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…
Answer: iPads, iPhones and other tech devices are gaining popularity for assisting people on the autism spectrum. There are lots of positives going for technology: people on the spectrum often enjoy using technology, there is some autonomy, it takes the pencil out of the process to demonstrate learning, there are 1000’s of apps to teach a myriad of skills, and their use can be both motivating and rewarding. Nonverbal individuals have another way to express themselves. These tech devices are also becoming more affordable all the time. But is there a down side?
Answer: Introducing the topic of menstruation to girls on the autism spectrum can be a daunting task. 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?
Answer: In order to answer this question, we first have to ask ourselves the following question, “What does competent adulthood mean?” Often, the preparation that happens in high school is not what will help an individual be successful in the workforce. How often have we seen a sentence finished like this when talking about a person with ASD – “…allowing the student to reach their highest potential.” Peter Gerhardt from the Organization for Autism Research says this is an excuse for poor outcomes. Adaptive Daily Living skills is another way of saying chores. Keep in mind that adaptive behavior changes according to age, cultural expectations, and environmental demands. Learn to say no to working on unproductive activities.
I recently read an article about driving and ASD. It is one of the rites of passage to adulthood in our society. Driving is a complex task that involves many systems working together and a myriad of rules to follow. The question is, given some of the challenges people with ASD have, should they drive?
This past week Adult Life with Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Self-Help Guide was published by the Autism Calgary Association. I was one of six authors who wrote this guide. Being involved in the research for this guide was a real eye-opener because I was unaware of the issues that needed to be addressed when facing adulthood.