My son is well-behaved in settings where there are clear rules and expectations and a consistent schedule; however, this environment doesn’t exist everywhere. He never has behavior problems at school or therapy, and he enjoys going to these places without feeling overwhelmed. One skill he has difficulty with in an unstructured setting is waiting in line. There are a variety of ways to teach this skill, but I’ve found it difficult to apply one strategy to the numerous different waiting scenarios we encounter in life. Parents should both teach the skill of waiting and look for catalysts that make it difficult for children to exercise the skill in certain environments.
Anita Lesko is the founder of the Global Autism Consulting Organization which aims to offer health care providers around the globe the knowledge and skills necessary to provide the best health care possible to their autistic patients. She and her husband Abraham assist small and large businesses in understanding their autistic employees and enabling them to incorporate people on the spectrum into their work team. Anita has an MS in Nurse Anesthesia and has been working as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist for 26 years. She didn’t receive a diagnosis until the age of 50, but since then has become an internationally recognized autism advocate. She answered questions for us about her mission to help autistic patients and workers in the health care industry as well as her all-autistic wedding.
I’ve noticed recent articles and social media threads about how people on the spectrum feel exploited for their experiences. They feel as if the world sometimes treats them as if they only exist as educational vessels for the neurotypical public. This isn’t their intention, so I think it’s worth exploring why some people on the spectrum feel this way and how the neurotypical autism advocates can act differently to improve relations with the autistic community.
The following post was written by Judy Endow and published on her website JudyEndow.com on August 11, 2015. It is reprinted here with her permission. Judy is an author on the autism spectrum, private consultant, public speaker, and autism advocate. She is part of the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction Statewide Autism Training Team and a board member of both the Autism Society of America, Wisconsin Chapter and the Autism National Committee.
This is a guest post from writer and neurodiversity champion Claudia Casser. Claudia retired early from antitrust law to fledge her nerdy children on a working horse farm and write speculative fiction. From people to horses to parrots, none of the farm’s denizens could ever be classified as neurotypical.
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.
Google “autism and religion.” When I did so, I was flooded with results explaining why people on the spectrum are less likely to believe in God or participate in organized religion. Many sources explain how the desire for logical answers to all of life’s questions isn’t congruent with some of the mysteries that come with a belief in God. But this wasn’t my experience observing my brother on the spectrum as we grew up together. He appreciated the comfort of a religious routine and thrived in a religious community. Religious families hoping to offer their children on the spectrum all the fulfillment of a life centered around a belief in God can look to others on the spectrum or other religious families for guidance.
To be independent, autistic individuals must develop adult living skills, like managing a bank account, doing laundry, and maintaining an orderly living space. While attending college, they must also learn specific job skills, meet new academic demands, all while managing their emotions and developing a healthy new routine. Parents can help their autistic children learn how to cope with the different social, emotional, and academic situations they will encounter in college.
Someone commented to me recently about how my son’s particularities reminded him of his own son. He joked about his son, saying, “If he’d ever been tested as a child…who knows what they [the doctors] would have diagnosed him with!” I’ve heard similar statements many times before, and, while I know they are well-intentioned (meant to show similarities between typically developing children and those on the spectrum), they still bother me.