ASD and Trouble Sleeping?

Searching for 125 Sleep Study Participants

If your child (or young adult) diagnosed with ASD has difficulty sleeping and would like to try out a Sound Pillow Sleep System (a non-allergenic twin size pillow with an easy-to-use MP3 Player pre-loaded with 18 one hour tracks of nature sounds, slow evolutionary music and noise files) please sign up!

Clinical Research Study includes the use of a Sound Pillow Sleep System for an 8-Week trial, at No Cost to Participant.

Picture: Wall Street Journal

We would love for you to help us with our research study. The Suzanne Vitale Clinical Education Complex and Western Kentucky University are currently recruiting 125 participants, Male and Female, ages 6 – 27, with an Autism Spectrum Diagnosis, experiencing mild-to-severe sleep disturbances. Clinical Research Study includes the use of a Sound Pillow Sleep System for an 8-Week trial, at No Cost to Participant. The Study is open to USA Residence (only); including Alaska and Hawaii. Acceptance into this study is based on a “FIRST-COME, FIRST-SERVED” basis.

Please click the link for more information or to sign-up!https://www.wku.edu/wkucec/soundpillow.php

 

Succeeding in Life on the Spectrum the “I’mpossible Dream”

Autistically Speaking with Alex Hale

Autism is real and like many others with the diagnosis, my son, Alex Hale, is succeeding in life on the Spectrum. His two songs “Into the Light” and “Walk a Mile” share his thoughts and emotions on the journey of an Autistic Individual, and assert that there is light at the end of the tunnel. It has been a long journey since his official diagnosis at the age of 6 years old.

There were signs of awkward behaviors, however his pediatrician initially suggested that we didn’t look for “trouble”. Once diagnosed we were in a state of awe rather than shock. We had assumed he would be diagnosed with ADHD or something of that nature. Immediately Alex’s dad and I started asking questions, reading up on Autism/Aspergers and looking for answers and methods to keep Alex mainstream.

Alex is high – functioning and as he says in his advocacy speaking engagements, you may not guess by looking at him, or meeting him initially, but spend a little bit of time with him and you will see that his social skills are a little different.

Drivers with autism encouraged to put extra info on license

By: Wes Rapaport

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.

An example of a "communication impediment" note, listed on the back of a sample driver license. (File photo)

An example of a “communication impediment” note, listed on the back of a sample driver license. (Jennifer Allen photo)

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.

Watch Us GLOW

An employment success story

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.

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 2015, Alix was asked to speak at TEDWomen. Below is a recorded copy of Alix discussing “How I Learned to Communicate my Inner Life with Aspergers”. She offers her wit, personal stories, and vision for tools to help more people communicate their big ideas.

Read some of Alix’s blogs on Aspergers101:

Societal Expectations

23 Truths I learned From Social Skills Training

Feeling With Heightened Senses

Facebook and Social Skills

Want to be a Friend to Someone with Asperger’s? Be Sure To do These Six Important Things

Too often, neurotypicals expect a perfect useful relationship from a friend. They like friendships to be easygoing with as much similarity between two people as possible. Therefore, they hold higher expectations for the other side, even though the other side shares that same expectation. Due to the absence of fulfillment, neither person makes connections or sometimes people can become unreasonably selective in the friendship process. The reason for this is that both neurotypicals and aspies often feel like outcasts around certain groups of people.

friendship Aspie

If this happens too frequently, the inclination to make friends declines. However, this shared dilemma can actually help to foster the relationship between an aspie and a neurotypical or an aspie and another aspie, if they are willing to give a chance for that to happen. After all, few things feel more reassuring than being able to take up your worst fears and issues with others, knowing that they will not condemn you for them.

Behind the Wheel with Autism: A Personal Perspective

Having lived in several different cities, I can attest that it most certainly is not a regional thing: you’ll run into idiot drivers no matter where you live. It isn’t profound at all; many casual conversations begin with a gripe about traffic on the way to someplace or another, or end up there eventually. Driving is a serious source of stress for many, even under the best circumstances. And for people diagnosed with Autism, they are already functioning under decidedly less than the best of circumstances, and the idea of getting behind the wheel can cause anxiety.

I found that I did not have a great deal of difficulty behind the wheel. Having a nice, large, rarely-traveled stretch of land to practice on, and taking as many opportunities to practice, is the first thing I recommend for those who are diagnosed and want to drive. It certainly helped me. After enough practice, it became second-nature.

 

Contrary to the assumption that driving is the natural enemy of the Autistic because it demands multi-tasking, it really isn’t so difficult as all that. It has a nice and structured set of regulations, and your task is simple: start at one location, and control the vehicle in order to safely reach the next. Anyone who has ever played a game, whether analog or digital, can tell you that while rules and setup are intimidating at first, once you see how it’s done and try it for yourself, it isn’t as hard as all that.

To the Autistic person who wants to learn to drive but feels rather intimidated, just think of it as a video game.

Child just Diagnosed with Aspergers?

I’m Here to Say it’ll be Alright.

11012954_10204462766751207_2317137543922936014_nI’m pretty sure those of you who have discovered that your child has high-functioning autism went into some kind of state of shock when you found out about the diagnosis. My own mother felt the room spinning when they suggested the possibility of me having high-functioning autism.

But, at the same time, she also experienced a feeling of relief for finally having a diagnosis that explained the foreign behaviors.

It’s okay to feel shocked when the diagnosis comes in. It can be a lot to take in, but I can assure you that there is nothing to worry about. In fact, I’d consider the diagnosis to be a stepping stone towards a journey.

Now, some of you may be worried after getting the diagnosis that your child may not be able to drive, or to find a romantic love interest. Take a look at me; I have Aspergers and I’m driving to and from college every Monday through Thursday with no hitch, and I’ve even had some girlfriends in recent times.

Of course, there are going to be rough patches throughout the journey, but that’s what makes the journey all the more interesting. Because, let’s face it, normal is boring.

In conclusion, there’s no need to treat the diagnosis as a lethal disease, and I see no reason for the child not to know about their high-functioning autism. Take the time to explain what it is, and make sure they understand that high-functioning autism is far from anything even close to a disease.

By Samuel Allen

Employment: Going out of your Comfort Zone

Today I want to talk about a recent employment success story with a person with Asperger’s.

I was recently assigned to conduct an environmental work assessment with this young man.  He listed his issues as Asperger’s, obesity, back aches, leg aches and insomnia. There have been a few challenges in this man’s life.  During the initial interview his parent stated, “He can’t do anything but eat and sleep.”  She had no confidence that he could ever hold a job.

This gentleman is not a kid, he is a little older, which goes to show that the confidence we have in our kids trickles down throughout life.  This gentleman really doesn’t think he can work and was not very enthusiastic about our meeting.

I had him take a self-evaluation which he was able to complete on his own and showed that he did not have a lot of confidence in his abilities.

He said that he would really like to do data entry at a large IT company but showed that he could not type very well.  Many of our high functioning kids with autism want to do some sort of IT/Gaming work but do not really know what it entails.  This is where realistic level setting come into play about expectations and education.

I took this gentleman to three different work environments to observe social skills, problem solving, communication challenges, physical challenges and more.

He loved interacting with the cats.

I first observed him in a retail setting.  He had been let go from a large retailer a number of years ago and was not enthusiastic about this setting.  He talked about how much he disliked the management and how he was not treated well.  This environment did not go well.  He was not energetic or motivated.  There was a lot of “poor me” going on.

20 Things That a Successful Adult with Aspergers Understands and Incorporates Into Daily Life

Starting from an early age, many Aspergers adults consistently feel like they have little chance of success, productivity, or joy in the real world. Negative early-life experiences that typically fall under the categories of isolation, ignorance, exclusion, or sheltering, in addition to present challenges, collectively form this delusional mental/emotional construct.

Fortunately, Aspergers adults who claim to have it hard have the power to turn the tables of their lives right-side-up and to make incredible progress as adults in both their personal and professional lives. Even though Aspergers adults usually have numerous struggles in adulthood for countless reasons, there are crucial practices they can incorporate into their daily lives to work towards success. The happiest and most successful Aspergers adults significantly understand: