Friday, February 25, 2011

How to Stay Strong As a Family When You Find Out Your Child Has Autism

Every family has expectations and dreams for their children. We all want our children to have a better education, and better life than we have. When parents hear a diagnosis of autism, shattered dreams and expectations are the new reality. Their lives and the life of their child will be charting new territory.

No family is ever ready for that diagnosis. A variety of emotions come to surface. You have the child you dreamed of, but the future you envisioned is now gone and replaced with what? It is a type of grief and the feelings are very real and intense. You grieve for the life you had dreamed of. The normal steps of grief fall in place, denial, anger, quilt,and acceptance.

Anger is a common feeling when the child you love so much has autism. You are incredibility sad, and feel like you are alone, bereft of support. This is the time that it is so important for the parents to bond and work in unison to do whatever the child needs. This includes intervention, early screening, and receiving needed services. You must understand and accept that these feelings are normal and expected.

In time acceptance will come but until it does you feel a deep sense of being wronged. Your frayed nerves means even the smallest thing can set off on a tantrum. You feel you need to blame someone. It is common to blame yourself, and then your spouse.

This is a crucial point in your marriage and your family. The diagnosed child may never experience these feelings, but the parents, siblings, and extended family do.This is a challenging time for every family. Each person processes the information and the future differently. Some will handle it better and others will experience more problems.

Parents may under-estimate the depth of their ability to cope with and help their child. You must advocate for your child; at the same time you need to take time for yourselves as a couple. You must also consider other children in the family, not to lock them out, but to include them and their opinions.

It is very important for family members to keep the lines of communication open. Talk about your feelings and emotions. Support each other, consider joining a support group. Autism is a multi-faceted disorder affecting every aspect of life. In time you see the world from a different perspective.You will become better parents and the family unit bonds with love and common goals.

Because you and your family are working together the family remains strong, and some families are even stronger after diagnosis.

Patricia M. Hines invites you to visit her blog at To read more information about dealing with negative people

Article Source:

Asperger's Syndrome and Color Therapy: The Power of Orange

After packing three bright orange shirts in the luggage of my ten year old son so that his grandparents could locate him easily during a trip, I accidentally discovered what psychologists and color advocates have known for years. The color orange is a terrific color for children with Asperger's Syndrome.

Asperger's Syndrome, named after the Austrian physician Hans Asperger who first identified the characteristics in the 1940's, is a disorder falling in the autistic spectrum characterized among other things by a lack of social skills and eye contact, obsessive interests, clumsiness, ticks or compulsive behaviors, and an unusually expansive vocabulary. Being a disorder and not a disease, there is no "cure" for Aspergers, but that isn't to say that there are not treatments or that children with Aspergers can't learn to modify their behavior to better fit with their peers. And color is a subtle therapy that can be consciously used to help them learn moderate their emotional state and ultimately their behavior.

Based on his skin tone and steel gray eyes, I tended to dress my son in blues and greens, opting for orange on this particular trip because it was his first long adventure sans parental supervision. Orange shirts, though popular in hunting circles, are rarely fashionable in tourist locations and I wanted to give his grandparents as much assistance as possible in keeping tabs on a youngster who tends to wander.

Not only did the boy wear the orange shirts exclusively during the trip, he had other choices, but surprisingly they became his favorite shirts upon his return. It wasn't until that point that I started researching how they must be making him feel.

The Eastern teachers have long associated colors with different body organs and systems. For my purpose, it was sufficient to realize that the orange robes donned by many eastern monks were not a random choice. Apparently, orange invokes happiness, joy, creativity, and a positive attitude. It is a great color to mitigate depression, and depression is terribly common in awkward children who desperately want to fit in, but don't know how. Orange stimulates feelings of well being and social connectiveness. In short, the color orange subtly reinforces many of the areas where Aspergers children face challenges.

By dressing my son in orange during an adventure fraught with new experiences and no small sense of apprehension, I was arming him with a color that purportedly strengthened his emotional state, deepened his sense of calmness, and expanded his ability to be social. Talk about the luck of the draw!

My son's positive experience of the impact a single color had on his life opened up a universe of inexpensive and easily available options of alternative therapies and techniques that we can add to our toolbox in this journey of discovery and improvement.

Parenting Aspergers Children offers parents support as they progress through the steps of indentifying, diagnosing, and treating Aspergers Syndrome in their children.

Article Source:

The IEP and Autism

One of the questions I am most frequently asked is, "Can you tell me about the IEP?" If you learn nothing more in my articles - I hope you will remember this - the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) basically outlines the path your child will take while s/he is in school. This is a mandatory, legal document. The IEP team (school personnel along with you and people you request to attend) must meet at least one time per year. During this meeting your child's goals for the next year are discussed and adopted.

So, how do you prepare for the IEP? First, I suggest you study (over and over) the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, 2004. Next, you need to take action - after all, you are your child's advocate. The first item on the list is this: do not wait for the date of the IEP team to meet. Go to your child's school frequently. Meet with the teacher. Discuss the goals in the IEP and ask how well your child is progressing in each one. If your child is nearly half-way through the school year and the teacher has not started working on one of the goals, for example, this might be the time to request an IEP meeting. Since the IEP is a formal, official meeting you must give the school time to send out the required forms and make certain the key people will be able to attend the meeting. Why do you want to call for this meeting?

There are several reasons. First, your teacher has not informed you that your child has not started one of the goals, this is important. Second, you will want to know why the teacher has not started and why you have not been informed. Third, you want to know what the teacher intends to do about this particular goal and the team must make a decision that satisfies all of you (do you want to support the goal and see that it is started; do you want to modify it; do you want to eliminate it). During the initial visit, when you first learned the one goal had not been started, you will definitely want to review the other goals to see how well your child is meeting each performance goal. Check each goal, check the benchmark, and check the date to satisfy yourself that your child is on target to meet or exceed the goal during this IEP period. In my book, I offer some key information regarding the IEP, how to act, react, what I suggest you do if you are unhappy and options you have if you are not satisfied with the new IEP. The basic thing to remember is this: You are your child's advocate.

Services for Autistic Adults

Adults who continue to suffer with Autism have new and advantageous avenues they can choose from as opposed to years before. The health insurance providers together with the medical health care community offer a variety of services to help enhance the pleasures of life. Granted that many of the services offered are contingent to the state the individual resides, but the majority of services for adults who continue to suffer with Autism are nationwide.

1. Medicaid funded health care treatments

2. Non-vocational community services

3. Sheltered work-shop programs

4. A program to enhance independence

5. Structured paid employment

The Medicaid-funded united health care treatments are especially designed for the individual who has the desire to learn and improve to the best of his or her ability. There are a variety of health programs offered that include registered nurses, physical therapists, psychologists, and speech therapists. This Medicaid-funded health treatment program works with each individual to ascertain the individual's level of learning and comprehension.

Structured daily activities that will help with the individual's coordination efforts in the hopes that one day he or she will have the capabilities required to hold down specified employment. This is a way for the medical health care community to help with teaching the individual ways to gain employment in a local grocery store, one of the local parks or any other community area.

The individual will continue with the learning process to help with increasing independence to a level that is appropriate for the individual. The individual with the assistance of a universal health care provider will learn to fine tune personal grooming habits, simple food preparation, and the necessary skills to understand the value of money and maintain a personal checking account.

The medical health community through the many providers also work closely with those autistic adults who want to learn the art of being a creative and productive citizen now that he or she has reached adulthood. A few of the skilled training will include a variety of responsibilities in a variety of different aspects of the employment world. Having the adult exposed to as many facets of daily living is what the health insurance provider is there to guide.

At the same time are adults with Autism enrolled and participate in any of the workshop programs is completely protected in all activities they want to learn and try their hand. The medical health provider will need to possess a great deal of understanding and patience to see the student through from start to finish.

Article Source:

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Diagnosing ADHD and Autism Using Treatment Methods That Help Resolve Physical Compromise

Diagnosing ADHD and Autism is clearly the preliminary step to their treatment. Yet vice versa, an effective yet specific treatment can help in confirming and diagnosing ADHD and Autism, by virtue of its results. By definition a test is an assessment intended to measure a test-taker's knowledge or skill in a topic or topics. A performance test is an assessment that requires an examinee to actually perform a measurable task or activity or produce a predictable response to the experience offered by the examiner.

Researchers in two separate studies have concluded that hyperactivity in the brain in children with ADHD is causative in an inability of these children to control impulsive hand movements. A study of mirror hand movements on children with ADHD showed that testing the non-dominant hand (successively tapping each finger of that hand to the thumb) produced twice as many mirrored hand movements in the other hand during the test. This was four times more predominant in boys with ADHD than boys without the condition. "The findings reveal that even at an unconscious level, these children are struggling with controlling and inhibiting unwanted actions and behavior," researcher Stewart Mostofsky, MD, of the Center for Autism and Related Disorders at the Kennedy Krieger Institute of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, says in a news release. Another finding is that on motor development tests, children with ADHD and Autism also scored nearly 60% worse.

The cranium or skull is made up of several flat bones joined at the sutures (joints) to make up the cranial vault that houses the brain. The sutures allow for movement between the cranial bones. Dr. John Upledger, DO, developer of craniosacral therapy and founder of the Upledger Institute in Florida discovered that the craniums, especially the temporal bones (these are located on either the side of the head and commonly known as the temples) of children with ADHD and Autism are very tight with little or no movement between the cranial bones. This could explain the hyperactivity if the brain, in its wait to break free from this entrapment. Releasing the cranium, with special focus on the temporal bones at their sutural link to the sphenoid in front, the parietal bones above and the occiput behind, is all that it takes to set free the cranial vault in order to decrease the pressure on the internal milieu of the brain. This has such a powerful effect, that some of these children have even been able to integrate into normal classrooms.

The method described above is known as craniosacral therapy and along with lymph drainage therapy and visceral manipulation, more or less completes the circle of healing (sensory integration is also an important treatment here but falls outside the confines of this topic). Lymph drainage therapy offers relief through drainage of the dura, a tissue that completely encases the brain and spinal cord. This technique helps in decongesting the brain and brings relief from pressure. Visceral Manipulation helps to reduce gastrointestinal problems. These treatments help to:

1. Rebalance the nervous system in the release of both temporal bones resulting in improvement in language, learning and focus/ attention, eye contact, social interaction and reduced sleep difficulties.
2. Improve motor control.
3. Improve intestinal health to reduce gastrointestinal problems (diarrhea or constipation) and ease up toilet training.

Diagnosing ADHD and Autism will soon be based on clear and specific clinical symptoms rather than being labeled as spectrum disorder. Just from this article it is obvious that among others, the following three symptoms are specifically present in these children.

1. Mirrored hand movements.
2. Delayed milestones. This may vary from very mild to more severe.
3. Tight cranial sutures.

Since "the proof of the pudding is in the eating", the very fact that predictable results are obtained with craniosacral therapy, lymph drainage and visceral manipulation confirms that these are powerful tools in diagnosing ADHD and Autism. The value in diagnosing ADHD and Autism is that it will allow management via diet control, drug therapy and special schooling to give these children the best opportunities available to break free and come into their own to live a full life.

To learn more about these very effective treatment methods for ADHD and Autism visit

Caroline Konnoth is a Physical Therapist and the Owner of Healing Dynamics Corp. She offers treatment via various osteopathic and physical therapeutic techniques. Caroline is a highly trained Healer, with more than 35 years of clinical experience. She has a vast set of tools for treating clients of all ages and conditions, who come to her, some from different parts of the world. She is a member of the American Physical Therapy Association and the New York Chapter, a Life member of the Indian Association of Physiotherapy, the International Yoga Foundation and A Medallion Member of the International Alliance of Healthcare Practitioners. She is a Teaching Assistant with the Upledger and Barral Institutes in their Craniosacral, Lymph drainage and Visceral Manipulation programs. Caroline has been approved by the New York State Department of Health as a Provider for the Early Intervention Program in Pediatrics.

Article Source:

Bean Bag Chairs for Autism Sensory Integration Therapy

Beanbag chairs have been a casual alternative for comfortable, stylish seating since the 1960s. They come in different sizes and colors, and sometimes different shapes, too, so that they mold themselves to whatever shape you sit in for maximum comfort. For many years, furniture manufacturers made bean bag chairs with small polystyrene beads, but because they posed a choking hazard for young children, manufacturers now make bean bag chairs with shredded polyurethane, the same material that lines car cushions. As a result, bean bag chairs are more comfortable than ever, and with a growing array of fabrics and materials for colors, they've experienced something of a resurgence as a viable choice for informal interior d├ęcor. However, bag chairs aren't just stylish and comfortable. Many therapists use them in different ways to help people on the autism spectrum cope with sensory processing issues.
Many individuals affected by autism have neurological issues that affect their ability to process and organize sensory information. They may experience delays in acknowledging what they see, hear or feel, or they may feel sensory input more or less intensely than neurotypical people. This can be very unsettling, and may trigger upset, restlessness and even anxiety in an autistic person. Bean bags are a safe, gentle way to help a person with autism organize their sensory input and have a greater awareness of their bodies in their immediate surroundings. Many physical therapists use beanbag chairs as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for sensory integration issues in autistic kids.
As seating, beanbag chairs provide immediate sensory feedback to the child about every subtle shift in his movements. The child can feel the countless small pieces of shredded polyurethane adjusting beneath the chair's cover. This can also help a child learn more about his body's responses and how to better monitor what feels comfortable to him and what doesn't. Learning to pay attention to his body's sensory cues is an important part of helping a child cope with sensory processing issues. Children can easily take bean bag chairs with them in a therapy session, if a session of therapeutic services require the child to move from room to room.
Many kids on the autism spectrum who also struggle with sensory processing difficulties benefit from deep sensory pressure massage and feeling weighted objects around their torsos. Bean bag chairs are an inexpensive option for providing this purpose. Placing a child on a beanbag, and then placing a second bean bag over the child's torso is a safe method to provide some weighted pressure evenly distributed across the torso. Many autistic kids find this extremely relaxing and comforting.
Bean bag chairs are a safe, gentle option for physical therapy that must involve gentle weight-lifting to improve coordination and muscle tone, both common problems for young children on the spectrum. Children can lift the chairs easily with little coordination necessary, and a dropped bean bag chair, unlike a traditional weight set, won't cause any injury or damage.
With the many features and benefits of bean chairs, buying one which provides the comfort and affordability necessary to meet your needs is crucial. Comfy Sacks has bean bags in a wide variety of sizes and colors. Instead of being filled with beans, they are filled with a proprietary blend of shredded polyurethane foam. This guarantees that it will be soft, and durable for years to come.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Autism and Education - How "The Individualized Education Plan (IEP)" Can Help Your Child's Education

The rate at which children or victims are diagnosed with autism is on the rise daily. This condition has necessitated the introduction of Individualized Education Plan (IEP) education, which is geared towards providing the autistic child with specialized education that will help him get improvement on his behaviors.

Teaching children with autism should be done in a way so as to enable them get the best in school where they study with other normal children. However, the best way of educating children with autism is to give them a personalized attention using the Individualized Education Plan.

Special education teachers should be trained to provide teaching strategies for children with autism. It is therefore vital to provide these teachers with all the facilities and encouragements needed to give children with autism special education. In this process, the teachers should be provided with the right educational skills to help them face the challenges posed by Autism symptoms in the lives of people with autism.

To effectively give children with autism the best education, the instructor should focus on one on one instruction on the child. This system will create a sense of belonging for the child and the entire teaching format should be positioned in a way that will assist the child very well.

On a final note, the teachers educating the autistic must be able to allow or provide constant mode of communication with the parents so that the child's improvement in school can be jointly monitored. So - yes, teachers have a big role to play in the process, as do parents.

Click this link Autism Research Papers, and this link Autism More Condition Symptoms!

Article Source:

Special Education IEP Cheat Sheet For Parents

Are you the parent of a child with autism, a learning disability or a physical disability? Are you preparing for your child's annual Individualized Educational Plan meeting? Would you like a short list of important items that need to be discussed at your child's IEP meeting? This article will discuss 15 issues that need to be brought up at your child's IEP meeting to ensure that all important issues are brought up.

Issue 1: Present levels of academic achievement and functional performance need to be discussed and put in your child's IEP. Academic and functional levels should be results of tests given to your child, and not teacher observation.

Issue 2: Educational strengths and weaknesses of your child. All weaknesses should be discussed and needed educational services should be discussed and written in your child's IEP.

Issue 3: District and State Wide testing that your child will be included in. Standardized testing is critical to keep special education personnel accountable for teaching your child; keep copies for future use.

Issue 4: Extended School Year (ESY) needs to be discussed and written in your child's IEP. Specific services your child is to receive, as well as amount of minutes per week, and amount of weeks given.

Issue 5: Assistive Technology Services that your child requires in order to benefit from their education.

Issue 6: If your child has negative behavior that interferes with their education ask for a qualified person to conduct a functional behavioral analysis and develop a positive behavioral plan.

Issue 7: Placement must be decided and put in your child's IEP.

Issue 8: Related Services must be discussed and placed in your child's IEP. Related Services are: PT, OT, Speech/Language, Transportation, etc.

Issue 9: Make sure all special education services offered are listed in the IEP; check minutes and make sure it states whether the service is direct or consultative and individual or group.

Issue 10: If your child is 16 years or above a transition plan needs to be developed which includes transition services your child needs to get a job or pursue education.

Issue 11: Date of graduation needs to be on the child's IEP. Make sure that the date that is listed goes until your child's 22nd birthday as IDEA requires.

Issue 12: Important methodologies need to be included as well as amount of minutes that the methodologies will be given per week.

Issue 13: Any evaluations that were conducted on your child. Below average test scores are often stated as average. Check all test scores; if below age and grade appropriate peers, make sure services are given to remediate the difficulty.

Issue 14: Make sure that the eligibility page for your child states that they are eligible for special education services.

Issue 15: Pre and post testing of your child's academics next school year. Pre testing given at the beginning of the year, post testing given at the end of the year. This will help you prove if your child has made progress or not during the school year.

Also remember to always read your child's IEP before you leave the meeting. Ask for changes if you find something that you do not agree with. By discussing these 15 issues you will help your child receive a free appropriate public education (FAPE).

JoAnn Collins is the mother of two adults with disabilities, and has helped families navigate the special eduation system, as an advocate, for over 15 years. She is a presenter and author of the book "Disability Deception; Lies Disability Educators Tell and How Parents Can Beat Them at Their Own Game." The book has a lot of resources and information to help parents fight for an appropriate education for their child. For a free E newsletter entitled "The Special Education Spotlight" send an E mail to: For more information on the book, testimonials about the book, and a link to more articles go to:

Article Source:

Does Your Child Need an Individualized Education Plan (IEP)?

Does your child need a Individualized Education Plan (IEP)?

If your child is struggling in school and you think his or her needs might require and Individualized Education Plan, start with you child's physician. Has your child had a physical within the past year? Make an appointment with your child's physician to get you on track concerning your child's health status as well as any learning-related conditions that might be a barrier to your child's academic success.

Several categories of special education service require information and documentation from your child's physician, so this initial doctor visit is a good place to start.

Once your child has had an up-to-date physical and you have talked with the doctor, move forward with these steps:

1)Schedule a conference with your child's teacher(s). A face-to-face conference is better than a telephone or email conference, but one way or another, you need this conference to discuss your concerns and to know what they have observed in the school setting.

2) Contact the school guidance counselor, an important ally once you have made initial contact with the teacher(s).

3) Work out your own fears and defenses so that you will be open to hearing what the teacher(s) have to say. Teacher input is important and you will want to have your child's teachers in your corner. Discuss the learning interventions that can be employed to address your child's areas of weakness.

4) Set up a learning environment at home and provide the materials your child needs to complete homework and projects. Be involved with your child's daily routines that the teachers have established.

5)If the interventions or learning strategies are not making a difference, then ask for your child to be tested.

6) Read and understand all paperwork that is part of this process. Ask questions, get satisfactory answers before signing paperwork to begin this process. Your school system, with your signed permission, will then follow a sequence of steps to assess your child in several areas.

7) Assemble records of your child's development. Write down any relevant observations and family history that you can to help in your child getting services.

8) When the testing is finished, you will receive information from each evaluation in writing. The school will invite you to an eligibility meeting to review test results and to determine your child's eligibility for special education services..

9) If found eligible, make sure you understand on what basis your child was found eligible and what recommendations are being made for your child.

10) Teachers and other educators will outline what happens next and you and, if your child is found eligible, a school representative will write an IEP customized for your child's unique needs in learning.

You you can be the one to begin this process. You needn't wait on the school to move forward. You, the teachers, the administrators, and the related services providers will comprise the IEP team that will make decisions regarding your child's needs.

The special education process and schedule takes time, but the process works. Do your best to collaborate with the teachers and other professionals and, as a team, you will get the IEP your child needs so that your child can receive services.

Article Source:

10 Practical Tips For IEP Preparation

As a special education advocate and a special education attorney, I am frequently asked for advice on how to prepare for an IEP. Preparation is key even if attendance by the Parent includes having an advocate present.

Here is a top 10 list to consider in preparing for your IEP:

1. Notice: Make sure you've received ample notice from the school district about who is attending the IEP and make sure you have provided notice about who you are inviting. Also, notify the District of your intention to audio record the IEP meeting at least 24 hours in advance.

2. Preparation of Documents: Prepare a document list in chronological order from earliest year to latest year of all relevant documents in a binder that you will bring. Behind the list, include the documents. These documents should go back at least 3 years in time and include past IEP's, classwork, notes from teachers and other educators, previous assessments and other relevant information for the IEP team to know. This will help you track progress and make sure the team has all the information necessary. Ask the school district for a copy of any and all relevant documents prior to the IEP team meeting and add this to your list.

3. Prepare Agenda Items: It's never a good idea to surprise the IEP team with ideas at the meeting itself. Put together a brief list of items you would like the team to review and submit it to the appropriate school district representative in advance of the meeting. This should be done in writing.

4. Advocates: Consider bringing an advocate even if it's someone like a family member. Often times this person can be seen as less adversarial and can help take the emotion out of the process so that focus is on your child. However, if there has been a stalemate on an issue, consider whether you require a special education attorney or special education advocate.

5. Ask for a draft of the IEP if possible: Often the District's IEP team members have met prior to the IEP to discuss a draft IEP. It's often a good idea to ask for a copy of this draft IEP in advance so that you can review it prior to the IEP team meeting and prepare your input.

6. Change your thinking about the IEP: Parents of special education students often feel that the IEP is a venting session. A good IEP is really a listening session. Be prepared to listen to the District's team members even if you don't agree. You can always provide your comments to the IEP even after the meeting concludes and have these written comments attached to the IEP document itself.

7. Review: If placement or other services, such as behavior therapy, speech therapy or occupational therapy, are going to be considered at your child's IEP, you should have an opportunity to talk to the providers and/or review the proposed placement in advance of the IEP meeting. This will give you a much better idea of whether the offers of placement or services are appropriate. This also contributes to your ability as a parent to give informed consent.

8. The Law: It's always helpful to familiarize yourself with key phrases of the law but don't come across as a legal bully. The IDEA, the federal law which govern special education and especially the IEP process, is supposed to be accessible to parents but the reality is it is a complex set of laws which is impacted by too many laws, cases, rules and guidance opinions for the lay person to understand.

9. Make sure you prepare questions: Do come with questions which have been prepared.

10. Know Your Child and Respect the Fact that Others Know Your Child Too: It's critical to know that you may have a viewpoint about your child which is critical to the IEP team. However, teachers and other educators also have something helpful to provide to the IEP team as well as they spend time with your child. Considering their viewpoints doesn't mean you have to agree.

The above list is not comprehensive and should not be construed as legal advice but it is an important list to consider when preparing for an IEP.

Article Source:

Types of Autism Your Child Might Be Diagnosed With

Autism is not a disease in and of itself, rather it is a group of symptoms that result in profound disability. Although many people think of all autistic children having the problems. This is not true. There are several common characteristics of autism, but any one child does not show each of them and the degree of severity can vary from very mild to severe.

All children diagnosed with an autism type disorder have some combination of developmental delays. The exact combination is what differentiates among the types of autism. This diagnosis is made by a trained developmental therapist of psychologist.

