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A parent asks: Our child is in elementary school. Despite our efforts to encourage her to have fun with brushing her teeth, she doesn’t and never has enjoyed it. At school, they say she tolerates it. At home we’ve used visuals, the toothbrush song video on YouTube, etc. but her experience hasn’t improved. It gets [...]

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To Lie or Not to Lie? Our George Washington Moments

Published on February 13, 2017 by in News

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Note: With a culture of chronic lying and “alternative facts” permeating the highest levels of government and media, many parents are concerned about how to counter the culture and raise children who value honesty and integrity. As always, it begins with the example we set. This piece, first published in 2011, is as relevant today [...]

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“Where will our help come from?”

Published on February 8, 2017 by in News

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Ellen, I am a single father of a child with multiple neurological and physical challenges. We have so many problems, life-and-death issues. And now that American leaders in education are not considering what our children are going through, where will our help come from?   When leaders choose to disregard and disadvantage our children and [...]

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Special events are the stuff of happy memories for most of us, but for children with autism, the departure from routine and avalanche of social expectations in an unfamiliar setting full of strangers can spell potential calamity. “No surprises!” is a tactic worth the preparation and planning effort. These tips that will help see your [...]

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Bullying, a universal concern of parents of children with autism, isn’t new and will persist until there’s a near-universal change in thinking. In the meantime, hateful memes like this proliferate on the internet: “Bullying is always going to be a thing. Stop wrapping your kids in cotton wool, teach them to stand up and defend [...]

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Every autism parent knows them. They may be strangers; they may be relatives, or anyone in between. They aren’t shy about offering their two cents’ worth on your child’s behavior, preferences, future (and you’d gladly give them a dollar to shut up). They don’t distinguish between opinionated and informed, and they can’t find their own [...]

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A parent asks: Our son is finishing his first year of middle school. The IEP goals offered by the school team, from the first section to the last, are completely inappropriate and almost irrelevant to his recent developmental changes. We can pinpoint the academic problems he had sixth grade and carry them forward into seventh [...]

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Apology Not Accepted

Published on May 6, 2016 by in News

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Originally published in Ellen Notbohm’s newsletter, August 2012 Four years ago a publisher on the other side of the world commissioned me to write an article on teaching children with autism to apologize. The editor didn’t want a typical American list of numbered or bulleted points, but rather a “flowing prose” discussion of teaching empathy [...]

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“I am here for you.” Raising a child with autism can seem like a vice of minute-by-minute management: engineering the strict structure he needs, the visits to professionals whose expertise we need, our own need to feel that we are doing everything we can, or at least doing enough – these needs frequently dictate all [...]

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Counterpoint time. The subject is denial. Not a week goes by wherein I don’t hear from someone who thinks a parent or parents are in denial about a child’s autism. Indeed, some are. And indeed, some are not. What rarely gets voiced is the parent’s reaction to that loaded allegation. The following is a composite [...]

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