Autism Related Behaviours
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Behavior - Blog

This section deals with all blog posts and articles related to behaviour issues in those with autism, ASD ( formerly known as Aspergers). From which medical conditions may be causing specific behaviours, to how animals might be used to stop them, to how certain behaviours in infants can predict autism.

Calming Strategies to Support a Person with Autism

It’s been several months now since the world was turned upside down due to COVID-19. Life has changed a great deal with social distancing, hand sanitizing, new rules in public places, and constant, unpredictable changes. As society begins to open up again, there will be new challenges to face. The “new normal” will continue to evolve and depending on how…

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An Introduction to Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA)

Pathological Demand Avoidance of PDA is becoming more widely recognized as a distinct profile of autism. British psychologist Elizabeth Newson came up with this term which describes an anxiety-driven need to be in control and avoid other people’s demands and expectations. Research done at the University of Newcastle in November 2016 found that Intolerance of Uncertainty (IU) was also associated…

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Autism-Related Catatonia: Shut Downs, Mobility, and Speech Difficulties After Early Childhood

I can remember vividly the first time I heard about autism-related catatonia. It was at my Saskatoon, Saskatchewan conference in October 2017. Dr. Ruth Aspy spoke about it in her presentation on self-regulation. I had only heard of catatonia being associated with schizophrenia. Her explanation and description of autism-related catatonia got my mind turning about the parents whom I’ve talked…

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“It Happens” – Fecal Smearing in Individuals with ASD

I receive a lot of questions every month about toileting difficulties. One question I am asked is what to do about fecal smearing. It’s an upsetting behavior because of the smell, mess, and unhygienic situation. Parents worry that fecal smearing will happen when their child is outside of their home – at school, daycare, or in a public place. It…

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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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Ten Ways to Increase Your Child’s Ability to Be Flexible

Our guest blogger this week is Lauren Kerstein, a licensed clinical social worker who specializes in working with children, adolescents, adults and families. Lauren will be speaking at our Calgary Conference on November 16, 2019. In this post, Lauren discusses the challenges with flexible thinking and suggests ten strategies to try to teach a child to be more flexible in…

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The Low Arousal Approach at Home

Dr. Andrew McDonnell, creator and founder of Studio III UK , was recently at my home to meet my family. He commented that my home embodies the tenets of low arousal. It got me to thinking – what have we done to make it that way? How have we kept life on an even keel with two young adults with…

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When Interventions and Support Go Wrong: How to Reframe Challenging Moments and Create Predictability for Success

For many of us with children on the spectrum, support people like doctors, therapists, extra school staff, teachers, aids etc…are a big part of life. We depend on the help we get from various sources, but what happens when a situation goes badly? Even more important, how can we create predictability for our kids with autism so we can ensure greater…

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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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Tantrum vs Autistic Meltdown: What Is The Difference?

Many parents and caregivers have witnessed the fireworks of anger and emotion from a person with autism, and for many people they look exactly like the tantrums that children have when they are young. While they may look similar in external behaviour, it’s important to understand the difference between the two because tantrums need one kind of response, but that same response will only make things worse for a person have an autistic meltdown from being overwhelmed by sensory stimuli.

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Six Ways To Help Your Child or Teen With Anxiety

Anxiety is a natural and essential part of daily human existence. We all live with worries and stress from time to time, but when anxiety begins to interfere with a young person’s life – when they can no longer face school, or have problems interacting with friends, or performing simple tasks – what can we as parents and caregivers do to…

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