When Your Child with Autism Has Challenging Behaviors

By: Kerry Magro – Self-Advocate, National Speaker, and Author

Growing up on the spectrum, one of the struggles I had to deal with the most revolved around communication. However, one area that I sometimes don’t bring up is some of my challenging behaviors. I was recently reading a tool kit from Autism Speaks called the Challenging Behavior Tool Kit that truly resonated with me. Often when I go out to speak at events, one of the main questions that comes up is, “How can I get my child to speak?” Challenging behavior questions often fall through the cracks.

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The Special Needs Student: Looking at It From Both Sides

By: Carol S. Weinman, Esq., C.A.S., Autism Legal Expert and International Speaker

For parents or guardians of a child with special needs, the thought of how their child is faring at school is never far from their mind. This time of year is always of concern and often very anxiety producing.  Tweaking the IEP is often the focus of those concerns. What needs adding? What needs changing? What needs improving? What isn’t working? And, how do I go about getting the IEP revised? Most parents or guardians feel scattered and scramble for time to be sure it is all in place from day one of the new school term.

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When Is It the Right Time To Tell Someone About Their Disability?

By: Kerry Magro – Self-Advocate, National Speaker, and Author

“When should I tell my child my child about having an autism diagnosis?”

Oh, if I only had a nickel for every single time I’ve heard that question.

My conversation about my autism diagnosis came about when I was 11 and a half years old when I was playing celebrity disability bingo in one of my social skills classes. During the game, I learned about celebrities such as Michael Jordan had Attention Deficit Disorder and Magic Johnson had Attention Deficit Hyperactivity. After the game was over, our teacher said that each one of these individuals was “special” just like us. After the class period, I asked my teacher, “Why am I special?”

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Leading Autism Advocate Appointed to International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards Executive Board

The International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), the world’s leading training and certification provider for autism and cognitive disorders, announced today the appointment of award-winning disability advocate Kerry Magro to their executive panel of board members.

“IBCCES does incredible work around the world,” said Magro. “It’s wonderful now to be part of this team as a board member.”

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AutismTravel.com to Provide Families With Certified Autism Travel Options

Autism Travel web img

New Website Offers Autism Resources and Vacation Options for Individuals with Special Needs

Families with special needs now have customized vacation and travel options at their fingertips through AutismTravel.com. Created through the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), AutismTravel.com is the first comprehensive online resource to help parents understand their options for travel with special needs in mind.

“Our goal with AutismTravel.com is to help the leading travel destinations in the world create safe, sensory-friendly certified travel options for parents and individuals on the spectrum,” said Myron Pincomb, IBCCES Board Chairman. “Autism Travel will also provide parents with a community to share ideas, plan trips with other families and explore travel options at some of the most beautiful places in the world.”

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What it Means to be “Bad” – The Challenge of Special Needs and Criminal Arrest

By Carol S. Weinman, Esq., C.A.S., International Speaker and Author

“My son really is a good boy. And, now, he thinks he’s bad.” These were the words of a mom who recently witnessed her adult son – with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) – in handcuffs.  It got me thinking even more about the unspoken fallout of an ASD individual’s encounter with police. Boys with ASD experience “hits” to their self esteem at a very early age. They feel different, sometimes odd, and often ostracized and misunderstood. Highly vulnerable from a young age, they are more susceptible to the after effects of being arrested, handcuffed or fingerprinted. They transition to adulthood with a compromised sense of self-esteem and self-concept. The impact of being arrested and handcuffed cannot be minimized. It is traumatic for anyone at any age, but for an individual with ASD, it can be even more devastating.

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Teens with Autism and Driving

By Anita Lesko, BSN, RN, MS, CRNA

For some teenagers, getting a driver’s license might symbolize their freedom and new life as an adult. But not every teenager counts the days until they get their driver’s license. I learned to drive in high school along with the rest of my classmates. At that time in my life, I didn’t know I’m autistic. What I did know, however, was that I felt scared and instinctively knew I wasn’t ready to drive. I did great on the written exam. Being behind the wheel out on the road with the instructor was a different story.

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How Childhood Jobs Prepared me for Success as an Adult with Autism

By Anita Lesko, BSN, RN, MS, CRNA

I have the good fortune to be a friend of Dr. Temple Grandin. We have a lot in common. We are both autistic, and we share a very similar youth that played a big factor in our adult life. We both started having jobs at a very early age. Temple often talks about her early days, when her job was to greet guests at the door for her mom’s dinner party, and take their coats to hang up. Yes, it was a job. She was given a responsibility to carry out.

Among her numerous other childhood jobs was the one I, too, did for many years — mucking out horse stalls. In conversations with Temple on the phone, we’ve talked about those days of our teenage years spent shoveling out one stall after another. We both love horses and being around them. It was peaceful and it was also a form of therapy. In essence, it was our occupational therapy.

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Tips for Overcoming Challenges with Special Needs Hair Care

“Brush Up” with These Helpful Tips

By Elayne Pearson, C.A.S., Special-needs Preparedness Specialist, is an award-winning writer, poet, presenter, advocate, author, and actress.

In the late 1980s, individuals with disabilities were coming into the bright spotlight of media and society, and my husband, Rod, and I vowed we would never keep Heidi (our sweet little daughter with Down syndrome) “shielded” at home like families frequently did in the past. Her sisters were proud of her, too, despite frequent rude stares from others. One thing I always did to bolster our confidence before going out with my little chickadees was make sure their faces were clean and hair was brushed, with a bow, barrette, or headband added including little Heidi. Her munchkin-angel face looked even cuter with curls, ribbons, and bows.

Fast forward a few years. Heidi’s late-onset autism (unbeknownst to us) created an extreme sensitivity with anything around her face, such as lip balm, sunscreen, eyeglasses, and all hair accessories. First, her annoyance was baffling, then frustrating, then down-right aggravating. Heidi detested anything in her hair, and seemed oblivious to pain when she pulled out a barrette, curler, flower, elastic, or ribbon. It drove me crazy.

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Autism Training in Law Enforcement and the Call to Action

By Carol S. Weinman, Esq., C.A.S., National Speaker and Author

The willing desire to work together in unraveling the puzzle of autism is growing among law enforcement. The number of calls I receive to present on the topic of autism and police training increases every day. The reason: law enforcement officers want to better understand the complex mindset of those with autism spectrum disorder and more importantly, learn how to interact with them.

Hardly a month goes by anymore when the media isn’t reporting about someone with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) who is arrested or has an unfortunate police encounter. That’s because what appears to be suspicious or criminal activity is behavior characteristic of an individual with ASD. So, how can a police officer know the difference? Well, the first step in prevention of these traumatic incidents among police officers and the ASD community is education.

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