On the Horizon: 7/18/12

Welcome to “On the Horizon”

Issue 192: “Not Now” Doesn’t Mean “Never”:
Expectations for Children with Autism and Related Disorders

On the Horizon is an award winning weekly ezine for parents of children with developmental disabilities who want simple, effective strategies to reduce stress, support their child’s development, and improve quality of life for the whole family.

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  • A Note from Nicole: MAGIC Convention in Chicago
  • Feature Article:
    “Not Now” Doesn’t Mean “Never”:
    Expectations for Children with Autism and Related Disorders
  • Ask the Horizons Team
  • Upcoming Events
  • Recommended Resources

Hi Everyone!

I’m getting ready to head to Chicago later this week to speak at the annual MAGIC Convention. MAGIC stands for Major Aspects of Growth in Children and the organization provides education and support to families of children with a wide variety of growth disorders, as well as a variety of rare conditions. This will be my third year speaking at their convention, and it is a wonderful time to connect with families from all over who come together to learn and support each other. If you are planning to be there I hope we have the chance to connect! My husband and kids will be with me as well, so we look forward to enjoying some relaxing time together at the pool and downtown.

My feature article this week addresses the issue of expectations in the context of child development. Sometimes we expect too much of our children based on their current developmental level, and other times we expect too little. Finding a balance can be a challenge! I share an experience I had with my daughter that caused me to remember that just because a child isn’t ready to do something right now does not mean they will never do it. Can you relate?

I hope you have an excellent rest of your week!

Looking to the horizon,

“Not Now” Doesn’t Mean “Never”:
Expectations for Children with Autism and Related Disorders

By Nicole Beurkens, PhD

My husband and I had three sons when our daughter joined our family. I was thrilled with the idea of finally being able to put one of my children in dresses, buy cute little shoes, and do her hair. After three boys, it was time for me to have another female in the house to share my love of all things girly! When she was tiny, I was easily able to put cute little things in her hair and she left them there. At some point all her baby hair fell out so there really wasn’t much hair to do anything with (I resorted to headbands for photos!). When she was about 14 months old she had a lovely head of thick, dark, curly hair that is just begging to be done up in cute bows, pigtails, and tiny braids.

There is just one small problem – she refused to leave the darn things in! I tried everything – winding the hair bands tighter, doing her hair while she has a snack to distract her, buying different types of clips, doing her hair while wet, and doing her hair while dry. You name it and I tried it. I really thought I had her beat one week when I washed her hair and spent time putting it in small little twists all over her head. I used tiny little hair bands that were “guaranteed” (according to the package) not to pull out. She looked so cute, and I was feeling really good about having finally triumphed over her in the hair department. And then she went to bed. And in the night I heard her up laughing and laughing and laughing. And in the morning her hair looked like she’d gotten way too close to an electrical outlet, with every single hair band strewn around the floor of her room. What’s a mother to do?!

Click here to read the rest of this article…


My husband and I both work and have three children at home, two of whom have various developmental issues. One of the biggest challenges we have is making time for quality activities with the kids when we are home with them. Do you have any suggestions for us?

-Julie in Sacremento, CA


Hi Julie,

I certainly understand your challenge, and I’m sure a lot of our readers can relate. When both parents work (or even when they don’t) it can be difficult to find the time and energy to engage in quality interactions with kids at home, especially when you have children with a variety of challenges. My colleagues and I recently read a book that addresses this issue and that you may find helpful. It’s called Working Parents Thriving Families: 10 Strategies That Make a Difference. The author is psychologist David Palmiter, and the book is available on Amazon. In the book he shares some very important and doable strategies that parents can use to deepen relationships between parents and children, increase children’s sense of personal competence, implement appropriate discipline strategies, and more. All of the ideas are shared in the context of understanding the challenges of families where both parents work.

I hope you find it to be a helpful resource!


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Upcoming Events

Hear Nicole Speak

Upcoming dates and locations where Nicole Beurkens, PhD will be speaking:

MAGIC Foundation Annual Convention

July 19-22, 2012
Chicago, Illinois

American Psychological Association Annual Convention

August 2-5, 2012
Orlando, Florida

Autism and Other Neurodevelopmental Disorders: Practical Strategies to Improve Processing

September 26, 2012 in Missoula, Montana

September 27, 2012 in Butte, Montana

September 28, 2012 in Billings, Montana

October 18, 2012 in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania

October 19, 2012 in Cherry Hill, New Jersey


Autism Transformation for Families Audio Program

Transform Tough Days With Your Child Into Great Ones: Five Simple Steps to Better Communication, Behavior, and Relationships

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