Articles & Blog - Page 3 of 29 - Autism Awareness

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.

Collaboration in Education – Working Together for Positive Outcomes

In the educational setting, in order for families of autistic children to feel understood, supported, and experience success, they need a village around them. They need to collaborate with teachers, educational assistants, school based teams and community partners. Think of the TEAM acronym: T – Together  E – Everyone  A – Achieves   M – More For collaboration to happen, people…

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The Struggle of Aging Caregivers

I read an excellent article in the Globe and Mail about the struggles an aging population has with trying to balance work, personal life, and caregiving responsibilities. While caregiving is a labor of love, it also has another side to it that affects employment, physical/mental health, and well-being. As we age, we also have to assess how feasible is it…

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What is autistic inertia?

An autistic person wrote to me and asked what might be the reason they are experiencing difficulty starting a task. This got me thinking about autistic inertia. Quincy Hansen, autistic blogger, defines it as: the tendency that autistic people have to want to remain in a constant state. When we’re asleep we want to stay asleep, when awake we want…

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Ten Tips for an Autism Friendly Christmas

Christmas can be a magical time filled with decorations, treats, presents, twinkling lights, and excitement. It can also be a stressful time for autistic people because of schedule changes, visitors, sensory overload and unpredictability. Here are a ten tips to help make this holiday season an autism friendly one. Maintain routines for predictability. Try to stick with routines like bedtime,…

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Financial Stability for Autistic Individuals and Their Families – What Should Be Taken into Consideration?

In November, I spoke on a panel for the Public Health Agency of Canada National Conference to discuss aspects of the National Autism Strategy. My topic was financial stability. Each panelist only had a few minutes to speak about the issues and possible solutions. While I really enjoyed hearing my fellow panelists viewpoints and ideas, the experience left me upset…

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The Versatility of Using Visual Supports with Autistic People

Visual supports are the cornerstone of communication. They provide structure, routine, consistency and predictability. When a person understands the expectations and knows what to do, they are more independent and confident. Visuals can give a non-speaking person a voice or provide another way to communicate when anxiety and stress take over and words fail. There was a study that found…

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Social-Emotional Learning and Autism

Social-emotional learning (SEL) is the process of developing and using social and emotional skills. SEL skills are necessary to understand and manage emotions, set goals, make decisions, cooperate, resolve conflicts, feel empathy for others, solve problems, and work on a team (just to name a few). Children start to learn these skills from the time they are babies and continue…

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What is a structured environment? Why is it helpful for autistic individuals?

A structured environment describes the conditions under which a person should be taught and supported rather than where they should be taught or what to learn. This is a system for organizing environments, developing appropriate activities, and helping people understand what is expected of them. A structured environment is comprised of the physical set up of a room/space, schedules, work…

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Rethinking Social Skills

Over the years, my thoughts and opinions around social skills teaching have changed a great deal. Reading and listening to the viewpoints of autistic people has opened my eyes to the problems that social skills training can cause over time such as masking. When autistic thinking and neurology are not taken into account, social skills tend to be taught for…

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What is alexithymia and its relationship to interoception?

This is a guest post by author Kelly Mahler, reprinted with her permission.  What is alexithymia? We know alexithymia is a term that’s used to describe when someone has difficulty identifying their feelings–or more specifically identifying and describing their emotions. Researchers have found that one in 10 people can experience this alexithymia and these rates are even higher in people that…

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Supporting Autistic Students in the Classroom

Teaching an autistic child can be both rewarding and challenging at times. If this is your first time teaching an autistic person, it can feel overwhelming figuring out what to do or how to best support that child in order to set the stage for optimal learning. Educators must teach to children’s strengths, create a predictable environment, and be aware…

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How do autistic girls present differently than boys?

It is becoming more acknowledged and recognized that girls on the autism spectrum present differently than boys do. The diagnostic ratio has been 3 boys to every 1 girl diagnosed, but is this a true representation of the female population? Autistic females are not being diagnosed due to their differences in presentation, and on average are diagnosed 2 – 3…

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Autism Awareness Centre Celebrates 19 Years

The month of June marks our 19th anniversary at Autism Awareness Centre Inc. (AACI). The past 2 years have transformed us and influenced how we’ll go forward in the new “normal”; although I keep asking myself, “Are we there yet?” I don’t know a person who has not been deeply affected by the events of the pandemic. Most of us…

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Autism, Atypical Eating Behaviors and Eating Disorders

Atypical eating behaviors are common in autistic people. According to a study by Mayes & Zickgraf, 2019, 70.4% of autistic children have atypical eating behaviors as compared to 13.1% for other disorders and 4.8% for typical children. They found that only autistic children had pica or pocketed food. For 92% of autistic children, the most common preferred foods were grains…

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