Autism, ASD and parenting

Parenting & Family - Blog

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.

Making the Most of the Summer Camp Experience for Autistic Children

Summer camps offer a safe and support environment for autistic children to learn, have fun, gain independence, and make new friends. Camps provide an opportunity for outdoor adventure, physical challenge, and a change from the typical daily  routines of home or school. The main goal of camps is to create an inclusive and accepting environment where autistic children can develop…

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Co-Regulation – The Bridge to Self-Regulation

Co-regulation is defined as warm and responsive interactions that provide the support, coaching, and modeling that young children need to understand, express, and module their thoughts, feelings and behaviors (Murray et al 2015, 14). In order for an autistic child to be able to self-regulate, co-regulation has to occur. It is the bridge to self-regulation. Kelly Mahler, OT, explains co-regulation…

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Receiving an Autism Diagnosis in the Teen Years

Many autistic children are diagnosed in early childhood, but for others their signs and symptoms do not become apparent until adolescence. If a teenager is capable and academically able, they may not receive a diagnosis as a young child. This can sometimes occur more often in girls than in boys because girls are generally more adept at copying neuro-typical behaviors,…

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Mealtimes, Eating Difficulties and the Autism Spectrum

Parents of autistic children often finding eating, feeding and mealtimes a struggle. If parents reach out for professional help, they may not be able to find it because of the limited number of specialists dealing with eating and feeding disorders; finding a specialist who understands and has experience with autism spectrum disorders can be even more difficult. Picky eating, food…

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Bullying and Autism – How We Can Help

The Anti-Bullying Alliance defines bullying as the repetitive, intentional hurting of one person or group by another person or group, where the relationship involves an imbalance of power. Bullying can be physical, verbal or psychological. It can happen face-to-face or online. This definition encompasses four key elements of bullying – hurtful, repetition, a power imbalance, and intentional. Bullying tends to…

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Sweet Dreams – Autism and Sleep

Autistic individuals often have difficulty falling or staying asleep.  It is estimated that 40 to 83% of autistic individuals have some form of sleep disturbance. Autistic children are twice as likely to have sleep issues as typical children or children with other developmental conditions. Disordered sleep is also one of the first concerns reported by parents. As diverse as autism…

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Christmas with Autistic Children: Ho-Ho-Hold the Expectations

The Christmas holidays are a time of great excitement and anticipation. Holidays also mean changes in the schedule, visitors, crowds, line-ups, noise, and socializing. For children with ASD, the Christmas holidays can be a stressful and anxious time. Meeting family demands can be especially nerve-wracking, particularly if you want to break with time-honoured traditions that just don’t work for a child with autism. Here are a few ideas for making the holidays happy.

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What might the future look like?

Last summer, my husband and I were shopping for a fire bowl for our backyard. Since we knew nothing about them, I wanted to ask for guidance from a salesperson. This young man came walking down the aisle so I inquired if he could direct us. I told him about our vision of having our two autistic adult children, Marc…

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Breaking Down Tasks into Manageable Steps for Autistic Individuals

Tasks that might look simple to do or appear self-explanatory may not be so for autistic individuals. Every day activities like taking a bath, getting dressed, doing laundry, washing hands or brushing teeth are more complicated than we realize and need to be completed in a sequence. Autistic people often need direct instruction on how to do tasks and may…

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Coping with Changes in Routines

The arrival of summer can mean a change in routine because of the school break, summer camps and activities, a family vacation, visitors, longer lighter days, and more free time. Change can be upsetting for autistic people because it makes things feel new and unpredictable. Changes in routine may require some additional support to make them less upsetting. Some transitions…

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What is low demand parenting or a low demand approach?

Low demand parenting or the low demand approach is often spoken about in the context of Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA); however, this can be helpful for a person who experiences high levels of stress and anxiety. This is a low arousal approach because it prioritizes the reduction of stress and anxiety and is based on trust, flexibility, collaboration, and a…

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Teaching Flexibility – An Important Skill

Not everything in life goes according to plan – when change happens, we need to be able to adapt. While autistic people need predictable and consistent routines, it’s still important to be able to cope with changes both planned and unplanned. Having flexibility will build resilience, problem solving skills, and help a person to overcome changes and challenges. In order…

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How can perseverative thoughts be lessened?

Perseveration is when a person has repetitive thoughts and dwells on negative incidents, causing them to become “stuck”. Perseverative thoughts can happen because a person may be trying to manage stress, process information, shift attention, can’t stop thinking about certain things, or can’t control behaviors. This kind of thinking, or looping thoughts, is not done consciously or on purpose. It…

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Collaboration in Education – Working Together for Positive Outcomes

In the educational setting, in order for families of autistic children to feel understood, supported, and experience success, they need a village around them. They need to collaborate with teachers, educational assistants, school based teams and community partners. Think of the TEAM acronym: T – Together  E – Everyone  A – Achieves   M – More For collaboration to happen, people…

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The Struggle of Aging Caregivers

I read an excellent article in the Globe and Mail about the struggles an aging population has with trying to balance work, personal life, and caregiving responsibilities. While caregiving is a labor of love, it also has another side to it that affects employment, physical/mental health, and well-being. As we age, we also have to assess how feasible is it…

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