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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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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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“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” This, from one of the 20th century’s foremost complex thinkers, Albert Einstein, who also said, “I very rarely think in words at all.” And a couple of millenia before Einstein,  Cicero deemed brevity “a great charm of eloquence.” Legions of authors nowadays try [...]

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“What kind of toys do autistic children like?” “What should I buy for my ______ who has autism?” Though I hear more of these questions at this time of year, they crop up in every month, in daily life and for special occasions. To the former question, I call out the generalization; the question makes [...]

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Autism parenting: Handing off the marathon metaphor

Published on September 29, 2015 by in News

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As parents of children with autism, one of our most beloved clichés advises us that our journey is a marathon, not a sprint. We need stamina more than fast starts. We need patience. We need to pace ourselves. We need to remember to enjoy the scenery along the way.  The metaphor seems so fitting, I [...]

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