Many children with autism can have aggressive behaviors that include biting, self injurious behaviors, kicking, hitting, throwing, etc. It’s usually not just a child looking for attention. In many cases, the child is trying to communicate with you. Because many children with autism have language issues and often do not have the language to draw down to express themselves appropriately, they sometimes act out. Always remember to deal with the reason for the behavior — the function of the behavior. It is more important than the behavior itself. If you find the antecedent (cause) of the behavior, you can help the child with the underlying cause of the behavior by using consquences. Continue reading
As if autism isn’t hard enough, whether you are an adult or teen with autism or a parent of a child with autism, eventually you will come across the issue of sexuality. There aren’t many resources out there, but one of the best ways to discuss autism in relationships is simply to talk to other people in the same situation. Continue reading
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Your Child’s IEP
Once you’re in a school system, whether it is kindergarten, 1st grade or 10th grade, with a special needs child, you’ll have to go through an Individualized Education Plan, or IEP. You’ll hear that over and over again!! IEP’s are EXTREMELY IMPORTANT because the school MUST adhere to everything agreed upon in IEP. They are legally bound by that document. If you want something for your child, make sure it is spelled out explicitly in the IEP. Continue reading
Autism in the classroom is another difficult topic — whether you’re a parent or a teacher. Parents want what’s best for their children, and teachers are hungry for information on how to deal with autistic children in their own classrooms. This section is for information and resources for teachers. For parent information on IEPs, advocacy, and free and appropriate education, please visit AutismLink’s IEPs and Educational Advocacy Page! Continue reading
Potty training an autistic child can be a rather daunting task, but don’t let it scare you. The key is to be consistent and persistent. Many of our children learn to become potty trained. It may take more effort and more time, but it will happen. As always, you can email AutismLink for any specific questions or if you need help from another parent who has been there. We have many volunteers who are willing to help you. All you have to do is ask! Continue reading
Making a decision on whether to explore medications for your child with autism is a difficult one. Most medications have not been tested on children. It’s really a roulette — one medication may work for one child and not another. Because individuals with autism spectrum disorder have brains that are wired differently than that of neurotypical peers, medications affect them differently. Whether or not you decide to use medications is your personal decision. Talk to your physician, talk to other parents, and most of all, educate yourself before you venture down the medication road. The information below is not to be construed as medical advice, but merely informational in content. Always consult a physician before attempting any medications, both over the counter and prescription. Just remember, there is no cure for autism, so don’t expect too much. Medications treat the symptoms, not the root of the disorder. Temple Grandin once said that a medication should have a “WOW” effect. If you don’t notice a dramatic difference — enough to make you say “WOW” — it may not be the medication for you or your child. Continue reading
One of the most important issues a family faces in dealing with autism is that of siblings. Often, parents who have to care for a child with autism are met with extraordinary time constraints, leaving little time to give other children in the family what they need. It’s a seemingly never-ending cycle of guilt, frustration and exhaustion.
Although you need to struggle to meet the demands of your child with autism, there are others in the family to consider. How to cope with the situation is often one of the most stressful parts of autism. Often, in our conferences and seminars, the issue of siblings and autism, and balancing life at home is the biggest hot-button topic and most widely discussed. Continue reading
Social skills present a major problem for children with autism, particularly for children with high functioning autism. While typical children can observe the world around them and learn from it, children with autism usually cannot. They are basically unaware of their surroundings. (Each child with autism varies in terms of skill levels.) Social skills are not just “socializing” with friends — it encompasses a much broader scenario than the ability to talk to other children on a social level. Approximately 90% of human communication doesn’t even involve words — the nonverbal communication — escapes most children with autism. Continue reading
Many parents believe that biomedical interventions help their child’s autism. Traditional medicine and physicians have pretty much always turned their backs on biomedical interventions — many parents swear by it and feel that their children have benefited greatly from therapies that include removing gluten and casein. In addition, some parents believe that a regimen of certain vitamins help their children immensely. It is a commonly known fact that many children with autism experience an inordinate amount of gastrointestinal problems that include severe constipation. Continue reading