Truth Hurts: What To Do When Your Kid Always Speaks The Bitter Truth

Children with autism have the uncanny habit of speaking the truth all the time. This results in really embarrassing situations sometimes!

Autistic children (and even adults) have minds that tell them that being honest is more important than being polite. So you may hear sentences like “You’re fat”, “You’re ugly”, “I don’t like this Christmas present” or “I hate this grilled chicken.”

The book reading

When my son, Jonathan, was in the fourth grade, we took him to the library, which turned out to be quite an eventful trip! All the little kiddies and their moms were sitting on the library floor listening to a new author, Mrs. Spalding. She was reading a children’s dinosaur story that she had just finished writing and had not yet published. The children were all behaving so nicely, sitting with their legs crossed in perfect form. When Mrs. Spalding was talking about the dinosaur book, she asked the kids a lot of questions as well. The children would raise their hand and reply and it was all very interactive and engaging. At the end, the children started raising many of their own questions.

During this time, Johnny, who was in the back of the room, was frantically waving his hand in the air trying to get Mrs. Spalding’s attention. Finally, she called on him and out of his mouth came words that not only embarrassed me, but probably embarrassed her as well. “Mrs. Spalding, well, um, this is boring.” I looked around to see what all the other parents were thinking and, sure enough, they were glaring holes through me! I’m sure they were thinking, “What kind of a mother does this child have?” Jonathan was just being very truthful and said it the way he felt it, which is so typical of kids with autism.

Teach them to apologize

I took the opportunity as a way to teach Jonathan how to apologize to people for things that might hurt their feelings. I also explained to Mrs. Spalding a bit about autism and how there was nothing meant to hurt her feelings. It all worked out well in the end, even though the parents probably still thought I was in need of parenting skills! Well it was never going to be the perfect situation now, was it?

Sometimes, the truth just makes you laugh

But it’s not all bad. This literal telling of the truth also means that autistic children expect that everything you say is literally true too.

In the first grade, Jonny was just learning how to apply sentences to a context and not always take them literally. He did not like to go outside to play, probably because of the social challenges on the playground. One day, he decided to tell his teacher, Mrs. Shincaryk, that he was too sick to go outside to play because he had a tummy ache.

Johnny’s aide, Caraly, heard this news, went to him and said “Johnny, a birdie told me that you don’t want to go outside to play because you have a tummy ache. Is this true?” Johnny replied “What? I didn’t know Mrs. Shincaryk was a bird! It’s really cool to have feathers though.”

Johnny’s literal understanding of what Caraly said was very endearing to us all. It’s times like these when you thank God for having such special little ones.

A Personal Message from Karen Simmons

When I co-authored “Chicken Soup for the Soul, Children with Special Needs” with Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen and Heather McNamara, the biggest dilemma we faced was what to call the book ,as folks both did and did not want to be labeled in certain ways. It was reported to be the most challenging title the Chicken Soup people wrestled with to date. What we learned was that people on the autism spectrum and other spectrums for that matter, are people first before their condition!

Some of my favorite people are on the autism spectrum! My dad, my son, Stephen Shore, my sister (maybe) and even a bit of me! When my son was diagnosed in 1992 I embraced his autism and mostly tried to focus on his gifts, strengths and talents rather than the deficits he displayed at the time, after I got over the initial denial of it all. Of course I had the same challenges families face in those beginning years and could have chosen to have a negative attitude and chose instead to focus on the positives as much as I could. As part of his early intervention, before the days of behavioral interventions, I wasn’t about to wait around for science to prove to me whether certain methodologies were legit or not. I just wanted to find tools that would enable him to have the best life he could have.

Of course I used my own “mom” common sense compass, built into most moms, though I tried things to help my son that were not necessarily science based. They were “mom” based. My real question is who are we to “fix” people? All people are broken in some way, and to different degrees. ALL people have different ways of being though certainly no one is “better” than the next person. If we feel with our hearts and souls while helping people through tough times, in whatever way makes sense at the time, the world will be a better place!

Our time on the planet is all-together too short to waste on efforts that take an extraordinary amount of time to prove one way or the other. Often, by the time double blind studies are concluded, methodologies have changed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a Polyanna, with an altruistic view, and I do believe in research with a true return on investment. I propose that we focus to create a better overall society that promotes everybody flourishing.

Autism is not a disease, an illness or a disorder, it’s a different order and people on the spectrum as well as other spectrums, are wonderful souls and deserve the best, most successful lives, whatever that might look like. Thanks for being you, John!

Karen Simmons

Top 10 Apps and Software for Autism

Why is the iPad so important for working with autism in children? Steve Jobs probably never had this in mind while he was developing it, but the truth is this little gadget has revolutionized the world for nonverbal kids with autism.

Communication devices that before were cumbersome to use and cost several thousand dollars a pop have now been reduced to a unit as small as the iPad, and apps that cost between a dollar and in some cases a couple hundred dollars, depending on the complexity and program. That’s a huge advantage over the previous technology.

These apps and software became widely known throughout the world not only because of their features but also their abilities to manage autism behavior. Take a look at the best apps and softwares for autism.

Computer Programs and Apps for Children with Autism


Autism TodayAdvances in technology have provided educators with an abundance of new tools to use in instruction. This is no exception for teachers educating those on the autism spectrum.From SMART Boards to iPads to the common computer, there are a number of software programs, websites and applications that support the needs of learners with autism.

Visit for more details.

Free Autism Apps


autism-todayThe EmergingEDTech blog recommends a FREE app at iTunes today. Apps for Autism is a tool that provides an easy way to search and find apps that may be of benefit to individuals with autism or other special needs. App listings include screenshots for iPhone/iPad, reviews, and an email-to-a-friend funcition. The blog says, “This is a really top notch resource and we highly recommend it.”

If you want to learn more about the latest autism apps, visit

Awesome Apps for Autism


autism todayMost of us know what an app is. For those who don’t: “app” is short for application software, which helps a device user perform specific tasks. Most smartphones, handheld devices, and computers have apps that allow us to play games, catch up on the news, and connect us to social media.

Recently Hewlett-Packard (HP) hosted a “hackathon” for autism at their campus in Cupertino, California. What is a hackathon? I asked myself the same question.

At the hackathon about 100 HP tech members and autism advocates came together to work towards developing touch screen apps for children with autism.  Working with children who have autism, the team members began to develop apps that would help overcome the challenges individuals on the spectrum face daily

For more details, visit

Autism 5 – Point Scale EP App


Autism TodayAutism 5 -Point Scale EP is a free app for iPhone and iPad developed by the Autism Society of Minnesota. Ms. Van Dixhorn, EBD teacher at the Sheboygan Falls Middle   this app with me as an app to help with the programming of a student we mutually will work with. Not only free, but simple and easy to use for elementary  and older students who would benefit from a simple method of identifying emotions and feedback about how they feel and potentially what strategies they could use.

If you want to know how to use this app, visit

Monster List of Apps for People with Autism


autism todayThe touch screen interface and intuitive nature of the iPad has been a productive and inclusive way to provide educational experiences for people with Autism. Many schools and organisations use specific iPad apps as effective tools in the educational process but what if you had access to a whole suite of tools. This is exactly what these guys have done at iPad Apps & Resources for Autism. Compiled by a parent, an adult with Autism and an SLP; Shannon Des Roches Rosa, Corina Becker and SLP Jordan Sadler,  have collated a monster list of great apps for teaching people with Autism

Visit for more details.

Autism Apps for Iphones


Autism TodayWe are excited to announce that our site now has access to sell apps for iPhone’s, iPad’s, Droid’s, Windows Devices, HTML, and even software for Mac and PC.  Click on the Autism Apps in the menu bar or click on the picture above.

“How do you sell iPhone apps when you are not the all mighty app store?”

Good question.

We have contracted with a company called the App Store that is affiliated Apple, Droid, Microsoft, etc… So when you purchase an iPhone app, it will take you to Apple’s App Store. For Droid, it will take you to the Market Place…and so on.

If you want to learn more about the best autism apps for Iphone, visit

Social Express: Top Autism App


Autism TodayA big thank you to the community of kids with autism and the AutismSpeaks, Autism Awareness Campaign! The Social Express learning app for kids with autism was number 1 yesterday at the iTunes app store.

We loved being a part of the Light It Up Blue program. Helping Your Kids with Social Awarenes. We realized early that our twins with autism needed help learning social awareness. From the first time a therapist used her laptop in a session, we saw our sons’ interest in using technology to learn.

For more details, visit

Top 7 Visual Schedule and Social Story Apps For Autistic Children


Autism TodayThis is another one of Autism Plugged In’s list posts!  We’ll give you a quick overview of each app, and either link to iTunes or to one of our own posts so you can get more in depth with the application.  These are the Top 7 Visual Schedule and Social Story Apps for autistic children that we have been able to find online.  Some are for the iPhone, some are for the iPad, and all of them are great for kids on the spectrum!

The Time Timer app is one that we have already done an extensive review on here at Autism Plugged In, so if you’re interested in learning more after this quick overview, click on the the link!

The Time Timer application helps kids who are on the spectrum to visualize time.  They may know that they have 5 minutes until the next activity, but many people would agree that they don’t quite grasp how long a quantity of time is – they can’t easily wrap their mind around this abstract concept.  This app makes it simple to see how much time is left in an activity by representing the time with a color, and the color decreases steadily as time goes on.  This app is $1.99.

If you want to know how to use these top 7 apps for autistic people, visit

Free Autism Apps for iPod and iPhone


Autism TodayThis month is Autism awareness month. is giving away all of their updated apps for free. You can view the apps on your computer here or on your mobile device search the appstore for

Visit for more details.


Top 10 Autism Tools for Improving Communication

Those who have interacted with autistic people have become aware of the need to help them improve their communication skills. This type of people began to be frustrated when they can’t express their needs. Fortunately, there are a lot of strategies that parents can use to improve the communication abilities of their autistic children. Programs and tools must be developed by parents and teachers to help children with autism learn the basic skills generated in school and overcome frequent problems resulted from lack of communication. Here are some of the top autism tools which you can apply to help your children get along with others effectively.

Help an Autistic Child Communicate with the World They Live in


So, I was on twitter recently (nothing new there I know) when I came across a very interesting tweet from one of my new followers.

The tweet in question contained a link to a very interesting website and article focused around a campaign that is aiming to help children with autism by providing them with a way to communicate with the world they live in! Here’s how.

With your help a child with autism can be given the tools needed to better communicate their needs, making the world a much easier place for them to live in. The charity making this happen is “Hearts & Minds Challenge

To learn more about the strategy on how to help your autistic child improve his or her communication skills, visit

Augmentative Communication for Autistic Children


SpringBoard Plus

For any child the ability to communicate is an important part of learning. For autistic children this can prove to be a unique challenge. Using augmentative communication tools even a non-verbal child can learn how to reach their full potential.

For years educators have been aware of the advantages of introducing children to enriched learning environments that reinforce a child’s primary learning style whether they are an auditory, kinesthetic or visual learner. An auditory learner interprets the underlying meaning of speech through tone, pitch and voice speed.

Visit for more details about augmentative communication.


iPad gives voice to kids with autism


Sharia stood immobile in front of the television, transfixed by its images, unaware of the world around her. Her family called her name over and over again, but she did not respond. It was that moment when they knew something was wrong.

Initially, they thought it was a hearing problem. When they found nothing wrong, they decided to take 2-year-old Sharia to a specialist at an early detection center in 2009.

“Within five minutes of looking at Sharia, (the specialist) said that she has autism,” said Sharia’s father, Fawad Siddiqui. “A very clear case of it.”

If you want to understand how iPad helps autistic people develop their communication abilities, visit

iPhone App for Autism Students


Brandy Wheeler is on a mission to place iPads in the hands of every local student with Autism. To meet this lofty goal she partnered with Traverse City Area Public Schools to expand their iPads for Autism program. While planning the upcoming fundraiser, the Traverse Traveler Scavenger Hunt for Autism, Apple finally released the latest edition of their iPad tablet leaving consumers faced with the difficult decision: What to do with their iPad2? Wheeler has the solution: Donate it to TCAPS to support the iPads for Autism program. “We took a creative approach to fundraising by using social media for social good. Breathing new life into old technology fits right in with our goals.”

This iPhone app for autistic students describes how technology helps a lot in improving one’s communication skills. Visit for more details.

Alternative Treatments for Autistic Children


autism todayA small, uncontrolled case series (reports of the experiences of three children on the autism spectrum who received synthetic intravenous secretin during a routine endoscopy evaluation for gastrointestinal problems) resulted in the funding of the largest controlled trial of an alternative treatment for autism ever conducted. The initial report noted that within five weeks of the secretin infusion the children experienced “a significant amelioration of” their gastrointestinal symptoms but also a “dramatic improvement in their behavior, manifested by improved eye contact, alertness and expansion of expressive language.” The same results were reported after a second infusion given weeks later.

If you want to learn some alternative treatments for autistic children, visit

Autism Communication Resources: Computers and Technology


Autistic children often have problems with verbal communication. There are a number of solutions involving technology to communicate with children that have a hard time expressing themselves verbally.

Verbal communication is often one of the issues that those on the autism spectrum live with daily. It doesn’t mean they are ignoring you or that there are physical problems with the ears or physical items linked with oral communication. What it does mean is that you need to try something besides talking if you want to communicate with the individual who has autistic communication issues. Don’t give up help on verbal communication, just understand that there may be other steps you need to take before you can assist the autistic individual in verbalizing their thoughts.

What to know more how computers and technology develop the communication skills of autistic people? Visit

Benefits of Social Media to Those with Autism


Social media has become a staple in communication across the globe. It allows for constant contact, networking, and various levels of friendly and professional communication that could not otherwise be achieved. It provides an unlimited amount of benefits, with the digital world at the fingertips of anyone who chooses to use it. One impact that social media has that is less commonly explored is its impact on those with autism in the communication world.

Visit for more information about the benefits of social media to autistic people.


Vast Autism Improves Communication 


Vast Autism

VAST-Autism provides unprecedented support for spoken language, combining evidence-based best practices and technology to deliver remarkable results.

VAST-Autism is a groundbreaking tool that provides state-of-the-art therapy to students with autism and motor speech programming disorders such as apraxia. VAST-Autism combines the highly effective concept of video modeling with written words and auditory cues to help individuals acquire relevant words, phrases and sentences so that they can speak for themselves. For children and individuals with strong visual skills, this can be a key to developing speech.

Vast Autism is one of the trending autism tools today. If you want to know more about this effective tool, visit

Effective Autism Tool


Photo: S. Subramanium

I’ve been making my way through a book which is a compilation of the life stories of successful autistic adults, written by themselves. The compilation is brought together by Temple Grandin, and is called “Different… Not Less.” Once I complete the book I’ll do a full review, but at this stage I want to write about a particular recurring aspect in the stories, which is already impacting on how I view autism and my son.

These successful adults were typically diagnosed late in life, even though their autism (and associated conditions) were impacting on their lives from childhood. Late diagnosis of these adults is no mystery, considering the huge rise over the past two decades in awareness and recognition of autism, and the changes in autism criteria during that time.

To read more about this autism tool, visit


iPad Storytelling App for Kids With Autism


Bellingham, Washington – Limited Cue LLC, an independent mobile application developer, has just rocketed their second application to the Apple App Store worldwide. Stories About Me is an Apple iPad application designed specifically for kids with autism, kids with special needs and disabilities, and early learners in general. The application helps the users to create situational stories about themselves, and to share what they think and feel with others.

Founded in 2012, Limited Cue dedicates themselves to designing and building mobile applications for users with severe to moderate disabilities along with their families and educators. The company was established to fill a market void for specific education tools, games and aids in the form of affordable mobile applications. They carry the mission to provide useful applications with exceptional entertainment and educational value to enable users learning, playing, practicing and having fun at the same time.’

Visit for more information.

Top 10 Positive Autism Techniques for Managing Challenging Behavior

Autistic children have behaviors that are not pleasing for other people. However, an autistic child should not be scolded too much by parents. It is always better to follow pleasant ways to improve the child’s behavior. This will definitely result to positive changes if the strategy is done carefully to the child. The behavior of the child depends on your responses. For instance, if you keep scolding him or do the other way around such as rewarding him, you are reinforcing the recurrence of his or her improper behavior.

For better understanding about this matter, I will give you the top 10 positive autism techniques to manage the behavior of your autistic child or student.

Reinforce Positive Behavior Through Choice


When you look at a child through a child-centered lens, what do you see?

Children with special needs often express challenging behavior, and we’re just as often caught up in what we see on the surface, focusing on stopping the disruption before it goes any further. Yet in order to address negative behavior, we first need to look at it from the child’s point of view—and understand why it occurs.

In “Changing Challenging Behavior,” Paul Holland details five main reasons why people behave in disruptive or difficult ways, and how “[b]ehaviour does not exist in a vacuum; it sits within a three part contingency whereby behaviours are triggered by antecedents and are maintained by consequences.”

For more details about this positive behavior strategy, visit

Positive Behaviour Support for Autistic Children 


Many people with learning disabilities may, due to psychological, biological or social reasons, exhibit challenging behaviour. Challenging behaviour is contextual, varies in frequency or duration, and can be disruptive, aggressive, violent, or destructive behaviour. Kicking, spitting, headbutting and repetitive behaviours such as elective incontinence or rocking can all be described as examples of challenging behaviour.

Challenging behaviour can lead to self-harm or injury of others, and may cause a delay in access to ordinary community services and facilities. For this reason, challenging behaviour, if not addressed, can lead to social exclusion and difficulties in realising self centred planning.

If you want to learn more about positive behavior support, visit

Autism Tool for Social Skills


Social Play Skills with Peers

They say 28% of 12-24 year olds check their Facebook account before they get out of bed in the morning.  Now I knew Facebook was popular . . . . but when you are still in bed????

What does this have to do with children with autism?

Did you know that parents request social skills training for their children with Autism Spectrum Disorders more than any other service?  In a California survey of parents of children with autism or Asperger’s Syndrome, more than half reported that their children played with NO ONE outside of school.  Parents are identifying a significant need for those students on the autism spectrum.

How are their peers socializing?

Teaching or treatment for children with autism needs to include information about what their same age peers are doing.  Here’s the important question.  What social world are we preparing our students with autism for?  Who are they going to be socializing with?  How do their peers socialize now?

Visit for more information.

 What One Ought To Know About Autism


This blog post will help you understand what is autism and what are the tools which can you use to improve the communication skills of your autistic child.

Autism is a brain disorder that limits a person’s ability to communicate and relate to other people. It first appears in young children, who fall along a spectrum from mild to severe. Some people can navigate their world, some have exceptional abilities, while others struggle to speak. Autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) affect about one child in 88, striking nearly five times as many boys as girls.

For more details, visit

Positive Thinking and Behavior for Autistic People 


That’s a pretty powerful statement. It resonates emotionally, even if it doesn’t have a shred of evidentiary support. “The Secret” promises a universe that will deliver on the desires of those who occupy it, so long as they stay optimistic, determined, and of course, follow the simple steps laid out in its pages.

The power of positive thinking movement is the cornerstone upon which countless American self-help empires have been built. But does it really have the power it so often promises? Dr. James Coyne, director of the Behavioral Oncology Program at UPenn is skeptical. So am I.

