Developing Life Skills with Autism, ASD
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Life Skills

Developing good life skills can be one of the main building blocks for independence. This section contains all blogs, links and articles related to life skills including: toilet training, cooking, and dating among others.

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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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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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…

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Teaching the Concept of Time

The importance of understanding and keeping time is all around us in our daily lives. Schedules, bedtime, mealtimes, cooking and baking, work, classes, concerts, movies, appointments, social gatherings, and using public transportation all involve timing. Not understanding time and how it works can make us late, rushed, not able to finish a task, miss out on an event, take too…

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Measuring ‘Quality of Life’ For ASD: shifting from diagnosis to happiness

I recently returned from the Autism Europe Conference in Nice, France. The conference happens once every 3 years and highlights a variety of research presentations on many different topics about autism. There was one keynote speaker who really intrigued me from Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet – Sven Bölte. His keynote presentation, From diagnosis to functioning and quality of life in autism,…

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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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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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The Difficulties with Toilet Training a Person with Autism

The topic of toilet training or toileting issues continues to be my most frequently asked question. I’m asked what to do about withholding a bowel movement, toileting readiness, fecal smearing, constipation, continued use of diapers, elimination on the floor or other inappropriate place, and how to teach the toileting process. These are all very important questions that can be hard…

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Developing Leisure Activities for Individuals with ASD

Leisure activities are an important part of life for everyone. Engaging in activities that are fun, enjoyable and interesting increases a person’s well-being, happiness and satisfaction in life. Leisure activities can be done alone or in a group, at home or out in the community. We learn activities by watching others, taking lessons, joining clubs, reading instructions, or simply by…

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Getting Summer Work Experience For Those With Autism

My children, Marc and Julia, have been involved in their first work experience this summer. They finished their final shift of four at the Famer’s Market yesterday. What a great learning experience this has been for the kids. Their work environment was a supportive one, surrounded by people they knew through my figure skating club. Volunteering gave them a chance to see what working was like, presented them with challenges and gave them opportunities for personal growth.

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Sleep disorders in autism directly affect social skills: new study

Sleep disorders have long been a topic of discussion around those with autism. With an estimated 50 to 80 percent of children with ASD suffering from insomnia, sleep behaviour is finally getting the study it deserves. From blue light being linked to sleep disturbances in older children and teens who use tech devices, to the hypothesis that there may be a…

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Tantrums in Autism: new study says it’s behaviour not frustration

We’ve all been there: watching as our child completely breaks into uncontrollable rage/tears in front of us. Sometimes it’s in the privacy of our own homes, but when you have a child with autism, more often than not it will be in public as well. Up until recently, there has been a common misconception that poor communication/low verbal skills in people with…

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