February 18, 2013
Look Before You Leap

Last week, more than 100 Special Education teachers and administrators, plus parents of children with autism spectrum disorders and related providers, converged in our area for a combined Community of Practice (CoP) on Autism Spectrum Disorders and other Development Disabilities (ASD/DD) and Autism Program Support Teacher (PST) meeting hosted by the Wisconsin Department of Public […]

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January 7, 2013
Autism and Relationships in Adolescence

In December, I chose to share some thoughts about friendship skills of students with ASD in preschool and elementary school.  As students move into secondary school (grades 6 through 12), the nature of their relationships change.  Puberty becomes a factor not only in physical development, but in social-emotional development as well.  And just as physical […]

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December 10, 2012
Autism and Peer Relationships in Early Childhood

In the state of Wisconsin, the average age for receiving an autism spectrum diagnosis is 4-1/2 years old (CDC, 2012).  By this time, while most parents report that their child later diagnosed with ASD exhibited symptoms before seeking a medical diagnosis, children should already have been receiving services through Birth to 3.  That being the […]

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November 5, 2012
The Power of Compliments

This week, I'm going back to Tony Attwood's presentation ... So many of the things he said during last week's seminar resonate beyond the population of individuals with ASD.  He spoke of the importance of compliments in relationships, particularly as they apply to romantic relationships.  In fact, nearly 15 years ago, he worked with Carol […]

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October 29, 2012
"You're smart when you're calm."

Thankfully for me and my personal and professional life, there is no shortage of brilliance in the autism universe.  I've had the privilege, beginning in 2004, to see dozens of people through conferences and seminars who've become my autism heroes over the years.  Their knowledge of autism and related experience has made me a better […]

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August 6, 2012
It All Matters

As educators and administrators start to get in the new school year zone, they'll go over the Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) of the students in their classes to get an understanding of some of the more specialized needs.  (Or at least they should be doing that!)  A good IEP is one that focuses on achievements […]

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June 18, 2012
Vertigo Builds Empathy

Who knew?  Who knew that what started out as an awful world-spinning, head-dizzying week could end with me having a better understanding of what some people with autism must experience?  On Tuesday, our family had scheduled a fun-filled day at an amusement park complete with water park.  We were excited!  We had worked it out […]

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June 11, 2012
Self-Advocacy: The Right Stuff

One of the more remarkable things about my (almost) 11-year-old daughter is how well she knows herself.  In fact, there are things she tells me about the way her brain works that astonish me, and give me keen insight into why other children with autism spectrum disorder might respond in certain ways to environmental stimuli. […]

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November 29, 2011
To tell or not to tell ...

(adapted from our Feb. 2010 newsletter) As we talk with parents of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) and their teachers, we are often asked a form of the following question: “Is it a good idea to share the student’s disability with his/ her classmates?” Teachers cannot share that information by law, as it violates the student’s privacy. Parents are often concerned the […]

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