General

All Articles in the Category ‘General’

Autism and Getting a Haircut

Very young kids are not known for their ability to sit still. Understandably, parents get a little stressed when an adult with a sharp instrument attempts to cut those sweet baby locks.  After the age of three or four though, most parents can reasonably expect that their child will be able to handle a haircut. For kids with autism who have sensory challenges, it can take years of practice before that tolerance is achieved.

Why is it so difficult?

I wish I had a dollar for every time I have thought to myself or said to her, “I wish I could get inside your body and see what you see, hear what you hear, smell what you smell, taste what you taste, feel what you feel”.  If that was possible, I might be better able to address what makes so many things odious to her.  Short of that, I try to imagine what her perceptions are in different situations.  In anticipation of a haircut, for example I might ask myself:

Will she remember Miss Jodi, the miracle-worker who cuts her hair? Does she remember what we’re about to do to her?  What must it feel like to have her head sprayed with the water bottle? To have a comb pulled through her hair? To have scissors so close to her head? Read full post »

Autism and a Trip to the Grocery Store

My son has autism. His name is Arthur and he is 13 years old.

I have found over the years that my life shrinks and expands in direct proportion to what kind of day my child is having. And nothing causes my world to contract more drastically than a disastrous outing to the grocery store with Arthur. The vibrant colors and overwhelming choice in the mustard section alone can be overwhelming for me. Imagine how the cereal aisle must be for Arthur.

When Arthur is in sensory overload, confused or frustrated, he becomes dysregulated. This can translate into a screaming, pinching himself or others, bolting toward exits, or knocking over displays. How do other shoppers tell the difference between a child with a disability behaving in a way that is consistent with his or her diagnosis or an out-of-control bratty kid with lazy parents?  They can’t and I experience the disapproving glares and the “tsk-tsk” to prove it.

I’ve abandoned shopping baskets filled with groceries, lurched after propelled carts, apologized for watermelons that served as bowling balls and quietly placed half-eaten candy bars on the conveyor belt. Read full post »

The DSM-5 and Autism

With the DSM-5 release last month, we sat down with Dr. Bryan King, Director of Seattle Children’s Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine and Autism Center to find out what this means for the way we diagnose autism spectrum disorders, take a look.

 

Communication in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder- Part 4

The fourth and final post in our 4-part series on communication in children with autism spectrum disorder focuses on children who possess high verbal abilities, but may struggle with conversations and reciprocal social interaction.

In many ways, the ability to carry on a conversation is the culmination of the foundation skills of language and social communication development that have been described in previous posts.  We have conversations to tell our stories, enlighten or persuade others to our point of view, and to negotiate or resolve conflicts.  The ability to carry on conversations is an integral skill to function in our social world. Read full post »

Communication in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder- Part 3

Our 4-part series on communication development in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) continues with a focus on verbal communicators

Expected Verbal Skills in Typical Development

According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), typically developing children begin to say and imitate their first words around 1 year of age. At 1½ years, they begin to say more words and start to say “no” to protest and begin to point to request. At 2 years of age, children start to combine words into phrases and increasingly attempt to imitate adults’ conversation. By 3 years, children can label most familiar objects, and can use pronouns like “I,” and “you.” They can answer basic social questions about themselves, such as their name, age and gender, and can participate in basic conversations. At 4 years of age, children start to tell stories, relate events to themselves and start to talk about their likes and interests. At 5 years of age and beyond, children can tell stories using complete sentences and can use a variety of verb tenses, like past, present and future. Read full post »