Helping Teachers To Understand Your Aspergers Child

Question

My son has been diagnosed with Asperger's and we are now working with the middle school for their evaluation processes to approve special education help. They are specifically stating that they do not believe the diagnosis based on observations of my son interacting with other children at school and being the 'life of the party' basically for the group.

I have tried to explain that this behavior is his way of coping with the lunchroom situation as a learned behavior and that he is not actually experiencing the situation the same way they are based on his comments to me at home each day about his interactions with the other students. How do I get these educated people to listen to lowly me, mom, and get him the help he needs that they seem to want to deny?


Answer

I’m assuming you have already started the IEP process (if not, type “IEP” in the search box above for more information).

I would get a note from the doctor who diagnosed your child with Aspergers so the teachers can verify (this will help establish some credibility). Then you should provide teachers with an information sheet to help educate them about Aspergers. Below is a sample information sheet that you can tailor to your individual needs. It should help teachers understand and deal with some of the everyday questions that come up regarding Aspergers:

_______________________________________


Dear _______,

I am _____'s mother. My son has been diagnosed with Aspergers, which is a neurobiological disorder on the autistic spectrum. Kids with ASPERGERS may have difficulty using and understanding nonverbal behaviors and developing appropriate peer relationships, in part, because their interactions often lack spontaneous exchange. While they often have keen interests and skills in certain subjects, they also may have a great deal of difficulty with organization. ASPERGERS kids may appear to lack in empathy, have difficulty with sensory issues and very often strongly rely on routine.


Our son has many positive characteristics. However, listed below are some issues that may become apparent to you as you work with him. Many of the behaviors you will see are NOT under his control and they are not a result of malice or willful misbehavior. At times our son simply does not innately know how to appropriately respond.

No doubt, you will learn other strategies which will be helpful and we would appreciate your sharing with us. Please call us at any time if you have questions about our son or Aspergers. We can be reached at: __________

General Behaviors—

• At times, our son may experience "meltdowns" when nothing may help behavior. At times like this, please allow a "safe and quiet spot" where our son will be allowed to "cool off" Try to take note of what occurred before the meltdown (was it an unexpected change in routine, for example) and it's best to talk "after" the situation has calmed down.
• Foster a classroom atmosphere that supports the acceptance of differences and diversity.
• Generally speaking, an adult speaking in a calm voice will reap many benefits
• It is important to remember that, just because the youngster learns something in one situation, this doesn't automatically mean that he remembers or is able to generalize the learning to new situations.
• Note strengths often and visually. This will give our son the courage to keep on plugging.
• Our son may have vocal outbursts or shriek. Be prepared for them, especially when having a difficult time. Also, please let the other kids know that this is a way of dealing with stress or fear.
• Our son may need help with problem-solving situations. Please be willing to take the time to help with this.
• Our son reacts well to positive and patient styles of teaching.
• Aspergers is characterized by a sort of "Swiss cheese" type of development: that is, some things are learned age-appropriately, while other things may lag behind or be absent. Furthermore, kids may have skills years ahead of normal development (for example, a youngster may understand complex mathematics principles, yet not be able to remember to bring their homework home).
• When dividing up assignments, please assign teams rather than have the other kids "choose members", because this increases the chances that our son will be left out or teased.
• When it reaches a point that things in the classroom are going well, it means that we've gotten it right. It doesn't mean that our son is "cured", "never had a problem" or that "it's time to remove support". Increase demands gradually.
• When you see anger or other outbursts, our son is not being deliberately difficult. Instead, this is in a "fight/fright/flight" reaction. Think of this as an "electrical circuit overload" Prevention can sometimes head off situations if you see the warning signs coming.

Perseverations—

• Allowing our son to write down the question or thought and providing a response in writing may break the stresses/cycle.
• It is more helpful if you avoid being pulled into this by answering the same thing over and over or raising your voice or pointing out that the question is being repeated. Instead, try to redirect our son's attention or find an alternative way so he can save face.
• Our son may repeat the same thing over and over again, and you may find that this increases as stress increases.

Transitions—

• Giving one or two warnings before a change of activity or schedule may be helpful
• Our son may have a great deal of difficulty with transitions. Having a picture or word schedule may be helpful.
• Please try to give as much advance notice as possible if there is going to be a change or disruption in the schedule.

Sensory Motor Skills/Auditory Processing—

• Breaking directions down into simple steps is quite helpful
• Directions are more easily understood if they are repeated clearly, simply and in a variety of ways.
• Our son has difficulty understanding a string of directions or too many words at one time
• Our son may act in a very clumsy way; he may also react very strongly to certain tastes, textures, smells and sounds.
• Speaking slower and in smaller phrases can help.
• Using picture cures or directions may also help

Stimuli—

• Allow him to "move about" as sitting still for long periods of time can be very difficult (even a 5 minute walk around, with a peer can help a lot).
• He may get over-stimulated by loud noises, lights, strong tastes or textures, because of the heightened sensitivity to these things.
• Unstructured times (such as lunch, break and PE) may prove to be the most difficult for him. Please try to help provide some guidance during these more difficult times.
• With lots of other kids, chaos and noise, please try to help him find a quiet spot to which he can go for some "solace".

Visual Cues—

• Hand signals may be helpful, especially to reinforce certain messages, such as "wait your turn", "stop talking" (out of turn), or "speak more slowly or softly".
• Some ASPERGERS kids learn best with visual aids, such as picture schedules, written directions or drawings (other kids may do better with verbal instruction)

Interruptions—

• When someone tries to help by finishing his sentences or interrupting, he often has to go back and start over to get the train of thought back.
• At times, it may take more than few seconds for my son to respond to questions. He needs to stop what he's thinking, put that somewhere, formulate an answer and then respond. Please wait patiently for the answer and encourage others to do the same. Otherwise, he will have to start over again.

