Stacking the Deck for Family Holidays

By Dan Coulter It’s family holiday gatherings season. So, do you feel anticipation or anxiety? If you have a child with an autism spectrum disorder, you might feel a bit of both. My wife and I are veterans of years of extended family gatherings with our son who has Asperger Syndrome. We’ve learned that the proper preparation is a great insurance policy toward making the gathering a positive experience for everyone. First, size up the situation realistically. What will your family event be like? How is your son or daughter with an ASD likely to react in that environment? What can you do to influence the environment and prepare your child? Let’s say you have a son named Bill who has Asperg

The Secret Social Skills Ingredient

By Dan Coulter I love the story about a man who approached legendary pianist Arthur Rubinstein on the street in New York and asked, “Excuse me, how do I get to Carnegie Hall?” Rubinstein reportedly looked at the man and said, “Practice, practice, practice.” This anecdote may be apocryphal, but it’s still a great story. I think of practice as the missing ingredient in lots of potential social skills success stories. You can buy books or videos. You can hear a lecture or take a class. But for most people with Asperger Syndrome or a related condition, that alone is like hearing about learning to play the piano. If you have AS, you need to practice social skills to make them a part of the wa

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