We had a chance to sit down with one of our providers here at Seattle Children’s Autism Center to find out what to consider when contemplating introducing a new pet to your home and to your child with autism. Felice Orlich, mother, PhD and proud owner of a border collie pup named Max, let us into her home to find out just what we need to know to help a pet be successful in it’s new family.
Theautismblog: So how did you choose Max?
Dr. Orlich: Well, first we found a breeder that socialized the puppy in the house, which helps the puppy become accustomed to noise, handling by kids and everyday household activities. We also visited the breeder several times before bringing the dog home, that way the kids could get used to Max and Max could get used to them. The breeder actually helped pick Max out for us after getting to know Jonah and Ellie. Read full post »
Will I Ever Find It? One Mom’s Story of Autism and Acceptance
I’m often asked by other parents, when and how I found acceptance of my daughter’s autism diagnosis. It has been twelve years so I have had to think back. I can’t pinpoint a day nor can I offer up a clear plan for how I got there. I do vividly recall in those early days feeling as if acceptance would never arrive.
The first challenge with accepting an autism diagnosis is that it’s hard to know just what you are accepting. I asked Dr. Cowan if she’d ever talk, if she’d be in a regular classroom, if she’d be able to live independently one day? She was just two at the time and he, in all his wisdom, couldn’t give me the answers I so desperately wanted. Read full post »
Words Used to Describe Behavior: Autism’s Own Language
If you live with autism, you know that it almost has its own culture, its own language. Think of the many terms we – and others – use to describe our kids and their behavior. For example, if your child has a school-to-home communication notebook, you may find that sometimes it comes home with a report using descriptors that you feel don’t match those you use for your child. Even for children who are verbal, it’s important for parents to communicate effectively with the numerous people who interact with our kids on a daily basis. Read full post »
It’s the Most _____ [add your own adjective here] Time of the Year
When you think about “the holidays,” what comes to mind? Some may experience fond memories of families coming together, homes dressed in their holiday best and the magic of doing for others. For others, the holidays evoke feelings of dread and anxiety associated with the endless chores, tasks, activities, and family time that comes along with the last two months of the calendar year. Even more stressful for some, while preparing for the holiday celebrations and attempting to complete work of your own, there are children with two weeks of winter vacation to referee and keep entertained.
Given that the holidays can be stressful for parents and kids, alike, here are some tips for getting through the holidays:
Start Planning in Advance. Lists are your best friend; make lists for meals, snacks, activities, gifts, and things to do. When it comes to prioritizing activities, work as a family to create a list of activities/tasks that are most important (e.g., gift shopping, volunteering, baking, seeing a play). For holiday tasks, assign one or more family members to each task and identify a time when this will occur (e.g., “Dad and Johnny will put up the lights on Saturday.”). Keep this information in writing and post it on a calendar where all family members can access it. Try not to over-load the schedule with too many activities; give yourself permission to leave some days open as “re-charge days.”
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This week we are featuring the perspectives of siblings that have a brother or sister with autism. Below is our last interview in this series.
theautismblog: Your name and age:
Tammy, 25 years old.
theautismblog: Your brother’s name and age:
Mikey (sometimes we call him Mikey Doodle- per his request!), 17 years old.
theautismblog: What kind of things do you do for fun?
Well, this list could go on and on, but for sake of not boring your readers… I love to travel. To meet new people. To try new things. To learn about peoples lives and history. EATING… cooking, baking, and eating! Reading. Hiking, yoga, biking, boating, and camping. Music: concerts, a new cd, a new band. My job is very fun. Read full post »