Tag Archives: Traits

The Do’s And Don’ts When Parenting A Child With Aspergers Syndrome

15 May

Its not easy being a parent to a child on the autism spectrum! Actually… It isn’t that easy being a parent full stop!

Below are some dos and don’t, all based around the stuff I’ve learnt while parenting my little man. Remember, I’m just another parent like you! No, I’m not doctor or child psychologist and what works for us may totally not work for you. But why not have a read anyway… If anything you won’t feel do alone. Please, feel free to add anything within the comments sections:)

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So… Here it goes…

Don’t feel guilty if you failed to spot the signs at an early age.

Do remember that this is common for children diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome with many of them not gaining an actual official diagnosis, till their teenage years.

Don’t be to proud to ask for help!

Do fight for it, if those who are meant to provide it, withhold it!

Don’t force your child to be someone they are not!

Do show them you are proud of them for being the person they are.

Don’t assume its easy!

Do remember that parenting any child can at times be challenging.

Don’t feel you have to explain your child’s behaviour, every single time they do something that makes others stop and stare.

But do educate those who are willing to listen! The important issue here is, not to get stressed when out and about. this only makes things more difficult for both yourself and your child. Remember its ignorance and sadly many are guilty of displaying it!

Don’t restrict the activities you do as a family.

Do prepare your child for such occasions with the help of visual resources and schedules to avoid unwanted challenges on the day.

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Don’t forget you have a life too.

Do take time out for you, whenever the opportunity arises.

Don’t assume that any two children diagnosed with Aspergers will experience the exact same traits.

But do make yourself aware of such traits, preparing yourself for what may lay ahead.

Don’t assume a diagnosis is your child’s ticket to the support and services they may need.

Do be prepared to battle for them, services! Yes, you’ll be expected to provide evidence showing why it is the help is needed.

Don’t just expect others to instantly understand your child’s diagnosis

Do be prepared for ignorance & denial. Sadly many find that its friends & family who display the worst reactions to the news of a child’s diagnosis. As for strangers…. I not don’t even notice the states as my son displays a screaming match at the local train station. Ok its never easy, but you adjust and get used to it.

Don’t freak out if your child develops an interest in something considered to be strange or unusual.

Do embrace and encourage all that your child loves regardless of its wackiness.

Don’t assume your child will have learning difficulties.

Do celebrate the subjects they excel in, and offer help and support to improve in those they are not.

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Don’t base decisions on what you want for your child!

Do base decisions on what is best for them.

Don’t beat yourself up if you lose it! Meltdowns that go on for hours are likely to make you crumble.

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Do remember that your human and your child still loves you ( regardless of what they may say).

Don’t be surprised if your child announces to the lady sat on the bus, that she’s old, wrinkled and looks close to death.

Do play games and work on activities designed to help your child avoid social mishaps like that of the above.

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Don’t waste money buying your child the top branded toys, especially if they have failed to express any interest.

Do make them happy on Christmas morning if padlocks, staples and rulers were on their Christmas list.

Don’t be too disheartened if your child shows no interest in making friends.

Do have hope that one day that will change!

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Don’t force your child to play with other children…

… But do teach them the social skills required to do so! Most children on the autism spectrum will eventually show a desire to interact and play with others.

Don’t waste your time looking for cures

But do look into therapies that have been designed to help your child better develop the skills required to succeed in both child and adulthood.

Don’t assume that just because your child doesn’t display certain traits during childhood they won’t during adulthood.

But Do remember maybes are not certainties.

Don’t try to make your child fit into society!

But do mould them as you would any child so society fits with them.

Don’t use complex language (metaphors and sarcasm) when talking with your child

But do try and teach them that others will to avoid miscommunications.

Don’t force your child to wear certain clothing, eat certain foods or attend certain activities.

Do be sure to research sensory processing disorders as their refusal to do any of the above could be and likely is related.

Don’t assume that your child with Aspergers will have the abilities to cope in a mainstream school (not all can)!

Do make sure you are open minded… Sometimes special schools are all your child needs to succeed within education.

Don’t use your child’s diagnosis as an excuse for unwanted behaviour.

Do remember that all children can be challenging and all are not autistic… You will learn the difference, I have!

Don’t forget to be mum to everyone

Do remember that siblings of children with Asperger’s syndrome may display unwanted behaviour or mimic their siblings traits as a way to gain the attention they crave.

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Don’t assume your child will be bullied.

But do look out for the signs as statistics have shown that it is children like yours and mine who become targets.

Don’t force your child to believe in the mystical world of make believe.

Do remember that many child with Asperger’s syndrome like things based upon facts, the type backed up by evidence. If you can’t prove how santa gets round the world in one single night then chances are he will never believe. Just make sure he doesn’t share his findings with his siblings… Like little man has tried.

Don’t ask your child if you look good in a new dress unless you want blatant sharp honesty…

Do be prepared to be shown your love handles and chubby knees if you do.

Don’t believe everything the books tell you.

Do remember that every child has the capability to at least try and lie… Well, at least the desire to try and do so, is usually there! Its just that children with Aspergers are not all that hot at it! Little man usually cracks within minutes.

Don’t be so serious…

Do crack a smile, your child with Aspergers is more than capable of making you proud… Mine does.

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Don’t just assume your child will tell you if something is wrong! Aspergers is a communication disorder after all!

Do be ready to put on your investigation cap, as you try to discover just what has upset your child… Remember they will expect you to just know.

Don’t feel that everything has to become a mission in life because of your child’s condition.

Do be prepared to be pleasantly surprised when your child shows you that something you thought would be impossible for them… is actually totally possibly.

Don’t waste time asking yourself “What If?”

Do remember that we have one life, Our own unique and special story. All children deserve to be brought up happy with stacks of love and great memories to support it. Our children will eventually grow up and fly the nest… Yes even those with Aspergers Syndrome! My point? Just enjoy your kids, never taking a single day for granted… Even those not so good ones!

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Do you see what I see?

2 Apr

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I see a boy sat alone, yet smiling and playing

You see a loner, the strange kid, the odd one!

I see a boy frustrated, confused and distressed

You see a brat with no respect, no decent upbringing!

I see a boy stood talking, trying to make a connection, a possible friend. He gets it wrong because of something he said wasn’t seen as appropriate. His been left rejected and upset.

You see a trouble maker, a boy who is rude and makes it his mission to offend.

I see a boy walk into a busy playground, I then see parents like you shaking your heads as you rush to gather your kids. I now see a boy stood playing in a large empty space alone!

You see “That Kid” from before, the one who swore as he throw himself on the floor, shouting at children like yours for accidentally running into him, pushing him as they chased a ball.

I see a boy stood drawing a tear as he watches the school coach leaving!.

You see the boy who ruins it for others. you see it as a blessing that he isn’t attending the school trip. Beyond this you see nothing.

I see a gathering of mothers stood at the school gate laughing. I see the reaction they give as I’m passing… Silence whispers and staring.

You see that mother, the one who drags up her kids… Failing to install good values, respect and self discipline

I see a sweet boy who has the tendency to become easily distressed

You see a boy who throws a wobbler whenever he fails to get the things that he wants.

I see a boy excitedly speaking to others about his interest. He speaks quickly announcing all he knows on the subject. A boy who hasn’t yet released its his time to quit speaking .

You see a boy who dominates conversation, his rude letting no one get a word in edge ways. You see a bore, a child who is self obsessed and selfish… Spoilt and for that you blame me… The parent.

I see a boy who counts to ten before speaking a child who has learnt that this may stop him from potentially offending.

You see an odd boy, one who can only be described as slow and profoundly stupid.

I see a boy who cares about “The Rules” who therefore reminds his peers that those rules are not to be broken.

You see a boy who is bossy. A child who is likely raised by a control freak!

I see a boy who is actually very bright, he has qualities that others could only hope for. I see a boy who continuously tries to get it right. A boy who gets up every time his knocked down, never giving up, nor giving in. Yes he can be naughty his a boy after all. But should you gather your kids and run when you see him… No! why… what ever for?

You see nothing I see.. How could you ever see what I see if you refuse to look a little closer.

You can’t see autism, it doesn’t get stamped on the head of a baby at birth. But knowing just how autism can present is an education you need. With numbers rising there is a good chance the child who sits next to yours at school or even that work colleague you have drinks with on Friday is on the autism spectrum.

My child like many is capable of just as much as you or I. He is an individual, with interests, talents, weaknesses and at time difficulties… We all are as human beings.

Certain areas of his brain work somewhat differently making some areas of life more challenging… Social communication, sensory processing and black and white thinking are to name but a few! Yet that doesn’t mean he should be judged or discriminated against.

Its not the traits of autism that make my sons life more challenging but the way others perceive them traits. His happy with himself 98% of the time and just wants you to except him but more importantly… Understand him!

After all… Where does being “Average” get you?

So I ask you… One this day aimed at raising awareness for those with autism and Asperger’s syndrome. Do you see what I see?

Or Will you at least try to see it Now?

Little Man Has Turned Scottish

12 Nov

Have you ever heard about those with Aspergers being able to change their voice (the way in-which they talk)?

I have, you see, I’ve been living with a child who has suddenly gone from English to Scottish basically over night.

His obsession with WWE and TNA wrestling is the cause. His favourite wrestler is Drew Mclntyre and he happens to be from Scotland.

The Little man started out by just copying his entrance walk into the ring, he then started to paint his face the Scottish flag and now his mastered the accent.

Now, I have nothing against the Scottish people of the world, I have many Scottish friends. However, the little man is not Scottish and although the accent is mastered down to a T, he is actually driving me loony speaking this way.

Yes, of course in the beginning it was a little bit funny (after all he sounds just like him)! But you really can only tolerate so much of it. His even using the voice when it comes to him requesting things etc. I don’t think his doing it at school… Well, I can only hope he isn’t that is!

Over the years Little man has spoken in a number of tones and voices, ones that he hears and then copies. For many years he would switch from his everyday tone of voice to that of a monotone one, as if he was a talking computer. His also had a strong interest in transport and would recreate the train and bus announcements… He always got it spot on. Now with his ever evolving interest in wrestling I was convinced it was just going to be the mimicking of the entrance and the actual matches… But this, this is just bonkers!

However, this type of behaviour isn’t one that is completely unknown with those on the autism spectrum. I decided to look into this more and had a look on google to see what I could find. I actually came across a conversation trend on “Wrong Planet” that was started by a 16 year old British girl with High Functioning Autism. She states that she is a naturally quiet person but when she does speak she speaks with a strong Irish or Scottish accent despite her naturally having a British accent. She states she chooses to speak this way and people now know her to do so.

There is also a section in a book wrote by Tony Attwood on this very subject. I took this quote from the Tony Attwood website … “My mother tells me I was very good at capturing the essence and persona of people. At times I literally copied someone’s looks and their actions. I was uncanny in my ability to copy accents, vocal inflections, facial expressions, hand movements, gaits and tiny gestures. It was as if I became the person I was emulating (p.22).

The Big Fat Autism Myths

10 Oct

Still today we are surrounded by countless myths concerning Autism and Aspergers Syndrome. Yes, we’ve come far to raise awareness for autism and the fact its a spectrum condition but still many struggle to except that some things are myth as opposed to fact.

Here’s some great examples…

Those on the autism spectrum have late language development!

Now although to some extent this is true, its not always the case especially in those at the higher end of the spectrum (Aspergers). Little man actually said his first word at 5 months and was able to speak very well by the age of 12 months.

Children on the autism spectrum make low academic progress because of learning difficulties.

Again this maybe the case for some children, mainly those at the lower end of the spectrum. However, some children on the spectrum have no learning difficulties whatsoever with some actually having higher IQ levels than those of their peers.

All children on the autism spectrum cannot attend mainstream schooling.

Admittedly mainstream school admitted that they could no longer meet little man’s needs and he eventually gained a place at an autism special school. This was despite him being on the higher end of the autism spectrum with an Aspergers diagnosis and a high IQ. Like many children with Aspergers he struggled with the more social side of school and suffered terrible anxiety. The truth is children with autism can receive a mainstream education… It just depends on the child and school in questions.

People on the autism spectrum don’t have feelings.

This is a big fat myth! If anything Little man feels to much and its these feelings of love and worry that cause him to become anxious. For little man its just harder for him to express those feelings… I know they are there and that’s a huge difference.

People on the autism spectrum don’t have an imagination.

Again this is a big fat fib. Little man finds it difficult to play imaginary games as he likes to base things on fact. He also likes to have a visual reference. However little man uses his imagination in other ways and is extremely clever at creating ideas when relating to something of interest.

All people with autism hate loud noise.

This is all down to the senses and regardless of autism we all have our own level of tolerance. Yes, many people with autism have heighten senses and this can make loud noise very uncomfortable (often to the point it becomes physically painful). However as well as children with autism experiencing sensory sensitivity, some are actually sensory seekers and will therefore seek out some type of loud noise.

All children who like Thomas the tank engine are autistic!

What can I say… Total Bull S#%# Yes little man liked Thomas the tank engine and statistics indicate that many children on the autism spectrum have a liking for Thomas at some point, however lots of children love Thomas and not all are autistic… That’s just crap.

All people with Autism are the same. If one person with autism experiences a certain difficulty then so will another.

Rubbish! This is why we call it a spectrum. Plus no two people are the same, we all have our own traits with and without autism. Yes there are a certain collection of traits that make up an autism diagnosis but this is a limited number.

All people with autism are Savants.

As lovely a myth as this is, it is just that… A myth! We all have things we are good at but only some of us have what it takes to be considered as Gifted which is the same for those on the autism spectrum. Many people with autism have things they are extremely good at (like little mans ability to memorise travel information) but rainman he isn’t and this is often the case for many.

Autism can be cured!

Most know how I feel about this myth. Autism is a life long diagnosis… There isn’t a cure. However, with the right education and learnt social skills things can be made less difficult for those on the spectrum.

Autism is caused by the MMR

Many will argue with me that this is not a myth. However I do believe it to be just that. You are born with autism, you do not develop it at some stage of your life. You don’t suddenly become autistic. And you don’t become autistic because of a childhood immunisation!

People with Autism are good a math.

Admittedly, little man is excellent at Math, but I do know other children on the autism spectrum who struggle with math and therefore find it their most difficult subject at school.

Children with autism can’t grow up to lead independent adult lives.

Many people on the autism spectrum, especially those on the higher end of the spectrum go on to have fully independent adult lives. This includes having a job, home and family of their own!

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#HAWMC DAY 23 – Yes, Girls Have Aspergers Syndrome Too!

26 Apr

Of course girls get Autism & Aspergers, it’s just that we don’t hear about it all that much, well, not on the same magnitude as boys.

So, the statistics indicate that boys rather than girls, are more likely to be on the autism spectrum. The National Autistic Society states that although there is no way of knowing the exact ratio between the two sexes, studies combine together indicate a ratio of 2:1 in boys and 16:1 in girls!

Wow, that’s a huge difference in numbers, however, could this be due to how the traits of autism are displayed differently between the two sexes or maybe its societies stereotyped way of thinking making this much harder to spot in females. 

It all boils down to us in a variety of ways, have you ever heard the health visitor refer to your son as the “Typical boy” or daughter as “Shy” as many girls are labelled to be? But I thought that everyone was meant to be different regardless of their sex!

Now, I’m no expert, not by a long shot, but I do remember some girls in secondary school who were so detached from their peers that they were ridiculed as being loaners or geeks. Some of these girls went through primary and secondary school never having friends and the ones that did try to socialise normally just ended up bullied by those she thought were her friends. I’m in no way indicating they were on the spectrum (who am I to make that judgement) but I know that teachers didn’t bother to find out why these children were so sad or withdrawn from those around them. As long as they produced the work expected of them it was all that mattered! 

As girls we express emotion in an all together different way then boys (well this is what we are made to believe). Boys are seen to display more challenging behaviour and as a result they are more likely pulled up as having an issue or underlying condition that needs addressing (that or the teachers just can’t handle it so ship them of to the child mental health team). I believe this to be why my own son received a late diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome as despite him having reasonably challenging behaviour within the home from quite early on, this wasn’t displayed at school, just suppressed making him explosive on his return at 3.30 pm Monday to Friday. Nonetheless, once this behaviour could no longer be contained, what with his senses becoming more heightened making him more likely to tip over the edge, the school were all for statementing and special school!

Girls will always be seen as better communicators than boys and many feel that girls on the spectrum are better able to disguise symptoms whether deliberately or not. I guess this fact would make a condition such as Aspergers far harder to spot as this wont normally involve any delayed language skills.  

As well as that of the above, girls are also seen to be “Just shy” or “Over sensitive” We are thought to over dramatise and cry at the drop of a hat. Us girls are seen to be more likely to have low self-esteem or a poor self image, especially during our teen years, hence the reason girls are far less likely to be referred for any type of investigations, especially if they are bright and advanced within certain areas of they’re learning.

Another theory is that girls inherit an X chromosome from their fathers which protects them from the development of autism, though if this was the case I’m sure the science of today could do a much better job of proving it!

When reading an article on the NAS site, some excellent points were made such as, girls on the spectrum tend to have similar interest to those girls not on the spectrum, example being animals or horses, soaps or celebrities. These interests are therefore not seen as usual. However once in their own safe space interest tend to be much more obsessional than that of a “Typical girl”

So, the question is “Are boys more likely to have autism and aspergers than that of girls or is it simply because the criteria used to diagnose autism and aspergers is one built purely on the characteristics of male behaviour?”

Here’s a few videos by two different girls with a diagnosis of Aspergers Syndrome, these videos and more can be found on my channel under my subscriptions. 

23/30 in the Wego Health #HAWMC (today’s challenge was a free choice topic). 

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