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You have come to the right place for practical ideas and creative solutions to enhance life quality and maximize potential of individuals with autism. Listen to 5-minute podcasts and/or read short posts with quick tips about social issues, communication, behavior challenges, sensory issues, personal interaction, daily living, rituals & routines, health & nutrition, leisure time, contentment, and general quality of life for our friends with autism and those around them.

Thanks to Paul who created the clever illustrations, and Bill composed and performed the music. Both are long-time friends diagnosed with autism.

Pack a Bag

Before heading out for a spring break trip or a weekend at Grandma’s house, take a look at some of these ideas for personalized travel bags. These tried-and-true ideas have helped decrease travel anxiety for individuals with autism and their families, so you might want to give them a try. Listen Now:

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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 […]

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 […]

Processing Delay

Sometimes youngsters with autism are slow to follow directions, even when told to do something they enjoy. We can certainly expect nearly every kid to respond reluctantly when we ask them to finish an unpopular chore or to go to bed early. But, some of our friends with autism are very slow to respond even […]

Constant Monitoring

“It seems like we are never able to relax,” commented the parents of a fourteen-year-old with autism. “We need to constantly keep watch our son to prevent him from hurting himself or from breaking or tearing up items around the house. He pulls clothes from closets, items from drawers, food from cabinets, and books from […]

Unwilling or Unable?

“My daughter rarely follow directions,” commented the dad of a pre-teen diagnosed with autism. “She doesn’t have functional speech, but she is able to communicate her needs and seems to understand much of what we say to her. We don’t know if she is unwilling to follow directions or if she is unable to do […]

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 […]

Say What you Mean

“Our son seems to always do the opposite of what we ask him to do,” said parents of an 11-year-old diagnosed with autism. “This is becoming quite a problem at home and at school. Last week, both of us told him very clearly not to go out the door, and out he went, right into […]

Insults

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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: […]

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 […]

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 […]