Monday, November 25, 2013

Positively Autism November 2013 Newsletter

Main Articles:

November/December Newsletter Topic: Employment for Adults with Autism -

Training Program Helps Students With Autism Land Jobs -

Digital Imaging Leads to Job for Arizona Man with Autism -

TSA May Have the Perfect Job for Autistic Workers -

Off to Work for Individuals with Autism: A Supported Employment Approach -

Asperger's on the Job: Must-have Advice for People with Asperger's or High Functioning Autism, and their Employers, Educators, and Advocates -

"What Can You Do?" Employment PSA -

Free Downloads:

Star Wars Alphabet List -

Thanksgiving Social Stories (Customizable), Activities, and Resources -

Christmas Social Stories and Activities -
  • "Visiting Family at Christmas" Social Skill Article
  • "Visiting Family at Christmas" Social Skill Story
  • "Going to Visit Santa" Social Skill Story
  • "Getting Presents at Christmas" Social Skill Story
  • Christmas Tree Token Economy
  • Christmas Song Visual Support (Pictures and Lyrics)


November's Positive News Stories About People With Autism -

November's Positive News Stories About People With Autism

Man with Autism Launches ePetition on Autism Employment
November 21, 2013

Anna Kennedy OBE Talks About Her Autism’s Got Talent Roadshow
November 19, 2013

Nonverbal Autistic Boy Sings Inspiring Rendition of Katy Perry’s “Roar”
November 16, 2013

Autistic Twin Runners Make Strides at 2013 New York City Marathon
November 3, 2013

Friday, November 22, 2013

Thanksgiving Social Stories and Resources from Positively Autism

Check out Positively Autism's collection of free Thanksgiving resources, including:
  • Thanksgiving Vocabulary Cards
  • Customizable Thanksgiving Social Story
  • Songs/Videos
  • Visual Supports for choosing foods at Thanksgiving and saying what you are Thankful for
  • GFCF Thanksgiving recipes, and more!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

New Free Download: Star Wars Alphabet

Recently, I was doing an uppercase and lowercase letter matching activity with my son. He was having much more fun when I started using his interests by saying a Star Wars character or place with each letter we matched (A is for Anakin, G is for Geonosis, and so on). So, I made a list of Star Wars characters, places, and things for each letter of the alphabet, just for reference for learning activities. Just thought I'd pass it along for those of you who have Star Wars fans!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Asperger's on the Job: Must-have Advice for People with Asperger's or High Functioning Autism, and their Employers, Educators, and Advocates

By: Rudy Simone

Book Description: Rudy Simone, an adult with Asperger's Syndrome and an accomplished author, consultant, and musician, created this insightful resource to help employers, educators, and therapists accommodate this growing population, and to help people with Asperger’s find and keep gainful employment.

Rudy's candid advice is based on her personal experiences and the experiences of over 50 adults with Asperger's from all over the world, in addition to their employers and numerous experts in the field.
Detailed lists of "what the employee can do" and "to employers and advocates" provide balanced guidelines for success, while Rudy's "Interview Tips" and "Personal Job Map" tools will help Aspergians, young or old, find their employment niche.
There is more to a job than what the tasks are. From social blunders, to sensory issues, to bullying by coworkers, Simone presents solutions to difficult challenges. Readers will be enriched, enlightened, and ready to work—together!


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Off to Work for Individuals with Autism: A Supported Employment Approach

One approach that has enhanced employment success for people with disabilities is supported employment. The concept is founded on the belief that all people, regardless of the severity of their disability, can work in real jobs for real pay...Supported employment involves identifying and facilitating, or designing and implementing, job supports specifically geared toward assisting people with the most severe disabilities gain and maintain employment.

Read more:

Monday, November 11, 2013

TSA May Have the Perfect Job for Autistic Workers

A study published this year by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh and the University of Minnesota found that high-functioning autistic men were just as accurate and almost as fast as non-autistic people in finding weapons in X-ray images of baggage [at airport security baggage screening].

More important, their performance improved as time went on, particularly in correctly identifying bags that had no weapons.

Senior author Marlene Behrmann, a psychology professor at Carnegie Mellon, said "we were able to demonstrate statistically that the individuals with autism stayed more true to the task compared with people who became distracted more easily."

The study is part of a growing push to find jobs that autistic people may actually perform better than so-called neurotypical individuals.

Read more:

Friday, November 8, 2013

November Webinar to Focus on Teacher Training

I heard about this webinar on Valerie's List. Check it out!

November Webinar to Focus on Teacher Training
In partnership with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction, OAR invites interested teachers, educational administrators, parents, and community members from across the country to participate in a two-part webinar series on strategies for supporting students with autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Each multimedia presentation will feature footage from OAR's Understanding Autism: A Guide for Secondary School Teachers DVD, question-and-answer sessions with a panel of Wisconsin teachers, and guidance from special education consultant Daniel Parker on how to apply evidence-based information in the classroom setting.

Thursday, November 21 (3:30pm - 5:30pm CST)
The next webinar will focus on specific strategies that teachers can implement to promote success for their students with ASD, such as priming, academic modifications, visual supports, and reinforcement. It will also help participants become familiar with the Individualized Education Program (IEP) and steps to building effective partnerships with special educators and paraprofessionals. Click here to register for free today!

Space is limited to 500 participants for each, so be sure to register today! For those unable to participate, both webinars will be recorded and available as Windows media files (with links from the OAR Web site) beginning one week after the live event. If you have questions or would like more information, please contact Ben Kaufman, director, programs and community outreach, at 703-243-9762 or


Digital Imaging Leads to Job for Arizona Man with Autism

When Caren Gomez read an article in the Autism Advocate about a digital imaging program in Minnesota that is providing stable work for people with developmental disabilities, she knew it was the answer to her son Nick’s quest for a steady, decent-paying job.

Read more:

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Training Program Helps Students With Autism Land Jobs

New research suggests schools should build on these students' strengths...

Schools are typically tasked with ferreting out what students can't do and teaching them how to do it.

But for students with autism, perhaps the focus should be on what they can do.

Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University recently published the first study of its kind to demonstrate that the strengths of youths with autism can be parlayed into gainful employment given the right educational program.

Read more:

Monday, November 4, 2013

Small Business Town Hall Held in Texas

From Autism Speaks. See pictures of the event and find out more about this initiative here:

On Monday evening, Autism Speaks held its fifth Small Business Town Hall meeting, hosted by the University of North Texas (UNT) Kristin Farmer Autism Center in Denton, Texas. Due to the tremendous need for appropriate employment opportunities for adults with autism, and benefitting from close collaboration with the University and its Department of Disability and Addiction Rehabilitation, UNT hosted the largest Town Hall meeting of the series. More than 120 attendees packed the room (standing room only!) including adults with autism and their families, small business owners, employment service providers and academics.

The evening featured a panel of three speakers who shared stories of their success as the owners of small businesses that employ individuals with autism. Members of the audience engaged in a dynamic Q&A discussion with the panelists, asking questions about how their businesses got started, what their operating costs are, and what obstacles they have faced along the way. Other small businesses also exhibited materials and products to the Town Hall participants on tables around the room.
The three small businesses that were featured on the panel at this Town Hall meeting were:
All of the presentations were inspirational. Joe Steffy, a young man with Down Syndrome and autism spectrum disorder, gave a presentation which brought the crowd to its feet. Using a Dynavox, pictures and a video, Joe told the the story of a young boy whose future had been predicted by the professionals to be at best, unpromising. That young boy, Joe himself, is now a business owner of Poppin Joe’s Kettle Korn, a self-sustaining micro-enterprise that employs others with and without disabilities as well. At the end of the presentation, Joe provided all of the attendees delicious samples of Kettle Korn.

Among the organizations represented at the event, DARS (vocational rehab in Texas) showed the genuine commitment of Texas to employ people on the spectrum.

“This was a wonderful opportunity for Autism Speaks to collaborate with national and local partners and really SHOW families what we do,” said Pat Robbins, local Autism Speaks director. “It was rewarding to see how motivated the families were after hearing from these three amazing businesses!”

Autism Speaks looks forward to hosting four subsequent Small Business Town Halls this Fall, including one in Evanston, Ill., on Wednesday, Oct. 23! Please click here to find out if we are visiting a city near you.

These Small Business Town Halls are part of an Autism Speaks initiative, “Advancing the Role and Impact of Small Businesses in Employing Adults with Autism,” funded by a generous grant from the Ireland Family Foundation.

Friday, November 1, 2013

November/December Newsletter Topic: Employment for Adults with Autism

October was "National Disability Employment Awareness Month," so Positively Autism will be bringing you all of the new resources and information we gathered last month. We'll be providing resources to help your children/students with autism with transition and employment.

Check our blog, Facebook, and Twitter pages this month for these topics and more!