Topic: Autism

Why We Misunderstand Behaviors in Autistic Children— And How We Can Get It Right

An Indiana school recently made headlines after one of its special education teachers presented an autistic fifth grader with an award for “Most Annoying Male” at a school ceremony. While the incident was unfortunate in many ways, perhaps most disturbing was how it revealed that even people who work closely with such children can utterly […]

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Autism Acceptance: How Celebrating Differences Can Stop Bullying

It seemed like simple gesture. A college football player who was visiting a middle school spotted a red-haired sixth grader eating lunch alone, so he joined him. Then the boy’s mother posted a photo on Facebook capturing the moment: her autistic son sitting across a cafeteria table from Travis Rudolph, the Florida State University wide […]

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Preferred Interests: Supporting Children on the Autism Spectrum

Thomas was proud of his young son “Roger’s” remarkable knowledge of birds. Roger’s grandmother, an avid bird watcher, had shared birding books and toy bird replicas with the boy when he was young, and he had shown such great enthusiasm for the topic that at age 3, Roger could identify more than 50 types of birds. […]

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Ten Things to ask for when Your Child is Diagnosed with Autism or Developmental Differences

As a pediatric psychologist I know that families’ journeys can be fraught with unexpected challenges. Discovering that your child has differences can be daunting. And sometimes, making sure that your child’s needs are properly met by the outside world can be even more stressful. One aspect I am especially passionate about as a psychologist is […]

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The Critical Ingredient that Should Be Part of Every IEP

My wish for families during this IEP season is that emotional regulation, supported by engaged relationships, finds its way into every discussion about a child. A child’s ability to feel safe and engaged provides a solid foundation for all areas of learning and socialization.

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Being “Nonverbal” Doesn’t Mean I Can’t Think

When professionals automatically equate “nonspeaking” with “low functioning,” they underestimate student’s intellectual capacities, often removing children from inclusive programs to place them in separate special education classes that may not be appropriate or academically sufficient.

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Different, Not Deficient: Five Ways to Ensure your Special Child is Receiving the Right Messages

I’m grateful for the wonderful response to my last post, Ten Things to Ask of Professionals working with your Special Needs Child, which focused on helping the adults in your child’s life to see the positive, not just the deficits. In the coming weeks, I’ll focus on each point individually, elaborating more specifically on how […]

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Ten Things to Ask of Professionals Working with Your Special Needs Child

A Fresno, California mother made headlines when she sued her daughter’s teacher and school administrators. The mom had paid a surprise classroom visit and allegedly found her developmentally delayed seven-year-old locked in a makeshift cage and wearing a soiled diaper. The principal of the school reportedly told police that the enclosure was a safety precaution that had […]

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What Every Professional Needs to Know about Parent Stress and Autism

Last week London McCabe, an autistic six-year old, died a senseless, tragic and preventable death at the hands of his mother.  As professionals, there are steps we can take to prevent additional casualties of innocent lives.  The first thing we can do is to examine our own beliefs and make sure we are not communicating […]

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