Autism and Education
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Education / Classroom

Education can be a challenge for those with ASD and their parents. This section includes topics like: back to school tips for parents and teachers; easy strategies for inclusive classrooms; and how to advocate for your child at school.

School Changes and Protocols in a Pandemic World

Going back to school is always a little nerve wracking at the best of times. It’s filled with change as we say goodbye to summer and hello to fall. This year, back to school is going to look very different for every town, city and country. Preparing our children and students with for the return to class will involve many…

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Literacy – A Skill for Life for Individuals with ASD

Literacy is an important life skill for many reasons. Literacy opens up a whole world of possibilities and greater independence. Reading improves self-confidence, increases vocabulary for both internal thought and communication, allows for greater participation in society and the workplace, expands interests, and supports understanding in how to navigate in an environment. Print matter is everywhere in our environment –…

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Count Me In! ASD and Physical Activity

Physical activity has soared to the top of the priority list since COVID-19 started to support health and well-being. It should be a part of everyone’s week throughout their lifespan. Regular exercise lessens anxiety, improves sleep, increases endurance, builds muscles, develops motor skills and offers opportunities for socializing. Whether being involved in organized sports on a team, solo activities (swimming,…

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Playing Outdoors: Building Skills, Exploring and Creating Memories for Those with ASD

When you think of your fondest childhood memories, they are probably about something you did outdoors. Maybe it was camping, going to the beach, playing in a tent or sandbox, having a game of flashlight tag, learning badminton, or swimming in a lake. Playing outdoors builds physical health, provides exposure to vitamin D, supports cognitive and emotional/social development, improves sensory…

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How Does Your Garden Grow? Mental Health, Wellness & Skills Development Through Gardening

During this period of at-home learning, starting a garden is a great long-term project that has numerous benefits. Lessons can be taught through online learning and videos. Gardening can also be an activity that unites a group of people through a common purpose. For example, when this period of isolation is over and school resumes this fall, the things that…

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Teaching Special Needs Students Online and At Home

I am getting requests from teachers and other support staff on how to best serve their students with special educational needs while at home. Some individuals will not have the ability or capacity to engage in traditional online learning formats that are currently being offered through the Zoom platform, for example. Instruction still needs to be personalized for the best…

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Embedding Skill Building Activities into Daily Routines and Activities for Children with ASD

The current COVID-19 situation has caused many programs, schools, preschools and daycares to temporarily close their doors. Services are also on hold such as occupational and speech therapy. This has caused many parents to feel anxious that their child may regress with their development. If parents are hoping for a diagnostic assessment, the additional wait times will be increased under…

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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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A Viewpoint on Token Economies

Bo Hejlskov Elvén is a Swedish clinical psychologist and author of several books on challenging behavior. He is also part of the Studio 3 Low Arousal Approach group. You may have heard Bo present at one of our Canadian conferences in Vancouver, Halifax, or Edmonton. Bo has a wonderful website where he blogs in English on a variety of topics…

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For those of us with ASD children, becoming autism “experts” is a survival skill

It’s not often that I write about personal issues I am facing with either of my children on the autism spectrum, but this struggle has to be told because I would hate to see other parents go through what we have for the past 3 months.

Our daughter, Julia, has been in an inclusive setting since kindergarten. We have been fortunate in our choice of school because class sizes has been relatively small, the teachers have been accommodating and caring, Julia has been with the same supportive peer group since kindergarten, and she has had the same aide since the first day of school. Even with a severe coding for her disability, her aide support has been gradually reduced from all day in kindergarten, to 2 pm daily for grades 1 – 2, and down to mornings only from grades 3 – 6.

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Great Expectations – Starting the School Year Off Right

September is here which means the start of a new school year. Great expectations and high hopes abound. Maybe your child is going to a new school this year or attending school for the first time. Parents and children can feel both excited and anxious. How can you make this year a successful one? What is both reasonable and attainable this school year?

At Home

  • To make mornings a little less stressful, lay clothes out the night before, make lunches and check agendas for communication, forms etc.
  • If your child has trouble waking up, set the alarm 15 minutes earlier than needed to allow time to rise.
  • Post a visual schedule or checklist where your child can see it to know what needs to be done before leaving in the morning – bathroom routines, packing a backpack, dressing etc.
  • Be cautious about overscheduling with extra-curricular activities. For many children with ASD, it takes great energy to cope with the school day and down time can be needed after school. Look at alternative ideas such as one day events or weekend activities for things to do.
  • Decide if your child will do homework or not. If you decide to do homework, assign a quiet spot where it can be done and a regular time in the schedule.
  • Create some visual organizers for items that have to go back and forth to school. This could be a basket or bin by the front door.

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