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Autism Resources and Community (ARC)

What can we tell you?

About Autism

First Person Autism

Advice for Parents and Caregivers

Leveraging Special Interests to Help Children with Autism:  An Autistic Person* Shares Her Experiences

Having a special interest in something is a major part of the repetitive behavior that comes with autism. In fact, researcher Tony Attwood (2003) found that special interests seem “to be a dominant characteristic, occurring in over 90% of children and adults with Asperger’s syndrome.” Your child, client, or student with autism may have an intense interest in one particular subject. While hearing someone you love go on and on about his or her favorite subject may get tiring, special interests are important. A 2007 study done by Winter-Messiers (2007) reflected that special interests should be treated seriously because they may be beneficial in building up skills that would be hard to obtain otherwise.

Updated on 1/23/17 11:16 PM

Updated by Catlaina Vrana on 1/23/17 11:16 PM

First Person Autism

Book Review: “Why Johnny Doesn’t Flap”

As you may have read in my article discussing my first book, “Ella Autie”, I looked through many children’s disability books to see what I liked about them and what I didn’t like about them, so I could change my own material for the better. In this book reveiw, I will be talking about “Why Johnny doesn’t Flap,” a book about an autistic boy’s neurotypical (meaning without cognitive disabilities) friend, Johnny. I will give a brief description of the book’s story, illustrations and message. In doing this, I hope to bring awareness to stellar children’s books that teach about special needs. Let’s get started!

Updated on 1/17/17 11:41 AM

Updated by Catlaina Vrana on 1/17/17 11:41 AM

First Person Autism

Advice for Parents and Caregivers

Autism and the Holidays: Advice from the Front Lines

I hope everyone’s been having a great holiday season! Whether enthusiastic about it or not, the time has come for families and friends to get together and celebrate. This particular time of the year means many things for me: turkey, inviting aunts and uncles over, wrapping presents, my siblings asking me to wrap their presents for them, pie, singing, joy, worshipping, and getting really excited about making cookies! However, holidays also mean a messed up routine, sensory chaos, and unwritten social rules.

Updated on 11/29/16 11:53 AM

Updated by Catlaina Vrana on 11/29/16 11:53 AM

About Autism

Autism & Transitions

First Person Autism

Autism & Career Options

Work Environments, Adjustments for Employees with Autism

It is common knowledge that people with disabilities tend to experience higher rates of unemployment and underemployment. Many employers seem to be unwilling to give disabled individuals a chance when they feel that their company’s success is at stake. However, according to the latest employment statistics, autistic adults are the most unemployed group when all individuals with disabilities are compared. The social idiosyncrasies of this group may lead employers to believe that they cannot complete the necessary tasks for the position, which is clearly an incorrect assumption. As someone with Asperger’s, I too have struggled to find full time employment, but my knowledge of what makes an ideal working environment has been very helpful with my journey. I would like to share my thoughts in this regard, and I hope that you find my advice to be beneficial as you enter the working world.

Updated on 11/11/16 12:59 PM

Updated by Nathan Hughes on 11/11/16 12:59 PM

First Person Autism

Advice for Parents and Caregivers

How To Make Life Easier for a Person Who Uses Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)

As an autistic person, I am very familiar with AAC. I use it, and I am around others who use it too. Because it is AAC awareness month, I thought this was a good opportunity to write about it.

Updated on 10/24/16 8:28 PM

Updated by Catlaina Vrana on 10/24/16 8:28 PM

About Autism

First Person Autism

Autism Explained

An Autistic Woman Explains Common Autism Characteristics, Misconceptions, and the Neurodiversity Movement

Basics- What is autism?

