The Benefits of Siblings for a Child on the Autism Spectrum

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Should you have more kids? What are the benefits and drawbacks of having larger families if at least one of the children is on the autism spectrum? There are plenty of factors to consider when deciding whether or not to expand your family. This is true for families with typically developing children and for those with one on the spectrum. Although every family’s individual needs will vary and thus this can’t be discussed holistically, from our family’s perspective, each new sibling has offered our autistic son many irreplaceable benefits we are grateful for.

Voices From the Spectrum #21: Rickkie Johnson on a “Person-Centered” Approach to Autism

Rickkie Johnson is an autistic parent of 3 daughters, two of whom are autistic, and lives in Melbourne, Australia. Rickkie is an advocate for neurodiversity and writes about the full acceptance and protection of autistics. Rickkie manages the website proudautisticliving.com and contributes to the Penfriend Project autistic writing team on geekclubbooks.com. This week Rickkie shared with me an evolving perspective on autism, and how to raise autistic children using a “person-centered approach.”

Voices From the Spectrum #19: Lana Grant on Advocating for Autistic Mothers

Lana Grant

Lana Grant is a specialist advisor and advocate for people with autism and their families. Lana has worked within the field of autism for nearly twenty years. Lana specializes in autism and females, particularly pregnancy and motherhood. Her book “From Here To Maternity, pregnancy and motherhood on the Autism Spectrum” was published in March 2015 by Jessica Kingsley publishers and is the only book that focuses on this issue. Lana is a trained birth partner (doula) specializing in supporting pregnant women on the autism spectrum and their partners. Lana has recently contributed to the Scottish Autism Right Click Women and Girls Programme. She is a passionate advocate for female empowerment and speaks for the NAS and other organizations about female issues. She also has a diagnosis of Asperger syndrome.

This week Lana shared with me some of her background and advocacy work for mothers on the spectrum.

Considerations for Autistic Mothers

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Motherhood has dominated my conscious thought lately (especially mothering infants) since the birth of my fourth child last week. Mothering a newborn brings both exceptional joys and significant challenges for neurotypical and autistic mothers alike. I hadn’t thought about the challenges unique to women on the spectrum until I interviewed Lana Grant who has written a book on this topic and consults with autistic women. She will be sharing some of her advice with us next week. Since then I’ve read more about this special stage of life and learned how it uniquely impacts women on the spectrum.

Planning an Autism-Friendly Halloween

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Halloween is a fun holiday to celebrate for both children and adults, and there are plenty of ways to help children on the spectrum enjoy this time of year. Some children may find it exciting to dress up and participate in spooky-themed activities while others are frightened by the new sights, sounds, smells, and feelings of this holiday. This article offers some ideas for planning an autism-friendly Halloween to help your autistic child or family member fully appreciate this fun holiday.

Mistakes Autism Advocates Make

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It’s crucial to acknowledge the voices and opinions of individuals on the spectrum and let their wisdom guide your advocacy approach. Despite our best efforts, parents can sometimes get comfortable in the daily identity of raising a child on the spectrum and forget to constantly reflect on parenting and advocacy approaches. Listening to the autistic community helps us gain our bearings and work productively to help our children develop.

Full-Time ABA for Toddlers? Really?

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A friend of mine recently took her autistic 7th grader to a doctor appointment. During the appointment, the developmental pediatrician told her that after observing the behavior of her other 15-month-old son whom she had also brought along, this child was also on the spectrum. The doctor went on to recommend enrollment in a full-time ABA therapy program now if she didn’t want her baby to “end up like” her older son. My friend was shocked by this news and left wondering how best to proceed. The doctor’s aggressive unofficial diagnosis and recommendations left her worried that if she didn’t follow the orders, she would be failing as a parent.

4 Ways to Make a Parent of a Child With Autism Feel Uncomfortable

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You’ve probably encountered a well-meaning fellow parent who tries to offer a compliment or advice about your child, but leaves you feeling uncomfortable deciding whether to ignore it or politely educate them on autism or disability advocacy. Below are some cringe-worthy situations I’ve been in and suspect other autism parent advocates may also be familiar with.