I get asked this question often: Should I tell my newly diagnosed child he/she has Aspergers Syndrome?

Being an adult with Aspergers Syndrome, I feel that there will come a point when a parent will decide on whether they should tell their child if they have Aspergers or not. Some parents may want to hesitate on telling their child that they have Aspergers because they feel it might have negative repercussions on their child’s feelings. 10712921_10202828372852381_4834357261687569944_n

Other parents will want to tell their child because they feel that Aspergers shouldn’t be kept a secret and their child has the right to know about their gift. In my opinion, I feel a parent should tell their child that they have Aspergers. My parents told me that I have Aspergers and I wasn’t bothered one bit! In fact, I encourage every parent who reads this to tell their child about Aspergers Syndrome and what it is. More than likely they already know they re ‘different’ and knowing their diagnosis will mean they can better understand themselves.  My experience throughout the school-age years is that Aspergers is a big benefit since I find socialization to be a hindrance to my school work which should be the primary goal during that time.  I would tell the parents to think of Aspergers as a positive thing and a gift that the whole family should cherish the reminder of their lives.

by: Samuel Allen

Affection

What’s the difference between liking something and it being an object of affection? The brand name which Emily is looking at has been a trusted favorite for many years. So it’s not just that she likes it; it has a special place in her heart.

(Note: there is purposely no audio with the above video)

When we are discussing something we feel affection for, we can’t help but look at it – whether it’s a special object, a book cover, or a person. You could say we give it ‘eye time’, unlike the things we have no strong feelings for, or actually dislike.

Should You Disclose Your Diagnosis

One of the most common concerns when working towards employment, interviewing and accepting an offer is the decision to disclose your disability or not. This a very personal decision, and one that you should feel comfortable with.

Many concerns the employment seeker has can include:

Will it affect how I am perceived at work?

Will others judge me?

Who do I disclose too?

When do I disclose?

In the next few entries I will discuss answers to the aforementioned questions. I will address the different types of disclosures – such as full disclosure, partial disclosure and not disclosing – as well as what to do after you answer yes to the question: “Can you do this job with or without a reasonable accommodation?”

By: Maggie Cromeens

Food Chaining: How to Expand A Picky Eater’s Diet

Since feeding involves all sensory systems (sight, smell, sound, touch, and taste), eating is the most difficult sensory task that children face. Feeding issues are especially common in children with autism, including those with Aspergers, because of difficulties with sensory processing. In many cases, this leads to eating challenges at mealtimes.

Little girl eating

“Food chaining,” from the book by the same name, is based on the child’s natural preferences and successful eating experiences—specifically the idea that we eat what we like. Food chaining introduces new foods that have the same flavors or sensory features as foods that are already preferred by the child, increasing the likelihood that the child will like the food.

Summer College Experiences

The summer between high school graduation and the first day of college classes can be both exciting and anxiety-producing. It can be for anyone, really, but it may be especially so for individuals diagnosed with ASD. Challenges with executive functioning and theory of mind may make aspects important to the transition– planning for it, for example, or knowing who to go to for necessary advice to help with the transition – a significant hurdle to overcome.

Can Success be Predicted for College Students with ASD?

Having a practical experience on a college campus prior to the move-in day may be a good way to overcome some of the challenges associated with transition to college. Marshall University first developed a college experience for high school students diagnosed with ASD in 2008. Each summer dozens of rising seniors (students who have completed their junior year of high school and are entering their senior year) spend five weeks on campus.

T-Chart

A T-Chart can be made by placing a line down the middle of a page and labeling the left and right side of the page according to acceptable and unacceptable behavior. The T-Chart is then used to clarify acceptable or desired behaviors versus unacceptable or undesired behaviors by listing those under each of the categories.

Empty Library With Arranged Tables And Chairs

I was visiting with a teacher about one of his high school students that was wreaking havoc with her profanity. They had many conversations with her and had a tried several other strategies, but the profanity continued to spew. I offered this as a possible strategy and the teacher immediately told me that she knows she is not supposed to say those words, but she just doesn’t care about that. He was trying to tell me that writing good words on one side of the T-chart and bad words on the other side was just too simple.

Social Skills and College for those with Aspergers Syndrome

Social Skills and College for those with Aspergers Syndrome

Guest(s): Dr. Marc Ellison/Executive Director of the West Virginia Autism Training Center

Social Skills and College are discussed in this edition of Top of the Spectrum News. Dr. Marc Ellison, who has successfully created a wing for those with Autism at the Marshall University West Virginia Autism Training Center, offers insights for college preparation. Since 2002, the college has successfully supported (and graduated) over 100 students with Aspergers Syndrome.

 

Acceptance

We don’t go through life strongly agreeing or disagreeing with what our friends or colleagues tell us. More often we simply accept what is said. In fact among friends, in particular, simple acceptance is the normal response.

 (Note: there is purposely no audio with the above video)

So this first expression of emotion is a good place to begin. It’s an example of something subtle and commonplace, but nevertheless important to read. For example, if you want to run through a plan for when to do a chore today, or what to buy for dinner. How can you tell when someone accepts what you are saying? We will see later in this series when someone looks actively interested, but this example is more subtle.

It’s when someone is saying, “Yes, sure I’ll buy that” or “Yes, I’ve thought about it and it’s okay”.

Job Fairs

Job fairs: This can be very daunting for anyone at any stage in the job search, but job fairs are a great way to get to see the companies in your area. You can see what positions are available without having to apply or call anyone, if you aren’t ready for that.

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As I have previously talked about, informational interviewing is a tool to use in order to get to know a company, and talk to individuals about how they have gotten to where they are. A job fair is one great way to attain that informational interview.