Articles & Blog - Autism Awareness

Articles & Blog

Maureen Bennie curates a news blog for Autism Calgary called "What in The World is Going On About Autism". Her blog often mines and expands on the articles and events that she has detailed in that news feed, as well as looking at current best autism resources, news stories, and events on a variety of topics about autism and ASD.

School’s Back In – Supporting Autistic Students in the Classroom

The school setting is often a difficult environment for autistic individuals. Classroom expectations, sensory and regulation challenges, a prescribed day, and learning differences can make a person feel overwhelmed and stressed. Creating a predictable day, incorporating interests into the curriculum, and teaching to a person’s strengths are just a few things to keep in mind when working with autistic students.…

Read More »

What are splinter skills?

I first became aware of the term splinter skills 16 years ago through an autistic friend of mine, John Simpson. The Autism Society of Minnesota has an excellent definition of what this is in their downloadable resource: A splinter skill is the ability to do a specific task that does not generalize to other similar situations; a “splinter” of a…

Read More »

Sensational Summer – Sensory and Movement Activities to Reduce Stress and Improve Sensory Processing

In my last blog post, Coping with Changes in Routines, I talked about ways to support an autistic person with changes in the summer schedule and routines. Summer is also a great time to explore the outdoors, try new sensory activities and enjoy a more relaxed pace. Let’s explore some sensory activities that can help reduce stress while improving sensory…

Read More »

Coping with Changes in Routines

The arrival of summer can mean a change in routine because of the school break, summer camps and activities, a family vacation, visitors, longer lighter days, and more free time. Change can be upsetting for autistic people because it makes things feel new and unpredictable. Changes in routine may require some additional support to make them less upsetting. Some transitions…

Read More »

Autism Awareness Centre Celebrates 20 Years

The month of June marks our 20th anniversary at Autism Awareness Centre Inc. (AACI). Twenty years is a milestone and one I wasn’t sure that we’d reach given the turn of events that happened because of the pandemic. Our world has changed a great deal, affecting everything we do and plan going forward. Over the past 20 years, I’ve had…

Read More »

Recognizing Autistic Interests as a Strength

If you ask a parent what the most important goal is for their child, they would probably say being happy and healthy. What things in life bring happiness and a sense of well-being? The answer to this question is often found through interests. Interests are a strength! Supporting an autistic person’s interests and passions are important because they are motivating,…

Read More »

Under-Responsive / Seeking Sensory Input

Sensory processing involves the effective registration and accurate interpretation of sensory input from the environment and from one’s body. Information received through the senses such as touch, taste, sight, smell and hearing must be noticed, processed and then responded to appropriately. Sensory processing issues arise when there is difficulty organizing and responding to this information that comes through the senses.…

Read More »

What is low demand parenting or a low demand approach?

Low demand parenting or the low demand approach is often spoken about in the context of Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA); however, this can be helpful for a person who experiences high levels of stress and anxiety. This is a low arousal approach because it prioritizes the reduction of stress and anxiety and is based on trust, flexibility, collaboration, and a…

Read More »

Teaching Flexibility – An Important Skill

Not everything in life goes according to plan – when change happens, we need to be able to adapt. While autistic people need predictable and consistent routines, it’s still important to be able to cope with changes both planned and unplanned. Having flexibility will build resilience, problem solving skills, and help a person to overcome changes and challenges. In order…

Read More »

How can perseverative thoughts be lessened?

Perseveration is when a person has repetitive thoughts and dwells on negative incidents, causing them to become “stuck”. Perseverative thoughts can happen because a person may be trying to manage stress, process information, shift attention, can’t stop thinking about certain things, or can’t control behaviors. This kind of thinking, or looping thoughts, is not done consciously or on purpose. It…

Read More »

Supporting Autistic Children through Structured Play

Engaging in play is an important part of child development. There are numerous benefits derived from playing such as developing imagination and creativity, cognitive growth, building social skills, improving literacy, encouraging independence and promoting physical fitness. While autistic children enjoy playing, they may find some types of play difficult. This can be due to the development of social and communication…

Read More »

How can we recognize depression in autistic individuals and find the support they need?

While depression is a mental health condition that can affect anyone, autistic individuals are 4 times more likely than the general population to experience depression. Research suggests that up to half of all autistic people will be depressed at some point in their lives. Depression should not be ignored and is treatable with the right support. If you or someone…

Read More »

Collaboration in Education – Working Together for Positive Outcomes

In the educational setting, in order for families of autistic children to feel understood, supported, and experience success, they need a village around them. They need to collaborate with teachers, educational assistants, school based teams and community partners. Think of the TEAM acronym: T – Together  E – Everyone  A – Achieves   M – More For collaboration to happen, people…

Read More »

The Struggle of Aging Caregivers

I read an excellent article in the Globe and Mail about the struggles an aging population has with trying to balance work, personal life, and caregiving responsibilities. While caregiving is a labor of love, it also has another side to it that affects employment, physical/mental health, and well-being. As we age, we also have to assess how feasible is it…

Read More »

What is autistic inertia?

An autistic person wrote to me and asked what might be the reason they are experiencing difficulty starting a task. This got me thinking about autistic inertia. Quincy Hansen, autistic blogger, defines it as: the tendency that autistic people have to want to remain in a constant state. When we’re asleep we want to stay asleep, when awake we want…

Read More »