Showing posts from September, 2009

The World of Aspergers: Advice to Teachers

"I've come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element in the classroom... As a teacher, I possess a tremendous power to make a child's life miserable or joyous... In all situations, it is my response that decides whether a crisis will be escalated or de-escalated and a child humanized or de-humanized." - Haim Ginott Few could disagree with the sentiments expressed by Ginott, at least in theory. Unfortunately, theory doesn't always translate into practice, at least not for kids with the enigmatic and complex disorder known as Aspergers (high functioning autism). Thus, when a crisis occurs, or worse yet escalates, it is often the youngster who is held accountable, and the teacher who is exonerated! Consultants are rarely asked to look at what the school staff needs to know and do to better understand and address the challenges that accompany Aspergers. Rather, they are all too often directed to focus their efforts on "fixing"

HFA Teens & Angry Outbursts

My son is 13 years old; he has been previously diagnosed with high functioning autism, adhd and obsessive compulsive disorder. My son lived with his father for six months while I recovered from a nervous breakdown. When I got custody of him again he was very aggressive, would hit his 6 year old brother and call him names and put him down. My ex gave him no discipline from what I gather from my son, he told me he had to raise his six year old brother for them six months. He blames me for the divorce between me and his father. I have bipolar and he doesn’t seem to understand that I am different too and that I need him to cooperate and help me as much as possible. He’s too focused on his ocd, his adhd and his autism and he uses all of these things for an excuse for all of the negative behaviors he is having. In the last past year he has changed 3 schools, and moved to a new area, which he says he hates. I’m wondering if he will adjust to the new setting and new rules that I have for

Teaching Students with Asperger Syndrome: Guidelines for Educators

Teachers can be great allies in keeping the youngster with Aspergers or High Functioning Autism safe and successful in school, but you'll need to make sure you have all the knowledge you need to help... Five Things Teachers Need to Know— If there will be any sort of change in my youngster's classroom or routine, please notify me as far in advance as possible so that we can all work together in preparing her for it. My youngster is an individual, not a diagnosis; please be alert and receptive to the things that make her unique and special. My youngster needs structure and routine in order to function. Please try to keep his world as predictable as possible. My youngster's difficulty with social cues, nonverbal communication, figurative language and eye contact are part of his neurological makeup -- he is not being deliberately rude or disrespectful. Please keep the lines of communication open between our home and the school. My youngster needs all the adults in

Aspergers Teens and Picky Eating: Questionnaire

Question: "Are you a fussy eater?" My whole life, I've found that I seem to be more fussy than most when it comes to foods. It seems to be more the texture that bothers me about the food than the taste itself. My meals consist largely of the same things every day. When I eat a particular thing, I tend to get addicted to it and will eat it constantly for days and days until I finally get sick of eating the food I kept on eating for so many days. I suspect that it's my Aspergers that has made me fussy when it comes to food. I've heard of lots of babies/toddlers with Aspergers who vomit when they try to swallow foods of certain textures. This was the case for me when it came to many types of foods when I was a young age. The main food that I remember vomiting after trying to swallow was potatoes. It was simply impossible for me to swallow mashed potatoes without throwing up or gagging until I was maybe ten years old or so. ================================

Parenting Aspergers Children: How to Cope

Question It can be exhausting coping with my 9 year old. I often feel like a failure because I struggle to cope sometimes. Is that normal? Answer The diagnosis of a serious condition such as Aspergers brings many changes and demands to the family. It is not uncommon for family members to feel depressed and the NAS Autism Helpline receives thousands of calls a year from families who are under many pressures. So you are not alone! Having a child with Aspergers has the potential to place a great deal of strain on families. Couples struggle with issues of blame, whose fault is it, and guilt. Daily routines are a constant challenge. A special needs child often comes with additional financial costs to the family. Dealing with the school can seem like a full-time job. The time that it takes to care for a special needs child can leave other family relationships with no attention. So in order to avoid burnout, parents must make time for themselves. Parents often respond to this sug

Aspergers and Sexual Behavior

Sexual behavior and Aspergers can be a real matter of concern for teachers and moms and dads throughout the world as introducing the very topic of sexual behavior and its importance to kids is a very delicate thing and can be very difficult as well and when it comes to a child or a young one with Aspergers, situations get far more complicated. A youngster with Aspergers is considered to be mildly autistic, and therefore his or her disorder is enlisted under PDD of Pervasive Developmental Disorder. In this case the youngster learns the language with ease and without any delays unlike an autistic youngster, but he or she continues to have problems relating to social interactions as well as in understanding the point of view of another person. It is very difficult for a person with Aspergers to express his or her own feelings and it also gets very hard for them to understand the various social norms and cues. This particular disability leads to certain inappropriate sexual behaviors li

Aspergers and HFA Children Who Are Addicted To The Computer

Question My son was diagnosed with Aspergers, he talks fine, eye contact sometimes, but still in his own world. He is ten. At the age of 3 or 4 was playing video games and beating all of them from Zelda to hand held games. Good visual, but socialization not good, he has been on the computer now for a good year and a half, taught himself language C and language C++, goes on Youtube, became a spammer, writes his own programs, don't really know what they do. Lives almost his social life through it. Don't know what to do. Can't get him off, he literally cries. But so smart, but can't figure out what to do for him next. Please help. Answer Here are some "self-help" strategies for computer addiction: Some Aspergers and high-functioning autistic (HFA) children develop bad habits in their computer use that cause them significant problems in their lives. The types of behavior and negative consequences are similar to those of known

Aspergers/HFA and ADD

"My 12 year old was recently diagnosed with having asperger's. He doesn't fit the typical mold that I read about, and the neuro-psychologist agreed that he is an unusual case. He is extremely likable, has a good many friends, very polite and well mannered. He does however have the obsessive personality and hyper-focusing that is typical with asperger's as well as fascination with collecting things, bottle caps, shark teeth...which he can look for hours at a time for. He is very smart and has always made great grades and has never had behavior issues at home or at school, which is probably why he flew under the radar until now. Our struggles have to do with his if he is ADD (tested negative three times). He literally cannot stay on task and is so easily distracted. After a "pep" talk stating that he "owns" his brain and he can control the urges if he puts his mind to it...he can produce. I know its short term but he doesn’t and

Aspergers and Sibling Issues

Question Our youngest son has been diagnosed with Aspergers and demands a lot of our attention. What can I do to reassure his two elder sister's that we're not neglecting them? Answer Explaining Aspergers (high functioning autism) isn’t easy no matter who you are talking to. It’s not something that can be described in a single sentence. There are problems, because you cannot tell just by looking at someone whether or not they have Aspergers. Also, because the causes of Aspergers are yet to be clearly identified, it can sometimes be difficult convincing people that the condition actually exists. You could try explaining to older kids that children with Aspergers basically have problems in three major areas of interest. This is usually part of the criteria for diagnosing Aspergers. These areas are: 1. Imagination—This is the ability to think about things that aren’t real. Kids with Aspergers tend not to be interested in games that involve pretending to be

Aspergers and Anti-Social Behavior

Question My son is 14 with ADHD and aspergers. My housing association wont recognise this and want an ASBO placed on him, otherwise an Injuction placed on myself to take full responsibility for my sons anti-social behaviour. Surely this cannot be possible and so unfair on my son and myself. What can I do? Any ideas please... Answer For many moms and dads of kids with Aspergers (high-functioning autism), coping with violent and aggressive behavior can be a very difficult challenge indeed. Aggressive behavior occurs for a reason, just as it would with any other kid. No child ever really just "acts out" for no apparent reason whatsoever. The key is in the words "apparent reason." There is ALWAYS a reason, but the major challenge for the mother or father is often working out what that reason is. Inappropriate behavior, whether mild or severe, generally occurs in order to: Avoid something - for example, the youngster may become aggressive and shout

Aspergers Children and Anger Control Problems

Question My 21 year old son is very fidgety, interrupts while I'm speaking with him and has basically lost all his friends over the years. He gets mad about things (like why we circumcised him when he was a baby) that normally would not bother anyone. If something goes wrong in his life (which seems to be a daily occurrence), it is someone's fault. He went from being a popular child to being a loner. I had him move in with his dad because he kept starting fights with his younger brother - obsessing that his younger brother was gay and that he would beat the crap out of him if he found that out. It just seems he is getting worse now. Years ago I had taken him for counseling and they said he was depressed and was very "sensitive" to what was going on. However, this sensitivity has gotten into the danger point where you never know what might set him off. Since he is 21 it is next to impossible to get him to see anyone (no insurance) but he has admitted to m

Do you have tips for toilet training a young child with Asperger’s?

