Autism and Learning a Foreign Language Big time advice coming… A few times, when my son with autism was younger, I said to myself, “I should really get him into some kind of foreign language instruction soon.” But, I never followed through. Now, my son has just started high school and is finally taking a foreign language, Spanish. I wish he had started when he was younger. Why? Even with a typical kid, the earlier you start a foreign language instruction, the better. Now, add autism into the mix. What happened? Well, my son began his … [Read more...]

Guest Blogger Dina Kimmel writes this week... How Sensory Gyms Help Kids on the Autism Spectrum A trampoline, a zip line, and a climbing structure — these may sound like typical pieces of equipment at any regular kids gym. In actuality, they help foster an inclusive learning and play environment. They are some of the necessary pieces of equipment found in a sensory gym. A sensory gym is designed to serve and accommodate the sensory needs of children with sensory processing disorders, such as autism. Unique, specially-designed equipment helps … [Read more...]

The Arts and Children with Autism My son interest in music has been hit or miss. He liked listening to songs a few years ago, but then it went away. It's came back last summer as we were on a driving trip. He has never really been drawn to musical instruments. Why are musical instruments sometimes hard for our kids? In the book, “Ido in Autismland,“ written by a non-verbal teenager with autism, the author believes many autistic children have a difficult time communicating from their brains to their hands or limbs. He says there is "a … [Read more...]

Ageing Out of Autism Services   My son has been in a social skills group since he was three years old. When he turns thirteen this year, he will "officially" age out of this group. What is social skills group? Social skills group is a structured play group with four to six children who are relatively near each other on the autism spectrum. They have two facilitators who strive to encourage the group to communicate, play, and interact with each other. My son was young when he started at age three. However, the facility (at that time) … [Read more...]

Sensory Difficulties in People with Autism I found this list very helpful in understanding how a person can measure another personʼs sensory difficulties. It looks like good explanation of sensory processing issues for a layperson. What are sensory difficulties? Difficulties with loud noises, smells, being hugged, walking on certain surfaces, and having certain foods in your mouth are some examples. People on the autism spectrum often have sensory difficulties. Their brains have trouble processing taste, touch, sound, smell, and sight. … [Read more...]

Tantrums verses Meltdowns in Autistic Kids Below is an excellent description of the difference between a tantrum and a meltdown. I wanted to reprint it again to help readers remember that there's a difference and it's an important one. It's especially important when you have a child with autism. (Written by Amanda Morin) "Tantrums and sensory meltdowns are not the same thing. It can be hard to tell the difference between them by just looking at an upset child. Knowing the causes of tantrums and meltdowns can help you learn how to manage … [Read more...]

Transitioning to a New Autism Aide - Part One   My son finished fifth grade with a new aide. The new aide began in March and was with my son until the end of the school year. During fifth grade, the teacher, RSP person, and the principal all agreed that he had made tremendous progress and that he was “ready" to go without an aide. How long was the original aide with my son? My sonʼs original school aide had been with him for almost six years. She got assigned to him at the end of kindergarten and the district just kept assigning her. … [Read more...]