My Special Boy With Needs

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By Angela Drews-Weaver

We are a blended family of five. I am a step-mom, adopted mom and a birth mom. My adopted son has sensory issues, anxiety, ADD fetal alcohol, as well as is on the spectrum. He is a wonderful, delightful little boy who doesn’t quite understand his needs. It can be challenging going to the grocery store with him, let alone plan a vacation.

I am an on-the-go kind of person. As my husband says, I can’t sit still. So every day I have to plan my day and pick and choose what’s in the best interest for my son as well as the rest of the family. It’s so stressful trying to find the right fit for my son. Read more »

Have Fun: Get Out and Travel

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By Robert Naseef, Ph.D.

When a child is first diagnosed on the autism spectrum, parents often feel incredibly alone and isolated. This feeling of alienation can impact the family as a whole. It is normal to wonder and not know what is to come. The best antidote to the worry is to find connection in the here and now. Lisa Rudy writes about this in Get Out, Explore, and Have Fun: How Families of Children with Autism or Asperger Syndrome Can Get the Most out of Community Activities. There can be “life after diagnosis” for families and children. Families of children with autism, as well as other special needs, struggle to arrive at a place that often comes naturally to most “typical” families. Read more »

Achieving Success in Autism Friendly Travel: Planning

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By Dr. Stephen Shore, Internationally-recognized Autism Speaker, Professor, Author

It all starts with an idea… Disney World, one of the Beaches Resorts, or a cruise in the Mediterranean. In the nexus of places to visit and available supports for the person with autism is the perfect spot for you and your family. The first step – as with any travel – is reviewing possible venues via their websites, possibly travel agents, and other accessible material.

After identifying the place(s) of interest it’s important to learn how the environment, activities, climate, and other aspects of the venue may affect the person on the autism spectrum. For example, will it be loud and overwhelming? Will there be quiet places to go if you and/or the person with autism need to take a break? If the person has heat sensitivity will there be a place to cool down? Read more »

Traveling with your Children

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By Diana Yazhbina M.S., CCC-SLP

Traveling with your children one plans for a time full of adventure, laughter and endless memories. Unfortunately, there are many parents with children on the spectrum disorder who are afraid to embark on a journey beyond their own communities. Travel is not always easily achieved when your child requires organized structure due to a disorder. Venturing out to unfamiliar surroundings for a child with Autism can be a scary thing, but if you properly choose your accommodations the experience can be wonderful for both parents and child. Children prefer predictability, especially with vacations which can be over-stimulating for a child who is sensitive to this sensation. Traveling with a child who has autism should only lead you to a road of finding the best journey to accommodate your family and their needs. As you continue to read, I hope you begin to understand that an all-inclusive hotel will be the solution you need to make your memorable family getaway. Read more »

O’Shea Family Blog: Part 1

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Dr. Chris O’Shea & Sherri O’Shea

Let me introduce you to our family. Chris and I, Sherri, live in a small town in rural Ontario, Canada. Chris currently works at a resort and provides first aid to skiers in the winter and teaches downhill mountain biking in the summer. He is also building a business teaching Red Cross First Aid courses. I work for Canada Post. We have two kids who have been diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum – Sebastian (11) and Tryphena (8). They both have Aspergers.

As all parents, with kids on or off the spectrum, we try and provide the best life possible for our children. But as we know, kids on the spectrum can require much more care and attention as they are mildly to severely limited by there ability to cope with the world. This can be in behaviours like trusting everyone or not trusting anyone except family. They can be limited by food texture, colour, smell of food, etc. Sounds, smells, and other sensory input can create a wide range of responses individual to each of our children. As a result, we have to cope with much more advanced preparation when thinking of going somewhere new to hopefully reduce everyone’s stress level. Read more »