How do children with Asperger’s cope with physical illnesses?
There is no one specific way that children with Asperger’s react or deal with physical illnesses. Some children with Asperger’s tend not to be very in tune with their bodies or they don’t know how to express what they are feeling. If a boy has a sore throat, he may either not notice this or he may not understand that this is a physical symptom that should be reported to a parent. Some children with Asperger’s respond to illness with anxiety. They become upset if they are sick.
Most children with Asperger’s tend to find illness upsetting not only because they feel bad but also because it can disrupt their daily routine. If they have a stomach flu, not only are they physically uncomfortable, but they can also be kept home from school. These disruptions can be disturbing for a child with Asperger’s who thrives on order and routine.
Dealing with doctors and hospitals can be unsettling for children with Asperger’s Syndrome. Doctor’s offices and hospitals are designed to be efficient places and often nurses or doctors are not aware of a child with Asperger’s special needs. In her book entitled “Prescription for Success: Supporting Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders in the Medical Environment,” Jill Hudson, M.S., CCLS, looks at ways to make the medical experience easier for children with Asperger’s and their families. This book contains information that medical staff, parents, and educators can use to better interact with children with Autism spectrum disorders. The book contains a CD with printable forms and worksheets, which can be distributed to the people who work with your child.
It is a good idea to talk through some different medical scenarios with your child, before he or she gets sick. Children might not understand what would happen to them if they broke a bone or if they fell off their bike and needed stitches. Exposing them to these ideas before they become a reality can be very helpful should an emergency situation arise.
It can also be helpful to a child with Asperger’s if you talk to him about his own body and how it feels and how it should or shouldn’t feel. Sometimes, children with Asperger’s don’t know if some body part feels wrong or funny, and they don’t know that they should mention it to a parent. Talking through these options with your child can help raise his awareness.
The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook