NEW! Parents and Practitioners Employ web-based Skills™ for Children with Autism

By Daphne Plump

There are quite a few web-based tools on the market that are meant to treat children with autism and related disorders. And as with everything, another one just emerged – Skills™. But unlike all of the others, that shall remain nameless, Skills is not only a web-based tool for parents and practitioners, but gives committed users the power to recover children from autism….really.

The Center for Autism and Related Disorders (CARD), considered the world’s largest autism treatment center that provides state-of-the art therapy, recently released two web-based programs that go hand in hand, while at the same time, can work alone.  CARD eLearning™ and Skills™ provide training to parents and practitioners and allow the ability to assess and design treatment for children with autism and related disorders. Both of these programs are based on the principles of applied behavior analysis (ABA), which has been empirically proven to be the most effective autism treatment and is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and the U.S. Surgeon General.

Journalists seeking access to the CARD e-Learning and Skills programs can obtain free passcodes by calling (877) 975-4559.

CARD eLearning ( is a 40-hour online training course designed to facilitate effective intervention for children with autism by equipping users with foundational knowledge in ABA. The training consists of nine video-based training modules which feature online note taking, quizzes, a final exam and certificate of course completion.

Skills™ ( is an affordable program that provides everything that educators of children with autism need to assess a child, design a curriculum, and implement a comprehensive behavioral treatment program in one easily accessible location. Skills also provides charts and graphs that track treatment progress and the impact of various events (including other treatments and life events) on the child’s progress.

Check out Skills and CARD eLearning’s websites if you’d like to learn more about them. Or, you can call (877) 975-4559 for free passcodes to test drive these programs.

77 Ways to say “Good Job”

Everyone likes positive pats on the back, recognition and acknowledgement for a job well done.  It’s especially vital when raising a child with an autism spectrum disorder.  We should be mindful that sometimes, with our children with ASDs, the label we use can be the opposite of a back-pat.

When I founded Autism Today, I asked my sister Susan to create a logo that would be overwhelmingly positive.  I asked her to use a star, like the gold star we all loved to get from our teachers in school, instead of the puzzle piece.  Autism Today is about celebrating the gifts of our children on the spectrum, not focusing on what we all know and understand to be real challenges.  There’s no argument autism is real and, for those without the necessary resources, overwhelming.  But all of us, parents and children with ASDs, must focus on the unique and often amazing attributes – the positive side – of ASDs, first to cope, next to survive, and, finally, to thrive.  I raised my son Jonny to think of his autism-related skills as wonderful gifts.  When he was born, I could never have imagined how much fulfillment and fun Jonny would bring into our lives as a family.  Focusing on his ASD as a gift, rich with possibilities, was an important aspect of that journey.

I remember people challenging me that no one would know we were about autism since we didn’t use the puzzle piece like everyone else.  My thinking has always and will always be to accentuate the positives and eliminate the negatives.  That old Johnny Mercer tune was a great favorite of my beloved father, Jack Simmons, a World War II veteran, pilot and aerospace engineer.  Attitude got him and many hundreds of thousands of military folk through a terrible time in history.  It can be easy to be overwhelmed by the trials in our lives raising a child on the spectrum.  But inside that child is a treasure chest of possibility.  It is our duty, those of us who know and love these children, to find the gems within – and to do that, we must always, every day, focus on unlocking those gifts.  To do it, we must always accentuate the positive!

My dear friend, Stephen Shore and I were talking about how positives are so good for our kids with autism, especially when accompanied with a red skittle, and sometimes teachers can get carried away with saying “good job” to often so we came up with 77 ways to say good job without being redundant.  I thought I would share them with you all.  Its rather cute.  Enjoy and don’t forget to get the red skittles!

