Autistic Students Regain their Appetites

Chef Lucio, changing lives one meal at a time

Autistic children often experience a sensory overload when eating, and therefore may be picky when it comes to mealtime. One chef is aiming to ease their anxieties by introducing them to a world of new foods. Continue reading

Airport Program Enables Children with ASD to Prepare for Travel

Airplane
For many parents of children with autism, going on a family vacation may seem impossible. The biggest obstacle is traveling, particularly flying in planes, as children on the spectrum may be overwhelmed by the new experience they are having. An airport in Alaska has begun a new project to help children on the spectrum ease their anxieties and be able to experience the joys of traveling somewhere new with their families.

The Arc of Anchorage, a nonprofit serving families of children on the autism spectrum, recently sponsored several Wings for Autism days, where airport workers focus on making children with autism comfortable with the travel process. These airport “rehearsals” have been held across the country by other chapters of the organization, creating an experience that aims to open the doors to travel. The organization gets children comfortable by introducing them to several of the experiences of flying, without an actual plane ticket involved.

Jacquelyn McGary, spokeswoman for The Arc of Anchorage, states, “[The rehearsals] also give a rehearsal try for employees in the industry, because those that are on the flight get to work with the individuals and get a sense of what their issues are”. According to the parents that participated in the event, the most common troubles involved in traveling are waiting in lines, being around crowds, being in a new, unfamiliar place, along with being stuck in a confined space for a significant duration of time.

The Arc used visuals to depict each stage of the screening and boarding process to help children understand the steps being taken, and what to expect next. At last week’s event, participants checked in at a ticket counter, headed through a security checkpoint, and boarded a Boeing 737. The airline captain ran the jet along the runway and accelerated the plane just enough to create the volume of a takeoff.

Upon leaving the plane, participants were greeted with a celebratory reception, as well as snacks. Wings for Autism aims to expand their program through creating more chapters around the country. Programs such as these enable families to introduce their children to new experiences, giving them better opportunities to enjoy things together, such as a family vacation.

Did you do those errands yet?

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Many parents with children on the spectrum face challenges in taking their child out into a variety of public settings. For Katrina Davis, a family services advisor, she thinks of all the places her son can’t go every time she … Continue reading

Understanding Sensory Challenges

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Occupational therapist Lindsey Biel, co-author of “Raising a Sensory Smart Child” and “The Definitive Handbook for Helping Your Child with Sensory Processing Issues,” has some important points to make about how to best support a child with sensory issues. As … Continue reading

ABA Therapy Continues Its Success

PHOTO: The Rogersons are happy their sons Tom (L) and Jack (R) are close but don't think Tom should be responsible for Jack as he grows older. (ABC: Australian Story)

Jack Rogerson was diagnosed with autism as a toddler and written off by many medical professionals as low-functioning and limited to special education schooling. He was a hyperactive child who could not express affection and could barely speak but his … Continue reading

Resources for Students Transitioning to the Workplace

Workplace

In Hawaii a student ages out of their public school system at 20 years old. For 1,800 special-education students, this meant that they could no longer finish high school and earn their diploma. But a recent federal judge ruling will actually change that. … Continue reading

Clearing the Air for Autistic Children

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Preparing for a trip and going to the airport can be a stressful endeavor for many people, even those who are used to traveling. So for families with autistic children it is easy to imagine how the experience of being … Continue reading

Autism & Bullies

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We consistently read news stories about children with disabilities, especially children/adolescents with ASD as victims of bullying, the most recent being Aaron Hill’s violent beating which was caught on video that later went viral on the internet. Studies in the … Continue reading