Eye Contact—

• Unlike most of us, sometimes forcing eye contact breaks his concentration
• He may actually hear and understand you better if not forced to look directly at your eyes.
• At times, it looks as if my son is not listening to you when he really is. Don't assume that because he is not looking at you that he is not hearing you.

Social Skills and Friendships—

• Talking with the other members of the class may help, if done in a positive way and with the permission of the family. For example, talking about the fact that many or most of us have challenges and that the ASPERGERS youngster’s challenge is that he cannot read social situations well, just as others may need glasses or hearing aids.
• Identifying 1 or 2 empathetic children who can serve as "buddies" will help the youngster feel as though the world is a friendlier place
• Herein lays one of the biggest challenges for ASPERGERS kids. They may want to make friends very badly, yet not have a clue as to how to go about it.
• Children with Aspergers may be at greater risk for becoming "victims" of bullying behavior by other children. This is caused by a couple of factors:

1. Asperger kids want to be included and/or liked so badly that they are reluctant to "tell" on the bully, fearing rejection from the perpetrator or other children.
2. There is a great likelihood that the response or "rise" that the "bully" gets from the Asperger youngster reinforces this kind of behavior

Routine—

• Let him know, if possible, when there will be a substitute teacher or a field trip occurring during regular school hours.
• Please let our son know of any anticipated changes as soon as you know them, especially with picture or word schedules.
• This is very important to most ASPERGERS kids, but can be very difficult to attain on a regular basis in our world.

Language—

• Sarcasm and some forums of humor are often not understood by my son. Even explanations of what is meant may not clarify, because the perspectives of ASPERGERS youngster can be unique and, at times, immovable.
• Although his vocabulary and use of language may seem high, ASPERGERS kids may not know the meaning of what they are saying even though the words sound correct.

Organizational Skills—

• If necessary allow him to copy the notes of other kids or provide him with a copy. Many ASPERGERS kids are also dysgraphic and they are unable to listen to you talk, read the board and take notes at the same time.
• It may be helpful to develop schedules (picture or written) for him.
• Our son lacks the ability of remember a lot of information or how to retrieve that information for its use.
• Please post schedules and homework assignments on the board and make a copy for him. Please make sure that these assignments get put into his backpack because he can't always be counted on to get everything home without some help.

In conclusion, please know that at times, some of my son's behaviors may be aggravating and annoying to you and to members of his class. Please know that this is normal and expected. Try not to let the difficult days color the fact that YOU are a wonderful teacher with a challenging situation and that nothing works all of the time (and some things don't even work most of the time). You will also be treated to a new and very unique view of the world that will entertain and fascinate you at times. Please feel free to share with us whatever you would like. We have heard it before. It will not shock us or make us think poorly of you. Communication is the key and by working together as a team we can provide the best for our son.

Thank you,

Parent’s Name: __________

__________________________________________


Here is a real example, based on the template above, of an information sheet that one parent hand-delivered to her child’s teacher.


Dear Mrs. Shroud,

My child, Michael _____, has Aspergers. This means his patterns of thought and behavior will be a little different than you may be used to. Here are some issues that may come up, along with some suggestions:

My Aspergers child may have additional difficulty with:

• Balance
• Multiple step directions
• Multi-tasking
• Organization
• Tics and odd mannerisms (humming, repetitive motions, rocking, etc.)
• Transitions
• Unstructured time

Lists and visual aids are a great way to help with some of these challenges. Break down complex tasks into simpler steps, if possible, and please understand that multi-tasking (e.g., reading, answering questions, and filling out worksheet at the same time) simply may not be possible. Aspergers children thrive on routine and predictability.

Fine motor skills will affect:

• Button and shoe lacing skills
• Handwriting skills
• Scissor skills
• The ability to color within the lines

Please understand that handwriting is especially difficult and even painful for my Aspergers child. He is not slacking or messy on purpose, but working slowly to improve a difficult skill.

Meltdowns may occur because:

• Bad surprises can overwhelm and panic my child
• My child is easily frustrated and upset
• Time pressure and/or stress can cause panic
• Too much noise and activity can over-stimulate him

Please stay calm. If it looks like my child is getting worked up, don’t ignore him – he never pretends and it will only get worse. He is not falling apart on purpose, and has no idea what he looks like. This is not a bid for attention, but a very real feeling of frustration and panic. Please help him find a solution – even if it seems obvious – to the problem at hand.

My Aspergers child’s literal thinking makes it difficult for him to understand:

• Nuance and sarcasm
• Sayings/proverbs and sometimes jokes
• Shades of grey
• When rules do not apply

Aspergers children can be bossy and even offensive in reminding everyone of the rules. Their inflexibility is not a mask or pretense, but an inability to understand shades of grey.

Please be consistent with any rules, and clearly state when they do not apply. Remind my child that the rules apply the same to everyone. Help guide him when any situation presents shades of grey or nuance, to avoid confusion, misunderstandings, and/or meltdowns.

Social Skills Challenges will mean:

• Difficulty recognizing facial expression, tone of voice, and body language
• He does not automatically glance at others to check which task/page/worksheet needs to be done at the moment
• He may not stay with the group or do what the group is doing
• Inability to automatically understand how others are thinking or feeling
• Little to no eye contact
• Unintentional inappropriate behavior
• Volume control and/or monotone voice

This means that teamwork and cooperating in groups will be challenging for my Aspergers child. He will not always recognize when someone’s behavior is offensive (including his own), and will not understand when others become upset or even cruel.

Please be patient and help facilitate understanding on all sides. Speak clearly and avoid body language; use speech to get any points across, and don’t assume he understands what is happening socially. Watch out for bullying/teasing, misunderstandings, wandering, and ostracism.

Some common positives for Aspergers:

• Honesty and directness
• Intelligence
• Intense interest in facts and details
• Keen visual memory
• Love of learning (especially when the subject appeals)
• Think-outside-the-box mentality

Thank you!

Sincerely,

Virginia _______




COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said... My son is also HFA and is currently in an all-inclusion community classroom. This is working very well for him because the class and teachers are geared to work with and educate our children along with neurotypical children. All the children are hand-picked to be in this class and the parents want their kids there too. It's an excellent program.
•    Anonymous said... I've talked to every teacher my son has ever had till I was blue in the face...all requests for visual learning were ignored. I homeschool him now and he is so much happier learning the way he can understand it best...visually.
•    Anonymous said... In my area, there is a programme called Earlybird Plus which is a 12 week course attended by the parent and the teacher so you can both learn about Autism together. I was referred into it by my local CAMHS
•    Anonymous said... All good except if teacher is old school really doesn't bel children have learning delays thinking they can teach anyone and it's the parenting. Also old school teaching has the idea of my way or the highway. Not realising auditory learning may not be as effective for a visual learner.

Please post your comment below…

Aspergers Children and Anger Problems

Question

My Aspergers son has anger problems. How can I help him understand what his real emotions are?

Answer

For kids with Aspergers (high functioning autism), anger can be a major challenge. Many people do not realize the strong connection between Aspergers and behavioral issues like anger, anxiety, and depression. The very characteristics of Aspergers lead to these behavioral issues. Some of these characteristics are:
  • Gross and fine motor problems
  • Inflexible thinking
  • Lack of language skills, especially social language, gestures and cues
  • Narrow interests
  • Sensory issues
  • Social skills weaknesses

Understanding anger in Aspergers children is quite simple. Nearly all of your son’s anger stems from frustration. The characteristics of Aspergers listed above (plus others) create a confusing and uncomfortable social environment. The natural reaction is frustration, and the natural escalation of frustration is anxiety, then anger. Helping an Aspergers child understand his anger and other emotions, however, can be quite difficult. You must help your son understand the cause of his emotions, and then develop a plan to avoid the negative emotions that stem from frustration. There are several options available for the mother/father searching for anger-management for their Aspergers children. Here are a couple of those options:

1. Home Solutions— Not everyone with Aspergers anger issues choose private therapy. For some people, these therapies are not covered by insurance or are simply not available. Others choose to handle therapy and learning situations at home, in their own way. This is perfectly acceptable, and in all honesty, quite helpful for the child even if you do choose private therapy. Support at home will increase progress. Some examples of home solutions are:
  • Five point scale assessments teach a youngster how to recognize his anger or anxiety and prepare to control their emotional responses.
  • Parenting discipline programs teach parents how to use proper discipline techniques, which in turn, may diffuse some of the youngster’s anxiety and anger.
  • Play therapy/activities make learning emotional control fun.
  • Social stories can be written for specific behavioral problems and situations. These stories can put your youngster’s feelings into words and offer him simple solutions.

2. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy— Many people with Aspergers anger choose to try cognitive-behavioral therapy. This therapy is highly recommended for kids with Aspergers. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is individual therapy designed around the idea that a child’s emotions and thought processes are what control that child’s outward feelings and behaviors. Most people tend to blame the situation or other people. This therapy places the focus on a child’s internal thoughts. In other words, if we think a certain way, even though the situation makes us feel the opposite, we can begin to feel better about that situation.

For your Aspergers child, anger can get in the way of learning, playing, and life. Perhaps you can use some of the above suggestions to help him handle his anger and better understand his emotions.

I cover a lot of ground on anger issues for children with Aspergers in my eBook entitled My Aspergers Child: Preventing Tantrums and Meltdowns.

A Divine Cure for Aspergers?!

Last night I had a chat with one of my pastors regarding Aspergers, and he keeps declaring that he believes God will cure me eventually and I'll be normal. To tell the truth, this angers me and I am not sure why. In my opinion, Aspergers is a big part of who I am. Aspergers helps define how I think and feel – it is a major component of my entire life. When individuals speak about how I'll be cured, it tends to make me believe they are not accepting me for who I am. I also question if they would say the same to a blind person or someone with diabetes.

Is the fact that my handicap is one that affects the psychological part of me turn it into a disability that needs to be cured by The Lord? I am going to be truthful in saying this theological issue has caused me great discomfort with my religious organization – to the point of where I am beginning to feel uncomfortable. I do not think it is my pastor’s intent to hurt me in anyway; nonetheless, how do I encourage the church to accept me for who I am, Aspergers and all?

P.S. Also, I'd like to know if you have any similar dilemmas and just how you got through them.

P.S.S. Thanks to MyAspergersChild.com for posting this!

Anonymous

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COMMENTS:

I can see your point, if it were me however, I don't think I would be looking at this as "lack of acceptance" - rather I would see it as your pastor's attempt at "stepping out in faith". Let me ask you: If you had the choice to have Aspergers or to NOT have Aspergers, which would you choose? I would rather not have it, although I am doing just fine with it.
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People with Aspergers tend to fixate on a few areas of interest, and religion and politics happen to be mine. Aspergers includes a deficiency in social skills, and social isolation is one reason that I believe in Jesus. Although I have problems with evangelicalism, I've always liked the way that they present the Lord as a friend, as someone who loves me and has a plan for my life. Even on days when I do not fit in, I can find a friend in Jesus.
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For those who have been diagnosed later in life and weren’t aware that they had traits of aspergers.. Were there any cases where this made you interpret the bible (as in those who are born again Christians) differently?? For instance.. I found - interpreting 'love your neighbor as yourself' -- how to interpret how loving another person - when to them the rules of loving are different than to what I consider loving? I got into such a mishap with being to an 'obsessed' level of needing to 'show Gods love' and at the same time ' be a good steward' and also 'submit to authorities'. I am also aware that each person with aspergers is different, so I’m hoping for some help from those who are protestant Christians (not involved in other religion thought too - e.g. Buddhism). A counselor I talked to was quite helpful in this - she said, you know God wouldn’t be a merciful God if He didn’t love you the way He made you. However... also leads me to the question, for aspergers people - does it make it harder to evaluate whether their actions/words as kind to others?
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Aspies like structure and predictability, and Christianity gives me that. Not only does it provide me with regular rituals such as church attendance, prayer, and Bible reading, but it also assures me that God is in control of my future. I prefer the idea of divine providence to an unpredictable notion that everything happens on its own, without any plan or purpose.
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It seems that Aspergers is more commonly known in the USA. Here, I hadn’t heard of it until my mom told me that she thought I was Aspergian. It was only in 1988 (I think) that Hans Aspergers writings were translated into English for English-speaking Psychologists and Doctors to study
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I’ve never really thought too deeply about how asperger's syndrome might affect one's interpretation of scripture. I know far too many non-aspie Christians that have way too literal an interpretation of scripture to start with, and being literal is supposed to be an aspie trait. For myself, I let my spirituality guide me in my interpretation of scripture. As for the scripture you quote - love thy neighbor as thyself - it seems to me that what god is asking is simply that one is as considerate of others as one is of one's self. One is neither asked to be selfless nor selfish. This is a very balanced position. Also, one I not asked to give any more than one is not capable of giving. This is a very balanced approach, which I find deeply profound. Much as we ask to be forgive our trespasses as we are willing to forgive those that trespasses against us. Again, god judges us as leniently or harshly as we judge others. But beyond giving you the above discussion, I’m just not sure what you're diving at here. Are you saying you judge yourself too harshly??? Often we do. We forget that we need to forgive ourselves as well as others. From what you've written, I just can't tell. BTW, I’m a protestant Christian, thought I’m first and foremost of a spiritual rather than of any particular religious persuasion.
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The things that give some Aspies a problem with religion are not really problematic for me. God's utter intangibility does not lead me to reject his existence, since we all accept things that we cannot see or touch (e.g., love, air). Overall, the concept of God makes sense to me. The universe had to come from somewhere, and things have to be exactly the way they are for life to even exist. That tells me that there is a creator and designer.
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I didn't become a Christian until around the time I was getting dx'ed (about 40). I think I didn't become one earlier because I couldn't understand all the metaphors and so much of the bible is metaphor. I have only started to understand ritual and its significance in the last couple of years. Music and silence always seemed sacred to me. I don't attend a church and I'm not evangelical, so that cuts out a lot of the people contact stuff for me, phew.
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Non-Autistic people can actually learn from some autistic people. For example Autistic spectrum people examine details and are a people of "continuity". Now let's look and see how important it is to examine details and how important continuity is! First of all God is a Loving yet, “EXACTING God". His Word is Exacting, His nature is Exacting. He says what He means and means what He says. He/His Word is the perfect Judge. We are to "examine ourselves"....
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Back in the early 1970's when I was in the 4th grade I was tested for Autism and other learning disabilities. My parents were never told any diagnosis, but I was placed in special ed classes for the next 5 years. My family was not religious until I was 15. I became a Christian to follow my parents. I read the bible and took it very literally, more so then the others. We where what would be termed today as "Evangelical". I quickly learned that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John had many similarities and would read them in comparison. I found lots of differences and had many notebooks listing them in tabular form (I love tables) This made church and family members mad and I was told that it was bad and evil to read and dissect the bible in such a way. It's who I am, how I work and understand things. he did not understand this. As I grew I took an interest in near-east myths. I found more comparisons to make tables for. I myself had problems as I grew older with the bible. As a literal person, I could not take the bible as anything inspired, but very much contrived and re-contrived by men. That now has been many years ago. My first big problem with the bible was oddly enough about slavery. The bible treating it no differently than any other bronze or early iron aged culture did. I still read the bible every day and night, as it is one of my hobbies, but now all of my tables are in computer data bases.
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I am a 24 year old from England who has recently found out he may have Aspergers Syndrome. I'd love to talk to other Christians who have Aspergers Syndrome.
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Christianity in general seems to equate being a good Christian with being a social extrovert. "Jesus reached out to sinners, and so we should too," we are told. Evangelicalism also emphasizes community, small groups, and accountability (which I see as social control). Introverts, people with social anxiety, or those who have problems reaching out to others are made to feel as if they are not truly pleasing to God. And, of course, happy happy Christian extroverts get on my nerves anyway. So Christianity has its dark side, as far as I am concerned.
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From a Christian perspective, Autism/ Aspergers has been found to be the result of moms/dads with mental illness. They have not found a direct correlation between vaccinations - Autism/Aspergers. Knowing that, moms/dads with mental illness should responsibly think over their decision to pass it on to the kids.
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My 5 year old is on a waiting list for speech therapy, until then, I will do the best I can by God's Grace. I might consider taking him to an autism clinic, say once a week, but I will have to be there with him at all times! He is a very intelligent boy, but has trouble communicating and has several typical ritual behaviors that autistic spectrum people have. It would be nice for his dad to help too, but he has his own agenda in life, so I move on, God Bless.
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I was glad to read your messages, and see on who is truly desirous to know the depths of God's word, and not content to receive the promises of God without searching out the True depths of them. I was in a forum for those with Aspergers who consider themselves Christian, but I found that many were not Christian, although labeled themselves as such. I left the group because of their having, in the main, left the word of God....
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I teach kids with special needs. Often I come across the opinion that religion is not for people with special needs. I am studying how to make the teaching of RE more meaningful in schools, specifically for autistics. I'd be very interested to hear your thoughts on the matter! Particularly - what you find meaningful about your faith, and how faith could be taught in a way that fitted with autism.
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It's who you are, you are not hurting anybody, so don't feel guilty, just say things in a polite way and they'll understand, and if they do get upset, it's because you make them feel they made a mistake and it's kind of awkward for them, but just explain and say something like "don't worry I appreciate the gesture, it's just that I have this asperger disorder that makes me feel uncomfortable, that's all, no big deal".

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I was starting to think that I was the only other Christian on the autistic spectrum! I find it really hard to understand emotion but recently God came into my life and I understood what it meant to be loved by God. Just to understand this was a miracle for me. now i've devoted my whole life to him! I've got a serverly autistic friend who needs to find the love of christ. For her autism is a big barrier, but God's bigger then anything
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I am 20 years old, undiagnosed aspie, and, likely, also a bit ADD. My mom is ADD and my dad aspie, and my brother was diagnosed ADD, but has some aspie traits too. We are all Christian. I'm in college now and a Bible study leader. I've learned how to "blend in" with neurotypicals, but I don't have any other Chiristian aspies that I know of here to talk to. While I definitely do have a relationship with God, it can be very hard for me to connect with him in an emotional way and to hear him, mainly because I don't really know how to listen to him. Whenever I try and get advice, it's always from neurotypicals, and, thus doesn't really..."work" for me.... I would love to hear what other Christian aspies have to say....
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If it weren't for God my marriage wouldn't be were it is today. I've been married for 15 years and stayed in business for myself 12 years.
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It's a new journey. I am honored to be wired differently, but it does explain my daily struggle. I am 42 and was diagnosed with Aspergers in early 2007. I think I only have 50% of the symptoms.
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I am 44 years old and I am a Christian who loves Jesus and I am in the process of finding out from my doctor ADHD and Asperges. I prayed about this last week to God to show me the way cause I know there are behaviors about myself that have puzzled me. I have had depression most of my life. Jesus does not exclude anyone from the kingdom of God. God takes us as we are.
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I am in the process of being tested for Aspergers. I am 47. As a Christian, I thought rejection was all about spiritual warfare. But even Pastors told me there was something wrong with me. They could not put their finger on it though. I stopped going to church after 3 pastors did that. I have always felt victimized. Now I hope the understanding of Aspergers will help me to survive socializing. Any insight would be appreciated!
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I believe the Bible is filled with people with special needs. Joseph (Old Testament), I suspect, may have had Aspergers. Moses had a speech problem which led to his brother Aaron doing the speaking for him. Jeremiah definitely had some sort of depression.
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I don't have Aspergers, but my 15 yr old son does. My spouse wasn't diagnosed, but has many characteristics of Aspergers, also. We are all Christians. My child was only diagnosed at 13, so we are still learning about it. It would be nice to talk with others who have similar situations.
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I have a 10 yr.old son that is high functioning autistic.He recently gave his heart to God and though he has trouble socializing with others,when he does it is to evangelize and that is so awesome.He was baptized recently,although he doesn't like to go under water.Our pastor did a wonderful job of getting it done.He loves to sing Christian songs and has gotten up in front of our entire congregation to share his special way of worshipping.It has brought myself and others in church to tears to see him pouring his love out to God in a way that is comfortable to him.Kudos to Pastor Jeff for letting Ronnie do what he loves to do!
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God will accept anyone whose heart is pure, and if they have suffered any kind of disease from before birth, or after, God is loving and takes it all into account. The same as He surely forgives those who do not realize they have believed lies that were sent to deliberately deceive them.
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I myself have a very mild form of Aspergers. I am only 20 so I can be of help to those younger than myself. What I can say is usually we are pretty intelligent people. Most people don't even know I have it until I tell them. The cool thing about it is, the things we obsess on we usually excel beyond the normal level. The important thing is to always tell your loved one that are unique, not strange.
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I want to know how to connect with Christians that have Aspergers or have family members with AS. My 12 year old daughter was diagnosed three weeks ago and my 19 year old son probably will be. He has nearly every single symptom! I can't believe we never saw this before now. My spouse also has many of the symptoms and our marriage has been very difficult. We are both in social work and have had many clients with AS and were both surprised when our daughter was diagnosed that we had not see it before. I keep telling my kids that God has a plan for them just as he does for all of his kids and their AS is a part of that. That is very hard to see right now.
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I'm a Christian with formally undiagnosed Aspergers and I find it so hard to be accepted in church 'society' that at the moment, I don't go to a church but would really like to join a group that Kathy mentioned! Let me know! Sam
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I'm autistic (Diagnosed!) and I've had a strong bond with God ever since I was born. I love God and cannot imagine life without having such a good relationship with him. I thought I would share that with you.
Well by autistic I mean diagnosed with Aspergers. But they're not 100% sure I'm AS they think I may be High Functioning Autism.
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I have decided to home school my kids. Most people just don't understand Autistic people, whether they are high functioning or low functioning. It can be very difficult to deal with them at times, but I have put this in God's Hand's. --Mrs. Smith
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Where I can, I try to put other peoples' needs before my own. Think that's the Christian thing to do. For me, the core of Christianity is about selfless service to others. If anything, my conscience is simply a tool to tweak me when I get it wrong.
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My Autisic Child at the age of 3 1/2- 4 one day saw me holding the Bible and pointed to It, and said "JESUS", I didn't teach him these things yet! Now this is a young "autistic young person" that can't even talk that well, and he had it right, yet many Adult's don't even get It! The very young and innocent never fail to amaze me!
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Well, once I found an e-message after my mom died, asking someone if I might have Aspergers. I looked it up. The characteristics were so descriptive of me. But also I noted how they all somehow were related to how I knew I can be into myself and not able to deal with things not going my way. And God had been dealing with me already about all this. So, I saved some money and time, by confessing this to Him and trusting Him for His correction and healing so I would become first attentive to Him and caring about all others as myself. His love cures us into His personality of how He is loving (1 John 4:17).
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Yes, and I had been wondering the same thing. Of course, I knew there had to be but did we have a voice? I'm glad to see this here as well as other sites. I have 2 kids on the spectrum, one with Aspergers and one with that vague and frustrating pddnos. I deal with behavior problems that I would like advice on from a Christian perspective.


More comments:

Anonymous said... God may choose to cure the Pastor too
Anonymous said... It seems very narrow minded.
Anonymous said... That is so presumptuous and adds an element of judgment to illness that is really just gross. When I was a kid, my grandmother had a priest to perform an exorcism to get rid of my epilepsy. I don't see how what the pastor is proposing is any different - jest less theatrics.
Anonymous said... The thing that makes me so sad about these type of pronouncements is that there is incredible grace in accepting things the way they are. If anyone lives their life on the basis that things will be better when ... they never fully live in the present and maximise all the blessings that already exist. I do believe the God heals today but He doesn't seem to do it very often but He does help us to live the best life possible with what we've got.
Anonymous said... I don't listen to such gobshitery
Anonymous said... if you were created by God, aren't you just the way you're supposed to be? Maybe s/he needs to learn acceptance.
Anonymous said... ur angry maybe because u know in your heart you ARE normal. this is your normal. it doesn't have to be anyone else's. Trust your heart & all others must prove themselves to u. b strong.
Anonymous said... Whilst I do believe that God can cure people with various illness, I do agree that all should be accepted and I hate the word "normal", what ever that is. I too was told that all I had to do was pray and my illness would be taken away. However, a lot earlier, I had a blessing from an Elder in my Church who said that the problem would not be taken away, but I would be given the strength to cope with it and that I was loved just as I was.
Anonymous said... You should be angry!


Please use the comment link below to add your comment...

Best Aspergers Blogs: Support Groups for People Affected by Aspergers Syndrome


Dealing with Aspergers can be hard on a family. Making sure you have the proper support group can make a world of difference. There is help out there, and you are not alone in this journey. Here are the top Aspergers blogs according to Google:

  1. Adult Aspergers: Hear from an adult who has dealt with Aspergers first hand. Get the support you need and also the information to help you handle Aspergers.
  2. Adult Aspergers: If you are living with Aspergers yourself or if you have an adult loved one dealing with it, you can find support through here. Meet with groups who are making it through the challenges just like you.
  3. Are They Rude?: People ask this question a lot but one brave man dealing with Aspergers explains it to you. Also you can find support and information here if your loved one is dealing with this.
  4. Asperger Groups: Here are a few groups of moms/dads who meet to help each other with the many challenges they may face. Find out how to find one of these groups near you.
  5. Asperger News: Find a group to help you deal with a new diagnosis. Also get the latest advances on Aspergers and how you can help your loved ones cope.
  6. Aspergers: Get support and information on dealing with this syndrome and talk with others who are going through this. Learn ideas to help your youngster or loved one get through the daily issues they may face.
  7. Aspergers in Adulthood: If you have been diagnosed as an adult find out how to cope and deal with this on an adult level. Get connected with others dealing with the same issues you are.
  8. Aspergers Syndrome: Learn about this condition and what you should know if you have a loved one diagnosed.
  9. Aspergers/Autism Debate: One blogger discusses this big debate between the two conditions. Get answers to some of your questions you may have.
  10. Aspire Resources: For those who have an adult diagnosed on the autistic spectrum you can find support here. Learn new ways to help your loved one.
  11. Autism Society: There are many different support groups around the country to help you deal with autism.
  12. Autistic Speaks: Get into life with autism here with one family that has to deal with this disorder. Find out how they live day to day and what they do for support.
  13. Baking with My Daughter: Hear how one mom helps her daughter with Aspergers by baking in the kitchen.
  14. Best Books: Get reviews on books covering Autism and which are the greatest you can read to help you understand the disorder. You may have someone you love that has been recently diagnosed; these may help you and them learn how to handle certain situations.
  15. Kids with Autism: For those moms/dads who have a youngster diagnosed with autism it can be difficult to accept. Stop by here to connect with other moms/dads dealing with this and get tips on how you can help your youngster.
  16. Coach for Aspergers: Talk to someone who deals with this on a daily basis and helps other to cope.
  17. College Support: For those dealing with Aspergers who are also attending college you will find a great deal of support here. Find help from those who have been there before and those who know how to help you get through.
  18. Comments from a Politician: One blogger mommy talks about comments made by Sharon Angle on the new health reform not covering Autism.
  19. Cry for Help: One girl asks for help with her boyfriend who may have Aspergers. Learn how to see the signs of dealing with this disorder.
  20. Dealing with Aspergers: One mommy blogger shares her trials with an Aspergers youngster. Find out how you can cope and how to connect with others.
  21. Farmington Valley: If you are in this area here is a great group to help you. You can talk to others dealing with Aspergers and help each other.
  22. Find Support: Having a support system is very important when dealing with autism or Aspergers. Find out here how you can get into a support group and make it through some of the toughest challenges.
  23. Get Help: If your youngster is newly diagnosed or if you are just looking for fresh ideas stop by this site to get the help you need.
  24. Groups in Illinois: No matter where in this state you are you can find help. Get in with a good support group to help you and your family cope with this diagnosis.
  25. Idaho Aspergers: If you are in Idaho you can connect with others dealing with Aspergers here. They have support groups to talk with and informative articles you can read to find out the latest news in dealing with Aspergers.
  26. Life with Aspergers: Hear from someone who deals with Aspergers on a daily basis. See the challenges they face and how they get through.
  27. Little Bean: One mommy shares an update on her youngster and what he goes through everyday. Find out how they cope and deal with this in their family.
  28. Living with Aspergers: Find blogs to help you get through your days with this disorder. Get in touch with how someone dealing with Aspergers handles and understands life around them.
  29. Living with My Husband: One woman shares her story of her and her husband who has Aspergers. Find out about their lives and the struggles they face together.
  30. MyAspergersChild.com: Google has ranked this site #1 for Aspergers Syndrome and Autistic Spectrum Disorders
  31. New Law: One blogger shares their thoughts on the new health care law that congress is trying to pass.
  32. On TV: Find out what Aspergers is and when it will be showcased on television. Get tips on how to deal with a loved one facing this.
  33. One Mom’s Story: One mom shares her story of her kids with Aspergers. Find out the challenges they face and see if you can understand what they go through.
  34. Parenting Blog: Find all kinds of tips and tricks to help your kids cope with this disorder and help them succeed. Get help with school situations and many social situations they may face.
  35. Portland Asperger: If you are in the Portland area this may be a group you want to check out. This is one who helps those living with Aspergers and those who have been diagnosed recently.
  36. Recognize Kids: Get tips on how you can recognize the signs and symptoms of Aspergers in kids.
  37. Religion Asperger Friendly: One blogger shares how you can make religion more friendly to those dealing with Aspergers.
  38. Sacramento Area: When you are living in this area you can get help through this group to deal with Aspergers. You can talk to others dealing with this disorder and also find out how to help your family.
  39. Seattle Support: Find training, help from others and just support when you need it here. There are many people that are dealing with the same things you are and you can find someone to talk with.
  40. Social Mistakes: Learn some of the innocent mistakes those with Aspergers make during social situations. Learn how you can help them get through that and how they can make it through no matter what is going on.
  41. Support 4 Hope: Find all the information you need on Aspergers at this site. Get help with a new diagnosis or help understanding what is going on.
  42. Support For Parents: Find out new ways to help your youngster progress when dealing with Aspergers.
  43. Support Groups: Stop by here to find groups to help you get through dealing with Aspergers syndrome. There are others facing the same challenges you are.
  44. Support Network: Find the support you need for autism or Aspergers here. You can talk to people who are dealing with the same things you are and find help in how to handle certain situations.
  45. Tips to Help: Get useful tips on how you can work with kids that are dealing with Aspergers. If you are working with them you should stop by here to learn how you can help them succeed.
  46. Twin Brothers: Hear from one parent who has twins with this condition. Learn how they handle it and what challenges they are facing each day.
  47. Working with Autism: If you are coping with this disorder then you may have a hard time finding the employment you want. Read through this great article to find tips on how to get your dream job.
  48. Working with Kids: Here are a few tips to help you if you work with kids that have Aspergers. Find out how you can help them and how you can help the moms/dads.

Coping with the Holidays: Help for Aspergers Children

With Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up, I thought we should have a conversation about coping with the holidays – an especially important topic for parents with Aspergers (high functioning autistic) children.

Aspergers kids and teens are easily over-stimulated. Their emotions overwhelm them, and it is up to the people around them to make life easier for them. The holidays are especially difficult for kids who have Aspergers. Remember, they are not social people. Crowds and noise overwhelm them. They do not cope well with the hustle and bustle of holidays, especially Christmas.

Anticipation for a youngster with Aspergers leads to increased levels of anxiety, which he cannot control. He becomes overloaded, and then you have a potential meltdown at the time when you are all supposed to be enjoying the holiday. The celebration can be ruined and everyone may get upset, especially your youngster who is trying so hard to fit-in.

Some Aspergers kids may not want to join in when the family opens presents. He may be checking out the lights on the Christmas tree, trying to figure out how they work, or he may sit in a corner participating in one of his obsessive hobbies. Let him be. If you pressure him to join in, he may become overwhelmed and go into a meltdown. This will only result in upheaval and chaos for the entire family. Allow the Aspergers youngster to check out the lights and open his presents in his own time. The holiday will be much more pleasant for everyone involved.

