The adjustment to the start of a new year is a reminder that change is constantly occurring. Change, especially unexpected change, can be extremely stressful for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Children with ASD often prefer to have a sense of structure and to know what to expect during the day and what activity they will be doing and when. Consistency and predictability help children feel reassured that they know what will happen next. When change occurs, children with ASD may respond in a variety of ways, including exhibiting withdrawal, repetitive behaviors, tantrums, or even aggression. It is important to remember that these behaviors are typically the result of extreme anxiety and/or inability to communicate their emotions/desires. Below are some tips for managing change and transitions in your child’s life. Read full post »
Guest Writer: Ben Wahl, MSW, is the program director of Aspiring Youth Program, www.aspiringyouth.net
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 »
That statement made everyone perk up two Fridays ago as well, when Michelle Garcia Winner spoke at a day-long conference presented by Seattle Children’s Autism Guild, “Thinking About YOU, Thinking About ME.” Michelle went on to point out that obviously Little Red wasn’t a very good observer, unable to make the distinction between her grandma and a vicious wolf. All the while, noticing the details (e.g. “my, what big teeth you have.”), but not the bigger picture (i.e. she might want to run away to avoid the same fate as her grandma). But the conference was much more than a social commentary on fairy tales. Read full post »
The Washington State Department of Early Learning recently released new guidelines that are designed to provide direction for birth to three centers to better support children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) in Washington State. Importantly, the guidelines also include children who are suspected of having ASD not just those with a formal diagnosis. This is critical because many children have not been eligible for autism-specific services until they have a formal diagnosis and the wait list at specialty diagnostic clinics is often months long. These guidelines are a result of a collaborative effort by the Early Support for Infants and Toddlers at the Department of Early Learning and the Haring Center for Applied Research and Training in Education at the University of Washington. Read full post »
The Big Three.
Discussions regarding sleeping, eating and toileting are among the most common in the autism spectrum treatment community. It is no surprise as to why this occurs, as these three functions are imperative to survival and impact our daily lives in countless ways; for example, hunger, fatigue, and physical discomfort are unpleasant, hinder our ability to positively interact with the world, decrease our tolerance for stress, and when chronically present, can negatively impact overall quality-of-life.
If you are a parent of a child with an autism spectrum disorder, you have likely faced challenges in at least one of these three areas. Over the next three weeks, we will provide information regarding methods for tackling these highly-important, and at times exceedingly difficult, tasks. Today we will start with sleep. Read full post »