Articles & Blog - Page 2 of 27 - Autism Awareness
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Articles & Blog

Maureen Bennie curates a news blog for Autism Calgary called "What in The World is Going On About Autism". Her blog often mines and expands on the articles and events that she has detailed in that news feed, as well as looking at current best autism resources, news stories, and events on a variety of topics about autism and ASD.

How Does Your Garden Grow? Mental Health, Wellness & Skills Development Through Gardening

During this period of at-home learning, starting a garden is a great long-term project that has numerous benefits. Lessons can be taught through online learning and videos. Gardening can also be an activity that unites a group of people through a common purpose. For example, when this period of isolation is over and school resumes this fall, the things that…

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Autism x 2 in Isolation

I am the parent of two children, now adults, on the autism spectrum. Marc is 23 and Julia is 21. They’ve been out of school for almost 3 years now. We’re constantly at work building skills, expanding interests, exploring new recreational activities, volunteering in the community, exercising, cooking, and furthering their education. Things were moving along quite well, then COVID-19…

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Teaching Special Needs Students Online and At Home

I am getting requests from teachers and other support staff on how to best serve their students with special educational needs while at home. Some individuals will not have the ability or capacity to engage in traditional online learning formats that are currently being offered through the Zoom platform, for example. Instruction still needs to be personalized for the best…

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Embedding Skill Building Activities into Daily Routines and Activities for Children with ASD

The current COVID-19 situation has caused many programs, schools, preschools and daycares to temporarily close their doors. Services are also on hold such as occupational and speech therapy. This has caused many parents to feel anxious that their child may regress with their development. If parents are hoping for a diagnostic assessment, the additional wait times will be increased under…

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The New ASD “At Home” World – 10 Ways to Cope with Changes During COVID-19

The recent events around COVID-19 have dramatically altered our world in a short period of time. Each new day is bringing different challenges, restrictions and uncertainties. For our autism community, these changes create a unique set of problems. Activities have stopped running, day programs are shut down, schools are closed, and at home support/respite staff are not working during this…

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How do we prepare a person with ASD for the transition to employment?

The ASD population continues to be chronically underemployed or not employed at all. In 2019, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, 19.3 percent of persons with a disability were employed, compared with 66.3 percent of those without a disability. The unemployment rate for people with ASD continues to hover at around 80%. There are several reasons for this…

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Teaching the Concept of Time

The importance of understanding and keeping time is all around us in our daily lives. Schedules, bedtime, mealtimes, cooking and baking, work, classes, concerts, movies, appointments, social gatherings, and using public transportation all involve timing. Not understanding time and how it works can make us late, rushed, not able to finish a task, miss out on an event, take too…

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Why It Takes A Village To Support A Person With Autism

I recently renewed the service contract for both of my adult children with ASD. The process of meeting with my caseworker left me feeling like a failure and deflated. I think this was because  my caseworker starting sentences with, “You should…” One example of this was, “You should go around the city and approach potential employers for opportunities for your…

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An Introduction to Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA)

Pathological Demand Avoidance of PDA is becoming more widely recognized as a distinct profile of autism. British psychologist Elizabeth Newson came up with this term which describes an anxiety-driven need to be in control and avoid other people’s demands and expectations. Research done at the University of Newcastle in November 2016 found that Intolerance of Uncertainty (IU) was also associated…

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Embracing the Interests and Passions of Individuals with Autism, No Matter What They Are

I recently featured an article on Facebook about age appropriate interests written by Christine Motokane, a young adult with autism. Some of her interests were deemed “inappropriate for her age” by well meaning people around her. Christine’s mother became concerned about her childhood interests as they continued into her high school years. She hired a behaviorist to teach Christine what…

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Making Christmas Merry and Bright for Individuals with ASD

The Christmas holidays can be a time of wonder and delight, taking part in family traditions, seeing loved ones, and a break from routines. The holidays can also be a time of stress for those on the autism spectrum who thrive on familiarity and predictability. This can be a difficult time of year, but with some preparation and planning, the…

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Autism-Related Catatonia: Shut Downs, Mobility, and Speech Difficulties After Early Childhood

I can remember vividly the first time I heard about autism-related catatonia. It was at my Saskatoon, Saskatchewan conference in October 2017. Dr. Ruth Aspy spoke about it in her presentation on self-regulation. I had only heard of catatonia being associated with schizophrenia. Her explanation and description of autism-related catatonia got my mind turning about the parents whom I’ve talked…

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What Do I Do Now? Dealing with an Autism Diagnosis at Any Stage, Any Age

Receiving an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis is a life-changing event at any age or any stage of life. For parents of young children, it changes their hopes, dreams and expectations for their child. It impacts the parents’ relationship with each, the family dynamic and relationships with extended family and friends. A diagnosis in the elementary school years can explain why…

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Interoception and Autism: Body Awareness Challenges for Those with ASD

Most of us know about the seven senses – sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, vestibular, and proprioception. There is also a lesser-known sense, the eighth sense, called interoception. This sense helps a person understand what is going on inside of the body like hunger, thirst, feeling hot or cold, fatigue, or a full bladder. It also affects the ability to…

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