Families Face Autism Stigma, Isolation

Marina Sarris Interactive Autism Network at Kennedy Krieger Institute Parents report that their child’s autistic behaviors, combined with social stigma and isolation, make their lives more challenging, according to a new study of the Simons Simplex Collection (SSC). In one of the largest studies of its kind, Ruth L. Fischbach PhD looked at how and why stigma affects families. Stigma occurs when people feel shamed, inferior and isolated because they are different from others.1 Her […]

Autism And The Importance Of Self-esteem

Self-esteem refers to an individual’s opinion of him or herself. People with healthy self-esteem trust their own instincts and abilities, believe that they are worthy of good things happening to them, and are confident that, with effort, they can accomplish any necessary or desired task. Unhealthy self-esteem can range from a dislike of oneself to an over-inflated self-opinion. Research has shown that an individual’s self-esteem strongly influences his or her interpersonal relationships, behavior, and learning. […]

Stress and the Autism Parent

Marina Sarris Interactive Autism Network at Kennedy Krieger Institute Most parents experience stress, but for those raising children with autism, everyday life often brings Stress with a capital S. They need to keep their child from running away, manage meltdowns, wrangle with teachers about special education needs, avoid sights or sounds that overload his senses, and drive to therapists or doctors. And that’s just what Monday looks like. They do all this while sleep-deprived. Many […]

Building Confidence In Children And Teenagers With Autism Spectrum Disorder

When you recognize and build on the strengths, interests and talents of your child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), you can develop and strengthen your child’s confidence and self-esteem. Everyday activities give you lots of opportunities to do this. Why confidence is important for children and teenagers Children and teenagers who are confident can cope better when things go wrong. They’re less likely to feel afraid in new or unexpected situations. But children and teenagers […]

Self-identity and self-esteem for teenagers with autism spectrum disorder

During adolescence, your child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is forming an independent identity. This is a normal and important part of becoming an adult, and you can do a lot to support your child and build his self-esteem along the way. Self-identity and self-esteem for teenagers with autism spectrum disorder: what to expect Teenagers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can find it harder than typically developing teenagers to work out who they are and […]

Social Life on the Spectrum

Everyone has some memory that continues to thrill us years later: our first real friend, the first time we went on a date, the time we received an award at work. These memories are sweet and they have a direct impact on our confidence. Human beings derive not just pleasure but also self-respect, a sense of dignity, and a sense of meaning from succeeding socially. Almost always in my line of work as an autism […]

Bullying and Youth with Disabilities and Special Health Needs

Children with disabilities—such as physical, developmental, intellectual, emotional, and sensory disabilities—are at an increased risk of being bullied. Any number of factors— physical vulnerability, social skill challenges, or intolerant environments—may increase the risk. Research suggests that some children with disabilities may bully others as well. Kids with special health needs, such as epilepsy or food allergies, also may be at higher risk of being bullied. Bullying can include making fun of kids because of their […]

Going to the Doctor/Dentist

Making Life Easier By Pamelazita Buschbacher, Ed.D. Doctor and dentist visits can be very stressful for young children. Routine check-ups can cause anxiety, fear and distress in toddlers and preschoolers. Some common fears for young children include: • separation from you; • pain and discomfort; • stranger anxiety; and • unfamiliar procedures and people. The following tips will help ensure that these visits are easier for you and your child.  Schedule smartly. When you […]

How Do I Protect My Wandering Loved One?

Wandering and elopement behaviors can pose unique safety risks for children and adults on the autism spectrum. Luckily, there are many accessible tools to help keep these individuals safe. Below, Milestones Autism Resources Program Director Beth Thompson, MSSA, LSW highlights some great tips and resources to utilize if your loved one is one of the many individuals with ASD who are prone to wandering. Take advantage of free resources – The National Autism Association is currently […]

Autism in the Teen Years: What to Expect, How to Help

Marina Sarris Interactive Autism Network at Kennedy Krieger Institute What parent doesn’t watch their “tween” become a teen without a twinge of anxiety? Factor autism into the equation, and parents may well wonder how the physical and hormonal changes of adolescence will affect their child on the spectrum. How will typical teenage rebellion look in someone who struggles with behavioral control? What will it be like traversing the social minefield of high school for someone […]