Aspergers Traits That Come In Handy On The Job

The following are traits that Aspergers (high functioning autism) individuals tend to have that are also a plus for many careers:

1. Has poor verbal skills: No problem! There are a ton of jobs were talking is not a requirement (e.g., Copy shop making photocopies, Data entry, Factory assembly work, Cleaning and cooking jobs, Janitor jobs, Lawn and garden work, Plant care, Recycling plant and sorting jobs, Re-shelving library books, Restocking shelves, working in a warehouse loading trucks and stacking boxes, etc.).

2. Is detail-focused: Software testing is the perfect fit for Aspies. They're very focused on detail, able to do highly repetitive work, and able to spot imperfections.

3. Likes to categorize: Some Aspies like to categorize, so a job as a librarian might be good.

4. Is more interested in things than people: This trait may not get you invited to the prom, but it's a wonderful attribute if you're a forest ranger, a self-employed writer or artist, a caretaker at an estate, a gardener or horticulturalist, or even a paleontologist (dinosaur scientist). After all, lack of interest in other individuals is not indicative of lack of interest in or ability to manage things, animals, or systems. And it's not easy to find a qualified person who's willing to spend extended periods of time on their own.

5. Prefers the company of animals rather than people: It's not easy to become a veterinarian, but consider some of the many animal-oriented careers available (e.g., caring for horses at a stable, horse-farm or track; working on a farm; zookeeper or animal curator at a zoo or petting farm; animal wrangler for the entertainment industry; naturalist or husbandry expert at a museum or aquarium; pet store employee; animal tech at a veterinary practice or kennel).

6. Is rule-oriented: In a typical workplace, most individuals bend and break the rules. This is very tough for many Aspies, who need and respond to structure. But there are plenty of work places in which rules are absolute -- for everyone. Of course, the most obvious choice for rule-oriented individuals is the military. But even in hospitals and labs, rule-following is not only important -- it's critical.

7. Is single-minded: If you've ever worked at museum, lab or university, you'll find worlds full of single-minded, passionate individuals. To an academic, their area of interest, no matter how small, is desperately interesting. The same is true of museum professionals and archaeologists, who spend their lives studying individual artifacts, bones or textiles.

8. Tends to be good at math, music or facts: For Aspies with these skills, the possibilities are almost endless (e.g., Accounting, Bank teller, Clerk and filing jobs, Computer programming, Copy editor, Engineering, Inventory control, Journalist, Laboratory technician, Library science, Physicist or mathematician, Statistician, Tuning pianos and other musical instruments, and on and on).

9. Tends to see the parts instead of the whole: It's a problem in some settings, but a terrific attribute if you're looking for deep space anomalies (as an astronomer), unique cells (as a lab technician), differences among species (as a biological researcher), particular qualities of objects (as a gemologist, antiques appraiser, or art historian).

10. Is a visual thinker: Some Aspies can, with virtually no effort, envision a 2-dimensional photograph as a 3-dimensional object. With appropriate training, such individuals are ideal candidates for jobs in areas like computer aided design, architectural model construction, industrial design, exhibit prototyping, and much more. The key is finding and supporting the training that can lead to such careers.

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook

Helping Your Aspergers Child Develop High Self-Esteem

Kids with Aspergers (high functioning autism) have a much harder time with their self-esteem. They often perceive the constant correction of their behaviors and their social interactions as criticism. The frequent visits to doctors, or speech therapists, or OTs, the testing and the stream of interventions that we try with them can easily leave them feeling like they're under the microscope, a specimen that warrants investigation, a child who needs fixing.

Communication problems also have a direct impact on an Aspie's self-esteem. Understanding subtle jokes and participating in human interplay (actions natural to his non-Aspergers friends) further increase feelings of “not fitting in” and erode self-esteem.

Combine all this with the expectations of siblings and the all-too-frequent bullying interactions from many peers, and it's easy to understand how devastated an Aspergers kid can feel.

By definition, self-esteem is the way in which a child perceives herself – her own thoughts and feelings about herself and her ability to achieve in ways that are important to her. This self-esteem is shaped not only by a kid's own perceptions and expectations, but also by the perceptions and expectations of significant people in her life – how she is thought of and treated by parents, teachers and peers. The closer her perceived self (i.e., how she sees herself) comes to her ideal self (i.e., how she would like to be), the higher her self-esteem.

Here is how we can help our Aspergers children to develop a healthy sense of self-esteem:

1. Accepting mistakes and failure— Your youngster needs to feel comfortable, not defeated, when she makes mistakes or fails. Explain that these hurdles or setbacks are a normal part of living and learning, and that she can learn or benefit from them. Let your supportive, constructive feedback and your recognition of her effort overpower any sense of failure, guilt, or shame she might be feeling, giving her renewed motivation and hope. Again, make your feedback specific ("If you throw the ball like this, it might help") and not negative and personal ("You are so clumsy," "You'll never make it").

