Thursday, December 31, 2009

You Need to Encourage a Child with Autism to "Use Your Words"

A child with Autism needs to be encouraged to ‘use your words’ for a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons are to reduce frustration, give them as much control as they can handle, or make it easier for the parent and professionals to meet the child’s needs and maybe even wants. This can be done with any level of communication.

The term ‘use your words’ is really a term that typical mothers have used with typical toddlers for many, many years. It was used to stimulate some toddlers to talk. It also gave the parent and child something to focus on.

This same term is ideal for parents of children with Autism. Although some children may only have a vocabulary of a few words they can and should be stimulated to use those words. Eventually with the adults help and encouragement those words can become phrases and someday sentences.

We as parents should not continue to respond to our child’s wants and needs without requiring what ever ability to communicate they have. Many parents are able to give an educated guess to what their child with Autism wants quite accurately. Communication is so critical to our child’s success later in life though. It is certainly worth the time and effort to insist on ‘use your words’.

Even if the communication is only a grunt, pointing to a desired item, or using a communication device the time to do it is worthwhile. In this manner the child with Autism is trained to use what he or she has to communicate.

This ability how ever small will help reduce their frustration. This means less yelling and screaming when the parent or professional does not understand. It helps with self esteem when a child can say something as simple as “More meat.” when they are eating and actually get it. It also helps parents figure out what is the matter when the child with Autism is already upset and can point to a body part that hurts or say the part’s name.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Who Do People with Autism Need in Their Circle of Support

People with Autism need a variety of people in their Circle of Support. For example, some of the people are family members, family member friends, the person with a disability’s friends, etc. Each of these groups of people brings a totally different perspective to a Circle of Support.

Family members, whether parents or siblings, are an important part of a Circle of Support. They will be able to provide support in varying degrees depending on their age and the point they are at in their own lives. Since parents and siblings have known their family member longer than anyone else they will provide a perspective no one else will be able to.

Sometimes it is magical that children with Autism manage to make friends. When this happens there should be a concerted effort at including them in Circles of Support. The friends may have disabilities or may not have disabilities. Next to family members, they will for the most part, know the person with Autism longer than paid people.

It is surprising to some people that the family member’s friends might be part of a person with Autism’s Circle of Support. Occasionally a parent’s friends may have known the person with Autism longer than the person with Autism’s friends. They bring a wealth of information and maturity to the Circle.

Typical people who are peers to the person with Autism will have more energy. They will come up with ideas about what people their age are doing. They will also be able to carry out some of the ideas the Circle agrees on.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas 2009

Dominoe was up at 6:00AM Christmas morning. She was highly upset because Santa did not come to our house. I told her to go look on the kitchen table. She came bouncing back into my bed room chattering that Santa had come.

I yelled, “Now go back to bed!” To my surprise she did!

She got up again about 8:00AM and brought a present with her this time. I said, "Wait you can’t open one that isn’t yours." She said, “Yes it is. See. See.” Yes, she had actually found a present with her name on it. All those years of writing her name over and over were paying off.

Anyway I told her to go wake up her sister. I could hear her telling her sister, “You gotta get up. Be strong. Be strong.” lol

I hope your Christmas was as fun as mine was. Really. We had a blast.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Guest Post by PCA Part 2

Dominoe is diagnosed with PDD and Autism. As I learned from books, authorities (parents and professionals), and filmed documentaries, autism covers a wide spectrum of behaviors and cognitive awareness. Since I had success with the microwave there were various activities I continue to do with Dominoe and for Dominoe.

Dominoe likes to have pretty objects around her and in her room. However there are times that disorder takes control and she has bare walls, shelves—everything is in boxes or drawers. Later on when the time is right her possessions are put out again and she has enjoyment of realizing how she has a lot of nice things.

Dominoe works two days a week at a fast food restaurant. One can tell it is her job; she possesses her job. Dominoe will attend activities of her liking. At first large numbers of people would put her in a melt-down. Now she gets tired but she hangs in there.

At first her world was ‘Dominoe’ and now her world is book club, movies, dances, parties, working, sharing in conversation with adults and children, plus being able to convey any new idea/activity she wants/has.

Dominoe is a girly girl. She likes to dress for the activity. There is makeup to wear, music to be heard, hew clothes to buy. She also has made friends with people that do not have to do or get paid to do for Dominoe.

Dominoe is the young female I wanted to be able to mentor. She is the young female that has met senators, representatives, mayors, lieutenant governors in her experience of being and advocate. Dominoe is the modern woman with modern women modeling, encouraging, and admonishing her into the 21st century.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

People with Autism May Need Waiver Services

People with Autism need waiver services for a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons are for independence as an adult, for the opportunity to stay in their family home or own home, and even to give a parent some time off. These are only a few of the reasons.

When a person with Autism is still a child sometimes their needs are overwhelming. Whether it is because of the constant supervision or behaviors that need monitoring, this can wear some families out. Waiver services can provide a person to help during these times. The length of time is determined by the ‘Plan of Care’ team involved with a child with a disability,

Once a person with Autism becomes a teenager, they will want to do some of the things other teenagers may do. Waiver services will provide the way for this to happen. From providing transportation to providing someone to go with them waiver services can provide some outings. Getting away from the parents under the watchful eye of a trained person is beneficial to the person with Autism and the family.

At some point in time a person with Autism may want to live on their own. Although some families never believe or want this to happen, it is something to think about and plan in some small ways for.

Eventually parents are not going to be around. This happens to everyone and will happen to the person with Autism. Waiver services are part of that small plan for the future.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Siblings of Children with Autism

Another interesting factor in having children with Autism is how they fit in the family. In retrospect nothing is funnier than listening to your adult children talk about a child with Autism. Many times parents have a different understanding than children have.

Some parents do not want their child to get hurt. In the process of trying to ensure their safety, well meaning parents prevent their child from experiencing things and situations. Things and situations that are a necessary part of life for all people are overlooked.

I guess what really brings it to mind is the story of a professional working with a family. They were talking about what the then young adult with Autism could do. They talked about things that needed to be done in the house. The mother said that the young man could not put up dishes.

The brothers started laughing. As the story came out when the parents would go out to eat the brothers would make their younger brother with Autism do chores, like put up the dishes and put out the trash.

Siblings sometimes have a better understanding of what is possible….

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Do Woment With Autism Have Boyfriends

Dominoe has been talking about a boyfriend. I was talking to one of my friends about it. She wanted to know if people with autism had boyfriends. I was really floored at first. I have to keep reminding myself that people just do not understand. Well and at least she asked. Some people don’t even do that.

I guess what started the discussion was that Dominoe found a boyfriend and wanted to give him money. She wanted to give him money for minutes for his phone. We argued about it for two days. I just could not get her to understand that it was not a good idea. I had to come up with a solution.

The solution wasn’t the best solution. I mean I guess it wasn’t. I am sure I will get a lot of email over this. But anyway I told her girls were not supposed to give boys money. Boys were supposed to give girls money.

Then I had her sister tell her. I talked about it in front of her brothers. And even gave them the evil eye when they started to say something different. What is more important is that she got it. A simple rule that she got. Why did I forget such an idea for a person with autism…. Hallelujah! .

Monday, December 14, 2009

Autistic Cat

I was worried about having a cat in our house. It was actually a kitten. I just wasn’t sure how a teenager with autism was going to react to the cat. I also wondered how the cat was going to react to her.

Well my life is definitely different. I think we have an autistic cat. I was worried the cat would bite her, particularly as the kitten got older. It played really hard and would chew on you when you tried to pet it. It would attach you and chew on your feet. We named him Evil.

Imagine my surprise when Dominoe comes flitting through the house holding the cat. She sits down and I realize that she has the cat by the neck. After we established that she wasn’t choking the cat, I watched them. As the days went by when I would see her with the cat I realized that she was squeezing the cat. And it was letting her!

It figures, we have the only autistic cat I know!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Autism and Your Family

Another important thing for a parent to remember, as if there isn’t enough, is making sure the siblings get information. As parents we look for people to talk to in similar situations. Unfortunately our children are not as skilled at finding people to want to. They also do not necessarily have the ability to find people like we do either.

It is our responsibility to share information with our children and off course according to their understanding level. At one point one of my children wanted to know if they were going to ‘catch’ what Dominoe had. I at that point was responsible for giving them words to be able to describe autism. Giving them information to understand that autism was not something they would catch.

That is also right about the time that I heard their friends asking the oldest child what was the matter with her. He came to me to ask what to say. At that point it was my job to start explaining a little more about autism.

Now that same oldest child is the under curator on the Continuing Tutorship I have to take care of my child. Different information provided for different ages in their life.

I also have younger children than Dominoe. I also knew more with the two children younger than Dominoe than I did with the two children older than her. I was able to find SibShops. I even became a SibShop trainer.

I didn’t think one of my younger children would ever understand about Dominoe. I tried to explain about autism. My friends tried to explain about autism. He just could not seem to understand. He truly thought that she was just getting preferential treatment. He still believes his sister with Aspergers is getting preferential treatment!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Why Do People with Autism Need Social Stories

People with autism use social stories in a number of ways. Social stories when used correctly are an important tool in supporting adults and children with autism. We will look at a few of those ways in this article.

People with autism can use social stories as preparation for situations which will come up in their day to day activities. Social stories can be used to prepare for unfamiliar situations. The story will help alleviate fears and hopefully difficult behaviors stemming from those fears. It can also stimulate conversation on any level about the situation.

Social stories can also be used to teach someone how to use manners. When a character in the story with the person with autism’s name does something the person with autism will be so excited to hear their name. Eventually the person with autism starts internalizing that they can behave that way too. You will even be able to introduce new skills through social stories with practice. This is why I always recommend writing your own social stories. You can craft them to say what ever you need them to say.

Another use for social stories is to go over problems that may have happened in the past. I used to go over the list of rules before we would go into any situation with my typical children. I also did this with my child with autism and the other with aspergers but it did not seem to be as effective. I learned with social stories we could review what happened in the past in a non threatening manner with social stories.

Monday, December 7, 2009


Ok so I have learned a few tricks.....
I need a blog with the word Autism in it.
You will still get the same good content.
Thank you for your patience!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Guest Post by PCA

“What is Dominoe doing?” a question that would be asked of a girl often when she was first met by the writer. Now, Dominoe is a young woman and that question is still being asked. Dominoe had personal care attendants that helped her to carry through her days. At school there were aides that helped her.

Dominoe, through the last seven years, has made some progress and none of it is measurable on any test but ‘mama’s test’ and ‘old lady’s test’. She was not able to use the microwave, not because she was not capable of performing the task. The safety question had come in the picture.

As I became her direct care companion (DCC), this older (59) woman decided; she needed to be able to get a snack when she wanted one. All of the dos and don’ts were well taught so Dominoe could choose and zap a snack (all under the wary eye of her DCC).

One day her mom called, Dominoe is cooking in the microwave some noodle soup. She (mama) was surprised that she (Dominoe) had been taught to do this function and she could do it so well. As well as she knew the precautions.