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.

Finding Work For Those with Autism: Self Employment Success

Many adults with  autism have difficulty being accepted in, and carving a niche in the working world. While they may have troubles communicating verbally, they might still be able to, and want to contribute in a meaningful way through work. While most provinces in Canada have programs available to help those with autism find work, and there is a growing number…

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What Life Skills Do Our Kids With Autism Need to Succeed?

Sometimes it’s hard to imagine where our kids will be several years from now. What will their life look like once they leave home? What skills will they need to be successful as an adult? What is a meaningful life for this adult with ASD?

These questions swirl around in my mind all the time. My children aren’t many years away from accessing adult services. I often think of the skills they will need to be successful. Those skills will vary for each child depending on their functioning level.

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Feeding Challenges and Food Aversions: Helpful Hints for Parents of Children with Autism

Feeding a child on the autism spectrum can be a great challenge for parents. Creating healthy meals, eating a variety of foods, eating too little or too much food, focusing on only one texture or food presentation, and gut/digestive issues are just some of the worries parents have when feeding their children. Here are a few helpful hints that I have learned as a mother of two children with autism who are both on specialized diets and struggle with eating.

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Are Current Self-Advocacy Skills Only For The Middle Class?

I am an avid reader of Judy Endow’s blog because she highlights issues that many of us are not even aware of. Her recent post about the differences in self-advocacy if you are poor or middle income was eye-opening.

Judy has been both poor and middle income as an autistic adult and has observed that “self-advocacy is typically geared toward middle-income status. This could be problematic since many autistic adults live in poverty.”

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Teaching Toileting Hidden Rules and Etiquette

When at a restaurant this week, I went to use the bathroom. Luckily, I speak French and knew the difference between femmes and garçons so could navigate which bathroom to use. Had my two children with autism been confronted with that on the doors, they wouldn’t have known which door to choose. It got me thinking…how to do we teach the symbols for toilet, which one to use if you’re male or female, and general washroom etiquette?

After doing some searching, I did find a good page filled with different symbols for the washrooms. While this doesn’t cover all of it because there is a vast, creative, array of toilet symbols, it’s at least a  starting point to let a person with ASD know there is a variety of toilet signs and they can change from place to place. Restaurants tend to be the most creative with their bathroom signs, so when at a new restaurant, it would be a good idea to accompany the person with ASD even if they are independent with toileting. There will also be symbol differences between countries and languages. If planning a trip to another country, you may want to review the toilet symbols before you go to create some predictablility and lessen anxiety.

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How does a person with ASD date successfully?

For individuals with as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), dating can be a real challenge. It is a misconception that people on the spectrum don’t want relationships – often they do, but they just don’t know how to meet people or understand the nuances of relationships. How do we effectively teach relationship skills?

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Preparing for Adult Life with Autism

Most parents don’t like to think about what adult life will look like for their child with autism. It’s too daunting and overwhelming, but long-term planning is essential for the best possible outcome. Once a child leaves school, you have to find other programs and supports in the community to ensure a meaningful day and that takes time. Waiting lists can long or few spaces available in good programs.

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Is homeschooling a good option for my child with autism?

Once a child with autism reaches school age, parents ask themselves how to provide the best possible educational program for their child who has special needs. There are a number of options: public education, private school, or homeschooling, but what is the best option? Read on to help choose what might work best for your child.

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Dental Dilemmas

Is there anyone out there who can honestly say they like going to the dentist? Most of us dread the dentist. For the child with autism, it is a frightening experience because of sensory issues and the element of unpredictability.

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A Curriculum for Teaching Hygiene

Some of my most frequently asked questions by both parents and professionals are on the topic of hygiene. Questions like, “How do I get my son to brush his teeth in the morning?” or “How do we teach our students to flush the toilet or wash their hands after using the washroom?” are commonly asked.

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Toileting – When To Start

I am often asked the question when is the best time to start toilet training and how does a parent know when their child is ready to be trained. Personally, I think the summer can be a great time to start because school is finished and there are fewer day to day demands on the child. The less people involved in the toileting process, the easier it is. If you are a family that stays at home for the summer or just takes a short holiday, the summer break can be an ideal time to start. Both of my children were toilet trained over the summer – Julia at age 6 and Marc at age 9.

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ASDs and Involvement in the Criminal Justice System

A number of people with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are involved in the Criminal Justice System (CJS) as either victims, witnesses or offenders. There is no evidence of an association between ASD and criminal offending. In fact, due to the rigid way many people with ASD keep to rules and regulations, they are usually more law abiding than the general population. People with ASD are more at risk as victims of crime rather than as offenders

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Teaching the Person With Autism HOW to DRIVE

While driving on my way to an appointment I was cut in front of three times. I steered clear of a car that was edging over my way to avoid an accident. I saw a near miss when a car ran a stop sign. I pulled over for a siren but cars passed me who didn’t bother to follow that law and I had cars honk at me for going the posted speed limit in a school zone. Were all of those drivers autistic?

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