Unraveling Crime and Autism Spectrum Disorder

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

The question on the minds of so many people I encounter is: “So, how did this happen?”

Misunderstandings can Lead to Legal Consequences

When the facts of a given case are exposed, it is often difficult to imagine how an individual with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) could have landed in this predicament.  What occurred that resulted in their being arrested, handcuffed and charged with child pornography, sexual assault or terroristic threats? For those of us who understand ASD, we may be bewildered by the thought of what could have taken place that led to an arrest and possibly imprisonment. After all, we know that generally speaking, individuals with ASD are not violent nor of a criminal nature. Rarely do they intend to harm another person or intentionally pursue others with the purpose to harass or terrorize them.

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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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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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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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Summertime is Here! What’s the Best Camp for Your Child?

Summer is here, and finding the camp for your child can be a daunting task. There are a plethora of options when it comes to summer camps, but how do parents choose what works for their child?

To ensure that your camps are up-to-date with the latest research and information to support your child, it is important that they receive training and certification. Be sure to ask for and check for their credentials. If your child has special needs such as autism, many organizations such as YMCA and even Beaches Resorts Kid’s Camps have received staff-wide training and are designated as Certified Autism Centers through IBCCES. See below for some important considerations when looking for the perfect camp for your little ones this summer.

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