If you want to learn more about some positive techniques to manage behavior, visit

Positive Strategies for Managing and Preventing Out-of-Control Behavior


autism-todayHow many behavioral therapies have we tried? How many therapists have we consulted, asked to observe our families, give us their opinions, techniques and chores while they promise that this will be the answer? Consider the number and variety of books we’ve read, audio listened to, online sites scoured looking for answers that sounded…right. Think of the reward charts, PECS schedules, rules and ‘regulations’ we’ve placed in our homes hoping to thwart the meltdowns that in the end are inevitable, leaving us to feel a failure and our children to feel unsafe, uncomfortable, confused and angry.

What therapists have we found that are grounded in reality, sensible in their conclusions, reasonable in their processes? Who has been willing to say, “Since we cannot control everything, we will have meltdowns?” I counted none. Until I listened to Jed Baker, Ph.D.

To learn more about this positive strategy to prevent out of control behavior, visit

Behavioral Therapy for Autistic Children 


autism-todayBehavioral therapies are among the most commonly applied intervention methods for autism and the most studied. Many of the intensive behavioral therapies (or Early Intensive Behavioral Interventions — EIBIs) that have been studied are based on the concepts of Applied Behavioral Analysis (ABA).

Applied behavior analysis is a science that involves using modern behavioral learning theory to modify behaviors. Behavior analysts focus on the observable relationship of behavior to the environment. By functionally assessing the relationship between a targeted behavior and the environment, the methods of ABA can be used to change that behavior. Though highly effective for large numbers of children at early ages and later, ABA therapies are not for everyone. Some individuals are put off by the perception of a highly robotic intervention in a disorder characterized by difficult social interactions.

Visit for more details about behavioral therapy.

Promising Drug to Treat Autism Behaviors


autism-todayScientists say they have used an experimental compound to reverse two autism-like behaviors in mice.  Experts say there’s no guarantee the drug would work to help children with autism, a neural developmental brain disorder marked by communication and social impairments beginning in early childhood. But they say it’s a step in the right direction.

Researchers with the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health and the Pfizer pharmaceutical company tested the drug called GRN-529 in mice that normally display autistic-like activities – in particular, social isolation and repetitive behaviors.  NIMH co-investigator Jill Silverman says that after being injected with the experimental compound, the mice reduced two of their repetitive behaviors – obsessive grooming and jumping – and the normally asocial rodents engaged more with other mice.

This blog post will give you an in-depth understanding about this promising drug. Visit for more details.

Treat Imitation, an Autism Behavior


autism-todayStudents with autism lack the early development of their mirror neurons. These mirror neurons allow us to “mirror” or copy what another person is doing. It is this that enables babies to imitate actions that adults around them are doing. Thus, a student exhibiting autism behavior may struggle to copy or imitate the actions that a teacher demonstrates.

This can also show up in classroom situations where the student may have trouble copying others.

Note that once people on the autism spectrum learn to copy, they may have trouble developing original learning patterns.

If you want to learn more about autism behaviors and how to manage them, visit

Antidepressants for Repetitive Behaviors of Autism



Two new studies may offer clues to the mystery of what factors lead to the development of autism.

Literature suggests that there is strikingly lack of good data to support the use of pharmacological agents in general for autism. Recent data also suggests that tricyclic antidepressants are not of much help in autism. No wonder, some studies indicate that use of micronutrients is superior to pharmacological treatment.

Antidepressant medications particularly selective serotonin receptor inhibitors (SSRIs) are commonly used for treatment of behavioral problems including and not limited to the treatment of repetitive behaviors in autism spectrum disorders (ASD).

Visit for more details.


Top 10 Autism Strategies for Encouraging Better Social Skills

In this article, I am going to teach you the top 10 strategies on how to help your autistic child develop social skills. With the right strategies, you can help your child reach his or her full potential when it comes to communicating with others.

In our everyday lives, we get in touch with a lot of people. The same goes with your child. He or she needs a meaningful way to interact with others. In this post, I included the top 10 autism strategies which can help you teach your child the best way to keep his conversations going.

Make sure that you will share your own autism strategy by giving your comments at the end of this post. And as you read other blog posts which will be mentioned in this article, leave your comments at the end of their posts.

Visual strategies for autism social skills: People Points


This blog entry describes a social skills training method I developed for kids with autism called “People Points.” I sell it as a curriculum kit on my website.  Here, I will provide enough basic information and downloads for you to give it a try on your own with your students/clients on the autism spectrum.

In the first four parts of this series, I described how to incorporate various visual elements (toy balance, magnets, etc) when doing teaching and psychotherapy for kids on the topic of social skills and relationships.  Young people with autism learn much better when meaningful and engaging visuals are built into the social skills lesson.  Here, I describe how you can employ another visual device, “People Points.” Below you will find basic instructions for this social skills activity.  Way at the bottom, you will find the People Points Money that you can print out to make this social skills lesson more like a social skills game.  Print out the People Points Score Board as well and leave it hanging up in your classroom/office.

