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Special Needs

ADHD and Social Capital: How Your Child Can Build Strong Relationships

By Cheryl Maguire A group of medical school friends nominated Sasha Hamdani to create a memory book for their pregnant classmate. Hamdani worked hard on the task for several weeks. She printed pictures, gathered mementos and listened to stories about their friend. The book — meant to be a group gift for their classmate’s baby shower — was more than …

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Planning a Playdate with a Neurodivergent Child

Playdates are an important part of childhood. They offer time for kids to interact socially without the structure of school or extracurricular activities. They also help kids learn to share, socialize and play freely while still having support from their parents as needed. Children who are neurodivergent, or who have developmental disabilities, are no exception. They benefit from playdates as …

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Behavior Analyst: The Importance of Siblings on the Autism Journey

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) is a neurodevelopmental disorder that can affect social communication and behaviors. ASD is considered a “spectrum” disorder because it can involve a range of symptoms that can vary in severity, presentation and impact on one’s daily life. When a child is diagnosed with ASD, it is the beginning of a journey that can affect the entire …

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The Importance of Early Diagnosis of Autism

During Maya’s* first birthday celebration, her mother knew something was different. “We were singing ‘Happy Birthday,’ and she had such a blank stare. In that moment, I knew something was off,” recalls Elizabeth Chaillou, who perhaps had special insight into typical childhood milestones given that Maya is the youngest of her five children. Chaillou also noticed for several months that …

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Coding: A Good Career Path for Autistic Children?

A boy uses a computer.

  For parents of autistic children, “learn to code” is not a snarky rejoinder to the absence of computer skills. It’s a legitimate suggestion for a career path. Many children who have autism spectrum disorder (ASD) struggle to find employment once they come of age, according to experts, who estimate most American adults with autism cannot find work. Now, hundreds …

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The Importance of Play and Neurodiversity

Imagine a newborn lying on a mat and reaching for toys hanging overhead, a toddler building a tower of blocks and knocking them down—over and over again—or a child bouncing and catching a playground ball with peers. Each child is playing and learning at the same time. They are learning about their strength, balance abilities, problem-solving and motor-planning skills. They’re …

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About ‘Special Needs’

This issue’s “My Turn” is brought to you in the form of a list. When you’ve been tasked with writing about way-down-deep-in-your-soul beliefs that are as much a part of you as your heart, kidneys and veins in about 600 or so words, perhaps it is best to communicate these beliefs in the form of a list. This list is …

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Survival Guide for Parents of Kids with Special Needs

Teaching kids with special needs is not just a vocation. It is a specialized skill, and for some, even a calling. After COVID-19 shuttered schools last year, parents of kids with special needs found themselves, overnight, forced to assume the role of special educator, all while parenting, quarantining and, in some cases, simultaneously performing other jobs. Parents faced this learning …

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Sensory-friendly Experiences Serving Families in the Frederick Area

Loud noises and large crowds can sometimes be too much for children on the autism spectrum or with sensory sensitivities. Several venues in the Frederick area offer special sensory-friendly experiences serving families in Frederick County. Frederick’s Child put together the following list of several local spots. Walkersville Southern Railroad The Walkersville Southern Railroad will host a Sensory Friendly Summertime Excursion …

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