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.

Let’s Talk Emotions: Helping Children with Social Cognitive Deficits, Including AS, HFA, and NVLD, Learn to Understand and Express Empathy and Emotions

Children with social cognitive deficits (SCD) have difficulty identifying emotions in other people and themselves. Author Teresa Cardon, director of the Speech and Language Department at the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Centre in Phoenix, Arizona, has put together activities to teach emotions and empathy. The activities, aimed at ages 3 – 18, are designed to help those with Asperger Syndrome, high functioning autism, and non-verbal learning disability.

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A Thorn in My Pocket: Temple Grandins Mother Tells the Family Story

The role of mother is a complex one laced with emotion, struggles, happiness and disappointment. The journey of mothering a child with an autism spectrum disorder is a road full of trials, guilt, quests and fear of the unknown. Most mothers of ASD children share similar experiences and feelings no matter what their age or background. Eustacia Cutler, mother of Temple Grandin (arguably the most famous woman in the world with autism) takes us through her personal journey of raising a daughter with autism during a time where little was known about the disorder. Ms. Cutler shares with us her self doubt and search for answers amidst an environment that offered little support.

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Shutdowns and Stress in Autism

Part 1: Can shutdowns hurt your child?

What is a shutdown?

A shutdown is a particular sequence of behavior which we observed in a child diagnosed as high-functioning within the autistic spectrum.

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ASDs and Involvement in the Criminal Justice System

A number of people with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are involved in the Criminal Justice System (CJS) as either victims, witnesses or offenders. There is no evidence of an association between ASD and criminal offending. In fact, due to the rigid way many people with ASD keep to rules and regulations, they are usually more law abiding than the general population. People with ASD are more at risk as victims of crime rather than as offenders

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What About the Kids?

Politicians are failing children, especially those with special needs. IMAGINE THE STRESSES of raising an autistic child. In the most severe cases of autism, children shut out the world around them, behave in ritualistic ways and communicate through shrieks and screams.

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Fleas and Autism

If the largest percentage of cases of autism occur in those with compounding co-morbid (co-occurring) conditions, then the idea of ‘pure’ autism is actually referring to a rarity… Most people are aware of the co-occurrence of treatable gut and immune issues co-occurring in a fairly large part of the autistic population (see Shattock, Waring, Gupta). It ain’t rocket science to understand the effect of chronic digestive system and immune system disorders on impairing the efficient supply of nutrients to the brain.

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Autism Affects All of the Brain

Autism does not simply affect how people relate to others but has a wide range of effects, a study suggests. US researchers compared 56 children with autism with 56 who did not have the condition. Those with autism were found to have more problems with complex tasks, such as tying their shoelaces, suggesting many areas of the brain were affected.

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Improving Communication & Behavior

Students with autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, PDD and other diagnoses that fall within the autism spectrum experience significant challenges in communication and social skills. In addition, they may demonstrate behavior challenges that can prevent successful participation in school and family activities.

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Establishing the Social Connection

How do I reach you, sweet child? I have worked with you many times. Yet, I feel that we still have not met. I get a glimpse of you now and then but you continue to hide behind the many faces of autism.

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Telling Social Secrets

For many with autism, engaging in a social interaction is like playing a game without knowing the rules. Some individuals report that the social demands of making small talk or walking into a party can create stress, anxiety, and panic; they may feel as if everyone else knows the secrets necessary for success and they do not. Liane Holliday Willey (1999), a woman with Asperger’s Syndrome, illustrates how stressful it can be when one does not understand certain social requirements:

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Teaching the Person With Autism HOW to DRIVE

While driving on my way to an appointment I was cut in front of three times. I steered clear of a car that was edging over my way to avoid an accident. I saw a near miss when a car ran a stop sign. I pulled over for a siren but cars passed me who didn’t bother to follow that law and I had cars honk at me for going the posted speed limit in a school zone. Were all of those drivers autistic?

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Wisdom From a Preschool Teacher

Some of the most important skills your child needs at school come from lessons that begin at home. A mother tells me how excited she is about her toddler’s “educational” computer game. Just click the mouse and presto: One, two, three oranges bound into a bucket. Isn’t that a fabulous way to learn counting? What is my opinion, as a preschool teacher?

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