Archive | Quality of Life

18 July 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Maximizing Gifts

“In spite of years of effort by dedicated teachers and therapists and lots of attention from a loving family, my son isn’t able to talk or read anything but functional words,” commented a father of a young adult with autism. “But he has been given many opportunities over the years to use what gifts he […]

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12 July 2010 ~ 0 Comments


How do we respond when someone insults a family member or friend with autism? What can we say when an acquaintance or a stranger criticizes our parenting or teaching after observing a behavior outburst? What recourse do we have when we realize the public or the press has spoken about autism in negative or insulting […]

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09 July 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Beyond ABC and 123

“For several years, my son’s IEP has reflected the goals of his learning his alphabet and learning to count to 100,” commented a parent of a pre-teen diagnosed with autism. “He is beginning to pay more attention to academic concepts, so I don’t mind the continued effort in these areas. But it seems to me […]

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07 July 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Positive Progress

“Sometimes it is difficult to see that we are making any progress with some very difficult behaviors,” commented a therapist working with several individuals with autism. “I wonder if I need to approach the situation differently.” Other teachers and family members have expressed similar frustration, especially when working to decrease very disruptive or inappropriate behaviors. […]

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06 July 2010 ~ 0 Comments

One Size Does Not Fit All

It would certainly be easier if someone could develop a fool-proof strategy for helping maximize the potential of all individuals with autism. A pre-packaged, step-by-step, fool-proof plan that worked in every situation would certainly decrease stress levels of family members, teachers, job coaches, residential staff, and others interested in the well-being of people with autism. […]

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05 July 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Does It Really Matter?

A teen who said, “A psychiatrist told my parents that I have Asperger’s syndrome,” wrote that he wishes other people would be more tolerant and understanding of some of his “odd” behaviors. He wrote that some of his family members get upset when he rocks or moves his hands. “I wish they could understand that […]

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03 July 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Noisy Fireworks

Fireworks are a fun part of many summer celebrations – ball games, outdoor concerts, amusement parks, and other big events. But many individuals with autism react to random, loud noises by screaming, scratching, throwing objects, or running away. How can we help our friends enjoy the colorful visual patterns and brilliant bursts of light in […]

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25 June 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Ten Step Program

In my work as a music therapist since 1974, I’ve had the privilege of working with dozens and dozens of individuals with autism and their families. I’ve known some of my friends for over thirty years, walking side by side as they have encountered difficult challenges and heartbreaks as well as joyful moments. These experiences […]

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24 June 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Unwritten Group Rules

Because most of us just join into group activities naturally, we are not aware of the vast array of prerequisite skills necessary to do so. In addition to dealing with issues surrounding transition, compliance, peer interaction, and sensory overload, individuals with autism must be aware of and follow commonly understood unwritten group rules. Listen Now: […]

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22 June 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Patience Pays Off

Sometimes our patience can be pushed to the limit, tempting us to give up on a strategy that doesn’t seem to be bearing any fruit. For example, a youngster functioning on the spectrum of autism may not seem to be noticing his peers or the words of his teachers or any of the activity swirling […]

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21 June 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Selecting A Piano

An elementary teacher commented that several youngsters diagnosed with autism in her classroom seemed to be very interested in music, especially the piano. “I would like to have an electronic piano in my classroom,” said the teacher. Now that electronic pianos are less expensive and more readily accessible, more people are interested in having keyboards […]

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18 June 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Maintaining Dignity

Although we do not intend to be disrespectful, our words or actions occasionally step on the toes of other people. It would probably be a good idea for all of us to take a close look at our interactions with our friends with autism. Sometimes we need to make some adjustments in our conversations or […]

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17 June 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Let Go or Hang Tough

Some parents, teachers, and therapists are very intense, spending a great deal of time and energy to help smooth the path for individuals with autism. Other parents and professionals appear to show very little concern for people with autism, letting many opportunities slip by with no apparent effort to help people maximize their potential. Most […]

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16 June 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Miraculous Breakthroughs

Sometimes we hear of incredible breakthroughs for people with autism Television often features individuals who have been “cured” of autism or who have excelled in music, art, sports, or academics. We might read of a non-verbal person who suddenly begins talking. Or an extremely withdrawn student in our child’s classroom may suddenly start interacting with […]

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15 June 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Urgency for Normalcy

A friend diagnosed with autism commented that her family is concerned about the fact that she likes to hang around the “special education” kids in her high school. Her thoughts give some perspective to the urgency for normalcy that we can feel for individuals with autism. Listen Now:


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10 June 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Fact vs Fiction

A middle school librarian asked for some ideas for appropriate reading material for individuals with autism. “I have a growing number of students with autism,” commented the librarian. “It seems to me that fiction is just confusing to some of the youngsters. It is as if they have some difficulty separating fact and fantasy.” Listen […]

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02 June 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Free Time Doldrums

“Our son seems bored and listless when he has free time,” said parents of an older elementary youngster with autism. “We don’t want to just keep buying him new stuff, but he quickly looses interest in any items after just a few days.” A teacher and a residential care staff member expressed similar concerns about […]

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01 June 2010 ~ 0 Comments


Vacations take an incredible amount of planning a preparation for any family. Several parents have commented that they finally feel confident enough to take their youngsters with autism on a road trip, and are looking for tips to help make the vacation experience as smooth and comfortable as possible for everyone concerned. Listen Now:


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25 May 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Getting Outside

“As long as he had three meals a day, my son would probably be happy just sitting on his bed, flapping his hands and rocking,” commented the dad of an eight-year-old youngster diagnosed with autism. “I’m concerned about his physical health and emotional health, so I’m looking for some ideas for getting him out and […]

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24 May 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Exceptional Memory

“Our son seems really smart,” commented parents of a four-year-old diagnosed with autism. “He can count to 100 and recite the alphabet and he knows the words of nearly every song he hears.” Some pre-school children diagnosed with autism display extraordinary memories and an intense interest in sequences. The trick is to help these young […]

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