People With Autism have Plenty To Offer Companies, With The Right Support

Published By: Delaware
Written By Dennis Assanis and James Mahoney

Innovation drives the future, and neurodiversity can help drive innovation.

In pursuit of the next great technology, product or enterprise, organizations often lose sight of the fact that innovation starts with people. And the most inventive breakthroughs and outcomes don’t just emerge from anywhere; they evolve from communities of creative thinkers who typify diversity and inclusiveness.

Neurodiversity is the idea that people with autism and other neurological differences are a natural part of the typical range of human mental ability and that, as such, they may need guidance, accommodations and individualized treatments — not cures or one-size-fits-all therapies — to navigate traditional society. As a result, a growing number of schools and workplaces are beginning to embrace this perspective, not only because it’s the right thing to do but because it can translate into a huge benefit for the entire organization on many levels. Click here to read the rest of the story

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Autism, Head Banging and Other Self-Harming Behavior

Published By: Autism Parenting magazine

For children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), head banging is a common way to self-soothe and communicate needs. Both neurotypical and autistic babies and toddlers seek to recreate the rhythm that stimulated their vestibular system while in utero. Other rhythmic habits that fuel a child’s kinesthetic drive include head rolling, body rocking, biting, and thumb sucking. According to Dr. Harvey Karp MD, rhythmic habits trigger the calming reflex in infants and toddlers. Many babies begin head banging around six months of age, but neurotypical children usually will not continue the behavior after the age of three. Please click here to read the rest of the story.

Kids with developmental disabilities are more likely to be overweight, study says

Published By: Action News (6)

Local researchers have turned up an interesting connection between autism and obesity in children.

Teams at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, the University of Pennsylvania, and six others centers found that kids with developmental delays, including autism, were up to 50 percent more likely to be overweight or obese.

And the more severe the symptoms, the greater the chance of being obese.

Doctors don’t know yet why these kids become overweight. It could be due to endocrine disorders, side effects from medication, picky eating, or other factors. Click here to read the rest of the story.

6 Surprising Ways To Ditch Disability Bias In The Workplace

Published By: Forbes Magazine
Written By: Denise Brodey

People with disabilities, now the largest minority group in this country, are largely misunderstood by business leaders, managers, and well, a lot of people. And at the same time, C-suite executives are actively looking for ways to remove disability bias and lessen the employment gap. But disability advocates say the research and statistics on people’s understanding of the disability community are still dismal. How do we meet in the middle? How do we have the tough conversations that will inspire both sides?
How can we all go the extra mile? Click here to read the rest of the story

15 Resources on Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS)

Developed in 1985 by Andy Bondy, PHD and Lori Frost, MS, Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS) allows individuals with little or no communication the ability to do so using pictures. The approach includes a person giving them a picture in exchange of an item. PECS teaches functional communication and includes 6 phases.

  1. How to communicate. In the first phase, the individual learns to exchange a single picture for an item or activity they want.
  2. Distance and persistence. The individual learns to generalize by using the picture with different people.
  3. Picture discrimination. The individual learns to select from two or more pictures to ask for something.
  4. Sentence structure. Individuals learn to construct simple sentences on a detachable sentence strip
  5. Responsive requesting. Individuals use PECS to answer wh questions.
  6. Commenting. individuals are taught to comment in response to questions.

The following links below include articles and additional information on the PECS system.

Articles on PECS

What is PECS?

Communication Matters

Kid Sense

National Autism Resources

National Professional Development Center on Autism Spectrum Disorders

Free Printable PECS Cards

28 emotions: Picture communication cards

Autism Tool Kit- Free Printable PECS Cards

Blank faces: Picture communication cards

Female faces: Picture communication cards

Free Primary PECS

Daily visual schedule for kids

Male body parts with words- picture cards

Months of the year: Picture communication cards

Morning routine pictures

Printable for autistic children and their families or caregivers

What are the biggest misconceptions about employing autistic people?

Published By: Sheffield Hallen University
Written By: Dr. Luke Beardon

Some employers assume that because a person is autistic they will also have some kind of learning disability. This is absolutely not true for the majority. Autistic adults display a range of intellectual abilities – as do the predominant neurotype (PNT) (non-autistic) population – from low IQ to members of Mensa.