2. Belonging— Your child needs to feel accepted and loved by others, beginning with the family and then extending to groups such as friends, schoolmates, sports teams, a church or temple and even a neighborhood or community. Without this acceptance or group identity, she may feel rejected, lonely, and adrift without a "home," "family" or "group."

3. Contribution— Your youngster will develop a sense of importance and commitment if you give her opportunities to participate and contribute in a meaningful way to an activity. Let her know that she really counts.

4. Encouragement, support and reward— Not only does your youngster need to achieve, but she also needs positive feedback and recognition - a real message that she is doing well, pleasing others and "making it." Encourage and praise her, not only for achieving a set goal but also for her efforts, and for even small increments of change and improvement. ("I like the way you waited for your turn," "Good try; you're working harder," "Good girl!") Give her feedback as soon as possible to reinforce her self-esteem and to help her connect your comments to the activity involved.

5. Family self-esteem— Your youngster's self-esteem initially develops within the family and thus is influenced greatly by the feelings and perceptions that a family has of itself. Some of the preceding comments apply to the family in building its self-esteem. Also, bear in mind that family pride is essential to self-esteem and can be nourished and maintained in many ways, including participation or involvement in community activities, tracing a family's heritage and ancestors, or caring for extended family members. Families fare better when members focus on each other's strengths, avoid excessive criticism and stick up for one another outside the family setting. Family members believe in and trust each other, respect their individual differences and show their affection for each other. They make time for being together, whether to share holidays, special events or just to have fun.

6. Making real choices and decisions— Your youngster will feel empowered and in control of events when she is able to make or influence decisions that she considers important. These choices and decisions need to be appropriate for her age and abilities, and for the family's values.

7. Personal competence and pride— Your youngster should feel confident in her ability to meet the challenges in her life. This sense of personal power evolves from having successful life experiences in solving problems independently, being creative and getting results for her efforts. Setting appropriate expectations, not too low and not too high, is critical to developing competence and confidence. If you are overprotecting her, and if she is too dependent on you, or if expectations are so high she never succeeds, she may feel powerless and incapable of controlling the circumstances in her life.

8. Purpose— Your youngster should have goals that give her purpose and direction and an avenue for channeling her energy toward achievement and self-expression. If she lacks a sense of purpose, she may feel bored, aimless, and even resentful at being pushed in certain directions by you or others.

9. Responsibility— Give your youngster a chance to show what she is capable of doing. Allow her to take on tasks without being checked on all the time. This shows trust on your part, a sort of "letting go" with a sense of faith.

10. Security— Your youngster must feel secure about herself and her future. ("What will become of me?")

11. Self-discipline and self-control— As your youngster is striving to achieve and gain more independence, she needs and wants to feel that she can make it on her own. Once you give her expectations, guidelines, and opportunities in which to test herself, she can reflect, reason, problem-solve and consider the consequences of the actions she may choose. This kind of self-awareness is critical for her future growth.

12. Trust— Your youngster needs to feel trust in you and in herself. Toward this goal, you should keep promises, be supportive and give your youngster opportunities to be trustworthy. This means believing your youngster, and treating her as an honest person.

Building self-esteem starts with the parents examining their own ideas of how they view children with Aspergers. We, as parents, must believe in our children’s value ourselves before we can ever change their minds. These children know when we're faking our compliments or arbitrarily handing out encouragement.

Building self-esteem involves empathy and walking in their shoes rather than sympathy – no one wants to be felt sorry for. Unfortunately, it is very common for parents to feel sorry for their Aspergers child, and as a result, adopt an "over-protective" parenting style. However, this type of parenting hinders the child's ability to develop "self-reliance" which, in turn, promotes poor self-esteem.

Each Aspergers youngster is a gift, with his own special qualities. We just need to look for these special gifts, tune into the youngster with our hearts, and bring his essence out.

More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book


==> Parenting System that Reduces Problematic Behavior in Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

Preference for Bland Foods in Aspergers Children

Question

My 7-year-old Aspergers son will only eat bland food. Is this normal?

Answer

It really depends on the child. Aspergers (high functioning autism) children have different preferences just like anyone else. A common feature among Aspergers kids is that they do tend to only like a limited number of foods – or foods may need to be prepared and served the same way every time.

Aspergers kids often have sensory issues (e.g., being over-sensitive or under-sensitive to sight, sound, smell, taste, touch, etc.). If taste is one of the senses that is affected, the child may be under-sensitive and thus prefer strong flavors (e.g., spiciness, tartness), or the child may be over-sensitive and thus prefer bland flavors. Also, sensitivity to smell can make the Aspergers child prefer foods that have very little odor, and sensitivity to touch could make the child prefer foods that have a certain texture. So, sensory issues can affect food choice on multiple levels.

