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Solving life's special needs.

Solutions for families and corporations dealing with autism, ADHD, and similar social challenges at all ages.

Think You Know the Difference between Autism and Asperger's? Think Again!

A Peak under the Umbrella

By Alaina Urbantke

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is an umbrella term used to categorize a variety of conditions, varying greatly in symptoms and levels of function.  With many possible diagnoses, it is important to differentiate among the variety of disorders under its classification.  The intent of this article is to examine two conditions, Asperger Syndrome and autism, in order to illuminate their characteristics.

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Summer Travel Tips to Keep Your Summer Easy & Breezy!

Tips to Prepare for Summer Planning

Summer is here and for many children, it means endless ways to enjoy the summer break.  For those families who have children with autism or similar special needs, making plans for the summer can appear overwhelming at first.  However, the act of planning can feel more prepared by considering the following tips while placing summer plans in the process:

1) Schedule and Plan:

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Social Motion is doing our part - Transition, Driving, Young Adult Social Groups and Cooking!

READ this interesting article that investigates the breakthroughs and gaps in autism. Social Motion is doing our part by providing services for all ages. From transition to driving to young adult social groups to cooking, we have you in mind!      
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The Hidden Disabilities: That Are Present in Aspergers Syndrome: The Need For Increased Awareness

READ on the different hidden disabilities that are present in children and adults diagnosed with Aspergers. Gain a better understanding of their challenges and how awareness is key in helping these individuals not feel handicapped. 

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Work in progress: An inside look at autism’s job boom

Corporations are taking the right steps forward in hiring individuals with autism, but keeping work is still a struggle for those on the spectrum. 

READ More on how these corporations are trying to help individuals on the spectrum. 

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Time and Place Appropriateness — The Big Awkward!

The importance of paying attention to the environment is obvious to most of us.  It applies in school, work, while driving, etc.  However, it is not as apparent to those with intellectual difficulties.  Whether you have a child with these difficulties or not, it wouldn’t hurt to review the principles.

What’s the pulse? Don’t ignore it.  What’s going on? Good day?  Bad day?  Good news or bad news? Serious tone discussion or jovial tones? What is the occasion? Gathering or funeral?

As previously said, those with autism and similar social-cognitive disorders are generally poor self-inherent observers, meaning they don’t realize what they do irritates others.  Being inappropriate in situations is common.  Much has been publicized about social thinking, but putting the application in real context remains elusive. Recognizing the implications of a situation goes a long way toward fitting in.  Recall those interrupters, chatty catties and office “plops.”

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In this article Ethan Hirschberg, a teen with Autism talks about how his parents told him he had Autism. 

READ to learn how his parents decided to tell him he had Autism, what Autism meant to him, and how he dealt with this news. 

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The Chatty Catty

Remember your oh-so-perky coworker that barged into your office to talk about that sweet movie?  He or she was oblivious to your social signals.  It broke your focus, and it took a while to get back into rhythm.  Whether you’ve been the victim or perpetrator, heed these bad examples.

The Chatty Catty 

People care but not all the time.  That may sound harsh but it’s true.  The art of chit-chat is very time and place appropriate.  Keep personal conversations for the right time: break, lunch, out socially etc.  Interrupting someone to tell them about your latest ailment, family issue, date drama, failed recipe etc. can wait.  Your supervisor or co-worker might not care about such details.  Remember the boundaries of friendship and the social hierarchy of work place relations. Friendly does not necessarily mean your best friend with whom you share personal details. 

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The Art of Interrupting

At Social Motion, we strive to impart essential concepts to the youth in our transition program.  These are tough and uncomfortable subjects that require courageous conversations. Teaching these scenarios often requires some tough love (e.g. constructive advice).  They may not come naturally, but they can be coached and taught.  They serve to demystify the questions “Why don’t people like me?” or “How do I keep from getting fired?”  We lead with the best intentions to transform the lives of those with social cognitive differences, a journey of constant betterment for our clients.

The Art of Interrupting

Many of our young adults struggle with the nuances of interaction and communication. The art of interrupting tops the list in difficulty and hinders good interpersonal skills in leisure and work environments.

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Neurodiversity as a Competitive Advantage

The Harvard Business School published an article about hiring individuals with special needs. This article presents the case for hiring differently abled individuals and the challenges of doing so. 

Read MORE as to why neurodiversity presents opportunities. 

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Transition A Struggle For Young Man With Autism

Adulthood can be a hard transition for anyone, but it can be especially difficult for adults with Autism. 

Read MORE on how a young man on the spectrum overcame his obstacals into adulthood. 

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Autistic Adults' Perspectives on Employment Related Challenges

Gain insight on the employment related challenges adults with autism face. In this article adults on the spectrum have been interviewed and they give their thoughts, disclosures, and misconceptions people may have towards individuals with autism being able to work. 

Link to article 

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"I'm not going in your creepy white van."

“I’m not going in your creepy white van.”

Now that school is out and summer is here, it is important to remind our kids (especially those with special needs) about staying safe when going out.  However, we are also in an age of social skills and manners.

Most kids have heard about “stranger danger” and probably wouldn’t accept a red lollipop. What if they were lured with “I have free Wi-Fi?”  This issue also gets more complicated as scammers and child predators change their approaches.

