Parenting & Family

Want to know how to get your child with autism into their fall coat? Maybe you are taking a trip, and want to know how to make it a smooth experience. Or maybe you are a parent on the spectrum. This section contains all blogs and articles dealing with the subject of autism, ASD and parenting.

Temple Grandin’s Advice For Living the Best Life with ASD

I recently organized my tenth bookstore for Temple Grandin at a conference in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Temple’s talks are always inspiring and motivating because of all that she has accomplished in her long career. Her boundless energy and enthusiasm make one forget that she is 72 years old. I enjoyed listening to Temple speak with eager delegates at the book…

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How important are relationships in the lives of people with autism?

Studio 3 clinician Dr. John McDermott discusses relationships and autism, and the role played by the emotional and relational world when supporting clients. The importance of relationship in the lives of people who have an autism diagnosis is a crucial part of our practice at Studio 3. When working therapeutically with clients, parents or caregivers, we aim to capture individual…

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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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Critical Mass – Building in Practice Time for Individuals with ASD

There is a new area of study emerging in autism called critical mass which means true mastery of a skill. Critical mass is the point where an individual has gained enough information to be successful in situations, activities, or skills for which instruction has not been provided. When there has been enough instruction and multiple experiences, a tipping point can…

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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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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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Parenting Two Children With Autism: How I Became an Optimist

I’ve just started reading Mark Durand’s new book Optimistic Parenting. Durand has studied the nature, assessment, and treatment of behavior problems in children with ASD. He has spent the past 3 decades working with individuals with ASD, their families and other professionals. He wrote this book to be a self-help guide for parents and suggests great strategies for children and parents.

 What I like about this book so far is the personal stories from parents. What they say and experience raising challenging children rings true – feeling guilty, no time for themselves, fear of what the future holds, frustration and exhaustion. How can you have a good life in the world of special needs?

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The Positives of Autism

Autism is often defined and described in terms of deficits. This happens in order to determine what supports are needed, for program design and implementation, and level of funding; but always talking about what a person can’t do or do as well as their peers can be demoralizing. Improvement can be difficult to see and small but significant gains are…

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Desperately Needed: Respite

Parents of special needs children or adults need respite care to get a much-needed break from the stresses of their parenting situation. Most parents find it difficult to find good, reliable childcare – to leave their child with someone who may not have the experience in dealing with the problems of autism. Young people such as high school students can struggle with the demands of difficult behaviors. The job requires someone with maturity and experience.

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Autism x 2: Transitioning into Adulthood

A few years ago, I wrote a post about the experience of raising my two children with autism. I first wrote this piece from the point of view when my son and daughter were quite young. Recently, someone from China contacted me to ask if she could translate the post because it would encourage families and give them hope for…

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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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Keep Calm and Carry On This Holiday Season : 8 Tips for Supporting Individuals with ASD

The Christmas holidays can be a time of wonder and delight, taking part in family traditions, seeing loved ones, and a break from routine. The holidays can also be a time of stress for those on the autism spectrum who thrive on familiarity and predictability. This can be a difficult time of year, but with some preparation and planning, the holiday season can be enjoyable.

The school schedule can be interrupted with plays, concerts and assemblies. Teachers and educational assistants, give lots of warning about changes in the daily routine. Work in special activities into the visual schedule. Create a social story about a concert or a play the children will see. It is often anxiety rooted in fear of the unknown that causes challenging behavior and avoidance of new experiences.

Allow for some quiet or down time during a day that has new experiences in it. Create a plan B if the school play is too hard for the child to sit through. If a music concert will be loud, perhaps use some noise cancelling headphones to lessen the sound. If the class is planning a Christmas party, walk the child with ASD through what it will be like. There are some great party planning suggestions in Tasks Galore: Making Groups Meaningful. Maybe the child can also help with the organization or suggest a favorite game to play. If a preferred activity is included in the day’s events, the child is more likely to be enthusiastic about it. Think about scheduling a favourite activity right after a new experience so that the child knows when the concert ends, there is some computer time, games, or play time with a much loved toy.

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