More About Autism

The Biology of Awakening Potential

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Invitation Toward Accepting The Big Perspective : Inclusive Education

"The cosmos is within us. We are all made of star-stuff. We are a way for the universe to know itself" -Carl Sagan

"Our separateness is an optical delusion"
- Albert Einstein

As a biologist and visionary, I would like to bring this concept forward in this newsletter. Exploring this idea of inter-connectedness and value of inclusive education. Simply holding this idea in our consciousness today.

If we choose to accept Sagan and Einstein's opinion, that we are a way for the universe to know itself or that our separateness is delusional, then we could consider the following questions.

What are we learning from our students and children with autism?

How can we know more of ourselves through each other?

What are we being called to acknowledge in ourselves, our society, our globe?
Steve Silberman: The forgotten history of autism

Click button above to read more about Steve Silberman's book

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What Exactly Is Neurodiversity?

click button to read article

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Educators Perspective: Identifying Students With Autism and What To Do About It

8 Practical Steps An Educator May Choose To Take

Email HERE to receive a valuable PDF document outlining what we, as educators, can do if we observe or suspect a student is exhibiting autistic signs or symptoms.

What Do I Say to Parents When I am Worried About Their Child?

Talking with parents about their children can be tricky business. This is a sensitive issue. Here is a document with some very helpful Do's and Do Not's.
Understanding Autism: A Guide for Secondary School Teachers (Part 1)

Resource Room Lunch Time Opportunity: Strategies for Addressing Eating and Feeding Issues

When developing a plan for expanding the number and variety of foods a child will eat, it is important to be calm and not controlling. In fact the most successful experiences are when the child is given some control or at least they perceive that they do have some control. Struggles over eating most often make matters worse. Gradual exposure to new foods can be very important. Frequently, in despair, mothers will offer a different array of several new foods each day hoping that by chance the child might try something. The more choices the more chance of success, sounds like it makes sense, but not for a child on the autism spectrum. Read More . . .

Educators: Building Social Skills and Networking Skills for Students with ASD

Best Practices in assisting individuals with ASD in cultivating social skills.

Dr. Stephen Shore : An Autistic Professor Now Supporting Teachers In Speical Education

Success Story: Dr. Stephen Shore Video

Educators supporting students with autism face many challenges in providing them with a meaningful education. Dr. Stephen Shore, Professor of Special Education, who was diagnosed with autism at 18 months, discusses some approaches and supports for students with autism and suggests some principles about good teaching applicable to all learners.

Focused-Interest Areas in Individuals With Autism: Opportunistic Learning

Simon Fraser University Researcher and Professor, Kieran Egan encourages all children to find a special area of interest. As you will see in the video below.

Children with Autism naturally embody this trait. Read More here. . .

As Educators we can use this special interest area and invite our students with autism to expand upon their learning. This broadens and cultivates novel learning in these students. In addition, speech skills can be fostered through invitation for these children to teach other children what they know.

Here is a great book for Educators wanting to know more about how to engage with students with autism in this way.

Individuals with autism do not often exhibit typical autistic traits while engaged in their special interest topic.

Focused Interest Areas: An Example of Usefulness In Learning and Expansion of Knowledge

Jordan Hilkowitz, an 11 year old boy with autism became a youtube sensation in 2011-12 as a result of being allowed and encouraged to delve into his focused interest area of Science. Read HERE.

As educators we can take this focused area and expand upon it, inviting students with autism to augment their learning through expansion within the subject.

Jordon's FaceBook page dedicated to Science.

Jordon's YouTube Channel filled with Science Experiments.

Brains With Autism Adapt Differently During Implicit Learning

Released November 19, 2015 and published in NeuroImage; a peer reviewed scientific journal.

A crucial difference in the way learning occurs in the brains of adults with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) has been identified by scientists. They have examined how the brains of typical and ASD individuals gradually became adapted to visual patterns they were learning, without awareness of the pattern, or implicit learning. Continue Reading . . .

Dr. Scott Barry Kaufman : Can People with Autism Learn Implicitly?

