Stop Pathologizing Autistic Play

A topic came up in an autism support group I frequent. A mother said that her son's Early Intervention therapist was trying to get him to stop "repetitive play," and play more the way typical children do. The mom didn't see any harm in repetitive play, but the therapist claimed her son was doing the… Continue reading Stop Pathologizing Autistic Play

Behavior diagrams and flow charts

I often think of things from the perspective of a scientist or engineer trying to solve a problem. It can help bridge the gap between different communication styles, such as autistic and non-autistic, in a way that respects both. Here is an example: Autistic children are often taught to look up and make eye contact… Continue reading Behavior diagrams and flow charts

Sneaky Kiddo!

I got some new mints and let 11-year-old Nightingale try one on our way to the beach. He pestered me for another... and another... and another.... the whole way there. Finally, at the beach, I told him, "no more until after lunch." I put them in my purse and set my purse down on a… Continue reading Sneaky Kiddo!

A picnic, with nonverbal communication

A true story: My 12-year-old nonverbal client and I are having a picnic at the park on a beautiful summer day. We sit on the grass. I try to read to him a bit, but he turns away and begins to vocalize loudly, so I assume he isn't in the mood to listen. I put… Continue reading A picnic, with nonverbal communication

Behavior is Communication, but it’s not always easy to interpret

Recently, I went to a restaurant at a shopping mall with a mostly nonverbal, preteen client (let's call him Josh) and his mother. There was a cafeteria-style food counter, and next to that, a place to stack used dishes, a slot (like a mail slot) for used silverware, and bins for trash and recycling. Josh… Continue reading Behavior is Communication, but it’s not always easy to interpret

Autism and Mindfulness

Why do I keep feeling like we (or at least I) have to be DOING something? He doesn’t want to do, he wants to simply be, and he wants me to simply be there with him.

Engaging Autistic Attention

The boy is sprawled on the floor next to me, intently focused on his toys. At 5 years old, he is great at repeating words and can say a handful of things independently, but rarely does so without prompting. His mother is concerned that he doesn’t quite have a solid grasp of numbers yet. He… Continue reading Engaging Autistic Attention

Autism Appreciation

This is a post I started in April, but then stuff happened and I didn't finish it. So let's just pretend this is Autism Appreciation Month. Actually, all months should be a time for appreciating autism. *** Twice, recently, people have complimented me on how positive I am towards and about my profoundly autistic clients--… Continue reading Autism Appreciation