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"Job Interview Tips" for Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

Marcus and his boss, Mr. Whitfield
The economy is pretty shaky right now, and many businesses are making some changes. For some, that might mean a job interview, which can be especially stressful for those teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism.

The most important thing to do before going into a job interview is to try to relax. We’re going to set up a relaxing “space” now, before the job interview, so you can use it during the interview:

Take a breath. Seriously, right now, as you read this, take a deep breath. Breathing is a way to calm yourself, move your chattering thoughts into the grounding influence of your body, and exist in the present moment. The more you can get into the habit of taking a deep, conscious breath, the more your body will connect it with slowing down and relaxing. Practicing a deep breath in a safe, calm environment will help you access those same calming feelings when you repeat the breath during your job interview. Also, it can be helpful to think of a soothing phrase like, "It’s OK." …"You’re fine." …"You can do this" (keep the phrase short, positive and silent).

As you think about and prepare for your job interview, continue to practice the breathing technique. When you get stressed about what might go wrong, take a breath and say to yourself, "It’s OK." When you remember things that went wrong in past job interviews, take a breath, calm yourself, and then figure out the lesson of that situation.

Your future employer expects you to breathe, so this calming technique is something you can use during the job interview. As you walk into the job interview room, take a breath. If you have a break during the job interview, remember to take a breath. Tell yourself, "You can do this." Of course you can!

Here are some more "job interview" tips by Marcus, a 17-year-old young man with Aspergers:

1. All the same rules apply in the workplace as they do anywhere else. But the one difference is that there is something at stake - your job. This means it is extra important to keep a clean slate, or you might be a target for scapegoating, which is a very nasty threat to your job.

2. You will meet three different kinds of people in the workplace: Meek, Assertive, and Aggressive. Aim to be the assertive type.

3. Remember that first impressions are extremely important.

4. If in doubt -- keep quiet. This is often seen as a good quality in the office.

5. If you are doing your own research, you may find yourself in a situation where you wish to patent copyright or create proof of ownership of a piece of work you have produced. The easiest thing to do is to make a copy, seal it in an envelope, and post it to your home address. It gets the date stamped on it in the post. Don't open the envelope when it arrives, but keep it sealed and stored away in a safe place. Recorded delivery may be more reliable and legally airtight. Also, keep any notes you have written while producing your work. You now have legal proof that it is your work and should not have to worry too much about it falling into the wrong hands.

6. In an interview, body language is extra important, and you want to look confident and relaxed. You are also expected to sit still with your arms by your side or on your lap and a good posture. You are expected to speak clearly and professionally.

7. Know what your skills and talents are. Like it or not, as a person with Aspergers, some jobs will be more suitable for you than others.

8. Prepare as many possible answers for as many possible questions as you can, but don't over-rehearse your answers.

9. The interviewer will often drop you a few hints towards the end of the interview (using mainly body language) to let you know whether you are likely or unlikely to get the job.

10. There are courses and classes around that teach interview techniques. You may want to take a class on this subject.

Launching Adult Children With Aspergers: How To Promote Self-Reliance


BEST COMMENT:
Found the interview advice tips very help full. Our son is waiting to see if he has got an engineering apprenticeship. If he is offered a place, it will involve an interview with the company which may be interested in taking him on. We are keeping our fingers crossed for him. These tips may come in handy. Thanks Marcus!

LEGO Engineering Online Class for Students with Special Needs

It is with a great deal of pleasure that I am writing to you about All About Learning, Inc. and our wonderful enrichment programs being taught throughout Michigan, and over 30 other U.S States. We use creative ways to teach Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM). Operating since 2002, with classes ranging from LEGO Engineering, Robotics, to Video Game Making, we are proud to teach thousands of students each year.

We are also proud to announce our "LEGO Engineering On-Line Class” for children with special needs such as Aspergers, Autism and ADHD. Please read the following program description:

LEGO Engineering Online for Students with Special Needs

The class consists of engineering theory and instruction plus 6 very complex building exercises. Lessons harness the motivational effects of LEGOs to teach math and science, 3 dimensional shapes, patterning, comparing and contrasting objects, extending patterns, shapes, language arts, listening and following directions and learning mechanical vocabulary. This class is an on-line version of our ever popular Elementary Engineering held in a classroom. Once registered for this course, you will be sent a LEGO kit with over 1,000 very advanced LEGO pieces. When you receive the kit in the mail, then you are ready to take the class. Yes, you keep the kit when the class is over! Intended for K-8 students.

Video Game Making Class

This instructor facilitated On-Line class will teach how to design and modify your own exciting arcade style video games. You'll learn how to control characters, objects and outcomes in your game, then increase the difficulty level and add more features. Learn how to design your own version of PacMan and several other games. Students will participate in this class at home using their own computer, or, in a school computer lab. For ages 10 thru adults. 7 weeks.

We have experience working with grant programs and children with special needs. Please visit our website at: All About Learning

Helping Your Aspergers Child Survive the Holidays

This is an article designed to help parents of children who have Aspergers through the holiday seasons... 

We all have fond memories of our own childhood, when we looked forward to putting up the decorations, eating mouth watering meals and receiving all those longed for presents at Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas.

As parents we naturally want our children to enjoy it all and have as much fun as we did so we talk, anticipate and prepare with mounting excitement as the celebrations draw nearer. However for those families who are raising a child with Aspergers, it may all add up to an almighty headache! Children with Aspergers have a real hard time coping with all of these celebrations, and if they have their birthday on top of that… well you may as well pack up and go away until Spring!

Anticipation for a child with Aspergers leads to increased levels of anxiety which they cannot control. They become overloaded, and then you have a massive meltdown at the time when you are all supposed to be enjoying and celebrating the season of peace and goodwill! The party may be ruined and everybody upset, especially your child who is trying so hard to fit in and be like everybody else. 

So how can you achieve the impossible and enjoy the holiday season while at the same time keeping your Aspergers child calm and behaving appropriately?

The first simple step to take is to simply reduce the time talking about the festive occasion. Remember he can't easily control his emotions, and to chatter constantly about the event will simply lead to stress and anxiety. It is useful to enlist the help of others in your home in this and keep any conversations to a minimum while your Aspergers child is around.

Another great strategy to help is to keep any physical changes to your home to the minimum, so by all means decorate, put up cards and a tree, but just don’t make a big fuss about it all. A good tip is to not put out any presents until the day they are to be opened as your Aspergers child will have a hard time keeping their hands off and will became anxious and potentially oppositional.

Although it’s important not to overload your child, it is equally important to explain any changes to her routines. So prepare your child for any changes by calmly telling her the day before what will be happening. Visual supports always work well, so use photos or simple pictures to explain what will be happening. It is also important to explain to your child what is expected of her (e.g., to say "hello how are you" to guests and sit at the table to share the meal).

Your child will also need to be given permission to leave the festivities, and you can rehearse this together with some simple role-play. This is really important as it gives your child an exit strategy and also allows her to get through the celebrations without going into meltdown. Additionally if you see that he is becoming distressed, you can also activate an exit cue so your child gets out before the situation deteriorates. 

Following these simple steps should lead to a much more positive experience for everyone, and will provide your Aspergers child with the love, support, reassurance - and above all confidence - to participate fully in these wonderful occasions.

So to summarize briefly, it is important to keep preparations and discussions around the holidays to a minimum when the child with Aspergers is around. Preparing her as to what will be expected of her at this time, as well as incorporating an exit strategy, will help further. Good luck!
 
The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide: A Complete Resource Guide For Parents Who Have Children Diagnosed With Aspergers Syndrome


Comment:

I want to thank you for this. Holidays....all holidays...are very hard for my boy and the family, and its good to know im not alone or imagining this.

Aspergers Girls and Relationships

"Please can you tell me about girls with Aspergers and their friends and relationships?"

People who study and treat Aspergers state that the number of girls with Aspergers is equal to that of boys; however, the girls are not diagnosed as often because the syndrome presents itself differently in girls. The common behaviors seen in both girls and boys with Aspergers are as follows:
  • Difficulty reading social cues and body language
  • Problems with social skills
  • Demonstrating impatience
  • Difficulty developing empathy for others

A notable difference between girls and boys with Aspergers is that boys will act out aggressively when they are frustrated. As a result, they get attention from adults while the girls remain silent about their frustrations. The girls appear to be shy or passive and adults overlook their problems; they have average or above-average intelligence that helps to hide their social awkwardness.

There is a book entitled Pretending To Be Normal; it is an autobiography written by Liane Holliday-Willey, who has Aspergers. It discusses the difficulties that girls have with Aspergers. The thesis of the book is that girls do not understand how to process their feelings and express their emotions in socially acceptable ways. As a result, they become people-pleasers. They are seen with smiles on their faces that mask the problems they are having. There are many social scientists who believe that girls are better at camouflaging their disorder because they are socialized to be passive and submissive.

Passivity isn’t the only detectable symptom of Aspergers in females. Young females with Aspergers learn to mimic the behaviors of other children, and this happens when there are role models present. If no role models are available, girls with Aspergers do not learn proper behavior; they will learn behavioral “scripts” that facilitate their interactions with other people. Also, they might use dolls as substitute friends and create their own insulated lives with their dolls.

During the elementary school years, girls with Aspergers will find one good friend who is matronly. This friend becomes the link between the girl and the outside world. This friend can provide support and encouragement to the girl, but if the friend moves away, the girl with Aspergers can experience extremely negative consequences.

The sooner that a young girl is properly diagnosed with Aspergers, the sooner she can obtain professional help. With the support of a doctor and friends, she can learn appropriate, socially acceptable behaviors. Also, she can develop independent living skills.

To begin helping a girl with Aspergers, read the book Girls Under The Umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorders: Practical Solutions for Addressing Everyday Challenges by Lori Ernsperger, Ph.D., and Danielle Wendel. This book was authored by an experienced professional and a mother of a young girl on the autism spectrum. The authors provide insightful, first-hand accounts of girls’ lives along with research-based strategies and practical techniques for addressing the unique needs of girls on the spectrum while nurturing their gifts and talents.

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

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

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the ASD 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 Children on the Spectrum

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 or HFA child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and your 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 Teens on the Spectrum

Although Aspergers [high-functioning autism] is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager on the spectrum are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the 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 ASD 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 ASD 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