Going through the Kinder through third grade for my Aspergers son was by far our (and his) most difficult time. A perfect storm comes together for the parent, the teacher and especially the undiagnosed child on the higher end of the autism spectrum when beginning the school age years.
Often thrust into a social situation where no one has a clue that autism even exists can easily mask itself as bad behavior. This crucial window of time has been my inspiration to create Aspergers101 so that you can have more information at your fingertips than we did! The signs could come earlier if your child is in day-care or daily with other children. Although our son (who was our first) did show early signs…it didn’t become ‘in our face’ until he started public school.
Individuals with an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) remain highly vulnerable to bullying behavior. Parents, teachers, other students, and the community must be sensitive to the particular needs of these students and vigilant in bullying prevention and intervention.
This week’s blog will point families in the direction of multiple resources available.
A life with Asperger’s in a neurotypical world is, not surprisingly, difficult. Aspies must overcome countless necessary challenges that have to do with three big categories of stimuli: environments, the brain, and relationships. Unfortunately, aspies too often face unnecessary challenges; terrible burdens on their already heavy shoulders.
Any kind of imbalance in or between the three big categories usually stems from and causes isolation. Isolation is a primary example of trauma to an aspie, regardless of age, traits, or background. Isolation primarily encompasses the relationship factor and its damaging effects on the brain, the psyche. This isolation can cause the aspie to become petrified of their environments.
While waiting during a flight delay, Dr. Temple Grandin who is well known for her inventions with livestock handling facilities, best-selling author and advocate on behalf of those with Autism, granted me her time over the phone today. Among the myriad of topics discussed was her strong recommendation for me to read today’s headline published in USA Today. The headline reads: AUTOMATION IS THE GREATEST THREAT TO THE ECONOMY, BUT MAY ALSO BE ITS BIGGEST OPPORTUNITY. Temple went on to say that for those with a specialized interests, who embrace robotics, artificial intelligence and automation may find themselves in a good position within our future workplace.
Within the USA Today article, Bill Brennan, audit transformation leader for PricewaterhouseCoopers, states that he is now hiring employees with backgrounds in science, technology and engineering. “We need those individuals to help us as we get into data analysis, analytics, data security, cloud computing. The future employee is going to have a combination of those skills,” Brennan said.
A robotic arm removes a section of wire from a computerized two-dimensional bending machine before carrying it to an automated welder at Marlin Steel in Baltimore, which has embraced automation to remain competitive with foreign manufacturers. (Photo: Jasper Colt, USA TODAY)
Dr Grandin said this article is a must-read for anyone on the Autism Spectrum or with Asperger Syndrome for many of these job availabilities will match their skills set. Upon her encouragement, we’ve posted the article for you to read below.
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.
Many parents experience the “picky eater” from time to time. As with most differences on the autism spectrum, the difference in describing the picky eater with autism can be found in the intensity or degree. Because of this relative understanding, one might be critical of the parent with a child with autism and tell them they just need to make their child eat food that is more nutritionally sound. But the “picky eater” is really just someone with sensory processing issues in regards to taste.
I was in a meeting where the educators and the parents were discussing the narrow food choices of the daughter as being a nutritional and even behavioral concern. At one point, one of the educators told the parents that she, herself, had a picky eater, and that she just had to lay down the rules and “force” the issue. The teacher proceeded to tell the parents that they should do the same thing. The mother became upset very quickly and in a raised voice told the educator, “Don’t you think I’ve tried everything to make her eat healthy?! I’ve had food spit out at me more times than I can count, and I’ve had the kitchen torn apart after a food-related meltdown . . . I’ve done it ALL!!!”
I am trying to make the point that we are talking about a matter that goes beyond “picky eating”.
Oftentimes aspies exhibit challenging behaviors just like any other child. However, aspies have other factors when it come to learning and emotions that render most traditional disciplinary methods ineffective; whether the discipline takes place in school, at home, or anywhere else.
This blog outlines some important considerations for effective aspie discipline.
Neurotypical Mom, as a Special Needs Mom your world is foreign to me. Rotating seasons of soccer, cool moms club, overnight parties, and college sororities comprise a universe outside my own. Church youth camps and activities that have the word “team” in them are just painful reminders that I have a special needs child. Your child is included, mine is not. And I must find a way to turn these negatives into positives for the sake of my child’s future.
Raised competitive from a small town with sports and cheerleading in a world that didn’t include Autism makes it even more difficult to confess these surprising emotions. I’m not a whiner but what I want to do is shout “It’s not fair!” The only ones that hear or seem to want to understand this alien and painful feeling are what I’ve grown to refer to as special needs moms.
Aspergers101’s Samuel Allen receives the TCASE (Texas Council of Administrators of Special Education) 2017 Student Success Story of the Year Award! This annual award precedes the keynote speaker at the largest TCASE Conference in America. It is awarded to a student who has succeeded after graduating High School with the assistance of Special Education.
Sam attended NEISD in San Antonio Texas and graduated Ronald Reagan High School in 2013. In spite of an Autism diagnosis, he is driving, working, and currently attending college toward a degree in Business Administration and Computer Information Systems. Sam says “having Autism/Asperger Syndrome is not a weight…but offers a pair of wings in which to soar.”
Esped.com sponsored the presentation with an award toward his education. It is the contents of his speech that merits posting. Within the allotted 15 minute period, Samuel takes the massive audience (over 1,000 educators/administrators in attendance) through his elementary, middle school, and high school years as a student with special needs. There was not a dry eye in the room when Sam recalled how one teacher’s note made the difference from feeling ‘disabled’ to knowing Autism was a powerful gift.
(Note: This video includes the introductions, Sam’s speech begins at the 4:11 mark)
We congratulate Sam and all students enrolled in Special Education, their parents, and most certainly the educators who all work together toward a student’s graduation. The road is often rocky met with trials of testing programs that remove the obstacles often found with a special needs child. However, if all factions are working together, Sam is proof that special needs can mean success, and sometimes that success is found in graduation.