“What do you want to be when you grow up?” This question is first posed to youngsters before they even reach first grade and continues in some form for years to come. Those words can make parents of children with autism cringe. We are not sure what lies ahead for our children in the years

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in Transitioning to Adulthood by Lisa Lane and Susan Sachs

An autism mom shares her son’s journey to adulthood and provides suggestions for other parents of children on the spectrum.  When my son, John, was diagnosed with autism at age three, all my focus was on early intervention and educational goals that would hopefully prepare him for a regular school setting. Once he entered the

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in Transitioning to Adulthood by Dottie Davis

As parents, we are naturally protective of our children at every stage of their life, but some of the toughest years are when a child reaches adolescence, and in my opinion, this is particularly challenging for parents of young girls. It is likely a preteen/teenage girl on the autism spectrum may have a more difficult

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in Transitioning to Adulthood by Kendra Pitman Smith

From cooking to cleaning, find out how you can teach your child with autism the necessary skills for everyday life. I am often asked when parents should start preparing their children and young adults with autism for launching into independence. The simple answer is now. The longer answer: it is never too early to start

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in Transitioning to Adulthood by Sara Colorosa, PhD

Here are 13 effective ways to support an autistic college student, suitable for implementation by parents and teachers alike. 1. Study autism The more you know about autism, the better equipped you’ll be to make informed decisions for your child or students. Ask questions and educate yourself about different treatment options. Both parents and teachers

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in Transitioning to Adulthood by Ashley Simmons

As a child, Tiffany Fixter gravitated towards helping people with special needs and desired to be a teacher, so she went on to attend Northwest Missouri State University, earning a degree in Elementary Education and then a master’s in Special Education/Autism Spectrum Disorders from University of Kansas. For the next seven years, Tiffany taught students

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in Transitioning to Adulthood by Ron Sandison

If you researched the definition for the word “superhero,” you would find many explanations ranging from fictional to non-fictional characters. My personal definition would include the non-fictional characters. My husband would top that list for many reasons, but the two superheroes I would like to share with you today are my two sons. My son

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in Transitioning to Adulthood by Teresia Dulaney

While parents in general might spend time worrying about what their child’s college major will be, parents of children with autism and other differences are focused on where and how their children are going to live. Today, there are a greater number of students living with significant disabilities and residing at home with their families

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in Transitioning to Adulthood by Karen Kaplan, MS

All children grow up. No diagnosis stops puberty in its tracks. No person, regardless of his/her abilities and needs, has immunity from the raging hormones of teenage years. Society has a tendency to label individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) as being asexual, without sexual desire, or infantile. Although this is the case for some

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in Transitioning to Adulthood by Rachel Schwartz, PhD, BCBA-D

They say it takes a village to raise a child, but in the case of a student with special needs, it takes an IEP (Individualized Education Plan) team. At the age of 16, students with an IEP are considered part of the team. They are expected to attend their educational meetings and advocate for themselves.

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in Transitioning to Adulthood by Crystal Gallagher

Once a student graduates or ages out of the school system, the support and structure the system once offered is no longer available. The completion of high school is a time of excitement for a young and his/her family but also can be scary. Many individuals with autism struggle with change and the transition from

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in Transitioning to Adulthood by Claudia Wenger, MS, BCBA

As a pediatric endocrinologist, this is an area of my expertise in my daily work. The early changes of puberty usually occur between the ages of 9 to 13 years. They are noticeable in girls by the budding of breasts and then pubic hair, with menstrual periods starting between 11 to 14 years of age.

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in Transitioning to Adulthood by Professor May Ng, MBBS (Hons), FHEA, FRCPCH, MSc, LLM, PhD

Because more adults on the spectrum are giving voice to their experiences now than in the past, those of us with younger children on the spectrum are benefiting from their wisdom and advice. The biggest take away I have from what I read and see by these adults is that being an adult on the

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We entered through the glass doors and were swept along with the crowd up escalators, down long hallways lined with multicolored fluorescent light tubes hung as art. People walked in pairs, groups of three, parents with their teens, groups of teens. We walked down a tunnel lined with pink and yellow glass through which we

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in Transitioning to Adulthood by Wendy McGuire, MSW, RSW, PhD

Menstruation can be a scary and overwhelming experience, especially for young people on the autism spectrum. As a woman diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, I know how imperative it is to provide the right information to parents and autistic young people to help alleviate some of the uncertainty surrounding menstruation. I spent more than two years

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in Transitioning to Adulthood by Robyn Steward

