Parents and teachers of children with autism will tell you how hard it is when they call a child’s name and they don’t respond. This most basic social interaction is often a challenge for children on the autism spectrum and in turn, more complex social exchanges seem hopeless.
“I’m less worried about his academic skills. I want him to be able to be in a room with people and like being there,” said one parent of a child with autism. “I want people to like having him there.” Continue reading →
According to newly published research from psychologists at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, children with autism spectrum disorders are better able to recognize faces, facial expressions and emotions with the help of an interactive computer program called FaceSay.
Children with autism spectrum disorder often avoid eye contact with others, which prevents them from perceiving and understanding the emotions of others and hinders their ability to remember faces. Continue reading →
For any child, the arrival of a sibling with autism can be a big adjustment.
A 2007 Harvard Review of Psychiatry article mentions studies that document “distressing emotional reactions such as feelings of anxiety, guilt and anger” and “more adjustment problems” as well as research noting that “some siblings benefit from their experience, others seem not to be affected.” The studies used different methodology, but even so, the difference perhaps should not be surprising. Just as no two people with autism are alike, no two siblings are alike in how they adjust to their family situation. Continue reading →
The junior high and high school years are emotionally challenging even under the best of circumstances, but for adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD), that time can be particularly painful. Lacking the social skills that enable them to interact successfully with their peers, these students are often ostracized and even bullied by their classmates. Continue reading →
The iPad has become a commonly used tool for allowing those with speech-language impairments to communicate and helps to teach those with special needs. Searching “Autism” in the iPad App Store produces 902 results, a number which has been increasing quickly. The popularity of using iPad apps for this purpose is not surprising given that traditional alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) dedicated devices cost up to $15,000. Continue reading →
In an essay titled “Eyes Wide Open”, Julie van der Poel writes about her son’s account with bullies and violence. Many other parents of children with autism, or who are on the autism spectrum have responded to her essay with their own stories of their children being bullied.
Parents write that although you prepare your child for all likely situations, it is impossible to anticipate everything. Another reader wrote in response to this essay that her autistic son was beaten so often in a public school that they had to finally relocate.
In preliminary findings by social scientists, they have found that people with ASD are more likely to be bullied than their ordinary peers. Kennedy Krieger Institute’s Interactive Autism network states “Bullying is extremely common in the lives of children with ASD, and occurs at a much higher rate for them than it does for their typically developing siblings.. Cruelest of all is the fact that bullying may further impair the ability of a child with ASD, who is already socially disabled, to engage with the social world.” Continue reading →