Archive | Social Skills

11 August 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Swimming Pools, part 1

Just as with more typical kids, some youngsters with autism love the water. Let’s take a look at some creative ideas and some serious factors related to autism and water. First and foremost, we must consider water safety. Listen Now:


Continue Reading

08 August 2010 ~ 0 Comments

No Single Strategy

Autism spectrum disorder is a “range of complex neurodevelopment disorders, characterized by social impairments, communication difficulties, and restricted, repetitive, and stereotyped patterns of behavior” (Autism Fact Sheet, 2009).The key words here are “range” and “complex.” Because each person is such a mixed bag of strengths and deficits, no single strategy is effective across the board. […]

Continue Reading

05 August 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Come Join Us

For a variety of reasons, children with autism are often reluctant to participate in group activities, and may resist joining “circle time” in an early childhood classroom, a play group, Sunday School class, or other setting. Short of picking them up and physically moving them to the circle, how can we encourage a youngster to […]

Continue Reading

28 July 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Obsessing About Obsessions

Flapping hands. Rocking. Ehoing phrases or words. Repeating sequences of numbers or letters. Humming. Murmuring. Spinning objects. Playing with threads or strings. Tapping or slapping objects. Chewing on hair or fingernails. Talking about one person or topic repetitively. Insisting on the same food or clothing or daily routine. These are among the long list of […]

Continue Reading

27 July 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Touching Strangers

For whatever reason, many of my friends with autism impulsively touch other people, including strangers. For example, the dad of a teenager with autism was horrified recently when his son reached out to straighten the bottom of the jacket of a stranger in the grocery store. When the gentleman felt someone’s hand in an inappropriate […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

08 July 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Behavior Categories

Parents of a pre-teen diagnosed with autism realized the scope of behavior issues they are facing. They stated they wanted to avoid constant nagging, and they didn’t want their lives to be ruled by multiple, complex behavior management plans. The parents were looking for ways to prioritize behaviors and to decide which behaviors to tackle […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

28 June 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Smooth Transitions

“My daughter has outgrown her favorite childhood toy, and the stuffed puppy is simply worn to shreds,” commented a parent of a 4th grader diagnosed with autism. “I realize that she is dependent upon her puppy to help her stay grounded during the day and to reduce the trauma of transition, but her favorite stuffed […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

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: […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

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 […]

Continue Reading

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:


Continue Reading

14 June 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Swallowing Soap

Some compulsive or repetitive behaviors displayed by individuals with autism are annoying or socially inappropriate. But some actions are dangerous. If a person chews on or swallows soap, dirt, coins, rocks, paper clips, or anything else that fits in their mouth, there is a potential for serious illness or injury. Because constant vigilance is difficult […]

Continue Reading

10 June 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Waiting Patiently

As a mom and I were talking in the grocery store, her 10-year-old son diagnosed with autism started rocking, putting cans of soup in and out of the grocery basket, and making repetitive sounds. His mom said, “Oh, this is so frustrating. I wish he could just learn to wait patiently.” Red flags were flying […]

Continue Reading

04 June 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Watch Your Words

“I can’t believe my son loudly blurted out a graphic description of a temporary pain using anatomically correct words while we were standing in line at the grocery store,” said a parent of a young adult with autism. “It seemed like everyone in the store froze and looked at him in horror. Because he looks […]

Continue Reading

28 May 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Incremental Progress

Sometimes we might feel as if we are taking one step forward and two steps back when helping our friends with autism learn new skills and enjoy life. Many individuals with autism have uneven abilities in a vast array of areas, including language and communication, social interaction, behavior, adaptive skills, personal care, academics, job skills, […]

Continue Reading

27 May 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Casual Conversation

Casual conversation can be awkward with a person who is non-verbal. The grandfather of a youngster with autism said, “I sure like taking my grandson out for drives, but I don’t really know how to talk to him.” A teenager said of his sister, “All she does is repeat what I say, so it is […]

Continue Reading