Ask the Expert – Allison Benedict, Cleveland Clinic Lerner School for Autism

Are you one of the many parents raising a child with autism alongside a child who is not on the spectrum? We understand the complex challenges that arise in your situation, so we wanted to make sure there was a session just for you at our conference next month.

Join Allison Benedict from the Cleveland Clinic Center for Autism on Friday, June 15th at 12:15pm for the session, “Addressing the Needs of Neurotypical Siblings”. Bringing a breadth of knowledge gained from being a licensed early intervention specialist and board certified behavior analyst, Allison will discuss research on negative and positive effects of having a sibling with ASD, evidence-based ways to have a better outcome, and how to educate neurotypical siblings on the diagnosis of autism, while supporting them for better adjustment.

What are the most commonly asked questions that come from parents concerned about the impact of an ASD diagnosis on their neurotypical child(ren)?

One of the first questions that parents ask is how to explain the diagnosis to their neurotypical children. They also want to know how to find a balance between supporting the needs of their child with autism while also being able to carve out time out with their neurotypical child(ren).

What is one of the positive effects of having a sibling with ASD?

There are many positive effects including greater empathy, compassion, understanding, kindness, and more positive interactions with others. Additionally, siblings tend to have higher self-esteem.

What advice would you give parents who want to take immediate steps after attending your session to establish better supports for their neurotypical child(ren)?

I think one of the most important things that parents can do after the session is sit down and talk with their neurotypical child(ren). This will give their children an opportunity to discuss their thoughts, feelings, and concerns, and parents can address any unanswered questions. It will also allow parents to determine what strategies and resources might best suit their child’s needs.

What do you enjoy the most about serving as School Administrator for Cleveland Clinic Center for Autism?

I love the variety of roles that I get to play! I truly enjoy meeting with and helping families. I’m able to work closely with our staff to consistently provide the best possible services to all of our students. Most of all, I love seeing the growth that our students make on a daily basis.

We are so excited to have you as a speaker this year. What interested you in being a part of the Milestones Conference?

It’s such a great opportunity to connect with families and other professionals, share knowledge and expertise, and learn from others.

Learn more about “Addressing the Needs of Neurotypical Siblings” and other conference sessions here. 


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