All of my life, I have been accompanied by adults. Sometimes I would think that I became an adult at an early age, but saying that out loud and thinking about it sounds incredibly wrong and rude. I was a child, just was with a lot of adults. Felt more comfortable with them because of one key important necessity. They understood. Understood what was going on and had the patience to go through with the hardship, even when I didn’t have the patience and the flexibility to handle myself and what trouble I have caused. Adults to me were like superheroes, and the children and teens my age were the sidekicks doing their best to become superheroes themselves.
There was one program that I did after school. A while later after the Grand Night Out, I did a program known as the ALP (Adult Living Program). No legacy is as rich as honesty, and I’m an honest person when I say: I hated it! LET ME FINISH… then I loved it! Wouldn’t be doing more adult stuff if it...
When you child with autism enters high school, you may feel relief and a little anxiety. You may feel relief because how far he has come and anxiety because of the many social situations your child will face. This is completely normal of any parent as we all want our children to do well in different situations.
High school presents a variety of stimuli, such as crowded class changes, bell ringing, different teachers to adjust to, and many teachers and their teaching styles. If your child has an IEP, then he can receive assistance through many of these, but the social situations still remain. Your child will be interacting with many different students during the school day. But…what if you would like your child to branch out of his comfort zone and do a little more in terms of socialization to help him in the long run?
Finding a trusted mentor for your teen is easier than you think! For starters, reflect on the young adults or older teens you know that also know...
Driving is one of the keys to independence to adults, and this certainly does not exclude those with the unique ability of autism. Research does show, however, that adults with autism take a little longer to acquire their driver’s license for reasons that are only known to those who have this unique ability. For example, an adult with autism may be on the high-functioning realm of the spectrum but may have difficulty with reactionary times, making fast decisions, and reflex challenges.
If you have a teen with autism who is of age to drive, you have a few choices. If you feel your teen is ready to embark on this journey, you can enroll him in driver training. Several factors will be dependent upon this, such as his willingness to learn, motivation, and social and emotional ability. This is okay, because in drivers education this can be taught, but it may just take a little longer. Adjusting to many of life’s challenges can be taught and practiced by a young adult with...
By Melanie Sandidge
The very necessity of having a meeting to develop an individualized education plan (or IEP) can be stressful. Walking into a room full of educated professionals can be intimidating. If you believe your child’s needs are at odds with whatever cost efficient solution being offered, preparation is mandatory. These meetings are not designed to make it easy for you to be an effective advocate.
Over the years, I have learned what works for my child, how to create effective partnerships with educators, administrators, and support staff, how to empower my child and increase his investment in his education, the crucial elements to a successful IEP and how the laws pertaining to special education function. Here is what you need to know.
There is no copy and paste answer for helping your child have a beneficial educational experience. Inclusivity is amazing, when the climate and culture of the typically developing children in your child’s...
What is a fidget? How was I using one when I was writing and typing this?
Fidgets come in a wide variety for all of the senses. Smell, hearing, taste, sight, and touch. Common fidgets focus on the touching aspect of the fidget such as beanbags and stones as examples. Those are the fidgets that are neat, but the one fidget I have been using quite a bit and still do at times is the toothpick.
Touch to me isn’t always about the hands, it can also be in the mouth area; I was the kind of kid that would rather chew on something or at least feel something in my mouth than to fiddle with my hands, then again, later on I saw a yo-yo as a nice little fidget. It spins, makes sounds at times, and sometimes lights up in the dark. See? Eye fidgets! Not just touch fidgets!
This is my definition of a fidget. A fidget is an object that can be interacted within the five senses to keep a person from over stimulating. That’s how I see it anyway. Guess you can call these rescue objects from...
By Shannon Kennedy Hewett
I have been a mother for almost seven years now, and I have been a mother to a child with autism for almost four. Although I have had four years of experience being an “autism mommy” to my son, TJ, I am still no expert. It is a learning process every single day, and I am always reflecting, learning from my mistakes, and seeking advice from other parents who are also on this journey. For me, one of the most memorable and challenging times was the long process that led to the day that my fears were finally confirmed – diagnosis day. If you are a parent who suspects that your child may have autism, or if you have just received an autism diagnosis for your child, then I would love to share my story with you. Not because I am an expert, but because I have been there. I have felt many of the same feelings that you are probably feeling right now, I have survived, and I have learned so much about my son, his diagnosis, and myself.
I always wanted...
Planes, trains, keys, and lights. There are one thousand different little things that someone with autism can be interested in. However, is there a difference between an interest and a passion? According to Webster’s dictionary, an interest is defined as “a feeling that accompanies or causes special attention to an object or class of objects” and a passion is defined as “intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction”. Webster shows the difference between the two words, passion is almost uncontrollable it is a conviction. Where as an interest is just merely special attention. This is what autistic children feel when they are passionate about something. However, it is not just a small conviction it is a large conviction. One that they have absolute no control over. Understanding this can help one understand how an autistic person functions.
If we want to get into the physiological side of things. There is actually a neurological reason that...
Many children go through the “terrible-twos” or “horrible threes”, and this includes children with autism. The differing characteristic is that many children with autism are unable to communicate their wants unlike many other “typical” toddler or young child. Some children on the autism spectrum do not talk effectively until much later than others, so challenging behaviors can be stressful to the parents or guardians.
Challenging behaviors do not occur because of autism. The innermost processes of the mind of a child with autism may have results of impulsive behavior that the child may not be able to control. Just as the shaking due to Parkinson’s disease or the memory loss due to Alzheimer’s, the behaviors of a child with autism really cannot be helped by the child.
What you can Do
There are ways, however, you can help your child diminish some of the challenging behaviors. This does take some work on your part, and while the tactics...
The connection between gut and brain
In every language of our planet, people use proverbs connecting gut, brain and feeling with each other. We may follow a “gut feeling” or feel “butterflies in the stomach” when in love. Scientists have in recent years uncovered that these may be more than just words.
When a gut feeling makes us anxious or nervous, that signal might actually come from the second largest concentration of nerve-cells in our body (besides the brain): Our intestines. Discoveries about the “brain in the belly” have revolutionized our understanding of how diet, digestion, mood and health are connected with each other.
The long standing medical consensus was, that problems like depression or anxiety contributed to gastrointestinal symptoms. Now there is significant evidence, turning the image of culprit and victim upside down.
These findings give a much better explanation for why a disproportional number of people with digestive issues...
A History of Universal Design for Learning
This is a two part series on universal design for learning. In this article, I will cover the history of universal design for learning. In the next article, I will be covering easy ways to make your lessons, courses, and curriculums universally designed—both those you are about to create and those you have created.
As teachers, many of us have thought it. “I already have so much work to do, I can’t start doing universal design for learning as well.” The jobs of teachers and professors is already overwhelming. As a former special education teacher and university composition professor, I can relate to this sentiment.
However, is it too difficult? Well, we need to know what exactly universal design for learning is before we can begin to answer that question in an informed manner.
Throughout this article, I’m going to use the phrase “divergent learners.” I...