2 04, 2014

Today I Celebrate

Today I wear blue. Today I join the world as it aims a spotlight on Autism. In my family and in my work, autism is a part of everyday existence. I love my child with Autism and I love my students with autism. But today I stand in solidarity with hundreds of thousands of people (maybe more) in sharing what we know and what we have yet to know about Autism. Today I celebrate the fact that we are talking: talking in our homes, communities, work places and schools. We are talking about autism all over the world. I celebrate the fact that since 2007 Autism is talked about openly at a global level and in places where it was never acknowledged or where it was considered shameful. I celebrate the fact that when I explain a seemingly odd behaviour that might be construed as ‘bratty ’is actually autism, the

17 02, 2014

A Cure for the Blahs

It’s like a wave numb inactivity, disengagement and lack of a give a damn sucks my typical enthusiasm for life.  I think many of us experience this dull, dry, ‘desert’ feeling at times. To be honest, I hate it. I despise being sucked into a sloth like abyss. But, at the same time, I find it very challenging to overcome. Perhaps, it is the weather, the lack of sunshine or the abundance of viruses and bugs that wreak havoc on whole families and classrooms. Whatever the reason, I find myself returning to what I know has brought me out of the doldrums before: more time with God. And so I return to solitude name my blessings, ask for help with my state of mind and wait.  I decide that my waiting must be active. I really don't feel motivated to do so, but I will  take the dogs for a

4 07, 2013

Raising Resilient Kids with Autism

So how do we raise resilient kids so that they can become resilient adults? Build strong relationships with a child. Be open and present when they come to you with their stories, worries and complaints. Relationships are built over the long term and it is often those small little gestures of closing a computer or a book, stopping to look at a child's eyes  that make a big difference in self -esteem. Sometimes just knowing that someone in our life “gets us” is enough to comfort us through the challenging times. Genuine human connection can get us through the darkest times. Individuals with autism may be bothered by events and experiences that we think are silly or unreasonable. Maybe we think our child is being overly dramatic. By taking the time to put yourself in the child’s mind (or body) and really listen (not just hear) what is being said,

27 05, 2013

Mission Control: We Have a Problem

I cringe as I catch myself. Yep. I have done it again. I have scurried along at a break- necked speed and as I move I utter commandments at rapid fire speed to those I love the most. On occasion, I have been accused of being over controlling and €œintense.€ Ouch. That is not the description I am looking for when, from my perspective, I am doing everything possible to make sure that my house and my family are well kept and organized. Perhaps the worst part of the accusation is there is truth in it. Sometimes I have an out of body experience (not literally) and I hear myself: €œDid you take your vitamins? Do you have a water bottle? You know how important hydration is! Why do I need to remind you to put your shoes IN the closet? Did you feed the dogs? Is your homework done?

11 05, 2012

I am Kieran

If you think I'€™m smart it'€™s because I am. Colleen treated me like I could learn anything. She always cheered me on. She applauded every attempt. She expected me to use my intelligence. She believed in me. If you think I'€™m loveable it's because I am. Colleen hugged me and told me that I was wonderful. She made me feel worthwhile. She taught me how to show you just how loving I can be. She taught me how to care for myself. She expected me to be loveable. She believed in me. If you think I am gentle it'€™s because I am. Colleen talked calmly and carefully to me, except when she was cheering me on. She held me close when I got scared or angry. She taught me how to calm myself. She believed that I was gentle. She expected me to be gentle. She believed in me. If

26 04, 2012

Are ANTS Getting in your Way?

I must confess, sometimes I gripe, complain, fantasize about life being easy. Yes, I have been known to be whiny and negative. For the most part, it is my family are the ones who get to see this side of me. But the more work I do with children with special needs the more I realize that it really is true that attitude makes a world of difference. I am a quote fanatic. I find deep pleasure in knowing someone "out there" gets it. So here is a quote that inspires me: It's not the events of our lives that shape us, but our beliefs as to what those events mean. Tony Robbins The older I get, the more I realize that we get to CHOOSE our beliefs. We are not at the mercy of our thoughts. Our thoughts are really just electrical impulses that fly through our brain at

6 01, 2011

New Book Release: Autism & the Grandparent Connection

Just released - Autism & the Grandparent Connection; Practical Ways to Understand Your Grandchild with Autism Spectrum Disorder At Autism Aspirations we believe that those that care for and/or teach a student with autism need down to earth, straightforward and autism specific advice! We want to save you time, energy, money and most of all, your SANITY! We want to share two books that are easy to read, comprehensive and practical guides to educating children of all ages with autism: Been There. Done That. Finally Getting it Right. A Guide to Educational Planning for Students with Autism Lessons from a Mother and Teacher and One Step at a Time: ABA and Autism in the Classroom Practical Strategies for Implementing Applied Behaviour Analysis for Student with Autism Been There Done That. Finally Getting It Right. We believe in empowering individuals with autism to develop their potential and be who they were

11 07, 2010

Your Child Has Purpose

To begin... Know that your child has a purpose; he or she is not "damaged goods." Rather, he has a vulnerability and an innocence that the world desperately lacks. Your child with special needs is here to teach you and to teach the world. The lesson you must learn is your own but the world'€™s lesson is about compassion, accountability and love. When we take the time to reflect on the things that make your child unique we can begin to see life differently. Personally, I was always in a hurry; playing a game of "beat the clock." Our son was incessantly slow and meticulous. He had to thoroughly examine every aspect of nature while we would walk. He loved the sounds of his shoes on the pavement, the smell, of freshly cut grass and the feel of different sticks, stones, and random pieces of litter! I participated in walks

11 06, 2010

Welcome to Summer!!

Summer months stretch out before us and to those who are yearning for holidays it is an attractive time of year. But summer holidays can carry uncertainty, randomness and stress for some individuals with autism. While many typical people enjoy a break from routine and structure, this may not be the case with those who need some sense of predictability in order to feel safe and happy. So, does this mean that parents of kids with autism are doomed to plan every detail of their summer? Not by any stretch. Some simple measures can make the time away from school and work far more pleasurable for the whole family. First, provide a calendar that has the major or a least, the pre planned events recorded. Use pictures or words to show your child what is coming up. Calendars give kids with autism the structure that they need; organization gives persons

6 05, 2010

12 Ways to Make Individual Education Plans Useful and Meaningful

by Jennifer Krumins An Individual Education Plan or a plan by another name is a definite record of a plan of action for the educational program of a student. It is a roadmap that states where a student is at currently and where the student is going as a "whole" individual. By whole, I mean, not just academically but emotionally, behaviorally, socially and cognitively. An effective IEP is a culmination of collaborative sharing of insights and ideas, goals, objectives and resources. An IEP is also a legal document that is mandated in Canada for students that have special needs. Settings goals, working to achieve them, celebrating success and learning from failure are all fundamental components of life. As Dr. Samuel Johnson stated, "Our aspirations are our possibilities." When we hold ourselves to higher standards and take steps towards attaining our objectives, we are far more likely to arrive at our