Canada Autism

6 Ways To Help Special Needs Children Understand Valentine's Day

Joanne Giacomini | Posted 02.10.2016 | Canada Parents
Joanne Giacomini

For a parent of a special needs child, many of us are faced with the challenges of a day when our children, many of whom don't like touch, affection or cannot understand the meaning, and wonder how to go about celebrating this day. What's a parent to do?

How The Right Teacher Can Make A Difference In a Special Needs Child's Life

Joanne Giacomini | Posted 02.08.2016 | Canada Parents
Joanne Giacomini

In those early days of my son's autism diagnosis, I had completely lost my parental instinct in "getting" my son. And then I did find those wonderful therapists and first teachers at my son's adapted preschool. The school showed me the way to getting my son the help he needed. When he started at his adapted preschool, the first thing his teachers taught me was how to enjoy playing with my son, not to "make him" talk, but to "engage him," to bring him into the world where he could see how much fun we could both have when he played with me.

5 Signs Your Special Needs Child Has Mental Health Issues

Joanne Giacomini | Posted 01.27.2016 | Canada Parents
Joanne Giacomini

There is still so much misinformation on mental illness in society, especially in the workforce and in schools, where young people and older adults are stigmatized as being unproductive, lazy or exaggerating their behavior, when really they are dealing with very real mental health issues, ADD, ADHD, Autism, Bipolar or other depressive disorders. These individuals need our help, not our judgment.

Why It's Time For A National Autism Strategy

Kathleen O’Grady | Posted 01.12.2016 | Canada Parents
Kathleen O’Grady

It's not an exaggeration to say we have an autism services crisis in Canada. Evidence shows that proper health and educational supports for those affected by autism pay off. Early intervention is key and heads off more expensive and extensive supports that are needed later in life if early intervention is not provided.

I Sometimes Suffer From Mom Envy (And It's Not Pretty)

Julie M Green | Posted 01.13.2016 | Canada Parents
Julie M Green

Even though you don't want to compare -- comparing is for chumps -- you secretly can't help yourself. A litany of comparisons runs through your mind like a never-ending grocery list. Your child is amazing, but his needs limit his day-to-day life and that of your family. And even after all these years, it stings.

My Son's Autism Does Not Limit His Career Possibilities

Joanne Giacomini | Posted 01.07.2016 | Canada Parents
Joanne Giacomini

There is no need to think that, with autism and other anxiety related issues, my son cannot go on to do a job he loves, have friends and even live independently or semi-independently. It's all in how much he is encouraged and given opportunities to explore what he loves to do.

3 Ways The Federal Government Can Improve The RDSP

Kathleen O’Grady | Posted 01.05.2016 | Canada Politics
Kathleen O’Grady

The Registered Disability Savings Plan is a savings plan that helps parents and caretakers of those with a disability save for their loved one's long-term financial future with some financial contributions coming directly from the government -- free money, in other words. So why are so few using the RDSP?

How One Family Handles The Holidays

The Huffington Post Canada | Kate Wells | Posted 12.24.2015 | Canada Parents

Christmas is just around the corner - the hustle and bustle of going from store to store; the magic in the air; the joy of spending time with those yo...

5 Ways To Make Your Bathroom Special Needs Family Friendly

Joanne Giacomini | Posted 12.16.2015 | Canada Parents
Joanne Giacomini

There are two main rooms in any family home, special needs or not, that have the most usage. Those rooms, for lack of glamour, are the kitchen and bathroom. Yes, I mention the bathroom, because it is a room that a lot of us spend time in, but when you are the parents of a special needs child, you need A LOT of time in the bathroom.

Make The Holidays Happier For A Family With Autism

Linda Mastroianni | Posted 12.03.2015 | Canada Parents
Linda Mastroianni

When my son was a toddler, I remember a few events that I declined to attend simply because it was too complicated -- I just didn't have it in me. Looking back at the earlier years, I realize just how little people new about my son and his autism. I think our experience would have been different had others been more aware.

5 Questions Special Needs Parents Should Ask Before Buying A Mattress

Joanne Giacomini | Posted 12.01.2015 | Canada Parents
Joanne Giacomini

Let's say parents decide that it is time for that new mattress purchase for themselves, their child or both. It can be daunting or near impossible to go into a mattress store, any store, with their special needs child. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself about buying the perfect mattress for you or your child's sleep needs

5 Early Warning Signs Of Speech And Language Issues

Jeanette Podolsky | Posted 11.27.2015 | Canada Parents
Jeanette Podolsky

At the age of 2, a child has a vocabulary of at least 50-100 words. If your child is still only using a few words and has not caught up with peers, it could be the sign of a language delay.

