The Autism Blog

Upcoming Events and Activities for Individuals with Special Needs

As you plan your calendar for the next couple of months, please take a look at some of these great, local and free activities and events for families and individuals with special needs.


The Arc of King County’s Latino Family Winter Party

Celebrate the New Year with games, music, food, friends and fun! All are welcome. This is a potluck event and you are encouraged to bring a dish to share. There is no cost to attend.

Saturday, December 6, 2014 from 10 am to 1 pm

Angle Lake Family Resource Center
4040 S 188th St.
SeaTac, WA 98188

Please contact Patricia Gonzalez at or call 206-829-7027 for more information.

Sensitive Santa

The Outlet Collection will make its Santa area sensory friendly with lower lighting and quieter surroundings. Each family who attends will receive a free Santa photo and enjoy festive giveaways to commemorate the magical holiday Read full post »

This Month’s Autism 200 Series- We Have a Voice

A Panel of Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Join Seattle Children’s Autism Center’s Medical Director, Dr. Charles Cowan and a panel of individuals with autism spectrum disorder to hear about their perspective as they address such questions as:

What do you want the world to know about you, your autism, your challenges and your strengths?

Representing the wide spectrum…come listen to a panel of teens and adults with autism.

This month’s Autism 200 Series lecture is Thursday, November 20, 2014, at Seattle Children’s Hospital in Wright Auditorium from 7 to 8:30 p.m.. These classes are designed for parents, teachers and caregivers. The topics associated with the majority of classes are applicable to all age ranges and for a wide variety of children diagnosed with autism.


(Timmy is a non verbal teen who will be using his communication device to share his insights. Carter will be represented by his parents and our other three panelists really look forward to sharing their stories with you!)


Timmy, age 15

I go to school at Lakes High School in Lakewood, WA.

Autism is a malfunction in the neurons of your brain. Autism is not a behavioral problem or psychiatric disorder. It can cause those problems but the cause  of autism is not yet known.

Read full post »

Ten ‘Mistakes’ This Parent of a Kid with Autism Has Made Over the Years

Beginning with her diagnosis almost sixteen years ago, we’ve put forth a Herculean effort to help her to do and be her best. We’re human though and autism is hard so we’ve made mistakes. I also know we’re in good company because I see many parents doing what we did, all with the most noble of causes – to help our child.

We’re older and wiser (although not proportionally by any means!) now and can reflect on things we know now that we wished we’d known then. With that in mind, here are ten things we’d do differently that are offered not as criticism but as food for thought.

1. We choose a therapy or intervention with the goal that it will make autism go away.

While this is perfectly understandable and we probably all start off with this aim, having this global goal can make it difficult to accurately appraise the gradual progress that our kids tend to make. It can also lead to big disappointment when the optimal results aren’t achieved. Instead, focus goals on specific aspects of your child’s autism, the things that are most challenging. For example, more specific goals might be improving receptive vocabulary in speech therapy or reducing tantrums in behavioral therapy, improving social skills in social skills group. Here’s a tip for thinking about Read full post »

What This Parent of a Child with Autism Wants You To Know

Kat and ArthurParents of kids with autism love to talk about their kids. Just ask us! Each of us has our own story to tell and this is mine. Ask another parent and you’re sure to get a different perspective.

When I tell people my child has autism, I often wonder what they envision. Do they conjure up an image of a child “locked up in his own mind” looking blankly out at the world?

Or perhaps they imagine a “little professor” who has can list in a very business-like tone and in alphabetical order, the 400,000 species of beetles known to man. 

You should know that my child is not like Rain Man or Einstein.

Some children with autism may have savant abilities or have remarkable splinter skills but most do not have a special superpower. On the same note, not all children with autism have an intellectual disability. And having intellectual disability does not mean a child is not smart.  Read full post »

Study Shows PRT Taught to Parents in Group Setting Benefits Kids with Autism

Dr. Mendy Minjarez

Researcher and clinical psychologist at Seattle Children’s Autism Center, Dr. Mendy Minjarez, along with researchers at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, show in a recent study that parents, in a group setting, can learn Pivotal Response Training (PRT) to effectively increase motivation and language skills for their child with autism. Typically, PRT has been taught to parents in individual therapy sessions, but this research demonstrates that it can be just as effective when taught in a group setting.

In a previous blog, Minjarez describes PRT as a naturalistic behavioral intervention. She explains, “PRT utilizes the principles of ABA (Applied Behavioral Analysis), such as reinforcement, but also incorporates developmental principles, such as following the child’s lead in intervention. Rather than applying ABA principles in a highly structured way, as in discrete trial training, in PRT parents are taught to embed ABA teaching principles into interactions with their child to enhance learning.”

To read more about the study and PRT, please see Seattle Children’s blog On the Pulse.