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It's Father's Day - touch Dad's big heart

May was Mom's turn to be spoiled. But now that it's almost June, we get to think about how to touch Dad's big heart. Dads are always hard to buy for, but coming up with that perfect "I love you" gift is not impossible. It just takes some thought and personalization! Dads are so important in a child's life, and every parent knows that raising a child entails more than just providing for them. It is rare to find a parent that wants recognition for being a parent, but we celebrate their dedication regardless.

 Father’s Day is not just a day to buy presents; it is a day to appreciate what fathers do for their families. Fathers are the men that help you learn how to ride a bike and make sure that you never give up. Fathers will help you grow and show you what unconditional love is. Fathers are men young boys look up to everyday.  They know that they must set good examples. Fathers never expect praise or grace for the job that they do. However on Father’s Day, we show our love for them. Give your father a hug and tell him how important he is to you this year. For those families without a full-time Dad, we praise Mom for doing Daddy duty, so give your mom a hug!

 Usually when a father is asked what type of gift he wants, he always begrudgingly says, “Nothing Dear.”  This year purchase a gift with purpose for your father. Aspire Accessories, a program of Social Motion, Inc., is a work shop where young adults with autism and similar special needs create, produce, embellish, assemble, package and ship beautiful leather accessories, crafts, home goods and laser engraved specialty products. These are just right for fathers! View the spectrum of gifts you can purchase for your father, from a leather flask to an RTIC Tumbler engraved with his initials. Whatever the desire, Aspire Accessories has you covered. Show your father that his love is undeniable, and make a purchase with a purpose!

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When your child is different, unique, quirky...

Here's the know-how on nurturing your child's quirks without encouraging the additional chaos.


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"Soft Skills" most likely to help youth succeed in the job market

A study by Child Trends identifies the "soft skills" most likely to help youths succeed in the job market: communication, social skills, self-control, higher-order thinking and positive self-concept (self-awareness, not just self-esteem). The problem is that "those kinds of things are not visible on the Internet" Read on .....

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Rinsta or Finsta - say what? What you should know...

I found this article particularly interesting becasue we totally teach that you have to keep a "clean" image on social media. We teach that your personna on social media is important and people look at it and make value judgements. Have the kids found a way to get around the rule??? 

I also find it interesting that there is a need for a real and fake identities.... too bad they seem to be at opposite ends of the spectrum. 

Read on ...

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Meet Denise - the inspiration behind ASPIRE Accessories


Hello Friends-As we continue our focus on autism this month, I want to shine the light today on my friend Denise Hazen who started Aspire Accessories with her son, Nick.

The organization was founded in 2011 and now operates as a program of Social Motion Skills, which we featured here on the blog last week. The artisans of Aspire create beautiful handcrafted accessories in their studio here in Houston. I am thrilled to feature their necklaces and bracelets in my boutiques and online.

What I love about Aspire Accessories and Social Motion Skills is that their programs bring these kids together in a productive, fulfilling way while also creating a community and fostering friendships. In this video, Denise shares how she really honed in on her son’s strengths and that is what inspired her to start Aspire.

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Work Early, Work Often - Why SOMO has a transition program

Work Early, Work Often Video Campaign


“Work Early, Work Often” is a video campaign created by the Youth Transitions Collaborative’s career preparation and management working group. Together, the three-part series highlights the importance of work and work-based experiences in an individual’s transition to adulthood, particularly for young adults with disabilities. Each storyline focuses on a different subject and narrative, told from the perspective of key audiences that are part of the transition journey. All videos include open captioning and audio descriptions. Click here to view the videos as a series, or download the campaign overview.

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Autistic Character Portrayal in the Media - Autism Awareness - April 2017

With the recent inclusions of characters with Asperger’s/autism in Sesame Street and the 2017 film adaptation of Power Rangers, the awareness of Asperger’s/autism is improving. These following portrayals from past television shows and movies have unique ways, based on and assisted by research, of depicting their characterization.

1) In Arthur’s 2010 episode “When Carl Met George,” George explains to the audience how he met his friend Carl.  At the community center, he sees Carl work on a train puzzle and is impressed by Carl’s detailed knowledge of trains.  The next day, George learns that Carl has Asperger’s Syndrome when he surprises Carl with his ventriloquist puppet which Carl becomes uncomfortable with.  The Brain (another Arthur character) then tells George how his uncle, who has the same condition, explained how having it would feel like via an outer space-themed analogy.  In the show’s segment “A Word from Us Kids,” children like Carl from the real world are featured visiting Lovelane Special Needs Horseback Riding Program and also inside their classroom.  This episode of Arthur can be streamed on Amazon Video.

2) At the beginning of the 2010 television series of Parenthood, Adam and Kristina learn that their son Max has been diagnosed with Asperger’s.  On a side note, the young actor who plays Max has the same diagnosis as his character does.  In the fourth season, Max runs for class president at his middle school. During his speech, he includes his Asperger’s as a way to describe why his characteristics would match ideal qualities for class president.  One of which is tenacity to express his goal of bringing back the school’s vending machines.  Parenthood can be viewed on Netflix.

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