Volume 7; Issue 3                                                                        October 22, 2002


Hi Everyone!

This issue brings us a special surprise in the form of a guest editor!  Bernie has been a member/contributor to BBB Autism for 3 years, as well as maintaining her own website.  She has graciously agreed to help us out this month by putting together this awesome issue!  Many thanks to you, Bernie, for finding the time to lend us a hand!


This issue is dedicated to all our little ghosts and goblins, especially my son, J who is turning 7 in a couple of weeks.  J is the reason BBB Autism Support Network was born - Happy Birthday Big Guy!



* Please note: we realize that some individuals do not participate in Halloween due to religious or cultural reasons and we respect this.  It is not our intention to offend any of those groups with this issue – this topic has been presented as a result of overwhelming requests from other parents. J




“Welcome to our Spooktacular Halloween issue!  It’s that time of year again, when all the ghost and goblins come out for tricks or treats.


Although Halloween is a fun time for many kids, it can be stressful for parents of children with autism. It is our hope that the following information and tips will help make this spookable day a success.


So relax, get some apple cider, sit back and enjoy!”




Halloween activities (LINKS)


Carve a pumpkin on line 



Halloween coloring pages to print out and color




On line Halloween coloring pages




GFCF Halloween recipes


"Creepy Hands"

This is a very inexpensive party favor you can give to children that will definitely make an impression!

§         8 cups popped popcorn

§         Candy Corn

§         6 clear industrial food handler's gloves

§         Orange or black ribbon

§         6 plastic spider rings


Place one candy corn in end of each glove finger for fingernail (point down); pack glove tightly with popcorn. Close bag at wrist; tie with ribbon. Place a spider ring on 1 finger of each hand. Makes 6 "creepy hands".


“Pumpkin Cookies”   



§         1 teaspoon baking soda

§         1 teaspoon gluten-free baking powder

§         1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

§         1 cup white rice flour

§         3/4 cup potato flour

§         1/2 cup shortening

§         3/4 cup white sugar

§         1 cup canned pumpkin

§         1/2 cup ground walnuts




Ø      Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Ø      Sift dry ingredients together. Cream the shortening and the sugar.  Add the pumpkin. Add the dry ingredients and nuts. Beat until smooth.

Ø      Shape into 1 inch balls and place on a greased cookie sheet. Press        flat with a fork.

Ø      Bake for 9 to 12 minutes.

Ø      Makes 3 - 4 dozen


“Cut-Out Sugar Cookies “


·         1/3 cup softened, unsalted butter

·         4-oz. low fat cream cheese

·         2 cups French Bread Pizza Mix (#40)

·         1 cup sugar

·         ½ tsp. gluten-free baking powder

·         ½ tsp. grated shredded lemon or orange peel

·         1 egg

·         1 tsp. gluten-free vanilla

·         1 tsp. orange or lemon juice


Beat butter and cream cheese together until fluffy. Combine 1 cup French Bread Mix, sugar, baking powder, and citrus peel. Beat into butter mixture. Add egg, vanilla and orange or lemon juice. Beat in remaining 1 cup of French Bread Mix. Cover and chill dough for 2 hours or overnight.


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Divide dough in half. Roll one piece between two sheets of plastic wrap until ¼ inch thick (or thinner). Peel off top layer of plastic wrap and cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Peel off bottom layer of plastic wrap and set on cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake 10 minutes or until edges are slightly brown. Do not over bake. Cool completely. Frost or serve as is.


You can use ghost or pumpkin cookie cutters

Ø      Makes 24-30 cookies.


“Pumpkin Seeds”


After carving your pumpkin save the seeds they are rich in fiber as well as vitamins B and E.


Ø      1 1/2 cups pumpkin seeds

Ø      2 tsp. melted butter or oil (olive oil or vegetable oil work well)

Ø      salt to taste


 Options to Taste:

Ø      garlic powder

Ø      cayenne pepper

Ø      seasoning salt


Preheat oven to 300° F.


 While it's O.K. to leave some strings and pulp on your seeds (it adds flavor), clean off any major chunks. Toss pumpkin seeds in a bowl with the melted butter or oil and seasonings of your choice. Spread pumpkin seeds in a single layer on baking sheet.

 Bake for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until golden brown.



Halloween Hints!


Ø       Know when to stop

Ø       Don’t have high expectations – if you only do 2 houses successfully, look upon the whole evening as a success – quit while you’re ahead!

