Thursday, August 28, 2014

What Parents of Autistic Kids Would Like Teachers To Know

originally posted on

Dear teachers,

Sometimes the challenges of having autistic kids can make it hard for us to do all of the things that you might expect from parents... making sure homework gets done, listening to reading, bringing in supplies, volunteering our help or making it to meetings on time.

We know this must be frustrating for you. It might even seem that we're not trying or don't care. But please know that we might have some really good reasons...

We're busy
Our lives are jam-packed with learning about autism, specialist appointments and constant challenges. This can make it hard to find a spare 20 minutes for meetings, homework, reading or popping out to the store for a sheet of poster board.

We're broke
Doctors, specialists, therapy costs, time off work and even losing our jobs are all putting serious financial pressure on us. So yes, it might be hard for us to find $5 for the class trip.

We're exhausted
It’s common for autistic kids to have sleep problems so a lot of us are up all night, and managing meltdowns are physically demanding. We might not be functioning at our best.

We’re on eggshells
We'd do anything to avoid setting off a meltdown that lasts for hours, but it takes a while to figure out how to do that. In the meantime it can be like living in an abandoned minefield, so our nerves are on edge.

We’re overwhelmed
There’s so much to keep track of - information, appointments, terminology, advice - and we’re running on minimal resources. Systems are overloading.

We’re touchy
A lot of people don’t understand autism and judge our kids and our parenting harshly. So if we seem a bit defensive please don't take it personally, we're just used to having to protect ourselves.

We’re hurting
It’s hard to see your child struggling and not know what to do about it.

To read more, click here.....

Monday, August 25, 2014

Valuable Resources for Preparing for Back to School

It is getting to be that time of year again. School registration has started for some districts and is approaching for others. Summer is coming to an end and the new school year will be here before we know it.  Soon it will be time to think about IEPs, meetings, and homework. Get prepared with these great resources from ISBE.  


Click here to download a free copy of the Illinois Student Records Keeper.

Contact our office at 866-436-7842 to request copies of either document or with questions regarding the IEP process.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Autism Resource give away!

We have an amazing package of autism resources to give away to one lucky reader!
1 copy of Talking Together: Two Social Stories that Clarify Daily Routines and Explain Social Rules
1 copy of Educating the Young Child with Autism Spectrum Disorders
Several back uses of Autism Spectrum Quarterly and The Autism Asperger's magazines
To enter the give away, please leave a comment on this post.  Be sure to include your email address so we can contact you if you win!
The give away ends on August 26th at midnight.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Inside the Dyslexic Brain

A National Center for Learning Disabilities crowd favorite, this video produced by the infamous TED Talk team opens with a quick exercise that shows—rather than tells—what dyslexia is like for those who have it. With its easy-to-understand explanations and calm narration, it’s a great choice to share with family and friends who aren’t quite sure what dyslexia is.

Monday, August 11, 2014

7 Things You Might Not Know to Ask for When Transitioning Your Autistic Child to Middle School

originally posted on What to Expect

Leigh Merryday is a school media specialist and autism parent blogger at She is married with two children — a typical five-year-old daughter and a three-year-old son on the autism spectrum. In her spare time, she vehemently denies being addicted to Facebook, reading, and peanut butter fudge. No one believes her.

"Middle school" is a scary phrase for most parents. Thoughts of your baby wandering around a big school, trying to find his classes and being run over by much bigger 8th graders are frightening. He will no longer be cocooned in the safety of his elementary classroom with a teacher who knows him well, and there is the expectation your child will be able to function more independently. But what if your child is on the autism spectrum? What if he has difficulty advocating for his needs? What if he is difficult to understand? Or becomes overwhelmed? How do you rest easy knowing that his differences may make him an easier target for bullies?

I am a middle school teacher/media specialist and an autism parent. In my 15 years of teaching middle school, I have encountered many children on the autism spectrum. Some struggle and, yes, some do quite well. I have learned small things can make all the difference for our special kids. Unfortunately, many parents don't know they can ask for special assistance. Without the proper plans in place to begin with, it can take months or years for solutions to occur to teachers or administrators.
Every child is different — autism or not. The following ideas are things I have seen to be most helpful for spectrum kids surviving middle school:

1. A 5-minute early pass. If your child is overwhelmed by loud noises or people bumping into him, passing time in a middle school hallway can be upsetting. Ask for a laminated hall pass to leave each class five minutes early. Your child will then be able to use the restroom and make it to his next class in peace. A pass may also curtail bullying, which often occurs in the bathroom or hallways. Deans and guidance counselors utilize such passes for students for various reasons and it won't hurt to have one. If you find your child doesn't have a problem in the hallways, he can simply choose to not use it.

To continue reading, click here

Thursday, August 7, 2014

18 Tips to Make Transitions Easier

by Bec Oakley
originally published on

Image: oatsy40

In part one we looked at reasons why transitions can be difficult for some kids, now let's figure out how to help.

1.  Break it down

Do a task analysis to break the transition into smaller steps, so you can figure out where the problem is. Let's take moving from computer time to another activity as a quick example:

2.  Show that change can be okay

Use two activities that he loves equally and practice switching between them. Teach him to recognise what a transition is, when it's coming and how it will feel. Make it a rewarding, stress-free time so he can focus on learning the cues and experiencing the change as a pleasant thing.

To read more, please click here.....

Monday, August 4, 2014

A Review: "Asperger’s in Pink"

If you happen to have a child with Asperger’s Syndrome, chances are it is a boy. According to statistics, there are 4 boys with Asperger’s to every 1 girl who has the disorder. It’s no wonder that parents like Julie Clark experience doubt and resistance when others find out she has a daughter, Kristina, who has Asperger’s Syndrome.
Time and again, people have questioned Kristina’s diagnosis. Even teachers and other professionals have expressed doubt and disbelief and have even pushed her to get another opinion. Clark is sure, however; Kristina definitely has Asperger’s Syndrome.

It’s not just that more boys are diagnosed with the syndrome, though. Boys and girls often have different symptoms and react differently to the world, which just adds to the confusion.

This is why Clark decided to write a book about her family’s experience with Asperger’s. Her goal is to share her experience in the hopes of possibly educating other people about Asperger’s in girls. Asperger’s in Pink, this month’s OJTA book club selection, chronicles Clark’s family’s journey into the world of Asperger’s Syndrome.

Asperger’s in Pink is labeled as a must read for “raising (or being!) a girl with Aspeger’s.” But I wouldn’t stop there. As a mother of a son with high-functioning autism, I learned quite a bit from this book. Clark includes lots of information and insight on how to work with school officials and teachers to get your child the services she needs.

She also discusses many daily challenges facing those on the autism spectrum, including difficulties with transitions, challenges with being flexible, and of course, the problems many face with social skills. Intermingled with the advice is a great big helping of personal stories–many of which will make you smile as you relate to Clark and her challenges raising her daughter.

If you are interested in borrowing this book and you live in Illinois, please contact Family Matters at 866-436-7842 or leave a message here in the comments.  If you comment, be sure to include your email address so we can contact you!