Independent Living Skills and Cognitive Disabilities: Reduce Anxiety, Solve Problems

Posts tagged ‘Autism spectrum’

Can Food Allergies Affect Behavior and Quality of Life?

Fruit and berries in a grocery store, Paris, F...


At the grocery store the other day, I picked up a copy of an interesting magazine, Autism File, geared toward families. The focus of this issue (April-May 2012) was the Autism-Allergy overlap and other nutritional information.In one article, I learned about salicylates, a substance naturally found in plants but particularly in fruits. For some people, salicylates cause red cheeks, aggression, rashes, digestive issues, and cravings for the same food. Isn’t it interesting–and unfair– that foods we crave may actually be allergans?Following are some tips for approaching this issue if you think you or someone else might be sensitive:

1. Buy locally-grown fruit. According to a researcher, Rosemary Waring, most children with autism have a deficiency in the enzyme PST which helps to digest salicylates. Fruits that are picked before ripe are higher in salicylates, so in-season, locally-ripened fruit from farmers markets may be a better choice.

2. Take enyzme supplements. Digestive enzyme supplements for phenols may also help for those with mild allergies.

3. Find a dietary approach that works for you. A couple of diets were recommended as a starting point: the Feingold diet, which has existed for decades, and the Failsafe diet. These diets remove amines and glutamates as well as salicylates but their approaches differ. There are other diets out there as well, so this is not an exclusive list. It’s up to each family to experiment and find what works for them.

More info can be found in books by Julie Matthews (Nourishing Hope for Autism, Cooking to Heal), a Certified Nutrition Consultant, author and presenter. Her website is By finding the foods that work for us, we can all have a better quality of life.

Smart Steps(TM), LLC  (c)2013

Transition to Independent Living: What Happens After High School?

Students gather on the sidewalk in front of th...

Students gather on the sidewalk in front of the middle school after school on a Friday afternoon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Individuals with disabilities go through many transitions in their school career as they progress through elementary, middle school and high school. At each stage, teams discuss how to make the transition as smooth as possible. What is expected at the next level? Will teachers understand his or her needs? How can we make it less stressful?Even more worrisome to some families might be… What happens after high school?Transition Planning Begins Early

Beginning in the middle school years, the IEP team plans for adulthood by writing transition goals related to education, work, and independent living. Transition goals are meant to help the team focus on the big picture as they write IEP goals.

Often, however, IEP goals are written to target state assessment objectives or class schedules. This is to be expected because schools are accountable for student learning as measured by assessments and high school credits. There’s one saving grace, though…

If IEP goals, including transition goals, have not been met by the time the student graduates from high school, he or she can receive transition services from the school district.

Transition Services Offered in the Community 

When transition services are offered through community-based instruction, students have more opportunities to apply skills in community settings, which in turn develop independence and confidence. This is a rich time for learning.

For more information, see

or this article from Easter Seals:

Smart Steps(TM), LLC (c)2013

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