Ø       Ensure the costume is comfortable – don’t use masks

Ø       Simple costumes are the best; just a witch’s hat, or wizards hat and robes over his/her coat are great!  Bring a flashlight

Ø       Bring a mediator or babysitter with you to help out…

Ø       Use imitation if appropriate “say ‘trick or treat’” or “say ‘thank you’”

Ø       Use videotapes of children at Halloween to help teach your child not to enter people’s homes when trick or treating and other appropriate behavior

Ø       Practice sessions with him knocking on your door wearing costume and getting reinforcers…practice at dusk so that won’t be such a shock to him/her 


Bee Cool,




Now that’s a Scary topic...
by Michelle

Oh the dreaded Halloween...
Its never really as much fun as for J as it as for O or the other NT (hey I know what that stands for now LOL) children.

I don't know about your guys but J is terrified of masks. Even if its a Character he loves on TV in person he won't go 20 feet near them. (Found that out after waiting an hour and a half in line in Florida to see J’s HERO Buzz Light year when it was our turn he ran like he had jet propellers shooting out of his butt) Last year Halloween we did a little better I think we lasted an hour but I still could not convince him that our neighbor wasn't really Darth Mal. (from Star Wars)

Anyway he LOVED the end result...all that candy! Hmmmmm and I thought he was gathering all those sweets just for me LOL.

Anyways a news email for Halloween would be great especially for new parents who aren't aware that Halloween really is a scary night, for some children.


PS J has the most wonderful hand made Spiderman Costume; hope he doesn't try to climb the walls.


My older daughter wants a party for Halloween...
by Amy

And I am considering it. My husband will be working that night and so how am I going to take the kids around AND hand out candy? But a party might be just the ticket.
Wait, never mind. Just realized... Boxes in front room... lots of them. Where are small children going to have the party???

But I think where I was going with this is that a child with autism might feel more comfortable at home with some friends over for a Halloween party, watching the Halloween cartoons and eating popcorn than wandering around the neighbourhood for candy. So, if both parents are home (and you aren't in the process of ripping your house apart) one can take one child trick or treating while the other supervises the party and hands out candy.

The idea would have to be adapted because each child can only handle so much and not all children will
watch TV, even with friends. Some kids, like L, wouldn't care if an entire battalion of children came over. She'd still go off in a corner and flap at toys. But then L likes to trick or treat and could care less if the Grim Reaper (we had him one year) showed up at the door.


I could use some advice on
by Lucy

How to get the flippin' costume on him in the first place. Just this morning I pulled out the alligator costume and hope to gradually acclimate him to it in the hopes he'll want to put it on for Halloween. Last year there was no getting his costume on and I refuse to take a child trick or treating in street clothes. I think he'd enjoy going door to door and all that candy at the end but if he won't wear the costume forget it. Last year he was quite content to see all the kids come to the door in their costumes. He wasn't scared by any masks or anything but refused to wear his costume.


You could try...
by Michelle

I always let J pick exactly what HE wants to be, then starting in September we start with Social stories about costumes and trick or treating.

Two years ago we got to do 4 doors before he informed me that he was going home! So we went home and
watched the other kids from a safe distance. Last year we made it all the way around the neighborhood but it took a lot of explaining and reassuring. Telling him things like "Hey J, here comes Richard and he's wearing a Darth Mal costume" no he didn't believe me so we crossed the street and then yelled "HI RICHARD" once again from a safe distance.

Some people in our neighborhood traditionally go all out for Halloween i.e. Ghost sounds, creepy crawlers in the candy box, and dressing up as ghouls to scare the kids. I have made mental notes on which houses do this and we try our best to avoid or at least prepare him before we get to those houses. This is obviously difficult so I’m always ready to divert his attention or take a 10 minute sit down break to let him regroup.

1) Bring a flashlight
2) Stay in your neighborhood if possible that way he/she will see friends and neighbors and if your child gets frightened you can easily get them back to the comfort and safety of HOME!
3) Prepare them for the day with social stories or just letting them know what to expect.
4) Let there comfort level guide you. If they start getting afraid take a little break and try again.
5) Remember, it may have been fun for you when you were small and of course its fun for most NT children but to your child it may be very frightening so once again let his/her comfort level guide you. If you have to wait until next year then so be it!

Good Luck and have fun!
Michelle (J’s mom - officially 6 years old now!)


I got a question for you...
by Lynn D

How can I keep D from wanting to actually ENTER someone's house? He thinks that we are there to visit and play and it ends up being a frustrating evening. For the last 2 years he has tried to get into more than half the houses we go to. I try to make this enjoyable but this overshadows the plan.

What about for non verbal kids.....
By  Dee do we prepare our preschoolers who are non verbal? I can't explain anything to J so I wonder if its even worth trying to take him trick or treating?


