Public Vs. Private Schools for Autistic Education

autistic education

Some parents insist a particular school model is best for autistic students, but the truth is, there is no perfect solution for every child. Every child has needs and considerations that vary in priority, and schools are staffed with personnel who vary in their ability to meet those needs, regardless of the institutional structure. This article will outline some of the main benefits and drawbacks of both public and private schools for autistic education as well as a list of essential considerations for selecting the right educational solution for your child. For a discussion on homogenous classrooms in an ABA setting, refer to our previous articles on this form of autistic education: Part 1 and Part 2.

How Not to React When Hearing About Someone’s Autism Diagnosis

hearing about someone's autism diagnosis

How many parents have heard: “He’s autistic? But he acts so normal!” Many respond this way to hearing a parent reveal a diagnosis because they think it would be considered a compliment. This statement emphasizes how someone looks a certain way and doesn’t address or acknowledge the state or experience of being autistic.

As psychologists learn more about the symptoms of autism and how they manifest themselves, the public, in turn has better recognized those affected, and more people are talking about it. Despite this increased “awareness” of what autism looks like, many people still fail to understand how the full range of symptoms affects how autistic people experience the world.

A lack of understanding can lead to unintentional offensive responses when first hearing about someone’s autism diagnosis. Much has been written by parents of autistic children trying to raise awareness of what these inappropriate responses are and how they make the parents feel. I’d like to approach this topic from a slightly different angle and explore how these inappropriate responses make the autistic child or adult feel and how we can best discuss autism with and among autistics.

Holiday Tips for Families on the Autism Spectrum

Autism holiday tips

As with many families of autistic children, our Thanksgiving holidays have changed since the birth of our son. For our family, his rigid perseverations, social anxiety, and general feeding aversions added stress to our large holiday gatherings. Each year we’ve tried to safely expose him to socialization in different settings. Some years/settings have been easier than others. This year I’m thankful for continuous social development in family gatherings. It hasn’t always been this enjoyable for us or our son…

How to Facilitate Successful Haircuts for Autistic Children

haircuts for autistic children

Haircuts can be especially nightmarish for children on the autism spectrum. The sensory assault from this experience can overwhelm children and stress out families. The noise of electric clippers, the itchy discomfort of falling hair, the gleam and snip of sharp scissors, and the anxiety of the unknown and unpredictable movements are a frightening combination for many children on the spectrum. This article offers some tips for reducing the stress of haircuts for autistic children through proper preparation and positive reinforcement.

A Case Against Retesting for Autism

retesting for autism

Are you wondering if you should get your child retested by a psychologist? You are not alone. Many parents of autistic children and autistic individuals themselves consider taking a second test to see if their symptoms still fall under the diagnostic criteria for autism. If an individual feels that he or she has been misdiagnosed, a reassessment may be a proper tool for identifying the accuracy of a diagnosis or determining a more appropriate diagnosis. However, I would caution parents against seeking out reassessments for their children in an effort to get rid of a diagnosis or a stigma attached to it.

Passing for Neurotypical

passing for neurotypical, stress, hiding

When I first heard someone on the spectrum talk about “passing,” I didn’t realize how this prevalent and conscious this effort was on the account of many autistics. The person I was speaking to was referring to “passing for neurotypical,” in other words, acting neurotypical enough that someone else wouldn’t recognize they were autistic. Outsiders often dismiss the severity of any disabling conditions when they see autistics who act non-autistic. However, many can pass for neurotypical only with great effort and feel pressured to act this way, living in constant stress over every small behavior and decision they make and never feeling accepted for who they are. To deepen understanding of the autistic pressure to pass for neurotypical, it’s important to read what other autistics are saying about passing and examine situations in our lives where we create this pressure for our children or for others.

Teaching Siblings of Children with Autism to be Disability Advocates

girls-946288_1280Parents want their children to grow into confident, caring, and capable adults who respect everyone, including those with disabilities. In families with a disabled sibling, parents often additionally encourage acceptance of differences in a more personal and immersive way than those without one. The challenges of devoting individual time to each child’s personal development is coupled with extraordinary opportunities to teach disability acceptance and advocacy. This article discusses the unique power siblings have as disability advocates and outlines 6 tips for helping your other children learn to advocate for their siblings and others on the spectrum.

Feeding Aversion Part 2: Feeding Strategies for Children with Oral Sensory Issues

feeding strategies, chocolate sandwich

Jalapeño Pringles, chocolate chips, and Pediasure. This was my son’s breakfast, lunch and dinner for weeks at a time. Every couple weeks it might change to one specific type of dry cereal and chocolate or saltine crackers. And that was it. Nothing else. As I detailed in my previous post, My son had a complicated medical history that led up to severe oral aversion and oral sensory difficulties. But we have seen significant progress since his first solid feeding attempts.

This post contains a variety of different feeding strategies that might help children with oral sensory issues. I am not a doctor or therapist, and this shouldn’t replace medical advice. I am writing based on anecdotal experiences I’ve had from the past nine years of working with my son and my own personal research. Some of these topics are specific feeding strategies for different ways to help your child interact with food. Other suggestions illustrate how to communicate a positive attitude during meals. I hope some of this information will help you to safely encourage your picky eater to gain more confidence in eating skills.