Comparing the brain scan of a child with autism & a kaleidoscope
Know Autism – Know Your Child: With < My Thoughts > by Sara Luker
What? Only a few days until school starts. Well, you still have time for a ‘STAYCATION’!
A ‘Staycation’ is when you have a ‘vacation’ at home, instead of packing up and hitting the road for parts unknown.
< My Thoughts > Here are some of the things families have enjoyed at home on their ‘Staycation’ ~
Perfect skills. Check out Y-Tube for learning new skills ~
Make a list of things you would like to have at home or in the yard ~
Things to do ~
Set up an accessible, safe, monitored haven in your backyard where you can encourage outdoor play and development. Keep your family safe while having fun in your yard and making the best of memories. Eat outside while practicing needed skills for many of your child’s school and park experiences.
< My Thoughts > Most of all ~ relax the rules and focus on having fun!!!
Visit other BLOGs & topics on the MENU ~ www.sarasautismsite.com
July 4th 2022 BLOG
Before beginning my BLOG, I would like to thank Chris, a viewer who shares a website he has found to be especially helpful. Thanks to Chris for sharing this website ~
Just a reminder that as the author of this BLOG, my intent is to ‘share’, not to ‘sponsor’ or claim any responsibility for the information on this website; or any of the information in the ‘Resources’ given on my site. Thank you, Sara Luker.
Newly Added... < My Thoughts > Prepare for the added challenges of celebration cancelations, due to unforeseen circumstances. Good to always have a 'Plan B"!
One more thing... THANKS for the VIEWINGS & please SHARE with Your Followers…
July 4th 2022 BLOG
America’s traditional Independence Day, according to https://www.history.com/topics/holidays/july-4th, was first held during the summer of 1776, as a celebration of the end of Britain’s hold on America.
Those celebrations combined pomp and ceremony with concerts, bonfires, parades, the ringing of bells, and the sound of cannons firing. Today’s celebrations have become hometown parades, family gatherings, bar-b-ques, and fireworks; from sunup to sundown, making it a long day of festivities.
For families of individuals on the Autism Spectrum, the day and evening requires that ‘safety’ become a priority. Sadly, drowning, choking, and wandering can happen all too often.
Drowning has become the leading cause of death among all ages of those with autism. Learn more about water safety on ~ https://tacanow.org/family-resources/fourth-of-july-tips-for-autism-families/.
< My Thoughts > “Learn more…”
Is there any water nearby? Individuals with autism have an affinity for water. This alluring water can be a drinking water fountain, waterfall, water fountain, water sprinklers, kiddy pools, swimming pools, or any water source. Individuals with Autism are fearless of water temperature or depth. What they see is an irresistible shimmering, shiny element to explore. A child can drown in 2 inches of water in just 29 seconds. Learn more about knowing your child on my website sarasautismsite.com.
Prepare for a long day. Give your child a ‘planned escape’ to prevent an unwanted ‘wandering’. One way to plan the day is with a ‘visual schedule’, or ‘checklist’. Older children and adult-children can participate in the creation of these plans.
Also, having rehearsed signals or flashcards which indicate the person’s needs will help.
< My Thoughts > “Know your child.”
Sometimes, too much ice cream can cause a ‘brain freeze’. Or, a hot dog that’s not slit down its length can cause choking. Even eating too fast, or consuming an unfamiliar food can cause coughing or choking issues. Too many carbonated drinks can cause gastric anxiety, or other unusual, frightening feelings. Stay vigilant. Don’t assume anything.
Fireworks, which are a thrilling experience for most, can cause unease in individuals with autism. The loud fireworks can be so loud it triggers the “fight or flight” instinct. While neurotypical individuals recognize that they are not in danger, children with autism might take a few moments before calming down. The autistic individual might engage and display unexpected or unsafe behavior during this time.
The fireworks are not the only trigger. A crowded place might also be overwhelming, as well as the new sounds, lights, smells, and tactile sensations. Some might not enjoy having their routine interrupted. Even eating the traditional holiday food, the crowds, and/or the long day can be overwhelming.
