Tips For Teens With Aspergers: How To Avoid Being A 'Geek'

1. Before you do anything, make sure you acknowledge the fact that you do some things well. Just because you find school or work hard doesn't mean that everything else is hard, too.

2. Brush your teeth 2-3 times daily, rinse out your mouth and spit. With the remaining toothpaste in your mouth, brush your tongue. Place brush on the back of your tongue and scrape forward. This will significantly reduce bad breath. Flossing also reduces oral bacteria and removes solid food particles to freshen breath.

3. Wash your face every morning and night. If your face is very oily, do it 3 times a day. Make sure to pay attention to the sleep that gathers in the corners of the eyes.

4. Clip and clean your fingernails and toenails at least once every week or once every two weeks, it depends on how much you're nails grow.

5. Consult a psychologist, licensed social worker, occupational therapist, or a psychiatrist to learn more about Aspergers. As therapists, they may develop a treatment plan to assist with daily living.

6. Cover your mouth or turn away from people when you cough and sneeze. It's not just manners, as you could spread illness even when healthy. It is now being taught to cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow/sleeve. This keeps germs from your hands which might contaminate others before you get an opportunity to wash.

7. Decide how you're going to tackle a particular problem, what you're going to need, and then plan out how you're going to do it. For example, if you are being bullied in school, you can plan to avoid the bully as much as possible, and find out what behavior makes them do it more and avoid doing it, or tell the class teacher. Or if you're falling behind in class, you could find out your individual "learning style" (type "VAK model" into Google for details of this) and use this as a basis for your learning approach. Most problems have a solution!

8. Do not over-apply perfume or cologne. Many people are allergic to perfumes and you will, unknowingly, cause a reaction. Plus, there is no reason for people to "smell you coming" or smell you once you've left the room. Dab a little on your wrists or neck for a subtle smell.

9. Don't think of Aspergers as a disease – think of it as a personality type. Every personality type has its positives and negatives. People with Aspergers are generally very intelligent, but need help with social skills, such as anxiety management, choice making, and being optimistic.

10. Focus on the positives.

11. Have special "coping strategies" to help you cope with tough situations. But don't try anything self-destructive. That will just make your situation worse.

12. Join some clubs that feature activities of interest. Aspies tend to be interested in a few narrow activities, and uninterested in anything outside of them.

13. Learn when it is appropriate to touch and approach people. Practice what you learned and try to follow the treatment plan recommendations.

14. Learn which specific aspects of Aspergers give you the most trouble, and try to work around them.

15. Maintain eye contact, but do not stare. The best way to achieve eye contact is to look at their left eye briefly and then shift to their right eye.

16. Memorize people's behavior when they are distressed. Ask friends how actions may have caused distress. Ask friends how to prevent causing distress in the future.

17. Practice good bathroom hygiene. Always wipe yourself clean and wash your hands using plenty of soap and warm water.

18. Pray and trust in your Higher Power [I call my Higher Power “God”].

19. Remember to talk with people – don't "talk at" them. A good ratio in a one on one conversation is to listen about 60% of the time and talk about 30%. Try not to talk for more than five to ten minutes at a time. Let the other person, or people, set the pace of the conversation.

20. Remember, some agencies have special social and support groups for people with Aspergers. Look around to see if there is one around you and join one! This will give you a safe place to make friends and learn social skills.

21. Seek support from family and friends.

22. Shower or bathe daily. Many people fail to do this and are incorrect when assuming they do not smell. What happens is your nose gets fatigued thereby, not being able to smell your odor. This effect occurs with car air fresheners as well. You won't smell it after a time, while others will smell it right away.

23. Try to behave in a manner that is seen as acceptable. Allow enough of your uniqueness through to intrigue people, but try to keep most of it under control.

24. Use a treatment plan to develop social skills. Some of the things practiced may include learning how to converse with people in different social situations. Try to follow your plan as well as possible. If you do not succeed at some points, it doesn't matter - so long as you learn from it and try to limit mistakes. Everybody has off days. Alternatively, this could mean your plan needs some changes to make it right for you.

25. Wash and change your clothes. You don't have to throw clothes into the wash after one usage (with the exception of underwear). But know when to throw clothes into the wash. If you stain your clothes or sweat during the day, then wash them. Dirty clothes are another source of bad odor.

26. Make sure you wash your hair on a regular basis. You may not realize it but your hair can hold odors that others find offensive. Also brush your hair daily, especially when you are going to be in public.

27. Wash your hands after using the bathroom, before eating and after possible contamination. Whenever possible, wash your hands and use a towel to dry them. When washing hands it is recommended that you use soap, and lather the soap in warm water for at least 15 seconds. You can sing Happy Birthday in this amount of time.

28. Wear deodorant. It doesn't matter if you think you don't smell or barely sweat. Just buy deodorant and use it. The issue mentioned above applies here too. You may stink of sour or musky sweat and not realize it. It's better to be safe than sorry, as it's cheap and convenient to apply. At worst, you go from smelling like nothing to smelling lightly of deodorant. At best, you go from driving people away to smelling better.

29. You need to write down what you think you find the most difficult about school and/or work. Maybe it's the crowds and noise, or perhaps the worry about bullying, or teachers stereotyping you as "thick". Whatever you choose to put down on there, everybody has something that causes them hassle.

30. Exercise, eat right, and get 8 hours of sleep every night.

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