Some Aspergers children can develop food fetishes (e.g., only eating beige-colored foods or foods with creamy textures). And some may develop chewing or sucking fetishes, and as a result, they might constantly chew or suck on pens, pencils or certain clothing.

A child’s taste tends to change over the years, so if your son limits himself to just a few tolerable food items, know that he will probably branch out and try/enjoy other foods eventually. One mother reported that about the only thing her Aspie child would eat was cereal – and only one kind of cereal at that!  But by the time her son was around 10-years-old, he was eating a variety of meats, veggies and fruits. So, don’t despair!

It becomes a challenge for parents to make sure their Aspergers child gets proper nutrition. One trick that works for some parents is to change the texture of a despised food. For example, if your child will not eat vegetables, try serving vegetable soup. If he refuses apple juice, try apple slices. Most professionals believe that the less you indulge food fetishes, the less entrenched they become. For example, if an Aspergers child creates a rule that "no food can touch my plate other than the one or two food items I’m going to eat" -- it can easily become a lifelong rule if parents do not intervene.

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook

COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said... I have found my son has grown out of it and will now eat a much more varied diet.
•    Anonymous said... Mine 8 year old son will eat hot dogs and it MUST have Mayo, ketchup and mustard. If there is relish he will do that as well. Strange kid. We dont give our boys much of a chance. I guess we are old fashion they eat what is on there plates. My 8 year old does fight us more then the 9 year old.
•    Anonymous said... Mine ate Pieroghies, Mac and cheese, French fries, and plain cheese burgers no bun for 6 years! But she also liked strong flavors like flaming hot cheetos, broccoli, and chicken curry. There was no in between! Now that she is 10 and has been on Seroquel there is little she won't eat!
•    Anonymous said... Plain pasta, plain rice, cheese and bread, thats what my boy lives on.
•    Anonymous said... possibly an instinctive reaction to over-flavoured food, plain food is actually quite nice, if you're over-sensitive to salt and sugar, trying fresh or even raw veg will not harm your kids, in fact, it might be better for them in the long run, don't bother with trying to get them to have multi-vitamins as these often contain sweeteners which can cause more subtle problems in the brain if your child is sensitive to them, try the food your great grandparents ate, plain porridge, meat and veg etc, I certainly found cutting the additives, sweeteners and flavourings made a difference to my son's behaviour and mood swings.

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“Aspergers” or “High-Functioning Autism” – What Should We Call It?

According to a panel of researchers assembled by the American Psychiatric Association, Aspergers is really just a form of autism and does not merit a separate diagnosis. Even though many researchers already refer to Aspergers as “high-functioning autism,” it hasn't been listed under the autism category in the official diagnostic guide of mental disorders (i.e., Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, or DSM). The DSM serves as a guide for mental health professionals and government agencies.

But a new draft fifth edition moves Aspergers officially into the autism category, provoking a wide range of responses among individuals with Aspergers — some of whom say they do not want to be labeled as autistic. Instead of including a diagnostic category for Aspergers, the DSM 5 draft includes traits associated with Aspergers (e.g., difficulty with social interactions, limited/repetitive behaviors) in a broad category called autism spectrum disorder.

The intent is to try to make the diagnosis of autism clearer and to better reflect the science. But the change is going to be hard for some “Aspies” who are probably going to have a very hard time calling themselves autistic.

Many people with Aspergers take pride in a diagnosis that probably describes some major historical figures (e.g., Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison). Under the new system, those individuals would represent just one extreme of a spectrum. On the other extreme is somebody who might have to wear adult diapers and maybe a head-restraining device. This may be very hard for some Aspies to swallow.

Currently, the diagnosis of Aspergers often hinges on a child's language skills. But that's pretty subjective and can change as a child grows up. The categories are just not used by clinicians in a reliable fashion, according to the research panel. A single category for autism spectrum disorder will let clinicians stop agonizing over which diagnostic category to put someone in and focus on his/her specific difficulties with communication, social interaction, or information processing.

The change makes a lot of sense to some people. As one parent stated, “As somebody who has a child with a diagnosis of autism, I want to be able to turn to the official criteria and see a description that sounds like my child. Right now my child sounds like three or four different disorders.”

Eliminating the "Aspergers" diagnosis won't mean that individuals in that category will lose access to services, though. That's because almost anybody with an Aspergers diagnosis also could qualify for what is called autistic disorder. The change could make it easier for some mothers/fathers to get help for a youngster with Aspergers.

Currently, states including California provide services to kids with autism – but not those with Aspergers. So removing Aspergers really removes what is a false barrier to a parent getting care for his/her child.

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook

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