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Friday, January 14, 2011

Getting a Good Autism Evaluation

Okay, I try not to use this blog to vent my frustration or opinion. But this is my exception and I hope you will understand. The problem is with autism evaluations. I pride myself on doing thorough evaluations. However, way too often parents bring in reports that are based only on a rating scale. You see rating scales are very subjective and are not designed to be used as an entire evaluation, Other times, I see reports where the physician spent a very brief time with the child in the office. A young child is often not going to show their best skills when they are in a place they have never been with strangers looking at them. A thorough evaluation that will lead to a correct diagnosis will involve observations in real life settings, as well as many other assessment tools. This is simply meant to be informative to parents. How is Autism diagnosed? This article will show what a quality evaluation should include.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Autism and Learning

Autism can definitely impact learning. However, the right accommodations can go a long way toward erasing learning difficulties. Autism and learning differences require the best teaching methods and strategies.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Vision and Autism: The Root of Autism Behaviors?

Can a vision difference really be at the root of many "autism" type behaviors? The information on vision differences with autism is pretty extensive. Of course, every person is unique and so blanket statements cannot be made. However, the fact is that many children, and even adults, with autism have vision differences, such as moving print or lacking depth perception, among others. The intriguing thing is that professionals are linking those vision differences to many stereotypical behaviors often seen with autism. Just imagine! If some of your child's autism behaviors are really rooted in vision differences, then that implies that vision intervention (not typical correction such as glasses for near or far vision) could possibly help to reduce or eliminate some of those behaviors. We read so much about diet and ABA for those with autism, but what would be more simple than vision intervention. The full article can be read at Autism and Vision. Find out how vision differences could be impacting your child.

Monday, August 9, 2010

ADHD and Aspergers

I see reports all the time that show both diagnosis. I can see that sometimes it could be justified; however, most of the time it is done because the evaluator has just looked at surface behaviors and has not dug beneath the surface to look at the underlying causes for the behaviors or at more subtle behaviors and functioning. "Difference Between Asperger's and ADHD" will hopefully help parents and evaluators better distinguish between the two disorders.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

How to Teach a Child with Autism

One of my specialties -having been a special education teacher and now consulting with teachers and setting up programs, is teaching children with autism. Children with autism do not have learning inabilities -they just have learning differences. Some are capable of far greater successes than others, but all can learn. part of the problems is that parents do not get a manual for their children and teachers generally only get a brief footnote about autism in their college studies (often less than one class period and possibly only a page in a text). Teaching children with autism to success takes education (tons of workshops and trainings) and experience. I have written a few new articles that lay out the basics of what I have learned that works. They include information on learning differences in kids with autism, methods of teaching children with autism, and teaching social skills to children with autism.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Autism and Employment

There do not seem to be any verifiable statistics on employment rates for those with autism; however, estimates range from about 80% to over 90%. That is scary. One thing I have learned working with children with autism is that they have so much to offer, but the social aspect of career planning and job hunting seems to be a glass ceiling that keeps them out of the job market. My new series of articles on Autism and Employment is based on experience working with children with autism and on the best research and recommendations from experts.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Summer Activities for Kids With Autism

Well, at least summer break from school that is. For parents of children with autism, that means more time at home. If you are looking for activities for your child I would recommend scouts. Of course, for more severe lower functioning children with autism, scouts may not be the answer. However, I know many parents who have their children with autism or Asperger's involved in scouts and it has been great. The thing about scouts is that it is so structured. Kids go to meetings and there is a social aspect, but there is not as much unstructured social time. The meetings have agendas for building, making, doing, etc. And while it is so structured, and the kids are maybe starting out by working side by side, they begin to form those social relationships with each other because they get to know each other over a longer course of time. Slowly forming social interactions in a very structured and highly supervised setting is perfect for most kids with autism spectrum disorders. What has your experience been?