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

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

Steps Towards Communication

After the hundreds, thousands, maybe millions of times that he has tried and failed to get someone to understand something, he still cared enough, hoped enough, trusted enough to try to bridge that gap of understanding once more....

Behavior Modification: Use Sparingly and With Caution

In both cases, a preteen client was being physically violent. However, the two situations required very different responses. In one case, a behaviorist approach worked well for everyone involved, including the client. In the other, it would have been catastrophic, especially for the client.

Just Amazing

Sometimes my job is difficult, frustrating, or annoying. Sometimes it makes me feel like the luckiest person in the world. This day was the second kind. And not just because I got to wear a bathing suit to work! *** Less than a year ago, I would arrive at his house, pile into the car… Continue reading Just Amazing

Communication is a collaboration

It takes (at least) two people to communicate. The transfer of information does not happen in a void. Lots of professional people have written professional things about this, everywhere from brain injury journals to Star Trek fan forums. Here's what it looks like (sometimes) in real life: My client takes his mother's hand, tugs. She… Continue reading Communication is a collaboration

We Need to Talk About Appropriate Language

Most of us can remember being unreasonably afraid of something-- or hoping for something impossible -- because an adult said something we misinterpreted, took too literally, or didn't realize was a joke. Sometimes we hold these misconceptions for years. For an autistic child, who tends to take language very literally, this probably happens far more often.

Notes About Learning Language

I just got finished reading this excellent article: http://www.assistiveware.com/are-our-assumptions-about-autism-and-aac-all-wrong Fortunately, I've only once seen a case where an autistic client's AAC was used in the horribly restrictive way that this article warns against. I have also been privileged to witness some wonderful AAC uses, and I'm in the process of learning how to encourage even… Continue reading Notes About Learning Language