I hired someone with Asperger’s – now what?

Last January after a fresh snowstorm, my 9-year-old son asked me to help him build a snowman. I told him that I would be out to help shortly.

A couple of minutes later he came running back yelling, “Dad, it’s melting!”

That got my attention. It was sub-30 outside, so how could a snowman be melting?

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(Photo and Article originally from CNN)

I followed him as he ran down the hall to his bedroom. In the middle of his room was a 4-foot tall snowman, melting away.

While I removed the snowman and cleaned the remaining slush and mud, I asked him why he did it. He said, in a very matter-of-fact-tone, “It’s cold outside.”

My son has Asperger’s syndrome. For him, building a snowman in his bedroom because it was cold outside was a logical solution to a problem.

Because of my son, “Aspies” hold a special place in my heart. So whenever I hear someone in my industry talk about hiring an Aspie, I cringe just a little. Because in technology, saying you’ve hired an Aspie is like code to say that you’ve hired a machine.

Five Subtle Positive Benefits of Video Games for Aspergers

Sure, it is compelling to think that video games have no real-life value, especially for aspies, who desire long solitude. They enable an aspie to escape from the world around them and enter virtual realities that do not test their development in various ways. Thus, video games do not embrace significant personal or professional growth.

Video Games, Aspergers, Aspie

However, aspies and their families can leverage some not-so-obvious benefits from limited video game time, rather than playing them for either countless hours or no hours whatsoever. Here are some of the greatest subtle benefits:

Introduction to Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

Autism is described as occurring on a spectrum because the symptoms can vary from a complete lack of communication with others to difficulty understanding others’ feelings. This range of symptoms is why the  diagnostic term is referred to as Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Spectrum, Autism, Aspergers

Aspergers Syndrome, sometimes also called High-Functioning Autism, falls under the category of Autism Spectrum Disorder. (And yes, this remains the case, no matter what you may have heard about the newly-published DSM-V. But, the DSM-V is the subject of another blog). Aspergers Syndrome is viewed as being on the “mild” end of the spectrum because its symptoms differ in degree and severity from other forms of autism.

Five Toxically Overrated Aspergers Beliefs Dispelled

What Kinds of Beliefs are overrated? One of the most significant issues against the Aspergers Community is the high number of stereotypes that surround it. Many are obvious and some are not so obvious. Such stereotypes typically arise from well-known people and situations, such as Adam Lanza and the Sandy Hook Elementary Shootings.

beliefs, aspie

The reason for these negative beliefs is that the general population makes up their own stories and opinions that are spread via the media or by word of mouth. Unfortunately, the mass media is too often the only place where the majority of society receives any information regarding Asperger’s Syndrome and those who live with it. As a result, people make snap judgments, rather than take time to put forth the real effort to educate themselves.

Using Intense Interests to Grow the Aspie Mind, Body, and Spirit

Everybody in the Asperger’s Community already acknowledges that aspies have that one thing that keeps them happy and comfortable: their intense interest. Whether you are a teacher, a parent, a sibling, or a friend, coming to understand the aspie’s intense interests is crucial for creating a relationship and helping them grow.

Aspergers, growth, intense interests

The aspie’s intense interest comes with many challenges and rewards, just as the jobs of parenting and teaching do. This article explores the real benefits and best parameters of understanding and working with the restricted interests for people with Aspergers. Following the 5-step process below can provide a window into the Asperger’s world and show how an intense interest influences the various aspects of personal development.

Our Four Most Popular Blogs of 2016

We had a fantastic year of valuable content from all of our dedicated writers. Listed below are our four most popular blogs of 2016. Read these short introductions and click “Read More” to see the full blogs!

Aspergers is Not the Same as ODD (Oppositional Defiant Disorder)

By Marcia Eckerd

People with Asperger’s usually collect labels like ADHD, anxiety disorders, or bipolar disorder before they’re diagnosed with AS. The label that annoys me is Oppositional Defiant Disorder. Is there a difference between people whose Asperger’s-related behavior is misunderstood and ODD? I find that ODD is sometimes simply a description of behavior without a cause.

People with Aspergers Become Multi-Talented and Mentally Strong When They Expand Their Interests and Keep an Open Mind

By Reese Eskridge

Surely, anyone who has or works with Aspergers Syndrome has received encouragement of the idea that people with Aspergers and their closest acquaintances (i.e. parents and teachers) ought to discover and to nurture that ONE thing that they know or do best (…) As beneficial as they are, however, restricted interests do not always ensure that people with Aspergers achieve long-term personal development and sustenance. More specifically, restricted interests can take away from the ability to develop mental strength.

Alone Time for Teens with Aspergers is Crucial: Allow Them Their Space

By Jennifer Allen

Breathing room or ‘alone time’ is good for anyone, but for someone on the spectrum it is crucial. When Sam was very young I found myself, as his mother, wanting to arrange play dates with other children who were not exactly knocking on our door for playtime. My reasoning was he must be lonely, so I did everything in my power to elicit playmates. Offering the best snacks, coolest toys, or excursions to area attractions, but it didn’t take long before no one came around.

Aspergers, “The Twilight Zone”, and The Perception of Beauty

By Ken Kellam

Remember Ellie Mae on “The Beverly Hillbillies?” She was portrayed by Donna Douglas, in her day considered one of the most beautiful women on television. But she also once played a character who wasn’t so beautiful (…) In an episode of “The Twilight Zone” titled, “Eye of the Beholder,” Douglas portrayed a woman who was so ugly, she underwent an operation to make her less so (…) Obviously, her character was not inherently ugly, but she was simply born in the wrong world. That’s a dilemma similar to that which the Aspie faces.

Mobile Apps From Five Different Categories to Use for Personal Growth: Part 2

As mentioned in the previous article, mobile applications support developmental concepts that foster virtually every aspect of personal and professional growth. This growth encompasses five categories: Personal/Family Needs; Endeavors/Professional Tools; Entertainment; Life Improvement; and Lifelong Education.

phone apps, aspergers, personal growth

All apps that I discuss here are samples from the iPhone.

Interview with Alix Generous on The Thrive with Aspergers Podcast

The following is a recent post from The Thrive with Aspergers Podcast. Host Steve Borgman interviews our very own Alix Generous about the life lessons she has learned living with Aspergers.

podcast, Steve Borgman, Alix Generous, Aspergers

Steve Borgman produces a regular podcast about living with Aspergers and has previously interviewed our CEO and founder, Jennifer Allen. For a link to that interview go here. Click the link below to listen to the full interview with Alix Generous.

Mobile Apps Can Help Aspergers Youth: Part 1

Today, we are living in the digital era. The general population in developed countries takes pride in unprecedented access to mobile technology. After all, a major hub of compelling content is right at their fingertips. From the ability to check the weather, to video and photo sites, to self-help materials; the latest in this technology offers a sense of awe to every user.

using smart phone, mobile apps, aspergers

Unfortunately, most people in the Millennial Generation only use this technology for entertainment, rather than educational purposes. This can be viewed as an unproductive waste of time. However, there are countless applications that offer aspies (and anybody else) chances to learn about many different topics.