Free -on-line Conference on Autism Safety and Crisis Prevention

[Updated! Registration is now live]

Autism College in partnership  with the National Autism Association (NAA) is presenting a free on-line conference on Autism Safety and Crisis Prevention.  Topics to be addressed are sexual abuse risk reduction, bullying prevention, suicide risk, wandering, and preventing the use of restraints and seclusion.

The on-line conference Autism Safety and Crisis Prevention  to be held in February,  will include presentations by  experts in the field of autism and  safety issues, and broaches sensitive topics with real life strategies.  There will be a question and answer session moderated by Chantal Sicile-Kira following each presentation.  Don’t miss the opportunity to learn how to help support  the emotional and physical health and safety of your loved one affected by autism. Schedule is as follows:

Saturday, February 11, 8:15am- 9:45am PST,  Dr. Nora Baladerian, Ph.D. will present “How  Can Parents Reduce the Risk of Sexual Abuse of Their Child or Young Adult?”.

Saturday, February 11, 10:00am-11:30am PST, Dr. Lori Ernsperger will discuss “The 3 R’s to Bullying Prevention for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders: Recognize, Respond, and Report”.

Wednesday, February 15, 6:00pm-7:30pm PST, Dr. Joshua Feder will discuss “The Problem of Depression and Suicidal Ideation in Autism and Related Disorders”.

Saturday, February 18, 8:15am-9:45am PST,  Wendy Fournier of the NAA will  discuss Wandering .

Saturday, February 18, 10:00am- 11:30,am PST, Pat Amos, M.A. will discuss Preventing and Eliminating the Use of Restraints and Seclusion.

For those unable to attend live, there will be transcripts available for purchase. Register here.

Johnny Depp and My 2012 Goals

Someone I met recently commented that they noticed I had not posted a blog here since May 2011.  I can’t believe it’s been that long but  I’ve been busy co-authoring a book (yes, another autism book!).

But I’m back here today – because I woke up this morning from a really weird dream brought on by my daytime worries.  Even if the dream involved Johnny Depp (more on the dream, later),  obviously I am overwhelmed and stressed  – probably like many of you reading this. And I wanted to share something I hope will be helpful.

After I woke up from my dream (and got over the initial excitement of having visited with Johnny Depp while still in my own bed) I decided enough was enough, and that I had to start walking the talk I give autism parents about taking care of themselves.

So I decided to follow the advice of  Chris Brogan. I received an email describing how in the last few years Chris has skipped the tradition of creating New Year’s Resolutions (soon forgotten) and instead he  creates  three words that describe what he wants to focus on for the coming year.  I thought that was a great idea and could help my stress level.

Here are my three words: (none of which are Johnny or Depp):

Produce:  I have great ideas, and I follow through when there are clear-cut deadlines ( for a publisher or a speaking engagement), but my own professional projects (  and  personal ones (exercise,  develop my personal relationships, mentor my autistic son Jeremy in reaching his life goals) don’t get completed in a timely fashion.  So this year, I will produce the projects I have identified as crucial and dear to my heart. Which takes me to my second word…

Flow: In order to have more time to produce, I need to eliminate distractions and clutter in all areas of my life. I’m interested in so many things and I easily get distracted so I am learning to have blinders like a racing horse does and focus on the finish line. Horses can still sense what they may not necessarily see, and I hope I have the same instincts when necessary.

Collaborate: Often I am so busy with outside deadlines that I don’t make the effort to spend time with people who I could effectively partner with to reach mutually beneficial professional and personal goals.  This year, I will focus on collaborating with like-minded people who have similar goals.

Hopefully, what I’ve shared is helpful to you. However, I know most of you just want to hear about my dream involving Johnny Depp (rated PG). So here it is:

I dreamt I was visiting my daughter, Rebecca, who was staying with a musician friend, helping him break into the music business. (Rebecca is a volunteer DJ at the UC Davis radio station).  Johnny Depp was staying there as well (big surprise!). While I’m there Johnny asks Rebecca to help him with the computer to hear an on-line training course that is discussing streams of income and sales funnels and handling your wealth.  I am nervous meeting Johnny, so I try to make conversation  about how Rebecca could use information  like that because she is having such a tough time finding a part time job (reality) while at college, and could use money, and as I continue talking I realize that I sound like I am asking Johnny Depp for money and for a job for Rebecca, which I am not. I’m just having a bad case of  foot in- mouth disease.  I feel really stupid. Only my daughter was more embarrassed than I was.  We climb into a small boat to reach the small stage where Rebecca’s musician friend is playing, and getting out of the boat I splash my husband’s best friend from New Jersey, and his wife and practically drown them. Embarrassment after embarrassment. You know the feeling.

That’s my dream. So this morning I woke up, wrote PRODUCE, FLOW, COLLABORATE on a piece of paper and put it on the dining room table (center of the house) and every time I do something now I ask if it fits in with my goals. I’ll keep you posted on how my three words work out.

What are you focusing on this year?

If you are still reading this far and you know Johnny Depp, tell him I’m not asking for money, but if he needs info on autism, tell him to check out my books and websites, and to call me if he has time for lunch. We could collaborate on something. Hopefully, his good looks won’t be too much of a distraction.

Best wishes  to you and your family for 2012!

Free Q & A Webinar with Autism College Visiting Professor Brian King

Autism College will present a free live Q & A on Monday, June 13, 2011 from 6:00 to 8:00pm  PST with visiting professor Brian King, LCSW. Sign up below.

Have you ever wished you had access to someone who could give you some advice on how to parent more effectively your child on the spectrum?  Have you ever wished you could ask an expert how to communicate more effectively with your child?

Sign up for this free Q & A (sign up for our newsletter to receive instructions or check back here) and you’ll be able to ask questions from an experienced  therapist who has Asperger’s Syndrome. As an adult with Asperger’s and ADD, the husband of a woman on the Spectrum, as well as the father of three boys on the Autism Spectrum, Brian has the most comprehensive experience around regarding living on the Autism Spectrum.

Brian R. King LCSW  consults and speaks professionally nationwide, providing groundbreaking insights and strategies for bridging the communication gap between those on the Autism Spectrum and the rest of society. As a Presenter, Coach, and Mentor Brian trains his clients, ranging from parents, teachers, job coaches and individuals on the Autism Spectrum to develop and implement customized communication strategies for increasing collaboration.  Brian is known for his interactive speaking style which emphasizes dialogue with participants. He is very direct, authoritative, creative, positive, supportive, solution focused and nonjudgmental. He focuses his content on providing concrete strategies participants can apply immediately.

Brian’s thoughts have been cited in various books and publications including Autism Life Skills: From Communication and Safety to Self-Esteem and More – 10 Essential Abilities Every Child Needs and Deserves to Learn.

Brian’s latest book, Let’s Relate: 
Strategies for Building Meaningful Relationships with People 
on the Autism Spectrum, will be published by  Jessica Kingsley Publishers in 2011.

For more about Brian, go to

Sign Up

New to Autism? How to Cope

Recently, I posted a blog on the Autism College website entitled : “My child has just been diagnosed with autism, how do I cope with this?” Parents new to the world of autism usually have a tough time after getting the diagnosis. Parents learning to cope  may find the following tips helpful:

• First, acknowledge your feelings, and allow yourself to feel the emotions that are there. These emotions, may come back time and again, but you will learn to cope.

• Know that the emotions you feel as a parent of a child with autism, has been compared to the stages of grief that  person goes through when mourning the death of a loved one.

• Recognize what you are feeling and try to use those emotions to your benefit. If you are angry, use that energy to find out all you can and advocate for your child (just be careful not to take out your anger on those that are there to help you). If you are feeling isolated, join a support group. If you are feeling powerless, go on the internet and do some research to learn about what options you have for your child, or which advocacy group exists in your state (every state has one) for the developmentally disabled community.

• Keep in mind you are not mourning the death of your child, you are mourning the loss of your expectations. The child you have may not be the child you were expecting, but he still needs you and loves you.

• Reach out and find an autism support group in your area that can help you feel less isolated and can help you with information.

• Find out all you can that can help your child so you can make the right choices. Empower yourself with the knowledge you need to help your child the best way that you can.

• Take care of your self. Just like in an airplane where the flight attendant instructs you in case of an accident, to put the oxygen mask on yourself before you help your child; you come first. If you don’t take care of yourself, you won’t be able to help your child.

At Autism College, we can help you as we help other parents coping with autism. Our Parent Empowerment Course can assist with some information such as how to know what will help your child, and the affects of autism on siblings and grandparents. Our free Library will  grow and we are adding information you can use. Two of my books might be really helpful to you at this time: Autism Spectrum Disorders (an  ASA Book of the Year) and 41 Things to Know About Autism.


Welcome to Autism College

Welcome to Autism College! We are excited that after months of planning we are finally going live.  The idea for Autism College came about because I realized there were many parents and educators who did not have access to conferences either because they lived in rural areas, or they  did not have access to respite workers to care for their children,  or the cost of traveling to conferences was prohibitive. We thought having valuable and practical information available on line provided in an interactive format would be beneficial to those families and educators. As well, I receive  so many  emails asking for information and advice that I could no longer continue to answer – it only made sense to provide a format to help people get the answers they need to help them move forward in a positive way.

Some of you may have heard me speak at conferences, or on my past Autism One radio show, or even when I moderated webinars for If so, I look forward to interacting with you here!  For those who are not familiar with my presentations, I think you’ll enjoy the practical autism parenting tips I love to share.

Looking forward to interacting with  you in class !

~Chantal Sicile-Kira
Founder, Autism College