Tag Archives: autism

Of Autism and Employment – Preparing Your Child For Life

Photo Credits: Deal With Autism
Photo Credits: Deal With Autism

It is without any hint of doubt that finding employment nowadays can be an overwhelming task and, so much more so, when you have autism. Social acceptance has long been an issue with autism. Embarking on a career while carrying such stigma will definitely put your child’s chances of finding what suits him best — as well as one that will help develop his capabilities – in a backseat. Amid the many hindrances, however, it is important to take note that many companies these days are finding “gold” among those in the spectrum. To give your child a competitive advantage, here are some tips that may come handy to his career-building path.

Train While Young

Transitioning to adulthood can invoke both fear and uncertainty among parents to teens with autism. You might be wondering whether he can manage without you or whether he can thrive in a workplace alongside “neurotypical” individuals, or whether he will be able to drive or live on his own. As such, it is imperative to start them while they are still young.

Start training your child the earliest time possible on how to live independently. As individuals with autism function distinctively and at different levels, you need to ensure that the degree of care and training allotted to him must be adequate to his level. Define his needs carefully with the aid of professionals and/or trained carers by painstakingly considering what makes him happy, by tapping his strengths and by identifying his weaknesses and finding what skills are needed to overcome them.

This is where creative thinking comes in—and you will need a lot of help to accomplish this. Plan carefully and find a suitable network or partner to undertake this lengthy and challenging process. Attend seminars, conferences, and trainings. This is also where you need to tweak your dreams for your child to best match what is deemed possible for his level of functioning.

Recognize Your Child’s Passion

Have this mindset — This. Is. Not. About. You.  You can’t force your son or daughter to be something that which he or she has no interest of. Some autistics love numbers and algorithms, computers, gadgets, and so on. Others lean on gardening, handiworks, community service—the list is endless. One thing for sure is that each child with autism has a certain eccentricity that is entirely his own.  From childhood to adolescence to adulthood, this passion will become evident and more reflective of his personality. Make sure to tap this passion and turn this into an opportunity for him to thrive on.

Reach Out

Once your child has successfully transitioned to adulthood, he might most likely encounter a blank wall. He might find employment disheartening as the number of opportunities is limited. Luckily, there are various job trainings for those with special needs nowadays which can help increase their chances of landing a job. Reach out to your community to find one for your child. There are also online resources which cater to people with disability in finding job trainings, placement, and pertinent services to assist them in their search for a thriving employment.

Giving your child a future amid his or her autism should not fall on other people’s laps. Do not let certain limitations hamper your desire to give him or her much brighter future. Some people, professionals even, may tell you otherwise but hey, miracles do happen if you pray and work had for it. Many companies have opened to the idea of autism in the workplace and this gives our children an opportunity that they shouldn’t miss.

FINALIST to the The 2015 USA Best Book Awards

Finalist of The 2015 USA Best Book Awards!

Christmas came early to John and our family. My book, Living Autism Day by Day: Daily Reflections and Strategies to Give You Hope and Courage, made it as a FINALIST to the The 2015 USA Best Book Awards (Parenting and Family)! http://www.usabooknews.com/2015awardannouncement.html
With this, I would like to send out my heartfelt gratitude to everyone who had made this happen.

Autism in itself is a huge challenge and your constant support truly touched me and my family particularly John. All my book’s awards, I offer them in gratitude to everyone who continually motivate me to go the mile in raising Autism awareness and acceptance.

This award is for you.

For those who wish to know about my book, you can check out my website for a sneak peek: http://livingautismnow.com/book/.

To order, simply go to http://livingautismnow.com/buy-now/. (for Amazon deliveries)

Once again, from the bottom of my heart—THANK YOU SO MUCH!

Tsunami of teens with autism’ reaching adulthood in coming years

autism-housing-care-20151108The question of who will eventually care for their autistic son, Adam, weighed heavily on Deborah Pugh and her husband until their daughter stepped forward to lift the burden.

