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Last update: 2012-05-25

End-of-the-School-Year-Blues

2012-05-25 :: Cathy Knoll

Most school-aged kids love the field trips, splash days, assemblies, and other fun activities that fill the last few weeks of a school year. But the changes in routine and the rowdy atmosphere can be very frustrating for students from pre-school through high school who are diagnosed with autism, sometimes pushing them toward withdrawal or [...] The following posts may also be helpful: Back to School Blues Some folks just don’t like change. Some folks with autism... Back to School Transition “Every year our son struggles with the transition from the... Transition is Tough In spite of strategic plans by families and schools to... …

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Unexpected Personal Connections

2012-05-23 :: Cathy Knoll

Some of my friends diagnosed with autism seem to be engrossed in their own internal world and rather oblivious to people and events around them, only initiating contact when they want something. But occasionally even the most detached person looks up and reaches out for no apparent reason. A music therapy colleague, Roia Rafieyan, describes [...] The following posts may also be helpful: Bubblegum Occasionally our friends with autism are somewhat removed from their... Calming Connections Helping a person manage explosive, angry outbursts requires a multi-pronged,... Masking Problems Sometimes I overhear parents or teachers of individuals with autism... …

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Refusing to Eat

2012-04-30 :: Cathy Knoll

What are our options if our friend with autism becomes so attached to a certain cup, plate, spoon, or chair that they literally refuse to eat or drink without it? What can we do if they do not respond to our attempts to coerce, bribe, threaten to take away a privilege, or otherwise encourage them [...] The following posts may also be helpful: Sensory Slime Making Slime – smooth, gooey substance – is a fun,... Be Good What exactly do we mean when we tell a youngster... Stealth Health: Frosty Fruits Fresh fruits are like super foods, impacting the health of... …

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Interacting with Others

2012-04-24 :: Cathy Knoll

A high school teacher of typical students asked about a new student who is diagnosed with autism. “I was under the impression that people with autism preferred not to interact with other people,” he said. “But my new student is almost too friendly.” The teacher went on to say the student tended to stand too [...] The following posts may also be helpful: Interacting with Others The general public tends to assume people with autism do... Teacher Questions 3 A large group of junior high and high school teachers... Teacher Instructions Many youngsters with autism encounter difficulty in school because of... …

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No Single Strategy

2010-11-29 :: Cathy Knoll

Autism spectrum disorder is a “range of complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior” (Autism Fact Sheet, 2009).The key words here are “range” and “complex.” Because each person is such a mixed bag of strengths and deficits, no single strategy is effective across the board. [...] The following posts may also be helpful: Complexities of Autism Several friends have recently received the news that their children... Murmuring, Part 2 This podcast comes with a warning. Except in a few... Vast Spectrum “Our son has just been diagnosed with autism,” commented parents... …

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Calm Meals

2010-11-16 :: Cathy Knoll

The modern traditions of family dinners can drive a person with autism right through the roof. Take a look at three simple tips to calm things down and make meals more enjoyable for your friend(s) with autism and everyone else in the house. Listen Now: or continue reading I could actually write a whole book [...] The following posts may also be helpful: Holiday Meals Holiday gatherings, large and small, are filled with challenges for... Good Night Family members frequently bring up the issue of problems at... Good Night Family members frequently bring up the issue of problems at... …

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Making Change Common

2010-10-29 :: Cathy Knoll

Many individuals with autism have problems with change, whether unexpected changes in their daily routine or a significant shift in their life such as a family split or moving to a new school. Autism can also cause a person to be intolerant of wearing new shoes, sleeping on a new pillow, using a different type [...] The following posts may also be helpful: Making Change Routine “My brother gets very upset when there are any changes... Change the Changeable Toolkit What options do we have when a student with autism... Resisting Change How can we help our friends with autism deal with... …

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State the Facts

2010-10-18 :: Cathy Knoll

Some people with autism need the detailed descriptions and social stories well in advance to give them time to prepare emotionally for transition or for an upcoming event. Others tend to focus on the reality of the moment, making extraneous explanations and detailed advance preparation rather irritating. In some cases, it is better if we [...] No related posts. …

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Safety ID

2010-09-28 :: Cathy Knoll

Individuals with autism who need some assistance in an emergency situation will usually have someone close by to help in the event of an unexpected disaster such as a fire, storm, car wreck, or earthquake. But the possibility of separation always exists, so we should consider the options for a safety ID in the event [...] No related posts. …

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Love My Blankie

2010-09-27 :: Cathy Knoll

Parents of a teen with autism are concerned about their son’s love for his childhood blankie. They said he won’t go to sleep without it, but that it is wearing down to shreds. They are wondering if it is appropriate to allow him to keep the blankie. And, if so, how can they help him [...] The following posts may also be helpful: Double Duty Individuals with autism tend to get firmly attached to things... Matching Socks Self-sufficiency can be an elusive goal for individuals with autism.... Baby Toys It can be difficult for children to give up their... …

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Volunteer Job

2010-09-26 :: Cathy Knoll

Some individuals with autism have full-time or part-time jobs, independently or with support. Some people pursue successful and thriving careers. But, for a variety of reasons, others are unable to hold a “regular” job. One option in this case is to pursue a career as a volunteer. Listen Now: or continue reading Volunteer work has [...] The following posts may also be helpful: Volunteer Career Some individuals with autism have full-time or part-time jobs, independently... Helping Others Helping Others The life of every individual, whether they function... Falling Short We are falling short on all the things we should... …

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Creative Writing

2010-09-23 :: Cathy Knoll

Teachers, therapists, and families are always looking for creative ways to help individuals with autism learn and practice new skills such as composing and writing sentences and paragraphs. Some students with autism find it difficult to focus on repetitive drills under the best of circumstances, so traditional teaching methods simply do not capture and hold [...] The following posts may also be helpful: Writing Practice Teachers, therapists, and families are always looking for creative ways... Beyond ABC and 123 “For several years, my son’s IEP has reflected the goals... Beyond ABC and 123 “For several years, my son’s IEP has reflected the goals... …

