The Weight Of It

I won’t even attempt to speak for other parents of autistic children here. There’s not just a spectrum for our kids, there’s one for the parents as well. BY KIMBERLEE MCCAFFERTY Today we ran into each other at the grocery store. We don’t know each other well, but our kids have been in the same class together several years now, and once we were very compatible room mothers. We chat about our kids (of course), […]

The Whole Story

PUZZLES & CAMO BY SHELLY HUHTANEN This is the story of autism that we need to hear, not just the young adult with autism that is a surgeon… We need to hear the whole story, no matter how uncomfortable it may be. A few weeks ago, a friend of mine asked me if I had seen the new show on television entitled The Good Doctor. I told them I hadn’t since I don’t watch too […]

Training First Responders To Respond Bettter

“The SNAP Program makes a vital contribution to the armamentarium of best practices addressing the unique needs of special populations and their ability to thrive and participate in the community. It will become a time-honored component in the first responders’ toolkit.” – Rick Rader, MD, Medical Liaison, SNAP Program BY BRUCE GARNER Even under the best of circumstances, it is challenging to be a good parent, but when your child has special needs, it gets […]

Mindful Awareness & The Healing Arts – A Therapy Paradigm Shift

BY JANICE K. RYAN, OTD, OTR/L How quickly can a television show change a culture? Has The Big Bang Theory altered societal perceptions, self-perceptions, and future possibilities for people with learning, cognitive or behavioral differences? It’s hard to believe that Sheldon Cooper and his diverse group of friends entered family living rooms over ten years ago. Kerry Magro, an Autism Speaks staff member and adult with autism, wrote about his feelings in a blog. He […]

Robots, Engagement and Autism Spectrum Disorder Intervention

BY GREG FIRN, ED.D Learners with intellectual disabilities often struggle with traditional educational tools, but robots are a game changer. Kids like robots because they’re “cool” and feel like big toys – nonjudgmental ones. With over 30 years of experience in education and a passion for helping every child meet their full potential academically and socially, I have seen how effective intervention is for children with ASD, particularly if it happens early in the child’s […]

Defining Resilience

PUZZLES & CAMO BY SHELLY HUHTANEN I would say that raising a child with autism while serving in the military would fit the definition quite well. Resilience. I remember a good friend of mine sitting with me during a briefing, encouraging Army spouses to be more resilient and mentioning that our children were some of the most resilient individuals around. She reached over and whispered in my ear, “I hate the word resilient.” She had […]

Practice Without Pressure

Practice Without Pressure™ greatly reduces and, most times, eliminates the need for sedation and restraint. The PWP model includes the individual, the family/caregiver, and the clinican, and introduces the PWP practice specialist into the paradigm. BY DEBORAH JASTREBSKI THE NEED You wake up one morning and your tooth hurts. Although it’s not your favorite thing you call your dentist, make an appointment and go get it fixed. You’re nervous but you tell the dentist that, […]

The Big Cheese

PUZZLES & CAMO BY SHELLY HUHTANEN Broden is the one that the smaller kids watch and look up to now… He’s the one who plops in the chair in the morning and yawns because he knows he’ll tackle this long day of ABA, just like any other day. It was the first day of school at the Autism Learning Center. Broden knew the drill as he slid out of his car seat and grabbed his drink. I followed behind him carrying […]

Developmental Coordination Disorder

The “hidden” facet of autism spectrum disorder BY DR. SHELLEY MARGOW, OTD, OTR/L Clumsiness is an inevitable part of growing up, and all children bump into objects, drop things and sometimes fall in their journey to adolescence and adulthood. But there are some kids whose  struggle to fully participate and learn new skills in daily activities at home, in the playground, and in the classroom is ceaseless. The cause is Developmental Coordination Disorder (DCD), a […]

A Holistic Guide For Families Who Have A Loved One With Special Needs

PUBLIC BENEFITS BY CALEB HARTY Many important benefits are outlined below, but not all. Also, effort has been made to point out important aspects of the programs, but outlining every detailed exception, rule, etc., is beyond the scope of this informational guide. For context, most of these programs are “means-tested,” which means they are usually not available until the child turns 18 because up until that point the parents’ assets and income are taken into […]