How To Prepare Your Special Needs Child For Meeting Santa Claus

Joanne Giacomini | Posted 11.25.2015 | Canada Parents
Joanne Giacomini

Ah, that first visit to Santa. Remember how your little one cried and was scared, clinging to you? But you knew that this was temporary. Next year, he/she would be fine with the Santa visit, a rite of passage for most North American children today. But what if your child is not like all the other children?

Why Parents Of Kids With Autism Are Opening Their Own Schools

The Huffington Post Canada | Patricia Tomasi | Posted 11.26.2015 | Canada Parents

“I just assumed that the school board would be receptive to working with our team, willing to create the best educational plan available for my son. Boy was I wrong.”

3 Things Successful Leaders Do To Bring Out The Best In People

Marco Pasqua | Posted 11.19.2015 | Canada Business
Marco Pasqua

Many of today's biggest leaders and influential people credit mentors and their teachings as the main source behind their success. The following are three of the techniques that work for me and have my own unique spin on how to incorporate them into your daily life.

How to Advocate for Your Child Without Being a Jerk

Julie M Green | Posted 10.09.2015 | Canada Parents
Julie M Green

I generally regard myself as a Nice Person, until my son's needs are compromised. Until your kid is wronged or overlooked in some way, you have no idea how fiercely your mama bear will react. Whether it's a major incident or some minor trifle, your child does need to you to "fight" on their behalf until they are mature enough to do so of their own accord.

Recommendations Issued In Murder-Suicide Of B.C. Autistic Boy And Mom

CP | Posted 10.04.2015 | Canada British Columbia

Some recommendations dealt with the lack of support services in remote and rural areas.

5 Fun Fall Activities For Your Special Needs Child

Joanne Giacomini | Posted 10.03.2015 | Canada Parents
Joanne Giacomini

By keeping our kids back from activities, we don't only do them harm by not exposing them to different experiences, we also deprive ourselves and the rest of our family from good, old-fashioned family fun. I used to be one of those overprotective parents when it came to my special needs son. Not anymore. I have to say that our adventures as a family have gotten better for the most part.

Why Autism Isn't a Cause of Divorce

Linda Mastroianni | Posted 09.30.2015 | Canada Parents
Linda Mastroianni

The challenges parents face raising a child with autism is amplified a thousand times over. We often don't know what to do or how to help our child. But even with all the challenges, autism isn't what causes a couple to divorce.

5 Ways for Special Needs Families to Handle Anxiety

Joanne Giacomini | Posted 09.19.2015 | Canada Parents
Joanne Giacomini

These five tips can be taught to children and adults. At this time of year, as children and their parents are frazzled with back to school, multiple extra-curricular activity schedules and homework, I think this can be especially helpful. It can be a family's lifesaver in our ever increasingly fast-paced and stressful world.

How to Be My Friend As a Mom of a Special Needs Kid

Julie M Green | Posted 09.14.2015 | Canada Parents
Julie M Green

A strange thing happened when my son was diagnosed with autism a few years ago. Some of my friends dove for the hills. They didn't all disappear, but some just gradually dropped off. This post isn't about finger-pointing. I get how hard it is. You don't know what to say without feeling awkward or guilty.

5 First Day of School Survival Tips for Special Needs Parents

Joanne Giacomini | Posted 09.03.2015 | Canada Parents
Joanne Giacomini

I think all parents are frazzled at this time of year, particularly special needs parents whose children take anxiety for school to a new level. What can we do as parents to make the first day of school easier? Well, I have found out that the following five things have helped me survive that first day.

If You Have a Child With Special Needs, You Can't Go it Alone

Joanne Giacomini | Posted 08.28.2015 | Canada Parents
Joanne Giacomini

No kid comes with a guidebook. Kids with developmental disabilities of all kinds, both physical and neurological, are as diverse in thought, behaviour, strengths and weaknesses as their neuro-typical peers. With the added anxiety of raising very different children from what is expected, stress levels are higher, parenting is harder and divorce runs rampant among special needs parents. That is why it is so important for them to remain on the same side.

3 Things You Need to Know About Autism in Canada

Kathleen O’Grady | Posted 07.31.2015 | Canada Politics
Kathleen O’Grady

Many organizations and affected families across the country have been calling for a national autism strategy. The wide range in disparity of publicly funded services for autism across the country has even generated a kind of "medical migration" with several published accounts of families leaving their home provinces (most commonly, Atlantic provinces, Ontario and Quebec) to move to Alberta or British Columbia where autism services are more readily available and/or more flexible. It is also no longer uncommon to find Canadian families using crowdsourcing campaigns to fund their children's autism and related therapies.

Autism Destroyed My Marriage, But I'm Not Mad

Trish Klein | Posted 07.15.2015 | Canada
Trish Klein

Autism has a bad rap with families and marriages. Pulling them apart. The stress, the constant worrying, the lack of time with your spouse and other children. The focus becomes your affected child and there is no time for you and forget about your partner. I thought my marriage was strong. It wasn't strong enough.