Autism, Aspergers, Rob Gorski,Special Needs Parenting, Reactive Attachment Disorder, Fibromyalgia,

Tag Archive: autistic children

Nov 04 2011

The art of speaking to a child with Autism


I thought I would take a minute and share some of the things I have learned along the way as far as speaking to a child with Autism.

When speaking to an Autistic child you need to keep something in mind. Autistic children typically see the world in black and white and don’t see the grey areas at all. This can making communicating to an Autistic child difficult at times.

It’s very important to learn and understand how to talk to an Autistic child because doing so incorrectly can lead to anxiety, and subsequently meltdowns. Autistic children are typically very literal minded. This means they will most likely take what you say at face value. You should avoid words  or phrases like maybe, sometimes, next time, not now or later on.

These words are open ended and can be subject to interpretation, which can, and will cause the child to experience needless anxiety. You will also likely have to contend with them asking ”if it’s time now” (or something to that effect) over and over again until they get what they are waiting for. This can also lead to meltdowns as the anxiety builds.

To avoid this you should use black and white words or phrases like yes, no, always or never.

These are not open ended words and therefore are not subject to interpretation.

You may know that telling an Autistic child that he or she will never be able to play video games (just for example) is a gross exaggeration (and maybe it’s not) but they will not be wondering, worrying or getting anxious about when they can.

It may seem cruel or heartless to say something like that when you know it may not be the case long term, however, it’s not. It’s more of a necessary evil, if you will. What you are doing is saving that child from constantly worrying about when the next time he or she can play video games again (again, as an example). This will also help to avoid anxiety based behavioural issues like, meltdowns.

Something else to keep in mind is that you should never, ever, ever, ever  promise a child with Autism something without fully intending to deliver on that promise. While this holds true for any child, it has a more devastating effect on children with Autism. In fact, I make it a practice to never say anything that I don’t know to be a certainty. In my experience, children on the Autism Spectrum, tend to generalize things. If you promise something and then fail to deliver, no matter how well intentioned you may be, the child can and will likely experience distress. They may also generalize the situation and simply start assuming that this will happen every time something is promised, and you don’t want that.

This is just one of the many challenges facing the special needs parent when it comes to raising an Autistic child. Keep these things in mind if you are going to speak to an Autistic child as you may not be there to experience the fallout from a poorly worded but well intentioned conversation.

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Sep 02 2011

Autism, Wandering and SafetyNet


With all the things in the news lately about Autistic children wandering away, I though it was very important to get this message out. I have been talking with Jeremy Warnick, Corporate Communications Manger at Lojack SafetyNet. I truly believe in addressing this problem this is a great way to do it. As you know, I don’t often open my blog to outside posters but this is something I think we all need to take VERY seriously. I appreciate the oppurtunity to work with Lojack SafetyNet to help spread this very important message.

Please share this post so we can get the word out. Lojack SafetyNet is giving away 1,500 devices and 6 months of free service. This is a pretty big deal.


Kathy Kelleher, LoJack SafetyNet 

With back to school time upon us, the routine many families have established over the past couple of months is likely going to change.   And for children with autism, sometimes it’s changes like this that may elicit anxiety and stress resulting in the child bolting or wandering.

No parent wakes up thinking, “today is the day my child is going to wander and become lost.”  September is National Preparedness Month.  So why not take the time now to prepare for the unexpected?  We’ve put together some ideas that can get you started.  Please feel free to leave your own ideas in the comments section.

A great place to start is the AWAARE Collaboration at  AWAARE stands for Autism Wandering Awareness Alerts Response Education.  It’s there where you can find the Family Wandering Emergency Plan ( ).  It’s a two page form you should keep in a location that is handy in the event of a wandering or emergency.  Remember, if you notice your child is missing, call 911 immediately.  It seems obvious, but some may think, “oh, I’ll go find him upstairs or in the basement or at my neighbor’s house.”  Meanwhile you’ve had no luck and more time has passed.  Public safety departments would rather be en route to the last place your child was seen and then called back saying he has been found, rather than be called 30 minutes or later after you noticed he was missing.  Every moment counts in this type of situation.

The Family Wandering Emergency Plan goes through the steps of what to say when you call 911.  This is especially a good idea when the person calling may be panic-stricken or nervous.  The Emergency Plan also lists critical information about your child and his diagnosis.

Something else to consider – creating an emergency contact point person who can contact neighbors and make arrangements for your other children and pets, while you are assisting the public safety officials in their search and rescue efforts.

Our SafetyNet website ( has great resources as well.  Wandering resources such as Neighbor and First Responder Forms are available.  The neighbor forms should be filled out in advance of any emergency and shared with your neighbors to provide them with current information, even a photo, about your loved one so that they can help you if/when the time arises.  And the First Responder Forms provides information about your loved one for the authorities in your town to keep on file.

There is also a tip sheet – 10 Ways to Help Protect Your Child from the Dangers of Wandering.  I’m sure you are already practicing many of these, but perhaps there is something there you haven’t thought of yet?

At SafetyNet, we do recommend that you consider a personal tracking device.  Do your homework.  There are many different products on the market now.  Research them and find which one is best for your situation.  What I can tell you about the SafetyNet Service is that it is ideal for people at risk of wandering because it uses Radio Frequency (RF) technology, which has strong signals that can penetrate many physical obstructions.  With an RF device, your child can be found in places that a GPS or cellular device cannot reach, such as a wooded area or concrete building.  Think of the weather conditions where you live.  If your child wandered during the winter, and ended up taking shelter in a building or garage down the street, that signal would still get picked up the law enforcement officers specifically trained to find it.

Now would be the perfect time to try the SafetyNet Service!  Recently, they announced the launch of the “SafetyNet Race to Keep Safe” program, in which 1,500 caregivers and/or families will receive free SafetyNet personal tracking devices for six months!  “Race to Keep Safe” runs today through September 30th (or while supplies last).  Please visit or call 1-877-434-6384 about this wonderful opportunity.  You can also find us on Facebook at and Twitter at

Thanks for your time and best of luck with any transitions that you may be involved with this fall.

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Aug 16 2011

Lost and Tired has a big announcement



I’m very passionate about advocating for special needs children and families, in particular those touched by Autism. For a very long time now I have wanted to be able to help other families going through challenging times. I know what it’s like to be overwhelmed and well…..Lost and Tired. You may also be aware of my work with Android powered smartphones.

I have turned my interest in Android and my passion for helping others into a campaign I call, Android4Autism. Basically, I take donated Android based devices (smartphones mostly) and design a custom ROM or operating system for the device itself. These ROM’s are built from the ground up completely customized for kids. ALL extraneous apps have been removed and only educational apps are present. There is nothing to make navigating these devices confusing or difficult. Your child can’t accidentally access apps that aren’t meant for them to access.

Speaking of apps, here is an excerpt from an earlier announcement pertaining to the included applications.

 ”Today, I had the pleasure of speaking with Alex Turetsky, Director of Business Development at Intellijoy. Intellijoy is the #1 creator of educational apps on the Android Market. In fact today they released their newest app, Kids Shapes. If you remember the video I posted recently, featuring Emmett using his Android4Autism device, he was using Kids Shape Puzzle by Intellijoy. For those of following my family’s story, you know just how big a deal it is for Emmett to be able to do what he did in that video. Since using these apps he has learned dozens of new words that he didn’t know prior. He loves his Android4Autism device, he carries it with him EVERYWHERE and calls it his “puzzles”. Tonight, I so very pleased to announce that Intellijoy will be donating FULL versions of ALL their children’s apps to Android4Autism to be distributed on all the devices that we will be putting into the hands of Autistic children from around the US. I’m very excited about this because I truly believe this WILL make a difference in the lives of many Autistic children and their families. I don’t make it a habit of promoting companies on this blog because that’s not the purpose of Lost and Tired. However, Intellijoy is a company that is working to help our children learn through engaging and entertaining apps. My children benefit from the use of these applications and I know many more could as well. As special needs parents and members of the Autism community we should support companies like, Intellijoy, as they are providing low cost software that can turn your Android powered smartphone into a learning tool for your child.”

That about sums up the apps. I have some support for this campaign, however, I have also met a few snags as well. Despite the snags, I’m moving forward with this campaign. In order to do this right I have been working with my attorney to set up a 501c3 charity corporation. I feel that this is the best approach. Herein lies the snag. With everything that has happened to our van and the unexpected expenses associated with Gavin’s health, I have hit some delays. My priorities have had to shift to managing new challenges at home and basically don’t have the money to finish getting this charity off the ground.

That said, we are only delayed. I fully intend to finish this as things in our life improve. I haven’t said anything about this until now because I didn’t want to speak about this before I had some things figured out.

I have been thinking and I have decided that just because the 501c3 charity corporation is delayed doesn’t mean I can’t still reach out to some families and offer help. The only difference is that it will be on a much smaller scale for now. So with that said, here is what I’m going to do.

As I start to receive donated Android devices in, I will be getting them set up and identifying a family that would benefit from one of these devices. After a family has been identified, the device will be donated, free of charge to this family. It’s important to note that the number of devices will be extremely limited as my supply is going to be very limited as well, at least initially. . One of the reasons for setting up the 501c3 charity is so people can receive a tax break for their donation. Since the charity is not finished yet, people may be more reluctant to donate a device.

I have a very good reputation in the Android community and I have people willing to donate devices. I was holding off on receiving such devices because I wanted all my ducks in a row and be able to provide a tax benefit for the donation. However, if people are willing to donate without the added tax benefit then I can get things started now, just on a smaller scale.

Below is a brief demo of an Android4Autism device I currently have ready for donation. Please excuse the video quality. I had to hide in a room upstairs to make the video. This is not easy to do in my house. :-)

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I will be making additional announcements as needed going forward. I don’t know how this is going to go but I at least want to try to help. I want my kids to learn the importance of helping others and I truly want people to be able to experience the benefit their kids can have using one of these devices. Money should not stand in the way of providing your child with a tool to help them learn and navigate their environment.

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Jul 09 2011

Autism and self-care


I have been working with Gavin for a while on personal hygiene and other self-care type things. With Autistic children this isn’t always an easy task. This has been true for Gavin as well. I always have to remind him to wipe his face after eating or brushing his teeth.

Well out of no where today Gavin tells me he wants to go upstairs and brush his hair. I asked him if I can take before and after pics and post them. He was quite happy to have his face plastered on the site for all to see.

He was so funny cause he went upstairs and was gone for a bit. He came down and was quite proud of himself. I just had to smile because he has a buzz cut so there really isn’t anything to brush or comb. That said, a big, giant, huge, +1 for taking the initiative to do this on his own this in the first place. As humorous as this is, it’s actually a pretty big deal and I’m hella proud of him. Hopefully this trend will continue and he will adopt more of these habits.

I thought you may enjoy the before and after shots. Progress is progress…right? Great job Gavin, your lookin’ pretty good my man. ;-)



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Jul 02 2011

Autism and Personal Hygiene


Do your ASD children struggle with personal hygiene? I think that it’s pretty typical for Autistic children to need some help in the hygiene department. I know that Gavin does, especially when it comes to his face. He will get up from eating walk around with food all over his face like shrapnel from an exploded bomb. I have been encouraging him to take some time out of his day to look in the mirror, especially after eating to make sure his face is clean. As he gets older it becomes more and more important for him to do some of these things on his own.

He does the same thing when brushing his teeth. He literally gets tooth paste all over his face and just walks around like it’s not there. Sometimes it’s so bad it looks like he has rabies or something. One of the things we have to do is teach him to pay just a bit more attention to his appearance, while appearance is NOT everything, it does unfortunately, send a message. I want to instill these skills in him so when things like shaving arrive, we are already moving in the direction of independent personal hygiene.

Maybe this seems unreasonable to some but if he’s going to be independent and have a job, he needs to be able to address his basic hygiene on his own. We want all our children to reach their potential and be as happy and productive a member of society as possible. So it’s important that we work on the basics now so that they learn to do some of these things on their own without always having to be reminded. There’s nothing wrong with taking some pride in their appearance as long as they understand that appearances aren’t everything and that’s where one of the challenges reside. Most ASD kids see the world in black and white and so they tend to take things to one extreme or the other, at least that’s my experience. We need to show then that the world is made up of a rainbow of colors and help them to find a middle ground on things.  Not an easy task….but that’s why we are the special needs parents and not someone else. We can handle this..right? At least that’s what I keep telling myself.

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Jun 30 2011

Autism: The communication barrier


One of the biggest issues I face as a special needs parent to 3 Autistic children is communication barriers. In this post I once again focus on Gavin as our experience with him at ACH yesterday inspired this post.

We were at ACH the other morning and when Gavin was being asked questions about his stomach pain and chest pain by his GI doc. He couldn’t answer in any way that was relevant as his answers generally weren’t even on topic. When asked if he poops everyday he didn’t know the answer.
We explained to Gavin that there are no right or wrong answers and he is not in trouble. Regardless, he struggles to answer the most basic of questions.

The doctors then look to Lizze and I for answers we don’t have because we are in the same boat they are.
This is extremely frustrating and I would guess, relatively common amongst spectrum kids. I makes basic health care very difficult to manage because we get little if any reliable information or feedback from him.

I don’t know what really gets in the way of him answering these questions. Maybe he feels he would be guessing and he doesn’t want to guess? I honestly, have no idea why he can’t provide feedback even in the form of yes or no. If I ask him “did you poop today?” he will say something like “I’m not sure”. Sigh

Do any of you face similar issues with your child? If so, how do you manage? I would love to hear from you all on this…

– Lost and Tired

Post by WordPress for Android via Nexus S 4G with out the use of proper editing tools and auto-correct.

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Jun 28 2011

10 Things my Autistic kids have taught me.


I was reflecting the other day on all I have learned from my children as a special needs father over the years.


My Autistic children have taught me:

1) True, complete unconditional love exists.

2) How to be patient in the most challenging and frustrating of situations.

3) To ALWAYS keep trying and NEVER give up.

4) I should ALWAYS appreciate the “little” things.

5) NEVER take ANYTHING for granted.

6) To be a better person and more “in tune” with my surroundings.

7) How truly meaningful a hug or kiss can be.

8 ) How to overcome seemingly, insurmountable odds.

9) ALWAYS stand up for what is right, even if I’m the only one.



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