Like so many other aspects of growing up, bullying is a “typical” challenge this has unique dimensions for children with autistic spectrum disorders (ASD) and their caregivers. Due to a number of high-profile cases in the news and the expansion of bullying into the realm of social media, bullying is getting a lot of media attention and as a result, is now appropriately recognized as a public health issue.
An explosion of research on bullying has identified far-reaching impacts not only on victims and perpetrators, but bystanders as well. Bullying is no longer considered socially normative or tolerable, as it once was. The consequences are too dire and far reaching. Victims experience the direct effects of fear, embarrassment, and vulnerability that can impact social and emotional development and impede learning. Furthermore, children with limited communication skills are at risk of expressing the associated distress in potentially harmful ways including self-injury, escape behaviors (running away from individual or situations) and aggression directed at caregivers. Children who observe bullying and parents who feel helpless to protect their children can experience an erosion of their sense of safety. 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 »
At age 18, unless guardianship has been established, all US citizens obtain the legal right to vote. Some 18 year olds pay no attention to elections, while others may have more interest in the process. This is true whether a teen has autism or not. How does a parent know if their teen is ready to vote? As a parent you have supported your child through their first 18 years. Ideally you have provided them the right amount of support to be as successful and independent as possible. Over the years you have learned your son or daughter’s strengths and challenges and will have a pretty good idea if your teen is ready to vote. Some of the questions to consider are, does your son/daughter show any interest in the election process, do they ask questions regarding the candidates or ballot measures? If yes, then you can sit down with your teen once the voter’s pamphlet arrives. You will know how much time your teen will spend reading over the information and how much time you should allot for discussion prior to the election. Obtaining a mail in ballot allows the voter to take their time while casting their vote. Read full post »
Guest Writer: Ben Wahl, MSW
The importance of the young adult transition is becoming more recognized within the community of providers who work with young people on the Autism Spectrum. Now if we could just increase that awareness among providers who work with young people who are not on the spectrum.
All joking aside, young people with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) are a bellwether. They struggle with the transition from high school precisely because it is a difficult process. Having worked with young adults both neuro-typical and neuro-atypical, I have observed similar challenges for both. Read full post »
If you are a parent or caregiver of a school-age child with autism, you already are an expert at special education. Much of your focus has likely been on reviewing annual goals and tracking your child’s progress over the course of a school year. But at some point, it will be important and necessary to start looking at your child’s special education programming through a slightly different lens. One that looks further into the future and begins to think about and formulate the plan for your child’s transition from high school to whatever comes next. Read full post »