Autism is a neurological pervasive developmental disorder. That means it is a different way of thinking and growing that affects every part of a person’s life. Autism is diagnosed by looking at the three ‘pillars’ of autism: 

  • Repetitive behavior
  • Language
  • Communication

So, let’s take a closer look at these things, from an autistic perspective. (When explaining language and communication I’ve kept my explanations pretty individualized- if you would like to learn more about these categories in general, the National Autistic Society has some great information) 

Updated on 10/9/16 5:30 PM

Updated by Catlaina Vrana on 10/9/16 5:30 PM

About Autism

First Person Autism

Author Catlaina Vrana On Her New Book “Ella Autie”

Hi! My name is Catlaina Vrana, and I am the author of "Ella Autie". I started "Ella Autie" as just an assignment for my senior project, but it has led to many great opportunities. Here is a quick summary of Ella Autie:

Updated on 10/8/16 5:53 PM

Updated by Catlaina Vrana on 10/8/16 5:53 PM

First Person Autism

Book Review: The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida

Whenever I sit down to write a new blog entry, I mentally acknowledge the importance of self-advocacy in the lives of people with autism. It is vital that we tell others how we are feeling and what we are thinking, so that the community can understand our needs. I write these blog entries for similar reasons, and I appreciate the opportunity to tell family members and professionals about my experiences so that they can learn from them. However, I have recently read a book where a 13-year-old boy with autism describes the thought processes and emotions that result in his autistic traits. This book, titled “The Reason I Jump,” is a vital resource for those who are seeking to understand children who are on the lower end of the autism spectrum, and I enjoyed reading it very much.

Updated on 9/27/16 11:00 AM

Updated by Nathan Hughes on 9/27/16 11:00 AM

First Person Autism

A Special Thank You to a Special Teacher

A Former Student with Autism Shares his Gratitude for a Second Grade Teacher that Helped Him Succeed

When I was growing up, school was very rough for me. I struggled with many of the same social and emotional challenges that many others on the spectrum had, and each day I am thankful for the fact that I survived. However, there were some school years that were better than others. I smile as I remember certain teachers who encouraged me to try my best and were forgiving of the challenges that I had, and I remember other teachers with frustration as memories of meltdowns and misunderstandings play in my mind. I could write an entire book about the latter, but I now want to focus on a teacher who truly helped me as I attempted to succeed in a mainstream elementary school setting. I will give her the pseudonym of “Mrs. Johnson,” although this teacher deserves to be known.

Updated on 9/12/16 1:27 PM

Updated by Nathan Hughes on 9/12/16 1:27 PM

First Person Autism

The Positive Side of Autism

Note: Nathan Hughes is a writer who works for Stages Learning. He provides an inside view of his experiences living with autism. Stages Learning is dedicated to providing our community with useful articles relating to autism. For more about our products and resources for children please see our collection of learning tools.

Updated on 8/4/16 12:33 PM

Updated by Nathan Hughes on 8/4/16 12:33 PM

First Person Autism

Top Blogs by People with Autism

Nathan Hughes has curated a collection of the most useful and interesting blogs that are written by people like himself: People with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Nathan’s selections reflect a variety of experiences and provide advice, wisdom, experiences, poetry and art from people with ASD who are reaching out to help others.

Updated on 7/16/16 9:49 AM

Updated by Nathan Hughes on 7/16/16 9:49 AM

First Person Autism

Autism & Career Options

Career Choices for People with Autism: First Hand Advice on Finding a Job that Matches Your Skills

Many people struggle with finding a job and establishing a career for themselves. In addition, there are often multiple applicants for only one job vacancy, which can be discouraging to any jobseeker. However, for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (or ASD), this search is often much more difficult. The social difficulties that result from ASD can cause these individuals to struggle in job interviews and in finding a work environment that is appropriate for their needs. When I look at my own experiences as someone who has ASD, finding stable employment has always been difficult for me. However, I have learned lessons during my journey that may be helpful for individuals with ASD, their parents and their teachers as they transition into the world of work.

Updated on 6/28/16 3:15 PM

Updated by Nathan Hughes on 6/28/16 3:15 PM

First Person Autism

My Thoughts on School Experiences and Being on the Autism Spectrum

As an individual with Autism Spectrum Disorder, I have found myself reflecting on both the challenges and strengths that my differences have brought me. On one hand, I had a rather hellish experience with school for much of my kindergarten through twelfth grade career, and I had social difficulties that resulted in my not having many friends growing up. On the other hand, academics and computer-related skills were always easy for me and the unique personality that my autism helped to create (although misunderstood at times) was occasionally endearing to people. Although this is clearly a mixed bag of positives and negatives, I am very proud of who I am and I cannot even imagine how being any different would improve my quality of life. 

Updated on 6/17/16 5:16 PM

Updated by Nathan Hughes on 6/17/16 5:16 PM

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