The Autism Blog

The Autism Blog turns 6!

Another year has come and gone and we have much to celebrate. First, our thanks to you, our 1000+ subscribers who let us know you find the information in our posts meaningful to your lives. 

Next, thanks to our providers and to our guest authors who take time from their busy schedules to write or film content for a blog. A special thanks to Kylie for filming Raphe and Jim for our blogcast and to Emily for her Ask Dr. Emily blog column. We’re a small but dedicated team and we look forward to another productive and successful year ahead.

 For the second year in a row Healthline has named our blog as a top Autism Blog!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Your Voice Matters: Life with Autism

For years I have worked tirelessly to give my voice to autism, both through training providers about family-centered care and training parents to become advocates for themselves and their children.  I have always tried to capture my son Josh’s story accurately, and have struggled with feeling authentic.  Do I share my story or his? 

 

When Josh became a teenager he no longer wanted me to share his story, so I worked at refining mine. When I was unable to do that, I stepped away from speaking publically about autism. 

Our journey has been quite an adventure!  Many ups and downs and everything in between.

In January Josh decided to make a video about his struggles with autism.  He presented his story to the entire student body at a Martin Luther King assembly at his high school, Nathan Hale.  His voice speaks volumes more than I ever could. 

Thank you, Josh.  I’m so proud of you!   Keep talking…your voice matters!             

 

Parent Training to Address Problem Behaviors of Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder- This Month’s Autism 200 Class

This month’s Autism 200 Series class  “Parent Training to Address Problem Behaviors of Youth with Autism Spectrum Disorder” will be held Thursday, April 20, 2017 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.

As many as 50% of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) exhibit behavioral problems such as tantrums, noncompliance, and aggression. These behaviors interfere with the performance of daily living skills and may also amplify caregiver stress.

“I feel like I am walking on eggshells, worrying that the next thing I do is going to set my child off”

“All those strategies that worked with my other child(ren) don’t seem to work with her.”

The challenges parents face in raising a child with ASD has sparked interest in the use of parent training in this population, as it empowers parents to be the agent of change for their child. This presentation will review the prevalence and impact of disruptive behaviors in ASD and how parent training is a promising line of treatment for these challenging behaviors and will provide specific tips and strategies to dealing with disruptive behaviors.   Instructor for this class will be Karen Bearss, Ph.D.

Mindful Monday – Color Me Calm

 

One easy way to help self-regulate when feeling overwhelmed with a flood of thoughts or feelings is have a focal point to help screen out the brain clutter. A mantra (word repeated over and over) in meditation serves this purpose. How about when you’re in the midst of your busy day and can’t take a break to sit and meditate? Try a mini-meditation!

A focal point might be a repeated word (“driving”, “breathing”) or it could be a color (such as green or blue when you feel a need for calm, yellow when you need focus) or it could be a sound (a bell or chime) to gently remind you to slow down in mind and body. Give it a try!

Parallel Paths: Our Life with Autism

Ten years ago, as a new employee in the department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, I was asked by a colleague to present with her to a group of trainees.

She was to cover diagnostic evaluations and I was tasked with discussing the impact of autism on families. How on earth would I manage to accurately capture the daily challenges that often are not observed in brief clinic visits?

My hope was to help them to “get it” meaning to see just how difficult it was.Short of suggesting we hold the session in my home for a first-hand look, I decided to make a video I called, “A Day in the Life with Autism” 24 minutes representing 24 hours in our unconventional life. It was well-received and since then I have been asked to share it with many different providers and students at Seattle Children’s and the University of Washington.

So much has changed in the past decade that it felt time for an update. This time though, I wanted to capture the bigger picture of our life and the lessons learned not only for providers but for parents who walk this path too.