“Please,” “Thank you,” and “You’re Welcome”: Essential for Those with ASD to Excel in the Workplace

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.

Three Steps to Recovery After a Meltdown

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.

child in class

Consider the following steps:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.   

By Lisa Rogers

Six Tips to Help Aspies Embrace Change

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.

Change, Behavior, 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.

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.

Why Is There A Rise In Autism?

by: Klaire Smith

The estimation of changes in the patterns and numbers of the cases of autism in the US has recently become fairly complicated with the main debate being about the documented cases of the autism spectrum disorder.  In the previous years, it was much easier to pin down the exact rates of autism as the cases also did not appear as much as they do now. For example, in the 1970s, and 1980s, the reports on ASD concluded that every 1 out of the 2000 children suffered from autism.

In accordance with the results of the survey conducted by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention from 2012 and 2013, the number of cases went up significantly to every 1 in every 80 children having ASD.

In the following year, the CDC conducted a National Health Interview Survey to note any progressions in the patterns of autism across the US. The survey showed that ASD was more prevalent than it had ever been, with every 1 in 45 children having the symptoms of autism.

What caused such a big rise in the number of autism cases?

The new questionnaire used in the 2014 survey by the CDC may hold an important role in it. The questionnaire used in the most recent survey also asked about Asperger’s syndrome unlike the ones conducted previously.

Asperger’s syndrome used to have its own, separate diagnosis until 2013 when it was enlisted with the autism spectrum disorders and no longer considered a different health condition.

 With the new addition to the autism diagnosis, the 11000 families which were requested to complete the survey were questioned about the diagnosis of a pervasive developmental disorder, Asperger’s, and autism spectrum disorder. Read more on the CDC’s report here.

The question regarding Asperger’s syndrome held a significant role in the sudden rise in the rates of autism cases in the most recent survey but it is argued that there are also a number of other reasons which have played an equally important role.

Are Asperger’s syndrome and autism similar?

Autism and Asperger’s syndrome have similar symptoms in children and cause about same issues. Children who have either of the conditions have similar troubles like the inability to make eye contact and expressing their feelings and problems in picking up body language.

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.

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.