Adam Elsharkawi, 24, will live with his parents in North Vancouver, B.C., working part-time in a bakery, and will eventually move in with his sister, Jemana, and her husband.

Adam hasn’t been told yet that he will one day have to move. Pugh knows parents of children with autism who aren’t as lucky.

“It makes me feel incredibly fortunate that my daughter is actually prepared to do this, incredibly fortunate,” she said. Pugh said a “tsunami of teens with autism” will soon reach adulthood, and many families are struggling to plan for their children’s future care.

One in 68 children live with the complex neurobiological condition that affects their ability to communicate and interact with others and often results in repetitive behaviour and attachment to routines or objects, said the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development.

Some will be able to live independently but others won’t, as the symptoms range from mild to severe.

Continue reading…

Social Streams 2015-11-13

13th of November 2015 11:45 AM


A couple of months after we’ve finally settled down in our new home, an exciting development came our Johnny’s way. Apart from adjusting easily to his new school and meeting new friends, he has developed (though, he loved cooking with me when he was young ) a penchant on culinary cooking. So, we enrolled him in a culinary tech class and yes, such a sweet sweet surprise! [ 359 more words. ]


13th of November 2015 09:03 AM


D.L. Hughley Breaks Down When Sharing Story About Son With #Asperger’s Syndrome –
#livingautismdaybyday #autism_awareness #autism_CARE

13th of November 2015 05:02 AM


#livingautismdaybyday #autism_awareness #autism_CARE

13th of November 2015 01:02 AM


This is #AWESOME!
#livingautismdaybyday #autism_awareness #autism_CARE

12th of November 2015 11:01 PM


Few housing options available for adults with #autism say family and experts –
#livingautismdaybyday #autism_awareness #autism_CARE

12th of November 2015 09:01 PM


Adult #Autism: Funding in need of new direction

#livingautismdaybyday #autism_awareness #autism_CARE

12th of November 2015 09:04 AM


‘Tsunami of teens with #autism’ reaching adulthood in coming years –
#livingautismdaybyday #autism_awareness #autism_CARE

12th of November 2015 07:25 AM


What a fantastic review of my book, website and advocacy as a whole! I’m sharing this with you in the hope of reaching out more to others and, most importantly, in raising awareness for autism.

Here’s the link to the review — —

I would truly appreciate if you read the review thoroughly and come visit my website, too, at http://livingautismnow.com/ . My book is still available in Amazon.com and Amazon.ca which you can conveniently access on my website.

To Lorna d’Entremont of KidsCompanions.com, from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU SO MUCH for your wonder-rific thoughts. You completely speak my mind. Bless you and your advocacy, too.

To everyone— let’s join hands in pushing for #autism_awareness and #autism_acceptance!
The best time is NOW.

12th of November 2015 05:04 AM


Adult #Autism: The unique challenges of age –
#livingautismdaybyday #autism_awareness #autism_CARE

12th of November 2015 01:03 AM


Police Charge 2 Officers in Death of Boy With #Autism
#livingautismdaybyday #autism_awareness #autism_Justice

11th of November 2015 11:02 PM


“Report: #Autism Now Throughout the Years 2011-2014 “
#livingautismdaybyday #autism_awareness #autism_CARE

11th of November 2015 09:01 PM


A Fitting Reminder for the Season of Gift-Giving >>>>

Danger warning about popular children’s toy could change your holiday shopping list –
#livingautismdaybyday #autism_awareness #autism_CARE

11th of November 2015 09:02 AM


Loras College launches program to help students with #autism succeed in college –
#livingautismdaybyday #autism_awareness #autismCARE #autism_EDUCATION

11th of November 2015 05:02 AM


#Autism workshop held in Chipley –
#livingautismdaybyday #autism_awareness #autismCARE #education

11th of November 2015 01:02 AM


When the School’s Response to My Son #Eloping Was ‘This Happens’ –
#livingautismdaybyday #autism_awareness #autismCARE #SAFETY #Wandering

