Autism Archives - Page 3 of 6 - Autism Awareness

Autism - Blog

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.

Autism Awareness Centre Inc. Celebrates 16 Years

June 2019 marks Autism Awareness Centre’s 16th anniversary. When I co-founded this company in 2003, my children were 4 and 6 years old. I was only four years in to the autism journey. Today my children are 20 and 22, young adults. So much has changed in the autism field these past 16 years. Some of our biggest advancements have…

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Understanding Stimming and Autism: The Good and Bad Side of Anxious Behaviours

What is stimming? Stimming – or stims – are a wide variety of self-stimulating behaviours that people with autism may exhibit when experiencing sensory overload or high levels of anxiety. Stimming can be a repetitive motion such as hand flapping, rocking, repetition of words or phrases (echolalia), vocalizations, or even the repetitive movement of objects. Stimming still puzzles many neurotypicals,…

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The Positives of Autism

Autism is often defined and described in terms of deficits. This happens in order to determine what supports are needed, for program design and implementation, and level of funding; but always talking about what a person can’t do or do as well as their peers can be demoralizing. Improvement can be difficult to see and small but significant gains are…

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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 autistic children?

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 autistic child?

If you have a child who is newly diagnosed with autism, or are thinking of starting a new therapy program for an autistic child, I highly recommend reading the article Which Therapies Can Help with Autism. The learning curve for therapies to help your autistic child can be daunting. Not every therapy works for every child, and it can take…

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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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What is Neurodiversity?

As most of you know World Autism Awareness Day was on Saturday, April 2nd. Every year, the United Nations determines a theme for this day and this year it is Inclusion and Neurodiversity. Most people understand the concept of inclusion, but neurodiversity is a relatively new topic that is gaining traction. What is Neurodiversity? Neurodiversity is the concept that humans don’t come…

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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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