Autism

It’s true that almost every blog post could fit into this category, but we try to keep it mostly to those blog posts and articles that specifically reference autism itself. News, research, any articles that talk specifically about autism, rather than a related disorder, or behaviour.

What Can I Do For My Child While Waiting for an Autism Diagnosis?

Here is something I hear quite frequently – “My child has been placed on a waiting list for assessment. We have to wait several months before someone will see my child. Is there something I can do in the meantime to help my child before a diagnosis is given?”

Anxious parents don’t want to wait to start intervening if they suspect something is amiss. If a diagnosis of autism is suspected, there is much that can be done even before an official diagnosis is given. If suspicions turn out to be incorrect, the help given will not have been harmful in any way. I was in this waiting position with my own son, seeking a diagnosis for him at 10 months of age. The diagnosis did not happen until 2 years later even though I was persistent. In the meantime, I felt helpless as I watched Marc lose what few words he had, become increasingly frustrated, and his challenging behavior escalated. I wanted to do something but didn’t know where or how to start.

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Temple Grandin: Still Going Strong at 70

Autism Calgary celebrated its 25th Anniversary on February 22nd with an exciting event – an evening with Temple Grandin. Temple spoke at the Calgary Hyatt Regency Hotel to a huge, enthusiastic audience of nearly 1200 people. She was in top form, delivering a two hour talk full of insight and practical information. Temple’s energy and enthusiasm for the subject of…

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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…

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Gunilla Gerland: 5 Secrets to Success for Professionals in the Autism Field

While at the Autism Europe Conference, I had the great pleasure of listening to Swedish lecturer Gunilla Gerland  speak about being a professional in the autism field. Having grown up with Asperger Syndrome in an unsympathetic environment, she had great insights. She wrote a book called Secrets to Success for Professionals in the Autism Field. Gunilla talked about essential tools…

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Autism Europe Conference Highlights, News, and More

This fall I had the opportunity to attend to the Autism Europe Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland from September 16-18 . This conference happens once every 3 years and is hosted by a European country (2019 will be in Paris, France). This sold out event had 1750 delegates from 60 countries attending. There were 300 speakers from across the world sharing advances…

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How do you know what therapy is right for your child with ASD?

If you have a child who is newly diagnosed with autism, or are thinking of starting a new therapy program for a child with ASD, I highly recommend reading the article, What Kinds of Therapies Actually Help Autistic Kids? by Shannon Des Roches Rosa. The learning curve for therapies to help your child with ASD can be daunting. Not every…

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How expanding interests helps those with ASD – The LILA Principle

Over the years, I have tried to expand my children’s interests to help them increase knowledge, keep their lives interesting, and to foster growth. This has also been an educational goal in both school and home therapy programs. My son Marc, now 19, has a great range of interests that has broadened beyond ceiling fans and Thomas the Tank Engine.…

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The Positive Effects of Dogs on ASD: Ms. Claire’s Excellent Adventure

A Canine Assisted Educational Initiative

I think the ‘Claire Buron Project’, as we have come to call it, began years ago when I read about the positive effects of dog ownership. I began thinking that if owning a dog could lower a person’s stress level, and if just petting the dog could release pleasurable hormones, then maybe a dog could help calm highly anxious students with autism in a school setting.

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Autism On the Road: 10 Tips for a Successful Summer Vacation

We just got back from a week long vacation on Vancouver Island, BC. We drove to Courtenay which took 2 days each way. We haven’t done a car trip of that length for 5 years, and travelling with Marc and Julia has improved considerably over the years. Is it because they are maturing or are we getting better with vacation planning?

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High Functioning Girls With Autism Often Go Undiagnosed

A topic that is getting a lot of coverage in the news this past year is the discovery that autism research may have gender-skewed results leading to high functioning girls on the spectrum going undiagnosed. The main reason for this discrepancy is that girls and women haven’t been represented sufficiently in scientific study, and so the diagnostic benchmarks have been set by boys, and then assumed to be the same for girls. This assumption has been dramatically questioned in the past year through research that began to look at the brain development of boys and girls on the spectrum separately. Below are the three main ways that girls with autism have slipped through the cracks, and gone undiagnosed.

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“Sucking It Up” To Pass as Non-Autistic

Happy Autism Awareness Day! This year’s theme is inclusion and neurodiversity. This post was originally published on Judy Endow’s site, and is reposted here in honour of Autism Awareness Day. French Translation: Se faire violence pour « passer sous le radar » de l’autisme http://www.judyendow.com/french-blogs/se-faire/  ‎ It is a lot of work to look non-autistic …and yet, looking non-autistic is the ticket to…

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5 Ways To Create Predictability: Part 2 of “Triad of Impairments” in Autism

Predictability is the ability to know and understand what is coming up next in your day. Many of us feel less anxious when we know what is expected of us, and how we are going to navigate our day to day lives. For someone on the spectrum, where even knowing which washroom to use -unless it is exactly like the one they are used to using at home- can be a major challenge. Predictability is a way for someone on the spectrum to assuage their anxiety over the unknown, and empower themselves into their daily tasks. For some of the spectrum, not knowing what to expect at a new school, in a new restaurant, or while on vacation can make life unbearable for themselves and their caregivers.

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Autism ‘Triad of Impairments’ Redefined: Lessons From John Simpson

John Simpson is a young man with Asperger Syndrome who resides in the UK. He has spoken at our Birmingham conferences in May of 2007 and 2008. John is an articulate, intelligent, informative and entertaining speaker. He has been a huge influence on me as a parent because of his revealing inside look at autism. He has been a great teacher, making me re-think how I parent my two children.

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Stimming:The Good and Bad Side of Anxious Behaviours

My most read post this month on Facebook was one about stimming. Stimming – or stims – are a wide variety of self-stimulating behaviours that people with ASD may exhibit when experiencing sensory overload or high levels of anxiety. Stimming can be a repetitive motion such as hand flapping or rocking, repetition of words or phrases, vocalizations, or even the repetitive…

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