Author: The Autism Blog

Diagnosis and Identity

teenagerGuest Writer: Ben Wahl, MSW, is the program director of Aspiring Youth Program

Nowadays it is quite common to hear the CDC statistic that 1 in 88 children (and 1 in 54 boys) in the US have an Autism Spectrum Disorder. There is much debate about whether there is actually an increase in occurrence or whether we have just gotten better at detection. There is similarly loud debate about the new criteria for ASD in the DSM 5. For the young people I work with, though, the debate is beside the point. What they experience is what matters; and that experience is often isolation, confusion, frustration, anxiety, and depression. Read full post »

Autism and Screen Time

42-15672052Guest Writer: Ben Wahl, MSW, is the program director of Aspiring Youth Program,

Do children and adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) spend more time on video games and computers than their peers? According to researcher Dr. Paul Shattuck, the answer is ‘yes’.

Dr. Shattuck, of Washington University in St. Louis, sampled 1,000 study participants who had ASD and found that 41% indicated a level of screen time that would qualify as ‘high user’. The results of the study are telling: “Given that only 18 percent of youths in the general population are considered to be high users of video games, it seems reasonable to infer based on the current results, that kids with ASDs are at significantly greater risk of high use of this media than are youths without ASDs” (Shattuck, 2012). Read full post »

Writers Read on Family, Home and Autism

Please join us Saturday, December 15, for a very special event, “Wild Round the Dinner Table”, benefiting Seattle Children’s Autism Guild. Local writers, musicians and readers will share on family, home and autism. Please see the message below from the event organizer Marya Sea Kaminski,

“Hello friends. Almost thirty years ago, my youngest brother Adam Kaminski was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. From that time until his passing in 2002, my family embraced Adam’s struggles and delighted in his humor, kindness and courage. I continue to realize the profound impact he has had on my life and, this December, I am organizing an event to honor Adam and other families like ours, who have had the experience of living with autism. 

On December 15th, please join me and a collection of other writers for a free, autism-friendly reading, “Wild Round the Dinner Table: Writers Read on Family, Home and Autism,” at Cornish College of the Arts. Please feel free to contact me at 206-372-6221.

This free event will take place at 2 p.m. at Cornish College of the Arts, room 102. *Seating is very limited. Please RSVP to to reserve a seat.

Autism from a Sibling’s Perspective

Please join us for our last Autism 200 Series Class of 2012

Just a reminder that the next Autism 200 Series class will be Thursday, November 15, 2012 at Seattle Children’s Hospital in Wright Auditorium from 7-8:30 pm. 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 month’s class Autism 211: Sibling Panel- Autism from a Sibling’s Perspective” will be led by Seattle Children’s Katrina Davis and will include a panel of siblings that all have a brother or sister on the spectrum. Below is a preview of what to expect at this month’s class. Read full post »

8 Tips for a Safe Halloween for Your Child With Autism

With all the spooky costumes, scary decorations, eerie noises, and sugary candy, Halloween can be a pretty overwhelming day and night for a child with autism.

Here are 8 tips for a safe and enjoyable Halloween for your child with autism:

  1. Let your child practice wearing their costume at home. This gives you time to make any last minute modifications and time for your child to get used to it.
  2. Write a social narrative describing what your child will do on Halloween. Read the story several times before Halloween so your child has time to get used to the plan.
  3. Create a visual schedule. This might include a map of where you will go. Read full post »