Dating for parents of autistic children

The salon is one of a growing number of services that cater to the everyday needs of autistic children.

In recent years, Ferguson and other professionals have turned to parents and people in the autistic community to learn how to help those with autism, and are sharing their knowledge with others in their professions.

Other tips include wetting a comb rather than spraying the child’s head with water. “When you say ‘cut’ with little kids, they think of hurting and blood, so say ‘trim,’” Baker said.

When an autistic girl needed an X-ray in a machine that circled her head, Velasco told her to imagine being on a space ship.

“Many [autistic children] don’t get vision screenings because providers are not trained on how to interact and manage their sensory differences,” said Roseann Schaaf, chair of the occupational therapy department at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia.

ASERT and the Philadelphia Autism Project – a joint endeavor of City Council, the city Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual Disability Services, and the Drexel Autism Institute at Drexel University — are educating Philadelphia police officers, firefighters, other first responders, and juvenile justice and child welfare workers on how to identify and assist an autistic person.

A similar program, called the Autism Shield Project, was created in New Jersey by the nonprofit Parents of Autistic Children. In addition, several state government departments have formed an Interdepartmental task force to publish a directory of resources regarding autism.

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Some YMCAs and Jewish Community Centers provide swim lessons to autistic children, said Lisa Goring, chief program and marketing officer for Autism Speaks.

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