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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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Jimmy Buffet didn’t know where he was “gonna go when the volcano blows.” But I knew exactly where I had to go. The volcano blew thirty miles directly north of my parents’ house. We watched it blow the top clean off a mountain whose perfect, sugar-loaf silhouette had stood sentry over my city for all [...]

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Smarts and Crafts: Message in a Birdhouse

Published on May 11, 2016 by in News

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“How much do children with autism comprehend?” This is the time of year I get a lot of inquiries about how to interact with our kids in summer camp settings. I welcome the questions because I have the fondest memories of the lengths to which our Park Bureau’s summer camp programs went to accommodate our [...]

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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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A parent asks: My son was diagnosed with autism at six. I have never grieved for what could have been—this is who he is. Like anyone, he has good days and bad days.  We don’t focus on the label, we focus on learning what we need to know to help him learn in his different [...]

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A decade ago, my oldest son Connor walked across a stage to accept his high school diploma, and a long chapter in my life came to an end. Three weeks later, then-13-year-old Bryce boarded a plane with a group of classmates and teachers to fly 3,000 miles across the continent to tour New York, Pennsylvania [...]

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So, your child or student with autism does not listen, will not listen, never listens. This seems to be the theme in my mailbox this week. Here’s my answer: How do you know? Gotta ask: Do you equate listening with compliance? Just because she doesn’t give the response you want doesn’t mean she’s not listening. [...]

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A paraeducator asks: I work with a student with autism. Yesterday an incident came up that I didn’t know how to handle. The children were returning to the classroom from library time, and my student wanted to be lights-on monitor, although it wasn’t her turn. When another student began to do the job, my student [...]

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