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.

Autism ‘Triad of Impairments’ Redefined: Lessons From John Simpson

John Simpson is a young man with Asperger Syndrome who resides in the UK. He has spoken at our Birmingham conferences in May of 2007 and 2008. John is an articulate, intelligent, informative and entertaining speaker. He has been a huge influence on me as a parent because of his revealing inside look at autism. He has been a great teacher, making me re-think how I parent my two children.

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Autism x 2 : What Happens When Your Second Child Is Diagnosed

Raising more than one child with autism in a family is a unique experience and not without its challenges. Those of us that parent two or more children on the spectrum are not as small in number as you might think. When I tell people I have a son and a daughter with autism, they ask questions like, “Is is common to have more than one child with autism? Is it harder than having one? How do you cope? I’ve never heard of a boy and a girl in the same family – does that happen often?”

While I don’t have exact statistics on multiples with autism in a family, I can tell you I am meeting more families in this situation all the time. We are not as rare as you might think. I have no neurotypical children so have no idea what it’s like to parent normally developing children. I am in awe when I get together with friends and see how their children interact with each other. My stories about the weekend don’t sound like anyone else’s I know. Parenting two children on the spectrum is relentless – one is always off the rails. It’s hard to keep things on an even keel, yet there are some great rewards.

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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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How Do You Know When A Child With Autism Is Feeling Pain?

Historically children with developmental disabilities were excluded from pain research, but this past month a new (as yet unpublished) study showed conclusively that people with autism exhibit abnormal brain responses when a painfully hot object is placed against their skin. The brain’s response to pain has three phases – early, intermediate and late. In an experiment with 17 people with autism and 16 people without, a small piece of metal was taped to the skin and heated to the point of causing discomfort/pain but not injury. The people without autism were still responding to the pain ten seconds after it stopped, but the people with autism had no brain response after the ten seconds.

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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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Girls with Autism Growing Up: Preparing for Menstruation

I am frequently asked the question about how to introduce the topic of menstruation to girls on the autism spectrum. Mothers worry about how their daughters will react to the event. Will there be sensory issues around blood flow and the use of sanitary pads? How will they feel about this change in their body? Will it be painful? How do you teach hygiene around menstruation? Will menstruation be understood and accepted?

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Causes of Sleep Disturbances for Those with ASD

A good night’s sleep is important. Without it, children can be irritable, struggle with academics, engage in more repetitive behaviours, become easily fatigued, and are more likely to suffer from unintentional injury. Over the long term, poor sleep can lead to adult obesity, anxiety in adulthood, and sleep problems throughout adulthood.

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Autism and Vacationing – Ten Tips for Predictability

I’d like to share some thoughts for making travel with children on the autism spectrum successful. I have spoken about predictability in past blogs. Individuals with autism need to know what is going to happen to them. Leaving home means everything is going to be different. Here are 10 ideas to create predictability when travelling:

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Finding a Program that Works for Your Child with ASD

It is an overwhelming task for parents to choose the right program for their child with autism. We do our research through media, family, friends, and ask other people in the autism community what is working for them. We then enroll our child in that program only to find it isn’t working for them. So what went wrong?

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Parental Concerns About Autism Often Dismissed by Doctors

Receiving an early autism diagnosis remains a concern for parents because new research shows that pediatricians are still dismissing parental concerns about autism.The study found that doctors often reassured patients that their child would grow out of it rather than refer them to a specialist or send them for developmental testing.

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‘Quiet’ Santas welcome kids with autism across the country

Sitting on Santa’s knee and telling him what your Christmas wishes is a childhood tradition, but for children with autism this isn’t always a reality. Long line-ups, loud music, screaming children, and a busy shopping mall can be too stressful for a child with autism. Enter the Quiet Santa Program – geared to children with autism and special sensitivities. The…

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