10th of November 2015 11:02 PM


Rutgers plan for #housing work opportunities for adults with #autism
#livingautismdaybyday #autism_awareness #autismCARE

10th of November 2015 09:02 PM


Boy with #autism saves choking classmate, says ‘SpongeBob’ taught him Heimlich –
#AUsome! #livingautismdaybyday #autism_awareness

10th of November 2015 09:02 AM


Rutgers launches center for adults with #autism
#livingautismdaybyday #autism_awareness #autismCARE #fundraiser

10th of November 2015 05:01 AM


Russian educators want to replicate USU #autism program –
#livingautismdaybyday #autism_awareness #autismCARE #education

10th of November 2015 01:01 AM


New center will help adults with #autism
#livingautismdaybyday #autism_awareness #autismCARE

Cruising the Caribbean with Autism in Tow

Sailing on a cruise ship is one of the best antidotes to stress. Luxurious and relaxing, it is an experience that many families would love to enjoy. But for families with autism in their midst, this can be challenging. To others, this could also mean an impossible dream. Unlike others whose main concern is to simply pick out the date, the places to pursue and where to point their camera, families with a member who has autism has other concerns that need to be met to make the trip worthwhile.

After the success of my book, Living Autism Day by Day: Reflections to Give You Hope and Courage, in October, I decided to go on a cruise with my 17-year old son, John, who has autism in December. Having been through a lot in the past months due to the rigorous promotion of my book, John’s therapy and school, facilitating the sale of our home, and other matters put my stress hormones in haywire.

So, I decided to discuss with John if he was amenable to being on a cruise ship. As expected, his excitement is over the moon. Just so you know, most individuals with autism have this penchant for water. It could be because it relaxes them but, overall, most of them love being near bodies of water. Most cases in autism wandering are also somewhat related to this particular fondness.

Luckily, today’s passenger cruise ships are quite accommodating to individuals with special needs. We choose Independence of the Seas though, as John had this current in Haiti and ziplines. For other autism families out there who are also planning on getting into a cruise ship and do not know what to do here are some tried-and-tested tips which may come handy to you and the whole family.

Cruising the Caribbean with Autism in Tow - john zipline


Though not blatantly stated on their flyers, not all cruise liners accommodate individuals with special needs especially children. The key is to find one that has lined up activities catered to your child’s interest. John has this interest with ziplining and fish feeding which was included in the Independence of the Seas. Plus, we are curious as to how Haiti had fared after the great quake, a common interest to us both.

Of course, always check itinerary of the cruise ship. If you may, choose one that requires the least tender use. Accessibility and safety ashore must also be on top of your main agenda prior to booking. See to it that excursions and activities are aligned with your child’s interest.

Early Booking

Booking early, on the other hand, can prove to be of much help. This will give you the best choice of cabin location and amenities. You might want one that’s far away from elevators or stairwells. When booking, it is imperative that you inform the in-charge of your child’s condition so they can note it down. Ships accommodating individuals with special needs often employ equally experienced staff and will subsequently make necessary arrangements for a safer and more enjoyable vacation. This also puts you eligible for priority boarding like in our case.

Cruising the Caribbean with Autism in Tow

Arrive Ahead of Time

As much as possible, consider arriving at the docking point a day earlier to give your child with autism a chance to relax. Traveling can be stressful to them. Some consequences while en route may cause undue anxiety to him or her. A meltdown often happens when there is too much for them to take. This vacation is for both of you to enjoy. Take time to consider that airport dashes and cranky preparations will only put your child at the precipice.

Pack Accordingly

Individuals with autism have certain quirkiness and no matter how simple, it would seem their lives depended on it. John, for instance, cannot leave home without his favorite shirt. It is his lifeline. Your child may also be like that. Even if you are going to a tropical destination, if he cannot do without his parka, bring it along. It will give him the comfort he needs and peace to your ears.

If you also have special equipment needs like wheelchairs or strollers, pediatric oxygen stuff, and so on, you may want to ask these stuffs with the booking agent. Rent them out to free yourself from the inconvenience of hauling them to and fro your home. Some shipping can also arrange specific food, baby formula and diapers, and other supplements delivered to you.

