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 28, 2016

Strategies to plan for a more fun Halloween for children with autism

Halloween is just a weekend away and when we have a child with autism in our family, it won't be as easy as throwing on a costume on the evening of and going treat-or-treating. Halloween comes with a barrage of changes from regular routine for any child but more so for a child with autism who might have severe challenge with unplanned transitions from familiar to unfamiliar. The event is a big change from routine. Everything from clothing, decorations at home and at other people's homes in the neighbourhood, lights and sounds, food items, social demands, unfamiliar faces and loud crowd in some cases. But with a little planning, Halloween can be fun for kids with autism as well.
So, how to prepare for Halloween?
Make a list of points to consider. For example:
1. Costume: Some costumes are more abrasive or smell more than others and might bother a child with autism who has physical sensory problems. Some might find the wigs itchy even for a brief period of time. Just have him go without or if possible, apply some colour on the child's hair if absolutely necessary.
2. Social script: Write a short script (keep it to five or six lines) or draw a picture of what it would mean to go trick-or-treating, where you will go, what will happen at the doors of people, what can the child expect to hear and get from homeowners at their doors, what their decorations might look like, a few days before Halloween and read it or go over it together with your child. It would be great to post it on the fridge so the child can look at it every day until Halloween.
3. Route: practice going on the route that you plan to take with your child on Halloween evening and depending on your understanding of your child's patience and temperament, plan for the number of houses that you will be going to and tell you child that number so that the expectations are clear and stick to it.
4. Food: If your child has food allergy, make a clear rule for your child that candies and food items that he or she is given during treat or treating can only be eaten at home after your inspection.
5. Plan B: If your child simply cannot tolerate going trick or treating in the busier neighbourhood where there are lots of children or where the decorations are likely to trigger a meltdown, take your child to quiet streets or just role play at home with family members.
Hope you and your child will have a great time at Halloween this year!

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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.