Since the inception of this blog, we have explored a variety of specific strategies. I encourage all educators and parents to be creative, and mix and match to best meet the individual needs of your child and/or student. In a previous blog, we learned that mini-maps can help to prevent behavioral difficulties related to academic tasks.
Often, teachers note that a common antecedent or trigger to behavioral difficulties is the presentation of academic tasks. The behaviors can range from a verbal protest to a meltdown when students feel overwhelmed by school work. The first question to ask, of course, is what is there about the work that makes the student feel so overwhelmed? Does the page look too busy? Is too much handwriting involved? Are there too many problems? Is it too difficult or too easy?
As the Aspergers101 “Driving with Autism” initiative sweeps Texas, we are thrilled to have been featured in a news report by Nexstar Broadcasting reporter Wes Rapaport.
AUSTIN (KXAN) — A new public service announcement was unveiled urging drivers with autism to consider applying for a note on their driver’s license that informs law enforcement about potential interaction challenges. The video message informs Texans about the “communication impediment” restriction code.
Samuel Allen, who is on the autism spectrum, said having the marker on his driver’s license feels “like a big safety net,” and makes him more comfortable when he gets in his car.
“If I showed [it] to the officer, they are going to know that I have autism or some kind of impediment that will keep me from communicating properly with the officer,” Allen explained.
Legislation was passed in the last session that took effect in September, allowing brochures and posters highlighting the “communication impediment” code, in large part due to work done by Aspergers101, which Allen’s mother Jennifer founded.
“I’m just a mom of a son with autism that I want him to be protected, and it just happened to be there are open doors to make policy changes that make commonsense,” Jennifer Allen said. She added that she worried about her son being pulled over or having some other need to interact with an officer, and not having the tools necessary to successfully navigate those challenges.
“We can’t rely on other cards and things that they can reach and give to an officer of the law because that could be misconstrued as they’re reaching for a weapon, so if it’s directly on the driver’s license then that is indeed a safety net,” she stated.
Getting to the top generally requires years of hard work, committed mentors and many missteps along the way.We asked a few of the most distinguished autism researchers to share memories from their first autism study, including their initial assumptions and what they’ve learned since. Their answers reveal the origins of modern theories as well as how much ideas about autism have changed over the years.
My first study was inspired by an ingenious experiment by my wonderful Ph.D. supervisors, Beate Hermelin and Neil O’Connor. They compared recall for random words (for instance, “fish, ate, they, fresh”) and for the same words when they formed sentences (“They ate fresh fish.”). Normally, we expect recall for words in sentences to be a lot better than recall for words in random strings. But this was not the case for children diagnosed with Autism. I was fascinated by this finding and wanted to repeat it. This led to my first and only paper ever accepted without revision, in 19691.
In that first study, I recorded myself saying strings of words and played them back to the children and asked them to repeat what they heard. I soon gave up using the tape recorder, which only distracted the children. I found they willingly did the task as long as I spoke the words to them directly.
Social skills are especially difficult for teens on the autism spectrum, but many of these skills can be learned, and with practice, can become habit. Social skills are critical to make friends, get a job, and to live a fulfilling life. Research from Harvard University says social skills are the top factor for getting a job.
Share the following book excerpt with your son or daughter to give them a head start in mastering these important social skills.
Contributing writer with Aspergers, Ken Kellam, answered questions from some of our readers. Doug and Kelly both had concerns about their adult sons with Aspergers. Now, Dema Stout–Coach and creator of an adult Aspergers Meetup in San Antonio–adds her own insight and guidance.
Parents of any child with differences struggle with feeling isolated. One of the challenges for families with Aspergers Syndrome (AS) and nonverbal learning disabilities (NLD or NVLD) children is that these children don’t look different. They’re bright and verbal; their quirkiness, sensitivities and apparent oppositionalism aren’t easy to understand.
As a result, parents often feel blamed for their children’s special challenges. I know one mother who was told bluntly by her brother, “You must be doing something wrong. Give me two weeks with that kid in my house and I’d straighten him out.”
We at Aspergers101 would like to thank all who’ve taken part in getting the “Driving with Autism and other Communication Impediments” initiative state-wide in Texas! Through your comments we’ve edited the final Public Service Announcement, added closed captioning and it is now airing across Texas on both TV and radio stations…thank you! The framed posters and informative tri-fold brochures are now in all DPS Driver License Offices informing citizens of their option to utilize the restriction code informing law enforcement of the diagnosis of: Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Deafness, Parkinson’s Disease, Mild Intellectual Disability, Down Syndrome, Mutism and other communication challenges. You will begin to see other diagnosis highlighted, we will have someone whose been deaf since birth sign in a PSA similar to Sams. What a blessed journey this has been for our family…to God be the Glory, great things he has done. – Jennifer Allen/Founder & CEO Aspergers101
So what is a communication impediment with a Peace Officer?
Most common diagnosis include: Autism, Asperger Syndrome, Mild intellectual disability, Deafness, Speech & languages disorders, Expressive Language Disorder, Down Syndrome, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Deafness, Brain Injury or Parkinson’s Disease.
How can you get Communication Impediment with a Peace Officer on your Texas driver license or state ID?
Only two actions required:
1. Have your doctor complete and sign a Physician’s Statement, Form DL101, affirming the Autism, Asperger, speech disability or other appropriate diagnosis.
2. On driver license application KL14A/S be sure and complete line 7 on the form.
Recovery may involve time to do nothing at all. For some students the recovery phase involves a process that takes him or her from a semi-agitated state to a fully calm state.
Consider the following steps:
Allow the student to engage in the highly preferred/calming activity without setting the timer until he/she appears to have recovered as fully as possible.
Once he/she is calm, then set the timer for 5-6 minutes. If he/she remains calm and is able to transition to the next activity, then do so and watch for early signs of repeated escalation.
If he/she requests more time [by giving the timer to the adult], then honor the request and set the timer for 3 or 4 more minutes. Continue until he/she no longer requests more time or staff feel she is ready for a positive transition to the next activity.
Once the person is fully recovered, then it might be possible to debrief and make a plan to prevent future escalation. Pictures and words can help to paint a clear picture and develop a workable plan.
It is often difficult for people with Asperger’s to accommodate to change, especially children. New environments, different people, and unfamiliar stimuli can create for very uncomfortable situations for the Aspie.
The following is a guided list of techniques that you can use to help the child with Asperger’s acclimate to change more easily.
Hi, Raeme here again! I have been the Program Coordinator for a non-profit 503c program for the past seven years that assists students from high school transition to the real world of work. Each student is unique and gifted in their own way.
I recently began working with a young lady with Asperger’s named Willa. Willa also exhibited near paralysis when feeling severe anxiety along with select mutism. Her family is extremely supportive and are extremely realistic. This innocent young woman worked for Goodwill for 4 years as a volunteer hanging clothes. After 4 years her parents wanted to try something new.
Our first meeting was very short and simple. The young girl assessed me to see if I could be trusted. Although, she did not choose to speak her eyes spoke volumes. We invited her to a facility to visit with residents who had dementia and some who had family members who never come to visit. The student observed different positions such as being a server in the dining room, a kitchen aide, companion care and assisting with art and game activities. We did not pressure her to come again.
Later that week Willa informed her mother and father that she wanted to return to the home care facility. Inch by inch and day by day Willa began to bloom. She began following her Skills Trainer less, speaking more and had less paralysing anxiety attacks. Her parents stated they have never seen their daughter so happy.