Navigating the Holiday Season: Tips

Photo of big family sit feast meals table around blessing roasted turkey eldest grandfather making slices hungry relatives waiting excited in living room indoors

The holiday season brings a lot of fun and opportunities to connect with families. However, it may also bring challenges due to schedule change, sensory overload, need to travel, and social engagement expectations.

Here is a list of resources to help you successfully navigate this holiday season!

Services of Entitlement

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It may be challenging for families, caregivers, individuals with ASD, and others to navigate support systems and services. In order to best support individuals, families, providers, and communities statewide as they learn to navigate life with ASD or a related disability, HANDS in Autism© together with the NeuroDiagnostic Institute and IIACC partners reached out to organizations and asked directors and professionals to share about the noted service or program they oversee or facilitate in order to support awareness of, access to, advocacy for, and/or navigation within as individuals, families, and teams statewide are connected. Hear what they had to say below.

Category: Advocacy

IN*SOURCE

Category: Evaluation, Education

Simulated Intake for Parent Referral for Preschool Evaluation (Indiana Department of Education and Indiana IEPRC)

Video Series

Category: Savings

Indiana ABLE

Category: Vocational Rehabilitation, Pre-ETS

Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation Services

On oversight of delivery of Pre-Employment Transition Services

[Video brought to you by The Arc of Indiana]

Tips and Tricks for Fun & Safe Halloween

Halloween can certainly be fun for individuals with ASD/DD, as long as you do some preparation for it and address sensory sensitivities. Here are several resources to consider to make your Halloween enjoyable and memorable!

HANDS in Autism®: SENSORY FRIENDLY HALLOWEEN CRAFTS AND GAMES

Autism Speaks: Happy Halloween: Making the holiday fun for everyone

Autism Society of North Carolina: Making Halloween Fun for Individuals with Autism

Autism Society of Greater Wisconsin: Halloween Toolkit

Autism Society: Make Halloween a Better Experience: 7 Tips That Set You Up for Success

Seattle Children’s Hospital: 8 Tips for a Safe Halloween for Your Child With Autism

Videos From Autism Science Foundation Annual Day of Learning

Videos From Autism Science Foundation Annual Day of Learning

The Day of Learning at the Autism Science Foundation (ASF), is a TED-style science conference that brings together leading autism researchers to present new findings to members of the autism community. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, this year’s Day of Learning was held virtually. Over 800 people from across the world took part in the event.

Below are links to recorded presentations paired with ways to learn more on topics on the INformation Network website.

Do We Need New Terms for Autism? – Dr. Catherine Lord – School of Medicine at UCLA

Dr. Lord called for a new term: “profound autism.” Announced publicly for the first time at the Day of Learning, the term is intended to help individuals with the highest level of needs gain access to appropriate services and to increase research participation by this understudied subpopulation.

Read More: What is ASD?

Autism Research in 2020: What Do We Know? What Do We Need? – Dr. James McPartland – Yale Child Study Center

Dr. McPartland explains that many of the advancements made this year amid the pandemic will benefit individuals on the autism spectrum long after the current crisis is over.

Read More: About the Diagnosis, What is Evidence-Based?

Developing Personalized Social Interventions for Adolescents with Autism – Dr. Matthew Lerner – Stony Brook University

Dr. Matthew Lerner explained how he and his team are moving toward an “evidence-based menu” of interventions to develop social skills in adolescents with autism, which will allow families to take more targeted actions to improve outcomes.

Read More: Transition

Is ABA Passe? – Dr. Melanie Pellecchia – University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Pellecchia outlined some of the historic problems of applied behavioral analysis (ABA) and showed how increased knowledge of childhood development has significantly improved the practice in recent years, with a greater emphasis on fun, play-based therapy sessions and a de-emphasis on “teacher-led, didactic” sessions.

Read More: Applied Behavior Analysis

Research on Adults with Autism in Natural Settings – Dr. Vanessa Hus Bal – Rutgers University

Dr. Hus Bal argued that while support for adults with autism often focuses on the transition to adulthood and associated milestones, there is not enough being done to provide adults with ongoing support throughout their lives.

Read More: Adulthood and Aging

Robots as Autism Therapy Partners – Dr. Brian Scasselatti – Yale University

Dr. Scassellati demonstrated the powerful effect that robots can have as autism therapy partners and explained what parents should look for in evaluating these solutions.

Read More: Technology

Seniors with ASD

What information is available on how to support seniors with ASD?

Currently, not much information is available on how to support seniors with ASD. However, we know that age and severity of autism are tightly linked, where the severity of autism tends to grow with age across such situations as social communication, coping with change or generating new ideas or solutions (Charlton, 2016). But here are some resources: