Religion and Autism: An Interview with a Religious Education Director

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autism and religion

This week we hear from Robby Kiley, the Director of Religious Education at Saint Pius X Catholic Church in Granger, IN. He has a brother on the autism spectrum and holds a Masters in Divinity from the University of Notre Dame. He has experience both working in young adult and youth ministry, as well as programming for teens and adults with special needs. He lives in South Bend, IN with his wife, Ann.

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Voices from the Spectrum #11: Alex Chrenka on Communication, Medicine, and Advocacy

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meThis week we have the opportunity to hear from Alex Chrenka. Alex is a commercial artist with Asperger’s syndrome. He currently is working as a Graphic Designer for a real estate firm, but has side projects involving 3D modeling and illustration which can be viewed at chrenkaart.wordpress.com. He is currently illustrating a children’s book about his experiences growing up with autism. Alex is a strong advocate for awareness of autism and helping those learn to cope with it. He has experienced the effects of medication and has had many life-changing events through those trials. Self improvement and accomplishment are the keystones of Alex’s life philosophy, and he believes no matter how difficult life gets, you can work towards a happier one by setting goals, having a positive outlook, and being a better you.

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An Interview with the Clinical Director at a Behavior Analysis (ABA) Center

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Ethical challenges can sometimes arise in the implementation of ABA and other behavior interventions. These challenges may be due to power differentials, misunderstandings about autism, or differing perceptions about how autism should be addressed. I’ve discussed some of these ethical issues in a previous post, and here I wanted to offer the opinion of someone who works with autistic individuals every day in a clinical setting. The questions below have been answered by a clinical director of a behavior analysis center and are reproduced in his own words. As he mentions, ABA can be used to support the goals of any individuals, but all of his center’s clients happen to be on the autism spectrum.

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Voices from the Spectrum #10: Chris Bonnello on Understanding Different Perspectives

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Chris Bonnello

Chris Bonnello is a public speaker and writer with Asperger’s syndrome from Great Britain. He formerly taught primary school in Britain where he worked in special education classes with children on all areas of the spectrum. Chris currently blogs at autisticnotweird.com where he writes to raise awareness about the needs of people on the spectrum and offer guidance to those “trying to navigate their way through life with autism.” He is also working on his MA in Creative Writing.

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Interview with Dr. Carrie Hastings: Autism and Sports Part 2

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carrie dec 2013

This week’s post is a continuation of our interview last week with sports psychologist Dr. Carrie Hastings who works for the Play Like a Champion Today Program at the University of Notre Dame. This week she discusses some of the specific obstacles autistic athletes and their coaches encounter and how best to address them.

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Interview with Dr. Carrie Hastings: Autism and Sports Part 1

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carrie dec 2013

As a follow up to last week’s post on autism and sports, this week we have an interview with Carrie Hastings, Psy.D, a sports psychologist who specializes in helping individuals on the autism spectrum and their coaches. Dr. Carrie Hastings is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame, where she was a sprinter and hurdler on the track team. She obtained her master’s and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology at Pepperdine University, where she has worked as part of the adjunct faculty and as a therapist in the student counseling center. She presents nationally on the topic of bullying, and specializes in sports psychology, neuropsychological testing, and individual therapy. Dr. Hastings provides clinics for coaches and parents as part of Notre Dame’s Play Like a Champion Today program, a national outreach initiative promoting the moral atmosphere of sports and the potential for sports to build character. She conducts research for the organization and has developed extensive resources for athletes with exceptionalities (e.g., ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, intellectual disorders).

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Voices from the Spectrum #9: Lydia Wayman on Autism and Hospital Stays

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Lydia Wayman

 

Last week’s article discussed some of the ways parents of children on the spectrum can prepare for a hospital stay with minimal stress. This week Lydia Wayman discusses her personal experience with this topic and strategies that have helped her as an autistic adult. Lydia is a writer, speaker, and advocate who encourages people to see greatness in others not despite our differences but because of them. She speaks to parents and professionals at autism conferences and other events about many facets of autism, including the practical challenges of medical care. She answered several questions about her personal experiences with a complicated medical condition and navigating hospitals as an autistic adult.

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Voices from the Spectrum #8: Paul Isaacs on Personhood and Autistic Identity

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Paul Isaacs is an autism advocate, trainer, and public speaker from England. He says that public speaking about his experiences and the experiences of others has helped him find his voice and develop a true skill. He always emphasizes the positive aspects of how life can be lived with autism. He uses the acronym PEC to describe the qualities people who work with autism should have: Positivity, Empathy, and Compassion. He is also a published author and blogs at Autism from the Inside.

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Voices from the Spectrum #7: Shaun Williams on Late Diagnosis

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Shaun Williams is a newly-diagnosed adult on the autism spectrum. His new website, Autism Guide, discusses his personal experiences with autism and offers advice and insights for all families affected by autism. Shaun asserts that he has achieved several successes in his life including a successful marriage with two children, a degree in Computer Studies, a Master’s degree in Computer Security, and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE). In this interview, Shaun discusses his experience being diagnosed with Asperger’s as an adult.

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