A Word About “Normal”

“Normal.” Now there’s a word we’d like to see omitted from your social vocabulary entirely – in not just what you say, but how you think about your child and his autism or Asperger’s. For many parents, emphasis on this two-syllable trip-off-the-tongue utterance can become a handicap of immeasurable dimension. Learning to think social and be social in whatever degree [...]

2019-01-11T07:31:26+00:00January 11th, 2019|Non-Fiction|

Everyone Makes Mistakes: 6 Ways to Help Your Autistic Child Cope with Frustration

Children with autism love absolutes, and one of life’s absolutes is that everyone makes mistakes. It’s the degree, the nuance, the scale, the gradation of these mistakes that confounds the child with autism. But autism is often characterized by the ability to generalize. To this child’s concrete, black-and-white thinking, each mistake or failing stands as his and his alone, and [...]

2018-10-06T09:40:21+00:00October 6th, 2018|Non-Fiction|

“Other parents challenge the way we deal with our daughter’s autism.”

A parent asks: We have an eight-year-old daughter with autism. We’ve always agreed on our approach to parenting her, and we have no trouble loving her just the way she is. She gets speech therapy and other interventions through her school, which have helped her progress in her schoolwork and with interacting with her classmates. We’re new to the community, [...]

2018-05-29T21:11:01+00:00May 29th, 2018|Non-Fiction|

“I’m rattled by our summer program’s lack of support.” Try these tips for smoother summer transitions.

A mother asks: My preschooler has autism. He’s in a summer school program because of concerns about regression. On our first day, he threw a tantrum when we arrived. The teacher said he’d be fine, but the director of the program said that I either had to go in with him, have breakfast with him, and take him to the [...]

2018-05-09T09:05:01+00:00May 9th, 2018|Non-Fiction|

“How can I know that my son’s teachers do right by him?”: Putting your helicopter-parent mindset to rest

A parent asks: My husband and I are working parents of a four-year-old son with autism. When I see videos or read about abuse of autistic kids, I question my son’s school. He’s never shown any signs of abuse or complained about anything. But how can I know that my son’s teachers do right by him and do their jobs [...]

2018-05-04T09:45:18+00:00May 4th, 2018|Non-Fiction|

The real “real world” you want for your child with autism, and how to get there

The mid-1990s weren’t exactly the Dark Ages of autism, but families like ours hard-landed on a spectrum unthinkable today: no websites, apps, social media, sensory-friendly events, autism curriculum, tagless clothing (hey--that's important!). While resources were sparse, dumb clichés were as plentiful as they are today. One of the most prevalent was that children with autism “are off in their own [...]

2018-04-02T06:52:05+00:00April 2nd, 2018|Non-Fiction|

Who Let the Cat Out (of the Bag)?: Demystifying idioms for concrete thinkers

One fine day I sat in the boardroom listening to a dynamic project manager describe the strategy for the next customer acquisition campaign. Only days earlier she’d told me she was sick to death of enduring meetings with men who couldn’t string together two sentences without spouting sports idioms. “The ball’s in their court,” she mimicked, “and they need to [...]

2018-02-21T10:07:53+00:00February 21st, 2018|Non-Fiction|

Mantra, reversed: Just Don’t Do It

The battle cry “Just Do It” turns thirty this year. An athletic-shoe company ad slogan, those three little words spawned many interpretations. Some took it as rousing: yes, improving myself is that simple! Some took it as derisive: get off your ass and stop making excuses already! Whatever the intent or the inflection, it became a cultural refrain. I remember [...]

2018-02-02T08:33:43+00:00February 2nd, 2018|Non-Fiction|