Maureen Bennie's Autism Blog
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Autism News - Blog

Maureen Bennie’s blog on a wide variety of subjects pertaining to autism, and ASD ( formerly known as Aspergers). Maureen is a mother of a son and a daughter ages 16 and 14 with autism. She has managed an at-home Intensive Behavioral Intervention Program for eight years for her children. She has written hundreds of articles and book reviews that have appeared in publications and on websites throughout North America and the UK. Maureen also gives presentations across Canada on various topics about autism, available books and resources and how to use them.

Reading with Dogs

I recently enrolled my 10 year daughter, Julia, in a program called Story Pals at our local public library. The premise of the program was for struggling readers to practice reading aloud to a dog. Dogs are not judgmental nor do they correct a person when they read aloud so it seemed like the perfect situation to lessen Julia’s anxiety around reading. My biggest concern, though, was Julia’s intense fear of dogs. Would she even come into a room with dogs?

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Improving Speech and Eating Skills in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders: An Oral Motor Program

Maureen Flanagan’s new book Improving Speech and Eating Skills in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders shows how to implement a program at home or school. Ms. Flanagan states, “Working on oral motor skills will help expand the child’s diet, accept oral input from a toothbrush, increase the number of sounds that are produced, and assist with imitation and initiation of speech production.” Written for parents and teachers, this book details techniques and activities to work on oral motor skills and explains the reasons for working on these skills.

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Tanzania Entry 8

We left for Bagomoyo this morning on the express bus and arrived at the Livingston Hotel where we are treating ourselves to a night and day at this lovely beach resort. William used to work here and recommended it to us. It is lovely and has high speed internet. I might even be able to send you some photos tomorrow!

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Tanzania Entry 7

What happened was, we went to the bus station at 8:30 on Wed. morning to catch our 9:00 bus. After much discussion between our cab driver and the ticket office staff, they tracked down a young man who explained to us that the 9:00 bus left at 8:00. We had missed it.

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Tanzania Entry 6

Saturday morning we packed up, bid Ibra good bye and the driver took us to the “Luxury” bus to Lushoto we thought we had tickets on. As in Alice’s Wonderland, nothing is as you think it will be. Fortunately it was a rather cool day and the sky was overcast because we were packed in like sardines for the 7 hour trip that was suppose to take 5.

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Tanzania Entry 5

Did I ever mention that the Dadas (teacher assistants) don’t speak English? Two of the new teachers don’t speak much either and do not let us know when they are not understanding what we are saying. They are wonderful people and very good with the children. The teachers help translate but we definitely have had some communication breakdowns.

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Tanzania Entry 4

Wow, this week has flown by. We have been practicing, practicing, practicing all week. Thankfully the children are responding to the strategies which we hope will fuel the teachers for the hard work ahead of them. We will make work tasks tomorrow afternoon then meet with the teachers. On Friday we do a wrap-up.

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Tanzania Entry 3

I forgot to tell you about the school. The program is housed in a residential neighborhood just down the road from our hotel. Mr. Chanadu meets us at our hotel as we are finishing our breakfast (peanut butter and jelly sandwich, coffee and a banana) and escorts us as we walk to school, dodging the puddles and passing school children, vendors selling fried donut-type balls and a woodworking shop.

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Tanzania Entry 2

Last night we went to the Slipway, a shopping district along the coast. Watched the Dhows sail along in the sunset, beautiful! We had barbeque for dinner and, unfortunately, the shrimp Kari had did not agree with her. She is out of commission for the day and for the night so I am on my own. There is an internet non cafe just a block down from our hotel so that is where I am.

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Tanzania Entry 1

We arrived safe and sound after a long and tiring flight. It is the end of the rainy season so there are major puddles on the dirt road in front of our hotel. On Sunday Kari and I walked to the Mwenga Village Museum (think Murphy’s landing), a living museum demonstrating tribal village life from different areas around the country. We saw wonderful dancing, artists and crafts. Very charming.

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The Potty Journey

Parents of children with autism or other special needs frequently struggle with toilet training their child. Toileting a child with special needs is more difficult because there are often additional challenges such as communication difficulties, sensory issues, behavioral concerns, resistance to change, inability to generalize a newly learned skill, and the need for routine.

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“Just Give Him the Whale!”

Motivation is a key tool for wanting to acquire new information and attending to a task. Most of us will devote more time and energy to something that interests us rather than a task that we are told to do. We are more apt to pursue or stay with something that interests us.

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Autism…What Does It Mean to Me?

Asperger’s…What Does It Mean to Me? written by TEACCH therapist Catherine Faherty is a supportive, self-awareness program for young people ages 8 – 14 with high functioning autism (HFA) or Asperger Syndrome. The workbook format of this book, designed to be written in, creates a framework to assist the individual in thinking about themselves, who they are, and what makes them unique.

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Girls Under the Umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorders Practical Solutions for Addressing Everyday Challenges

There is an abundance of literature available on a variety of topics about autism spectrum disorder (ASD); however, most of these materials are written with males in mind since they comprise most of population diagnosed with ASD. There are some excellent personal perspective stories written by women on the spectrum such as Dr. Temple Grandin, Donna Williams, and Liane Willey, but there are almost no books written about working or living with females with ASD.

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Starting Points: The Basics Understanding and Supporting Children and Youth with Asperger Syndrome

Starting Points is a handy guide designed to help anyone who is new to the diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome. Educators, therapists, and parents will learn strategies to work effectively with that individual. Constructed in an easy-to-follow format complete with icons, charts, and other visual supports, this book will lessen the feeling of being overwhelmed when assisting someone with Asperger Syndrome.

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