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.

Teaching the Concept of Time

The importance of understanding and keeping time is all around us in our daily lives. Schedules, bedtime, mealtimes, cooking and baking, work, classes, concerts, movies, appointments, social gatherings, and using public transportation all involve timing. Not understanding time and how it works can make us late, rushed, not able to finish a task, miss out on an event, take too…

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Why It Takes A Village To Support A Person With Autism

I recently renewed the service contract for both of my adult children with ASD. The process of meeting with my caseworker left me feeling like a failure and deflated. I think this was because  my caseworker starting sentences with, “You should…” One example of this was, “You should go around the city and approach potential employers for opportunities for your…

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An Introduction to Pathological Demand Avoidance (PDA)

Pathological Demand Avoidance of PDA is becoming more widely recognized as a distinct profile of autism. British psychologist Elizabeth Newson came up with this term which describes an anxiety-driven need to be in control and avoid other people’s demands and expectations. Research done at the University of Newcastle in November 2016 found that Intolerance of Uncertainty (IU) was also associated…

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Embracing the Interests and Passions of Individuals with Autism, No Matter What They Are

I recently featured an article on Facebook about age appropriate interests written by Christine Motokane, a young adult with autism. Some of her interests were deemed “inappropriate for her age” by well meaning people around her. Christine’s mother became concerned about her childhood interests as they continued into her high school years. She hired a behaviorist to teach Christine what…

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Making Christmas Merry and Bright for Individuals with ASD

The Christmas holidays can be a time of wonder and delight, taking part in family traditions, seeing loved ones, and a break from routines. The holidays can also be a time of stress for those on the autism spectrum who thrive on familiarity and predictability. This can be a difficult time of year, but with some preparation and planning, the…

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Autism-Related Catatonia: Shut Downs, Mobility, and Speech Difficulties After Early Childhood

I can remember vividly the first time I heard about autism-related catatonia. It was at my Saskatoon, Saskatchewan conference in October 2017. Dr. Ruth Aspy spoke about it in her presentation on self-regulation. I had only heard of catatonia being associated with schizophrenia. Her explanation and description of autism-related catatonia got my mind turning about the parents whom I’ve talked…

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What Do I Do Now? Dealing with an Autism Diagnosis at Any Stage, Any Age

Receiving an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis is a life-changing event at any age or any stage of life. For parents of young children, it changes their hopes, dreams and expectations for their child. It impacts the parents’ relationship with each, the family dynamic and relationships with extended family and friends. A diagnosis in the elementary school years can explain why…

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Interoception and Autism: Body Awareness Challenges for Those with ASD

Most of us know about the seven senses – sight, hearing, smell, taste, touch, vestibular, and proprioception. There is also a lesser-known sense, the eighth sense, called interoception. This sense helps a person understand what is going on inside of the body like hunger, thirst, feeling hot or cold, fatigue, or a full bladder. It also affects the ability to…

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Temple Grandin’s Advice For Living the Best Life with ASD

I recently organized my tenth bookstore for Temple Grandin at a conference in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. Temple’s talks are always inspiring and motivating because of all that she has accomplished in her long career. Her boundless energy and enthusiasm make one forget that she is 72 years old. I enjoyed listening to Temple speak with eager delegates at the book…

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Measuring ‘Quality of Life’ For ASD: shifting from diagnosis to happiness

I recently returned from the Autism Europe Conference in Nice, France. The conference happens once every 3 years and highlights a variety of research presentations on many different topics about autism. There was one keynote speaker who really intrigued me from Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet – Sven Bölte. His keynote presentation, From diagnosis to functioning and quality of life in autism,…

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Critical Mass – Building in Practice Time for Individuals with ASD

There is a new area of study emerging in autism called critical mass which means true mastery of a skill. Critical mass is the point where an individual has gained enough information to be successful in situations, activities, or skills for which instruction has not been provided. When there has been enough instruction and multiple experiences, a tipping point can…

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“It Happens” – Fecal Smearing in Individuals with ASD

I receive a lot of questions every month about toileting difficulties. One question I am asked is what to do about fecal smearing. It’s an upsetting behavior because of the smell, mess, and unhygienic situation. Parents worry that fecal smearing will happen when their child is outside of their home – at school, daycare, or in a public place. It…

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Autism Awareness Centre Inc. Celebrates 16 Years

June 2019 marks Autism Awareness Centre’s 16th anniversary. When I co-founded this company in 2003, my children were 4 and 6 years old. I was only four years in to the autism journey. Today my children are 20 and 22, young adults. So much has changed in the autism field these past 16 years. Some of our biggest advancements have…

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