The Autism Blog

A Conversation with My Younger Self

The title of this blog series is “A Conversation with my Younger Self”. We wondered what parents and providers would say to their younger selves having the wisdom of hindsight and if there might be any words of wisdom our younger selves might have for us today. We begin with providers. 

Anita Wright, Speech Pathologist

As a young professional, there was a lot I didn’t know or understand about autism.  I should have taken more time to describe to parents the strengths their child exhibited, not just the deficits, not just the worrisome behaviors.  I would have helped parents recognize and emphasize the positive aspects of their child and point out how we can build on those strengths to broaden the child’s skills in other areas.  

As a parent, I’d remind myself not to be too quick to give up on teaching new things, even when the going seems incredibly slow.  Time and persistence on a parent’s part can sometimes bring surprising Read full post »

Autism Study Reveals New Information

Dr. Raphael Bernier

Dr. Raphael Bernier

A paper published this week in Nature Genetics found that some children with autism are more likely to have inherited gene mutations most often occurring from mothers to sons. Dr. Raphael Bernier, clinical director of Seattle Children’s Autism Center and an investigator in the study, discusses this further on Seattle Children’s Hospital blog, On the Pulse.

Learn how your family can participate in research at Seattle Children’s.

Or email

Special Education Law- Navigating the IEP Process- This Month’s Autism 200 Class

autism 200This month’s Autism 200 Series class, “Special Education Law- Navigating the IEP Process” will be held next Thursday, May 21, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at Seattle Children’s Hospital in Wright Auditorium. 

Whether you are a family member or professional who supports families with school age children with disabilities, the IEP process can be confusing and overwhelming. Stacy Gillett works at the Governor’s Office of the Education Ombudsman and has more than 22 years experience training families, professionals and educators about IDEA and Section 504. She will review the essential components of evaluation; determining a student’s needs; development of the IEP; and what happens when a parent disagrees with the school district. She will also talk about developing positive behavior support plans and discipline issues that arise for students with disabilities.
Read full post »

Mind Full or Mindful?

The Overstuffed Mind of Parents of Kids with Autism

When my mind gets overloaded and feels as if it will explode, I often imagine taking it off my shoulders and shaking it out the way I empty my overfilled backpack when trying to find my keys that have sunk to the bottom.

Ah, if only it were that easy.

Parents of kids with autism have minds full of stuff – the stuff of their crazy busy lives – that include so much more than the average human being. To mention just a very few of the things that simultaneously occupy the brain of said parent: therapy appointments, IEP meetings, prescription refills, data on behavior-to-hopefully-be-changed, field trips, social-skills-improving play-dates, grocery lists with the five things a persnickety kid will eat and mama/papa-needs-a-break camp applications.

And the list goes on and on. Read full post »

What to Tell Your Summer Program Staff

As we turn toward the long summer months, many parents of children with autism are busy filling out summer program forms. If you are like me, you pause when you get to this section:

Does your child have any behavioral concerns?


Why do I pause at this question…?

First of all, I usually marvel at how little space is provided to answer such a complex question. My son’s Behavior Intervention Plan is nine pages long!

Second, the answer for my son is YES, he does have behavioral concerns. I’ll admit to being afraid to list his specific challenging behaviors for fear of being excluded from the camp. I’m tempted to simply write “some” with a little smiley face and leave it at that—-but this would be unfair to everyone— Read full post »