The Road to Independence with Special Needs Begins with a Single Step
An autism advocate and mother to a young man with autism shares their tender journey together as she teaches him essential life skills.
Kimberly Reeves, MEd
Seven Heartfelt Father’s Day Gifts For Special Needs Dads
A loving letter of thanks is written with all dads in mind who have become the devoted parent every child with autism needs.
How a Woman with ASD Found Her Dream Job at Brain Power
Julie Esris, graphic design lead at Brain Power, reveals her long and arduous journey to finding her niche in the workplace in a personal interview.
Arshya Vahabzadeh, MD
Speaking Up: Coordinating With Providers to Get Needs Met
A child and family psychotherapist gives great advice on the importance to advocate and thoughtfully coordinate your child’s autism therapies and services.
Karen Zilberstein, LICSW
Parenting a Unique Child: A Child Like Mine
A board-certified cognitive specialist and parent coach shares moments from her special journey with her son with autism.
Beatrice Moise, MS, BCCS
How to Prepare a Resume to Highlight Special Skills with ASD
An interview coach gives top advice to help job candidates with high-functioning autism secure corporate careers at Fortune 500 companies.
Sensory Integration and Special Needs in the Dental Office
A dentist anesthesiologist shares helpful tips to improve the dental office visit and patient experience by creating a nurturing environment.
Louis Siegelman, DDS
What You Need to Know About Depression for People With Asperger’s
A writer with Asperger’s syndrome and depression explains the importance of seeking a diagnosis and help.
Sweet Success: When One Teacher Looked Beyond the Autism Label
Read this touching story about a young boy with autism whose career was inspired by a teacher who looked beyond diagnosis and uncovered his talents.
Kristin Jarvis Adams
One Mom’s Lessons from Raising Three Children on the Spectrum
In an exclusive interview, a mother shares her family journey as she sought information on the best therapies for her children as not all autism resources are equal.
Debra Moore, PhD
Best Ways to Prepare Your Child With ASD for the Workplace
The mother of a young man with autism who has transitioned into the corporate world provides a list of five things she would have done differently as she prepared her child for the working world.
Scarlett South, RN
Restless Nights: A Mom’s Case of IEP Insomnia
A mother lovingly illustrates her emotional journey coordinating the best education and care for her son with special needs.
Annie Garduño, MEd
Ways to Make Your Home Supportive for Kids With Special Needs
A home improvement enthusiast shares his safety and sensory needs tips to help make the home more comfortable for someone on the spectrum.
The Ultimate Race That Changed My Son With Asperger’s Life
A mother shares how an amazing high school experience shaped her son and helped him conquer challenges as an adult.
Catherine M. Burns-Horstman
Innovative Device May Help Your Child With Autism Sleep Better
Learn about a new clock-like device which incorporates into its design the latest science on autism, sleep disorders, time anxiety, and the effect of light wavelength on sleep.
A Teacher’s View: The Beauty of Autism
A primary autism teacher shares how important it is to see people with autism for the special and unique individuals they are.
HELP: My Non-Verbal Child Laughs After He Hits People
Get top advice on ways to help a child with autism better connect to possibly reduce his/her frustration levels.
Parody of Everyday Life with Autism
A mom proves laughter is the best medicine through her witty poem based on daily life with her young son.
What’s New On The Bookshelf?
Top Book Helps People with Autism Find Their Niche in the Workplace
Dr. Michael McManmon, founder of a transition program for young adults with ASD, offers valuable insight in his book MPLOY: A Job Readiness Workbook
How to Improve Self-Help Skills With Video Self-Modeling
Read this professional advice on ways to use an innovative tool known as video self-modeling to teach everyday tasks such as teeth brushing, hand washing, and bed making.
Melissa M. Root, PhD
An Exclusive Look at AUTISM with Taryn Plendl
An author and motivational speaker interviews Taryn Plendl, a bestselling author and mother who, along with her husband, adopted a young girl with autism.
What’s New On The Bookshelf?
Father Offers Free Book to Help Families Face ASD Hurdles
Miraz Ali, the father of a young man with autism, shares their special 10-year journey together in Hope For the Future, A Father’s Journey In Healing Autism.
Taking the Stress Out Of the IEP
A senior social worker at Bancroft School shares tips to ease worries for parents establishing an Individualized Education Plan for the first time.
Misty Simmons, MSW, LSW
What’s New On The Bookshelf?
New Mystery Novel Entertains with Wit and Charm Tied up with Strings
Madeline McEwen, the mother of two children with autism, entertains readers with a clever mystery novel called Tied Up With Strings, the first in the new series, The Serebral Seniors.
