Archive for 2014

Home Burglary and Autism

“Where is my white computer? Did it go to the Goodwill?”

On Easter Sunday this year I came home at 8:30 p.m. to find my home had been burglarized.

My son who is 14 entered the house first, followed by my 16-year-old daughter. She immediately turned around and ran out of the house while Arthur stood frozen in the middle of the living room.

If you’ve ever been a victim of this disturbing crime, you know the initial feelings of shock, anger, fear, helplessness, and disgust.

Arthur has autism and coming home to this kind of chaos was nothing short of devastating for him. Read full post »

Autism, Grandparents and the Sandwich Generation

Po'boyMy sister and I were conferring recently on a matter involving our elderly parents when it dawned on us that we had become part of the “sandwich generation”. Yes, we agreed, we are most definitely squeezed in between – like turkey and avocado on whole wheat.

I recall first hearing this term in the 1980s. By definition, these are typically middle-age adult children, caring for aging parents as well as their own not-quite-grown-up kids.

With parents living longer, women starting families later, more women working than ever, families not living in the same cities, and young college grads having a harder time launching into independence, the challenges are many.

Now let’s add to this picture a child or two with special needs and panini might be a better way to describe it. Read full post »

Placement and Autism

Merriam-Webster tells us that one definition of placement is: the act of finding an appropriate place for someone to live, work, or learn. For parents of children with significant special needs, this only begins to capture the meaning of the word.

It typically starts soon after the diagnosis when placement in an educational program is made, such as in a birth-to-three center or developmental pre-school. In later years, it might be in an “autism classroom”, a contained learning center (CLC), or an adult transition program. Read full post »

Guardianship and Autism

For years I had heard about this step in the transition to adulthood and I thought I knew what it meant. But as with many novel things, what we know and what we think we know are not the same. It’s like the difference between driving to a new location and being driven there. When you drive, you are much more aware of the process.

Yesterday was our daughter’s guardianship hearing.  As her 18th birthday approaches, we are methodically going down the list of “things to do” and this was a big one. For those who may take this step one day, I offer this insight.

We had been told that we could apply for guardianship on our own or have an attorney help us. Since we had already enlisted legal guidance for setting up a special needs trust and taking care of other estate planning issues (such as wills and advance directives), Read full post »

Alphabet Soup and Behavior Analysis

Many families receiving a diagnosis of autism for their child find themselves faced with a plethora of new vocabulary related to finding treatment: behavior analyst, BCBA, ABA Therapy, BCaBA, applied behavior analysis. If you’re feeling like all of these terms and acronyms are enough to make your head spin, you’ve come to the right place. Today, we’re going to decode this new language.

What is behavior analysis?

Behavior analysis is the scientific study of behavior and environment interactions. It can be used to explain or predict the behavior of humans or animals.

What is applied behavior analysis?

Applied behavior analysis (ABA) is the application of principles of learning to everyday problems. It can be used in a variety of settings to improve behavior including job performance, adaptive skills, language development, Read full post »