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Snack Monster

2010-09-22 :: Cathy Knoll

Several of my friends with autism are obsessed with snacks. Families and teachers report their efforts to limit snacks lead to explosive behavior. One youngster began sneaking out into the kitchen to steal bags of chips or cartons of ice cream, hiding them in his room. Let us look at some ideas to help successfully [...] The following posts may also be helpful: Snack Battles Parents and teachers often comment on the on-going battle about... Compulsive Snacking Parents and teachers often comment on the challenge of preventing... Snack Factory You can jazz up snack time by encouraging individuals of... …

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Too Talkative

2010-09-21 :: Cathy Knoll

When one of my non-verbal friends with autism graduated from high school, she moved into a very supportive residential setting. Unfortunately, her attempts to communicate were rather irritating. She made loud, repetitive jabbering sounds to greet people or to express her opinion. Under the circumstances, should she be encouraged to talk, or not? Listen Now: [...] The following posts may also be helpful: Either Or How can I encourage youngsters with autism in my class... Talk or Not During their school years, many non-verbal students with autism are... Hamburgers or Hot Dogs “My son has finally moved past the stage of echoing... …

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Holding a Grudge

2010-09-21 :: Cathy Knoll

Everyone encounters injustices in life, but sometimes it seems as if autism is a magnet for difficulties and conflict with agencies, teachers, insurance companies, doctors, schools, committees, and, sometimes, even society in general. What is the best response when we encounter criticism? Listen Now: or continue reading Some of my friends with autism and their [...] No related posts. …

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Daily Chores

2010-09-19 :: Cathy Knoll

In the midst of the hustle and bustle of daily life, it is certainly easier to just take care of every detail of the lives of our friends with autism. In reality, all children and teens, whether they have autism or not, benefit from having the responsibility of daily chores. Listen Now: or continue reading [...] The following posts may also be helpful: Daily Chores So, should children with limited skills be required to help... Pitching In Sometimes families and teachers inadvertently fall into the trap of... Daily Living Skills We usually think of self-help skills as being able to... …

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Evening Round-up

2010-09-14 :: Cathy Knoll

No matter how tired everyone is in the evenings, you may discover taking some time to slow down, get organized, and make connections with your youngster with autism is an invaluable investment of time and energy. Remember that the goal is not perfection, but rather to increase contentment and decrease stress for everyone. Listen Now: [...] The following posts may also be helpful: Bedtime Round-Up Today is the first day of school for many youngsters... School Nights School starts this week for many youngsters with autism, so... Grooming Habits Poor hygiene is a serious problem. Unpleasant body odor, bad... …

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Let’s Go Potty

2010-09-13 :: Cathy Knoll

For a variety of reasons, some individuals with autism are not toilet trained. Not being able to go to the bathroom independently raises a variety of challenges, one of which is needing reminders to go to the bathroom. Let’s look at that issue, particularly from the standpoint of privacy and respect. Listen Now: or continue [...] The following posts may also be helpful: Diapers and Respect For a variety of reasons, some individuals with autism must... “Go pee-pee?” “My son is 10 years old and still says ‘Go... Toilet Talk As youngsters with autism grow into teens and young adults,... …

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Real Life Skills

2010-09-12 :: Cathy Knoll

A new teacher in a junior high life skills classroom asked for some input into the types of skills her students with autism will need when they graduate from high school at age 18 or 22. The specific list must, of course, be individualized to each teen, but there are some general skills that everyone [...] The following posts may also be helpful: Basic Job Skills What are the basics for getting a job? What skills... Job-Related Skills “My daughter is entering high school next fall,” wrote the... On-the-Job Skills An informal conversation with parents, teachers, and business people yielded... …

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Making Everything Perfect

2010-09-07 :: Cathy Knoll

School started this week, so I’ve seen several challenging issues arise as young friends with autism attempt to adjust to new campuses, new classrooms, new teachers and classroom aids, new school routines, and new students in the hallways and classrooms. Moving to a new school can challenge even the most secure person, but the change [...] The following posts may also be helpful: Back to School Blues Some folks just don’t like change. Some folks with autism... Back to School Transition “Every year our son struggles with the transition from the... Teacher Questions 1 Several teachers, administrators, and classroom aids have asked for tips... …

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Recess Stinks

2010-09-07
Length: 4m 51s

An articulate friend with autism is not very happy. She doesn’t like recess. Most fifth graders love recess and lunch, but this youngster does not. Interestingly, the reasons for her aversion to free time are different from what I expected. Listen [...]…

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Favorite Clothes

2010-09-03
Length: 4m 44s

At what point do favorite clothes become an obsession rather than a preference. A high-school friend who functions on the spectrum of autism reports that she only wears t-shirts featuring her favorite television star. She said, “I don’t know if it i[...]…

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Be Quiet

2010-09-02
Length: 5m 4s

What exactly do we mean when we tell someone to be quiet? Do we mean that they must be totally silent, making not a tiny sound? When we say, “be quiet,” do we mean to talk softly so they don’t interrupt a conversation? Or do we say “be quiet” just w[...]…

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Science of Autism

2010-08-31
Length: 5m 0s

Autism is complex. Each person diagnosed with autism is different, so what is true for one person may not be so for another. People living with autism and the professionals providing services often have more questions than answers. Slowly but surely[...]…

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Duct Tape Magic

2010-08-30
Length: 4m 7s

One of our regular FAQautism.com followers – a mom extraordinaire – sent a message with lots of good ideas for keeping life on track for ...…

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