Quick Fixes

Sometimes we can find quick fixes to challenging situations encountered by individuals who function on the spectrum of autism. For example, a parent whose adult son with autism had frequent outbursts in stores and restaurants was searching for a way to discreetly let people know that her son was diagnosed with autism. She asked around and brainstormed possible strategies with some friends. This process resulted in a creative solution. Let’s learn more about this quick fix and others.

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In the case of the parent wanting to discreetly communicate the fact that her son’s disruptive outbursts were due to autism, the quick fix was business cards. Because her son looked like a typical young adult, people were often puzzled by his spurts of rather bizarre behaviors. His mom started carrying custom business cards, passing them out quickly to surrounding folks when her son had an outburst in public. The cards said something to this effect: “Thank you for your interest in my son, a young man with autism. You can find more information on the Autism Spectrum Disorders Fact Sheet by clicking on www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/autism/actearly/autism.html.”

Another quick fix resulted from brainstorming by teachers, teaching assistants, therapists, and parents who were looking for ways to help motivate a teen with autism to practice his written communication skills. The group came up with the idea of having the youngster send an e-mail message summarizing events of each day to his grandparents, his speech therapist, and his favorite teacher from elementary school. The young man began looking forward to his daily writing assignment. Not only did his writing and typing skills improve, but also he was thrilled to receive return messages from them occasionally.

A family came up with a quick fix to a problem that was causing serious health problems for a sweet ten-year-old with autism who compulsively ate all the sugar-laden snacks she could find in the house. Her parents and brothers realized that her health was adversely effected by her eating ice cream, cookies, candy, donuts, and other snacks. They tried locking everything away, but that just lead to more stealthy behavior. The family’s creative solution to this problem was actually beneficial to every member of the family. The quick fix? Just quit buying the sugar-laden snacks, removing the temptation completely.

Sometimes the solution to a challenging situation encountered by individuals functioning on the spectrum of autism is very simple. The key to finding a quick fix is to gather a brainstorming group of folks who think creatively and just throw out all options – no matter how remote – for dealing with the situation. We welcome invitations to be part of that process, so feel free to send an e-mail to talk@faqautism.com letting us know about your challenges so we can join the brainstorm.

Note to FAQautism.com listeners and readers: I am Cathy Knoll, a board certified music therapist and long-time friend of many folks with autism. At FAQautism.com we are committed to providing free, practical, everyday tips for making life better for people with autism. You can click on a button to send me an email with your thoughts or challenging situations or innovative solutions. Check out our website for a wealth of ideas and a glimpse into the world of autism. www.FAQautism.com

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