Turning Your ASD Child's Interests Into Passions
Read about how parents and carers can help foster a child’s interests into lifelong passions.
Annette Nuñez, PhD, LMFT

The Long Road to Connecting Mother and Daughter With ASD
Discover how a project that helped bring mother and daughter together eventually led to excellent work opportunities.

Swathi Chettipally

How to Incorporate Technology to Build a Lifetime of Skills
Learn ways to integrate technology into your child’s learning via parent coaching and video prompting.
Elisa Cruz-Torres, EdD, BCBA-D

Ways to Gain Independence With Autism Through Travel
Learn how travel training helped a man with autism attain independence and inspired him to assist others.
Alex Manners

How to Create a Calming Bedroom for a Child With ASD
Learn how a sensory scrapbook can unite you and your child and serve as a lifelong reference when attempting to create a comforting space.
Katharine Walker

7 Ways to Help Your Child Self-Regulate With Autism

Learn simple techniques to integrate self-regulation into your child’s daily routine

Judith Wilkinson

Helping First Responders Better Understand Autism
Find out how you can assist emergency personnel in better understanding autism and how to safely interact with people on the spectrum.
Karen Kaplan

The IEP Process: 5 Tips for Success
Learn ways to participate and make an informed decision when preparing your child’s Individualized Education Program.

Laurie Wellner, EdD

Dreaming of a Neurodiverse Utopia
Join a noted psychologist in her imaginings of a better world for the autism community and what criteria need to be met to make it happen.

Rachel Bédard, PhD

Top Ways to Approach Time Management When Life Becomes Overwhelming With ASD
Learn how your family can prioritize to help build daily balance and reduce stress.
Sara R. Colorosa, PhD

The Rewards of Gardening Therapy for Kids on the Autism Spectrum
Learn how the hands-on activity of gardening can help your child engage in a variety of feelings and emotions that can yield centered and satisfying results.
Amy Wagenfeld, PhD, OTR/L, SCEM, FAOTA

Non-Verbal Autism: His Conversations Are Mine
Experience a mom’s thought process as she reflects on a 15-minute conversation with her son in the grocery store.
Kristina Radicia

What’s New on the Bookshelf?
Delightful New Book Helps Kids Reduce Social Anxiety

Meet Herman Jiggle, Julia Cook’s charming tongue-tied character, as he learns new ways to curb his social anxiety.

A Life-Changing Musical Journey With ASD

Find out how the power of musical creativity can reduce anxiety and evoke confidence.

Shayne Grey

Changing Lives Through Equine Therapy
Learn how the application of equine therapy has helped children with autism grow and develop into more confident versions of themselves.

Jill Dorsey Mansor

Powering Productivity: Enabling Employment for People With ASD Through Tech
Read on to learn how different tech resources can help those with autism break into the world of independent employment.
Dave Thompson

Poetry Corner: Frustration

Rachel Alexander

Poetry Corner: To All the Mothers 

Meshell Baylor

Autism and The Great American Family Vacation

Review the difficulties of taking children on family vacations while learning some tips and tricks for making things easier for everyone.

Geege Taylor

When Your Child With Autism Starts Adulting

Delight in one mom’s journey as she reviews the highs and lows of her children’s transitions into adulthood.

Ginger Strivelli

Zach’s Story: A Wonderful Work in Progress

See how a mom’s perception of autism has improved and encouraged personal growth thanks to her experiences with her son.

Kim Dailey

An Exclusive Look at AUTISM with Jill Gambill

Meet a dynamic working autism parent who has a very strong relationship with her son.

Derrick Hayes

Poetry Corner: Autism Has Many Faces

Mary Kangas

Managing the 529 Plan When a Child Cannot Continue Education

Read how you, as a parent, can safely transfer your 529 college plan into an account that best complements your child’s future.

Ryan F. Platt, MBA, ChFC, ChSNC

Dear Readers,

It’s always gratifying to witness the excitement National Autism Awareness Month and World Autism Awareness Day (April 2nd) bring to families worldwide. There are various ways people can get involved, including autism awareness programs, conferences, and fundraising events. And with millions of people diagnosed with autism around the world, opportunities to improve knowledge, understanding, and acceptance deserve to be applauded.

