Archive for 2016

Trick or Treat at the Autism Center!



Trick or Treat at the Autism Center!

Seattle Children’s Autism Center holds an annual Trick or Treat practice party in the welcoming halls of the Autism Center. A (very) autism-friendly event for the entire family. Bring friends! All welcome at this relaxed fun-filled event designed for your family. 


Come enjoy door-to-door trick or treating, costumes, treats, games, prizes, and our memorable sensory room.  Dr. Travis Nelson from  The Center for Pediatric Dentistry will be on hand with toothbrushes and non sugar goodie bags.  Saturday Oct 29th from 10 am – noon.  Seattle Children’s Autism Center  4909 25th Ave NE, Seattle 98105.  Plenty of parking in front.  Lots of volunteers to play with your goblins.  Come feel at home in the hallways of the Autism Center. 

Hope to see you there! 




Benefits of Mindfulness – This Month’s Autism 200 Class

apple1This month’s Autism 200 Series class “Benefits of Mindfulness” will be held Thursday, October 20, 2016, 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. This class will be led by Felice Orlich, PhD, Director of Community Outreach at the Seattle  Children’s Autism Center.

Mindful Monday- Don’t Try to Fix It!

We’re so accustomed to trying to fix things but also moving on to the next bigger and better thing (is that expensive new phone truly that much better than your last one?).  This human propensity tends to lead us to try to fix emotional challenges and when that doesn’t work, we often give up.


 Say, you’ve had a rough day at work or with the kids and are sharing with your partner whose good-intention answer is to problem-solve your feelings. We all know how well that usually works. We don’t want to quit the job and we can’t quit the kids. I know. I’ve tried. We simply want someone to validate feeling badly. So we offer polite thanks-but-no-thanks for the advice or get more upset for not feeling understood.

What we are asking for, in so many words, is a mindful awareness reminder that we can have bad or hard moments (okay sometimes hours) in our days without needing to declare the entire day a disaster and without needing to do anything at all.

Here’s an easy mindfulness exercise for when you’ve had/are having one of those days.

  • Get comfortable – this may be sitting or lying down or moving your body.
  • Take three deep breaths in and out.
  • Say to yourself – I had some hard moments today. I felt/feel (name the feeling(s)).
  • Stay with this for a couple-three minutes. You don’t have to relive the day but also don’t resist if it pops up.
  • Say Hard moments are part of life.
  • Say Tomorrow is a new day.

 That’s it. The point is to validate your feelings without exaggerating, resisting, or judging and with recognition that we all have hard moments. No one is spared.

The Autism Blogcast with Jim and Raphe – October Edition

News Flash: The October edition of The Autism Blogcast, featuring autism experts Raphael Bernier, PhD and James Mancini, MS, CCC-SLP.

In an effort to keep you up to date on the latest news in research and community happenings, we welcome two of our favorite providers best known as Jim and Raphe, the autism news guys.

These two have too much energy to be contained in written format so our plan is to capture them in 2-5 minute videos that we’ll post the first week of each month. We welcome your questions and comments. Tell us what you think of our dynamic duo!

In this edition of the Blogcast, our reporters discuss research around time prediction tasks and kids with Autism, as well as an update on our Autism 200 series


Ask Dr. Emily- Sensory Sensitivities and Where to get Information on Autism

Welcome to the September edition of Ask Dr. Emily! We often receive questions that we want to share with all our readers. To help with this, Dr. Emily Rastall, a clinical psychologist at Seattle Children’s Autism Center, will share insights  in a question and answer format. We welcome you to send us your questions and Dr. Rastall will do her best to answer them each month. Send your questions to

Q: How can I deal with a child who is hyper sensitive to sounds when we are in a mall or supermarket? My child has tantrums when they are overstimulated.

A: Settings that have a lot going on can definitely be overwhelming to the senses for children with sensory sensitivities. One way to reduce sensory input would be to provide headphones (either with music or not). Another suggestion might be distraction; offering a preferred object (like iPad, book, or musical toy) may help distract children from the things going on around them. Also, offering frequent rewards (like stickers, small food items [like goldfish, raisins, or M&M’s], or tokens) for calm behavior in these settings might help. Finally, working to reduce exposure to these settings (when possible, of course) may also take the pressure off of everyone (parent and child alike); for example, using online shopping services or phone apps or leaving kids at home with a sitter (again, when/if possible), might help to ease everyone’s pain.

Q: I’m a parent of two wonderful girls (9 and 3-years old). I am also recently (last 6-2 months) a step-parent to a beautiful young 3-year-old boy with autism; he fills my heart with joy. We only have him every two weeks, but already we have a connection. He reaches for me, and he likes it when I sing him nursery rhymes. Some of the things he does (like spinning objects) are confusing to me. What can I do as a step-parent to learn more and to help him as he grows?

A: Well, already you are doing it…by that I mean reaching out and working to gather as much information as you can. Subscribing to blogs, attending seminars (like Seattle Children’s Hospital’s Autism 101 and Autism 200 series), joining list serves, and talking to other parents will broaden your understanding and introduce you to parents who may have similar experiences. Additionally, websites like Autism Speaks and FEAT Washington are excellent resources. In addition, it will be important to be involved in your step-child’s treatment; attending treatment sessions, doctor’s visits, and engaging the “homework” assignments that your child’s treatment providers assign will help you learn about your step-child and will give you opportunities to ask the professionals questions that come up. Finally, collaborating, observing, asking questions in a non-judgmental manner, and joining forces with your spouse, who has been at this longer, will strengthen your bond with your spouse and will help you learn about your step-child and what strategies work best for him.