Issue 53 – Working Toward the Future

Issue 53 - Working Toward the Future

 

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Features:

Expert Advice: Bridging the Gap Between Learning and Living
The founder of Special Travelers, LLC explains why it’s vital families take the lead on bridging the gap for children on the autism spectrum.
Meghan Mulvenna, M.A.O.B.

How to Recognize the Medical Comorbidities of Autism
An autism expert explains how early identification of medical red flags increases the chance for proper intervention, which can prevent chronic health issues and decrease maladaptive behaviors.
Sheri A. Marino, MA, CCC-SLP

 Simple Ways to Help Your Child with ASD Sleep Without Medicine
A pediatric occupational therapist provides an innovative approach to helping a child with autism sleep without the need for medication.
Aditi Srivastava, SROT

Top Ways to Help Your Child with Autism Participate in the Halloween Fun
Quick tips on ways to prepare for Halloween fun with your child with autism.
Gabi Morgan, MS, L-ABA

Taking an Important Look at Autism and Habitual Dysphagia
A university instructor with 30 years experience in medical, clinical, and school-based therapy explains Dysphagia and its connection to autism.  
Marybeth Ames

An Illustration of Love: Two Angels in a White Cadillac
The mother of two boys, one of whom is on the autism spectrum, shares the special moment when she received love and support when she needed it most.
Colette Evangelista

New Support Program Keeps Adults with ASD Happy
An autism advocate with Asperger’s syndrome describes the long-term rewards of support programs for adults with autism.
Robin Flutterby Borakove

Finding A Better Way to Support Young Adults with Special Needs
A mother describes her son’s journey toward gaining independence as he aged out of the educational system and lost its supports and services.
Cathy Johnson

A Message to Special Needs Parents: Dream Often and Dream Big!
Be inspired as a proud parent shares his stepson’s triumphs, including graduating from college.
Nick Malcuit with Nick Zacchio

Giving a Voice to Special Needs Kids Who Cannot Speak
A well-known songwriter and founder/creative director of Kid Pan Alley shares his touching experience creating music with a Baltimore school for children with autism.
Paul Reisler

Excelling in Life with Asperger’s – A Unique Perspective
An educator for more than 24 years and mother to a young adult with autism shares their successful journey together.
Terra Singletary, M.Ed.

Simple Ways to Help Relieve Your Child’s Stress
A pediatric occupational therapist shares an easy way to organize your child’s sensory system, relax, and be better suited to handle life’s stressors.
Amy Smith, OTR/L, M.A.

Special Interactive Program for Kids Encourages Social Skills
A father to twin boys with autism shares his inspiration for developing software which provides research-based animated interactive lessons and encourages real-life social interactions.
Marc Zimmerman

Sit Down and Talk – And Be Prepared to Listen
An author and mother to two children on the spectrum encourages people to get to know people with autism rather than make assumptions.
Marisa Ulrich

Special Needs Training Program Promotes a Life of Productivity and Achievement
Learn about Operation Meaningful Life, a training program that enables people with special needs to live a life of productivity and achievement.
Michael L. Stuart, Ed.S.

This Quirky Life — A Unique Short Story
A retired woman who works with children with autism as a volunteer shares a poignant short story she wrote from an autistic teenager’s perspective.
Wendy Fisher

What’s New on the Bookshelf
Special New Books Highlight Autism and True Friendship
Take a look at two great books by Sheri S. Levy and Steven Manchester, respectively, geared toward young readers that focus on autism, friendships, and unconditional love.
Autism Books

How One Restaurateur Makes Eating Out Autism-Friendly
An inspirational restaurateur has introduced “quality time” dining for those with special needs so everyone can appreciate the pleasure of eating out with family.
Fred Bromwich

New Book Reveals a Unique Autism Perspective
Samantha Craft shares an excerpt from her revealing memoir, Everyday Aspergers, where she openly explores everyday life on the autism spectrum.
Autism Books

Hot Off the Press!
Special Needs Book Partnership Promotes Kindness and Acceptance Initiative
Learn about a new partnership between Geek Club Books, Inc. and Someone Special Uniquely Personalized Books in an effort to educate kids about children with special needs.
Autism News

HELP: How Can I Best Support My Child with Autism During a Divorce?
Expert advice on ways to help a child on the spectrum adjust during a divorce.
Angelina M., MS, BCBA, MFTI

4 Simple Steps to Help Your Child PREP for Social Success
Professional guidance on how you can help your child better connect with peers and develop friendships.
Jamie E. Carter, Ph.D. and Ahna I. O’Shaughnessy, M.A.

