Connections With Karen: What is so Great About Social Skills, Anyway?
Developing social skills is important for children and adolescents for future success in life.

Karen Kaplan, MS

How Does Autism Affect Social Skills?
As parents there are many questions we ask ourselves when it comes to our children with autism, and we will look at how autism affects social skills.

Donnesa McPherson, AAS

Can Autistic People Drive? Yes, Here's How!
Here’s how your child with autism can learn to drive and be safe on the road.
Rachel Andersen

Why We Must Teach Children With Autism to Swim
Being proactive about water safety can be life-saving for children with autism.
Victor Antunez

Expert Q&A: Peer Relationships and Autism
Here is some advice from an expert in the autism field on peer relationships related to autism.
Donnesa McPherson, AAS

My Autistic Child is a Bully. What Now?
What happens when your child with autism becomes the bully. Here are ten tips to deal with this issue.
Ronald I. Malcolm, EdD

Autism Life Skills: Helping Kids Into Independent Living
How to empower your child with the life skills they need to gain more independence.
Rachel Andersen

Autism Guardianship and Alternative Options to Consider
Autism guardianship is a decision with major repercussions; for some parents, however, it may seem like the only choice offering maximum protection for their almost adult child with developmental disabilities.

Yolande Loftus, BA, LLB

How to Create a Personal Space Social Story
Social stories about personal space can help a person with autism to better understand their personal space boundaries while respecting those of others.
Donnesa McPherson, AAS

5 Benefits of Santa Claus Visiting Your Autistic Child at Home
Sometimes a child with autism is more comfortable visiting with Santa during a home visit instead of the mall.
Mike Facherty

Making the Holidays Easier for Your Autistic Children
How one father helps make the chaotic holiday time a bit easier for his two autistic children.
Jeremy Brown

Our Soul's Journey Back to Love
How one mother discovered autism as a journey back to her own heart.

Melinda Edwards, MD

Is Borderline Autism a Real Diagnosis?

Does autism and the factors that influence its diagnosis determine if borderline autism has a place on the spectrum?

Yolande Loftus, BA, LLB

A Love Letter From My Son’s Teacher
How receiving an email from her son’s teacher made one mom’s day a bit brighter.

Tulika Prasad

Social Pragmatic Communication Disorder vs. Autism - What You Must Know
Some people experience communication struggles that differ from autism spectrum disorder.
Andreas Deolinda

Understanding Differential Reinforcement in Autism
Find out about a technique that rewards good behavior and can change your child’s life by helping them reach target behavior goals.

Rachael Best

What is Trigger Analysis in ABA?

Trigger analysis in ABA (Applied Behavior Analysis) provides a way for negative or challenging behaviors to be identified and observed.
Carol Tatom

Autism Warrior: Every Normal Interaction is a Minefield

How one high school student with autism continues to handle the complexities of socialization.

William Kemler

Poetry Corner - Autism Has Many Sides
A poem about the many changing emotions that go with autism.

Poetry Corner - Redirect

A poem about redirecting an autistic person to help them with behavior struggles.

Mary Kangas

Dear Readers,

We are in the final month of 2023, and while the year may have been challenging at times, there is a lot to be merry about as we gather with loved ones, open presents, and enjoy the magical moments with our children. Our special holiday section of Autism Parenting Magazine is here to make this time of year a bit easier so you can not only survive each event, but appreciate them.
We are excited to announce that we will soon have a new monthly column called “Q&A with Dr. Ron Malcom” where you can ask your questions about autism. While Dr. Ron is not a medical doctor, he can answer all your educational, behavioral, and communication questions about your child. So, ask away! Every month, he will ask some of your questions and give the best advice based on his years of experience.
Click here to submit your questions.
One other change here is our editor, Joshua Carstens, has had an opportunity to become a clinical psychologist, which was his dream. Sharon Longo will be taking over this position and has worked for APM for three years as a writer and copyeditor. She has a BA in English and has been published in numerous other publications, including Fifty Plus Advocate, Pennsylvania Magazine, Catholic Parent Magazine, Our Children National PTA Magazine, NASP Communique, Catechist Magazine, ADAA Reporter, and the NJEA Review. She has written and published a specialty children’s book, My Friend Daniel Doesn’t Talk (Routledge; 1 edition; March 1, 2007), which won the recognition of Highly Commended in the British Medical Association (BMA) Patient Information Awards (Printed Materials). Also an educator with over 18 years of experience, she was named Catholic School Teacher of the Year in 2014. Sharon has a husband and three grown children, one on the spectrum. We’d like to welcome Sharon to this new role.
During December, many people exchange presents, and while giving a physical gift that someone can open is fun, providing something that lasts a lifetime is priceless. Teaching your child social skills will help them make friends and learn to thrive in various situations, especially as they get older. Karen Kaplan asks in her column, “What is so Great About Social Skills, Anyway?” If you attend any holiday parties and are stuck for an icebreaker, you’ll know exactly why these are so important.
Another gift your child will appreciate is your help to empower them with life skills so they can gain independence one day. Rachel Andersen writes about this in “Autism Life Skills: Helping Kids Into Independent Living.” For now, helping your child be independent in different activities is essential, including swimming. In some parts of the world, people are diving into the deep end, whether they live in a warm climate or are just vacationing in one. Victor Antunez writes about “Why We Must Teach Children With Autism to Swim.”

For parents, giving yourself the gift of peace of mind can happen by planning for the future. Take a look at Yolande Loftus’ article, “Autism Guardianship and Alternative Options to Consider,” which deals with planning for when you are no longer present or able to help your child.
Finally, for many, it wouldn’t be December without a visit with Santa. Mike Facherty has written “5 Benefits of Santa Claus Visiting Your Autistic Child at Home” as he provides a wonderful service to families with a child on the autism spectrum.

As you go through the whirlwind of wrapping presents, lighting lights, baking treats, and singing holiday favorites, take a moment to reflect on the past year. Bask in the glow surrounding you, and think about your favorite jolly memories, what a gift it is to share these festive times with your children and family, and cherish those moments of peace.

Happy reading!

Mark Blakey
Autism Parenting Magazine