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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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Autism Misconceptions for Smarties

Published on August 5, 2015 by in News

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No one would talk much in society if they knew how often they misunderstood others. ~ Johann Wolfgang von Goethe  What’s the difference between a smarty and a dummy? Merriam-Webster.com defines a smarty as “a person who thinks and behaves as if s/he knows everything,” while a dummy is “a stupid person.” As an autism [...]

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Like any warm-blooded parent, my friend flushed with delight when her daughter handed her a lovely crayon-inscribed homemade card. On the front, it read “Happy Mother’s Day, Mommy! Even though . . .” But my friend’s warm-blooded glow cooled to mortification when she opened the card: “. . . your breath smells really bad in [...]

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 A therapist asks: I’m a family therapist offering in-home sessions. I have a client with a three year old boy with autism. Each time he sees me, he throws a screaming autistic tantrum, hitting his head with his fist and raking his fingers across his face until red.  There’s no outward reason for the tantrums. They aren’t typical [...]

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Just be a grandma

Published on June 1, 2015 by in News

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A grandparent asks: I have a beautiful 4-year-old grandchild who may be on the spectrum somewhere.  His parents do not want to have him tested.  I need to get this child potty trained and he seems to be resisting their efforts.  He reads and does math on the 4th grade level, can spell words that [...]

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Squelching echolalia—or not

Published on April 8, 2015 by in News

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A parent asks: We’re just learning about echolalia and find it fascinating. Our child has always done it, and we call it parroting.  How do you think children with autism match an appropriate phrase to the situation so quickly and smoothly?  What kinds of things did you employ to try to stop your child from using [...]

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