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Family Matters Issue #4: how to survive the holidays + life-changing strategies for 2023

Beaming Health Family Matters Issue #4

Updated: August 11, 2023 · 5 Minute Read

Amy Gong

Reviewed by:

Amy Gong, Neurodiversity Advocate

Highlights

  • Making sure your child is getting a good night sleep is just one way to set your family up for success in 2023.
  • Find the perfect podcast for your morning commute or a new tv show to unwind with in the evening.
  • Autism therapies and public opinion are starting to shift towards supporting neurodiversity.
  • Recent study shows more than half of all autistic people have some form of anxiety.
  • Researchers are beginning to look at the neurological differences between autism and ADHD.

This issue was originally sent to our subscribers on December 20, 2022. Sign up for our newsletters here!

Artwork by autistic teen artist Viktor Bevanda

 

Welcome to Family Matters, the newsletter designed for what matters most: your neurodiverse family.

 

Need help getting through the holidays?🎄

Whether you’re hosting or attending a family gathering this year, learn how to make your autistic child comfortable, handle those heated conversations with your cousin Susan, and advocate for yourself or your child. Planning to travel, or need help picking out the right gifts for your kiddo on the spectrum? No sweat! We’ve got you covered with a stellar gift guide with discounts for savings and tips for a meltdown-free Christmas morning.

 

Set your family up for success in 2023!🥳

At this time of year, it’s natural for us to reflect on this year while making plans for the next. If you’ve been feeling overwhelmed, frustrated, or at your wits end in 2022, you’re not alone. Families of autistic children face more challenges and have less support than other special needs families. If you’re in need of a change, we have some suggestions:

 

Your family’s fresh start:

 

😴Not getting enough restorative sleep can intensify your child’s existing challenges, reduce their ability to focus, and keep you from showing up as your best self. Learn how to help your autistic child sleep better with our best expert tips.

 

🤾Creating a sensory diet for your child is a total game-changer. This diet doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with food; it’s about managing your child’s sensory needs so they can stay regulated throughout the day.

 

🫂Parents of autistic kids don’t have enough support. Work toward surrounding yourself with a supportive community in the new year, both online and IRL. In the meantime, refresh your mind with the best social media accounts to follow, podcasts, TV shows, and books for parents of autistic kids.

 

💡Switching up your parenting style can reduce your child’s challenging behaviors, increase their communication and play skills, and improve your relationship with them. We’ll share more expert guides in the new year!

 

For more ways to improve your child’s life and get your neurodiverse household running a bit more smoothly, check out our Learning Center for tips on everything from potty training to handling meltdowns.

 

If you’re worried about your child’s future…

 

🌼We love this blog post from “The Autistic Mama” Kaylene George. Her refreshing perspective is a great comfort and inspiration to autism parents, and a much-needed reset heading into the new year.

 

🎓Autism therapies and public opinion shift towards supporting neurodiversity. Whether your child is about to graduate, seek independent living, or search for a job, prep them for life’s upcoming changes with ASAN’s guide to transitioning to adulthood. And know that neurodiversity is critical for innovation at work. The Department of Labor also has a resource page that may be helpful.

 

Research

Across the spectrum, anxiety is common

 

An estimated 60% of autistic people have some form of anxiety, according to a recent study. Keep an eye out for signs of anxiety in your child such as irrational phobias, behavioral issues, obsessive-compulsive disorder, fear of being judged, separation anxiety, and distress about changes in routine. Seek diagnosis for your child from a developmental pediatrician or behavioral psychologist who can help you develop a treatment plan. Read more about the link between autism and anxiety here.

 

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Dattaro L. Amygdala development diverges in autism-specific anxiety. Spectrum. Published online 2022. doi:10.53053/mxlx5317

 

More people are talking about neurodivergence than ever before — is that a good thing?

 

While social media can be a place for autistic and other neurodivergent thinkers to connect and feel understood, it’s also a huge source of misinformation. A survey revealed that only 42% of participants said they had a clear understanding of what neurodivergence actually is. The age differences were surprising, too — younger participants (aged 18–34) were more willing to accept common myths and misinformation about neurodiversity than older participants. Social media is helping and hurting the neurodiverse community, making accurate information more crucial than ever.

 

— 

 

Team U. Neurodiversity awareness: Is social media helping or hurting? www.understood.org. Accessed December 11, 2022. https://www.understood.org/blog/neurodiversity-awareness-is-social-media-helping-or-hurting/

 

Neurological differences between autism and ADHD

 

About 25–32% of autistic people have ADHD, and both conditions tend to run in families. But what are the differences in brain structure between people with autism and people with ADHD? According to a group of researchers, there are 5 common variants in genomes amongst autistic and ADHD people which may cause opposite effects. The common variants in 7 other regions they discovered are shared between autism and ADHD. People who have autism and ADHD (sometimes called AuADHD) share more of these common variants than those with just autism or just ADHD. The study confirms that ADHD and autism are separate genetic conditions that present individual challenges and require distinct — but simultaneous — attention. Further studies are needed to explore rarer variants and results in racially diverse populations, but this is an exciting first step.

 

 

Choi CQ. Genome scan spots common variant differences between autism and ADHD. Spectrum. Published online 2022. doi:10.53053/vmwc4683

 

What has us beaming…

 

Jordan Zimmerman is a non-speaking autistic woman who had no way to communicate throughout her childhood. Now a two-time college graduate, Jordan was appointed to President Biden’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities, where she continues to advocate for kids with learning differences. Her documentary, This Is Not About Me, was released in 2021.

 

 

At just 10 years old, autistic and ADHD singer Kaylee Rogers went viral. Now she’s a teenager, and still sharing her beautiful voice with the world. We “adore” hearing her sing this gorgeous Christmas song! 😇

 

❄️Wishing you a joyful holiday season + a happy new year, from all of us at Beaming Health!❄️

 

🤗 If you enjoyed this newsletter by Beaming Health, please share with a friend!

 

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