For more details about People Points strategy, visit

Now You Can Improve Your Communication on the Autism Spectrum


photo credit: tayweilong

According to Wikipedia, theory of mind is the ability to attribute mental states—beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc.—to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires and intentions that are different from one’s own

This autism fact leads to an unintended tendency for an individual on the autism spectrum to appear very Me Centered. In other words, it often does not dawn on the person with autism Asperger’s that relationship includes being curious and interested about others’ thoughts and feelings. Additionally, individuals with autism spectrum conditions are often not aware of the effects that people’s physical gestures have on understanding and maintaining communication.

Today, I’m sharing a vital concept contributed by Michelle Garcia Winner, author of Thinking About You, Thinking About Me : it’s the concept and skill of Whole Body Listening.

If you want to learn more about Autism Spectrum, visit

Behavioral therapies can help someone with autism


Jeffrey Wood, Ph.D.

Today’s “Got Questions?” answer comes from clinical psychologist Jeffrey Wood, Ph.D., of the Center for Autism Research and Treatment at the University of California, Los Angeles. The recipient of three Autism Speaks grants, Wood has extensively studied anxiety in elementary school and adolescent children with autism.

Several types of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) have been developed to address anxiety in children with ASD, with promising results from several clinical research centers. Techniques include challenging negative thoughts with logic, role-play and modeling courageous behavior, and hierarchical (step by step) exposure to feared situations.

Visit for more details about cognitive behavioral therapy.

Destination Friendship – Developing Social Skills for Individuals with Autism 


What is Destination Friendship?

At Destination Friendship, we believe that friendships are one of the most vital aspects of the human experience. Research tells us that individuals who have friends are likely to be happier, healthier and live longer than those who do not. Additionally, friendships are critical in helping us learn and polish important skills like cooperation, negotiation, and conflict resolution. These skills remain crucial across our entire lifespan and eventually impact success in areas such as employment and independent living.

If want to know about the best autism strategy to develop the social skills of your autistic child, visit

Overcoming Challenges Associated with Autism in the Classroom


This blog post reveals a lot of ways on how to overcome challenges in autism such as Cognitive Processing Delays, Sensory Perception Issue and Social Skill Deficits.

Graduate student Arlene Bradley-Lester works with autistic child at his home.

Social skill deficits can make a student with Autism, the odd child out. Without training and sufficient mindfulness, even well meaning teachers might slip into intimidating and sometimes even bullying behavior with the child who is always lagging behind and just odd.

Teachers need to understand that the emotional affect that comes naturally to most of us may need to be taught to children with Autism. Teenagers with Asperger’s, especially girls, will often talk about how they learned how to react to and engage others by imitating what they refer to as neurotypical behavior. And like anything learned by rote rather than intuited, those behaviors may at times feel forced and not especially fluid or natural.

If you want your autistic child to overcome social challenges, learn from the expert by reading through her post at

Summer Break: What Zak Will Be Doing and Ideas for Other Children with Autism


School is almost out which means summer break is fast approaching.  I wanted to share what Zak will be doing this summer to hopefully help you get some good ideas on what to do with your kiddos.  Summer is a time for fun, but it is a great time to continue to work towards your child’s goals towards improvement.  You do not need to sacrifice fun for working towards goals.  Zak will continue with his regular therapies (see the What We are Doing page) but with school out, he has more time in his schedule to allow him to really focus on an area of weakness for him and most all children with Autism:  Social Skills.  This is an area we continue to put a great portion of our focus.  Social skills are critical to function in society & Zak struggles with components of social interaction, especially self regulation

Learn how this Zac, an autistic child overcome his weakness in social skills. Visit

Early Detection of Autism Encouraged


Marcus Yam/The Spectrum

Read through this blog post and learn how an early detection of autism can help a person develop his or her social skills in the beginning.

CHICAGO (AP) — At 18 months, Cristina Astacio spoke only a few words, wouldn’t respond to her name and shunned other kids in her day care group. Last October, her worried parents found out why. She has a mild form of autism, a diagnosis being given to more U.S. children than ever before, largely because of more awareness and better diagnosis.

According to new government statistics, the rate is about 1 in 88. That means autism is nearly twice as common as it appeared in data the government gathered 10 years ago. The largest increases are in Hispanic kids like Cristina.

Visit and know more about autism strategies.

He Doesn’t Allow His Autism To Define Him


Learn and understand how early-intervention therapy can help improve social skills of an autistic child.

Autism Today

Tristan Braverman,

Lawrence Woodmere Academy junior Tristan Braverman, center, who has autism, credited his parents, Steve and Stacy, for providing him with early-intervention therapy as a child, which greatly improved his social skills. Tristan Braverman, a junior and a varsity basketball player at Lawrence Woodmere Academy, used to blend in with the rest of the student body, but after being featured in the May/June issue of ESPNHS magazine, his teammates and fellow classmates learned something about him they didn’t know.

When Braverman, now 16, was 15 months old, his parents, Stacy and Steve, would call his name but he wouldn’t respond. “The doctor told me to put his high chair in the kitchen, facing away from me, and to go up behind him and slam pot covers together to see if he would respond — and he didn’t move,” Stacy recalled. “We thought he was deaf.”