My Mood Stars Improve Emotion Recognition Through Exploratory Play
Learn about My Mood Stars, a soft sensory toy developed to support social development and
AUTISM WARRIOR: Raja Marhaba
Remarkable Mom Advocates for Special Needs Education Support Hayley Gripp
As founder of The Jonathan Foundation, this amazing autism advocate works diligently to provide resources, guidance, and advocacy to autism families in search of educational support.
What’s New On The Bookshelf?
New Book Reveals Ways to Teach Social Skills for Life
In his book, The Balanced Child: Teaching Children and Students the Gifts of Social Skills, Brett J. Novick shares ways to educate children through exploring traits of responsibility, caring, honesty, and service to others.
Adult Life – What Is Available For My Child With Special Needs?
Learn about the different organizations working to develop solutions for a child with special needs when he/she ages out of the school system.
Ryan F. Platt, MBA, ChFC, ChSNC
It warms my heart when I receive emails from readers who want to share exciting achievements with me. Whether it’s a quick note from a mother announcing her child with autism successfully graduated from high school after a challenging journey, or a personal piece from a man diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome who is thrilled to have found his dream job, these moments are so rewarding.
But then, as I continue to scroll through my emails, I read the news of the staggering statistics regarding the half-million teens with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) who are expected to leave the US school system over the next decade. Ninety percent of adults with autism are either unemployed or under-employed.
According to an employment article posted on the Advancing Futures for Adults with Autism (AFAA) website, a great number of people with autism are leaving high school without the skills needed to take important steps toward independence, despite the requirements set forth by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). What does this mean for the futures of both people with autism and the people who love them?
With news of this impending barrage of graduates with autism competing in a limited job market, it is even more essential to teach everyday life skills as early as possible. In an effort to help our readers find the answers they need regarding raising children with autism, we reached out to autism experts for advice.
First, we have an excellent article written by Kimberly Reeves, MEd, an autism advocate and mother to a young man with autism who longs for his freedom but is not ready to be on his own. Take a look at her piece, The Road to Independence With Special Needs Begins With a Single Step, as Kimberly shares their loving journey together as she teaches her son essential life skills.
We also have top guidance from Scarlett South, RN, the mother of a young man with autism who has transitioned into the corporate world. In Best Ways to Prepare Your Child With ASD for the Workplace, Scarlett generously provides a list of what she, in hindsight, would have done differently as she prepared her child for the working world.
Putting together a resume is especially difficult when work experience has been nonexistent or limited. For top advice from an interview coach who helps job candidates with high-functioning autism secure corporate careers, take a look at Ramon Santillan’s important piece called How to Prepare a Resume to Highlight Special Skills with ASD. Ramon shares some of his best techniques to help clients get the interviews they need to secure a future.
Developing life skills is important for people of all ages and abilities. This month we are featuring the third article in a series by Melissa M. Root, PhD, on the benefits of using video self-modeling to teach everyday tasks such as teeth brushing, hand washing, and bed making. Take a look at her How to Improve Self-Help Skills With Video Self-Modeling as it’s sure to provide innovative ways to help your child grow more independent.
Do you know someone with autism who avoids the dental office because of an aversion to the whirring sounds and strong smells of dental instruments? Did you know there are new technologies that can help reduce sensory challenges which can make these visits less overwhelming? Take a look at Sensory Integration and Special Needs in the Dental Office as dentist anesthesiologist Louis Siegelman, DDS, shares helpful tips to improve the dental office visit and patient experience by creating a nurturing environment.
Advocating for someone you care about with autism is such an important task, but one of the top stressors for families often involves negotiating the best educational opportunities for children with autism. Working with teachers and administrators to create an Individualized Education Program (IEP) that meets a child’s learning needs becomes a top priority.
If you are new to this process, or just need a recap, please take a look at Taking the Stress Out Of the IEP as Misty Simmons, MSW, LSW, a senior social worker at a school in New Jersey, shares her advice on establishing an IEP for the first time. For a personal perspective on the IEP process, please take a look at Restless Nights: A Mom’s Case of IEP Insomnia as Annie Garduño, MEd, a middle school teacher and parent of a young man with autism, lovingly illustrates her emotional journey coordinating the best education and care for her son.
As I have said over the years, it takes an extraordinary family to raise a child with special needs. In light of Father’s Day this month, we would like to honor dads who dedicate themselves to caring for and understanding children with special needs. For a touching read, take a look at Deanna Picon’s piece, Seven Heartfelt Father’s Day Gifts For Special Needs Dads, a loving letter of thanks written with all dads in mind who have become the devoted parents every child with autism needs.
Be sure to share this piece with someone you love.
Amy KD Tobik