Question Do you have tips for toilet training a young child with Asperger’s? Answer Toilet training your child with Asperger’s will most likely be difficult for you as a parent. If you have potty trained an older child, you will find this experience likely to be very different. Methods that work with some children are typically based on a child’s desire to please the parent and often based on a reward system. Many parents have relied heavily on ‘the M&M method’ or the ‘shoot the Cheerios in the bowl’ trick. These are not typically effective with children with Asperger’s, as children with Asperger’s don’t tend to have the same desire to please and have a more difficult time changing behaviors. With children with Asperger’s, it can be effective to try to change only one behavior at a time. Concentrate on teaching a child to either pee or poop in the potty, not both at the same time. Watch your child to see if you see signs that your child is aware of needing to use the toile

Aspergers Children and Gym Class

It is quite likely that kids with Aspergers will start gym classes just as any other normal kid would, that is with enthusiasm and expectations, but it is important to be careful while mixing gym class and Aspergers together in order to ensure that the experience does not become an uncomfortable one for the youngster with Aspergers. The problems that an Aspergers youngster may have in gym classes may be related to a number of problems that they face due to their unfortunate disorder, like impaired motor skills which make it difficult for them to take quick instructions or make quick movements and thereby to play baseball, soccer or any other physically demanding sports. A gymnasium can be loud and the confusing commotion created there in combination with the players and students yelling and the coach blowing in his whistle can be devastating for certain Aspergers youngster as they are sometimes super-sensitive to noise. Another problem faced by the Aspergers youngster is the fact

Aspergers and Mixed State Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder’s Mixed State and Aspergers is often confused, but they are not one and the same. Certain features may coincide, but the two disorders can usually be differentiated on the ground that Aspergers kids are not interested in their friendship with peers, but children with bipolar disorder show interest in peer activities (although their aggressive impulses often render it useless). Bipolar disorder is a comorbid condition found rarely in Aspergers, but when it is found, it makes the clinical condition of the child even more complicated. The Mixed Stage is the most dangerous and difficult stage of the bipolar disorder, and in combination with Aspergers, it becomes even more dangerous. It is not necessary that all children with Aspergers will also develop the bipolar mixed disorder, and neither is it vice versa, but it is present sometimes. Bipolar Disorder, which may or may not co-exist with Aspergers, has the following symptoms and features: • A condition which combi

Aspergers/HFA Children and Excessive Crying

Question My 9 year old daughter cries all the time. When I tell her about something she has done wrong or try and correct something... she starts crying – even when she spills a drink or something on herself. I never shout or even tell her off... I think she would faint if I did!! She must have uncontrolled emotions or something, not being able to deal with them properly perhaps. Answer Can there be too much crying? Should we be concerned at some point when school-aged children cry? I think yes. Often Aspergers and high functioning autistic (HFA) children feel criticized by their parents who tell them that they shouldn't cry. Hurt, they may cry more when told to stop crying. That's why I think we should downplay the message, "Don't cry," and play up the message, "Let's think of better ways you could handle this situation without crying." This approach makes us allies, trying to help our children grow up. Another key for parents

Aspergers Teens and Computer Game Addiction

Question I have a 14 year old daughter who was diagnosed with Aspergers. She is currently attending a special needs school. Her main interest is to play games on the computer. She will get onto one of the Internet Multi Player Games and will not want to get off. We have implemented a timer program which only gives her a finite time that she can use the computer before it tells her that the time is up. Once the time is up she then asks us for more time. If we do not give her more time, she blows up into a fit of rage and may throw things or break things or physically bang her head into objects. We worry about our safety and hers when she does not get what she wants. How should we as parents react to this?? Answer The short answer is download the My Aspergers Child eBook , because all the help you'll need in dealing with your daughter's rage will be addressed there. The long answer is as follows ... Here are some symptoms or signs of video game addiction a