Autism Q & A
We’re here for you during COVID-19, providing information and resources like we always have for the past 18 years. Let us know how we can help.

Autism Q & A - Blog

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 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 »

How do I teach sexuality to a person with ASD?

Answer: For children that are concrete thinkers, teach rules and skills. Many individuals with ASD follow rules well and understand those types of boundaries. Make sure everyone who works with that child knows the established rules as well. You can teach the “why” behind the rule if the child is at a higher social-cognitive level. Keep in mind the cognitive level when teaching concepts. Does the person understand abstract concepts? Can they apply what they’ve learned in books to real life? Think about how the person learns best: using computers, through visuals, reading, video modelling etc.

Read More »

Visual supports for autism: a step by step guide

Answer: People on the autism spectrum tend to learn best using visual supports rather than through auditory input. Seeing it, rather than saying it, helps the person retain and process information. Temple Grandin, the most famous woman in the world with autism, describes being a visual thinker in her excellent book Thinking in Pictures.

Read More »

Should we insist on eye contact from children with autism?

Making eye contact has been a long debate in the autism community. Eye contact is a necessary skill for navigating social landscapes at work and school. Lack of eye contact is one of the hallmarks of autism, but should we insist on it? Why do children find it difficult to make eye contact? A new study, published in November in…

Read More »

What gifts can I get for an older child with ASD?

Shopping for the older child with autism can be more challenging. When toys are no longer appealing, what other options are there? Here are 10 ideas to take the guesswork out of gift giving. Passes to Attractions – movies, museums, special attractions such as amusement parks, gyms, swimming pool, recreational facility – see what’s available in your city or town.…

Read More »

Does my child have sensory processing disorder?

Sensory processing disorder (SPD) has long been associated with autism, and its external manifestations are often what lead a parent to getting a diagnosis. For a many years SPD was seen as a “symptom” of autism, but a breakthrough study in 2013 found that this disorder had a biological basis that separated it from many other neurological disorders. More recently it was found…

Read More »