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Ode to Grief     Wednesday, March 16, 2016 - 22:13

Ode to Grief: 

    All people have, to a variable degree, a biological drive to seek out, form, and maintain close relationships. We become attached to others and these attachments can provide a “safe haven” of support and reassurance under stress. The confidence that we have in our attachments fosters our autonomy and confidence with exploration. Losing someone we are attached to leads to grief, a natural process that is both profoundly difficult and adaptive. Grief can take many shapes. Some people experience intense negative emotions, others (temporarily) lose their ability to feel or connect with any emotions at all. For many Autistic people, grief can manifest as difficulties with processing information (heightened sensory sensitivities; worsening memory, attention, planning, or organizing) and a related regression of previously attained skills (speech, language, social). For many people, the loss can disrupt their sense of “safe haven,” leading to a sense of disbelief and difficulties re-engaging with the rest of the world. The gradual acceptance of the loss and the rebuilding supports/autonomy are also a part of grief, although they are less often talked about. 

   Much has been written on the topic of grief over the years. I would like to share with you a particularly eloquent and poignant essay that I came across a while back. The metaphor used in the essay is something that many people can intuitively connect with, which makes the message even more powerful. 


Alright, here goes. I'm old. What that means is that I've survived (so far) and a lot of people I've known and loved did not. I've lost friends, best friends, acquaintances, co-workers...

Checklist for problem-solving disruptive, aggressive, or self-injurious behaviors.     Thursday, February 4, 2016 - 21:15

Checklist for problem-solving disruptive, aggressive, or self-injurious behaviors:

1. Remember:

  1. Disruptive behaviors are frequently driven by stress/distress.
  2. Depression, grief, or anxiety may be expressed as anger or irritability. In these cases, the primary treatment target should be mood/anxiety.
  3. Pain or physical illness can also lead to disruptive behaviors and should be ruled out and/or treated as necessary.

2. Ensure that they are not being abused, bullied, or subject to excessive punishments.

3. Ensure that they are not inadvertently being/feeling punished.

  • Some are very sensitive to tone and the types of discussions that take place around them. They may feel like they are the target of reprimands even when these are not directed at them. E.g. a teacher sternly talking to the whole class after an infraction in the rules, or sternly reprimanding a student near to them.
  • Some are very sensitive to volume, especially when anxious/upset. They may perceive normal speaking volume as yelling during emotionally charged incidents.

4. Are their sensory needs being met? Is something wrong in their sensory environment?

  • Is the environment too loud, too bright, chaotic, claustrophobic, or...
Whole body understanding     Thursday, December 24, 2015 - 23:25

If you've been in a special education classroom, you've probably seen some version of the poster for “Whole Body Listening”. Unfortunately, the concepts in whole body listening have been misunderstood and morphed by some teachers/therapists into rigid rules. I made my own poster to illustrate a more inclusive approach to classroom management. 




*** Work in progress***

Behavior is Communication     Sunday, December 20, 2015 - 21:46

Under construction . .

Hyperfocus     Sunday, December 20, 2015 - 15:44

Under construction!