Here are five more misconceptions about autistic people in the workplace – and why they’re not true. Click here to read the rest of the story

Rethinking Autism and “Picky Eating”

Published by: Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism
Written by: “Seeking Sara”

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been ashamed of what I do and don’t eat. The stigma of being a “picky eater” has followed me my whole life, bringing comments (and no small amount of exasperation) from family, friends, wait staff, and strangers.

I’ve recently been examining why I struggle with certain foods, and have come to the same conclusion as I have with much of my post-autism-diagnosis self-exploration: I’m actually incredibly strong, and my experiences are real and valid.

Why am I so “picky”? Well, if you could experience my senses for a few hours, I bet you’d be more understanding, less judgmental, and I’m fairly certain you’d stop using the word “picky” pretty quickly.

Often times, I want desperately to like a food, to be able to order anything at random, or to just eat whatever is put in front of me without hesitation. But for me, food is almost always a relentlessly overpowering experience. Click here to read the rest of the story.

RESOURCES

4 techniques for picky eaters with autism

8 secret strategies for sensory issues with food

Autism and food issues

Encouraging picky eaters to try new food

How to help your child with autism overcome picky eating

Mealtime and children on the autism spectrum: Beyond picky, fussy, and fads

Picky vs. problem eater: A closer look at sensory processing disorder

The picky eater

When your child with autism is a picky eater

Why children with autism struggle with eating

Anxiety or Agression? When anxiety in children looks like anger, tantrums, or meltdowns

Published by: Hey Sigmund
Written by: Karen Young

Anxiety can be a masterful imposter. In children, it can sway away from the more typical avoidant, clingy behaviour and show itself as tantrums, meltdowns and aggression. As if anxiety wasn’t hard enough to deal with!

When children are under the influence of an anxious brain, their behaviour has nothing to do with wanting to push against the limits. They are often great kids who don’t want to do the wrong thing, but they are being driven by a brain in high alert.

If we could see what was happening in their heads when anxiety takes hold like this, their behaviour would make sense. We would want to scoop them up and take them away from the chaos of it all. Of course, that doesn’t mean that they should be getting a free pass on their unruly behaviour. Their angry behaviour makes sense, and it’s important to let them know this, but there will always be better choices they are capable of making.  Click here to read the rest of the story

Resources For Teaching Sequencing Skills

Sequence is defined as a set of related events, movements, or things that follow each other in a particular order. For many children and adults with developmental delays and disabilities, the ability to arrange thoughts, information and language may be a challenge due to issues with their executive function capabilities. The following resources, tips and strategies will help you teach sequencing skills.

How to teach sequencing skills at home

How to teach sequencing skills to children

How to teach sequencing to preschool children

Sequencing activities for students with autism

Sequencing skills teaching strategies 

Story sequence strategies

Strategies for teaching your child sequencing skills

Teaching sequencing skills

The importance of sequencing skills in a child’s development

Tips to teach sequencing skills in children

Common Signs In Tactile Difficulties

Tactile difficulties occur when the nervous system dysfunctions and the brain is unable to process information through the senses. Some children and adults with this form of sensory processing disorder will be over sensitive to touch. Between 5 to 13 percent of the population is diagnosed with sensory processing disorder.

Common Signs of Tactile Difficulties
  • Difficulty with having nails cut or teeth brushed
  • Becomes upset when hair is washed
  • Dislikes any clothing with tags including clothes, hats, shoes, and complains about the type of fabric and the style
  • Dislikes getting their hands dirty or messy
  • Overreacts when they are touched by other people
  • Oversensitive to temperature change
  • Over or under reacts to pain
  • Prefers deep pressure touch rather than light touch
  • Avoids messy textures
  • Prefers pants and long sleeves in hot weather
  • Picky eater
  • Eyes may be sensitive to cold wind
  • Avoids walking barefoot
  • Avoids standing close to other people
  • May be anxious when physically close to other people
Strategies for Handling Tactile Defensiveness
  • Use deep pressure
  • use weighted items including blankets, vest and backpacks
  • Seek out an OT
  • Utilize a sensory diet
  • Minimize time expected to stand and wait in line by having the child go first or last in line
  • Allow the child to wear a jacket indoors
  • Encourage the child to brush his or her body with a natural brush during bath time
  • Create activities using play doh or silly putty
References

Autism Parenting Magazine

Kids Companion

Sensory Processing Disorder.com

Chu, Sidney (1999), Tactile Defensiveness: Information for parents and professionals