HELP FOR PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH ASPERGER'S & HIGH-FUNCTIONING AUTISM

Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders

Search This Site

Help for Children on the Autism Spectrum with Poor Motor Coordination

“What tips might you have for an HFA child who is a bit clumsy and has sloppy handwriting?”

Children with High-Functioning Autism (HFA) and Asperger’s (AS) are often physically awkward. Many have stiff, uncoordinated gaits - and struggle in games involving motor skills. Also, they often experience fine-motor deficits that can cause penmanship problems, slow clerical speed, and affect their ability to draw.

Other coordination problems that children on the spectrum may experience include:
  • difficulty moderating the amount of sensory information that their body is constantly sending them, and as a result, they are prone to sensory overload and anxiety
  • fatigue due to so much extra energy being expended while trying to execute physical movements correctly
  • low muscle tone
  • moderate to extreme difficulty performing physical tasks 
  • poor sense of direction 
  • problems with balance 
  • struggling to distinguish left from right

Here are some tips for parents and teachers:

1.  Children on the autism spectrum usually benefit from guidelines drawn on paper that help them control the size and uniformity of the letters they write. This also forces them to take the time to write carefully.

2.  When assigning timed units of work, make sure the youngster's slower writing speed is taken into account.

3.  Refer the youngster for adaptive physical education program if gross motor problems are severe.

4.  Children with HFA and AS may require a highly individualized writing program that entails tracing and copying on paper, coupled with motor-patterning on the blackboard. The teacher guides the youngster's hand repeatedly through the formation of letters and letter connections - and also uses a verbal script. Once the youngster commits the script to memory, he or she can talk himself or herself through letter formations independently.

5.  Involve the youngster in a health & fitness curriculum in physical education, rather than in a competitive sports program.

6.  These “special needs” kids often need more time than their peers to complete exams. Taking exams in the resource room not only offers more time, but would also provide the added structure and teacher redirection these kids need to focus on the task at hand.

7.  Do not push the youngster to participate in competitive sports, because his or her poor motor coordination may only invite frustration and the teasing from peers. Also, the HFA or AS child usually lacks the social understanding of coordinating one's own actions with those of others on a team.

Treatment—


Physical or occupational therapists can work with HFA and AS children to develop and improve their physical skills and strengthen their muscles. Targeted multi-sensory interventions include:
  • Perceptual Motor Training: This involves retraining the child’s body to recognize and prioritize various sources of stimuli and respond accordingly (e.g., he or she may learn how to use certain muscle groups rather than others while walking or grasping things).
  • Sensory Integrative Therapy: This teaches the child how to properly absorb and sort information about sensory experiences (e.g., touch, body position, sound, etc.).

For some HFA and AS kids, poor motor coordination lessens over time. For others, the lack of coordination continues through adolescence and into young adulthood. Though early intervention is better than later intervention, treatment received as an adult can still help lessen the severity of symptoms.


Highly Acclaimed Parenting Programs Offered by Online Parent Support, LLC:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

==> Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

____________________

Do you need the advice of a professional who specializes in parenting children and teens with Autism Spectrum Disorders?  Sign-up for Online Parent Coaching today.

Poor Concentration in Students on the Autism Spectrum: Tips for Teachers

“Any tips for assisting my autistic student (high-functioning) with staying more focused and on task?”

Children with High-Functioning Autism (HFA) and Asperger’s are often off task, distracted by internal stimuli, can be very disorganized, and have difficulty sustaining focus on classroom activities. Often it is not that the attention is poor, rather that the focus is "odd."

In other words, the child can’t figure out what is relevant, so attention is often focused on irrelevant stimuli. In addition, these “special needs” students tend to withdrawal into complex inner worlds in a manner much more intense than is typical of daydreaming.

Here are a few suggestions to help with poor concentration in students on the autism spectrum:

1.  Work out a nonverbal signal with your HFA student (e.g., a gentle pat on the shoulder) for times when he or she is not attending.

2.  Encourage the student to leave his or her inner thoughts and fantasies behind and refocus on the real world. This will be easier said than done though, because the comfort of that inner world is most likely much more attractive than anything in real life.

Even free play needs to be structured, because kids on the spectrum can become so immersed in solitary, ritualized fantasy-play that they lose touch with reality. For example, encouraging your student to play a board game with one or two others under close supervision not only structures play, but offers an opportunity to practice social skills.

3.  When possible, seat your HFA student at the front of the class and direct frequent questions to him or her. This may also help the child to attend to the lessons.

4. Children with HFA and Asperger’s often benefit from timed work-sessions. This keeps their interest levels up and helps them stay organized. Factors that cause the “special needs” student to lose interest during the allocated time-frame include:
  • Over-reliance on seat-work
  • Uninteresting and overly demanding lessons and other non-engaging activities
  • Uneven transitions between activities
  • Inefficient classroom-management that disrupts the learning flow (e.g., disorderly material distribution or disorganized assignment collection)
  • Unscheduled interruptions


5.  Students on the autism spectrum need firm expectations and a structured program that teaches them that compliance with rules leads to positive reinforcement. This approach motivates the youngster to be productive, thus enhancing self-esteem and lowering stress levels (because the youngster sees himself or herself as competent).

6.  Poor concentration, slow clerical speed, and severe disorganization may make it necessary to (a) lessen the child’s homework and classwork load, and (b) provide time in a resource room where a special education teacher can provide the additional structure the youngster needs to complete the work.

Bear in mind that many young people with HFA and Asperger’s are so unable to concentrate that it places undue stress on parents to expect that they spend hours each night trying to get through homework with their youngster.

7.  Consider using a “buddy system.” If one is used, sit the youngster's buddy next to him or her so the buddy can remind the HFA youngster to return to task or listen to the lesson.

8.  A tremendous amount of regimented external structure must be provided if your student is to be productive in the classroom. Assignments should be broken down into small units, and frequent teacher feedback and redirection should be offered.


Highly Acclaimed Parenting Programs Offered by Online Parent Support, LLC:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

==> Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

____________________

Do you need the advice of a professional who specializes in parenting children and teens with Autism Spectrum Disorders?  Sign-up for Online Parent Coaching today.
Do you need the advice of a professional who specializes in parenting children and teens with Autism Spectrum Disorders? Sign-up for Online Parent Coaching today.

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the Aspergers child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

Click here to read the full article…

How to Prevent Meltdowns in Aspergers Children

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and the Asperger’s child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

Click here for the full article...

Parenting Defiant Aspergers Teens

Although Aspergers is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager with Aspergers are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the Aspergers teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

Click here to read the full article…

Older Teens and Young Adult Children With Aspergers Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with Aspergers face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

Click here to read the full article…

Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

Click here
to read the full article...

Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and HFA

Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

Click here for the full article...

My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content