Game Obsessions in AS and HFA Children

"How can I get my son (high functioning autistic) to focus less on his favorite video game (Call of Duty) and spend more time doing other things? He is truly obsessed with war games. It's all he ever talks about."

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Aspergers Summer Camps for Teens

"I am interested in summer camps or programs for teenagers with Asperger’s. Can you tell me where I can find out about them and what things I should consider before sending my son there? (He’s 15.)"

Summer camps for children with Asperger’s Syndrome and/or other developmental disorders have been designed to provide enjoyable, educational experiences. You will want to consider many of the benefits that the camps offer. The camps provide help, safety, and education for children who also benefit from therapeutic recreation. At a summer camp, your child can build feelings of competency, success, confidence, and self-esteem. An ideal camp will have both indoor and outdoor activities for children, ideally in small groups.

Most camps now employ behavioral specialists to supervise and counsel the children about any issues that might arise during their tenure at the camp. They help with teaching children life skills in an environment that reduces stress and encourages learning and self sufficiency. Their goal is to offer a learning experience while maintaining health and safety standards. These individuals are knowledgeable in adaptive therapeutic programs, and they assist the children with relational or motor activities. Noted courses include Adaptive Physical Education, Art Therapy, Group Therapy, Movement and Dance, and Literacy Development.

Academics are an important part of many camps. Children who have individual educational plans (IEPs) can work through the assignments and goals while enjoying themselves at the camp. The child can follow a curriculum that has been designed in conjunction with his teachers and parents. In a sense, the camp can act as a ‘summer school’ for the children, and they can get a head start studying subjects that they will focus on during the academic year. The child with Asperger’s will acquire new skills and advance in cognitive abilities.

If your son has never experienced an extended vacation or camp experience, he will have many questions. He will want to know how long he will be gone, what will be expected of him, whom he will be meeting, how he will be expected to behave, and when he will be returning home.

When he is at camp, he might want to stay in contact with you. He can be given a cell phone to take with him, and most camps now have computers with internet access available to the children. He will want to know what days and times he can contact you and how long, if applicable, he can speak with you. Maintaining contact with you during his stay at camp will help minimize feelings of homesickness and dependency on you. This experience will be a significant step toward maturity and self sufficiency that all children must take.

Famous Autistic People

Autism has no boundaries and is not prejudiced. It can occur in any family. Many people have become very successful, despite a diagnosis of autism.

Dr. Temple Grandin is well known for her writings on autism, "seeing in pictures," and for her inventions in the area of animal science.  She understands the challenges of autism, but for herself, understands it more as a gift. She believes it has given her the ability to visualize things that others could not.

Along the autism spectrum, there are many creative geniuses who are speculated to have had autistic tendencies or Asperger's syndrome. Here are just a few:

Bill Gates, creator of the Microsoft corporation, is speculated to have personality characteristics similar to Asperger's syndrome.

Dylan Scott Pierce is an American born wildlife artist with autism.

Donna Williams is a best selling author from Australia. Her works include 'Nobody Nowhere' and 'Somebody Somewhere'.

Michelle Dawson is an autistic individual who actively works as an autism researcher and autism rights activist.

Lucy Blackman, Australian born, is a University educated author.

Jonathan Lerman is an American born artist.

Some people, such as Temple Grandin, suggest that autism and genius are closely related. Dr. Grandin believes that autistic individuals have an ability to see things beyond what the average person sees. Because of this, they have the ability to excel in areas that are commonly reserved for individuals who have proven to be geniuses.

Certainly there are challenges in both communication and social skills for autistic individuals, but they have the ability to succeed in ways that many neurotypicals do not.

The Parenting Autism Resource Guide: A Complete Resource Guide For Parents Who Have Children Diagnosed With Autism

Telling Others About My Aspergers Child

"My 6 year old son has just been diagnosed with Asperger’s, and I’d like to know what to tell friends, neighbours, teachers, and extended family to help them understand his behaviour."

Asperger’s was first noticed in 1944, and it was first seen in children that had been diagnosed with autistic personality disorder. A researcher by the name of Asperger worked with children and saw that they exhibited delays in social maturity, social reasoning, and social abilities. He found verbal- and non-verbal impairments in communication, especially when the children attempted to converse. Asperger also observed that the children had difficulties controlling emotions, but they could intellectualize their feelings.

Further research by Asperger found that the children became preoccupied with various interests and these would dominate their thought processes. Asperger also found that some of the children were having learning problems, difficulty with coordination, and that they exhibited a marked sensitivity to certain smells, sounds, and textures.

You can start sharing information by giving friends and relatives an introduction to Asperger’s using the above paragraphs. This will provide them with some history and context. Sharing information on any illness or diagnosis requires tact and discretion. You might want to tell the people in your life on a “need-to-know” basis.

It is very important to stress that a diagnosis of Asperger’s does not make your child “weird” or inferior. Make sure you stress the positive elements that can be found in people with Asperger’s. There are actors, authors, researchers, and scientists who have been diagnosed with Asperger’s, and they have achieved seemingly insurmountable life goals. When your friends and relatives are aware of these facts, it will help dispel the mystery and confusion that surrounds Asperger’s.

When you discuss Asperger’s with children, you can use classroom materials that have been developed to assist children in understanding this diagnosis. Look for a local group that helps people and their relatives cope with Asperger’s.

After you have shared some of the above information, ask the people you are talking with if they have any questions or concerns about anything that you have discussed. Let them know that any question or concern they may have is valid, and you are not going to be offended by their inquiries. Not only will this ease communications, it will prove you to be a mature, open-minded individual who loves your child and cares about friends and family.

The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide: A Complete Resource Guide For Parents Who Have Children Diagnosed With Aspergers Syndrome


•    Anonymous said... I'm having the same issue but with Boy Scouts.
•    Anonymous said... in school give the diagnosis to the head diagnostician and fight for everything you can get. Get involved in Apsie mom support groups and maybe even take an advocate with you to help walk you through the process. I typically don't say anything until I get a look or mostly they ask. I figure why introduce him with a label. and when they do I just tell them right out, he has aspergers so he has issues with social skills. Mostly that is all you have to say if they want to know more tell them. and yes, look me in the eye when I am talking to you is a GREAT book to read and pass along to friends and family members.
•    Anonymous said... Look Me in the Eye by John Elder Robinson is a great book to buy and loan out to friends and family. It is an autobiography by an "Aspie". Be sure to meet with the school and get an IEP. Good luck,
•    Anonymous said... Once my son was diagnosed I was able to understand him better which then made me handle situations better. If I think anything is going to upset him I remove him from the situation or we just don't do it. I've learned to "read" him and his actions in a way. I don't feel the need to explain his behavior. Close family, friends and the school know. His teacher, resource teacher and school counselor discussed him and his behaviors prior to school starting. We also met with his teacher the day before school started and discussed ours and his concerns. His teacher and I are in close email contact. I also have a autism tattoo on my fore arm that seems to strike up a lot of conversation in public. I don't want him to be "labeled" he struggles enough without a label.
•    Anonymous said... Professor Tony Attwood is a clinical psychologist known world wide for his knowledge of Aspergers Syndrome.
•    Anonymous said... The first instinct is a preventative strike to prep people for the "not average" social challenges presented by our children. But at the same time labeling before someone gets to know your son could be used improperly by well meaning but uninformed people. The fine line when to notify and when not to should be crossed when an adult will have behavior judgments over your child. Teachers, club leaders etc. They need to know that Aspergers is not a behavior problem but a problem interpreting external stimuli. Their intervention for young children living with Aspergers to help them cope with change and discomforts is what we need for our kids. If someone accidentally began assigning punitive measures for responses that are not the child's choice would be harmful.

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