Finding the Right Words to Say: Accommodating Nonverbal Speakers

nonverbal autistic

Families of nonverbal speakers have to work harder than most to create an environment in which the individual not only gets attention, but has their needs and desires met. Continue reading

Court Allows Boy with Autism to Keep Therapeutic Chickens

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The DeBary City Council is letting J.J. Hart, a three-year-old boy from Florida, keep his therapeutic chickens. Continue reading

Young Autistic Man Finds His Voice Reading to Children

A young man with autism, Sam Trapnell, who is 21, has found a calling: reading to children.

He is so skilled at reading to others that he has landed volunteer reading positions at Catoosa Country Library and Barnes & Noble in Georgia.

Sam is particularly interested in children’s books. He is so entertaining when he reads aloud to children, that when he starts to act out a book—everyone listens and is mesmerized, including parents of the children.

Sam is normally uncomfortable talking to people he doesn’t know well, and when asked a question he often relies on his mother to help him respond, even if he knows the answer. But when Sam reads to a live audience, his usual discomfort about being in a social situation disappears.

He is able to capture the character’s emotions in the book particularly well and throws in sound effects, such as knocking on a table, imitating animal noises, and fluctuating his voice for whatever the role calls for—a female teacher, rowdy children, etc.

When Sam first started out reading at the library, he had somewhat of a hard time connecting with the listeners, but as he has practiced he has developed his own way of bringing the stories to life.

If Sam is particularly familiar with the book, he can read the whole thing without looking once at the pages. Sam has also started to interact with the children, asking their names, and people who have seen Sam grow and mature through this, note that working with young children has really been a way for him to open up and to express himself in new ways.

People who work with Sam also strive to highlight the fact that employers should realize they shouldn’t turn away people just because they are autistic, for they can have really special talents like Sam does.

For more information on workforce initiatives, read here: http://www.icare4autism.org/global-autism-center/comprehensive-autism-workforce-development-initiative/

Read more at: http://www.timesfreepress.com/news/2013/dec/12/finding-his-voice-autistic-young-man-loves-reading/

So You Want to Help Your Autistic Child Learn—There’s an App for That!

We are now living in a technological Land of Oz.  Every kind of tablet, smartphone, and Apple product dances wildly in a field of mobile possibilities.  It seems like Google may emerge as the great wizard as it tries to take control of the market with its Google Glass technology.

With so many choices to tickle our technical fancies, we have now become self-absorbed in our devices.   A conversation has now become a face-to-face interaction, and those are not so much desired any more.  We communicate and engage more with our gadgets than we do each other.

Now apps have become the new kid on the block.  They are like the little munchkins of the land, many of them piping up and down like the lollipop trio, simplifying and entertaining our lives.

The yellow brick road of technical delights has found its way in the classroom.  Many schools are using technology to engage their students in education.  There are apps that can teach another language, explain algebra, or compose and house writing in an online cloud.

How can you use apps to engage your autistic child?

In Parents Magazine,  Lisa Quinones-Fontanez, has discovered ten apps that can help your child learn the alphabet, number sense, and social skills. The technology blends the visual and kinesthetic learning styles as a different approach to educating autistic children.

Quinones-Fontanez offers brief, but informative descriptions of each app in her article.  You can even apply what the child has learned on the mobile device to real-life situations.

For example, Toca Boca teaches children how to handle money through the art of storytelling.  In a kindergarten classroom, you can use toy shopping carts and cash registers and have children practice what they have learned from the app and create a story that they could later write and illustrate.  When you and your child are out doing the weekly grocery shopping, activate his or her memory by bringing up one of the scenarios from the app and applying what they have learned.

Engage your autistic child’s learning and help him or her interact with his surroundings by checking out the other apps in the Parents Magazine article.

*Quinones-Fontanez, Lisa.  “Ten Best Apps for Kids With Autism.”  Parents Magazine.  2013. http://www.parents.com/kids/development/intellectual/best-apps-for-kids-with-autism/

Art Therapy for Children With Autism

Art has always been an effective form of self-expression, whether in a visual, performance, or interactive setting.  It gives us the opportunity to create something in the world that is a true representation of ourselves.  It allows us to communicate through a completely different channel other than using words.  This is especially true in individuals with autism. Continue reading

Is Social Media Beneficial to those with Autism?

Social media has become a staple in communication across the globe. It allows for constant contact, networking, and various levels of friendly and professional communication that could not otherwise be achieved. It provides an unlimited amount of benefits, with the digital world at the fingertips of anyone who chooses to use it. One impact that social media has that is less commonly explored is its impact on those with autism in the communication world. Continue reading