Stuck on Skip: The Patterns of Life

My son absolutely loves letters, shapes, numbers, and colors. He can do different activities, but spends majority of his day focusing on the things that he loves most. He loves them because he understands them and they are always constant. A q is always a q, and b always comes after a. One plus one always equals two, and a triangle will always have three sides. Or in his case, his favorite shape, a dodecahedron, will always have twenty sides. A dodecawhat? Just trust me and stay with me here.

My son spends most of his day studying these things and lining them up. In fact, he lines everything up. I often even know he was in a room because of the telltale evidence he leaves behind. For example, the other day I knew he went into my bathroom because when I went in there, there was a line of tampons on the floor organized by color. He doesn’t have all the order that he needs in life so he creates it, and I’m pretty sure he would do this all day long if I would let him. Of course the one exception is that he likes the couch throw pillows on the floor and I like them lined up on the couch. Can’t figure that one out!

Happy family on meadow at summer sunset

The point is that every day I feel like we often do the same things, over and over. I often even hear the same phrases and words over and over again. For me, this is the norm, and I am happy to live it, but sometimes I can’t help but feel like his life and mine are stuck on skip. Like a record that just can’t get over that scratch, or for any youngsters out there, a DVD that is skipping back to the same part. Or for even younger folks, buying a movie on apple tv that won’t play through. Isn’t it amazing that no matter how far we advance as a society, our issues are still the same?

Anyway, every day is similar and it is a good thing in our house when we find something new to line up or perhaps even change the pattern, because that is change! In fact, my son is so creative in creating new patterns that when family was recently over we all felt like we were doing mind puzzles trying to find his reason and new pattern choice. I see it like he is leaving mini works of art all throughout the home. If you could see some of his more intricate letter designs I doubt you would describe it any other way. I often call him a letterologist  or letter ninja if there were such a thing.  

Reading Emotions: Anxiousness

Anxiousness is one of those emotional states we see in the face; but perhaps most of all we see it in the movements of the body.

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When we become anxious we lose some control over our actions. Carrie’s hands are raised, partially covering her face, as her fingers scratch nervously. Her gaze is unfocused and shifts direction from side to side and then upwards.

Transitioning to Adulthood

Individuals diagnosed with Aspergers or another autism spectrum disorder (ASD) may be presented with many challenges throughout their lives—especially during the transitional periods.

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As the individuals age and learn to use different skills in various environments, families, educators, medical professionals and the individuals themselves begin to anticipate the transition to adolescence and, eventually, to adulthood. Given the differences in abilities and behaviors that many individuals with Aspergers or HFA experience, it can often be overwhelming to plan for tomorrow much less several years later.

Ultimate Guide: Understanding High-Functioning Autism & Aspergers Syndrome

 The information below is an expert taken from the documentary: “Coping to Excelling: Solutions for School-age Children Diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism or Aspergers Syndrome“.

Medical reports reveal a profound discovery in the brain of those with High-Functioning Autism. Studies with MRI imaging document an actual physical difference in some areas of the autistic brain verses that of a neuro-typical brain. Also the neurological pathways fire differently in Asperger patients than that of a typical brain function. Bottom line, High-Functioning Autistic and Aspergers diagnosed individuals receive their gifts and struggles from a physical and medical basis not behavioral, as you may have been pressured to believe. So once we understand from whence the challenges occur then we can begin to lead them on the path from Coping to Excelling.

We interviewed experts in the field of autism to offer you a quick read on understanding High-Functioning Autism and Aspergers Syndrome.

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Dr. Tony Attwood Psychology, Professor, Author, Aspergers Advocate

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Dr. Temple Grandin Autistic, Scientist, Inventor, Autism Advocate

An amazing discovery still being uncovered and understood involves a revolutionary find in the human mind. Over 50 years ago, Austrian pediatrician, Hans Asperger, revealed to the medical and scientific community a form of High-Functioning Autism later named Aspergers Syndrome. These people have always been viewed as eccentric or odd displaying repetitive behaviors and totally lacking in their social skills. The disgusted and disapproving looks you and your child may be receiving when in public or with extended family only adds to the frustration and pain.

According to Dr. Temple Grandin: “I want to emphasize that Asperger’s and Autism are not separate conditions. Asperger’s is just the milder end of the continuum. There’s no black and white dividing line between a mild case of autism and geek and nerd. They are the same thing. It is a continuum of traits. The mind can either develop to be more thinking and cognitive or it can be developed to be more social. There’s a point where it just merges into part of your personality.”

The Importance of Follow-Up

One of the most challenging aspects of supporting college students diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder is the need for follow-up with professors, college staff, and others to ensure deadlines are met and that assignments are turned in according to each syllabus. The fast pace of college, combined with the severe anxiety and executive dysfunction common to the spectrum, create the perfect conditions for students with ASD to forget deadlines or avoid high pressure academic or social situations on campus.

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I’ve known dozens of students with ASD who promised: “I will work on my speech for Communications class this evening after dinner.” And they mean it sincerely when they say it. Stress and commitments mount as the day moves forward, however, and by dinner time students who made the promise may feel overwhelmed and over-stimulated and avoid the assignment. Some may become focused so intensely on another subject or topic that they forget about working on their speech.

Meet JB Lynch: College Graduate and 3-D Printer Visionary

Occasionally inspiration hits. Not in the form of a ‘big idea’ but embodied in a young person with promise. Such is the case with James B. Lynch. James (or J.B. as his family calls him) recently graduated with his Bachelor of Arts Business Degree from John Marshall University in Huntington West Virginia. His success was due, in large part, to the program created to support the needs of college students on the autism spectrum.

JB is quick to offer advice to those sending their ASD child to college and it has everything to do with “letting go”…


James is diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome allowing him to hyper focus on any given topic. This intense absorption in one subject has gone from video games, computers and 3-D printers scattered thoughout the span of his young life. Supportive parenting is obvious, as JB immersion into 3-D printing is fully supported by seeing his creations/inventions throughout the family home. It was exhilarating to hear about his passion and what started it all….

From seeing that first coffee cup print JB knew he was hooked.

How I Learned to Communicate my Inner Life with Aspergers

Aspergers101 blogger, Alix Generous, is an amazing young woman who happens to be diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome. In June of this year, Alix was asked to speak at TEDWomen 2015. Below is a recorded copy of Alix offering (How I Learned to Communicate my Inner Life with Aspergers) her wit, personal stories and vision for tools to help more people communicate their big ideas.

We are so proud of you Alix!

-Aspergers101 Team

Living in the Gray Area

Once a child is becomes more competent in his or her ability to think multicausally , the next focus of higher level social-emotional thinking is the capacity to understand the gray areas of life.

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Adolescents and young adults with Aspergers or HFA are especially prone to hitting an emotional rut when speaking in terms of “never” and “always”—hallmark terms associated with “black and white” thinking. “He never calls on me during class” or “She always gets to play the game first” are common phrases that parents or peers hear when the speaker’s ability to think and feel in more varied degrees is constricted. Not only is this harder to negotiate socially for the interactive partner, but it’s not a very fun state for the black and white thinker either.