What in the World Is Going On in Autism – September 2014 Edition

With school starting this week, there will be changes in routines, school transitions, students to get to know, forms to fill out and new teachers to meet. September is a very busy month and because of these changes and fresh starts, it can be the most challenging time of the year.

The weekday morning rush is often the worst time of the day. The more independent your child can be, the better. The Systems for Sensory Kids website did a great post on how to set up a dressing station. Author Carolyn Dalgliesh offers 3 types of dressing stations that are all visual, easy to create, and a breeze for kids to follow. Check it out!

Carolyn also did another post on morning bathroom routines using a simple caddy system. So practical and easy to do!

Peter Gerhardt, an excellent writer and speaker on the topic of transitions, wrote a good article on easing the back to school transition. While his suggestions on adjusting the sleep schedule are a bit too late to implement now, you can always think about them for future use. He also offers advice on adjusting to the demanding school day.

More scheduled activities can also mean a greater need for caregivers. Have a look at The Friendship Circle Special Needs blog post on How to Create and Use A Caregiver’s Calendar. There are sources for calendar apps, hardcopy calendars and how to print out your own calendars. Suggestions on what to put on a calendar and how to get into the habit of using a calendar are all there to make the day unfold a little bit smoother. And who doesn’t need help now and then staying organized?

For teachers or parents looking for curriculum ideas, have a look at Indiana State University’s Curriculum Materials and Program for Individuals with Autism. “It is important to use curriculum and programs that are successful and research-based whenever possible.” They also list other possible resources, although I am not completely sure if they are available to everyone. Most organizations like these are happy to help and support those with an ASD, so contacting them to ask for more resources would be worth a try.

There are not many articles geared specifically for high school teachers, but here is a good one. This article gives some tips on how to make a student with ASD have success in this type of setting which tends to have a high student population, large building, and more than one teacher working with the student.

People with a developmental disability can also present with mental health challenges. These can be rooted in persistent anxiety or stress levels. Family stress needs to be taken seriously. Mental health challenges affect both siblings and parents. Marriages can be pushed to brink and loss of income can happen if one parent has to leave work for an extended period of time to care for the person with mental health issues.

School can often be at the root of this stress. While taking a child out of school may seem like a good solution, there can be long term consequences to this short term fix. The Globe and Mail’s article on Five ways to ease the family stress of a child with a mental-health challenge outlines some good points to alleviate stress. Be prepared to reach out. These types of issues are near impossible to handle alone.

For those not heading back to school but into post-secondary education, Campbell Teague, young adult with autism, shares his insights and expertise on the college experience. Campbell has earned both a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree. “ASD students need special accommodations to thrive. One of our challenges is socializing. On campus, we often have a hard time making friends and getting plugged into college groups, “says Campbell. He provides a large list of tips to help students on the spectrum have a successful college experience.

Finished school and heading into the world of work? Employment can have its challenges for people on the spectrum. Some find entrepreneurship a better way to work because it provides flexibility and a person can work on what interests and motivates them. Many employers can’t see the potential in a person with ASD, so they have to build their skills within their own business.

American Matt Cottle, young adult with autism, is the perfect example of someone who followed his passion for baking and started his own company. After several unsuccessful employment ventures, Matt decided to start his own company. Temple Grandin says, “Many autistic people can run businesses if they’re given the chance to discover something they like and develop skills around their interests.” To read more about how Matt started his business, click here.

Every month, I like to feature the writing of someone on the spectrum. I recently discovered Purple Aspie’s blog. There is no personal information on who this writer is, but the post on 14 Things Not to Say to an Autistic Adult was brilliant and one of my most popular posts this past month on Facebook. “Yes, I am proud of myself for my accomplishments — getting a university degree, keeping the same job for 12 years, buying a house, maintaining a long-term relationship. However, as I said in response to the first item on the list (You don’t look autistic.), autistic people can and do achieve all of those things.” Well said and thanks for making us aware of the hurtful comments that well-meaning people say. We can change our behavior for a better outcome.

Doctors have not had a new set of guidelines for diagnosing disabilities since 2006. Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatrics, has just released new criteria for diagnosing disabilities. “In cases where a child has been identified as having intellectual disability or global developmental delay, but the cause is unknown, doctors are advised to work with a genetics specialist to conduct chromosomal microarray testing, which can detect genetic abnormalities, and fragile X testing. Metabolic testing should also be considered, the guidance indicates.” Hopefully, these tests will be standard procedure in days to come. To read more about this, click here.

ASDigest and Autism Daily Newscast have a new publication called Amazing Autistic Women – Special Edition which features interviews from inspirational women across the globe. Women on the spectrum are not talked about as much as men are. It’s great to show our spectrum girls role models who are making a difference and valuable contributions.

Dealing with challenging behavior at home and don’t know what to do? Have a look at Beth Aune’s new book Behavior Solutions for the Home and Community – See a Behavior, Look it Up! This book is a tool for parents who have children whose behaviors are impeding their daily life. Once they see a particular behavior, they can quickly look up an in the moment solution, and then read more about what could be causing that behavior, and more importantly, how to overcome it.

This helpful book is intended to provide general, practical solutions for busy (and often overwhelmed) parents who can benefit from a handy reference guide to help them address common behaviors at home and in the community.
I spoke earlier of mental health challenges for those on the spectrum. Nick Dubin, adult with autism, has published a new book called The Autism Spectrum and Depression. Nick shares his own experiences of depression including how he has dealt with it, and everything from initial feelings of anger and frustration to medication, cognitive behavioural therapy and overcoming ‘the dark night of the soul’. This book explores the aspects of everyday life that can cause people with ASD to feel low, explains how this can escalate and looks at ways in which depression can be prevented. With a chapter on suicide and interviews with his parents, the book provides real, practical solutions to a problem that is often overlooked.

These are the highlights of what in the world is going on in autism for September 2014.


 

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  1. Rainbow says:

    Hi, I’m the Purple Aspie, author of “Fourteen Things Not To Say To An Autistic Person.” I wanted to say thank you for linking to my blog and tell you a bit about myself, since you said there wasn’t any personal information available. I’m in my late 40s, diagnosed with Asperger’s in my mid-30s. I live with a couple of cats in Victoria, B.C., Canada where I work as a transcriber.

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