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.

Addressing Challenging Behavior and ASD – Going Beyond What We See

Every week, I receive detailed e-mails describing various aspects of challenging behavior. The person has made a list of everything the child has broken, what they said, and the advice and strategies they have tried to help the child. When talking about challenging behavior, we have to go deeper and look beyond the behavior itself. Think of the behavior you…

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The Importance of Play for Autistic Children

Play is an important part of a child’s development. It builds fine and gross motor skills, social skills, communication skills, language, thinking and problem solving skills. In autistic children, play can be very limited. For example, a child may want to play alone, engage in repetitive play like lining up toys or moving from them from point A to point…

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What is anger rumination and how does it affect individuals with ASD?

Have you ever experienced challenging behavior like a meltdown, hostility, anger, or aggression when supporting a person with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)? Did the incident seem to come out of the blue? More than likely, there was a trigger that you didn’t notice or something that was building for a period of time. That “something” could be anger rumination. What…

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Constipation, Witholding and Overflow – A Deeper Dive into Bowel Problems for Individuals with ASD

The article that I wrote June 2019 on fecal smearing has generated a lot of mail and comments over the past year. When it comes to toileting difficulties, many challenges center around bowel movements and these 3 occurrences – constipation, withholding of the stool, and overflow. All three of these problems can be a cause of fecal smearing. Let’s have…

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School Changes and Protocols in a Pandemic World

Going back to school is always a little nerve wracking at the best of times. It’s filled with change as we say goodbye to summer and hello to fall. This year, back to school is going to look very different for every town, city and country. Preparing our children and students with for the return to class will involve many…

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Literacy – A Skill for Life for Individuals with ASD

Literacy is an important life skill for many reasons. Literacy opens up a whole world of possibilities and greater independence. 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 how to navigate in an environment. Print matter is everywhere in our environment –…

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Am I Autistic? A Guide to Diagnosis for Adults

With the availability of  information about autism spectrum disorders (ASD) on the internet and other media sources, some adults may start to question whether they have ASD. The path to self-discovery may start when your child is diagnosed (this happened to my friend, Judy Endow), someone in your life may point out that you have some ASD traits, or you…

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Count Me In! ASD and Physical Activity

Physical activity has soared to the top of the priority list since COVID-19 started to support health and well-being. It should be a part of everyone’s week throughout their lifespan. Regular exercise lessens anxiety, improves sleep, increases endurance, builds muscles, develops motor skills and offers opportunities for socializing. Whether being involved in organized sports on a team, solo activities (swimming,…

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Calming Strategies to Support an Autistic Person

It’s been several months now since the world was turned upside down due to COVID-19. Life has changed a great deal with social distancing, hand sanitizing, new rules in public places, and constant, unpredictable changes. As society begins to open up again, there will be new challenges to face. The “new normal” will continue to evolve and depending on how…

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Increased Screen Time in the Age of COVID-19

During this period of isolation, staying at home, and school closures, the internet has been a way to stay connected to the world and have access to information and education. Screen time has its pros and cons. Technology is not good or bad, healthy or unhealthy. It is the way it is used that makes the difference in how we…

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Autism Awareness Centre Celebrates 17 Years

June 2020 marks Autism Awareness Centre’s 17th anniversary. When I co-founded this company in 2003, my children were 4 and 6 years old. I was only four years in to the autism journey. Today my children are 21 and 23, young adults. This year’s celebration feels very different in the wake of COVID-19. Much of the world has changed; we’re…

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What We Can and Can’t Control – Managing Feelings During COVID-19

It has been over 10 months now since the COVID-19 pandemic began. For many, nerves are beginning to fray and mental health issues are on the rise. Everyone is struggling trying to juggle online schooling, supporting the health and well being of their family, unpredictable changes to protocols in the outside world, and the uncertainty of the future. Sometimes it…

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Playing Outdoors: Building Skills, Exploring and Creating Memories for Autistic Children

When you think of your fondest childhood memories, they are probably about something you did outdoors. Maybe it was camping, going to the beach, playing in a tent or sandbox, having a game of flashlight tag, learning badminton, or swimming in a lake. Playing outdoors builds physical health, provides exposure to vitamin D, supports cognitive and emotional/social development, improves sensory…

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The New “Normal”- ASD in the Post COVID-19 World

We are seeing out first glimmer of hope after weeks of bad and frightening news -the COVID-19 curve is flattening.  Our communities are going to reopen, albeit in stages and at different times and rates depending on regional data. It is exciting to be able to move about again, to have some shops open, and resume enjoyable activities. There are…

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