Most of the time, when experiencing a new adventure, parents are cautioned to ‘make it short’, and build in many safety valves to prevent meltdowns, or other ‘sensory’ issues.
< My Thoughts > “…safety valves...”
One way to build in ‘safety valves’ and explain expectations would be to ‘reframe’ the July 4th Holiday as an all-day birthday party. This party has different sessions with food, games, loud music, and unfamiliar people.
Create a ‘Social Story’, or a Happy Birthday America card to include a ‘checklist’ with all the possible events one can expect to experience.
A Social Story or Visual Schedule may include some or all of the following ~
< My Thoughts > “…Favorite...”
Make certain that the ‘favorites’ you take are also ‘your’ favorites, because you will be experiencing them all day long.
Safety reminders ~
Water Safety. Be especially vigilant if you will be around water!
Learn more about water safety here –
It’s essential to stay safe during this holiday. While fireworks are amazing to look at, they are highly dangerous and flammable. Instruct your child to pay attention to their surroundings and keep a distance from the fireworks.
Do not pick up pieces of fireworks; even a tiny spark can be dangerous. "Sparklers burn as hot as a blowtorch at 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit (1,093 degrees Celsius). Sparkler injuries accounted for 900 fireworks-related emergency room visits in 2020.
FIREWORKS can brighten celebrations, but the noise from fireworks can be startling, triggering a startle response, or even a Post Traumatic Stress Disorder-like (PTSD) response. The unpredictability of the sudden explosions can set off an individual’s ‘arousal’, and/or ‘fight or flight’ response.
Dr. Todd Favorite (2019), director of the University of Michigan Psychological Clinic suggests that symptoms of PTSD may include:
People with PTSD typically are highly alert to any movement or change that could signal danger, activating the arousal system or sympathetic nervous system. PTSD symptoms may not appear until much later with trouble sleeping, bedwetting, or even fear of the dark.
Symptoms of PTSD, by Todd Favorite (2019); Retrieved online from – https://mari.umich.edu/mari-news/psychological-clinic-director-presents-new-research
< My Thoughts > “…signal danger.”
Persons with autism often have ‘sensory issues’. One’s senses may be distorted or exaggerated to be interpreted as a ‘signal of danger’, especially when it is unexpected or unusual. The smell of smoke and flashes from fireworks could be that kind of trigger; along with the unfamiliar sounds and emotional excitement of the surroundings. Eating non-food things is always a tempting possibility for our guy. Ear plugs, or earphones playing soft music is often suggested. But for our Sonny, that is just added stress. His ‘supersonic hearing’ sense cannot be dissuaded that everything is ‘okay’.
We even tried driving to a quiet remote area to view the city’s fireworks display through the car windows. We thought that with his favorite music playing he might enjoy seeing the nighttime sky filled with the fireworks display. Nope, he began to engage in a long extinguished ‘Self-Injurious-Behavior (SIB)’; unwanted behavior of biting his wrist.
Watching from the car just seemed to agitate, aggravate, and confused him – “Why are we just sitting here with the car parked in a strange place?” Finally, we chose to drive home and watch the fireworks on TV! At home, he could ‘unwind’ in his familiar and safe world. We’d try again next year.
Whatever you do, however you do it, please stay SAFE and enjoy your 4th of July INDEPENDENCE DAY! Just a reminder too, that COVID-19 contagion is still possible. Preventative measures should also be part of your safety routine.
HAPPY FATHER’S DAY 2022!!! From sarasautismsite.com
Fathers of children with Autism may find that their parenting skills are not as successful with their autistic child, as they had hoped. But, many fathers who have gone before you are there to help and support you. Check online for Father’s Groups in your area. Also, you will find the following books written by Autism DADs in Extended Book Reviews with < My Thoughts > on MENU; sarasautismsite.com ~
A Real Boy: How Autism Shattered Our Lives and Made a Family from the Pieces (2011), by Christopher Stevens & Nicola Stevens
Autism: Triplet Twist (2013), by James Potvin
Autism: Turning On the Light (2013), by Keith Ambersley
Secondhand Autism (2013), by Paul Brodie
The Horse Boy (2009) & The Long Ride Home (2015); by Rupert Isaacson
Unfortunately, the number of diagnosed autism cases is steadily increasing in the U.S. While Memorial Day honors the fallen, many military currently serving have family members with Autism.
This is an Overview of Veteran's Benefits | Special Needs Alliance; Retrieved online from – https://www.specialneedsalliance.org/the-voice/veterans-benefits//
“As our nation commemorates Memorial Day, honoring and remembering those who have served and sacrificed, it is an appropriate time to consider the financial, medical, and other assistance available to veterans, their families and survivors.”
< My Thoughts > You might find this, and similar VA websites helpful to explore. There are VA Aid & Alliance benefits which can provide monies for veterans who need assistance with basic activities of living.
Read more about Autism on www.sarasautismsite.com
HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!!! (for Autism Fathers, too!), with < My Thoughts > by Sara Luker
You may never get the expected ‘hugs’ or ‘love’ words, but you know they are there even if your child cannot emotionally express them.
Here are just some ‘Mom & Dad excerpts’ from my ‘Extended Book Reviews’; with < My Thoughts > by Sara Luker which can be found on my website MENU. Go to www.sarasautismsite.com.
From – Knowing Autism by Lorca Damon, eBook 2012; with < My Thoughts > by Sara Luker.
Because those with autism seldom ‘store’ experiences, they never seem to fully understand that we mean when we say…“no, not right now, maybe later when mom isn’t so busy”…or, “soon as your dad gets home.”
From – Making Peace with Autism by Susan Senator, eBook 2006; with < My Thoughts > by Sara Luker
I talked and read to the baby in utero. I read all kinds of mother-to-be books. We were so well prepared that we didn’t think anything could go wrong. This illusion was deepened by our comfortable backgrounds and the fact that we lived in a society that promoted the idea of family life as a Hallmark card.
Making Peace with Autism is the story of a family – a husband, wife and three sons – and our struggle to incorporate out oldest son’s autism into our lives. With this book I hope to convey that despite the tremendous challenges that autism brings, you can find happiness as a family – even if you don’t find a miracle cure. Here’s how we’ve done it.
Susan Senator is also the author of –The Autism Mom’s Survival Guide (for Dad’s, too!): Creating a Balanced and Happy Life While Raising a Child with Autism by Susan Senator, eBook 2011; with < My Thoughts > by Sara Luker
The sun will come up tomorrow and we will still have autism within our family. I can choose how I live it. We do not have to trade ourselves for our children, or our happiness for our children’s happiness. Even something as confounding and difficult as autism in the family is not the end of a happy life. Once we understand that, we will get there and it will all be OK.
One day you will feel that something inside you has shifted, lightened. When you look at your child, you no longer see a mass of problems, a broken thing to be fixed; you see you kid, just your kid. One day you will know that it’s just your life, warts, autism, and all. And you can’t wait to start living it to its fullest. Once you know this…you have just won the game.
From – Building in Circles: The Best of Autism Mom by Elizabeth W. Barnes, eBook 2014; with < My Thoughts > by Sara Luker
My name is Elizabeth and I am an Autism Mom. Our son, who we call the Navigator, is nine and was diagnosed on the Autism Spectrum at the age of seven. Before his diagnosis, I had heard of Autism – non-verbal children who don’t like to be touched, who rocked, and who ritually lined things up.
There is no one thing or even series of things that work all the time, or are even discernible as a pattern. There is a need for constant analysis and creativity, which is exhausting and sometimes seemingly fruitless. Because there is no cookie-cutter approach, I developed a website and blog in case our experiences could help others.
That website is Autism Mom and it includes blog articles, resources, tools and strategies. My hope is to offer other parents and loved ones of children with Autism valuable lessons learned and creative resources which they can use and tailor for themselves.
From – Twirling Naked in the Streets and No One Noticed; Growing Up with Autism by Jeannie Davide-Rivera, eBooks 2013; with < My Thoughts > by Sara Luker
Some of my earliest memories were of my imaginary friends, but those friends were “real” people to me, friends who were a part of my very first all-consuming special interest – baseball.
By the time I was three years old, I memorized the entire Yankee line-up, including stats. Dad was proud of my fact memorizing capabilities. When my father could not throw the ball back and forth with me in the driveway, my “baseball men” were there to help with my training. I was obsessed with baseball; I was obsessed with my “baseball men.” They were my friends.
From – I Know You’re In There: Winning Our War Against Autism by Marcia Hinds, eBook 2014; with < My Thoughts > by Sara Luker
As dads, it was our duty to preserve the family unit. Any threats to the stability of the family must be dealt with. And our autistic sons were a definite threat. But, that didn’t stop me from leaving military school websites on the computer desktop after a bad day with Ryan. Marcia spends hours conversing with other moms via online autism groups, e-mail, and phone. But dad-to-dad, that just had never happened. Men don’t share – food, toys, feelings, NOTHING. But with this dad, I decided I was going to break all the guy rules.
< My Thoughts > by Sara Luker –
Just so you know – Mom & Dad both share 100% of the genetic responsibility for the child. Each person is made of 50% of their mother’s DNA and 50% of their father’s DNA.
Find the following books written by Autism DADs in Extended Book Reviews with < My Thoughts > on MENU; sarasautismsite.com ~
Autism: Triplet Twist eBook 2013 by James Potvin
Autism: Turning On the Light eBook 2013 by Keith Ambersley
Secondhand Autism eBook 2013 by Paul Brodie
The Horse Boy & the Long Ride Home eBook 2009 by Rupert Isaacson
The DSM-5 (2013) American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th Edition), states the following criteria as, along with other criteria on the checklist, a sign of Autism. Criteria especially deficits in language & back-&-forth conversation; plus, highly restricted, fixed interests and/or focus of abnormal intensity. These symptoms of autism are present in developmental period, but may not manifest until social demands exceed the child’s capacities.
Staff Writers (2022) say that children with Autism have persistent difficulties, beginning in the developmental period. Problems with the social use of verbal & nonverbal communication which are not better explained by another reason, such as having Non-Verbal Learning Disability (NVLD). A child with Autism, depending on the Level of Severity, has difficulty with age-appropriate spoken language. While the child with NVLD, has a wide vocabulary & strong language skills.
< My Thoughts > “‘Level of Severity’…”
Autism Spectrum Disorder, Level 1 – The individual ‘Requires Support’ for daily functions. This is the mildest form of autism.
Autism Spectrum Disorder, Level 2 – The individual ‘Requires Substantial Support’ for daily functions. Due to narrow interests combined with purposeless repetitive behaviors.
Autism Spectrum Disorder, Level 3 – The individual ‘Requires Very Substantial Support’ for daily functions. Like Levels 1 & 2, but to an extreme degree. Staff writers (2022)
Authors go on to say that another possible comparison is that of ‘visual-spatial’ processing. Both may experience this in ways which make them seem disoriented, clumsy, or focused on one detail, instead of the ‘big picture’.
A child with ‘repetitive behavior’ as a possible tool for self-calming can include repeating phrases or pacing back & forth.
< My Thoughts > “…‘visual-spatial’ processing & …‘repetitive behavior’…”
‘Visual-spatial’ processing requires organizing visual information into meaningful patterns, plus understanding how these patterns operate/function. Such as the mathematic rules of operation & processing; or, the ability to see the 3-diamensional aspects of objects during observation.
A child with ‘repetitive behavior’ may repeat phrases from TV commercials, their favorite movie characters’ dialog, or something they’ve heard in a song. Our non-verbal son usually responds laughingly to my demands when prefaced by Buzz Lightyear’s phrase – “I have a laser, & I will use it!”
According to the Staff Writers (2022) poor spatial skills, paired with good language skills, are the essential features required in the diagnosis of Non-Verbal Learning Disability (NVLD). But, this is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed until noticed by teachers when the student is having difficulty with grade-level school performance. Students may then be referred to additional professionals for observation & testing. This would be necessary to determine if the child has Autism or a Non-Verbal Learning Disability (NVLD).
DSM-5 (2013). American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th Edition).
Staff Writers (2022). Retrieved online from – https://www.verywellhealth.com/what-are-the-three-levels-of-autism-260233.
Arrival of Units 1 & 2 - Know Autism - Know Your Child: with < My Thoughts > by Sara Luker on Sale NOW!
APRIL IS AUTISM MONTH DOWNLOAD UNITS 1 & 2 OF MY NEW BOOK $.99 FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY.
Link to download page: Know Autism - Know Your Child Unit 1 & Unit 2
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The ABCs of Autism Acceptance by Sparrow Rose Jones (Also known as Max Sparrow), eBook 2016; an Extended Review with < My Thoughts > by Sara Luker
1% I am an Autistic adult, so all those messages of despair are about me and people like me. I hear the terrible things that are said about Autism and those of us who are Autistic and I have to wonder if the people saying those things believe we don’t have feelings. Or maybe they think we’re too far gone to ever hear what they’re saying about us. But they are wrong.
READ MORE in EXTENDED BOOK REVIEWS on Website.
Read more on my site or download my latest book Units 1& 2 https://payhip.com/b/loAmV #autism #ASD #autismRedFlags #autismSignsChecklist #KnowAutismKnowYourChild
Hearing Scary News
The excitement of New Year’s, the stress of making ‘resolutions’, and the pressure of carrying on family ‘traditions’, during this time of uncertainty can take its toll on everyone. Often times, the fun and excitement are mixed in with ‘scary’ news about the world’s uncertainties. How can you tread carefully into the New Year?
Marcy (2018) advises that when scary events occur, parents often wonder how to help their family understand the graphic images and emotional content they may see. First, turn off the TV and be mindful of what adults discuss that may be overheard and misunderstood.
< My Thoughts > “Helping children handle scary news…”
Things to do instead with your family –
If children become aware that something 'bad' has happened, Marcy suggests that families can reassure them of their safety. Answer their questions, leaving time for them to process what they are hearing.
< My Thoughts > “…reassure them…”
Remind the family ‘how to’ problem solve about previous situations that they have been successful with in the past. Let them know that you are always available to answer questions. If their anxiety becomes more serious, seek professional help.
Marcy believes that helping to inspire others by reaching out to them helps both ways. Figure out how the family can help others.
Marcy, S. (2018). Helping Children Handle Scary News; Retrieved online from –
Read more on my site or download my latest book Units 1& 2 https://payhip.com/b/loAmV #autism #ASD #autismRedFlags #autismSignsChecklist #KnowAutismKnowYourChild
HOLIDAY SPECIAL DOWNLOAD UNITS 1 & 2 OF MY NEW BOOK $1.99 FOR A LIMITED TIME ONLY. SEE BOOK DOWNLOAD PAGE ON MENU.
4 easy ways to guide autistic Holiday behavior ~
Yau (2012) advises us that our child is likely to be much more of a visual thinker than we are. Spoken words are transitory – they are gone as soon as they are verbalized. But visual tools are concrete, whether it be a real object, a photo, a symbol or a written word. Visuals can be returned to over and over again, helping your child understand, and sometimes to accept, the information.
< My Thoughts > “Visuals can be returned to over and over again…”
Types of VISUALS are – Visual Schedules, 5 point scales, Power Cards, Social Stories, & Comic Strips or Storyboards.
Frosty's Five Point Scale ~
Use appropriate Frosty face instead of emoji.
The emoji #4 lets you know your child is feeling upset. Or, s/he can indicate the color 'orange'. Use the FROSTY emoji's if that would work. There is even an idea for expressing that the child is headed for a 'meltdown'.
The Five Point sce ale should be age appropriate. Use Steps from 1 - 5 that your child will understand. Be creative and let them help make the scale.
Prancer's Power Cards ~
When I feel 'anxious', I should ~
When I am feeling scared or overwhelmed, I should ~
Santa's Social Stories ~
You want the story to be brief, but maintain the child's attention. Again, let the child help you create this Visual story.
Vixen's Visual Schedule ~
Before changing a behavior or routine, know the child's basic understanding. A 'baseline' for learning a new skill must be established. Start where they 'are', instead of repeating what they've already learned. Visual schedules can be accompanied by auditory backup, or even a Smart Phone app.
Yau, A. (2012). Autism – A Practical Guide for Parents; eBooks Edition