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Piece by Piece - Autism Updates Blog

2 Opportunities for Young Adults or Teens with High-Functioning Autism or Asperger's Syndrome

Posted by Dr. Carolyn Bruey on Oct 19, 2016 3:07:37 PM


I recently received information about two studies being conducted locally in Spring 2017 through the Autism Studies Division at the Penn State Hershey Medical Center and would like to share this information for those who may wish to look into and/or apply for these opportunities. 

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Topics: Autism Services

5 Rules for Surviving the New School Year

Posted by Dr. Carolyn Bruey on Aug 10, 2016 10:32:23 AM

Each August, many parents of children on the autism spectrum approach the new school year with a mixture of relief and anxiety. On the one hand, parents are relieved that the unstructured summer days are coming to an end since lack of structure can often be difficult for children on the autism spectrum. On the other hand, starting a new school year presents numerous challenges which can be daunting for parents and children alike. Thinking ahead and proactive planning are always your best bet. Here are 5 strategies to survive the transition back to school with your sanity intact!Kids-going-back-to-school.png

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Topics: Family Supports

The Impact on the Family of Having a Child with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Posted by Dr. Carolyn Bruey on Apr 25, 2014 9:13:58 AM

AutismSolutions-photo1-BoyAtWindowHaving a family member with Autism Spectrum Disorder can have a significant influence not only on the child with autism, but also on each and every family member. Parents, siblings, and extended family members such as grandparents can be impacted in profound ways. Most parents will tell you that their child with autism has brought immeasurable love and strength into their families. At the same time, there are certain inherent obstacles which can prove difficult.

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Topics: Autism, Family Supports

Rising Autism Numbers - In Today's News!

Posted by Dr. Carolyn T. Bruey on Apr 22, 2014 1:37:14 PM

Rising autism numbers a challenge for public schools

As posted by: Susan Baldridge, Reporter with Lancaster Newspapers. 
Tuesday, April 22, 2014 6:00 am | Updated: 10:27 am, Tue Apr 22, 2014.

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Topics: Autism, IU 13, The work of IU 13, Autism Services, Family Supports, Public Education


Posted by Dr. Carolyn T. Bruey on Mar 3, 2014 1:53:00 PM

Although the ground is still covered with snow, and summer seems such a long way off (especially afteSummerCampsImager the crazy winter we’ve experienced!), it is important to start planning for summer earlier rather than later. Various options may be available for your child, including day or sleepover camps, extended school year classes or home-based instruction, special family vacations or just relaxing by the poolside. Regardless of your final decisions for summer plans, it’s best to begin setting up your child’s activities now so that you aren’t caught off guard in May or June with no concrete plans and a long summer ahead of you!

Regardless of the specific summer activities that you choose, here are six tips to keep in mind:  (if you can't see the full list, please click the "read more" tab)

1) Sign up now! Many summer programs have already sent out their registration forms and may be filled by the time you start to inquire in April or May.

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Topics: Autism, Autism Services, Student Achievement, Individualized Education Plan (IEP), Extended School Year, Summer Camps

5 Rules for Surviving Snow Days for Families of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

Posted by Dr. Carolyn T. Bruey on Feb 3, 2014 10:19:02 AM

snow“Snow day!”

We all remember rejoicing when Old Man Winter gave us an unexpected day off of school, such that the very phrase can still conjure up wonderful childhood memories. In contrast, most children with Autism Spectrum Disorder find snow days to be anything but joyful!  Meltdowns, anxiety-driven rituals, or insisting on standing at the bus stop “just in case the bus shows up” are well within the day’s possibilities.

Here are some tips to help to keep your sanity as the snow is falling outside:

  1. GIVE YOUR CHILD A HEADS UP: If there is a good chance that an upcoming snowstorm will result in a snow day or even just a two hour delay, prepare your child for the possibility the night before. One of the major reasons that children with autism find snow days to be stressful is that it is an unexpected  change in routine. Therefore, the more upfront preparation you can provide, the better.
  1. CREATE A “SNOW DAY SCHEDULE”: Children on the autism spectrum frequently crave routine and clear expectations, so develop a “Snow Day Schedule,” and review it with your child ahead of time. Providing a schedule allows your child to anticipate what will happen throughout the day and therefore can lessen any undue anxiety.
  1. PAIR SNOW DAYS WITH UNIQUE FUN ACTIVITIES: Identify a few activities or toys which your child enjoys, and then have these activities only available on snow days. That way, your child will start to view a snow day as good news rather than reason for concern.
  1. DOWNTIME IS YOUR ENEMY:  Most children on the autism spectrum aren’t particularly good at using downtime effectively, so keep your child busy!  Have an array of activities which are cued up so that you aren’t scrambling when your child starts to lose interest in a given activity.
  1. KEEP YOUR GOALS REALISTIC: Don’t see a snow day as a time when you’re finally going to get that closet cleaned or write the Great American Novel. Just keep the day simple! That way, you and your child can just relax and enjoy your day together.
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Topics: Autism, Family Supports

The 10 "Red Flags" Which May Indicate Autism in Infants and Toddlers

Posted by Dr. Carolyn T. Bruey on Nov 18, 2013 1:09:00 PM

AutismSolutions photo1 BoyAtWindowResearch continues to show that identification of Autism Spectrum Disorder early in life can result in a more positive prognosis and overall rate of progress. As a consequence, knowing the “early signs” which may indicate the presence of Autism Spectrum Disorder in infants and toddlers is crucial. Parents and pediatricians should therefore be on the lookout for the following behavioral characteristics:

  1. Absence of eye contact
  2. Only a fleeting interest in the human face
  3. Limited social smiling
  4. Preference for inanimate objects over other people
  5. Limited “babbling” which has a clear communicative purpose
  6. Not responding when his/her name is called
  7. Does not enjoy snuggling and other forms of human contact
  8. Does not point to communicate and/or does not follow others’ pointing gestures
  9. Unusual play activities such as lining up objects or being “obsessed” with certain items
  10. Insisting that odd rituals are performed in the same way over and over again


What should parents do if they suspect that their infant or toddler has autism?


Contact your pediatrician for a screening. Various screening checklists exist which have been distributed to pediatricians across the nation by agencies such as “Autism Speaks.”

If the screening implies a greater chance that your child has Autism Spectrum Disorder, have your child evaluated by a professional with extensive experience in the world of Autism Spectrum Disorders so that you can determine next steps to best support your child.

Fortunately, there are various early intervention services available for toddlers diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder, ranging from in-home therapeutic supports to intensive preschool classrooms. Many of these services are funded via state and federal monies, or via insurance, and therefore involve no or limited expense to parents. 

Download White Paper - What Does DSM-5 Mean for Children and Adults with Autism Spectrum Disorders?



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Topics: Autism, Signs of Autism, Autism Services

Autism Updates Blog

Today, educators and administrators are being asked to do so much more than “just teach.” Safety and security management is one of many new hats educators are asked to wear.   - See more at: http://www.iu13.org/administrators/administrative-and-management-services/hr/safety/#sthash.ibVUiczC.dpuf

IU13’s SafetySolutions4Schools (SS4S) can help. We are a resource for affordable and practical solutions which have been created “by educators for educators.” Let us help you navigate the challenging waters of safety and security in your school.

We offer a wide range of services ranging from All Hazards Plan design to general safety and security consulting to an ever-growing of variety of training in key areas for your staff.   

- See more at: http://www.iu13.org/administrators/administrative-and-management-services/hr/safety/#sthash.ibVUiczC.dpuf

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