Autism Conference focuses on families

    When a child has Autism, the whole family is affected. A conference at La Salle University tomorrow addresses this developmental disorder with resources and advice for families.

    When a child has Autism, the whole family is affected. A conference at La Salle University tomorrow addresses this developmental disorder with resources and advice for families.

    Small tasks like getting dressed, and simple outings like going to a restaurant can become major challenges for autistic children. Dr. Herman Axelrod is director of the Green Tree School in Philadelphia, one of the partners in this conference. He says lectures will focus on coping strategies for parents:

    Axelrod: what do you do when your child doesn’t want to do something, when your child is very angry, when your child has a meltdown – how do you deal with that?

    Keynote Speaker Dr. Kristie Koenig of New York University will discuss sensory processing. People with autism spectrum disorders often process smell, taste, sound and visuals differently. She says small changes can make a big difference:

    Koenig: for example in the classrooms, there is no code that says we have to use fluorescent light. And many individuals on the spectrum have talked about how fluorescent lighting not only hurts their eyes, but they can hear the buzzing. So a simple adaptation like turning off fluorescent lights and using incandescent lamps is a start.

    Dr. Axelrod says the conference also offers help for for siblings of autistic children, who often feel like they are not getting enough of their parents’ attention.

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