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Welcome to Autism Family Online

Join our worldwide group of family members and educators dedicated to meeting the needs of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders. This site will give you valuable information, provide an opportunity to get your questions answered and much, much more.

Who is this site for? Parents, family members, educators, Speech Pathologists, therapists and others who work to support the learning and living needs of individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorders and related learning challenges.

Autism Family Online received an award from The Mom's Choice Awards® which is known for establishing the benchmark of excellence in family-friendly media, products and services.

Featured Resources
The Top 50 Favorite Apps for iPad & AutismThe Top 50 Favorite Apps for iPad & Autism
We conducted a survey of more than 3500 Speech-Language Pathologists, Educators and parents who support individuals with ASD . . . keep reading

Capture the IPad APPS Possibilities for 
Autism Spectrum DisordersCapture the IPad APPS Possibilities for Autism Spectrum Disorders
Linda Hodgdon, M.Ed., CCC-SLP
People are so excited about the possibilities with IPads. And what is more important, they share some great stories about the social and communication benefits for their students with Autism Spectrum Disorders. . . . keep reading

Whats New
People are Invading My Home PlanPeople are Invading My Home Plan
Tahirih Bushey M.A. C.C.C.
First of all, like all difficult moments, it is better if one has a plan predetermined so I would suggest making a plan with your child before people come to visit your home. If caught unprepared, however, one more step will be needed (see below). In this case, the plan is for a verbal child who can read--the plan would need to include pictures (hand drawn, line drawings would be fine as the pictures are just to remind your child of the various steps.) Sit down with your child and tell him or her that people will be coming to visit. If you know . . . keep reading

Golden Roasted Turkey - Gluten-Free- Great for Special Occasions!Golden Roasted Turkey - Gluten-Free- Great for Special Occasions!
This recipe is from Whole Foods Market. This deliciously moist roasted turkey is surprising in its ease of preparation. It's exactly what you remember from Thanksgiving dinners of old - only better. While you can prepare this turkey recipe without the brining step, we highly recommend you to give it a try as this process produces wonderfully succulent meat. When set on the table, this beautiful bird is guaranteed to elicit oohs and aahs. . . . keep reading

Understanding and Decreasing Repeated Questions in Children with AutismUnderstanding and Decreasing Repeated Questions in Children with Autism
QUESTION: How can I use visual strategies to decrease the amount of repeated questions from students. ANSWER: This is a common question and a great one. Think of it like this. When a student is repeating a question over and over he is driving us nuts. But he is also expressing important information to us. So ask yourself. . ."What is his purpose? Why is he talking? Is he repeating because he is anxious about something? Is he asking about something that is going to happen? What is he trying to communicate?" . . . keep reading

From Less is More to More is Less:  How Sensory Needs Can Change Over Time for Individuals with AutismFrom Less is More to More is Less: How Sensory Needs Can Change Over Time for Individuals with Autism
Anne Carpenter
As a child, my autism was more acute and my nervous system was so immature in so many ways that I was in constant overdrive and hyperactive. This resulted in me becoming easily overstimulated in almost every situation every day. This made me feel so anxious and wound-up much of the time that I was afraid of sudden bombardments such as the fire alarm at school. It scared the living daylights out of me because of the sudden loud blast of the unfamiliar sound that came seemingly out of the blue. I screamed "What is it?" "What is it?" I screamed in panic as the horrible noise assaulted my ears and brain. . . . keep reading

Throwing RocksThrowing Rocks
Aileen Hecht
I tried very hard to be friends with the kids in my neighborhood, four of which were my cousins, and four or so others living within a hundred yards as well. I really only followed them around (mostly the girls), observing, mimicking, assimilating, trying to learn to be like them so that I could not only be their friends but to make friends at school as well. They weren't necessarily popular but as far as neighborhood cliques go, I very much found the breaks from solitude appealing and somewhat more comforting than those provided by the classmates at school considering that half of the neighborhood playmates were family. Family is an entirely different entity than the classmates who were . . . keep reading

