Mission Statement: This blog was created to provide information on getting help for autism in general while focussing on locally available resources for families with newly diagnosed children in Belleville and Quinte area.

Please browse the blog at your leisure. You are welcome to comment on the posts. If you are a parent, an autism consultant, counselor, teacher with information on autism resources available in our area, please email your information to benziesangma@gmail.com. Your information will be added within 24 hours.

Local Autism Support Groups

Parents Engaging Autism Quinte (PEAQ), an autism parent support group, meets once a month on the first Tuesday of the month (no meetings in January, July and August) at Kerry's Place, 189 Victoria Avenue, Belleville at 6:30 to 8 p.m. If you have questions or suggestions for autism topics that are important to you please go to our FaceBook account and post your suggestions so that we can invite appropriate autism professionals to speak at these meetings. There won't be any meeting in December but we are taking local families supporting individuals with moderate to severe sensory challenges to the Christmas Event at the Children's Safety Village half an hour prior to the event being opened to the public.

Autism parent support group meeting hosted by Mental Health Agency, Trenton and Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC) meeting is on the Second Thursday of the month from 6 to 7:30 p.m. If you have require any further information please contact Marya Peters for more information at 613 392-2811 ext 3953 or email marya.p@trentonmfrc.ca

For info on Community Living Prince Edward County Parent Support group, contact Resource Consultants @ 613 476 6038

Central Hastings Autism Support Group meets in Madoc at the Recreation Centre. Contact Renee O’Hara, Family Resource & Support, 613-966-7413 or Tammy Kavanagh, Family Resource & Support, 613-332-3227

Strategies for challenging behaviours

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Understanding the vulnerability of ASD individuals

My mild-to-moderately autistic son is six-years old and is in Grade 1. Starting this year, his school recesses take place at the same time as the rest of the school which includes students up to Grade 8. That leaves him pretty much exposed to a wide spectrum of much more verbally (as well as otherwise) sophisticated groups of children who, for the fun of it or maybe, on a dare, could easily take advantage of his "gullible" nature, a result of his "mindblindness". My son is struggling verbally and reading body languages and predicting events are nowhere on the horizon yet as far as the level of his communication ability is concerned.
Here's a scenario of mindblindness or lack of theory of mind, defined by autism expert Dr.Simon Barry Cohen. A child on the autism spectrum is walking on a side-walk along a street and he sees a group of boys on the other side of the street looking over and gesturing towards him. The group decides to cross the street, their gestures, facial and body expressions clearly indicating their intent to do harm to the boy. But if the boy happen to see them crossing over, he would have noted only just that - that a group of boys were crossing the street. He could and would not have read their threatening body language and therefore, would not have been able to foresee the danger he might be facing.
Summing it up is a quote by Geoffrey Cowley's article "Understanding Autism," in Newsweek,
"What, ultimately, makes autistic people different? How do they experience the world? Twenty years ago no one had much of a clue. But a burgeoning body of research now suggests that the core of all autism is a syndrome known as mindblindness. For most of us, mind reading comes as naturally as walking or chewing. We readily deduce what other people know and what they don't, and we understand implicitly that thoughts and feelings are revealed in gestures, facial expressions and tone of voice. An autistic person may sense none of this."

In it for the long haul...

I created this blog with my sincere wish that those of you reading this will want to share your own stories, both good and bad, what worked for you and what didn't and together, we can make it easier for the next family beginning their own journey of discovery. By posting what you know, where you have recieved certain services, who you have talked to, whose expertise you trust, how you navigated the school education services and by responding to questions in the discussion thread, know that you have helped a family in need. So, parents, experts in the field, counsellors, teachers and everyone who has any information on resources available, please feel free to post on this blog.