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

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Reinforcing social skills at school

Parents of children with autism do all they can to help their loved ones at home. But when they are at school, which is usually 6.5 hours a day, these children are among their peers. They may often find themselves outside peer circles because they don't know how to interact with them on a social level. Such a situation is compounded inside school environment because of how rapidly conversation topics and gestures or expressions on people's faces change. Conversations could be accompanied with sounds of laughter that might distract a child with autism from listening well. Many other sensory triggers such as other children moving around, different groups doing different things, children seemingly breaking classroom rules by sitting or standing on tables, others talking at once and yet some others tossing stuff and so on can affect how the child with autism receives messages from his peers. Children with autism spectrum disorder often approach and respond to their peers and adults inappropriately as well. One reason they do this is because they are unable to read another person's body language. They might also be sending out unintended body language of their own, for example, looking away from the speaker because they felt anxious. They might be standing too close to show their interest in the speaker and so on. The teacher and educational assistant in the classroom or in the playground area during recess could keep an eye on the social behaviour of a child with autism while among his peers by grabbing teaching opportunities and by redirecting him or her towards appropriate behaviours whenever the opportunity presents itself. Prompts, praises and suggestions at appropriate times could go a long way towards helping a child with social skills at school. Depending on the frequency of these opportunities, the child would gradually be able to hone his or her way out of his isolation and into some form of social interactions at school. Once he or she is able to handle some of these demanding social skills on their own, they will move on to the next phase of establishing friendships for longer periods of time and at other environments such as birthday parties and other social gatherings with their peers.

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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.