Autism Parenting Magazine Issue 74 (Member's Dashboard) - Page 4

Editor’s Letter F or more than 50 years, the Autism Society has been im- proving the lives of people affected by autism through education, research, and advocacy. Nearly 25 years ago, this grassroots organization launched a nationwide ef- fort to promote acceptance and appreciation resulting in April being named National Autism Awareness Month in the United States. And for more than a decade, people around the world have recognized April 2 as World Autism Awareness Day, encouraging Member States of the United Nations to raise awareness throughout the world and aid in research, diagnoses, and treatment on a global level. It’s encouraging to see the at- tention both these observances create on an international level, from special autism events and workshops to vital fundraisers and sponsorships. With millions of people around the world affected by autism, this level of consciousness is key to the future. It also reminds me there are so many ways to connect and be heard. This month, we plan to celebrate the power of the autism voice, because everyone matters. If you want to find ways to unite with the autism community and make a difference, please take a look at Katherine G. Hobbs’ piece this month, How You Can Promote Autism Awareness This April, as she provides information on ways to raise community awareness. Every time I see someone wearing a T-shirt or lapel pin celebrating love for someone with autism, I feel like it’s a step toward aware- ness and perhaps toward a better understanding. And with un- derstanding, I can hope for acceptance. Another word that has been running through my brain this month is “inclusiveness.” I hope that is the next step. Inclusiveness is more than being allowed to participate. It’s more than being invited to the class party. It’s more than being accommodated in an activity. Inclusiveness is being made to feel a part of something, to really belong. We are excited about this month’s magazine as it has a little some- thing for everyone, from professional advice on ways to protect a child’s educational rights to tips on developing important skills. We also feature inspirational autism advocates, newly published book summaries, and interesting new products on the market. And per- haps most importantly—the voice of the autism community. First off, we are thrilled to share Nicole Bovell’s piece Parent Rights and IEP Placement Options You Need to Know as she explains procedural safeguards (parental rights) when seeking the appropriate special education services for your child. Her expert advice includes informa- tion on laws and regulations surrounding inclusion and placement to help guide families in the right direction. Developing skills is an important topic in every issue of Autism Par- enting Magazine. This month we have several articles that focus on improving social skills and communication skills, as well as simple tips for helping a child with autism develop good eating habits. Take a look at Monica C. Hudnall’s, MA, CCC-SLP, piece, 4 Practical In- terventions to Help Develop Social Skills, as she provides a variety of evidence-based interventions that support skills development for school-age children. Techniques such as comic strip conversations, social narratives, technology-aided instruction, and intervention and video modeling are sure to help a child struggling with social skills. If your child has an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) device, or you are considering purchasing one, take a look at Rebecca Eisenberg’s, MS, CCC-SLP, article Expert Tips for Getting the Most Out Of an AAC Device as the certified speech-language pathologist explains ways the device can make a difference in dai- ly life. Her tips include home and school training as well as ways to connect with others while building success with new routines. Last month we featured a piece on teaching social skills through video-self modeling written by Melissa M. Root, PhD, president and founder of Root Success Solutions TM LLC. This month, Melissa pro- vides ways this tool can help your child with autism develop good eating habits. Take a look at Simple Ways To Improve Eating Habits When Your Child Has ASD as Melissa shares ways to create short vid- eos of your child to show his/her brain exactly what to do in specific situations. And best of all, these videos can be tailored to meet your child’s circumstances. Perhaps it’s my in my blood, but I get very excited when we have an opportunity to feature different perspectives in Autism Parent- ing Magazine. As the daughter of a former editorial writer for a large daily newspaper, I understand the power of opinion. Voices encourage discussion and inspire change. We have several personal narratives this month that might rein- force your beliefs, or maybe alter your point of view. Either way, these pieces get us all thinking and talking. For example, several new shows on television feature people on the autism spectrum. While many people believe putting charac- ters with autism in the spotlight translates to autism awareness and acceptance, Sharlene T. Smith, PhD, has some concerns about how some characters are portrayed. Please read Atypical View from an Autism Mom: AutismTV is Not a Hashtag! as the mother of a young child with autism expresses her apprehension about autism-cen- tered television shows and characters. It seems like the benefits of service dogs for people diagnosed with autism is always in the news—the connection between man and dog is incredible. Rebecca Richardson, an early intervention specialist for children and director of college governance at Ber- gin University of Canine Studies, agrees but has some concerns about the lack of education surrounding service dogs. Please take a look at her piece Ethical Considerations Need to Be Made for Ser- vice Dogs, as Rebecca explains the importance of educating fami- lies and protecting these special working canines. Let’s cont