Autism and a New Athletic Experience   My son likes to try new things, a quality I admire. Sometimes, he says “I want to try this or that,” and it turns out he doesn’t like it.   This happened a few years ago with a place called IFly, a sky diving simulator experience. He really wanted to try it, but when he got there and got outfitted and received the instructions, he got nervous. He did it, got into the simulator with the instructor, and (sort of) got into the sky diving position. He later said he wasn’t comfortable at all. The … [Read more...]

How an AutParent Handles Event Complaints My son attends gaming tournaments. He plays one game in particular, Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. Honestly, I don’t really know much about the game, nor do I have much interest in any video games. I can (sort of) watch one and (sort of) know what’s going on. I can follow when someone wins/loses. That’s about the extent of it. For the most part, when I take my son to these tournaments, I write. I actually get a lot of work done! Sometimes, when it’s been a few hours (these tournaments can go on for … [Read more...]

Autism and College-Related Standardized Tests I was speaking with a relative recently who mentioned that her child, who is one year older than mine, has had trouble with standardized tests. This typical sixteen-year-old struggled with the “practice” PSAT and then again on the SAT. She was planning on retaking the SAT or taking the ACT later in the year. Her mom was confident she’d improve, especially since she was planning to take the prep course. She was planning on going to college and (knowing her) she would work hard to improve those … [Read more...]

The Autism Community Has Two Success Stories   Here are two names you may want to memorize… Kalin Bennett and Tarik El-Abour.   Who is Kalin Bennett? He’s an eighteen-year-old with autism from Little Rock, Arkansas who just signed a Division One Letter of Intent to play basketball at Kent State University. Kalin didn’t walk until he was four and didn’t talk until he was seven. He graduated from high school with decent grades. And, a lot of accolades for his on-the-court abilities. Kent State is a great school for athletics, but also … [Read more...]

Autism and Sexual Harassment   I was listening to a #MeToo movement story the other day on NPR. I began to think about my son and how it relates. My son is a teenager quickly (too quickly for me) becoming a young male adult. A young male adult with autism. How does his background apply here? I remember one of my son’s first Floor Time facilitators telling me that my baby (he was only around sixteen months old) has trouble “feeling his body in space.” I don’t think that’s the case anymore for my (now) fifteen-year-old, but it made me … [Read more...]

Autism and Respect Fifteen is such a tough age. There’s so much going on at this age. So many pressures and changes. Even your body doesn’t feel right half the time. On top of all of this, some fifteen-year-olds, naming ours, struggle with some basics. Autism presents challenges in communication and social situations. How to appropriately react to someone—either your parents, your coach, or even a stranger—can, at times, be challenging when all these other things are going on. What’s it like for our son? Our son likes to get things done … [Read more...]

Autism and the Community How do our kids interact within the community? What about their neighborhood? I have read stories about neighborhoods that complain about a child with autism. A few of these stories report that neighbors even go so far as to pressure the family to leave. I have also read (way too many) stories about bullying people with autism. What is it about being in the community and people on the autism spectrum? Community interactions are never easy for our kids. They have a natural tendency to struggle with all … [Read more...]

What They Don’t Tell You in the Autism Handbook Teenagers. I really wish the “Autism Handbook” had a really long, detailed chapter on teenagers with autism. What do I mean? As my husband says, “We have a teenager and we have a teenager with autism. That’s two challenges.” My son still has the occasion meltdown, yet they’re different from when he was younger. My addition to the handbook would be this… When they’re teenagers, the meltdowns change because they’re teenagers… They have those traits… *Sullen *Moody *Easy to … [Read more...]

Dental Issues for Teenagers with Autism A follow up for taking your child with autism to the dentist and getting braces for your child. What did my child need? For years, we took our child to our regular dentist. To be honest, I didn’t love the dental office. However, they have one dental hygienist that began working with my son when he was little. She only works one day a week. And, I book her every time, every six months. Why? Because it’s worth taking my son to this office (the one I’m not crazy about) so he can be seen by the one … [Read more...]

Autism and Talking to Strangers “Mommy, can I go talk to other people?” These sweet words were spoken to me recently by my son. Where were we? Once or twice a winter, my son and I drive up through the Angeles National Forrest. We live in the foothills below the San Gabriel Mountains, so this drive is easy for us. During past winters, our goal was to “drive to the snow.” My son always wanted to “visit” the snow once or twice every winter. He likes to sled and “throw snowballs at Mommy.” We’d also visit the mountains at other times of the … [Read more...]