Issue 162 - Love, Home and Community


Connections with Karen: Winter - A Time to Nurture Independence
While the weather is chillier and you may be stuck indoors, what better time to help your child with autism to increase their independent living skills?

Karen Kaplan, MS

Autism and Expressing Love: Relationships on the Spectrum
Autistic individuals often have unique ways of showing affection and expressing love.

Rachel Andersen

After the Group Home
One mom writes about her experience five years after putting her autistic son in a group home.
Tiara L. Mays-Sims,MBA

Learn to Love New Foods
Here are three simple steps to equip your child with a mindset to try and enjoy new foods.
Valori Neiger

The Importance of Community Within Autism
Many children with autism don’t partake in community activities. What is the reason, and what resources are available for them and their families?
Sharon Longo, BA

Supporting Siblings of Autistic Children
There are not many support groups for siblings of someone on the spectrum. Read about one group that helps provide that needed support.
Katie Foley

Autism Emotions: Recognizing and Supporting Your Child’s Feelings
Here are some tips so you and your family can recognize and respond to your autistic child’s feelings and emotions.
Donnesa McPherson, AAS

Tips for Dating and Relationships
One individual with autism shares her own tips to help people on the spectrum in different relationships.

Angela Chapes

Success Stories - Renewing Love After Resentment
Here is the first of our Success Stories. This one is written by Kyle Jetsel, a father of six kids. His two middle sons were diagnosed on the autism spectrum. For years, Kyle and his now-deceased wife, Shelly, struggled with raising their sons on the autism spectrum. Here is how this dad found a renewed appreciation for his autistic son.
Kyle Jetsel

Chewing Gum and Raising Two Children with Autism
One father of two autistic sons shares about the stresses of parenting while offering encouragement to others.
Chris Peden

Making a Sensory Safe Evacuation Plan
Having a sensory plan while evacuating during a natural disaster can help relieve stress and facilitate safety and success.
Katie Hamlin-Pacheco, MS, OTR/L

Sleep - Why Won't Anything Work for My Child?
Here are some solutions to help your child (and you) get a restful night’s sleep.

Vicky Cooksley

Helping and Accommodating Your Autistic Child With a Fear of Dogs

If your child is afraid of dogs, find out how to help them feel more comfortable.

Cory Morrison

Back to School
Here is how one mom’s invitation to sit in on her sons’ classes turned into a two-year effort to support them in school.

Rachel Cordasco

Disciplining Your Autistic Child: The Ultimate Guide
Here is a guide to help you determine the best discipline for your autistic child.
Andreas Deolinda, BA, BSc

Autism Through My Lens
When one mother imagined a future scenario for her adult autistic son, she wrote a screenplay to simulate that possibility.

Audrey Todd

Undiagnosed Autism in Adults

What many adults dismissed as their simple rituals, communication issues, and repetitive behaviors might be signs of undiagnosed autism.
Jeremy Brown

Ask Dr. Malcolm

As parents of an autistic child (or adult), you probably have a lot of questions ranging from issues with behavior to how to help them in school or to get a job. Dr. Malcolm is here to help. Read on to see if your concern is the same as many other parents. You can submit your questions here.

Ronald I. Malcolm, EdD

Autism Warrior - Julia Maidman - Baking a Difference
Read about how one woman with autism used her baking skills to help others on the spectrum.

Sharon Longo, BA

Poetry Corner: Mom's Point of View
One mother expresses through poetry what her son might be thinking or feeling from her point of view.

Mary Kangas

Dear Readers,

As snow falls or icy conditions prevail in February, we may feel stuck at home. Many of you might wish you could venture out into the community. If icy winds are blowing, however, you might opt for curling up with a cup of tea, a warm blanket, and a good book instead.

Our theme this month is “Love: Home & Community,” and it’s important to remember that much of the time, our home is our community. Our family members are often our first line of support, so we must consider how we treat those closest to us. While our children may elicit various emotions from within, Donnesa McPherson writes about “Autism Emotions: Recognizing and Supporting Your Child’s Feelings.” As you evaluate this topic, Katie Foley has written about another of equal importance - “Supporting Siblings of Autistic Children.”

Our children with autism will have a lot of relationships that may need our help and support. One we might not think about often is their association with foods. Sometimes, our children write off a type of food or food group like a bad first date. Valori Neiger reminds us how important it is to return to those foods and give them another chance. Tastes change, and our children need to be open to that concept.

As we guide our children to be open to change, we also need to help them increase their independence as much as possible. In Karen Kaplan’s “Connections with Karen” column, she writes about “Winter - A Time to Nurture Independence.” This is so important as our children learn and grow, especially if they will live in a group home one day. Depending on the nature of that home, it might be the start of a whole new adventure, not only for your child but for you, as well. Tiara L. Mays-Sims had written about her experience with this, and her article, “After the Group Home,” follows up on how her son and family are faring five years after that decision.

We also have two new additions to the magazine this month: “Success Stories” and “Ask Dr. Malcolm.” If you have a success story you would like to share, click here to fill out the form and submit it. Maybe your story will be chosen. Also, check out Dr. Ron Malcolm’s new column where readers ask the questions you may be wondering. To submit a question, click here.

While our home is our haven, we might have to evacuate somewhere safer in an emergency, such as a natural disaster. While this might not be something we ever want to think about, planning for such an event, especially with a child with autism, might be the wisest decision we ever make. Read Katie Hamlin-Pacheco’s article “Making a Sensory Safe Evacuation Plan” for some helpful hints and ideas.

As you curl up in your cozy chair with your warm beverage and this month’s issue, remember you’re not stuck inside because of the weather. You’re surrounded by love and community in the place you call home.

Happy Reading! 

Sharon Longo
Autism Parenting Magazine