Autism Parenting Tips: Consequences? Wednesday, Jul 25 2012 


Most folks don’t enjoy disciplining their kids. I’m not a fan of it myself, but I do feel that by failing to show my son boundaries I am setting him up for a harsh lesson later in life with much more severe penalties. Discipline is additionally challenging with an autistic child, so I’m going to share some of the things we do that help us show Raymond consequences of his decisions. 

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Autism Parenting Tips: Get rid of the cute words Wednesday, Jun 27 2012 


I’m posting this for parents of autistic kids, but it really applies to everyone. Just so you know why I’m posting this, I spent the morning at our local Child Advocacy Center. I am on my county social services advisory board, so I’m seeing stuff that is a little off the beaten path but very necessary for the folks that need it. A Child Advocacy Center is a place where abused children can be interviewed once instead of submitting to multiple interviews for the school, the police, the court, etc, and reliving the horrible event each time. It is a safe,comforting place, and they have the interview taped and all the team questions asked at one time with a great deal of collaboration between agencies.

What struck me most about the tour was the discussion about how many different and odd names people use to describe their private parts. While I’m not going to go into detail, I’m sure everyone reading can reflect on at least 4 euphemisms that bring a chuckle and a couple that cause alarm. We are guilty of doing the same thing in our household, although I’m not sure why. It seems to be a part of human nature that we can’t call our genitalia by their clinical names.

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Happy Belated Fathers Day 2012! Monday, Jun 18 2012 


Fathers Day 2012 by mithraeus
Fathers Day 2012, a photo by mithraeus on Flickr.
Hello all my Autism Dads! I meant to write this post yesterday, but I was too busy enjoying myself to approach a computer! At any rate, here are my top of mind tips to help your next Father’s Day be as awesome as it should be.1. Autism doesn’t stop because its Father’s Day (more…)

They’re our kids, not our causes. Sunday, Oct 23 2011 


As the dad of a kid with autism I go to battle a lot. I fight stereotypes, debate our politicians and argue with the school. However, as much as I am passionate about the causes involved in autism I am still aware of why I’m fighting. I’m fighting for my son.

Its easy, when I get into heated debate mode, to start “letting people have it.” I’m a fairly witty guy with a knack for turning a quick phrase, and consequently I have the dubious gift of being able to make people feel inept or uneducated. However, when I start to go down that road I try to ask myself a few questions.

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Reblog: Teaching Social Skills Frontwards, by Dan Coulter Friday, Oct 21 2011 


Wow. What a great perspective on teaching social skills. Its easy to get lost in the reactive mode instead of thinking ahead. Thanks for helping to reorient other parents.

Autism Society of North Carolina Blog

Why do we tend to teach social skills backwards? Instead of consistently teaching our kids manners, many of us wait until they do something wrong and then correct them.

Imagine using this approach in a driver’s education class. They’d put you in a manual transmission car with no training. Then they’d turn on the engine and shove the car into the street, expecting you to learn to drive from the helpful suggestions yelled at you by other drivers.

Anybody think that’s an optimal learning situation?

To give us parents the benefit of the doubt, we don’t use poor teaching tools on purpose. We do what seems obvious at the time. But, looking back, I’m sort of amazed that I kept trying the same thing for so long when it wasn’t getting results.

Even though I knew my son had Asperger Syndrome and that he had trouble learning social skills intuitively…

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Sleepless nights? Try melatonin! Thursday, Oct 20 2011 


We are believers in the biomedical side of autism, and existence for that matter. It does make a certain amount of sense to me that garbage in = garbage out. One of the most effective supplements we have found to help our son sleep is, of course, melatonin. However, until about a year ago I never really thought to use it for myself.

Then I developed cluster headaches. Cluster headaches are a fairly rare form of migraine that comes and goes but are grouped around a time period. The pain, for me, was excruciating. Naturally I turned to my best doctor, google, to get some solutions. A number of them were pretty off the wall, but one that I thought might work was a high dose of melatonin.

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Autism Parenting Skills Part 5: Base expectations on facts, not conjecture Wednesday, Oct 5 2011 


We attend a lot of meetings at schools and with doctors due to our sons autism. I’ve noticed that many folks try to tell me how things will unfold for my son, or set limits on his abilities. I have a tendency to think less of people who do that, but it does seem like a somewhat common flaw to assume that expertise is the same thing as divination.

As a dad, I’m fairly skeptical when it comes to anyone limiting my son’s potential. We have been told repeatedly that he wouldn’t be able to do things, like make friends, ride a bike, hop on one foot, etc. Without fail, those folks have been wrong. It takes extra support for Raymond to learn how to do some of those things, but he manages to do them.

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Autism Parenting Skills Part 4: Bravery Wednesday, Aug 24 2011 


“Bravery is being the only one who knows you’re afraid.” – Franklin P. Jones

I have been told recently that not everyone who has an opinion has the courage to raise it, and many people do not speak up when they have something to say but instead bite their tongues. Since that idea is totally foreign to me, I thought I those folks need to know why we parents need to speak up.

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Autism vs the kids birthday party Monday, Aug 22 2011 


Kids with autism enjoy birthday parties as much as the next kid, although they generally aren’t invited to as many of them as their typical peers. While kids birthday parties can be challenging I encourage parents to attend them with their kids on the spectrum. The social opportunities dwarf the challenges in my opinion. However, we have a few simple rules that help us have a successful party experience.

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Autism Parenting Skills Part 3: Trust Your Instincts Friday, Aug 5 2011 


In this day and age we all question ourselves about everything. I’m not saying that self reflection is bad, but there is also a time when you have to go with your gut. Hopefully this post will help you figure out how to turn your instincts into challenge detection devices for your kids!

The most common thing I hear from parents of folks on the spectrum is “How do I know I’m doing the right thing.” I ask myself that one, and I also hear it from my wife, and my answer is always “our son is learning and growing. That is the right thing.” I’m a pragmatic type in that I measure right or wrong by outcome. If our outcome is positive, if our son has learned a skill or grown as a person or we as a family are more functional then we did the right thing. If it goes the other way then we didn’t.

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