George Carlin’s “waiting to wait,” and why autism parents can’t do that

“They're just waiting and waiting and waiting,” says George Carlin, describing a dog’s life. “Waiting to come in, waiting to go out, waiting to eat, waiting to crap, waiting to wake up, waiting to sleep, waiting to go upstairs, waiting to go downstairs . . . waiting to wait.” In some ways much less funny, this life of waiting has [...]

2017-12-15T18:14:08+00:00 June 15th, 2017|Non-Fiction|

Bullying is not a “thing,” its victims are real, and here’s what we MUST do

Bullying, a universal concern of parents of children with autism, isn’t new and will persist until there’s a near-universal change in thinking. In the meantime, hateful memes like this proliferate on the internet: “Bullying is always going to be a thing. Stop wrapping your kids in cotton wool, teach them to stand up and defend themselves and stop raising a [...]

2017-12-16T00:35:12+00:00 September 28th, 2016|Non-Fiction|

Snappy Beats Snarky: A month of comebacks for autism parents

Every autism parent knows them. They may be strangers; they may be relatives, or anyone in between. They aren’t shy about offering their two cents’ worth on your child’s behavior, preferences, future (and you'd gladly give them a dollar to shut up). They don’t distinguish between opinionated and informed, and they can’t find their own mute button. It can often [...]

2016-07-07T14:34:47+00:00 July 7th, 2016|Non-Fiction|

“Puberty has brought so many changes! Do kids with autism understand it at age 12?”

A parent asks: Our son is finishing his first year of middle school. The IEP goals offered by the school team, from the first section to the last, are completely inappropriate and almost irrelevant to his recent developmental changes. We can pinpoint the academic problems he had sixth grade and carry them forward into seventh grade. But there are other [...]

2016-05-19T12:20:40+00:00 May 19th, 2016|Non-Fiction|

Apology Not Accepted

Originally published in Ellen Notbohm's newsletter, August 2012 Four years ago a publisher on the other side of the world commissioned me to write an article on teaching children with autism to apologize. The editor didn’t want a typical American list of numbered or bulleted points, but rather a “flowing prose” discussion of teaching empathy to children with recognized social [...]

2016-05-06T09:17:23+00:00 May 6th, 2016|Non-Fiction|

Autism classroom conundrum: “Her classmates give in to her to avoid her meltdowns.”

A paraeducator asks: I work with a student with autism. Yesterday an incident came up that I didn’t know how to handle. The children were returning to the classroom from library time, and my student wanted to be lights-on monitor, although it wasn’t her turn. When another student began to do the job, my student went into meltdown. I showed [...]

2016-02-09T12:00:01+00:00 February 9th, 2016|Non-Fiction|

What our children with autism teach us, in six words or less

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.” This, from one of the 20th century’s foremost complex thinkers, Albert Einstein, who also said, “I very rarely think in words at all.” And a couple of millenia before Einstein,  Cicero deemed brevity “a great charm of eloquence.” Legions of authors nowadays try to live by William Zinsser’s [...]

2017-12-15T18:16:59+00:00 December 14th, 2015|Non-Fiction|