Showing posts from April, 2013

The Amazing Mr Squiggle! or how embracing obsessions can make the world a better place for people with Autism

Today I am going to talk about Obsessions:

In the early days, a lot of well-meaning but very misguided 'professionals' might try to tell you to squash obsessions. Indeed when Liam was small and starting in a mixed special needs pre-school, the staff would take his Thomas the Tank Engine toys away from him and put them out of reach.
 This just made poor Liam more obsessed with holding them ALL the time and it became a problem when he needed to do other tasks.

The solution was provided by a teacher in his Autism Specialist School, who had years of experience of reaching children with autism. We got Liam a clear plastic pvc back-pack and when he needed to do a hands on task, she gently put all the Thomas trains in it, then let him wear it on his back.

When he completed the necessary task, he was allowed hold them again. Slowly he reduced the number of engines and increased his participation until he could happily attend at 'circle time'  holding only "Trevor the Tra…

Be Amazed, Part 2

The amazing Temple Grandin was in Dublin this week for an Autism Conference.

Her TedTalk bio describes her as:  "diagnosed with autism as a child, talks about how her mind works -- sharing her ability to "think in pictures," which helps her solve problems that neurotypical brains might miss. She makes the case that the world needs people on the autism spectrum: visual thinkers, pattern thinkers, verbal thinkers, and all kinds of smart geeky kids"

Temple Grandin has an an enormous impact on global thinking about autism and the potential of autistic thinkers to contribute to society. But her greatest gift to parents is helping us understand the how and why that our children see the world and act the way they do. It helps me to empathise with my children's autism and see the same tendencies to be visual and spatial myself.

Her book "Thinking in Pictures" describes how she is able to build entire visual systems in her mind. She can envisage somethin…

Become Aware, Accept and Be Amazed in Autism Month

Meet Sean Mulligan

Well, this is his "insides" - Click on it to make it bigger and you will see a pretty accurate representation of what goes on inside our bodies.

Sean is one of the 1 in 88 people who have been diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. 

Autism is a sensory disability that can affect everything a person sees, hears, touches, tastes, smells and feels, including their motor planning and sense of balance.

While a large number of people with autism will be non-verbal, it does not necessarily affect intelligence so you should never presume that a person with autism does not understand you.

What you can presume is that whatever level of competence they are able to demonstrate, they probably had to work twice as hard as anyone else to achieve it. Holding a pencil, walking in a straight line, keeping their arms still when they are happy, even looking you in the eye can take a tremendous effort and life can be quite stressful, however "normal" they may be tryi…