Ymkje Wideman

Ymkje Wideman-van der Laan is an author and public speaker. In 2006, she assumed the care of her 6-month old grandson, Logan. There were signs of autism at an early age, and the diagnosis became official in 2009. She has been his advocate and passionate about promoting autism awareness ever since. Logan is the inspiration behind Autism Is...? and the other children’s books she wrote for him. She currently offers a series of training workshops on the different aspects of autism.

Gift Ideas for Children on the Autism Spectrum

If you are a teacher, parent, caregiver, or family member of an autistic child in the middle of holiday gift shopping, you may wonder what are some good gifts for children on the autism spectrum. Shopping for them can be tricky, as many have restricted interests, sensory- or other challenges.  Read More>>

What Is MTSS and How Does It Help Struggling Students?

MTSS stands for multi-tiered system of supports. It is a data-driven, tiered framework, also referred to as a multi-tiered process or model of supports, that is designed to help schools identify struggling students early and intervene quickly. Besides focusing on giving students targeted support in academics, MTSS also concentrates on other areas, such as behavior …

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ABLLS Vs. VB-MAPP Assessments: What’s the Difference?

Two of the most common assessments used to evaluate autistic children are the Assessment of Basic Language and Learning Skills (ABLLS) and the Verbal Behavior – Milestones Assessment and Placement Program (VB-MAPP). These assessments are very similar, but some differences may make one test more suitable than the other for your child or student. Read …

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IEP MEETINGS: What Can I Request for my Autistic Child?

An Individual Education Plan (IEP) is a legal document that is developed during a meeting between parents and school staff for every child eligible for special education. This plan includes a child’s strengths and weaknesses, educational needs, goals, and the services needed to achieve quantifiable results.  Read More>>

What Is Discrete Trial Training?

Many children with autism do not learn skills spontaneously and may need extra help and specific teaching to learn things that may come naturally to their typically developing peers. They often need highly structured, repetitive instruction that requires them to actively engage with their environment to learn new skills. This is where Discrete Trial Training …

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Our Autism Journey from Special Education to Mainstream Classrooms

According to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), every child with special needs has the right to be educated in the least restrictive environment (LRE), which is the general education classroom as a first option. Working toward a more restrictive environment is only acceptable if needs come up that cannot be met with support and …

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How to Recognize, Prevent, and Stop Bullying of Autistic Children

Bullying of kids with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a major problem in our schools. Recent research shows that 46% of kids with autism in middle and high school were victims of bullying, and other studies show that approximately 70% of elementary-age autistic children who were in inclusive classrooms were bullied.  Read More>>

Autism: It Does Get Better!

One question every exhausted and overwhelmed autism parent or teacher asks themselves or others at some point is, “Will this ever get better?” I wondered the same at times when my grandson was young and more than a handful. He was a runner, had numerous sensory challenges, melted down unexpectedly at home, at school, or …

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Safety Considerations for Caregivers of Children on the Autism Spectrum

Safety is an important topic when caring for autistic children. We covered how to keep autistic children out of harm’s way in Safety First! 8 Ways to Keep Children on the Autism Spectrum Safe, but there is another side to the story. Safety can also be an issue for the parents and caregivers of children on …

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Air Travel with Autistic Children: 8 Ways to Prepare

Taking a plane trip can be taxing for anyone, especially when traveling with children. Adding an autistic child with their unique sensory challenges to the mix can make air travel even more difficult.  Read More>>

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