Advice From College Students with Aspergers: Part 2

The best advice one can receive about effective support for college students diagnosed with ASD comes from, of course, students themselves.

Kristopher Kirk will graduate from Marshall University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering (with an emphasis in Civil Engineering) in early December, 2014.

At a recent university-sponsored Parent Weekend event, Kristopher – who has received supports from MU’s college support program during his four years at the school – provided these insights about his college experience.

Kristopher advises college students living on the spectrum:

An instructional video on how to recognize the emotion, contempt

Reading Emotions: Contempt

The dictionary defines contempt as a feeling that someone or something is worthless. Here Patrick is talking about his experience of really poor customer service.

He felt he was treated badly, and we can see he is agitated by the quick nodding and shaking of his head as he recalls the experience.

The key sign of contempt is the curl of the upper lip. Also we see he is wrinkling both nostrils, as if there is a bad smell.

Anger makes him look away briefly as he struggles to contain his emotion. His lip curls again as he raises his eyebrows to emphasis his point.

Signs to note

  • nods quickly
  • looks away briefly
  • curls his upper lip
  • wrinkles his nose
  • shakes his head
  • raises eyebrows rapidly

By John Habershon

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.

Neuroscience Imaging the Asperger Brain

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

The Asperger brain is different in both its function and 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!

Sensory Overload at School

 Sensory Overload at School

Guests: Malissa MacArthur

This edition of Top of The Spectrum News looks into the potential sensory overload at school that is often associated with Asperger’s Syndrome. A classroom teacher discusses how these issues may impede classroom performance.

Medical Overview of HF Autism or Asperger Syndrome

The Autistic Mind is different in both function and anatomy.

Understanding the function of the Autistic Brain may help you understand, or explain, the different behaviors exhibited by someone with Aspergers Syndrome. In this edition of Top of The Spectrum News doctors reveal studies proving the importance of therapy, explaining that the autistic brain is different in both function and anatomy from a neuro-typical brain. In other words. . . it’s not bad behavior; Aspies are coming from a place of neurological difference. This is a great video clip to show to friends or family members who do not understand your Asperger childs ‘differences’.

The above is an excerpt from the documentary “Coping to Excelling: Solutions for School-Age Children Diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism or Aspergers Syndrome”

Medical Overview of HF Autism or Asperger Syndrome

Reading Emotions: Confusion

Carrie is more than puzzled by the question she has just been asked; she is confused.

Her eyes give away her feelings of confusion in different ways.

Firstly, there is a lack of focus as she looks into the middle distance trying to find an answer.
Secondly, there are several changes in direction as she looks up and down, racking her brain for a response. This lack of focus and rapid change in the direction of the gaze is always a sign of mental struggle, discomfort or even distress.

She also wrinkles her nose and brow.

Carrie’s mouth shows her exasperation. She closes her mouth tightly, holds her breath and pushes her lips forward.

Signs to note

  • gazes into the middle distance
  • wrinkles her mouth and nose
  • rapid change of the direction of her gaze
  • narrows her eyes
  • blinks
  • closes her lips and pushes them forward

By John Habershon

Reading Emotions: Concentration

How can we tell when someone is thinking hard about a question?

There are some simple signs when a person’s mind is really working – when a problem holds their attention completely. It takes effort, and we often see this in movement in the mouth and the brow.

Amanda is looking directly at John, but we can see by her gaze that her brain is fully engaged. As she reflects on the question, she glances away and then back. The combination of working her mouth, and her steady gaze shows she is completely absorbed in thinking about the issue.

She also nods to indicate that she is considering the question carefully.

Signs to note

  • a steady gaze
  • compresses her lips and pulls mouth to the side
  • shifts gaze briefly to the side
  • chews her lip
  • nods

By John Habershon