I saw a flyer the other day offering a sensory-friendly storytime at my local library. To me, that piece of paper spelled significant progress. I also noticed that the local city ballet and children’s theater both offer special performances with dimmed lights, headphones and fidget toys for those with sensory disorders. Not only do children on the spectrum benefit from attending events that accommodate their needs, but opportunities like this introduce the greater public to autism. I’m hoping people not familiar with autism will be inspired to learn more. And when more people understand, the more people with autism will gain well-deserved respect. As a community, we need to build on this.

I asked nationally recognized autism advocate and civil rights attorney Areva Martin if she, too, has seen a positive shift in awareness and inclusion over the years. As the mother of a teenager on the autism spectrum, Areva well knows the challenges of bringing up a child with special needs. She said, “I definitely think there has been a shift in terms of awareness as evidenced by national media campaigns, inclusion of the topic on the Democratic presidential debate stage, and the recent autism bill signed by [President Donald] Trump. All of these are positive developments for the autism community.” And she agreed we need to maintain this momentum, adding, “There is still much work to be done in terms of inequities with respect to diagnosis, treatment, and services for low income and underserved communities.”

Do you find it difficult to balance this autism journey? For autism families knee-deep in daily life, it’s not about finding a cure; it’s about early diagnosis and intervention. It’s about introducing the greater community to autism to gain a better understanding of the needs of ALL people. And it’s about finding reliable autism resources and assistance. Don’t worry—we can help.

An autism diagnosis is different for everyone, which can make finding the right therapy and solutions for a child with autism more challenging. Have you ever considered equine therapy? Jill Dorsey Mansor, the owner of Raise Your Dreams Farm, says equine therapy can help a child with autism reach physical, psychological, cognitive, behavioral, or communication goals. Look at her piece Changing Lives Through Equine Therapy to learn how equine therapy has helped children with autism grow and develop confidence.

Amy Wagenfeld, PhD, OTR/L, SCEM, FAOTA, says gardening offers numerous therapeutic rewards for kids with autism, including improved sensory, olfactory, tactile, and fine motor skills. As principal of an organization working with designers to create therapeutic landscapes, Amy illustrates in her piece The Rewards of Gardening Therapy for Kids on the Autism Spectrum the exciting ways you can engage your child using nature.

Have you considered the ways tablets, smartphones, and their accompanying apps can be used as tools to help children with ASD build essential skills? According to Elisa Cruz-Torres, EdD, BCBA-D, the use of visual supports has proven to help kids with autism with task completion, and advancements in technology have provided various options for creating these supports. Read How to Incorporate Technology to Build a Lifetime of Skills to discover ways to integrate technology into your child’s learning via parent coaching and video prompting.

Is time management an issue in your household? Today’s families have so many commitments and outside pressures—it’s no wonder life becomes overwhelming at times. If you want to learn to prioritize and build daily balance while reducing stressors, read Top Ways to Approach Time Management When Life Becomes Overwhelming With ASD written by Sara R. Colorosa, PhD.

Five years ago, I wrote an article about an extraordinary young woman named Siri Chettipally and her mother, Swathi. Twenty-two years old at the time, Siri had recently discovered a talent for creating handmade jewelry and was garnering the attention of fellow artists. With minimal social and language skills, Siri found working with her hands a rewarding way to express herself. But the road was not an easy one. As many autism families discover, the transition to adulthood can be a struggle. To learn how a business venture helped bring a mother and daughter together, read Swathi’s very personal piece, The Long Road to Connecting Mother and Daughter With ASD. Their story is inspirational.

Our writers have tackled many significant topics for us this month such as how to make informed decisions when preparing your child’s Individualized Education Program (IEP), how to create a sensory scrapbook when designing a sensory-friendly bedroom, and how different tech resources can help those with autism break into the world of independent employment. You will also want to read the piece on how you can help first responders better understand autism. This article can benefit people all over the world.

It takes everyone—families, teachers, doctors, friends—to advocate for understanding, acceptance, and inclusion. No matter how big or how small your contribution is, be a voice for change.

Kind regards,

Amy KD Tobik