Maureen Bennie's Autism Blog
We’re here for you during COVID-19, providing information and resources like we always have for the past 18 years. Let us know how we can help.

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.

Autism Awareness Centre Celebrates 18 Years

I can hardly believe that this June 2021 marks our 18th anniversary as a company. Where has the time gone? My children were only 4 and 6 years old when I co-founded Autism Awareness Centre Inc. (AACI) in 2003 – now they’re 22 and 24, young adults. Over years, AACI has crossed Canada from coast to coast offering 131 conferences,…

Read More »

What is a sensory diet?

A sensory diet, first created by occupational therapists Wilbarger and Wilbarger (1991) , is an individualized plan of physical activities and accommodations to help a person meet their sensory needs. This plan provides the sensory input needed to stay focused and organized throughout the day. For example, some people may feel overwhelmed or overloaded and need to get to a…

Read More »

Supporting Learning, Interaction, and Interests through Reading

The ability to read can foster greater independence, support mental health, and lead to positive outcomes in adulthood because reading is connected to employment opportunities, which in turn is connected to income and housing. Reading improves self-confidence, increases vocabulary for both internal thought and communication, allows for greater participation in society and the workplace, expands interests, and supports understanding in…

Read More »

How do I know if my baby or young child is autistic?

Every week, I get emails from concerned parents who are worried that their baby or young child may be showing signs of autism. Parents send me a list of things they see and wonder if these are early indicators of autism. Every child is an individual and will not develop in the same way, hitting each milestone at the same…

Read More »

Successful Adulthood Starts in Childhood – Part 2

This blog post is the second part of Successful Adulthood Starts in Childhood– Part 1. It is a continuation on the theme of what we do now to support children can lead to positive outcomes in adulthood. Sensory Issues Sensory processing involves seven systems: Tactile (touch) Vestibular (balance) Proprioception (body awareness) Visual (sight) Auditory (hearing) Gustatory (taste) Olfactory (smell) Difficulties…

Read More »

Successful Adulthood Starts in Childhood – Part 1

When a child is diagnosed with autism, parents begin to worry about the child’s future. Will their child be independent? What will happen to them once school ends? Will there be jobs or further educational opportunities? Teachers and therapists also work to provide the skills foundation that will lead to future success and meet the goals of the parent and…

Read More »

Caregivers and Increased Demands During the Pandemic

The pandemic has changed many aspects of our lives. Caregivers have had increasing demands and responsibilities placed on them because of lockdowns, program cancellations, difficulty retaining staff, illness and quarantines, new protocols and school closures. Community organizations have closed their doors to in-person meetings and have switched to online and phone support for their clients and members. Increased isolation has…

Read More »

Unscheduled – The Benefits of Free Time in a COVID-19 World

Restrictions and lockdowns, now a regular occurrence in our pandemic world, have had both drawbacks and positive effects. There is something to be said for unscheduled days. Free time provides the chance for contemplation, exploration, creativity, and reflection. Moving at a slower pace allows for more practice time to build critical mass, a chance to learn a new skill without…

Read More »

A Different Kind of Christmas

This Christmas will be a holiday like no other we’ve had before. The pandemic has set new boundaries and protocols that must be followed to ensure everyone’s health and safety. Even with these changes, you can still create memories and enjoy this special time of year. Here are some ideas to make the holidays bright. Take a Drive Having a…

Read More »

How the Pandemic is Affecting Sleep

I am seeing a spike in questions in around sleep difficulties since the pandemic started. Some of these problems are new or some are a return to past sleeping difficulties. Rebecca Robillard, director of clinical sleep research at the Royal Ottawa Institute of Mental Health Research, published a new study on sleep changes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Robillard collected…

Read More »

How do I know if I am in an abusive relationship? What is different about family violence in the ASD community?

November is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Canada. COVID-19 has caused a spike in domestic violence and abuse worldwide. The pandemic has disproportionately affected women. It has also affected the autism community in different ways due to loss of supports, suspension of some services and in-person visits, loss of income, additional health issues, and changes to how we live…

Read More »