How to Help Your Child with Autism Transition to Adulthood?

By Lisa Lane and Susan Sachs (article republished with permission)

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” This question is first posed to youngsters before they even reach first grade and continues in some form for years to come. Those words can make parents of children with autism cringe. We are not sure what lies ahead for our children in the years to come. In fact, we are often unsure of the status of next week. Our focus is simply to get through the day. But, too often, thoughts of the future wake us up in the middle of the night. What is stimming?

Action can be an antidote to worry. As the moms of two adults with autism, we suggest two avenues of action to help alleviate concerns: focusing on transition-readiness skills now, regardless of the age of your child, and advocating for systems that better meet the needs of individuals on the spectrum.

Start now

Although school systems typically focus on the transition to adulthood when students turn 16, parents can start building towards transition at an early age. Starting now, we need to build key skills that will help our children have as much autonomy as possible.

●  Exercise choice-making

The ability to make a choice is crucial to self-determination for people with autism. This skill should be part of any intervention plan and practiced frequently in the home. Consider choice-making to be a muscle that requires consistent exercise to become strong. Integrate small choices into every activity: Do you want to put the cap back on the toothpaste before or after you brush your teeth? Do you want to button your jacket from the top or the bottom? Do you want to use your right hand or left hand to turn on that light? Our goal is to help our children move beyond a simple choice between two offered options to an expression of their own preferences throughout their daily lives.

●  Increase independence

For many parents of children with limited language, increasing a child’s independence has the downside of potentially decreasing the motivation to communicate. We fear that if the child can get the juice himself, we will miss out on those precious words: “I need juice.” We need to set aside those fears, however, because fostering the spirit of independence is critical to preparing for adulthood. At every opportunity, we need to build our child’s habits of self-care.  We can do so without losing communication skills if we, along with our intervention team, focus on continually adding new words to the repertoire.

●  Prioritize life skills

As parents, we often want to focus our energy and interventions on academics to the exclusion of life skills, because we feel our window of time is limited. Many suggest teaching life skills at a later date, so their children can keep up with peers in the classroom. That tendency is not surprising, since our culture tends to value academic skills over self-help skills, even in our small children. We cheer if a child can count to ten in a foreign language, but we are less impressed if she knows how to blow her own nose. Parents sometimes view building “functional skills” as giving up on academic skills, but those functional skills should be emphasized at every step of the way. Those are the skills that often determine the long-term quality of life.

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Autism Stimming and Hand Flapping: What are the Key Causes and Behaviors?

By Kim Barloso, AB (article republished with permission)

If you’re an autism parent, it is likely you’ve seen your child present repetitive stimming (self-stimulatory) behaviors such as hand flapping, spinning, and shaking. These behaviors can be worrying if they’re not fully understood.

In this guide, we will discuss everything you need to know about stimming in children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and how to manage stimming behaviors.

What is stimming?

Stimming is a shortened way of describing “self-stimulation”. In a nutshell, stimming refers to self-stimulating behaviors, usually involving repetitive movements or sounds.

Although stimming is one of many possible indicators a child might be on the autism spectrum or have ADHD, stimming behavior does not necessarily mean a person is neurodivergent.

A person who stims tends to show repetitive body movements (such as rocking) that can involve all five senses, or they might move objects in a repetitive motion. You might also hear stimming referred to as “stereotypy.”

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5 Things That Helped Me When I Was Bullied As An Autistic Child

Guest Blog from Dr. Kerry Magro

When I speak in schools either as part of a school assembly or professional development, I often talk about how bullying is one of the biggest epidemics we currently have in the school systems today. Growing up with autism, I was bullied for my differences. It wouldn’t be until middle school it started to slow down for me when I went to a private school for students with learning disabilities. Now as an adult I’m an anti-bullying activist to hopefully help stop others from being bullied like I was as a kid. Continue Reading →

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Temperature Checks May Become the New Normal for Park Entry

According to recent article from FunWorld taking guest temperature could become a normal part of operations after COVID-19.

As some parks and attractions in Asia are reopening in the wake of coronavirus pandemic they have implemented guests’ temperature screening policy before allowing entry. Since fever is one of the telling symptoms of the disease, the process can help flag individuals who might have the illness. By refusing entry to those who have high temperatures, parks and attractions can potentially help prevent the spread of the disease and in-turn reassure visitors that their locations are safe. Continue Reading →

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15 Behavior Strategies for Children with Autism

Written by Rachel Wise (article republished with permission)

In this article you will find 15 supportive behavior strategies for children on the autism spectrum (some strategies can be used with adults as well). Many of the strategies can also be used to help children without autism who have challenging behaviors.When caring for or working with a child with autism, a parent, teacher, or other adult may become frustrated with the child’s behavior. Behaviors can come on suddenly, last for hours, be hard to control, or make the adult scared or embarrassed.

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15 Behavior Strategies for Children with Autism

Written by Rachel Wise (article republished with permission)

In this article you will find 15 supportive behavior strategies for children on the autism spectrum (some strategies can be used with adults as well). Many of the strategies can also be used to help children without autism who have challenging behaviors.When caring for or working with a child with autism, a parent, teacher, or other adult may become frustrated with the child’s behavior. Behaviors can come on suddenly, last for hours, be hard to control, or make the adult scared or embarrassed.

Continue Reading →

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