77 ways to say “GOOD JOB”

  1. SUPER
  2. That’s RIGHT
  3. That’s good
  5. Perfect one
  6. You’ve just about got it
  7. THAT’S IT
  8. Now you’ve figured it out
  9. GREAT
  10. I knew you could do it
  11. Now you have it
  12. Good for you
  13. Couldn’t have done better myself
  14. That’s the right way to do it
  15. You did it that time
  16. You’re on the right track now
  17. Nice going
  18. WOW
  19. That’s the way
  20. Keep up the good work
  22. That’s the way to do it
  26. Much better
  28. You did that very well
  29. FINE
  33. That’s great
  34. Right on
  35. Superb
  36. Good remembering
  38. I like that
  39. Way to go
  40. Good thinking
  41. Good going
  42. Very good
  43. You remembered your sound
  44. That’s really nice
  45. Uh huh
  46. That’s a good one
  47. Yes
  48. I liked that sound
  49. Good
  50. Nice
  51. You’re really working hard today
  52. You are very good at this
  53. I’m happy to see you working so hard
  54. I’m proud of the way you’ve worked today
  55. You are doing much better today
  56. That’s the best you have ever done
  57. You’re doing a good job
  58. That’s quite an improvement
  59. You’re getting better every day
  60. That’s the best ever
  61. You must have been practicing
  62. You’re really going to town
  63. ow that’s what I call a fine job
  64. You’re really improving
  65. You’re doing beautifully
  66. You’ve got that down pat
  67. You certainly did well today
  68. Keep it up
  69. You did a lot of work today
  70. I’m very proud of you
  71. Now you have the hang of it
  72. You’re doing fine
  73. You are really learning a lot
  74. You out did yourself today
  75. You figured that out fast
  76. That kind of work makes me happy
  77. That’s it

Canucks Autism Network

It was recently our pleasure to speak with Jodi Simkin, Executive Director of the Canucks Autism Network (CAN).  Canucks Autism Network’s mission is to provide year round, innovative, high quality sports, recreational, social and vocational programs for individuals and families living with autism, and to build awareness and capacity through community networks across British Columbia.  Jodi took on her job in 2008.

But what a track record!  In just 2 years, CAN has grown from a relatively small, locally-focused charity, primarily backed with Canucks resources, to a major force in the autism community in western Canada.  Since 2008, Jodi has overseen the planning and implementation of a variety of grassroots-driven programs and services that now span the entire province.  Exciting examples include Understanding Minds, a high school social network program, and Soup from the Soul, a pre-vocational/vocational training program for young adults.  Congratulations Jodi and everyone involved in the Canucks Autism Network.  We hope to find ways to collaborate with you.  For more information, visit:

Temple Grandin on TED; Autism is a Continuum

Temple Grandin is very specific about how she describes autism, how to foster success in the autistic child, why the world needs people on the autism spectrum.

Autism is a very big continuum, from severe (nonverbal) to brilliant to (scientists). The kids growing up now can be the next great inventors.

There is a fine line between nerd and someone with Asperger’s. Many times, these ‘nerdy’ types or kids that can’t get focused on their assigned lessons in school get pushed aside because teachers just don’t know how to deal with them. They don’t know what to do with them and they don’t have the resources to help them flourish. Temple’s deep concern is expressed “…one of the things that really worries me is where is the younger version of those kids going today? They’re not ending up in Silicon Valley, where they belong!” (Grandin, 2010).

The autistic mind is a ‘specialist’ mind. Some are visual, photo realistic thinkers and are poor at algebra, They see thoughts or words just like “google for pictures”. The autistic brain picks out the details, but the ‘normal’ brain ignores a lot of details. She says if a bridge designer ignores the details, it will crumble and fall!

There are pattern thinkers, who are good at math and often have problems with reading. There are verbal thinkers, which are poor at drawing, but know every fact about everything.

Temple learned very early that she had to sell her work, not herself. Social people sell themselves in a job interview, more so than their work. Temple showed her amazing drawings! She also learned the importance of manners at an early age, through intensive mentoring as a young child.

It’s important to show kids on the spectrum interesting stuff to get them excited about learning whatever their specialty is. A mind can be social or ‘geeky’. The autism mind is less social, to the severity of being non-verbal. To take art, drafting, music out of the schools is a critical mistake, as autistic kids need to have these programs to nurture their ‘fixation’. These kids are really smart, and teachers need to know how to direct these kids.

We need to get these kids ‘turned on’. Take notice on what they fixate. If they can’t get their mind off horses, then center the [math] lesson around horses. Maybe they should skip math altogether, if they aren’t pattern thinkers! Temple cannot emphasize enough the importance of  a good mentor for helping a child develop his or her autism special talents

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