Sunday, October 28, 2012

October Newsletter - Halloween Resources and Info on Transition to Adulthood

This month, we're finishing our series on autism and the trasition to adulthood. You'll also find some free Halloween stories and activities, as well as some new teaching materials!

Main Articles

Residential Options for Adults with Autism -

Organization Feature: Roses for Autism -

Autism Speaks Employment Issues Think Tank -

Organization Feature: Exceptional Minds, A Non-Profit Vocational Center and Animation Studio -

Autism in the Workplace -

A Great Website on Transition to Adulthood -

The Autism Society's Employment Work Group -

Books About Autism and Adulthood -

October Positive Autism News

New Teaching Materials and Downloads

Halloween Social Skill Stories, Songs, Videos, Activities, and More! -

Train Flashcard Activity Ideas -

Boxcar Sight Words -

Transition Countdown -


Would you like to learn how to use the research-proven strategies of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) in a natural and fun way that makes learning easy and enjoyable? Check out Positively Autism's next online training class. Classes are flexible, allowing you to access course activities at any time from any computer with an internet connection. Plus, you get individual support from Nicole Caldwell, M.Ed., founder of Positively Autism. Register early and save over 15%! More info:

Friday, October 26, 2012

October 2012 Positive Autism News

Teen with Autism Crowned Homecoming King at Michigan High School
October 4, 2012

Dreamworks Joins Tom Hanks, Ed Asner and Other Hollywood Visionaries in Support of Exceptional Minds, Working Studio For Young Adults on the Autism Spectrum
October 4, 2012

Kids with Autism Learn Through Dance Thanks to Brighton Ballet Theater
October 17, 2012

Girl with Autism Performs with Katy Perry
October 19, 2012

Boy with Autism Forms Bond with High School Foot Ball Player
October 19, 2012

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

New Download: Transition Countdown

A chart for visual learners that shows the passage of time until a transition takes place. Many times, it makes the transition between activities easier for students with autism if they know what activity will come next and when it is time to change activities.

Monday, October 22, 2012

New Free Download: Boxcar Sight Words

Sample image from the flashcards.

A fun train-theme online flash card set for practicing reading common sight words, such as "the," "and," "has," and "are." The flash cards can also be printed.

I've used this set of flash cards with students who love trains, and it kept them much more motivated to learn that flash cards with a plain background.

Get the flashcards free here:

Positively Autism has other train themed reading activities here:

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Autism Society's Employment Work Group

In July of this year, the Autism Society of America put together a group of professionals, self-advocates, educators, Autism Society chapter leaders, and others to meet and discuss issues relating to employment for adults with autism. This "Employment Working Group" has been working on finalizing a participant list for the 2012-2013 year. This group will work together to create a project related to employment issues for adults with autism, as well as gather information and research findings on the issue. There may be upcoming webinars or radio presentations from the group. More information, as well as how to submit your thoughts or ideas for the group, can be found on the Autism Society website:

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Great Website on Transition to Adulthood

James Williams manages a very helpful website with lots of links on transition to adulthood after the public school years. recommends...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Autism in the Workplace

Autism Speaks has put together a helpful page of employment resources with videos of companies that successfully employ adults with autism. Lots of great ideas!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Organization Feature: Exceptional Minds, A Non-Profit Vocational Center and Animation Studio

Organization Name: Exceptional Minds

Location: Sherman Oaks, CA

Programs: Exceptional Minds is a non-profit vocational center and working production studio for young adults on the autism spectrum. Chartered in 2011 to provide the training necessary for visually-gifted ASD individuals who may not otherwise be able to make the transition from high school to the working world, Exceptional Minds offers technical proficiency and work readiness skills that prepare students for careers in graphic arts, animation, web design, visual effects and rotoscoping. Located in Sherman Oaks, Calif., Exceptional Minds is both an instructional learning facility and a working studio with hands-on student involvement in production projects, many for the film industry. The school has worked on three films.


Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Autism Speaks Employment Issues Think Tank

This month, Autism Speaks released a report on autism employment issues from a Think Tank they conducted this year. I'm very pleased that adults with autism were included in the Think Tank, as well as service providers and business leaders (among others).

You can read the report, which includes info about job accommodations and the interview process, here:

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Organization Feature: Roses for Autism

Name of Organization: Roses for Autism

Location: Guilford, CT

Description (from the Roses for Autism website):
Roses for Autism was the inspiration of a father of a teen with autism. Like many parents of children with disabilities, Jim Lyman dreamt of a future where his son, Eli, would have a meaningful job and continued opportunities to grow as an individual.

Through his work in agriculture Jim knew that local farmers were struggling to find qualified workers to keep their businesses alive. He had the vision to see a perfect opportunity for an innovative program that would meet the needs of both the autism and agricultural communities.

Roses for Autism not only provides individuals on the autism spectrum the chance to learn the skills necessary to maintain meaningful employment, but also serves as a model that can be replicated nationwide to develop unique opportunities for them as a whole new competitive workforce.

Started in 2009, Roses for Autism is the first business endeavor for Growing Possibilities, a nonprofit social enterprise founded by Ability Beyond Disability that is dedicated to growing independence in the business world for individuals with Autism and other disabilities.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Residential Options for Adults with Autism

Continuing our series on services for adults with autism, here's an overview of residential options.

Some adults with autism may live at home with family or may live independently in their own home, but there are a variety of additional options that families can consider when looking at housing and residential options for their adult children with autism.

Supported Living: minimal levels of support services are provided to an individual who is able to live in an apartment or house. These services are provided by caregivers who work under the direction of the individual and customize support services to meet the individual’s needs.

Supervised, or Semi-Independent, Living: this option also provides services to an individual who lives in an apartment or house (either alone or with others). In this option, services are more direct and intensive, up to 24 hours a day, if necessary. Functional life skills such as cooking, shopping, and managing money can be taught or supported by staff.

Group Home Living: a residential model in which several, unrelated individuals with disabilities live together in a facility where staff are present 24 hours per day. Individuals may participate in community activities and instruction on independent living skills.

Group Living/Ownership (Co‐op): a model similar to a group home, with the exception that the home is owned by a group of families that form a cooperative agreement. Caregivers to staff the home are hired by the cooperative.

Farmstead Communities: provide residential services for a number of people in the context of a working farm.

Assisted Living Facilities/Intermediate Care Facilities (ICF): these facilities provide direct assistance with personal care and daily activities such as dressing and bathing. Some of these programs may also provide medication assistance. Nursing homes may provide support services to those with more significant medical needs or the elderly.

Developmental Centers: large residential facilities located on a campus‐like setting where residents have intensive needs related to their disabilities. Many states no longer run large developmental centers, or are looking at options for more community-based residential settings.

More information about these housing options, as well as funding options and ways to find residential facilities, please read the Autism Speaks Housing and Residential Supports ToolKit: .

More residential support information and resources are available here: