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Autism Resources and Community (ARC)

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Health & Nutrition

Advice for Parents and Caregivers

Wandering and Autism: 6 Strategies to Prevent Wandering Behavior

Wandering or “elopement,” a common behavioral occurrence among children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), refers to the tendency to leave a safe, supervised space or caregiver and subsequently expose oneself to potential danger. Wandering is both tragic and terrifying for parents, given that drowning and wandering-related behaviors are the top causes of death in the ASD community (Rice et al., 2016). Although most of the reports of wandering have been anecdotal, the first major study on wandering by the American Academy of Pediatrics provides hard data on wandering and elopement among individuals with ASD.

Updated on 4/8/17 10:28 AM

Updated by Krupa Patel on 4/8/17 10:28 AM

Health & Nutrition

Advice for Parents and Caregivers

Six Simple Mindfulness Practices for Kids with Autism

The practice of quieting the mind, otherwise known as mindfulness, is increasingly being practiced across the board – from Google executives to classrooms as a replacement to detention (Bloom, 2016). Mindfulness specifically refers to the practice of paying attention to the present moment non-judgmentally. Observation of our thoughts and feelings allows us to better understand our emotions and react rationally to negative situations. 

Updated on 2/25/17 12:10 AM

Updated by Krupa Patel on 2/25/17 12:10 AM

Health & Nutrition

Advice for Parents and Caregivers

7 Tips for Teaching Your Child with Autism to Cook

I can still remember when I was a child watching my mother cook. Her face always beamed with a smile so big that everyone could tell how much joy she had in preparing a great meal for my family. It seemed cooking was not only a hobby that she enjoyed, but also one of her passions. She told me she had watched my grandmother cook as a child and started learning at a young age. I know the experience is still one of her fondest childhood memories. No wonder why she is a great cook!

Updated on 2/23/17 12:46 AM

Updated by Zholl Tablante on 2/23/17 12:46 AM

Health & Nutrition

Advice for Parents and Caregivers

Autism and Physical Spaces

Best Sports for Children with Autism

5 Tips for Helping Your Child Succeed in Sports

It is no secret that sports are a big part of most people’s lives. More than 100 million people in the United States alone tune in to watch the Super Bowl every year. However, being a sports fan and playing a sport are two completely different things–especially in the eyes of a parent. You probably know enrolling your child in a sport has tremendous benefits such as endurance, strength, and general fitness. But as you might have guessed, for many children with autism, finding the appropriate sport can be challenging.  

Updated on 2/8/17 11:22 PM

Updated by Zholl Tablante on 2/8/17 11:22 PM

Health & Nutrition

Autism & Transitions

Advice for Parents and Caregivers

6 Strategies to Prepare Your Child for Back to School, Haircuts, Hospital Visits, And More!

Activities that are comforting, thrilling, or intolerable to people with autism can vary considerably from what a neuro-typical child or adult may experience in the same situation. For example, haircuts or birthday parties can be extremely unpleasant. Carly Fleischmann, a woman with autism, wrote a book about her experiences and a team of talented disability rights allies helped her produce this video, demonstrating her experience within a coffee shop.

Updated on 8/14/16 5:27 PM

Updated by Briana Brukilacchio on 8/14/16 5:27 PM

About Autism

Teaching with Pictures

Health & Nutrition

Advice for Parents and Caregivers

New Tools to Help Your Child Sleep

Research[i] confirms what many parents of children with autism already know: children with autism have a higher incidence of sleep challenges, and the more severe the autism symptoms the more severe the sleep challenges. Research,[ii] as well as common sense, also tells us that impaired sleep has a negative impact on physical, emotional, academic, and social functioning.

Updated on 11/18/15 12:09 AM

Updated by Leslie Stebbins, M.Ed. M.L.I.S. on 11/18/15 12:09 AM

About Autism

Health & Nutrition

Advice for Parents and Caregivers

Autism Parents: How Do You Rate on Self-Care?

As a parent our needs are often the first to be postponed or set aside. Sometimes there is no choice: we have to attend to the immediate needs of our children. But in the long run we could be doing significant damage to our physical and emotional health by not attending to our own needs. And if our health and emotional well-being is compromised this is likely to have an impact on how well we are able to care for our children.

Updated on 10/2/15 12:20 AM

Updated by Leslie Stebbins, M.Ed. M.L.I.S. on 10/2/15 12:20 AM

About Autism

Health & Nutrition

Autism & Transitions

Advice for Parents and Caregivers

Talking about Puberty with Children with Autism

All bodies go through puberty, regardless of the developmental "age" of a child or the level of their cognitive or academic skills. It can be startling for parents to see their child with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) begin to develop an adult body and characteristics when they do not have the adult skills, reasoning, or competences to go along with it. Regardless of a child’s cognitive abilities, they will go through puberty and they will need support to understand the changes that are happening to their body, as well as assistance to know that these changes are normal and not something to be scared of. Children with ASD will also benefit from understanding about the social rules that accompany puberty, including those that relate to privacy, hygiene, and relationships with others. While schools teach about puberty and sex education in their health or wellness programs, children with autism often need much more explicit instruction about these topics than what they receive in school. Therefore it often becomes the parents’ responsibility to teach about these topics in a way that will be accurate, meaningful, and appropriate to their child with ASD.

Updated on 6/30/15 12:27 PM

Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 6/30/15 12:27 PM

About Autism

Teaching with Pictures

Health & Nutrition

Autism & Transitions

Advice for Parents and Caregivers

Teaching Stranger Safety to Kids with Autism

Teaching young children about safety around strangers is nothing new. In fact, most adults can remember their own parents and teachers talking to them about the dangers of “taking candy from a stranger” or “getting in a car with someone you don’t know” at an early age. For today’s youth, these same ideas still exist, but parents can find it even more challenging to protect their children from strangers, not only in the physical sense, but also virtually, in a world of cell phones, texting and social media. For parents of children with autism, these challenges can be magnified because of the social and communication weaknesses experienced by their children. Autistic people do not always pick up on the subtleties of social interactions as easily as their typically developing peers. They may not understand why it is okay to hug their friend on a play date but it’s not acceptable to hug a stranger on the sidewalk. These types of safety skills often need to be explicitly taught in order for kids with autism to understand, practice and generalize them in everyday life.

Updated on 5/30/15 7:50 PM

Updated by Jenna Wharff, Ed.M. on 5/30/15 7:50 PM

Health & Nutrition

Advice for Parents and Caregivers

Eating Healthy at an Early Age

Our first experiences with food have a large effect on our eating habits for the rest of our lives, so the best time to teach good dietary habits is during the early years. Think about some of your best and worst food habits... don't you wish you had started better habits at age 3, rather than trying to change those habits at age (fill in the blank!)?

Updated on 4/16/14 11:58 AM

Updated by Angela Nelson, J.D., Ed.M. on 4/16/14 11:58 AM

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