There are five recognized types of autism:

Aspgergers :Children with this diagnosis usually have high functioning autism. This condition may often be confused with obsessive compulsive disorder or social anxiety disorder. Aspergers is usually diagnosed later than autism.

Kanner Syndrome: A child with this syndrome is locked in his/her own world. They have great difficulty interacting with others. Extreme language difficulty and inability to express emotions are always present. This child is generally very resistant to change in routine, things must stay the same. They are generally low functioning and unable to live independently

Rett's Syndrome: This a rare disorder first described by Dr. Rett. It occurs almost exclusively in girls. Dr. Rett first diagnosed this syndrome in the 1960's but in the late 1990's a gene was found that might cause this disorder. The girls' with this disorder may seem normal at first, but they usually suffer from muscle atrophy and experience repetitive movements with their hands, and often show signs of mental retardation. The girls are low functioning and unable to live independently.

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder: This is also a rare disorder in which the children seem to have normal development at birth and until age 1 or 2 when they regress, usually do not potty train. They lose language skills and the ability to interact with others.

Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not otherwise specified:

PDD-NOS describes children having the same symptoms as autism. They need the same interventions. The differences between PDD-NOS and autism can usually only be recognized by researchers.

All five of these forms of autism fall under the umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) they are also called pervasive developmental disorders (PDD). To the children and their families, exactly which label is given to their child, while helpful for specific therapies does not really make a difference in the outcome.

Patricia M. Hines invites you to visit her blog at To read more information about dealing with negative people

Article Source:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Aspergers: Is It a Disorder or Just a Difference?

Is it a disability or just a difference as some people who have Aspergers Syndrome claim? We don't know the answer to this question yet. However we know that it is a condition that has some similarities to autism and if caught early some aspects of this condition can be made manageable. Even if it has similarities to autism, Aspergers symptoms are very different from those of autism.

According to specialists not every child with Aspergers Syndrome shows the same symptoms. However there are some behavioral differences between children with this syndrome and those without. First of all you must know that Aspergers is categorized as an autism spectrum syndrome. People who have an autism spectrum condition have varying degrees of social and communication problems and have some repetitive behaviors.

They also have limited interest to their surroundings. It is very hard for parents who are not trained in this area to make a distinctive diagnosis but they can understand if their children are in the spectrum. There is no definitive sign for these kinds of disorders. Therefore you must consider that one or more of these symptoms may have a totally different meaning from Aspergers Syndrome.

First of all if you are reading this article, then there must definitely be some inconsistencies about the behavior of the child you are observing. As they say, where there is smoke, there is fire. We can count your reading this article as the first symptom and continue from there. There are two sets of behavioral deviations in children with Aspergers. One is observed when they are in a social environment, with other children.

They can't interact with other children normally; they can't understand facial expressions and they avoid eye contact. They can't spontaneously engage in activities with other children and they may have difficulty showing empathy. The people with Aspergers Syndrome may have a different talking pattern. Some define this pattern as imposing, serious or even monotonous. Apart from these social problems they may have a repetitive behavior problem.

Some children with Aspergers Syndrome may show a great interest in a particular subject and would want to learn everything about this subject. At first this may seem like a good thing to the parents but in reality this is an obsessive behavior and when they talk about this subject, children with Aspergers show no directionality and their choice of topics is completely random. Another symptom these children may have is the repetitive and rhythmic movement of hands or feet. They are also very intolerant about changes in their routines.

These Aspergers symptoms may be present in your children. However that does not mean that they have this disorder. By contrast with this, it doesn't mean that they don't have Aspergers Syndrome if they don't have these symptoms. There are very sophisticated tests to make sure what the real problem is. To fully understand the problem and to be able to manage or cure it if possible, you must definitely see a specialist about this subject.

Next, go to our Aspergers Syndrome and our Aspergers Symptoms section to know how you can deal with it, along with positive options to consider right now.

Article Source:

Aspergers: High Functioning End of the Autism Spectrum

Even though Aspergers Syndrome was defined in 1944 by an Austrian pediatrician named Hans Asperger, its diagnosis was not standardized until 1994. Before 1994, children with this syndrome were not diagnosed because Aspergers was not considered a disorder. Of course there are some reasons for this late classification. Aspergers is a disorder in the spectrum of autism.

Good news is it is at the highest functioning end of this spectrum. When there is good news, there should also be bad news which is, it is still a disorder. There is an extensive test for children showing specific symptoms along with their parents. Even after this extensive test, it is very hard to differentiate Aspergers Syndrome from a number of different disorders. Two of the most commonly misdiagnosed disorders are obsessive compulsive disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. Patients with these disorders may show symptoms very similar to Aspergers. Children with Aspergers syndrome usually grow up to be very successful students and meticulous professionals.

Did you know some people with Aspergers Syndrome call themselves "aspies" and the people without this syndrome "NT" or neurotypicals? This is one of the best indications that they can have a normal, independent and fulfilled life. The most important thing is that they can't understand their peers and what comes natural to other people is very hard to comprehend for them. Jokes, facial expressions and gestures of feelings are very strange for them.

For example when they see someone crying, they can smile to them to show their support and can be misunderstood as grinning. It is very hard for them to meet new people and make friends. Even though they feel really lonely and want to have friends, they can't get into close relationships with other people. This and their other incompatibilities push them to a very isolated life. This isolation sometimes makes them look arrogant. However this is never the case. In reality they want to be with people and understand them but they get confused once they start to blend into the crowd.

A supportive and understanding environment helps them have a happier childhood. When questions about their childhood are asked, a vast majority of adults with Aspergers Syndrome talk about really very unhappy childhoods. The most common concepts about their childhood are confusion and isolation. Both of these concepts are painful for children with Aspergers. The most important duty of the parents should be to let their children with Aspergers Syndrome have a happy childhood. They must be extremely patient, supportive and understanding.

Timely diagnosis is very essential for these reasons. Undiagnosed or wrong diagnosed people with Aspergers Syndrome may have a very successful career but they usually have a very unsuccessful social life. Divorce rate among the undiagnosed people is near 98%. Because when they are diagnosed they learn every aspect about their disorder and try to understand themselves and the people around them. Once they know there is something different about them, they start to live a more peaceful life.

Next, go to our Aspergers Syndrome and our Aspergers Symptoms section to know how you can deal with it, along with positive options to consider right now.

Article Source:

Autism in Teenagers

The teen and young-adult years are difficult for everyone. In a teen with autism many of the problems are magnified to a very great degree.

Life is very difficult for both the teen and the parents. Of course much depends on severity of the autism. Just like every other teen, autistic teens go through puberty. The autistic teen experiences the same hormonal changes that every other teen experiences with one major difference. The behavior and abilities of the teen are drastically extreme depending on how the child reacts to the changes. These changes can be either very good or very bad.

This is a time that most teenagers experience greater social interaction. For the teenager with autism this is a most critical time. They have not developed the social skills that are age appropriate. They are usually considered odd or strange, or worse excluded entirely by the social crowd.

Much depends on whether the teen was even able to attend school, some manage quite well in the special education division, and others have been home bound or home schooled for most of their lives.

Autism manifests itself with the child having trouble communicating and managing social interaction. Along with this many have repetitive behaviors and poor emotional control. For these reasons most autistic teens do not learn now to behave according to sociological norms by experience. They need to be taught the proper way to behave. This is very difficult at the best, or at its worst, impossible due to rigid mindset and the volatile nature of the teen and his behavior and expectations. They do not easily adapt to things being different from they always have been.

This inability to fit in socially is very traumatic. Many react with violence or anger, others may refuse to interact at all. They also become aware that they are different from others their age. The may realize they have few if any friends and they have no plans.

For some the feeling of not fitting in may cause them to retreat further into themselves, while for other it is a motivation to learn more social skills.

A high functioning autistic teen often adapts and fits in. But the severely autistic teen may not fit in and may not be able to care for himself and need to rely on others for basic needs.

The change from child to adult is always difficult and parents fear letting go. If their child is autistic the parent may now realize that life is much more difficult and may have to do planning for the teen that they had not expected to do because the teen isn't leaving home to go to college, or to work, or even to get his own apartment. This can cause incredible stress for both the teen and the parents.