How to Help Reduce Challenges for Kids with Autism When Seasons Change
Professional tips on how to prepare your child for wearing things to which he/she may not be inclined when it’s necessary to keep cool or increase protection from the elements.
Sarah Kupferschmidt, MA, BCBA

Can I open an ABLE Account for My Son Now?
Professional advice on ways to create a savings option for a person with special needs, including a downloadable PDF on available ABLE accounts.
Ryan F. Platt, MBA, ChFC, ChSNC

Overnight Oats: A Healthy Start to the Day
A yummy breakfast which can be prepared ahead of time so it’s ready to go in the morning. 
Elouise Robinson, Autism Food Club

 

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Dear Readers,

Over the past few months I have been delighted by the number of graduation announcements and messages I have received from friends beaming with excitement. “It was wonderful to see [my son] walk across the auditorium stage and accept his diploma from the school principal,” emailed one friend whose son with autism recently graduated alongside his class.  Another parent shared with me her daughter’s plans, which include a job training program and part-time work; goals they have worked so hard to reach.  I am thrilled for these families as I am all too aware of their challenges, and the daily commitment they face in ensuring a secure future for their children.

I am also mindful of the countless families who haven’t received the same level of autism support or resources.  As these children transition into adulthood, sadly they find themselves without school-based services.  And too often parents are left scrambling to find new environments and programs to meet changing needs.  So how can families prevent their children from falling through the cracks as they enter adulthood?  It’s an ongoing concern, making this an issue you can’t miss.

Knowing how vital it is to have support at times like these, we reached out to several experts for advice. First, we introduce you to Meghan Mulvenna, founder of Special Travelers, LLC.  In her piece, Expert Advice: Bridging the Gap Between Learning and Living, Meghan explains why it’s critical for families to take the lead on bridging the gap for children on the spectrum, and offers her tips on ways to take that first step;  her guidance is sure to make a difference.

Second, we want to introduce you to Michael L. Stuart, an autism parent and educator with 35 years experience.  When it was time for Michael’s 24-year old son, Aaron, to transition to the workplace, he was not able to find a job.  Motivated to prepare his son, diagnosed with severe autism, Michael created Operation Meaningful Life, a program that helps people with special needs to get suitable training.  Please take a look at his piece, Special Needs Training Program Promotes a Life of Productivity and Achievement, and read how Michael’s inspirational program is changing so many lives.

We also have a piece from Robin Flutterby Borakove entitled New Support Program Keeps Adults with ASD Happy.  An autism advocate diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, Robin has created a program to help adults with autism who have lost their vital, care-giving parents.  Her concept is to partner people with varying needs so they can support one another; it’s an appealing notion which promotes both friendship and the possibility for independence.

One of our regular contributors, Nick Malcuit has provided a poignant piece this month, called A Message to Special Needs Parents: Dream Often and Dream Big! As the stepparent to two young men with autism, Nick shares a few of his eldest stepson’s journal entries (with permission) which highlight his journey toward success; from learning to drive to graduating from college, this young man’s personal account is sure to inspire.

The ability to provide the autism community with expert guidance is a top priority here at Autism Parenting Magazine.  We often hear from parents who are at their wits end when it comes to bedtime.  If this is a challenge in your household, please read Aditi Srivastava’s piece called Simple Ways to Help Your Child with ASD Sleep Without Medicine. Aditi is a pediatric occupational therapist who provides an innovative approach toward helping your child sleep.

Does your child with autism have issues with feeding and/or swallowing? You may be interested in Marybeth Ames’ article called Taking an Important Look at Autism and Habitual Dysphagia as the university instructor with decades of experience in medical, clinical, and school-based therapy, explains this habitual swallowing dysfunction and its connection to autism.  

As you probably know, finding ways to calm and relieve everyday pressures can be a challenge for kids with autism.  In an effort to make change, we connected with pediatric occupational therapist Amy Smith and she shared her creative Calming Cookie Dough concept, which only requires the use of a therapy ball.  Please take a look at Simple Ways to Help Relieve Your Child’s Stress for an inexpensive way to organize your child’s sensory system, relax, and be better suited to handle life’s stressors.

Speaking of stress, is the thought of donning a costume and heading door-to-door collecting candy this month a little overwhelming for your child?  Please take a look at Gabi Morgan‘s Top Ways to Help Your Child with Autism Participate in the Halloween Fun if your child wants to take part but is a little apprehensive.

If you’re in search of an inspirational read, be sure to take a look at our selection of personal narratives written by readers like you.  In An Illustration of Love: Two Angels in a White Cadillac, Colette Evangelista describes how a near tragedy miraculously turned into renewed optimism.  Another beautifully written piece was provided by Terra Singletary, an educator and mother to a young adult with autism.  Her tender account of their connection and journey in Excelling in Life with Aspergers – A Unique Perspective, is sure to warm your heart.

Wishing you the love, guidance, and support your family needs as you prepare for the future.

Kind regards,

Amy KD Tobik
Editor-in-Chief

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