For more details about his strategy on how to overcome difficulties in social skills, visit

Social Skills and Autism


People on the autism spectrum often have issues with social interactions. Often, a person on the spectrum has difficulty with basic social skills. How do you work on your social skills or the skills of your child? What tips do you have and what strategies do you use to improve this skill set?

Learn more about autism spectrum and how it improves social skills of the person with autism. Visit

Solution Chart for Social Difficulties for Autistic People


This chart identifies issues with social and communication skills for people on the autism spectrum and strategies to help the person. It is important to give consideration to the unique learning characteristics of a person, to provide support when needed, and to build on the person’s many strengths. Also, if you are unsure of the process of how to teach a concept to a person on the autism spectrum, it would be helpful to read the article The Steps in the Process of Learning for a Person on the Autism Spectrum.

For more details about this solution chart, visit



Top Ten Things To Know & Do If Autism Strikes Your Family!

If you or someone you know receives a diagnosis for their child, student, family member or client you need to tell them early intervention is the best chance they have to get the child the help they need.  Be sure to tell them to get over it fast. Do not stay in a state of denial.  It will only hurt the child. Most importantly, start addressing the problem and help the child right away so they can have the best shot at life.  After all, we only get one shot.

Here are some very important tips to get them started.

Top Ten Things To Know & Do If Autism Strikes Your Family!

1.     Start Local. Find the strongest local support and system you possibly can. Start local, and learn what is available in your areas and nearby. Reach out to nearby cities as needed.

2.     Qualify Your Doctor. Locate a medical doctor who specializes in autism and has experience treating autism.  A referral from another parents or a reputable autism organization works best.

3.     Reach Out for Help. Discover and make use of specific government agencies and public services that support the cause, especially in the early intervention arena.

4.     Look Into Special Services. Check into related health services such as speech and language, recreational therapy, occupational therapy, physical and behavioral therapy and so forth.

5.     Use the Internet. Go to reliable website sources to educate yourselves on programs, services, interventions, therapies and supports.

6.     Take Frequent Breaks. Find and use qualified respite for yourselves as caregivers and use it.  You will need it.

7.     Educate Your Family. Educate relatives, friends, neighbors and your child’s siblings and peers about what autism is and what you and your family are going through.  They will be able to accept him or her and understand the challenges more easily which leads to acceptance.

8.     Get Involved. Attend conferences for educational information and also the fellowship aspects by meeting with other family members, individuals with autism and other professionals in the field.  You may find lifelong alliances there!

9.     Get Up to Speed. Stay current with the latest medical, biomedical, behavioral and education services so you can pick and choose what is right for your child and your family.

10.  Plan for the Future. Currently autism is a lifelong disorder and until something radically changes, the autism is not going to go away.  With proper interventions it improves over time and with the best mindset from the parents, caregivers and people that support the child they can be guided towards a great outcome leading happy, fulfilling lives.

Autism Today offers extensive information to parents and the autism community by way of leading conferences, books, DVD’S and through current technology.

For more information visit

Also check out: for information on “The National Leadership Autism Conference–Autism Through the Lifespan For Families, Educators and Professionals.

Be part of the Art! Exploring our Autism Arts Website,

Be part of the Art!  Start by exploring our autism arts website,

The Art of Autism is universal.  For so many of our kids, art is that first inspiration that lures them out, into a world of fulfilling social interactions, through their exceptional, autism-enhanced ability to connect to others through art.  That’s why Autism Today has teamed up with author Debbie Hosseini, to create Artism: The Art of Autism, a magnificent coffee table book, packed with beautiful art by artists who happen to have autism.  As you enjoy the book, Hosseini takes you on a journey into the lives of 54 artists from around the world, and how each has used art to overcome the challenges of living on the spectrum.  In the process, she dispatches, one by one, with common myths about people with autism, perceptions among neurotypicals for example that people on the spectrum lack emotion, creativity, sensitivity, and empathy.

But Artism: The Art of Autism is not just a book.  It’s a community!  Be sure to check out our website,  Interact with Debbie Hosseini, who curates the site.  Follow Artism artists in the news.  Each artists continues to attract interest and media coverage now that Artism: The Art of Autism is now available.   Learn about Keri Bowers’ upcoming Art of Autism Tour dates and how to participate,  Share YOUR story or that of a friend whom art has helped to cope or to transcend the challenges of autism.  Best of all — have fun!  Our goal is for to be an online crossroads for everyone interested in art and, yes, autism too.

We look forward to seeing you, interacting with you and learning about you and your art soon, on!

Every Autism Mom is a Star: But there is only one Eustacia Cutler

What can I say about Eustacia Cutler?  It is impossible to know Temple Grandin‘s story without intuitively knowing the strength, the dogged determination of the woman who never gave up on her daughter.  Even if you knew nothing of Eustacia, her background, her own beautiful telling of her story, A Thorn in My Pocket, you would know her through Temple.   And if you talk to Temple, you learn how much Temple herself is the product of an ethical, and maternal act of faith, in Temple’s inherent worth, autism and all.  At a time science would have instructed her to abandon her child to an institution, she embarked on a deeply personal equivalent of the Apollo mission, sacrificing her own ambitions (which were many for a Harvard-educated young woman of the 50s), and focusing on Temple’s potential.  How richly that journey has paid off – for Temple, and for all of us.

Temple Grandin honored her mother so beautifully at the Emmy Awards.  Even those not entirely familiar with the autism story, or even the movie Temple Grandin, remember the moment when the lady in the cowboy gear brandished an Emmy statuette and gave her mom a shout out.  It was an electrifying moment for autism moms.  Those tributes to Eustacia Cutler have continued to flow since the Emmys.  I wanted to be sure everyone has seen this one. In it, Julia Ormand, the actress who played Eustacia in the HBO movie, gives Eustacia her Emmy statuette at a conference last November.  Noting that Eustacia had once hoped to be an actress, Ormand jokes that Eustacia can use the Emmy as a door stop.  But then, unscripted, Ormand says: “I want you to have it for all the doors you have opened.  I want you to have it for the thing you let go – that you gave to me.”

See video of Eustacia’s Tribute to all mothers

Ormand’s explanation of an autism mom’s sacrifices is a restatement of a code we all are familiar with, as autism moms.  “This mother met the challenges of motherhood with such courage.  She did not attempt to be her kid’s best friend.  She said ‘I’m here to give you boundaries.  I’m here to do the tough stuff so you can walk through life empowered.”  Eustacia, in accepting the award, drives the point home.  “This is for all the mothers who work in silence.  Autism is a family disorder — everyone is affected.”

Eustacia, thank you for joinning us in Vancouver.  We can’t wait to welcome our favorite mom – and to be warmed by your triumph.

Karen’s Blog: Sharing a Teen Idol with my Kids

Last night my dream came true  Although I love many different types of music from rock to jazz to blues to orchestra I got to see live in person my favorite musician in the whole wide world, Roger Hodgson of Supertramp!  As a young pup, I would drive through the mountains of Seattle with the top down on my convertible and music blasting into the open air singing at the top of my lungs.  I listened from one year to the next, like ALL THE TIME, maybe even stimmed, which means engaging in an extreme interest over and over and over again also known as perseverating, out a great deal on Rogers magnificent talent.

I didn’t stop playing their music, not even while my kids were growing up so they got to jam out with me in the car to Supertramp all their lives.  My fifth son, Stephen was the one who alerted me to the fact that they were coming to Edmonton. The funny thing was, I didn’t even know the key musicians name until Stephen invited me. You see,  I always knew him as Supertramp and never even thought about what his  actual name was, didn’t really care, just I knew I loved loved loved Dreamer and Superstar!  Who knows, maybe in the back of my mind part of our Autism Today Star logo came from that song.

My dream that came through was that my kids went with me and we got to enjoy the music together screaming, dancing and dreaming all in a state of exuberance.  I almost missed out because I didn’t connect the dots of Roger to Supertramp so when Stephen asked if I was going I almost didn’t go.  Sounds a little like autism eh?  I guess as a parent I’m probably a little spectral in nature too, you know, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

Another special thing that happened (this is unheard of!)  my teenage son Stephen came to the back of the venue where I was seated because I registered at the last minute and asked his friend to trade places with me because I was more fun!  Wow!!! I wouldn’t have been caught dead with my parents at that age.

Heres a picture of Jonny, Kim and I having a blast at the concert.  You can see by Jonny’s expression, I keep forgetting to call him Jon now that he’s older, he’s full of character!  We ended up talking about the label of autism and how ridiculous he thought it was that people didn’t like the word autistic.  He said its an incredible over use of words to have to say “person with autism” each and every time they talked about autism because some people thought it was bad to say autistic.  He said its not derogatory in his mind.  Hummmm interesting!  Straight from the horses mouth, not that he’s a horse of course.

My daughter Kim also in the picture shared a story of when she went into a printers office, the kid came over and was stimming on an apple computer.  He clearly had autism.  The woman kept making apologies for his behavior and Kim’s attitude was “get over it woman” its okay, lighten up!  You don’t need to be embarrassed about autism.  It is what it is and so what.  Look at the kid’s strengths and how intelligent he is and enjoy him for who he is.  Wow, this was my true dream come true.  Yes I want to change the world so that everyone has this message and “gets over it” that is, the embarrassment, the hiding in the closet, the covering up etc.  I was thrilled to hear my own children “get it” because as a parent, you must know, its sometimes easier to get the whole world to see your point before your kids even do and finally they are getting it too!!!

When asked ‘why Autism Today‘ Jonny replies “”Parents and Professionals need to know what their child has so they can understand what they’re going through and how they can help to improve the quality of their life and all those that support them”

Sincerely,  Kims, Matts, Christinas, Jonathans, Stephens and Alex’s crazy mom, Karen!

Contact Info

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