Patricia M. Hines invites you to visit her blog at To read more information about autism please read related posts

Article Source:

A Difficult Day in the Life of My 18 Year Old Autistic Daughter

I first wrote this true story about one year ago my daughter is now 19.

I am sharing this in the hope of allowing people who have witnessed really bad behavior but have not experienced it firsthand, might be just a little more understanding of children and adults who are "different."

My daughter is now 18 years old and things have not improved, and in many ways are worse. Puberty and autism make for a really difficult transition.

My girl is high functioning but has a low IQ and still behaves on the level of a 5-year-old. She has an autism spectrum disorder and is unable to respond and behave in a way that an 18-year-old normally would.

Because she looks so 'normal' people do not understand her inability to respond and behave in a normal fashion. This causes many conflicts and embarrassments. People often greet her social shortcomings with disdain and frustration. I get many, many dirty looks, and head shaking when we are out in public. I so often hear the comment,she is old enough to be young lady-perhaps true of some, but she is still operating on the level of perhaps a 5-year-old. Now that is a scary, vulnerable combination.

She has no concept of the feelings of others. Her feelings, and emotions are topmost, center, and exclusive. If she is hot, she is hotter than anyone else, and it is unbearable, she lets everyone know about it. The same applies for being cold, tired, hungry, itchy, or if her clothes are just not feeling right.

The story I am about to share is true and is also very typical for her.

About a month ago, my girl, and my older adult daughter and her 2 boys (ages 2 and 3) went to the pharmacy to get a Prescription filled. When we turned in the prescription no one told me it would take an hour to fill. We would have left and come back. The first twenty minutes or so went pretty well, I had only been begged for about 30 items in the store. Each request was getting a bit louder and more demanding. But then she decided that she was hungry. And her complaints got louder and she got more distraught by the moment. She wanted everything on the shelf and said she would eat them cold, uncooked, she was so hungry.

She was actually drooling over the canned food section. Then she started looking under the chairs around the pharmacy waiting area, hoping to find some gum or something stuck to the chairs, she was starving, and everyone in the store knew it. It was a very hot day, actual temperature was 103 and the heat index was 110, so waiting outside was out of the question. She spent 35 minutes, non-stop complaining about her hunger and that the pharmacist was slow, didn't know what he was doing, was taking so long just to torture her and on and on. She got down on the floor and cried.She went to people in the store telling them that she was starving to death and that her mom didn't care. There was no way to quiet her down, or appease her. By the way the two little boys were sitting in the cart, they were fussing a little, but in no way were they disruptive to the degree that my girl was.

She had already been told that we were going the Chinese Restaurant and having the buffet when we finished here. I offered her a cheese cracker to tide her over. She refused the cracker.

Unfortunately this type of unacceptable behavior is more the norm than not. I know not to feed into her frenzy by talking or trying to convince her that things are not as bad as she 'knows' they are. I know that will only make an impossible situation even worse.

Putting up with her behavior, as bad as it is actually easier than dealing with the other people who are looking on. I know what I am dealing with, and I know the outcomes. Suggestions of locking her up, beating the tar out of her, or being told that a responsible parent would not tolerate such behavior is a lot more difficult. Now, after dealing with this for about 17 years I just smile, and don't even bother to explain. After all, if after all the noise and tantrums she has already caused a person doesn't realize that she is developmentally delayed, they will never understand what it means. There is no point in wasting my breath or energy trying to justify her behavior. Usually just a smile, and maybe a shrug of my shoulders is all the reaction others will get from me.

I am sure that all of you parents of children with similar problems understand the frustration, and know how exhausting dealing with our children is.

Hopefully some people who have not experienced this issue with their children will see the challenges through my eyes and next time they come across a situation as I have described will be just a little more tolerant and less quick to judge.

I know that not all developmentally children/teenagers behave in this way, but I also know that she is not the only one who does. I have done the best that I could, and I do care about her, and have taught her manners.

Patricia M. Hines invites you to visit her blog at To read more information about dealing with negative people

Article Source:

Public Places With Children With Autism

"The only good is knowledge and the only evil ignorance."

Walk into a grocery store with a child with Autism and you will feel the full impact of these words. Public places are an extreme challenge. My darling son is eleven and was diagnosed at age 2 with Classical Autism. When I say darling, I am referring to all our eventful trips out the front door and all the fits that ensued. Now don't get me wrong, I love my son dearly, but as any parent can testify, there are moments that you wonder if a full on straight jacket isn't call for.

Parents of children with Autism have a tougher road to go. Even as they head into their teen years, an Autism fit still looks like a 3 year old tantrum. The looks, the stares, and comments from the general public do not help the situation. Friends tell you it is not that bad. Books say just let it go. I say educate the masses, but of course I think of all the right things to say in the car on the way home.

About five years ago, we were in the checkout at the grocery store when my son had an extreme meltdown. He wanted a movie and I didn't buy him one. This rejection was met with screaming and crying. He started to choke himself. When I tried to stop him, he pinched and dug his fingernails into my arm hard enough to draw blood. I pulled away and he began to hit himself in the head with his fist. All of this was going on as I am putting groceries on the conveyor belt and paying the cashier. To top it off the lady behind me asks if I could possible make him scream any louder. At this point, I was madder at the lady behind me more than anything else. Could she not see I was struggling? Could she not see I was already extremely embarrassed?

I knew at that point three things had to drastically change.

1.) My son - I could not allow this behavior to continue. He was becoming a danger to himself and others. After years of struggling, the first part of the answer was so simple. Scheduling and advance visual notice. Normally, as parents we plan our day or make decisions and tell our kids on the way. But with children with Autism, it helps to give let them know ahead of time, plus any adders. So now I write in a notebook "Grocery Store". Then I show it to him and tell him "We are going to the grocery store. No you are not getting a toy." Children with Autism are habit driven. This is important help this process work, but also if you deviate and buy a toy, then they will expect a toy every time.

For younger children or children unable to read, there is a wonderful picture schedule board that is very helpful and portable. You can take it with you and it helps with last minute schedule changes.

2.) Myself - I had to change. First, I had to get tougher. I had to demand that my child not act like that. If it is not acceptable for any other child, then it is not acceptable for him. As parents, we learn to choose our battles and yield to convenience. If it is difficult to take our child shopping, we go when he/she is not with us. Or don't go to the places that set them off - like the movie theater. And yes we have been asked to leave before.

Second, I had to not worry about other people's perceptions. Let them walk a mile in my shoes and see what life is like. I had to stop making excuses for him and just parent him.

3.) Others Awareness - Early on, when people would ask me questions about Autism, I was uncomfortable to talk about it. I felt preachy or like I was complaining too much. I could not understand why people were interested in knowing the ins and outs of Autism. Now I tell everyone. Maybe if the word gets around, people will be more patient of others.

If we, as parents, stop blaming ourselves for our children and start understand the why, we can begin to unravel the how.

Dawn has an 11 year old son with Classical Autism.

Article Source:

Monday, February 21, 2011

A Common Asperger's Syndrome Symptom Is Meltdowns - 7 Tips for Avoiding Meltdowns in Stores

There are many troubling symptoms of Asperger's syndrome, but perhaps one of the most frustrating can be when your child has trouble in public places, such as a store. If you are the parent of someone with Asperger's, you probably already know what I mean. Trying to bring your child to the grocery store can be a nightmare, because they either dart all over the place looking at things and won't stay with you, or they get so terrified they won't even walk or move.

Add that to the tantrums that so often happen, the crying, the yelling, the occasional throwing of grocery items around, and it's enough to make any parent run for cover. Other parents are pointing at you, wondering why you can't control your child. So what should you do?

First Step: Understand the Causes of Asperger's Meltdowns

Well, the first step is to understand why this behavior is happening. The culprit here, more likely than not, is sensory issues. Consider how much is going on in your typical chain grocery store. There are incredibly bright lights, loud noises from the dinging of the check-out counter, lots of people everywhere, talking and making various types of noise. There is the sound of the squeaky wheels on the shopping cart; lots of movement; and lots of visual stimulation.

There is way too much going on. This complete sensory overload is often too much for your child to process at once. This is what can lead to loss of control and tantrums.

Seven Tips for Success in Stores

  1. Select the Right Store. Consider what will be the best store to fit your needs. For example, if you need to go to the grocery store, perhaps there is more than one near you. Maybe one of the stores is smaller and less busy than the others, even if it is a little out of your way.
  2. Bring a Distraction. Try to bring anything that might distract your child when shopping. A hand-held video game, a book, or some other kind of game that they enjoy, perhaps. Anything that can take their attention off the chaos around them.
  3. Timing is Everything. Try to go in the early morning or late at night when the store is likely to be less crowded and less noisy. Ask the manager when the quietest times of day tend to be. Avoid going right after the work day ends, as that often can be the busiest time.
  4. Headphones Can Help. Bring headphones for your child to block out the noise. They can either be special noise-reducing headphones, or regular ones connected to his favorite music on a CD player or MP3 player. The music will provide a calming stimuli for your child to focus on rather than the store. Earplugs are also a cheaper, low tech way to help decrease the noise levels.
  5. Make a social story. Social stories are a way of modeling events that will happen so kids with Asperger's will understand what is happening next. Draw pictures of you shopping and your child walking along you by the cart. Write a storyline that goes along with it. "Mark will walk calmly by the shopping cart while Mommy does the shopping. If he starts to feel overwhelmed, he can put his headphones on. Mark will not run away from the cart, or scream if he is unhappy. Mark will tell his mother if something is bothering him." And so on, to try to give a visual and written representation of what the expectations are going to be.
  6. Reward Good Behavior. Allow your child to pick out a small toy, gift or food item that they particularly like at the end of the shopping trip. This will give them something to look forward to and make the misery of the trip a little less pronounced for them. It can also be a motivator for better behavior (although you should know, some kids, depending on where they are in their development, simply can't help becoming overwhelmed and falling apart in such environments.)
  7. Avoid the Store Entirely. If all else fails, consider online shopping when you can! This may not be very practical for grocery stores - unless you live in an area big enough where local stores will deliver! - but can be very useful for a variety of other needs. You can get a lot of grocery items and just about anything else you'd need on the site. Shipping is free if you buy $25 or more, and if you use Amazon a lot, you can pay one yearly price that will allow you to receive everything you buy within two day's time for free.

It can be very overwhelming to take your child shopping - not only for them, but for you too! Hopefully these tips can make it a little easier. Sensitivity to sounds and visual stimuli are two of the most common symptoms of Asperger's syndrome, but with a few pointers, this doesn't have to get in the way of your child's ability to cope well in public forever.

Hopefully these tips can make life a little easier. In addition to these 7 tips, there are many other tips and suggestions that can help your loved one live a fulfilling and happy life. A great site to find information to help children with Asperger's syndrome is the web site There you will be able to sign up for the FREE Asperger's Syndrome Newsletter as well as get additional information to help your loved one be happy and succeed in life.

Article Source:

Why Autism Awareness Matters: When Ignorance Hurts

Let me start this article by telling you this true little story which happened to me recently. It's a pretty typical example of the level of awareness that most people have regarding families who are raising kids with special needs. The fact that I have special needs kids is not usually discussed when I meet someone for the first time, so I cannot even remember why in the world it came up during the situation I'm about to describe, but it did. I was at a social event in honor of a cherished friend and was simply making conversation with a couple of ladies who didn't know anyone. My mom and dad always taught us to look for people who seem alone in the room and make them feel comfortable. So basically that's what I was doing and the topic of kids and school came up. For some reason I explained that two of my children have special needs. One of the ladies (who was very nice, by the way) replied, "All kids have special needs." As I just explained, this event was all about honoring one fine lady, so I felt it was neither the time nor the place to try and educate a total stranger and create even a hint of awkwardness. Because of this I very politely smiled and said, "Well, yes, that's true. Every child does have very unique and individual needs," and then changed the subject. Inside my heart was breaking.

You see, that mindset completely demeans and dismisses the extreme effort made on the part of parents whose children really do have special needs. Even more than this, it devalues the courage and immeasurable work on the part of the kids themselves. Before I had kids with special needs I was so completely ignorant of this. Because of our situation I am now intimately aware of how many everyday, mundane, "simple" things in life most of us take for granted because they come naturally to neuro-typical children. While most parents are signing their kids up for every sport or activity under the sun, parents of kids with special needs are having specialists come into their home for 2+ hours each day so their kids can learn to use a button, a toothbrush, pretend, use a single word, on and on and on. Did you know that there are 17 steps taken for using the toilet? Each of which must be taught one by one, over a period of months, to a 4/5/6 year old child with special needs who doesn't just pick up on it the way most two-year-olds can? Most kids are able to learn the rules of baseball or soccer at age 7, but kids with special needs are trying to learn the most basic social rules so they can tolerate being in public walking into a grocery store with mom.

We are currently facing some behavioral issues with our 10 year old that we have no problem resolving with our 5 year old who is neuro-typical. Even though we've had lots of parent training in the past, it has become necessary to again reach out for professional support. In order to access a behavioral therapist we need to attend this parent training (which we've done before) because of some new requirements that have been enacted. The class took three weeks and lasted 4 hours each week. After this, a teacher will spend an hour in our home to consult with us on a customized behavior plan, and then we will be placed on a waiting list for the specialist we originally requested. All of this investment because verbal communication is simply that difficult between us and our child with special needs. Every ounce of your time and energy as a parent of a child with special needs is spent learning how to communicate with them. Imagine your own child speaking a completely different language than you. In addition the rules of social engagement are entirely different in each of your minds, so the risk of misunderstanding is multiplied exponentially.

In 2009 this was our routine for three months (3x per week). I would awaken my 1 and 3 year old from their nap to pick up my 7 and 9 year old about 10 minutes early from school. The five of us would drive one hour to drop off the 7 year old at her socialization program, then the rest of us would cross town to drop of the 9 year old at her program. Both programs were conducted in older parts of little towns so the parking was always difficult and it's no thrill to keep getting little ones in and out of car seats. The two little ones and I would find somewhere to spend about 45 minutes before crossing town to pick up the 7 year old, then back across to get the 9 year old, and then we would end up at home about 4 hours after leaving the house. Was I glad to do it? Absolutely! But keep in mind I was not going to all this effort so that my kids could participate in some sort of elite sporting, academic or artistic endeavor. We did this so that they could develop basic skills in hopes of having success relating to peers on a playground or at a birthday party. Our efforts were rewarded when their teacher reported tremendous improvement in their ability to interact with not only peers, but also the teachers and aids. This is but one of many, many examples of what it means to have special needs.

My goal here is not to make you feel sorry for any parent, spouse, or child of a person with special needs. I'm so happy that my girls have us for parents. We love them more than life and we wouldn't trade them for the world! We are the very best parents for them that exist on the planet! And we are happy and eager to do whatever it takes to build a relationship with them and set them up for success in every area of life.

So what's my point?

All I'm trying to convey is this. Don't devalue the definition of "Special Needs" because of a lack of awareness of what that implies. Unless someone is raising a child of their own with special needs, they cannot possibly understand the meaning of the phrase. And I wouldn't want or expect them to! But if the next time you meet a parent of a special needs child an enormous amount of awestruck admiration for them rises up in your heart, then my goal in writing this will have been met.

This is a lesson for all of us. As a pastor people come to me with all kinds of problems and I'll be honest, when we started out in the ministry I used to hear what some people considered to be a problem or a trial and I would think it was the emotional equivalent of a hangnail. It would just frustrate me and I would think they were such a wimp. (And that was back in the days before I knew what a real trial was myself!) But I had to learn that I am in no position to judge the trial or pain of another human being. Even now, with all we've been through, when someone comes to me with a problem that seems heavy to them but by comparison not as major as some things I've faced, I genuinely take it to heart and offer up my most empathetic prayer and embrace. I believe in doing so that's loving people with a generous heart. And a generous heart will never withhold compassion, support, encouragement, or empathy. There's no problem too small for God to care about. If it matters to you, it matters to Him! Healing will flow through a generous heart. And the same healing that flows through me to others, will flow to me and my children.

A Special Note for Special Parents:
If we get offended by someone's ignorance then we are blocking the very healing process God is working out in our family. Turn that pain over to Jesus. He ALONE is acquainted with every pain of humanity. When He hung on that cross He actually took on Himself the very pain I felt in that room with that lady. So when I give it over to Him, He literally knows what I'm talking about because He experienced the actual event Himself, on my behalf! He did that so that I CAN give it to him (if I choose to). Why would I bear it in my own soul if He bore it for me? If we harbor those hurts, then we hurt the healing process.

Psalm 56:8-9
You number my wanderings; Put my tears into Your bottle; Are they not in Your book? When I cry out to You, Then my enemies will turn back; This I know, because God is for me.

Christa Proctor is writing a book about what her family has done to recover 2 girls from Autism. It is called Deception of Disease and will be ready for release early 2011. For information about the book go to: For inspirational resources from Christa go to:

Article Source:

Asperger's Syndrome Treatments - Four Methods To Help Your Child Communicate

Children with Asperger's syndrome and/or autism often need treatments to help them improve their communication skills either because they do not speak well or do not speak at all. It can be the most frustrating thing in the world to want to communicate with your child but not be able to. This is obviously very frustrating for the child as well because all of their wants, needs, and feelings are going unexpressed. This can lead to acting out and other behavior problems.

Fortunately, there are methods to improve communication skills for those with autism and Asperger's syndrome.

1. Sign language

Some people advocate teaching nonverbal kids and adults sign language. Often, they will be able to communicate with their hands what they cannot with their voice. Some parents resist this, thinking that if they teach their kid how to sign, and he or she has a little bit of language, the kid will use the sign language as a "crutch" and never make the effort to speak. This is not a valid argument, because verbal speech is a real effort for these kids, if they're able to even do it at all. Wouldn't you rather your child have some way of communicating his basic needs to you than none at all?


PECS stands for the Picture Exchange Communication System.

Kids are taught to point to pictures of things they want, or pictures that show how they are feeling. They are given rewards for pointing out pictures of something they want. For example, if they want a drink, they will be shown a picture of water, and if they give the picture of water to the adult, they will be given a reward.

After a while, they will learn to use the PECS pictures to communicate their needs and feelings. Usually, a binder with symbols and pictures with words that are appropriate to the child is created and carried everywhere, so that the child has a means of communication.

3. Facilitated communication

Facilitated communication is a type of communication where the person is able to type their thoughts, often with the support of another person supporting their arm. Many completely nonverbal kids are able to communicate for the first time using facilitated communication.

A lot of kids and adults will be able to type completely independently, but some cannot. Because of this, facilitated communication is a somewhat controversial method. Some people believe that the person is not actually communicating, but the people supporting them are. However, there are many people who are able to type independently - some of whom have made videos to prove this - and they seem to give validity to this method.

Another interesting device is called a Lightwriter. These have a small keyboard with a speech synthesizer. A person types into it, and their words are translated in seconds into spoken speech. It is small enough to carry wherever you go.

4. Social Stories

One very useful and widely used technique that can help kids with Asperger's - and that doesn't cost much money - is writing "social stories".

Social stories are books of some sort that talk about how to do a certain social activity, and provide step-by-step instructions. Kids with Asperger's typically need to see things visually. And they need to refer back to instructions relatively frequently. They also need step-by-step instructions. All of these components fit together very well for the idea of a social story.

You can create your own social stories or buy pre-made ones for common situations. The more your child understands what to expect, the better he or she will function. Social stories work because they take common social events and break them into the smallest of steps. Simply telling the child what will happen is often not enough though; he needs to be able to look at it. If the information is in a book, he or she can read it over and over again at their leisure, and slowly, understanding will dawn.


Kids with Asperger's and other autism spectrum disorders often have great trouble the point of being completely nonverbal. This is frustrating for all involved. But luckily, effective Asperger's syndrome treatments exist to help many of these symptoms and improve the speech and communication deficits of children on the autism spectrum.

Hopefully these tips can make life a little easier. In addition to these four methods, there are many other tips and suggestions that can help your loved one live a fulfilling and happy life. A great site to find information to help those with Asperger's syndrome is the web site There you will be able to sign up for the FREE Asperger's Syndrome Newsletter as well as get additional information to help your loved one be happy and succeed in life.

Article Source:

Behaviours Of Autistic People

Children with autism display traits and behaviors that when compared to other children in the same age group are significantly different. All children will display some of these behaviors at one time or another in their lives, but the autistic child will typically present these behaviors on an ongoing basis.

One such type of behavior is that of repetition.

Some autistic children will repeat behaviors over and over again, without stopping. This can include things like flapping their arms repeatedly over and over again, rocking back and forth, and even self injurious behaviors like banging their heads on the wall. These behaviors will often seem out of place when compared to other children. But for the autistic child, they can be a normal part of everyday life.

Self injurious behaviors can also be very prevalent in an autistic child. Whether it is cutting themselves, or biting or scratching their arms and legs, they will often have some form of injurious behavior that is not only a danger to themselves, but to those around them as well. This is one behavior that you may want to try and alter in your autistic child. You don't want them to continue a behavior that injures themselves or others, so changing this behavior as soon as it presents itself if very important. If you are unsure how to do this, make sure and talk to your child's doctor or therapists.

Another common behavior is an obsession of something abnormal. Instead of loving cars, they will be obsessed with playing with just the tires. The rest of the car seems like it doesn't even exist to the child. They will play with just the wheel and forget it is even a part of the car. Your autistic child may also exhibit strange behaviors like having to line everything up. From toys to food at mealtime, they'll line things up to provide some order and control to an otherwise out of control world.

They will also become out of sorts when their routine is disturbed or changed. Having a strict schedule and routine is something most autistic children thrive on. Changing something or altering the daily routine can cause a severe meltdown and sometimes violent temper tantrum.

As you can see autistic children and even adults can exhibit all sorts of behaviors. The key thing to remember is no two people are the same, autistic or otherwise and learning their eccentricities can help alleviate or remove some of the behaviors all together.

Autism is a spectrum disorder so not all people will exhibit the same behaviours or mannerisms. To learn more about the symptoms of autism, click here!

Article Source:

Autism 101 - Signs Your Toddler May Have Autism

Noticing your little one is just not right can be a scary thing. Everyone always tells you how wonderful toddlers are and how interactive they can be, and your heart breaks when the months pass and you just know something is not right with your child. You search for answers, you try everything you can to make them come back to your world, only to see them pull even further away.

No one ever talks about the fact that not every child is the same. The fact that not every child is going to be that perfect, bouncing bundle of joy that gives hugs and kisses and says I love you mommy and daddy.

Instead some of us wake up to discover that our little boy is not the same as their little boy. Our little boy doesn't talk, and maybe he doesn't walk. Our little guy may even avoid contact and shy away from being touched. Our little boys, our wonderful little men, have autism. And our world breaks

Autism is on the rise. And with it the stories and the education. A child diagnosed with autism today has a much better chance of living a happy full life than a child born with autism even 10 years ago.

The educational levels are on the rise. We now know that if our sons don't talk, or begin talking only to stop it all together, they may be on the spectrum. We've also learned that if they do talk it may be in a very monotone voice. No emotion at all.

We also know that they may not interact with us. No hugs, no kisses. Not even eye contact. In fact, all three of those things, can send them into a meltdown.

We also know that textures, whether in food, or clothing can upset them beyond anything else. We've learned that they can scream wildly simply because of a smell that is bothering them.

And the sensory issues don't stop there. The noise of the world around them can literally hurt them. We've learned that sound silencing headsets can be a lifesaver.

We've come to know that them walking in circles, or flapping their arms or rocking back and forth banging their heads on the walls is a way for them to cope. Is a method of stimming. We know what stimming means.

We've also come to know, it's okay our children are different. There is nothing wrong with them being different. They are simply being children. Autistic children, who live in their own worlds. Autistic children who may never know what love means, but still you see it in their eyes the odd time you catch eye contact. Autistic little ones who may need us to care for them and protect them from the day they are born, till the day we pass away. And we're okay with that. Because autistic or not, they are OUR children.

Discovering your child has autism can be a very scary time indeed. To learn more about autism, click here!

