Autism, ADHD & Passion can turn into one’s future job!

I’ve worked with people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and ADHD for a long time and often as health care professionals and parents we tend to focus on the “Disability” part of a person’s diagnosis. As I’ve spent time speaking across Quebec about Autism and other invisible disabilities, I’ve been fortunate to get to meet a ton of fantastic parents who have shared their stories with me and how they focus on the “abilities” of their children.

Many people with ASD have extraordinary strengths that sometimes are hidden by some of their sensory behaviors. Many looking in from the outside at these behaviors don’t see the strengths!

One of my most inspiring stories is from a colleague and mom with a child with autism. Her child would often spend hours drawing and creating artwork. She supported him wholeheartedly and encouraged him to continue that passion. He later turned that talent into digital design and last year was offered summer work for a company working in his town.

This next link is to Benjamin Talbot a 16-year-old artist with ASD. Check him out and the art work he is doing. Once again, this is an example of turning strengths into life work!

Benjamin’s message is as follows:

“Please, don’t be afraid of people who are autistic, we are only different. Anyway, everyone is different in some way. I have dreams and I want to realize them.”

I believe this is true for many disabilities, including ADHD. Many people with ADHD have incredible talents. Many people don’t know and understand that ADHD doesn’t mean you can’t pay attention, in fact, people with ADHD often have an ability to hyper-fixate on a task they are doing-especially if they are passionate about it. I’ve watched my husband who has ADHD when he is coding and designing a website. He can focus for hours and produce beautiful work.

I am inspired by the stories people share with me about focusing on one’s strengths! I encourage all of you to be the person that helps foster a child’s strengths and turn them into passions no matter what their “Disability” is!

Swinging Upside Down – Episode 1

I’m really excited to launch the first episode of my podcast The Cynthia Miller-Lautman Show Swinging Upside Down. On this show, I’ll be looking at issues relating to invisible disabilities and sensory regulation as well as other related topics.

I hope you enjoy it!

Dyslexia Font Unveiled-Experience what Dyslexia feels like

For many with dyslexia, reading is a chore. There are a lot of misconceptions about dyslexia, especially when it presents in a mild form. Often in milder forms, dyslexic people can read but it takes an enormous amount of concentration. This in turns exhausts their brains and they end up tired and unable to focus on the content of what they are reading.

Experience what a dyslexic person feels like when reading

Now imagine a child who has trouble reading. Often by grade 2, They spend the day in school expected to read to accomplish their work. When dyslexia is not diagnosed or treated properly, the child is often labeled as “lazy” or “not trying” or “not working to potential”. If the dyslexia is not addressed, these children will often end up with behaviours. Sitting trying to read when reading feels like the experience I talked about above feels like torture to their brains. So, the child will often end up doing anything to avoid this.

It is important to always get a child’s vision checked first to rule out the need for glasses. If you are still concerned, or their teacher has brought this up to you, I highly recommend having your child evaluated by a professional. Depending on where you live, neuropsychologists, psychologists and speech & language therapists do this testing. Often it is part of a bigger battery of testing to ensure they are getting a full picture of your child.

At dyslexiafont.com a new font to help minimize dyslexia is shown and explained in detail. The font is now available for Kobo users too! This is one of the wonderful ways technology is helping change the lives of people with disabilities!

Writing by hand helps memory!

Since the day I started practicing Occupational Therapy 20 years ago…I’ve always seen how writing by hand helps boost memory! Check out this article to see how writing notes by hand is still very beneficial to students!

In the Study Skills Workshop I give, I teach students how to take notes by hand and boost their memory of the subject. By using more than one sensory system when we study, we have much better retention. Furthermore, the bigger surface we write on, the better we remember! This is why I often suggest to parents to paint their child’s bedroom door with whiteboard paint or chalkboard paint. This way they can write out those history dates in a big timeline! The big surface provides a big picture (visual sense), a big movement (touch sense)…so the student is not just relying on their auditory sense by saying the dates out loud.

How to (Explain)ADHD

So often, people misunderstand ADHD and judge the behaviour of those with the disorder. Yes, according to CADDRA, ADHD is a disorder and needs to be acknowledged as one! Watch this fun video by a young adult with ADHD and how she describes what it is like!

Often I hear educators and other people say “They don’t look like they have ADHD”….well it might be that you just don’t understand truly what ADHD is! According to the CDC parent survey, almost 10% of children in the United States are diagnosed with ADHD. CADDRA estimates that this number was between 5-9% in Canada in 2018.

Sensory Friendly Shopping

Creating sensory-safe places could have beneficial effects for our whole society. Often, when we shop we don’t even realize how the lights, the fridges, and the people put an extra stress on our sensory systems.  In particular our visual and hearing systems may be stressed by the harsh lights and constant noise.
Check out what this Ottawa grocery store did for its customers! Even those without autism felt the experience was better.

https://www.google.ca/amp/s/beta.ctvnews.ca/local/ottawa/2019/2/11/1_4292517.html