Three Amazing Ways Mindfulness Can Impact Special Needs Parenting
Discover ways to reduce daily stress as a parent by slowing down and thoughtfully taking in moments as they happen.
Emily Daniels, MSW, RP, MEd

2018 APM Awards: Celebrating Our Terrific Autism Community Today and Tomorrow
Meet 16 writers who earned special honors for their outstanding contributions to Autism Parenting Magazine over the past year.
Amy KD Tobik

What Are Your Child's Rights When It Comes to the Use of Restraint?
Find out how to determine if your state has legislation, regulatory guidance, or policy in place regarding restraint and seclusion use in schools to include information on rights you might have as a parent.
Brian M. Conners, EdS, BCBA

Simple New App Manages the Care of Complex Disorders
Learn how this innovative app can help track and manage the care of complex multi-system brain-based disorders.
Malekeh Amini, MBA

What Role Can Faith Play in Your Autism Journey?
Be inspired by a family therapist and grandmother of a young boy with autism as she offers words of encouragement for families during their autism journeys.
Stephanie Murphy, LMFT

The Best Ways to Help People Autism Manage Anxiety
Learn strategies to help support people with autism as they deal with different types of anxiety.

Connie Persike, MS, CCC/SLP

Ways the Forest School Approach Can Help Kids With Autism Grow
Learn how a woodland education approach can help a child develop confidence and self-esteem through hands-on learning.

Michael James

Top 10 Ways to Develop a Better Relationship With Your Aspie Teen
Find out how to better understand a teen with Asperger's syndrome and improve rapport.
Shelly Willoughby

Poetry Corner: Every Day
Rachel Alexander

How to Find the Right Social Skills Group for Your Child
Find out four important points to consider when looking for a supportive social skills group for a child diagnosed with autism.
Mallory Griffith, MA, CCC-SLP

How Netflix's Atypical Raises Awareness On The Different
A reader shares her thoughts on a TV series that shows the complexities of autism and has the potential to
increase awareness.
Maria Karvouni

An Exclusive Look at AUTISM With Belinda Lerner
An exclusive interview with the executive director for the NFL Player Care Foundation and vice president of NFL Alumni Affairs and Retired Player Programs, who is also the proud mother of Ben, diagnosed with autism.
Derrick Hayes

Quick Tips for Potty Training Children With Autism and Special Needs
Learn helpful tips from a pediatrician and autism mom on the best ways to potty train a child with special needs.
May Ng, MBBS (Hons), FHEA, FRCPCH, MSc, LLM, PhD

Meet Richie Smith - A Remarkable Man With Big Ambitions
Meet a man diagnosed with autism at age 33 whose goal is to generate special needs understanding and acceptance wherever he goes.

Amy KD Tobik

Gender Identity: The Least of My Concerns
A mother shares her hope that her daughter will feel authentic in all areas of her life as she enters puberty.
Adina Klein, PhD

Ways You Can Help First Responders Better Understand Autism
Find out how to help people with autism interact with first responders in emergencies and how to act as an advocate in your community to promote understanding and safety.

Amy Cooper McComas, EdD, BCBA

When You Have Read One Story About Autism…

A sibling to a person with autism encourages people to actively seek out the stories of those who are battling prejudices that include racial, social, cultural, economic, and educational hardship and inequality.

Tara Munjee, PhD, CMA

What's New on the Bookshelf?
Leading ASD Resource Presents Expanded Therapy Techniques

Take a look at this excellent resource by Valerie L. Gaus, PhD, with a foreword by Professor Tony Attwood, as it provides top guidance for professionals working with adults with ASD.

Are Charter Schools A Good Option For Kids With Special Needs?
Learn about charter schools from a family that has tried homeschooling, neighborhood schools, as well a local charter schools.

Calleen Petersen

What's New on the Bookshelf? 

Uplifting New Book Encourages And Empowers Parents Of Children With Autism
Get the support you need from author Tania Malaniak as she shares her emotional journey from her son's autism diagnosis to current day, teaching parents the importance of finding true peace and joy.

Special Mom and Son Time: Talking Heroes and Muppets
A mother and son share their meaningful moments talking about autism and the need for continued autism awareness.

Kimberly Reeves, MEd, and Ryan Cunningham

Four Things Constantly in the Back of My Mind...and I Wish You’d Ask About Them

A loving mom shares both her fear and hope for the future for her young son with autism.

Jillian Sommerfield

What's New on the Bookshelf? 

New Book Provides Emotional Pick Me Up for Special Needs Families
You can't miss this new book by Gayle Nobel as she provides parents and caregivers with an energizing lifeline and a new perspective and understanding of autism.

Reaching Special Needs Financial Goals In The New Year
Review great insight on planning for the lifetime of a child with special needs and reaching future goals.

Ryan F. Platt, MBA, ChFC, ChSNC

Best Autism Apps For iPad, iPhone, And Android
This exclusive 100+ page guide has been compiled to help those living on the spectrum and their families navigate daily challenges, enhance learning, and educate themselves on autism.

Dear Readers,

It’s a new year! Let’s bid farewell to yesterday and welcome good health and well-being in the days ahead! Life with autism can have its highs and lows—that’s why it’s so important to seek guidance and a helping hand when needed. We hope being a part of our autism community will make a difference in your daily life.

Over the years, one of the most satisfying aspects of my role as editor-in-chief of Autism Parenting Magazine has been meeting the needs of our readers. Whether you are a newly diagnosed autism family or you have been on the journey for years, we strive to answer your toughest questions: Is it okay if my child with autism isn’t potty trained? Can a school legally use restraint and seclusion with an ASD child? Are there better educational choices for kids with special needs I don’t know about? How can I forge a healthy relationship with my teen? How can I better manage anxiety in my daily life? These are all important topics to tackle, and our team of experts has worked hard to provide top guidance.

In response to these hard questions, we are delighted to feature exclusive articles this month from many field experts. First, take a look at Quick Tips for Potty Training Children With Autism and Special Needs as pediatrician and autism mom May Ng, MBBS (Hons), FHEA, FRCPCH, MSc, LLM, PhD, provides top advice on potty training. Her simple steps and words of encouragement can make a huge difference in your approach.

Safety is always a concern for special needs families. Sometimes children with autism shut down when faced with an emergency situation, or even run out of fear. Due to a gap in both communication skills and understanding, some people with autism may face challenges when interacting in critical situations with first responders, such as 911 operators, search and rescue teams, healthcare professionals, police, and firefighters. Please read Ways You Can Help First Responders Better Understand Autism written by Amy Cooper McComas, EdD, BCBA, as she shares ways to assist people with autism in unpredictable situations and how to act as an advocate in the community to promote autism understanding and safety.

Another topic in the news right now is the issue of restraint and seclusion in schools. Many US states have passed laws concerning these procedures—do you know whether or not your child’s school has the right to restrain your child? Take a look at What Are Your Child’s Rights When It Comes to the Use of Restraint? as Brian M. Conners, EdS, BCBA, explains how to determine if your state haslegislation, regulatory guidance, or a policy in place and additional considerations to help keep your child in a safe and positive learning environment.

Finding a good educational fit for a child with special needs can be a challenge in itself as every child with autism is different. Not every school can offer the educational support your child needs, so it’s vital to research and weigh your options. Calleen Petersen, mom to a young boy with autism, has tried homeschooling, neighborhood schools, as well as local charter schools with her children. Take a look at her piece Are Charter Schools A Good Option For Kids With Special Needs? as she explains the pros and cons of different educational approaches.

Michael James, the author of the book Forest School and Autism, has provided an alternative educational approach that helps children develop much-needed confidence through hands-on learning. Forest School takes into consideration the whole child confidence-building process while promoting social interaction at a child’s own pace. It provides children with an appreciation of nature while recognizing the fact that autism can be a strength. Take a look at his piece, Ways the Forest School Approach Can Help Kids With Autism Grow, as he presents ways to help your child build confidence.

​As we all know, parenting can be hard, especially during the teen years. Shelly Willoughby, the mother of a young man with Asperger’s syndrome, shares advice on how she improved her parent/teen relationship. No matter the age of your child, take a look at Top 10 Ways to Develop a Better Relationship With an Aspie Teen, as Shelly discusses coping mechanisms, understanding, acceptance, and self-confidence. Her advice is excellent at many levels.

Have you heard about the rewards of practicing mindfulness? When stress levels elevate and life becomes too overwhelming, slowing down to thoughtfully and calmly acknowledge feelings may seem impossible to consider. According to Emily Daniels, MSW, RP, MEd, mindful parenting has been shown to create positive outcomes for families affected by autism. Take a look at her piece Three Amazing Ways Mindfulness Can Impact Special Needs Parenting as Emily shares how thoughtfully taking in moments as they happen can be a simple and effective therapeutic technique. It’s certainly worth trying in the new year.

As I look back on this past year, I am inspired by the vibrant and devoted group of people that has formed within the Autism Parenting Magazine community. For the past six years, we’ve coordinated with more than 1,500 autism specialists, scientists, educators, advocates, autism parents, and people who are on the spectrum, all of whom have generously shared their expertise.

Several years ago, we made it a tradition to present awards to key contributors here at the magazine. Please take a look as we highlight 16 writers who earned special honors for their contributions over the past year in 2018 APM Awards: Celebrating Our Terrific Autism Community Today and Tomorrow.

May your new year be bright, filled with promise and support from the people you love.

Kind regards,

Amy KD Tobik

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