As parents, we all want to have the best possible relationship with our children. Teen years can be particularly difficult, especially when your teen is on the spectrum. And no matter how much advice we get from the professionals, it is still hard to accept some of the behavioral traits of our Aspie teens. It

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in Transitioning to Adulthood by Shelly Willoughby

Most parents of teens tell me they are not ready for their baby to date!  No question, their teens are curious, developing sexually in a typical manner (thank you, puberty), wondering/anxious about dating, and are truly considering the possibility of dating.  Before we get to the horrors and anxieties of dating, let’s recall some of

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in Transitioning to Adulthood by Rachel Bédard, PhD

My son Ryan entered puberty way ahead of schedule, and I was caught by surprise scrambling to create strategies to help navigate his increased need for a basic daily hygiene regimen. What I needed was a buy-in from him: a plan to get Ry excited about cleanliness and a method to point him down the

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in Transitioning to Adulthood by Kimberly Reeves, MEd

David Petrovic, my son, is a 24-year-old middle school teacher with autism and Tourette syndrome who graduated cum laude and loved his college experience. He and I joined forces and found what worked for him. Seeking to help others in their same quest, David and I have co-authored our life journey and have evolved to

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in Transitioning to Adulthood by Sandy Petrovic

Dear Rob, I have an 18-year-old teen daughter who has stopped talking to us, her parents, and has become socially isolated. She graduated from high school and is taking a gap year. I feel desperate and we must rely on ourselves to help her because we can’t afford professional help. — Marlene Dear Marlene: This

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in Transitioning to Adulthood by Rob Bernstein

As the years have progressed in my career working with children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their families, I have had the privilege to work with more and more teenagers. I have met some remarkable young men and women with autism who have taught me a lot, and I have had the honor of

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in Transitioning to Adulthood by Sarah Kupferschmidt, MA, BCBA

My name is James Link. I am 21 years old and was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) twice. My mom wanted these two different diagnoses so we would be better able to plan for my education and future. The diagnostic process was very different both times. My mom suspected that I had autism because

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As a parent of a teen or young adult on the autism spectrum, you have probably had to focus most of your attention on getting all the pieces in place to ensure your student has a successful transition. Whether your son or daughter is going to college, entering the workplace, or learning to live independently,

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in Transitioning to Adulthood by Sharona Sommer, CPC

I am a single dad raising my autistic daughter. Can you give me any advice on educating her and helping her navigate puberty and her menstrual cycle? I’m lost!  —Tony Hey Tony, I first want to applaud you for understanding the importance of helping guide your daughter through this transition into womanhood! All girls need

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in Transitioning to Adulthood by Angelina M., MS, BCBA, LMFT

Life is filled with challenges for all of us, and for kids on the spectrum, the challenges can be even more difficult.  As anyone who has experience with the spectrum knows, we often concern ourselves with education and social interaction as main goals for helping our kids.  After all, life is made up of one

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in Transitioning to Adulthood by Lt. Joseph Pangaro, CPM, CSO, MOI

Taking care of a child with autism can be demanding physically, emotionally, and psychologically, but we as parents need to realize that our duty to our children is to nurture and protect them from external and internal hazardous stimuli.  The more time we take to care for and understand our children, the less demanding our

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in Transitioning to Adulthood by Freda McEwen, LLM

An interview with Dr. Tony Attwood, Ph.D. AS/ASD expert In a previous article for Autism Parenting Magazine, I addressed erasing the prejudice of violence associated with individuals on the autism spectrum.  Although it is important to erase that growing prejudice, I mentioned that it would be negligent not to discuss the possibility of special interests

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in Transitioning to Adulthood by Rev. Stephanie C. Holmes, MA, BCCC

Fifteen-year-old Chris Furches is an accomplished motocross racer indoors and out. At the age of 10, Chris got his first ATV. It was a gift from his grandparents and it was obvious he was a natural talent on it. A year later he saw his first MX race and asked if he could try racing.

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in Transitioning to Adulthood by Megan Brown

ASD Options for Living Independently by Megan Kelly Today there are more options than ever before for adults and young adults living independently with autism. Programs and centers have opened in many different places across the United States, giving many people access to their benefits, assistance, and services. The programs focus on helping adults of

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in Transitioning to Adulthood by Megan Kelly

Leslie: So we are here today with Janet Grillo, and she is the writer, director and producer of the independent film, “Fly Away”. The movie explores the relationship between a mother and her teenage autistic daughter. The film has attained some rave reviews so far. Thank you for joining us today Janet! Janet Grillo: Well,

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in Transitioning to Adulthood by Leslie Burby