Positively Autism

Celebrating Individuals with Autism!
Volume 1, Issue 1 ~ December, 2006

This issue contains...

Welcome to the premier issue!

A "Blizzard" of Autism Awareness

Current Autism Research

Busy Bee Book Review -
Holiday Gift Guide

“Welcome to Holland”

Products of the Month

New Resources on Positively Autism

Thank You/Future Issue Contents

Welcome to the premier issue of Positively Autism!

As a special education teacher, I have been fortunate to have the opportunity to teach many students with autism. During the course of my career, and my graduate studies in autism, I have encountered so many articles, books, and news reports that portray autism in a very negative light. Having seen the unique personalities, sheer determination, and of course, great potential in my students, I wanted to create a resource that focused on the positive: students with autism making achievements, going to college, finding careers, experiencing success in school, etc.

Rudolf Dreikurs said, "Whoever alters a person's expectations changes his behavior." I believe that if we don't expect that individuals with autism can learn, have careers, or be successful in life, we are setting them up for failure. Temple Grandin, a college professor and author with autism, shares in her book, Developing Talents: Careers for Individuals with Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism, that we "sometimes focus on the deficits in students' lives, and not their abilities. This is a major mistake. Instead, [we] must focus on helping students build on their strengths and work toward goals that will help them become successful."

The focus of our website and eMagazine will be the strengths, gifts, abilities, and accomplishments of individuals with autism, as well as practical tips, strategies and resources. We invite you to share in the exciting challenges, joys, and unique experiences of the world of autism. Thank you for visiting Positively Autism and I hope you enjoy our first issue! Have a wonderful day and a joyful holiday season!


Nicole Caldwell
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A Blizzard of Autism Awareness

Autism Awareness Snowflakes
These snowflakes were made on the website for the 2006 Salvation Army Holiday Flake-a-thon. To make your own snowflakes with an awareness message (and e-mail them to family, friends, or colleagues), please visit:

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Current Autism Research

About the "Current Autism Research" feature:

"Current Autism Research" lists articles about autism that have been recently published. To read these articles, subscriptions to the journals in which they are published can be purchased. However, this can become expensive, and another way to obtain these articles is through local college and university libraries. Many of these libraries contain a section entitled, "Periodicals," or something similar, and the journals may be found there in alphabetical order. Often, copies can be made, or you can simply read the journal at the library and take notes. This is a great way for parents, teachers, families, and others to stay current on trends in autism research, and may help you discover new strategies for home, school, or community goals.

Here, in issues of “Positively Autism,” you will find lists of current research about autism published in the journals listed below. It saves you the time that would be spent searching through all of the publications, and allows you to focus on putting the research to work for you, your children, or your students!

Selected Journals:
  • Teaching Exceptional Children
  • Exceptional Children
  • Journal of Early Intervention
  • Young Exceptional Children
  • Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities
  • Journal of Applied Behavior Analysis

Note: A listing of research here does not imply an endorsement of the methods or procedures by Positively Autism. Please thoroughly research any program or method that you are considering, obtaining any necessary help from professionals familiar with your situation.

Current Autism Research (Published since the publication of Positively Autism's Sample Issue - Fall 2006):

Title: "Using Video to Teach Social Skills to Secondary Students With Autism"
Author(s): Lynn D. Parsons
Journal: Teaching Exceptional Children
Issue: November/December 2006 (Volume 39, Issue 2)

Title: "Photovoice: Engaging Children With Autism and Their Teachers"
Author(s): Christi R. Carnahan
Journal: Teaching Exceptional Children
Issue: November/December 2006 (Volume 39, Issue 2)

Title: "Connecting With Families: Parents Speak Up About Preschool Services for Their Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders"
Author(s): Shannon K. Stuart, Laura D. Flis, and Claudia Rinaldi
Journal: Teaching Exceptional Children
Issue: September/October 2006 (Volume 39, Issue 1)

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Busy Bee Book Review - Quick, Important Highlights of Books about Autism

In place of a traditional book review, this month I will feature some of my favorite books that celebrate individuals with autism for gift-giving this holiday season. Some of these, as well as new titles, will be featured individually in future book reviews.

Didn't find what you're looking for? Check the following sources:

Find great books, videos, and conferences now at Future Horizons

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“Welcome To Holland”

by Emily Perl Kingsley
c1987 by Emily Perl Kingsley. All rights reserved.

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability - to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It's like this......

When you're going to have a baby, it's like planning a fabulous vacation trip - to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It's all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, "Welcome to Holland."

"Holland?!?" you say. "What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I'm supposed to be in Italy. All my life I've dreamed of going to Italy."

But there's been a change in the flight plan. They've landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven't taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It's just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It's just a different place. It's slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you've been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around.... and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills....and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy... and they're all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say "Yes, that's where I was supposed to go. That's what I had planned."

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away... because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss.

But... if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn't get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things ... about Holland.

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Products of the Month

Product of the Month
Each product features a puzzle piece tree and an awareness message. A great way to raise awareness!

Visit Positively Autism's Autism Awareness Shop for these and other great gift ideas!

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New Resources on Positively Autism

New, free resources this month are lined handwriting practice sheets. This series of sheets features papers with lines of decreasing thickness, as well as a gradual fading of the dotted middle line. The above is a sample of the handwriting sheets.

For beginning writers, the practice sheets can be used in a sequential order as the student's writing skills develop. For more independent writers, you can select the practice sheet with which to start based on the student's current skills. The format of gradually reducing the space between lines, then fading out the dotted middle line allows the student to develop skills in gradual steps to traditional writing.

Visit our Free Downloads page to access these and other resources.

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Thank You!

Thank you for visiting the premier issue of Positively Autism! Your interest and support, and our common commitment to bright futures for children and adults with autism are the heart of this website. I look forward to sharing new resources and information, and hearing your comments and suggestions. Please feel free to e-mail me at

Future issues will include items such as interviews, strategies/resources for parents and teachers, children’s literature, as well as inspirational stories, book reviews, and positive news!

"People with autism have a different way of looking at the world, and that should be embraced and celebrated." - Autism Society of America

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