Entry 4

Wow, this week has flown by. We have been practicing, practicing, practicing all week. Thankfully the children are responding to the strategies which we hope will fuel the teachers for the hard work ahead of them. We will make work tasks tomorrow afternoon then meet with the teachers. On Friday we do a wrap-up.

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