Articles

life skills

“Ask Cathy” Column: December 2016

“Ask Cathy… An Open Dialogue with a Mother and Special Needs Architect”
Q: Can you tell me how old your son was when you started thinking about his adulthood?

A: Yes, he was about eight. As the regular education school work became more and more difficult for my son, I stopped worrying about his ability to add three-digit numbers and became focused on the development of life skills. When my son was in middle school and his teachers sent homework home, I did not “do” my son’s work for him. I wanted his team to understand how difficult and, at times, ridiculous the work was. I set a timer and left him to try to complete the work. He rarely got past the first question.

My son is gifted in many ways but the work ….

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life skills

“Ask Cathy” Column: October 2016

“Ask Cathy… An Open Dialogue with a Mother and Special Needs Architect”
Q: What safety precautions can you implement to help with elopement?

A: I recognize that this is an incredibly difficult behavior. One of the simplest strategies to begin with is to situate your child closest to your bedroom. In my home, my son on the spectrum was located directly above our master bedroom intentionally so that we could hear his footsteps. The stair is also directly in front of our bedroom door. Thus, he must pass our room to get out. If building from scratch, these are easier strategies to implement. However, in existing homes, apply the same strategies even if the rooms are on the same floor. As my child got older, some of his behaviors dissipated. So, while you may ….

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The Cost of Independence

The need for residential housing options for adults on the spectrum is tremendous―and the price tags can be stunning…

I am the mother of a child on the autism spectrum. I am also the sibling of a brother with Down syndrome. My son on the spectrum is currently 24 years old. As the principle of an architectural firm, I have spent my last decade serving special needs environments through my Purposeful Architecture studio of Purple Cherry Architects. For the past 20+ years, I have been a staunch advocate for programs for my son and for the children of others. I reside in the state of Maryland, and I serve on the National Autism Society Board. I have had the great opportunity to visit many residential programs across the country as well ….

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outcomes

Space Matters: Learning Outcomes Begin with the Right Room

Colors, patterns and material selections impact outcomes and require critical consideration in designing spaces for children and adults with special needs. Whether in formal school settings or in our homes, the right teaching environment is vital to creating a successful space to nurture our child’s learning. There are several strategies we as parents, teachers, or school administrators can employ to ensure we are creating learning environments that encourage independence, foster creativity and support life and vocational skills.

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Four Stages of Raising Autism

Raising Autism™, the topic of a forthcoming book by certified autism specialist Cathy Purple Cherry, discusses how the autism experience has the potential to be transformative through the evolution, development, growth and ultimate empowerment of the entire family unit.

Autism is a family affair. As parents, we do not raise a child on the autism spectrum―we raise a family impacted by the joys and challenges of autism. The effects of autism are far-reaching, extending well beyond one individual diagnosis.

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