Preventing Meltdowns

When dealing with meltdowns, the most important things to consider are the triggers that lead to a meltdown. It might appear that the behavior just erupts out of nowhere, but there is almost always a trigger.  It might be a series of things that have a cumulative effect, making it difficult to ascertain just one culprit.

Furious mad pupil at school yelling

However, good data collection that looks closely at the antecedents will provide some clues.  Data on the antecedents, or triggers, should include the time of day, persons involved, specific activities and location.  Any other relevant information such as changes in medication, illness or other physiological conditions should be included. 

Sensory Processing Difficulties in School

Many children with sensory processing disorder or related issues can have difficulties in the school setting.

Problems can arise anywhere: in the classroom, cafeteria, gymnasium, hallway, playground, and even the bus. Some of these issues can be as subtle as not eating lunch, or as difficult as destroying a classroom.

Detail of elementary school art class

Knowing what causes these problems and how to prevent them is important for both the school and the child. This is where parents can be the best advocate for their child with Aspergers or HFA and sensory issues.

Preparing a child for school is important, but it is equally important to prepare the school for the child. Sharing their sensory concerns with the teachers, para-professionals, principals, and others is imperative to limiting sensory difficulties in the classroom.

Feeling With Heightened Senses

An Aspergers Perspective on Living With Sensory Integration Issues.

Some of the greatest struggles I had before I went to treatment at 11 are sensory integration problems. My sensitivities to food, certain fabrics in clothes, and the feel of water on my skin created a huge struggle to be a fully functional human being. Growing up, I would through tantrums whenever I would shower (gross right?), and I think at one point I went 3 months without a shower because whenever I did,Generous.1 it heightened my sensitivity to stimuli, and all inferno would break loose. I would scream for hours.

I would barely eat anything and what I did eat, I would eat over and over and over again. I loved mashed potatoes and yogurt for a time, and I think my mom let me eat it for breakfast when I was little. She was just grateful I would eat something so I didn’t starve to death. Having sensory integration issues can set an autistic kid up for social failure. In my case, my hair was greasy and my outfits didn’t match, which can set them up for bullying. I would seem rude whenever I go to my friend’s house for dinner and don’t eat anything they give me.

A word to parents

For anyone who doesn’t understand a child with Autism, they may assume behavior associated with Sensory integration issues are due to bad parenting. That’s a bunch of Bologna sandwiches. I believe any parent who is actively trying to help their child overcome the adverse symptoms of autism is doing the best that they are capable of.

Introducing: AutismSees!

On occasion you witness greatness. Individuals collectively brainstorm a service/product that will enhance, no, change lives. I feel this is the case with our Aspergers101 blogger Alix Generous. Alix is diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome and she knows from an early life of challenges how difficult speaking and employment can be for those on the higher end of the Autism Spectrum. So she and a team have created an app called AutismSees. Watch the video and contribute to what surely you’ll be reading about in the medical journals soon! So proud of Alix and her team and to introduce to you their product AutismSees!  - Jennifer Allen

You may read more about AutismSees here and contribute toward the making of the app (until September 1st 2014) at Seedkicks.

Learning Types

During inventory and work assessments, one thing that we as employment specialists learn, and sometimes the individual with Asperger’s/HFA learns as well, is what learning type they are. With school starting this week, this is an important topic. During the initial stages of assessing our individuals’ best possible work environment, we also discover their learning types: visual, auditory, or kinesthetic. I will now break down these types of learners and how they can affect employment.


Visual learners prefer using images, pictures, colors, and maps to organize information and communicate with others. They can easily visualize objects, plans and outcomes in their mind’s eye.

Neuroscience Imaging the Asperger Brain

Neuroscience Imaging the Asperger Brain

Guest(s): Dr. Janessa Manning, Dr. Chris Plauche

The Asperger brain is different in both function and it’s anatomy as shown in MRI brain scans. This medical study explains why people diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism or Aspergers Syndrome cannot read social cues thus ‘acting’ differently. It is NOT bad behavior…it comes from a brain that is different!

Practical Solutions for College Success

It’s that time of year! Students are preparing for college – gathering items for dorm living, buying textbooks, and saying one last so-long to high school friends as the summer winds down. Colleges and universities across the U.S. are preparing for the fall term too. At Marshall University, (and many colleges across the country), incoming freshmen arrive on campus several days before classes start to adapt to the campus community.Lonely male student posing while his classmates are talking

Acclimation to campus can be especially difficult for students diagnosed with Asperger’s Disorder. Taylor and Colvin, in their article “Universal Design: A Tool to Help College Students with Asperger’s Syndrome Engage on Campus” (2013) provide helpful suggestions to institutions of higher learning that could make the orientation for students with ASD more effective.

Using Topic Cards to Develop Social Skills

Topic cards are similar to scripts in that they can help students engage in a variety of topics, beyond their own interests. They are different in that they include just a few words that describe a topic that launch a student or group students in a particular direction. Using Choice to Increase Academic Success

A teacher had created a special lunch group to help a student at the middle school level engage in appropriate teen conversations. She had one main interest and it would dominate every conversation. Her interest was in princesses and everything having to do with them. For most young teen girls, princesses were not much of an interesting topic for them. This narrow conversational topic had also narrowed her circle of friends to almost none. While the teacher had good intentions, simply creating a lunch group to help her engage in other topics had not been successful. The students needed some supports to be effective in their role as peer teachers. The teacher chose topic cards as the best strategy for this situation.

Work Assessment

If you were given the chance to work at a job you were interested in for a few hours to assess your skills and abilities, and to decide if you are comfortable and really enjoy it before starting the application process would you do it? For me, I would with no hesitation, but there were no opportunities like that available when I started working. However, there can be for individuals with Asperger’s/HFA.

This is called a work assessment, and it is imperative to future success. A work assessment also work in tandem with the inventory assessments.

Work assessments are very beneficial. They allow an individual to work in a simulated or actual work environment for a few hours to decide if it fits the negotiable and non-negotiable parts of their inventory assessment. It allows an opportunity to observe the individuals interaction with others, hard and soft skills, physical capabilities. Work assessments will also allow the individual the opportunity to decide if it is a job they think they would enjoy. More and more companies are opening their doors for work assessments, because it allows the company to have volunteer help with their product. This is also a crucial time for the employment specialist. During the assessments, if it is concluded that a site is a good fit, the employment specialist will start the process of setting up the supports for future potential employment. If it is not a good fit then arrangements will be made to complete a work assessment in another environment of the client’s choice. One of the most important things to remember during a work assessment is the client has a choice and a voice…and out of everyone’s it is the most important.

If you are interested in having a work assessment done you can contact your local vocational rehabilitation office and inquire about their services, and who they contract with that provides these invaluable services.