Teaching Austic Children to Respond When They Can't Be SeenTeaching Austic Children to Respond When They Can't Be Seen
Linda Hodgdon, M.Ed., CCC-SLP
I received a letter Dear Linda: At our last parent support meeting we went around the room and found that every parent had difficulties getting their child to answer to their name when called. We have kids on all levels of the spectrum and the problem seems to be across the board. How can we teach our kids to visually or verbally respond? We want to address this especially when they cannot be seen (i.e. in another room, or around the corner in a store, or behind a rack). Do you have a strategy for getting them to respond? Sincerely, Jane . . . keep reading

Visual Strategies: Recognizing and Teaching   Students with Autism to Spot Visual Aids in Their EnvironmentVisual Strategies: Recognizing and Teaching Students with Autism to Spot Visual Aids in Their Environment
Linda Hodgdon, M.Ed., CCC-SLP
Do your students with autism use the information in the environment? Here is how to help your students use those visual cues all around them. Do an Inventory Doing an inventory is a great place to begin. Take time to sit down and observe the environment. Pick any environment the student is in: home, school, community. Observe What is there that is visual? What cues help people know what to do? What is already there to give information? Here are some examples: . . . keep reading

Effectively Using Visual Aids to Improve Social Skills- Audio - 1 minute 25 secondsEffectively Using Visual Aids to Improve Social Skills- Audio - 1 minute 25 seconds
When using visuals for improving social skill, at what point does the use of pictures become intrusive? Tips and advice for incorporating visual aids with students with ASD. . . . keep reading

Establishing positive sleep patterns for young children with autism spectrum disorderEstablishing positive sleep patterns for young children with autism spectrum disorder
Marci Wheeler
Most parents have had some experience with a child who has difficulty falling asleep, wakes up frequently during the night, and/or only sleeps a few hours each night. Temporary sleep difficulties are an "expected" phase of child development. Ongoing and persistent sleep disturbances can have an adverse effect on the child, parents and other household members. Children with autism spectrum disorders . . . keep reading

iTunes Apps for Autism: ASD Timer v1.0iTunes Apps for Autism: ASD Timer v1.0
Shane Numberg
You can set the timer by dragging your finger on the clock face! That's the kind of intuitive interface we'd expect on a mobile . . . keep reading

Do You See What I Mean?Do You See What I Mean?
Paula Kluth
Many learners with disability labels are visual learners and are best able to understand and remember content when they can see it represented in some way; in other words, they need to "see what we mean." Visual and spatial learners often think in terms of pictures and learn best from things that can be seen including diagrams, checklists, charts, and graphic organizers; movies; illustrated books; curriculum-related objects (e.g., dioramas, math counters, models); and . . . keep reading

Even More Autism Apps: WhQuestions v1.6.2Even More Autism Apps: WhQuestions v1.6.2
Shane Numberg
WhQuestions is an app for language development that boasts over 300 questions. It's not flash cards, but it's really close to that. It's a step up from there simply because it's in digital form and available on your iDevice. . . . keep reading

Tips for Aiding Parents New to Using Visual Aids-Audio - 1 minute 16 secondsTips for Aiding Parents New to Using Visual Aids-Audio - 1 minute 16 seconds
Ideas for parents who are new to using visual aids. Tips for embedding visual strategies into everyday life activities. . . . keep reading

Autism Apps Reviews: BehaviorTrackerPro v1.3Autism Apps Reviews: BehaviorTrackerPro v1.3
Shane Numberg
Also available on Blackberry and Android this is an incredible app for tracking, reporting, and graphing behaviors. If you're struggling trying to figure out how to correct your child's behavior issues, this app . . . keep reading

Strategies for Helping Kids Get OrganizedStrategies for Helping Kids Get Organized
Ways to help children develop independence at home through visuals about chores, . . . keep reading

