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

Friday, October 12, 2012

About trick-or-treating on Halloween

Many parents of children on the autism spectrum disorder are fully aware that their child does better in situations and environments when they are prepared for those events well ahead of time. Halloween is a fun event, the only time when children can dress up in their favourite characters and go trick-or-treating in the neighbourhood. Although costume considerations might be the only challenge for parents of typically developing children, this is an event that can be a huge sensory challenge for children with autism. They may not like the sights, sounds, smells and even the feel of their costume and have a mother of melt-downs even as the sun sets on the eve of Halloween when children begin happily trolling down the streets for candies. However, parents can help their children with autism enjoy the fun of Halloween events by following some of these steps below: 1. Parents can start by reading about Halloween day together, about activities that take place on or before Halloween either at home or at school. They can role-play ways to go trick-or-treating such as how to wish someone handing out candies Happy Halloween, to hold out a bag for candies and to say thank you. 2. The child may not be ready to wear the costume both parent and child had chosen at the last minute so have a plan B and wear both costumes alternately during the days leading up to Halloween. 3. A key preparation is to write a social narrative that tells the child all about Halloween, what to expect and when. Some children might even need a visual schedule on the activities. 4. It is important to build the right amount of expectation beforehand and stick to it. Both the parent and the child should agree on the number of households to visit on Halloween evening and stick to those numbers. 5. If the child happens to be staying at home and handing out candies to visitors then he or she should have a social narrative designed to address that particular activity. Again, role playing would be a good idea here. Doing the above would help set the familiarity of activities on Halloween and lessen the chances for anxiety and consequently, unhappy meltdowns.

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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.