If you are using a travel agent, it is important to emphasize that you will be travelling with someone who has autism or special needs. Phone calls can be easily forgotten as these people talk to hundreds of contacts per day. It would be best to email your specifications and other requirements for him or her to refer to when looking for a cruising ship for you.

When Autism Becomes You

When Autism Becomes You
John at 2

I believe there must be some truth to the adage “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”I believe many mothers and fathers out there are on the same page as I am when facing autism, a lifelong struggle. Hearing it for the first time felt like I am drowning in a bottomless pit. Was I scared? Confused? Angry? Yes, I was engulfed in so many emotions all at the same time. It was scary and heartbreaking to look at a cherubic 2-year old knowing that his whole life will be fraught with challenges and limitations—and knowing that you can only do so much.

Fifteen years ago, I had my youngest son diagnosed with Autism. It rendered me speechless. Having survived my eldest son’s Tourette’s and ADHD, I really thought nothing will ever shake my world again. But after John’s autism diagnosis, I caught myself in the midst of a seismic shift that will forever alter my perspective about motherhood and life in general.

My first instinct was to look up the disorder in the library. But books about autism fifteen years ago are scant, if not limited. Autism is a hush-hush subject and many families who are in the midst of such a turmoil often caught themselves off-guard. Like me, they were also in a quandary on what to do, where to go and how to start anew. Along with the interest of learning about autism is that undeniable feeling of helplessness wherein you felt like screaming “go away!”

Frankly, the easiest recourse was to wallow in sadness. It has no known cure or cause after all. It was as vague as the issue of alien sightings. There is no definite answer but only that this is going to create changes in your family. It will create a lot of pressure and bring out bucketful of tears. It can either break or make your bond stronger.

I was told that my Johnny, my sweet little boy, is going to grow up differently. That he will never live normally. At some point I loathe the word “normal” so much that I felt like pulling my hair each time someone points out that reality. It cannot be helped that there will always be some insensitive people who do not mind their tongues when talking to you. What hurts me the most was that they do not even show remorse when they label your kid—in your face!

But I refused to give in. After the shock of the diagnosis mellowed down, I began my journey as an advocate. I left my career path in the dental industry and become an activist for children with special needs. With the help of some community members undergoing the same journey as I do, we were able to champion the financial aid of $20,000 per year for all children diagnosed with autism in New Brunswick. I became the president of the Autism Society of New Brunswick and then, served as a director of Pee Wee Active Living (formally Junior Special Olympics, a program that kicked off in Hanwell).

I refused to give in further to the depressing thought of a disorder that has no cure and passed, via the Catholic Women’s League of Canada, a resolution that gave rise to the support of individuals with autism from the government. Resolution 04.08 was passed in the national arena on 2004 and had given a lot of assistance to autism families in need.

When Autism Becomes You - pamela and john

If there is one thing I have learned about my son’s autism (as well as my Joshua’s ADHD and Tourette’s), it is to have faith and letting that faith guide you to make positive changes not just in your life but in others as well. There is no one in this world who can advocate for a child than his or her own parents. To make things come full circle, however, you need to include others in your advocacy.

Indeed, autism is a road less travelled. The journey is fraught with difficulties, trials and tribulations. But these challenges should not be seen as hindrances. The only kryptonite that curtails your power to move and work around it is your own disposition in life. Have faith. Reach out to others. There is nothing more delightful than trudging an uphill climb with someone to hold your hands.

My son John during our recent cruising escapade

AUptimism In The Midst of Adversity

Autism In The Midst of Adversity
Photo Credits: http://www.wecarechildren.org/afsp


Few things in the world are more powerful than a positive push. A smile. A world of optimism and hope. A ‘you can do it’ when things are tough. ~~ Helen Keller

There seems to be a lot going on in various autism communities and families around the globe. Some say it is due to reclassification, of late diagnoses, and of rising awareness to the disorder. In my humble opinion, however, the surrounding arguments are immaterial. The fact that there is shortage in autism services is a clear indication that this is growing and, up to this moment, has no known cure and no “absolute” therapy to manage it. Best of all, there is little, if not zero, services for adults on the spectrum.

My Johnny is going to be an adult pretty soon and, can no longer avail the free services allotted for him. He will no longer be on the list of “qualified” individuals but rather will be left in oblivion. He is well-protected because we, his family, are still here. What scares me most and, perhaps, many autism parents out there is what the future might bring. How will these kids fare when left alone in a world where acceptance is a long hurdle to achieve?

I have written before on how to prepare our children for a bleak adult future. I advocate on teaching them appropriate life skills and other needed abilities to ensure their future. But this is not easy hurdle to make especially for those who are in the lower end of the spectrum. This leaves many families in a quandary on what to do should their children will be left alone with no one to care for them—and I join them in this predicament.

Autism is a lifetime disorder. To some, it can be managed. To others, it takes all their strength and sanity just to get by each day. One thing, however, is for sure—it is here to stay and still has no known cure, or even an absolute cause. It is not a disease that one can simply operate upon. It cannot be removed like a tumor. It is what it is and, whether we, autism families, like it or not, it will continue to haunt our every waking moment. But this reality should not hinder our efforts to advocate for more autism awareness. Acceptance may sound like a long shot but, nothing could go wrong if we stay an optimist all throughout the ordeal.

Autism or Autistic? A label is too small for a human being’s magnificence

autism or autistic

A label is too small for a human being’s magnificence.

Am I Autistic or Do I Have Autism?

The National Autistic Society (NAS) has recently conducted a study on what to call people on the spectrum. You can read about it here. There seems to be a lot of debate as to whether one should say, “He or she has autism” or “He or she is autistic.” I’m on the autistic spectrum myself, and people have sometimes asked me, “Do you want me to say you’re autistic or do you want me to say that you have autism?”

Continue reading…

Bonaire girl with ‪#‎autism‬ overcomes early hardships on way to ‪#‎pageant‬ prowess


Kelsey, who has also been diagnosed with autism, was 11 months old when the two met, and she weighed just 11 pounds.

“When I walked into the room, there were 20 or so babies and toddlers,” Norris remembered. “One of them said, ‘Momma,’ and it was this one.”

From that time, Norris recalled a day when she could visit Kelsey but couldn’t bring her home yet. Always among the smallest of the group, Kelsey — along with other small children — was a target when meal time came around.

Others lost their bread, but Kelsey clinched hers in a fist and covered it with her body, taking a few kicks and pushes from older children but keeping her food.

“I think that tenacity, that will to live, kept her alive long enough until I found her,” Norris said.

In the years since, the two have bonded while Kelsey developed a variety of interests. She does gymnastics, dance and even cheerleading, and her mother has been there every step of the way.

“I always kiss her,” Kelsey said.

Through her gymnastics and dance classes at KidsAmerica in Perry, Kelsey became interested in pageants. In the last year, she’s competed in 40 pageants and won 35 titles, and just two of those were specifically for special needs children.

The others had Kelsey working with and competing against the general population of participants, and that has been a good experience for her, Norris said.

“Since she’s started pageants, eye contact, the ability to walk up to peers she doesn’t know … has improved,” she said.

Read more…

Local surfers and volunteers give children with autism the chance to experience the water

Autism Surfer
Thousands flocked to the beach for a day dedicated to children and their families who experience the day-to-day challenges of autism.

“We registered our limit of 200 participants from several different states in record time,” said Don Ryan, president of Surfers for Autism, Inc. “We registered 300 volunteers online and had another seventy-five show up today. Sixteen restaurants are catering today for free.”

“It’s fun,” said 9-year-old Mackenzie Herrick, who wasted no time getting back on the board every time she fell off. Standing up on the surfboard, she raised her arms in the air to celebrate as she rode a wave toward shore.

Read more…