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.

“Autistic Diet” getting a closer look

Wheat-, dairy-free plan proving successful for some
When he was 3 years old, Matthew Sebastian was diagnosed with autism. Four years later, he began having seizures, which are much more common in autistic children than in the broader population.

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S.O.S. Social Skills in Our Schools: A Social Skills Program for Verbal Children with Pervasive Developmental Disorders and Their Typical Peers.

Individuals on the autism spectrum have social deficits which affect their ability to interact with peers, converse, and make friends. Because our children spend most of their day at school, social skills need to be addressed in the school setting. Michelle Dunn’s new book S.O.S. Social Skills In Our Schools is a social skills curriculum designed for verbal children on the spectrum in grades 1 to 6 and their typical peers.

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In Autism, Hope at Any Age

What does last month’s news from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention — that autism incidence is now 1 in 150– mean to me, a mother of a 17-year-old severely autistic boy?

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How To Evaluate Health Information on the Internet

Today the Internet is the first place many of us turn to for health information – often even before consulting our doctors. We research our diagnoses and check out new symptoms to see how serious they might be. Those of us with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome are frequently online looking for new research and the latest information.

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Speaking in Pattern, Theme and Feel

Speaking in sounds, movements, through the feel and theme of songs, jingles and advertisments was my first language. Affirmation was a structure that made sense, to use a jingle to affirm a feeling. So someone says, ‘we’re going’ out and I say ‘Gilligan’s Island’ to me this is an affirmation, just they are speaking interpretively and I’m speaking in theme and feel. Statements made sense because I was all self/no other, and all other/no self.

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Supporting Executive Function Disorder in Children with Autism

Many children with autism have deficits in executive functions. This can be likened to an employee who works for a company where the supervisor is unorganized and inefficient. Nothing seems to go right, things get misplaced, and general chaos seems to be the operational rule. It’s a lot like that for children with autism spectrum disorders. The executive in charge of their brain is not effective, and because of this, planning processes suffer.

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Take the Pencil Out of the Process

As we have learned more about how we learn, both through observation and study, a critically important fact has emerged: many students have difficulty with the physical printing and writing process – difficulty which is significant enough to interfere with their academic performance.

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Using Strengths, Fascinations, & Areas of Expertise in the Classroom

Many individuals with autism have deep interest in one or a variety of topics. Some interests are commonly seen across individuals with autism (e.g., trains, horses, light switches), others seem more unique to an individual person. For instance, Sean Barron, a man with autism once had a deep interest in the number 24. At another point in his life, he became fascinated by dead-end streets (Barron & Barron, 1992)

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The Scrapbook

Although the hobby of scrapbooking is very popular right now, I must thank my 91 year-old mother-in-law for the conceptualization of this item. Many years ago when my children were young and we visited her in Scotland, my mother-in-law pulled some scrapbooks out of a drawer that she had made. The pages were covered with pretty bits of ribbon and stickers, portions of greeting cards, pictures from magazines – any attractive piece of paper that came her way. She had a box where she collected these items until the “mood came on her” and she would make a scrapbook. Most of these scrapbooks she donated to hospitals for children to look at, but some she kept for little visitors and grandchildren.

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How Sensory Integration and Nutrition Interact

Sensory Integration (SI) is a complex process that makes it possible for a person to take in, organize and interpret information from our bodies and the world. Collating sensory information efficiently enables humans to function smoothly in daily life. For example: Is the soup hot or cold? Are my arms or legs going to bump into anything? Do I need to go to the bathroom?

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Asperger’s and Self-Esteem: Insight and Hope

Author: Norm Ledgin Publishing Info: May 2002 Reviewed by Maureen Bennie: Director, Autism Awareness Centre Inc. Norm Ledgin successfully puts to rest the negative connotations an Asperger’s diagnosis usually has. He’s devoted his literary energy into seeing the positive aspects of Asperger’s Syndrome. Society generally looks upon people with different or unusual traits as abnormal, but Ledgin sees the Asperger’s traits…

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Oral Motor Fun – Tips from Make & Take Workshops

Nothing causes more exasperation to an already stressed out parent of a child with special needs than the child who makes mealtimes a disaster! In my 25 tears as a pediatric occupational therapist, and a mother of three children, I know firsthand how developing socially acceptable eating and drinking skills promotes quality of life.

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Hopes and Dreams: An IEP Guide for Parents of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders

Author: Kirby Lentz Publishing Info: 2004 Reviewed by Maureen Bennie : Director, Autism Awareness Centre Inc. Author Kirby Lentz brings over 30 years of experience in education and administration for persons with developmental disabilities to this book which guides both parents and educators through the Individualized Educational Program (IEP) process. The guide, written primarily for parents, is a tool for building…

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