Being careful not to show her sadness and distress over the loss of her cousin to her kids, Lilly sat wearily down on the sofa. She did not want to burden him with her grief. Her five year old, non verbal, autistic son, Jonas, came into the room. Not making eye contact with her, Jonas

in Autism Parenting Advice by Rachel Andersen

I looked up at my grandmother from my place on the floor. I had been sitting next to a small table near the landing of the staircase that was covered in elephant figurines. “Where did you get all these elephants?” She smiled at me: “My friends gave them to me. One day I mentioned that

in Autism Activities for Kids by Rachel Andersen

I’m standing in a room full of people who are cheering, laughing, and collectively enjoying an extremely noisy event. Suddenly, I feel very ill, and I know I am in danger. My attempts at getting the attention of the people around me fail, they are busy and it is too loud. In that moment it

in Autism Advocacy by Rachel Andersen

A diagnosis of autism is often followed, or preceded by, other diagnosis. Many conditions mimic autism and vice versa. Some increase the risk for autism, some are common comorbid conditions with autism. Some children diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders are also diagnosed with Ehlers Danlos syndrome. Today I want to discuss Ehlers Danlos and autism,

in Autism Health and Medical Info by Rachel Andersen

Bailey’s mother in law, Susan, opened her arms wide as soon as she saw her. As Bailey ran into them, Susan asked, “How is he doing?” Pulling back, Bailey shook her head in discouragement, “I can’t get through, I don’t know how to reach him”. Her son had been suffering through a bout of severe

in Autism Health and Medical Info by Rachel Andersen

A look at context blindness and autism, how difficulty understanding context occurs and what can be done about it.

in Communication Skills by Rachel Andersen

Growing up Megan struggled with her relationship with her father. He was loving, hard working, and a musical genius. As far as relationships though, things were as complicated as the intricate melodies he composed. In order to have a productive conversation, it was as if she had to enter the all encompassing bubble he lived

in Autism Diagnosis by Rachel Andersen

“Omg, he’s so weird!” Becky said to her friend Lane. They were watching Tommy across the school playground. He was walking on his tiptoes, and flapping his arms as he crossed the hard court to his group. One of the teachers, Mr Gordon, gave them a sharp look. “Girls”, he said sternly, “Be nice”. It

in Communication Skills by Rachel Andersen

A look at how food texture sensitivity occurs in children with autism.

in Sensory Solutions by Rachel Andersen

Kim attempted to open the door to her algebra class only to drop half of what was in her hands. Frustrated, she picked up her belongings, pushed her glasses back to her forehead, and tried again. School was a place where she could pour herself into her studies. She liked that, but she wished she

in Autism Health and Medical Info by Rachel Andersen

For parents of neurotypical children and neurodivergent children alike, some things are universal. We all want our kids to be happy, healthy, and loved, and we all worry—a lot. One of the biggest concerns we may have for our kids can be how they will handle romantic relationships, sex, and the social aspects of dating

in Transitioning to Adulthood by Rachel Andersen

Becky beamed as she walked out the front door of her friend’s house, hurried down the steps and out to her mom’s car. The excitement of the party was overshadowed a bit by another kind of happiness—triumph. She had survived the party without an anxiety attack, for the first time ever. Social anxiety had been

in Social Skills by Rachel Andersen

The sound of Johnny’s laughter reverberated off the walls of the RV they had rented for the weekend. Camping was a rarity in their family, as was the sound of his giggles. His mother, Connie, drank in the sound; it was as comforting and welcome as her morning cup of coffee. Since his autism diagnosis

in Social Skills by Rachel Andersen

They say childhood is fleeting, and it’s true. Just five months ago, my son turned 18. I still can’t believe it. Contrary to what our kids often think, they usually don’t leave the family home or stop having to listen to us the very second they enter adulthood. The reality is, independence doesn’t always mean

in Transitioning to Adulthood by Rachel Andersen

Jenny sat facing the ocean and, as the waves rolled in and out, so did her anxiety. That morning, at her daughter’s Well-Child Visit, she’d heard the pediatrician’s recommendation for a formal evaluation for autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but she couldn’t quite process it yet. “I don’t even know how to get my child tested

in Autism Diagnosis by Rachel Andersen

Johnny, my son, my oldest, the first one of my children to start learning to drive, sat behind the wheel. Beside him, in the passenger’s seat, my heart skipped a beat; our roles were reversed for the very first time. Pride mixed with nostalgia, mixed with fear, and then accompanied my deep inhale as I

in Transitioning to Adulthood by Rachel Andersen

Figuring out what is behind the challenges you see your child facing can feel a bit like a dog chasing its tail. At least that is the way I have felt as a parent, many times. I remember one conversation with my sister. I was detailing my concerns and expressing my frustration over so many

in Autism Diagnosis by Rachel Andersen

Parenting neurodiverse children often requires us to have contact with many different kinds of professionals. This creates, what can be, an overwhelming amount of appointments, and many appointments, that in and of themselves are overwhelming. We often find it necessary to put children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) into situations that make them especially uncomfortable

in Autism Therapies and Treatments by Rachel Andersen

As parents, we want our homes to be an oasis from the world. Before bringing a new baby into our homes, much time is spent lovingly preparing each space to be safe and warm, and we look forward to our children growing into adults there. But what happens when our home is no longer safe

in Financial Planning by Rachel Andersen

So, the time has come to finally find out if your child is indeed autistic. Maybe you have waited for months for this appointment. Nerves may threaten to get the best of you, but you are strong. Get ready, your life is about to change, and it’s going to be a wild ride. Breathe, you’ve

in Autism Diagnosis by Rachel Andersen

The look on the doctor’s face showed concern, mixed with something else Sally couldn’t discern. “Sally, your son does not have autism spectrum disorder, I believe he has virtual autism.” Sally couldn’t wrap her mind around it. She had never heard of it before. “Virtual autism? What even is that? How did he get it?

