When I think of April, my thoughts immediately go to the vast number of families celebrating National Autism Awareness Month (NAAM). It’s an excellent time to educate about autism, promote awareness and acceptance and reach out to families affected by Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). With more than two million individuals diagnosed with ASD in the United States and tens of millions worldwide, the need for awareness, support and inclusive services are so vital.
As families participate in national initiatives, concerts, walks, conferences and local parties, they not only connect with others affected by ASD, but they also have a chance to see the possibilities. Be sure to find a way to participate in a program in your area as it will provide you with an excellent opportunity to meet people within the autism community as well as give you a chance to share experiences and perhaps, lend support.
This month’s issue is dedicated to an important theme: Striving for Independence. From daily life strategies and effective therapies to educational and long-term financial advice, the more information you seek, the better prepared you and your family will be for the future.
One of the highlights this month is a personal interview with Temple Grandin, a prominent animal expert and advocate for autistic populations. Diagnosed at age two with autism and unable to speak until the age of four, Grandin blossomed into a celebrated academic, author and speaker. She attributes much of her success to her family’s support and a no nonsense approach toward parenting. Today, Grandin is a strong advocate for giving children on the spectrum the essential training and structure they need to develop and grow. Be sure to read “Helping Your Autistic Child Soar — An Exclusive Interview with Temple Grandin” as Temple shares her concerns and advice regarding young people on the spectrum who may not be acquiring much-needed life skills.
We are also thrilled to share longtime Autism Specialist Bill Nason’s piece called, “Can My Child Ever Learn to Live on His Own?” Bill provides excellent advice on helping children take the steps toward independent living through very structured learning, repetition, and functional task learning.
We are excited to share the tender story of California couple Jaimie Houghtelin, who is on the spectrum, and Tim Holt, who is developmentally disabled. This loving couple has been able to balance jobs and marriage with the assistance of Supported Living Services. You are sure to be touched by the sentiment in “Love at First Sight – Making Romance Work When on the Spectrum” by Catherine Spearnak.
Personal narratives play a vital part in Autism Parenting Magazine as they well represent the autism community. We believe a large number of readers will relate to Lisa Fish Smith’s piece called, “To the Girls Who Mocked my Son in the Mall.” This open letter was written by the mother of seven children (two of whom are on the spectrum) to five girls who mocked her autistic son during a visit to the mall. The letter represents the compassion we aspire to develop among people of all ages.
We are also happy to introduce Brenda Dater, the author of Parenting without Panic: A Pocket Support Group for Parents of Children and Teens on the Autism Spectrum. As the mother to three boys, Brenda is also the Director of Child and Teen Services at Asperger/Autism Network where she teaches workshops, facilitates support groups and provides consultations. Her piece, called “Dear Grandma and Grandpa – A Plea for Understanding,” is skillfully written from a grandchild’s perspective asking family members for consideration and acceptance.
One aspect I have always found gratifying over my past 25 years in publishing is the interaction developed through interviews. I personally believe everyone has something significant to share —a story to tell. It was especially rewarding for me to connect with Shanté Harris-Superville, a remarkable mother who helps families affected by autism through several nonprofit organizations she has spearheaded such as F.A.C.E. (Facing Autism with Children Everywhere) and F.A.C.E.’s Place Respite Care Center. In the feature, “Supermom Shanté Harris-Superville — Putting a FACE to Autism,” we learn about the extraordinary impact she has made in her community. Shanté’s efforts are sure to inspire.
Wishing you a rewarding month filled with continued education, awareness and acceptance.
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Amy KD Tobik
Issue 32 Features
- Helping Your Autistic Child Soar — An Exclusive Interview with Temple Grandin by Amy KD Tobik
- To the Girls Who Mocked My Son in the Mall by Lisa Fish Smith
- The Els Center Of Excellence State-of-the-Art Autism Center on Track for Completion this Summer Press Release
- Love at First Sight – Making Romance Work When on the Spectrum by Cathy Spearnak
- Dressing For Success with Sensory Processing Difficulties by Susan Donohoe, OTR/L
- How Can Autism Affect Your Child’s Ability to Learn in the Classroom? by Jeannie Davide-Rivera
- Dear Grandma and Grandpa – A Plea for Understanding by Brenda Dater
- Supermom ShantéHarris-Superville —Putting a FACE to Autism by Amy KD Tobik
- Can My Child Ever Learn to Live on His Own? by Bill Nason, MS, LLP
- Gardening Fosters Growth for Young Adults on the Spectrum by Diane Blazek
- 10 Tips to Help Young Adults with Autism Transition into the Workforce by Linda Mastroianni, Certified Life Coach
- 5 Tips for Using a Public Restroom with Your Autistic Child by Sarah Kupferschmidt
- I Know What Causes Autism by Carrie Cariello
- How Do I Know if My Child Needs a Guardian? by Ryan F. Platt, MBA, ChFC, ChSNC
- My Boy’s Beautiful Brain by Kim McCafferty
- Help: My Child Disrobes at School by Angelina McDonald, MS, BCBA, MFTI
- Savory Mince by Elouise Robinson, Autism Food Club
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