You Don't Have To Go It Alone

By Dan Coulter If you’re raising a child with autism or Asperger syndrome, you don’t have to go it alone. I’ve met a lot of parents who are super-dedicated to their kids. Sometimes they feel they can only depend on themselves. This is more likely to happen if they run into roadblocks from schools, insurance companies or other organizations they had looked to for support. Self reliance is important, but when dealing with the autism spectrum, I’ve seen overdoses of it result in anxiety, stress and burnout. One way to avoid these problems is to continually look for new sources of support. I was recently involved in a recognition program that allowed me to learn about a lot of special individ

Teachers and Social Skills

By Dan Coulter A while back, I wrote an article about having your first experience teaching a student with Asperger Syndrome. With so many teachers encountering students who have Asperger Syndrome (or autism spectrum disorder - level 1), I decided it’s time for another chapter. To illustrate both the positive aspects and challenges of Asperger Syndrome behaviors, I’ll share an encounter that my son, Drew, had in high school. He was outside the school building in a sea of students waiting for his ride, when he saw a guy he didn’t know smoking a cigarette, standing with two other guys. Drew, who had seen a news report on smoking the night before, impulsively said, “You know, those things caus

Pushing Your Child's Limits

By Dan Coulter We don’t know our children’s limits. And that’s a good thing. Oh, we may know the limits we see today. But they’re not locked in stone, thanks to something called neuroplasticity or “cortical re-mapping.” In layman’s terms, neuroplasticity is the ability of our brains to change as a result of our experience. Scientists used to think the human brain didn’t change its structure after a critical growth period in infancy. But more advanced scanning techniques now reveal that the brain is changeable, or “plastic” into adulthood. That means the experiences we give our children can alter the connections in their brains and modify their behaviors and reactions. I have a grea

Future Prepping Your Child

By Dan Coulter Live in the moment. Prepare for the future. Two good pieces of advice. Success and happiness require a bit of both. Balancing the present and future is hard enough for parents, but it can be even harder for our children who have Asperger Syndrome or similar conditions. Many are firmly anchored in the “live in the moment” camp. But ready or not, the future is coming. I got to thinking about this when my wife, Julie, told me about her day at a high school college fair. She stood at table among a roomful of other representatives ready to explain the virtues of her alma mater to students. After each discussion, the students were supposed to get the representative’s signature

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