in Autism Technology by Rachel Andersen

A guide to housing assistance, what autism housing grants and programs are out there, and how families can get support services for their loved ones. Today, I want to talk to you about a way to plan for the not too distant future of our children with autism. Specifically, housing assistance, what autism housing grants

in Financial Planning by Rachel Andersen

For any parents who have had people ask them “are autistic children violent?”, this article offers a mom and life coach’s perspective on what so-called violence truly is and how to manage it in the context of autism. I knew this day was going to be rough, but nothing could have prepared me for what

in Autism Behavioral Solutions by Rachel Andersen

“Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”. That saying never made anyone feel better. Yet, it is one of many things that parents, grandparents, teachers, and friends have said to those hurt by others’ words, in a desperate attempt to make the person see that everything was ok–even when

in Autism Advocacy by Rachel Andersen

Three-year-old Jack was playing, happily lining up all his cars in a row, when his baby sister Josephine woke up from her nap, and started crying loudly. Suddenly, Jack felt extremely overwhelmed, panic took over, and anger towards his sister made him feel out of control. He needed to get away, but there was nowhere

in Sensory Solutions by Rachel Andersen

Last June, my oldest son graduated from high school. All parents who can say that about their children are proud, but for parents of children with autism, and learning challenges, it has an elevated meaning. My son graduating meant that he accomplished something we didn’t think was going to be possible for a long time.

in Education and Classroom by Rachel Andersen

“Can I ask you a question? Don’t get mad at me or anything ok?”, my friend Heather tentatively said to me one sunny afternoon on my back porch. “Have you ever thought that Owen may be on the autism spectrum?” The question hit me with such force, it almost took my breath away. I had

in Autism Diagnosis by Rachel Andersen

The joys of parenthood include the sheer delight that comes with finding something that helps our children through a particular struggle. For many children with autism, the challenges can be fierce, and often include sensory difficulties. Choosing autism noise canceling headphones can result in relief for our children, and also excitement of finding something that

in Sensory Solutions by Rachel Andersen

It was March 2020 and the world had just shut down. My five-year-old had just been admitted into the gifted program at school but had not started in his new classes yet. Suddenly, I was supposed to homeschool a not-yet-diagnosed child on the autism spectrum who was smarter than me already. My ever-moving, always talking,

in Sensory Solutions by Rachel Andersen

An overview of rejection sensitive dysphoria, a condition that causes an intense emotional response to real or perceived rejection, and its possible connection to autism spectrum disorder. I watched in slow motion as my son Owen fell head first into the side of the open french door. The blood curdling screams that followed were nothing

in Social Skills by Rachel Andersen

As a parent, it is important to make connections with other parents who relate to your stage of life. Realizing someone else truly understands your child’s hardships and triumphs can bring so much encouragement.   For many parents of children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), these connections are often few and far between. Sharing your child’s

in Potty Training by Rachel Andersen

Parents of autistic children, from my personal experience, are some of the most adventurous and creative people in the world. One reason for that is they parent some of the most gifted and unpredictable people in the world.   Between the exploration of their children’s special interests, braving new professionals in their life, alternative therapies, and

in Visual Supports by Rachel Andersen

Parents of children with autism are inundated with questions while trying to provide the best care for their children. Many options exist for therapies, advocation, medical assistance, physicians, and the list goes on. Knowing which options will be best for their autistic children, and if they will have the financial resources to pay for them,

in Financial Planning by Rachel Andersen

Justin Bieber sleeps in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber. He has one at home and one at his studio. No, if you are wondering, JB has never been diagnosed with autism. He says he uses the therapy to rid his body of toxins and decrease anxiety by supplying more oxygen to the brain. Consumer interest in

in Autism Therapies and Treatments by Rachel Andersen

In the center of the huge frenzy the miracle gadget fidget spinner stirred, experts recently revealed that the spinner is nothing more than a regular toy. Fidget spinners have been marketed as easy to carry anxiety-busting gadgets that can aid children and adults with attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADHD) and any type of anxiety disorder.

in Autism News by Rachel Andersen

A study done by Stanford University of Medicine on the use of oxytocin as treatment for children with autism revealed that children with low baseline oxytocin levels exhibited improved social behaviors. The study, which was published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was the first one conducted on how oxytocin baseline levels

in Autism News by Rachel Andersen

Over the years, lack of eye contact from a person diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been mistaken as an indication of lack of empathy or connection with others. This theory began in the 1980s when psychologists Simon Baron-Cohen and Uta Frith indicated that people diagnosed with autism were not capable of using the

in Autism News by Rachel Andersen