Issue 77 - Achieving Better Health with ASD

Autism Parenting Magazine – Issue 77BuySingleIssueBuy Single Issue


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Back to School Advice for Parents With Kids on the Spectrum
The CEO of Jaden’s Voice and mother to a child with autism gives proactive tips on ways to make school transitions easier for both you and your child.
Terri Matthews

How to Plan a Great Trip to Disney World With Special Needs
Learn easy ways to navigate the Disney parks provided by a travel and business writer who has two children on the autism spectrum.
Samantha McNesby

Simple Ways You Can Create a Beautiful Sensory Garden
Follow these steps for creating a therapy garden filled with plants, herbs, and flowers targeting the senses to increase cognition, communication, and physical activity this summer.
Chelsea Stefani

How Can Assistive Technology Benefit People With Autism?
Learn about a continuum of assistive technology supports that can allow people with special needs to access educational materials, environments, and experiences.
Alescia Ford-Lanza, MS, OTR/L, ATP

Routine Exercise: Achieving Better Health With Autism
A health expert gives great advice on why routine exercise is key to maintaining a healthy lifestyle with autism.
Joshua Garrin, PhD, CPT, CHC

So, Your Child Was Diagnosed With Autism…Now What?
A registered nurse, author, and public speaker shares her practical experience raising a son on the autism spectrum.
Sandy Petrovic, RN, BSN

Can Colors Influence Learning Abilities for Kids With Autism?
Learn how color preference can influence learning abilities in children with autism and ways a new app can help minimize sensory overload.
Lio Chon Fu, MD

Life With ASD: Hurry Up and Slow Down Already
A mother of a young man with autism shares her insight on the dangers of using a child’s diagnosis as an explanation for all behaviors.
Gail Morton

Should Concern for Your Child With Autism Limit a Rewarding Life?
Read this personal advice on what to do when parental instinct starts to inhibit your child’s personal growth and development from an award-winning motivational speaker, poet, author, and autism advocate.
Russell Lehmann

ASD MarketplaceNew Insoles Stimulate Feet So You Can Fidget, Focus, and Concentrate
Learn about a product called Aloha Feet that can provide sensory input or give a much-needed yet discreet foot massage.

A Special Life Bond – The Wind Beneath My Wings
A mother describes the loving relationship she shares with her son with autism whom she calls the most amazing blessing of her life.
Tara Brigham

Five Tips to Help Make Summer Trips Exciting With Special Needs
Learn great ways to help your child stay grounded throughout the chaos that often ensues during the summer months from an autism advocate with a young son diagnosed with autism.
Rebecca M. Jenkins, BA

Poetry Corner: Where Are Your Words?
Madeleine Cotterill

HELP! I Don’t Know How to Handle Inertia With Autism
Get top advice on ways to help young children improve their motor planning, which may help with inertia.
Kelly Beins, BHSc, OTR/L

Love Is a Language That Knows No Verbal Boundaries
A single mom shares how she overcame homelessness and discovered a new strength from her severely autistic and nonverbal son.
Ashley Bursian

Healthy Play Diets: The Best Way to Set Limits on Screen TimeThe founder and president of LearningWorks for Kids provides great ways for children with ASD to learn to regulate screen time while enjoying other types of activities.Randy Kulman, PhD

What’s New on the Bookshelf? New Memoir Shows Drive Can Be Stronger Than a Diagnosis
Michael Haigwood Goodroe’s heartfelt memoir traces the turbulent journey he faced growing up with autism as well as the many triumphs.

Author Spreads Autism Understanding All Over the World
Learn the inspiration behind a special book adapted from the film The Wayang Kids that invites readers into the inner world of a 10-year-old boy with autism who has a curiosity for life.
Eva Wong Nava

How to Develop a Sense of Safety Through Touch With Autism
A Shiatsu and acupuncture practitioner explains how providing a sense of boundaries and personal space can often help people with autism open up.
Tal Badehi

What’s New on the Bookshelf?Charming New Book About Autism Creates a United Front for All
Katy Fontenot Miller’s illustrated book creates autism awareness, understanding, and acceptance while uniting everyone who is blessed to know someone on the spectrum.

Simple Ways Parents and Professionals Can Help Children With ASD
Learn great tips from a developmental psychologist and the head of SEN at Pathways School in India on ways parents and professionals can help children with autism as well as themselves.
Sonu Khosla

What’s New on the Bookshelf? Delightful Book Creates a Better Understanding of Autism
Read about Chrissie Kahan’s delightful story about a cat named Sassy who struggles to act like the other kittens due to characteristics that represent Asperger’s syndrome.

An Exclusive Look at AUTISM With Jennifer Thomas-Goering
An author and motivational speaker interviews Jennifer Thomas-Goering, a full-time anesthesiologist who was inspired to start a beverage purse business to carry water and dye-free juice for her children.
Derrick Hayes

What’s New on the Bookshelf? New Book Provides Encouragement to Special Needs Families
Laurie Rubin-Haber’s upbeat story centers on her son’s autism journey and the love and compassion received from family and community that led to an extraordinary young man.

Autism Warrior: Angeline Francis KhooLuxury Designer Empowers People With Special Needs With Training And Jobs
Meet the founder of Rosie On Fire, Angeline Francis Khoo, who founded a high fashion kimono company that provides opportunities to people with special needs often overlooked in the job market.

How Macroeconomic Changes Can Impact People With Special Needs
Learn how economic changes can have unintentional consequences on individual family planning for someone with special needs.
Ryan F. Platt, MBA, ChFC, ChSNC

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Dear Readers,

How do you define good health for a child with autism? Is it the absence of pain or illness? Is it getting your picky eater to eat right and maintain a healthy weight? Are you able to squeeze in enough time for exercise and family activities during the week?

Finding daily balance as a parent can be a challenge, especially when you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day to focus on every aspect of health. Knowing this, we have taken an all-encompassing approach this month toward attaining good health, to include the body, the mind, and the spirit of a child.

Studies have long indicated individuals on the autism spectrum are at an increased risk for a variety of co-occurring health issues, including anxiety, depression, sleeplessness, as well as obesity. That’s why we were thrilled to connect with Joshua Garrin, PhD, CPT, CHC, a personal trainer and health coach withexpertise working with people on the spectrum. He has developed a three-part series for us on ways to attain and maintain health with autism. Over the next few months, Joshua will share his recommendations using an inclusive approach to exercise. Take a look at his first article in the exclusive series, Routine Exercise: Achieving Better Health With Autism, as Joshua explains the physical, psychological, neuroendocrine, and sensorimotor benefits of exercise. His advice will likely help your entire family.

We all know the important role senses play when it comes to autism spectrum disorder (ASD). A high percentage of people with autism have difficulty processing everyday sensory information affecting daily life. Chelsea Stefani, who has spent time professionally on a farm working with teens and young adultswith autism, suggests families turn to nature to fulfill children’s spiritual, psychological, and physical needs. Take a look at her piece, Simple Ways You Can Create a Beautiful Sensory Garden, as Chelsea provides steps for creating a therapy garden filled with plants, herbs, and flowers targeting the senses to increase cognition, communication, and physical activity. What a perfect project for your family this summer, whether you choose to plant your garden outside, or inside on a smaller scale.

Has controlling screen time become an issue in your household? Are you hesitant to set limits on the iPad? Finding that daily balance is vital as experts say children with autism are especially vulnerable to technology addiction. Spending too much time playing video games or on social media and the Internet can cause hyperarousal and dysregulation. Randy Kulman, PhD, the founder and president of LearningWorks for Kids, believes the best method for moderating screen time for kids is a proactive approach which includes opportunities for physical, social, creative, and unstructured play in addition to digital play using video games to teach executive-functioning and academic skills. For tips on how children with ASD can learn to regulate screen time while enjoying other types of activities, take a look at Randy’s piece, Healthy Play Diets: The Best Way to Set Limits on Screen Time.

Spending time together as a family or with friends can play an integral part in healthy living as well. It can be tough, however, to find activities everyone in the family can do together while adapting to special needs. New people, sounds, smells, and activities can overwhelm many children with autism, but there are steps you can take to make your outing go more smoothly.

If you are looking for advice on ways to help your child throughout the chaos that can arise during the summer months, turn to the article Five Tips to Help Make Summer Trips Exciting With Special Needs as Rebecca M. Jenkins, BA, shares terrific ways to help your child stay at ease. As the mother of a child with autism, she has gathered great ideas over the years to help make summer outings and trips go more smoothly for the entire family. Rebecca’s perspective is unique as she, too, is on the spectrum, so she identifies with the challenges and rewards of finding new ways for her family to connect.

Millions of people head to the Walt Disney World parks during the summer months, so we asked Samantha McNesby, a travel and business writer who has two children on the autism spectrum, to share easy ways to navigate the trip with special needs. Planning ahead for meals, securing a Disability Access Service (DAS) pass, and picking your sensory-friendly attractions ahead of time can help your family make the most of your summer trip.

With a new school year just around the corner, we have also included a piece this month on ways to make transitioning to a new environment easier for both you and your child. For practical advice, check out Terri Matthews’ supportive piece called Back-to-School Advice for Parents With Kids on the Spectrum. Through simple planning and accommodations, your child can have a happy and healthy first day—and so can you!

Be sure to take a look at our other informative pieces this month, from an article on ways to handle inertia and improve motor planning, to a piece on ways assistive technology supports can allow people access to educational materials, environments, and experiences. We also have an excellent article by a financial advisor on how economic changes can have unintentional consequences on individual family planning for someone with special needs.

Please feel free to reach out to us with topics you would like to learn more about. Together we form an exceptional autism community that will meet today’s and tomorrow’s challenges.

Have a great summer.

Kind regards,
Amy KD Tobik

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