Aspergers Stressors—
  • Being pressured in anyway, such as to be on his best behavior, or to join in the festivities can cause overwhelming emotions in the Aspergers youngster.
  • Having too many people around. Crowds and the buzz of conversation can overwhelm the Aspergers youngster.
  • Noise. This includes the crinkle of wrapping paper, Christmas carols, singing and dancing Christmas decorations, or anything that causes sound on an ongoing basis.
  • Too many visitors at the same time. Remember, the Aspergers youngster does not like to be surrounded by people and noise.

Managing Stress—

Parenting is probably the hardest any of us have ever worked for free – or even for pay. Some days work in the office seems easier. There is more predictability, a distinct focus and a formula for doing things. Plus there is collegiality. Parenting a youngster with Aspergers is often completely the opposite: unpredictable, unfocused, and uncertain. This is especially true during the holiday season.

Here are some suggestions on how both you and your Aspergers child can manage stress:
  • Create a sanctuary in one room or part of a room, a place where you put things that make you happy, that comfort you.
  • Establish a hobby.
  • Even if there is only one activity you can do comfortably with your child, do it when you feel you can and savor whatever moments of connection you experience.
  • Exercise. It is no secret that vigorous and REGULAR exercise will alleviate depression and stress and anxiety.
  • Find a good therapist.
  • Find your little pockets of happiness every day.
  • Have a good cry.
  • Keep a journal. Writing is very therapeutic. Find one with an attractive cover and write in as often as suits you.
  • Make a “date” for coffee and talk therapy with a close friend on a regular basis or as needed.
  • Take a bath with lots of bubbles, light scented candles around the tub, and sink in (with a favorite CD playing in the background). If the door has a lock, use it!
  • Try something new like yoga or pottery or take up an instrument. Something just for you.
  • WALK. This is the easiest, cheapest and most accessible form of stress reduction.

Just as we need to be on the alert for signs of stress in our Aspergers children, we need to stay tuned in to our own feelings as parents. If you find yourself crying, sleeping more or less than usual, having a change in appetite or loss of interest in things that usually bring pleasure, you may be suffering from too much stress. Don’t be hesitant to seek help. A good therapist can be an excellent ally.

How Parents Can Help—

How can you enjoy the season while at the same time keeping your Aspergers youngster calm and behaving appropriately? Here are some tips:

• Allow only one person to open presents at a time. This will alleviate the crinkle of wrapping paper and nose from the excited voices of siblings.

• Ask the youngster to look directly into your eyes when you talk to him. Praise him when he is successful.

• Aspergers kids are often immature. Never tell them to act their age. They have no concept of age-related behavior.

• Be sure the youngster knows what is expected of him. Use simple language that he can understand.

• Encourage the Aspergers youngster to enjoy himself and have fun. If this means he retreat to a quiet area where he can be alone, let him be. This is his way of coping and of enjoying the holiday. Never pressure an Aspergers youngster to play with other kids.

• Explain to your youngster what will be expected of him (e.g., to say ‘hello how are you’ to guests and sit at the table to share the meal). Your youngster 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 youngster an exit strategy and allows him to get through the celebrations without going into meltdown.

• Give the Aspergers youngster lots of support, praise and TLC. Let them know that you love them and are there for them, always.

• Have a quiet breakfast on Christmas morning.

• Identify ways to cope with behavior problems. Hugging will help some Aspergers kids, while others don’t like to be touched. Get to know your youngster.

• If you see that your Aspergers child is becoming stressed, you can activate an “exit cue” so he gets out before the situation deteriorates.

• 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 really big change to the environment. Don’t put out any presents until the day they are to be opened, because your Aspergers youngster will have a hard time keeping his hands off and will became anxious and potentially defiant.

• Keep instructions simple and on a level that the youngster can understand.

• Keep meals quiet. Do not allow toys at the table. Ask each youngster to talk about their favorite toy, including the Aspergers youngster.

• Keep noise minimal. Do not play music for extended periods of time or it will become nothing but noise to the Aspergers youngster.

• Keep visitors minimal. Family members and friends should keep visits short and they should visit at separate times. Be sure everyone knows when they are expected and how long they are expected to stay.

• Learn to identify stress triggers and avoid them when possible.

• Limit choices to keep the youngster from being overwhelmed.

• Prepare your youngster for any changes by calmly telling him the day before what will be happening. Visual supports always work well, so use photos or simple pictures to explain what will be happening.

• Reduce the time talking about the festive occasion. Remember your Aspergers child cannot easily control his emotions and to talk constantly about the event will simply lead to stress and anxiety. It is useful to enlist the help of others in your home and keep any conversations to a minimum when your Aspergers youngster is within ear-shot.

• Sing or whisper words to young kids in order to get their attention and to help them keep focused.

• Teach the youngster stress busting techniques such as deep breathing or counting to ten. Many Aspergers kids find a stress ball beneficial.

• Try to incorporate flexibility into the youngster’s routine at an early age. This allows him to realize and accept that things do change.

• Use social stories to prepare Aspergers kids for new social experiences, the new school year, a move, and any other changes that will take place in their life.

• Warn the youngster well in advance of any changes to be made in his environment, such as moving the furniture or rearranging his room. The youngster’s school must be made aware that moving his desk can cause behavioral problems.

Remember, Aspergers kids are unique. They have their own quirks, distinct personalities, abilities, likes and dislikes. The only difference between them and any other youngster is that they look at the world in a different way. They just need a little extra love, support, understanding and patience from those who love them.

Following these simple steps should lead to a much more positive experience for everyone and will provide your Aspergers youngster with the love, support, and confidence to participate fully in the holidays.

My Aspergers Child: Preventing Meltdowns in Aspergers Children and Teens

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