We’re not taking B out for Halloween
by KimC

It’s not a big deal for us to begin with. However, I don't know if it would be different if he had a sibling. As far as I'm concerned, he doesn't know, doesn't care, so we're not too concerned about it.

mom to B, age 2.5, ASD

I don't think J will either...
by Dee

...he didn't last year, though at the time we didn't know what was going on with him, he was so uncooperative it was just impossible and I see the same thing happening this year. I hate leaving him out of everything. I guess though since he doesn't understand and would rather stay at home anyways I shouldn't worry. I guess with 2 older siblings too I compare too much - they WANTED to go trick o treating at just a year old so at almost 3 it seems strange for me leaving home.



Helping your child to know what to expect is key.  You can use pictures to ‘explain’ to them what is coming.  Try a dress rehearsal: prearrange with a couple of neighbours, family and friends that you will do this. Use some sensory activities to calm your child before the big event (check out “Building Bridges Through Sensory Integration” for ideas on this).  Keep the session short. 


If your child can imitate, use this skill to elicit appropriate behaviors and routine.  Also considering making a ‘how to’ Halloween video!


Good luck,


Halloween Costume
by Juli

I thought this was a great costume for sensory kids because it uses everyday clothes that if you don't already have them you could buy cheap at Zeller’s or wherever and break in ahead of time.


black hooded sweatshirt
black sweat pants
black socks
square of black felt
white faux fur (fabric store)

So all you do is cut a long strip of fur and put it at the top of the hood and all down the back of the shirt. If you're super crafty I'd make a tail by stuffing something into a cut-off black leotard leg and just pin it into the sweatpants - in this case you'd put a fur strip on the tail too. Just stick it on with double-sided tape. Then cut a couple of pointy little ears out of felt and glue to hood - DONE!!!!

I won't even get to use this idea! Now of course K wants to be something else every day and N is DEAD SET on being Sir Toppumhat from Thomas the Tank Engine. I actually found a black top hat but I have no idea what to do about the black tuxedo - with tails - for a five year old. I imagine I'll be attaching black fabric to something!


Sir Toppum idea
by Lucy

How about getting a black sweatshirt and use puffy fabric paints to paint it to make it look like a tuxedo? Kind of like those tuxedo t-shirts that were popular for a (thankfully very) short time. Then he could wear black pants with it.

My DS goes around the house saying "Allow me to present the good luck package - something old, something new, something borrowed and something blue - all found by Percy and his crew." He even does the pretentious English accent quite well, if I do say so myself LOL


L will probably be Snow White again

She keeps going into my closet where I had 'hidden' the Halloween costumes and saying 'Pretty dress?' She wants to wear it something fierce!

Cady wants to be a gypsy. The problem is we don't have anything that will work so I'm hoping to convince her to wear the Sleeping Beauty costume one more year. She said that she and L could trade costumes this year. How is a 7 year old who is almost five feet tall going to wear a costume that barely fits the 5 year old who nearly a foot shorter?


A's going to be Sponge Bob....
by ~Bernie~

It's a pretty simple costume too; it just slips over his head. And the front of the costume is sponge bobs face. No hats or nothing and its wide enough for him to wear a jacket underneath in case it gets cold. He looks sooooo cute in it too!


Halloween costumes
by KimC

I have noticed a lot of the costumes lately have been pajamas or track suits. These would be perfect for our kids. There are some websites with ideas for simple costumes; one of them even has a section just for costumes made out of track suits. Here are the addresses (I did a search for Halloween costumes cheap budget)

Hope someone finds this helpful.





  1. “AUTISM FRIENDS: ( Come check out our 800+ links, shopping section fundraisers for parent run sites coming soon!)  Family pages and our Community section for chats 5 days a week!  Coming soon to Autism Friends! Parent tips, ponderings and wisdom!


Autism Friends is a Member supported website run by a parent. We are always looking for parent contributions! Book recommendations, photos, best links, personal stories, poems & artwork by our creative geniuses. Contact Tina at: Tina”


2. THE GENEVA CENTRE announces: Geneva Centre International Symposium is scheduled for October 23, 24, 25, 2002 at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The Symposium 2002 brochure has been mailed out and is available at  This year you have the option to register on-line; major discounts for early bird registrations. Also, for the first time, delegates from around the world can access 8 presentations of the International Symposium 2002 live through the Internet. Some presentations have special interest for adults on the autism spectrum.


3. Autism Children’s Intervention Services Inc.  ( Grace Damouni, Director/Founder - 8171 Yonge Street, Suite 226, Thornhill ON, L3T 2C6, Tel   416. 219 2316, Fax 905. 832 3139 E-Mail:

“Certified in PECS, Sensory Integration (went to Florida and took the course/lab with Pat Wilbarger), Greenspan’s Early Infancy and Childhood course (Floortime/DIR), training in Lovaas, workshop in Handwriting Without Tears, degree in psychology and most importantly, many, (9) years of clinical work with children with PDD/Autism. 

I work very closely with Dr. James Bebko of York University and Dr. Carolyn Lennox who are the consulting psychologists to ACIS. 

I am proud to say our IBI program is very comprehensive as it includes collaboration with SLPs and OTs as well as the educational team.  We help develop IEPs and provide trained shadows for classroom integration. 

We do travel outside of the immediate catchments region (once every month or two depending on the time of year) to administer staff training, consultations, assessments and program development.  We will travel to Guelph, Hamilton, Cambridge (for example) but only during certain times of the year.  However, we do not provide ITs (mediators) to service this region although we can train staff that the family has already recruited.   For parents who are not interested in hiring a "team" we can set up the programs/binder.

We do however, provide "teams" and oversee the program for our catchment region, which is Markham, Pickering, Aurora, Richmond Hill, Thornhill, North York, Maple, and Woodbridge.  If families live within this region we can offer a "team" with full services (assessments, programs, supervision etc) and this ranges in price from $20,000 and up depending on the treatment plan the family has in mind (we offer different plans).  In this regard we are very flexible which I believe makes us unique-we customize plans so that we are able to take into consideration the families needs/expectations.   Grace Damouni, Director/Founder


4.         Autism Pilot Project

CH.I.L.D Ltd. is seeking 2 families in York Region that are not receiving funding through Kinark or TPAS. These 2 families will be part of a Pilot Autism Course offered at York University. Students taking this course have successfully completed rigorous training at CH.I.L.D Ltd., and will be supervised by Sandy Palombo and 3 registered Psychologists. Student instructors have been selected carefully and will receive course credit for their participation.


Parents will be exempted from paying any fees for all instructional assistants assigned to your family. Parents are responsible for costs associated with ongoing supervision, pre and post assessment, and materials.


Families must meet certain criteria:

(1) Live near York University or within TTC route

(2) Functioning level of child ~ within mild to moderate range as indicated by CARS

(3) Age of child 3-7 years

(4) Parents must not be receiving funding from October 2002-April 2002 during the term of this project



Parents interested in applying for this service should contact Peggy Fleet, Administrative Coordinator. Please ask for The Autism Pilot Project.


Deadline for candidates: November 1st, 2002



5. The Fall 2002 Training Institute on Autism Presented by Autism Society Ontario - Halton Chapter & H.A.R.T. Partnership Agencies of the Halton Autism Resource Team


Who should attend?

Ø       Teachers  

Ø       Parents  

Ø       Early Childhood Educators  

Ø       Educational Assistants, SERTS 

Ø       Speech-Language Pathologists

Ø       Professionals providing service  to children with autism/PDD


These workshops are FREE to current members of the ASO - Halton Chapter and Members of H.A.R.T.

Also members of the Halton District Catholic School Board & the Halton District Educational Assistants Association.  Non-Members: Each seminar is $5.00, payable at the door.  NO ADVANCED REGISTRATION

                            Web Site:






This is through the Jumpstart program. Everyone on the TPAS/Surrey place waiting list and those receiving IBI service should have received notification of these free parent training workshops. But reading through some of the posts here I wonder if all of the Toronto families received this information. The workshops are scheduled for throughout the rest of the year and into January.

The list of available workshops include ABA training by Anne Cummings; Help us Learn by Kathy Lear and more. Also included in this program is hands on coaching in your home to help you implement what you have learned in the workshops. For more information contact Casey Burgess 416-322-7877 ext 526 or Paul Szikszai 416-322-7877 ext 531.




  1. Are you looking for an Educational Assistant to work with your son or daughter in primary school?  Are you looking for someone who is patient, sensitive to children's needs and has first hand experience because of an autistic daughter herself? Well an occasional Educational Assistant is more than willing to take on this position.  As well, for children with mild learning disabilities, I provide one on one tutoring in my home after school.


My experience as an Educational Assistant at Seneca College for a College Vocational Program has made it possible to look for employment in this field.  As well, I am a past graduate from the Social Service Course with Ryerson Polytechnic Institute.  References can be available upon request.  For more information contact Rhonda Shlanger.



8.         ASO YORK REGION CHAPTER: Our sister organization, Epilepsy York Region, is the designated beneficiary charity of a 50's 60's Dinner-Dance, details below. ASO York Region Chapter Members benefit from the programs & services, information & support and resources available through our partnerships with EYR, so please consider joining us for this exciting evening!


If unable to attend, you can still support EYR - and ASOYork families - through your cash donation, or live / silent auction items.


Robbie Lane & the Disciples - 50's 60's Dance - Vintage Rock!

Saturday, November 2nd, The Hollywood Princess Conference Centre, 2800 Highway 7 West (east of Hwy 400), Concord

5 Course Dinner with Wine & Dance $ 75.00 per person - Dance Only $ 38.00 per person - Cash Bar, Prizes, Live/Silent Auction - 50's 60's Dress optional


Call Ticketmaster 416-870-8000 or email "Tickets" or call Epilepsy York Region 905-508-5404 for more information. Proudly sponsored by Galaxie Diner, Richmond Hill & Woodbridge & Spinnaker Graphics Inc.


9.         ENHANCING RIGHTS AND PERSONAL FREEDOMS:  the workshop originally scheduled for Nov. 2nd has been postponed to after the New Year to some unforeseen scheduling difficulties.


10. "Fine Motor Skills for Kindergarten & Primary children" by Shirley Sutton.  For parents, teachers, and professionals working with children with special needs. Nov. 27 6.15- 9 pm at Achimota Centre for Children with Autism, Barrie, Ont. Fees -parent $40, others $ 55. For more info contact ACCA 705-735-2336 or Shirley's website


11. Geneva Centre for Autism
our next movie night for individuals with Asperger Syndrome (AS) will be held Wednesday, October 30th, at the Regent Theatre. Individuals with AS and their guests are welcomed to attend.  Our feature film will be “Austin Powers in Goldmember” starring Mike Meyers.  The doors will open at 6:30 P.M. and the movie will commence at 7:00.  The movie and snacks are complimentary.  No reservation is necessary.

Movie Night will be held on the last Wednesday of every month, except December, June & July. You do not have to be a member of the Geneva Centre for Autism to attend. Please visit under “What’s New” at the beginning of each month for the names of the featured films.  Thank You, Kathy Deschenes

Regent Theatre is 551 Mt. Pleasant Ave, just south of Eglinton, 1 block east of Yonge and 1 block north of Davisville and the offices of Geneva Centre. Tel:  416-322-7877, ext. 229 fax:  416-322-5894






 Do you have an event, announcement, information or a request?  Email us 50 words or less at and we’ll put it in an upcoming E-News issue.  Email early to avoid disappointment! BBB Autism is not responsible for misrepresentations of persons or agencies utilizing this service. Don’t forget to include an email address if needed.  


To subscribe, e-mail please provide your name and location.  To unsubscribe, e-mail please write 'unsubscribe' in subject line. If you think you know someone who might enjoy or benefit from these newsletters, kindly forward us their email address at
(C) 2002 BBB Autism

Past Issues
Archived issues (too many to list here) are available by link in HTML, plain text and PDF on our website at



1.        Halloween

2.        Epsom Salts (Calcium too) – expanded version

3.        Epsom Salts – condensed version

4.        Pros and Cons of telling your ASD child his/her diagnosis

5.        How we advocate for our children

6.        Guide to holidays and large family gatherings

7.        Vaccine Concerns in Ontario

A notice to our readers...

The editor of this newsletter and founder of the BBB Autism support club is not a physician.

This newsletter may reference books and other web sites that may be of interest to the reader.  The editor/founder makes no presentation or warranty with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the information contained on any of these web sites or in the books, and specifically disclaims any liability for any information contained on, or omissions from, these books or web sites.  Reference to these web sites or books herein shall not be construed to be an endorsement of these web sites or books or of the information contained thereon, by the editor/founder.

The editor/founder reserves the right to make decisions as to whether contributions are appropriate with respect to content, length, etc.  We will not publish offensive material using foul language, or contributions that are inflammatory or disrespectful to decisions by or beliefs of other parents (i.e. therapies). We do not generally accept contributions if they are ads for private service agencies/clinics. We are also unable to accept contributions after an issue has been completed. We reserve the right to edit content, but will inform you in advance if we are going to do this. J

(c) BBB Autism – September 2002

This E-News is the intellectual property of BBB Autism Support Network.

Permission to reproduce and hand out is granted, provided the document is displayed in its entirety.  Other permissions may be requested by email:  The purpose of this copyright is to protect your right to make free copies of this paper for your friends and colleagues, to prevent publishers from using it for commercial advantage, and to prevent ill-meaning people from altering the meaning of the document by changing or removing a few paragraphs.