Autism Q & A

Autism Q & A

Our Autism Q & A section is where we try to answer the most common questions we are asked, in a clear short concise manner. Everything from how to tell a sibling about autism, to teaching a person with ASD to be more independent. This section likely has an answer to your questions about autism.

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…

Read More »

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…

Read More »

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…

Read More »

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…

Read More »

How do I keep an autistic person safe and well online?

Most people enjoy aspects of being online and this technology has many benefits such as connecting with people all over the world, pursuing interests, watching films and video clips, and finding information on just about any subject you can think of. Since COVID-19 started, internet use has increased significantly worldwide. Technology itself is not good or bad, healthy or unhealthy.…

Read More »

What is misophonia?

Misophonia is an extreme sensitivity to certain sounds such as chewing, pen tapping, sniffling, throat clearing, or scratching.  Its main symptom is a strong negative reaction when hearing triggering sounds. Small sounds can be unbearable and cause a fight or flight response to these triggering sounds. Some sound triggers may cause such distress that a person will avoid situations where…

Read More »

What is autistic masking?

Autistic masking, camouflaging, or compensating is a conscious or unconscious suppression of natural autistic responses. It is hiding or controlling behaviors associated with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) that may be viewed as inappropriate in situations. Autistic people may feel the need to present or perform social behaviors that are considered neurotypical or may hide neurodiverse behaviors in order to be…

Read More »

What is autistic burnout?

Maybe you’ve heard the term autistic burnout and wondered what it is and how this term come about. We usually hear the term “burnout” used in professional life, which is characterized by exhaustion. The autistic community began applying the burnout term to all areas of life. Autistic adults have reported times when they could no longer cope, lost skills, had…

Read More »

Autism Community Support – What Can You Offer?

Community based organizations and groups reach a variety of individuals with varying needs and wants. Not every organization will have access to trained professionals in all requested areas of support, but there is a lot you can provide at the grassroots level. There are several options that can be offered in the community around support, interaction, and information. Four ideas…

Read More »

What is a sensory diet?

A sensory diet, first created by occupational therapists Wilbarger and Wilbarger (1991) , is an individualized plan of physical activities and accommodations to help a person meet their sensory needs. This plan provides the sensory input needed to stay focused and organized throughout the day. For example, some people may feel overwhelmed or overloaded and need to get to a…

Read More »

How do I know if my baby or young child is autistic?

Every week, I get emails from concerned parents who are worried that their baby or young child may be showing signs of autism. Parents send me a list of things they see and wonder if these are early indicators of autism. Every child is an individual and will not develop in the same way, hitting each milestone at the same…

Read More »

How do I know if I am in an abusive relationship? What is different about family violence in the ASD community?

November is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month in Canada. COVID-19 has caused a spike in domestic violence and abuse worldwide. The pandemic has disproportionately affected women. It has also affected the autism community in different ways due to loss of supports, suspension of some services and in-person visits, loss of income, additional health issues, and changes to how we live…

Read More »

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…

Read More »

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…

Read More »