Developing Life Skills with Autism, ASD
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Life Skills - Blog

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.

Successful Adulthood Starts in Childhood – Part 2

This blog post is the second part of Successful Adulthood Starts in Childhood– Part 1. It is a continuation on the theme of what we do now to support children can lead to positive outcomes in adulthood. Sensory Issues Sensory processing involves seven systems: Tactile (touch) Vestibular (balance) Proprioception (body awareness) Visual (sight) Auditory (hearing) Gustatory (taste) Olfactory (smell) Difficulties…

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Unscheduled – The Benefits of Free Time in a COVID-19 World

Restrictions and lockdowns, now a regular occurrence in our pandemic world, have had both drawbacks and positive effects. There is something to be said for unscheduled days. Free time provides the chance for contemplation, exploration, creativity, and reflection. Moving at a slower pace allows for more practice time to build critical mass, a chance to learn a new skill without…

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Constipation, Witholding and Overflow – A Deeper Dive into Bowel Problems for Individuals with ASD

The article that I wrote June 2019 on fecal smearing has generated a lot of mail and comments over the past year. When it comes to toileting difficulties, many challenges center around bowel movements and these 3 occurrences – constipation, withholding of the stool, and overflow. All three of these problems can be a cause of fecal smearing. Let’s have…

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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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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 attended Autism Europe Conference in Nice, France in September, 2019. This 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 Autistic Individuals

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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