Autism Tips:  Keep a Balanced PerspectiveAutism Tips: Keep a Balanced Perspective
Linda Hodgdon
When observing children who are demonstrating typical development, it becomes immediately obvious that there is a broad range of what is considered acceptable behavior. In addition, it becomes quite clear that there are some predictable reasons for students not doing . . . keep reading

Using Visual Strategies in a Classroom with Both Regular and Special Education StudentsUsing Visual Strategies in a Classroom with Both Regular and Special Education Students
QUESTION: I have a blended classroom consisting of ½ regular education students and ½ special education students. I realize that all children benefit, but I need some ideas how to effectively implement visual strategies with both populations. ANSWER: Well, this question has an easy answer. Start by changing the focus of your thinking. Instead of looking at the students, look at your classroom and yourself. Establish two goals. The first goal is to create a "communication friendly" environment. Think about the visual tools that you develop as tools to enrich the classroom, no matter what students are there. . . . keep reading

Autism: how are the siblings doing?
Laura Shumaker
When people learn my son Matthew has two younger brothers that are "normal", they're curious. How has having a brother like Matthew has affected them? "They'll be better people for it," say well-meaning friends and family. While their words are meant to comfort and encourage me, they imply that tough times are . . . keep reading

Communicating What Happenend at School - Visual Aid
Today at School is a simple system to enhance home-school communication. The page is prepared by the student at school to take home. Then the student can use the page to help communicate what happened at school. This page could be used by verbal or non-verbal students. Non-verbal students can point to what happened. Verbal students can use the page to help them remember what to talk about. This is a perfect system for individuals with autism, Asperger's or other communication challenges. . . . keep reading

More Autism Apps Reviews: Behavior Journal v0103More Autism Apps Reviews: Behavior Journal v0103
Shane Numberg
A pleasing and simple interface that's easy to understand tops off Behavior Journal. Once you sign in and create an account with their free online portal you then have the ability to sync your data wirelessly, which also allows you . . . keep reading

Getting Ready for School: Transition Tips for Students with AutismGetting Ready for School: Transition Tips for Students with Autism
Paula Kluth
For many learners with autism, transitions are the toughest part of schooling. Moving from classroom to classroom or teacher to teacher can be stressful enough, but moving from building to building is almost always a process filled with anxiety and trepidation. These strategies are designed to prepare the learner with autism for a new school or a new schooling experience (e.g., an inclusive classroom) and can be used days or months before . . . keep reading

Avoid Awkward Social Interactions: Using Visual Aids EffectivelyAvoid Awkward Social Interactions: Using Visual Aids Effectively
QUESTION: When using visuals for improving social skills, at what point does the use of pictures become intrusive? Is it better to cue children immediately before a social situation rather than during, to avoid interruption and confusion? ANSWER: The first thing I think of is the goal. If the goal is to have the student learn to participate in social situations as naturally as possible, we need to make sure we are teaching in a way to accomplish that. We don't want to create weird or unusual or socially inappropriate situations. . . . keep reading

Create those OpportunitiesCreate those Opportunities
Simone Griffin
Children with autism communicate at many different levels; some talk, some use sign language, some use pictures to communicate messages and some reach and point for the things they want. But no matter how your child communicates, there are many things you can do in your everyday interactions to help create and make . . . keep reading

What I Believe and What I KnowWhat I Believe and What I Know
Susan Levy
I really enjoyed being Jacob's Mom when he was a small child. I was fortunate that at the time, my business was successful and I was able to work on my own schedule. We spent quality time together doing a lot of kid-oriented activities. Things changed when he was about 7 when the business started to tank. I'd soon have to find employment that allowed me to work full-time and to also still be Jacob's primary caregiver, and it wasn't easy. But in his early years, . . . keep reading

Autism Apps - iTunes: Voice4U V1.0.4Autism Apps - iTunes: Voice4U V1.0.4
Shane Numberg
I absolutely love the little unisex character used in all the images! He (or she) has an undeniable aura of positivity. It's very . . . keep reading

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