Our data combined with data from a number of other researchers point to the conclusion that individuals with autistic spectrum condition can in fact learn implicitly about the world around them and that it is unlikely that these processes are the cause of their real-world impairments in language, social, and motor skills. Read entire article HERE . . .

Non-conscious, passive process of acquiring knowledge through exposure.

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Classroom Activities Ideas

Introducing New Textures & Creative Opportunities For Students With Autism

Art Therapy Activities : Art Therapy for Autistic Children

Learning In Depth Program: Teacher Resources

The Learning in Depth Program is a program of the Centre for Imaginative Education in the Faculty of Education, Simon Fraser University.

Here are the Resources.

Inviting All Students To Take a Deep Delicious Dive into Their Own Focused-Interest Area!

Kieran Egan on Learning in Depth - long version


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10 Truths About Making Friends When You Have Autism

I like this article because it offers friendship perspectives from older individuals with high functioning Autism. There are lots of visual word boards making it easy to read.

Family Support Institute of BC

This website has a very comprehensive tool to assist parents in the navigation through different stages of your child's life.

To navigate, click on the age range found at the top of the page.

Continue to Timeline page . . .

Vernon, B.C. : Autism Workshop

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Psychology Today: Are Autistic and Psychic People Similar?

After meeting autistic animal-behavior expert Temple Grandin and then reading Grandin's bestselling books, Nancy du Tertre realized that she and Grandin have a lot in common. Du Tertre is a professional psychic for a living.

"I was immediately struck with how much the interior world of the autistic resembles the interior world of the psychic," Du Tertre told me in an interview this week.

"Like autistics, psychics often tend to suffer a defect in reasoning power, can't explain how they just seem to 'know' things, can't find words to describe their experiences, and share a right hemispheric ability to absorb the world holistically, visually, and extremely literally."

"It is this literalness of sensory experience which can seem, to the non-autistic and non-psychic person, to be overwhelming, confusing and nonsensical. It is a far cry from our 'normal' logical, sequential and rational world." Continue reading . . .

Creative Thinking And Autism

A study showing that people with autism display higher levels of creativity has been welcomed by campaigners, who say it helps debunk a myth about people with learning disabilities.

Scientists found that people with the developmental condition were far more likely to come up with unique answers to creative problems despite having traits that can be socially crippling and make it difficult to find jobs. The co-author of the study, Dr Catherine Best from the University of Stirling, said that while the results, from a study of 312 people, were a measure of just one aspect of the creative process, it revealed a link between autistic traits and unusual and original ideas. Continue Reading . . .

MeltDown Versus Temper Tantrum : Distinguishing Between The Two

A meltdown is not the same as a tantrum.

1. Autistic children don't look or care about another persons reaction during a meltdowns. Tantrums are thrown with attention seeking in mind.

2. Meltdowns often include self harm. Tantrum behaviours take care not to get hurt.

3. Meltdowns can occur anywhere and autistic children don't want a social situation. Tantrums are done in public for optimal exposure/using the audience to their advantage.

4. Meltdowns will wind down slowly on their own. Tantrums require a situation to be resolved.

5. Meltdowns have the child feel out-of-control. Tantrums have the child feeling all-so-powerful.

6. Meltdowns will continue even after being given what was denied in the first place. Tantrums will end the moment their goal is achieved.

It is very difficult for a stranger to distinguish between meltdown and temper tantrum behavior. Even family members such as grandparents, aunts or uncles may mistake an autistic child's behavior with poor parenting.

Often friends or family will give you advice that should help with your problem, but often leave you feeling even more frustrated or disappointed with the situation. It is not easy.

I offer a gracious thank-you because I know they often genuinely want to help.

And then I move on.

Helpful Tips In Calming A Child In MeltDown

  • Be Proactive by removing potential triggers.
  • List things that affect the meltdown. Be a scientist researching while meltdown in progress.
  • Sometimes pressure with weighted blankets and massages calms the child.
  • A diversion that you know makes your child happy can work occasionally.
  • Staying centered and calm. A parent holds the space lovingly as the child melts down.
  • Lavender and chamomile oils are great aromatherapy, see what works for your child.
  • Positive verbal feedback and receptive body language keeps doors lovingly open.
  • Noise-cancelling headphones can help reduce auditory stimuli and quicken the end of a meltdown.
  • Pop up a tent or create a small but cozy space for alone time with items of comfort for the child. Reset time.
  • Proactive with diet, avoiding foods that could potentially increase likelihood of meltdowns.
  • Experiment with eating gummy worms or having a hot bath.

15 Autism Myths People Affected by It Want to See Busted

1. People with autism lack empathy.

“If anything, my son is more in tune with others’ emotions; he just doesn’t have the skills to show or talk about empathy, but he feels for others very deeply.” - Irene Spencer

“While many of us are indeed lacking in the social skills required to read and name other’s feelings, this doesn’t mean we can’t feel and relate to others’ pain. In fact, some of us are so in tune that we become easily overwhelmed by the emotions and moods of others.” - Sara LeeAnn Pryde told The Mighty in an email.

2. If a person with autism is verbal, they’re “high-functioning.” Continue Reading . . .

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Apple (unreleased) Think Different ad - Narrated by Steve Jobs (1997)

What Is Twice Exceptionality?

Twice Exceptional

Many Great Thinkers Are Twice Exceptional

Famous Great Thinkers With Autism

While Autism is thought to be a ‘newer condition’, histories and records have revealed that many notable figures in history may have been on the autism spectrum. Although many reports are technically inconclusive due to the lack of a comprehensive history, many of them have significant evidence to at least point towards a person on the Autistic Spectrum.

Albert Einstein

Einstein had difficulty with social interactions, had tactile sensitivity, was very intelligent yet found his language difficult at times, and had difficulty learning in school. It may have been that Einstein had such a hard time with learning in school because he did not have the accommodations and different teaching styles that many autistic children need. Because of this, it makes perfect sense that someone so intelligent and full of ideas about the world could fall behind in school. It also makes sense that, because of his social interactions with others, he found it difficult to get a job despite his intelligence. Many of the individuals also have a lack of desire for food and the same disregard for timeliness of meals as Einstein. Continue Reading . . .
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Self Nurturance For Educators and Parents

"Our separateness is an optical delusion." -Einstein

The Most Astounding Fact : 3 minute inspiring YouTube video by Neil deGrasse Tyson

7 Daily Hygiene Habits For Our Minds

Dan Siegel "Mind Platter"

Dr. Daniel Siegel : NeuroScientist Promoting Daily Experience of Well-Being

Summary from Dr. Siegel's video of the 7 Daily Hygiene Habits of the Mind

An Invitation to Practice these habits just like brushing your teeth every morning and night.

1.) Sleep

2.) Focused Attention

3.) Playtime

4.) Down time

5.) Physical time

6.) Connecting time

7.) Time IN

Time IN: Taking quiet time to focus your attention inward. Drop all judgements about what you find there. This practice, according to Dr. Siegel, invites one to reflect inwardly. Developing a habit of quiet, daily, inward reflection links the brain's cortex, limbic area and brain stem to the body. By focusing attention inward, with the intention to integrate all that has occurred in your day naturally augments compassion and kindness. Reflection is often a missing element in learning.

Helping Our Children With Autism Sleep and Self-Regulate at Bedtime

Shauna Dawn Paynter

The Dreaming Tree Meditation for Kids by Sada by Shauna Dawn Paynter

FirstPath Autism - Genesis Behaviour Centre

I first met the founder of FirstPath Autism on a flight from California to Seattle. She presented as very humble and gracious and we immediately clicked.

Romina Kiryakous is highly educated and possesses a burning desire to serve those of us that are touched by someone with autism. She applies empirically studied and evidence-based treatment with all her clients. Romina creates innovative treatment plans and has extensive hands-on experience with the most severe cases of individuals working with autism.

She aims to improve the lives of families through her uniquely designed and well-tested approach in applied behavioural analysis and intervention. Her work has already improved the lives of hundreds of families and is now available online.

I invite you to explore her website and options for both parents and professionals.
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