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 so that we can invite appropriate autism professionals to speak at these meetings. Next PEAQ meeting is on June 5.

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

Transition planning for elementary school students with autism

Friday, October 14, 2011

Halloween night is coming!! Preparing your child for the big night

Which child doesn't want free candy? While parents of typically developing children can deem themselves prepared as soon as they buy the fairy, unicorn or super hero costumes for their little ones in time for the big fun day, for parents with children on autism spectrum, going trick-or-treating on Halloween evening is anything but just worry about costumes. In fact, their child might not even like wearing costumes because they are itchy, bulky or just because. This is a happy occasion that could easily turn to be a nightmare for both children with autism and their parents. Some of the potentially unhappy situation could be vastly improved by some preparation and practice ahead of time. Personally, I think social stories would greatly serve the purpose. But the following list could help too.
1. A schedule for the Halloween night if going out for trick or treating is essential. Note in it where you will go with the child, how many houses and the time you will come back to the house.
2. If possible, talk to the neighbours ahead of time that you will be bringing your child over that night for trick or treating. This will alleviate any surprise or fear when neighbours are confronted by an unexpected behaviour from the child.
3. Your child might need an occasional break. The key is to warn him/her ahead of time. For example, say you will take a break after two houses.
4. Take along some comfort items likely to calm the child. A headphone might be ideal to reduce sudden noise.
5. Practice social script of the actual activity such as when he or she goes to a neighbour's door he/ she has to first, ring the bell only once, next when they open the door, say trick or treat and hold up the bag he/she's carrying, next let the homeowner put candy or chip bag inside her bag, last, say thank you, wish Happy Halloween.
6. Practice safety rules of holding hands with a parent or a friend and looking both ways before crossing the road, not to run in his/her costume, wear reflective label and finally, not to eat candy before mommy or daddy says yes.
Having said that, the only thing left to say is to go out and have fun with your child. Wonders never cease when you look at stuff through their eyes. You might even have fun yourself.

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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.