Article Source:

Autism 101 - Empathy And Emotion, Teaching Your Autistic Child

Most of us are born with the ability to tell what other people are feeling, or pick up on the body language they are sending us. For children with autism, this born ability is not there.

Children with autism often have a difficult time interacting socially with other children because they don't read cues the same way. Where most children know when someone is directing their attention to you, many autistic children do not. Instead the are in a world of their own, trying to interact best the can.

Another thing that autistic children are often missing is empathy. Instead of being able to understand the feelings of those around them, they often come off being cold and callous, because they simply do not understand feelings. And without understanding feelings, they often don't notice when they've done something that upsets their peers. As a result, social interactions when they do occur can end abruptly, with the other child quite upset over something the autistic child did or did not do.

Teaching our children these behaviours can be quite difficult too. While we weren't taught to understand each other, it was something we kind of knew from the start. Autistic children don't have this ability from the start, it needs to instead be taught to them.

One such way to encourage an understanding of feelings is with cue cards. Utilizing cards with different emotions we can try and teach our children what sad looks like, what mad looks like, what happy looks like, and hope that in the end they can at least begin to pick up the cues going on around them.

Another option, is to try and make them more aware of their own feelings and let them discover by association what others are feeling. We can do this with an emotion chart. Getting them to point out and show us what they are feeling may help them recognize and understand emotions in others. Asking them over the course of the day will help show them that emotions change and also give them the general idea of what a person looks like when having that feeling.

Autism changes the world around us, and can make life a little more difficult to live. With out help, our children can begin to understand their own emotions and the emotions of others, and begin to be able to interact better with their peers.

Autistic children are wonderful beings. To learn more tips to help your autistic child, click here!

Article Source:

Asperger's Syndrome Symptoms in Adults - Overcoming the Top 4 Challenges Asperger's Adults Face

Asperger's syndrome symptoms in adults is a topic less often discussed than Asperger's in children -- but it is an important topic because kids with Asperger's syndrome grow up and become adults with Asperger's. Asperger's syndrome is a form of high functioning autism. Irrespective of whether or not an adult has been officially diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, many adults know they have it...either from the symptoms they exhibit or from informal tests that they may have seen on a web site or in a book.
Many adults did not have the opportunity to be tested for Asperger's as a child and were never formally diagnosed. Therefore, they did not benefit from early Asperger's treatment or intervention. In many ways, this makes it especially difficult for many adults with Asperger's.
There are many unique challenges to being an adult with Asperger's, from social issues to employment to feelings of self-worth. What does it really feel like to be an adult with Asperger's disorder?
The Top 4 Challenges Asperger's Adults Face
A survey of adults with Asperger's revealed that the following issues loomed largest in the adult with Asperger's syndrome.
1. Employment Issues And Asperger's
Employment is a big issue with adults who have Asperger's. In order to be independent in our society, one usually needs a job. A lot of adults with Asperger's want to be independent and live on their own, but to do so they need to be able to pay the bills. And that means getting a job.
Adults with Asperger's are usually very intelligent and capable people, but they need a compatible environment for them to be able to thrive. What they need is usually not compatible with what most work places require. They need control of their environment; co-workers talking, snapping gum, or playing the radio can drive them to distraction. The lights may be too dim or too bright; perfumes or other smells may be bothersome; and in general, there may be too much sensory stimuli in a typical workplace environment to screen out.
Then there is office politics, which is something most adults with Asperger's have problems with, and getting along with others in general. Jobs that require working with the public have their own problems. And even getting past the interview to get the job can be a problem. This is all very frustrating to the adult with Asperger's who just wants to prove that he can make it on his own and feel like he is contributing something to society.
2. Asperger's Syndrome Leads To Feelings Of Inadequacy And Social Anxiety
Often times, adults with Asperger's syndrome have to work twice as hard just to keep up with their typical peers, and often still fall behind. They see their peers getting jobs, living alone, getting married, and having an active social life, and they often feel jealous and a bit bitter if they are having problems in any of those areas. This is not to say that all adults with Asperger's will have these issues, but often issues will crop up in one area or another. There is pressure to compare themselves to others their age, and they always find themselves wanting. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy, anxiety and depression.
They may have a job, but still be living with their parents; or perhaps they have a job and live alone, but still rely on their family for a lot of help with everyday tasks. Keeping an apartment up, cleaning, cooking, and bill paying can all pose challenges, and trying to be social out in the world takes far more energy for an adult with Asperger's than the typical person.
3. Difficulty With Friends And Relationships
Many adults with Asperger's want to have friends, but their lack of social savvy makes it hard to do. Their difficulties picking up social cues and social anxiety get in the way of having friendships. Romantic relationships are even more difficult. Relationships are hard even for people without Asperger's; there is so much communication and understanding that is required; so much give and take.
These are all things that can be hard for someone with Asperger's. They are not impossible, but they can be difficult. Adults with Asperger's are often lonely due to problems in this area. Social groups and activities with other people who also have Asperger's can lessen some of this loneliness.
4. Feelings Of Meaninglessness
A lot of adults with Asperger's are just plain brilliant in some areas. They know everything there is to know about the solar system, electronics or some obscure part of history. They like to think deeply. They have things they would like to do with their lives, goals and dreams. Some of them do accomplish these goals with a lot of work. Others are not so lucky.
Sensory issues, a tendency to get easily overwhelmed, or other issues get in the way of them achieving what they would like to. A large number of adults are on disability and cannot work. Finding things to fill their time can be a challenge.
They get to a point where nothing in their life has much meaning anymore, because all they're doing is trying to survive. They have no activities that make them feel good about themselves and their place in the world. Again, this does not apply to everyone, but there need to be more programs to address these issues.
There Are Ways To Thrive With Asperger's Syndrome
These are four of the main areas of difficulty for adults with Asperger's. Do not despair, however, because there are ways to address all of these issues, especially if an adult can find a support group and good counseling. The future does not have to be bleak for adults with Asperger's. There just needs to be people and programs in their lives who are sensitive to their needs and can improve the quality of their lives. With treatment, adults can overcome the symptoms of Asperger's syndrome and lead a successful and fulfilling life.
There is a great deal of free information to help also. A great site to find information to help adults with Asperger's syndrome is the web site There you will be able to sign up for the FREE Asperger's Syndrome Newsletter as well as get additional information to help your loved one be happy and succeed in life.

How To Know Your Child Has Autism - Two Signs

The moment you think your child may have something wrong with them your heartbreaks. You reach a level of fear and uncertainty. Will it be noticeable? Will it make it so they won't have friends? Will they ever marry? The questions pour in, and you're left wondering what the answers will be. The feelings are no different when you think your child may have autism, or be on the autistic spectrum.

The main questions on your mind are probably, how can I tell my child is autistic? What are the symptoms? And where do I go from there?

Let's start with the symptoms. What are the common symptoms of autism in a child?

The symptoms fall under 5 main categories. You may find your child has all of them, or some of them. The thing you need to remember, is autism is a spectrum disorder, which means your child can have all or none of the symptoms, in varying severity. We will cover the first two in this article.

Let's start with the first category of symptoms. Difficulties with social skills. You may notice your child has a really hard time making friends, or an inability to make friends at all. The may be the odd child out, and visibly so.

They will rarely be the child to approach another child, and may not even show interest in other people at all. All in all, they have great difficulties in all mannerisms necessary for starting and maintaining a relationship with another person, both physically and socially

The next set of symptoms fall under communicative issues. You may find they are unable to speak at all, and when they do they may use very infantile languages such as pointing and grunting, instead of vocalizing with words as to what they want.

Or they may have properly developed language skills that suddenly regress or disappear all together. This can be one of the scariest moments for a parent. Your little one is doing everything right, hitting all the proper milestones and suddenly wakes up one day unable to speak or interact at all. They may also be unable to understand and comprehend facial cues and mannerisms, to them it's like everyone is walking around with a blank face. There is nothing for them to read in the faces of others.

These are just two of the main symptoms of an autistic child. If your child has either or both, you need to seek professional help for your child, as early intervention is key in maximizing that which your child can do, later on in life.

Autism doesn't have to be a death sentance to a child. In fact many autistic children go on to lead happy healthy lives. To learn more about how to help your child, click here!

Article Source: