Tuesday, September 8, 2015

How to Handle the 4 Most Challenging Autism Behavi

 Does your child scream if he can't wear his favorite  shoes?

Does he enjoy fondling material of certain textures
without regard for where or on whom that fabric
may be located?

Does he fear the toilet, the market, the dentist?  

This was part of a post about "The Thinking Person's
Guide to Autism" left by Shannon Des Roches Rosa,
mom to an 11-year-old son with autism, as well as a
high-profile advocate and educator for autism

"Pay attention to cues -- what is your child trying to
tell you?" says Lynette Fraga, PhD, VP of Early
Care and Education and Special Populations
at Care.com.

"Parents and care providers have to be incredibly
responsive and sensitive to children with autism
regarding their behaviors," she says, imparting
a necessary vigilance and hyper-awareness
on the part of the parent.

Amanda Friedman, co-owner and director of Emerge &
See Education Center, agrees, adding, "We need to
become translators of our children's behaviors."

After speaking with several child development experts
and parents of kids with autism, we highlighted the
four most challenging autism behaviors and
provide advice on how to best handle them.


1. Sleep Disruption

Sleep can be tough for kids with autism, as they tend
to have highly sensitive nervous systems. Even the
slightest variation in their day can affect their sleep
for the night.

"We have to be extremely careful not to give Leo
anything that has any caffeine," says Des
Roches Rosa, who lives in Redwood City,
Calif. "He can't have any chocolate after
3pm or he will be up all night. He's a
very active, athletic boy, so we
make sure he gets a lot of
exercise during the day.

If not, he also doesn't sleep."

Many parents find that creating a nocturnal oasis
helps a lot.

Eileen Riley-Hall, author of "Parenting Girls on the
Autism Spectrum," says to think sensory-wise:
room-darkening shades, a white noise
machine, weighted blankets.

"Basically anything you can do to make sleep more
appealing," suggests the mother of two teenage
girls on the spectrum.

But beware the common pitfall of unwittingly enabling
their irregular sleeping habits, says Friedman.

"A lot of parents feel that when their child wakes up in
the middle of the night they have to get him
something to eat, turn on the TV, and
immediately cater to the fact that he
stirred or woke up as opposed to
bringing him or her back to bed.

It's just a matter of teaching their bodies that it's still
nighttime and we're not going to start the day just
because you woke up."

One way to do this, Friedman suggests, is through
visual supports like the TEACH program method:
"Show them a picture of a clock and a picture of
Mom and Dad and say, 'You can come into our
room when your clock matches this clock.'"

Autism Speaks offers free downloadable toolkit,
one of which is all about sleep.


2. Food Sensitivity

"Kids with autism are historically tremendously picky
and selective and limited in what they will eat," says

"It's a sensory thing; you have to have lots of trial and
error, certain textures, certain foods."

When her girls were younger-they are now 13 and 11
-she didn't make them eat anything they didn't want
to eat:

"For me it's more important for mealtime be pleasurable.

Everybody eats more if they feel relaxed, so in the
past I have made them something different to eat
and then we all sat down together to eat."

Alison Berkley, co-owner and co-director of Emerge &
See Education Center talks about a tactic learned
from Susan Roberts, an autism educator and
consultant with a specialty in picky eaters.

Getting your child to eat a variety of foods starts with
expanding their tolerance level: "It doesn't even
need to be that the child eats a new food but
that they tolerate it being on the table," says

"At the next meal they tolerate it being on the plate
and then they tolerate just touching it.

Then you can slowly expand their repertoire of food."

She recommends a slow, gentle and positive approach
"because you want them to take their fear and anxiety
around food and transform it into a sense of
empowerment and a sense of control."


3. Meltdowns

Meltdowns happen, that's a given. What matters is
how prepared you are and how you can minimize
their occurrence.

"Don't put your child in over his or her head," warns
author Riley-Hall, who is also an English teacher at
an inclusive high school in upstate New York.

"I have parents I talk to who say, 'Well, everyone is
going to Six Flags for the day," and I'm like, 'Well,
you might not be able to do that.'

you know it's a situation where it's going to be really
long or really difficult, you're just sort of setting them

You have to accept that there are limitations that
come with having a child with autism."

With a tantrum, the child is still in control, they want
to get their own way, explains Riley-Hall.

With a meltdown, they can't calm down and at that
point either they've gotten themselves so upset or
so overwhelmed they're no longer in control of
the situation.

"And they can be difficult to judge," she says.

"It's really important not to always give in to
meltdowns because you're afraid of them.

The basic thing is to hold them and calm them
and wait until they can calm down themselves.

I know some kids have really egregious meltdowns,
so it's important not to put them in a situation
where you think they may have one but if
they do, just keep them safe and soothe
them in whatever way you know works
until they can recover."

If a tantrum happens in public and unwanted eyes
(and comments) are directed your way, you can
curtail further scrutiny simply by handing out
pre-made wallet-size cards that say things
like, "My child has autism," with a website
listed for them to learn more.

You can get these through various autism
organizations or make your own.

4. Aggressive Behavior

Aggressive and self-injurious behaviors are fairly
common in children with autism, says Des
Roches Rosa.

When her son Leo acts aggressively, it's usually
due to sensory overload or frustration with his
inability to communicate his needs effectively.

"Most times, when people better understand the
basis for the aggressive or self-injurious
behavior and then accommodate or
support the person with autism,
things can improve
dramatically," she

Des Roches Rosa swears by data tracking: "We keep scrupulous notes about Leo and his behaviors and all the factors in his day." Having done this for years, De Roches Rosa incorporates notes his day: what he eats, how much he sleeps, even whether his father is on a business trip. "We can actually identify seasonal behavioral arcs. So when something is wrong, we can go back and figure it out."

Certain things can set Leo off, says Des Roches Rosa. "Like a change in barometric pressure, which can really affect his sinuses. When he's acting out there's usually a reason for it and in almost all cases we can find out what it is."

But when Leo went through an extremely violent phase, Des Roches Rosa called in a behaviorist. "A good behaviorist is purely there to analyze and understand and come up with positive solutions for behavioral issues," she explains.

So what does Des Roches Rosa do when Leo's in the throes of aggressive or self-injurious behavior? "We have to consider safety first," she says. "We move away, we say very loudly and clearly, 'Stop' or 'No' and make it very clear with a very different, very strict tone of voice that what he's doing is not okay."

Something to Remember

"If you know one child with autism, you know one child with autism," says Dr. Fraga, referring to a popular saying within the autism community. She adds, "There is so much diversity in terms of how autism plays out with each child. The idea that everyone is the same is mythical." This uniqueness can be embraced as well as prepared for.
Rozenburg Z. Julie . " How to Handle the 4 Most Challenging Autism Behaviors" Care.com N.p.,Web. 5 September 2015 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Is Autism related to OCD or OCD is related to Autism ? First of all, what is Autism ?

Asperger syndrome is an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) considered to be on the “high functioning” end of the spectrum. Affected children and adults have difficulty with social interactions and exhibit a restricted range of interests and/or repetitive behaviors. Motor development may be delayed, leading to clumsiness or uncoordinated motor movements. Compared with those affected by other forms of ASD, however, those with Asperger syndrome do not have significant delays or difficulties in language or cognitive development. Some even demonstrate precocious vocabulary – often in a highly specialized field of interest.
The following behaviors are often associated with Asperger syndrome. However, they are seldom all present in any one individual and vary widely in degree:
• limited or inappropriate social interactions
• "robotic" or repetitive speech
• challenges with nonverbal communication (gestures, facial expression, etc.) coupled with average to above average verbal skills
• tendency to discuss self rather than others
• inability to understand social/emotional issues or non literal phrases
• lack of eye contact or reciprocal conversation
• obsession with specific, often unusual, topics
• one-sided conversations
• awkward movements and/or mannerisms

 Diagnosing the Autism : 


Asperger syndrome often remains undiagnosed until a child or adult begins to have serious difficulties in school, the workplace or their personal lives. Indeed, many adults with Asperger syndrome receive their diagnosis when seeking help for related issues such as anxiety or depression. Diagnosis tends to center primarily on difficulties with social interactions.
Children with Asperger syndrome tend to show typical or even exceptional language development. However, many tend to use their language skills inappropriately or awkwardly in conversations or social situations such as interacting with their peers. Often, the symptoms of Asperger syndrome are confused with those of other behavioral issues such as attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Indeed, many persons affected by Asperger syndrome are initially diagnosed with ADHD until it becomes clear that their difficulties stem more from an inability to socialize than an inability to focus their attention.
For instance, someone with Asperger syndrome might initiate conversations with others by extensively relating facts related to a particular topic of interest. He or she may resist discussing anything else and have difficulty allowing others to speak. Often, they don’t notice that others are no longer listening or are uncomfortable with the topic. They may lack the ability to “see things” from the other person’s perspective.
Another common symptom is an inability to understand the intent behind another person’s actions, words and behaviors. So children and adults affected by Asperger syndrome may miss humor and other implications. Similarly, they may not instinctually respond to such “universal” nonverbal cues such as a smile, frown or “come here” motion.
For these reasons, social interactions can seem confusing and overwhelming to individuals with Asperger syndrome. Difficulties in seeing things from another person's perspective can make it extremely difficult to predict or understand the actions of others. They may not pick up on what is or isn’t appropriate in a particular situation. For instance, someone with Asperger syndrome might speak too loudly when entering a church service or a room with a sleeping baby – and not understand when “shushed.”
Some individuals with Asperger syndrome have a peculiar manner of speaking. This can involve speaking overly loud, in a monotone or with an unusual intonation. It is also common, but not universal, for people with Asperger syndrome to have difficulty controlling their emotions. They may cry or laugh easily or at inappropriate times.
Another common, but not universal, sign is an awkwardness or delay in motor skills. As children, in particular, they may have difficulties on the playground because they can’t catch a ball or understand how to swing on the monkey bars despite their peers’ repeated attempts to teach them.
Not all individuals with Asperger syndrome display all of these behaviors. In addition, each of these symptoms tends to vary widely among affected individuals.
It is very important to note that the challenges presented by Asperger Syndrome are very often accompanied by unique gifts. Indeed, a remarkable ability for intense focus is a common trait.

Support for Autism : 

There is no single or best treatment for Asperger syndrome. Many adults diagnosed with Asperger syndrome find cognitive behavioral therapy particularly helpful in learning social skills and self-control of emotions, obsessions and repetitive behaviors.
Educational and social support programs for children with Asperger syndrome generally teach social and adaptive skills step by step using highly structured activities. The instructor may repeat important ideas or instructions to help reinforce more adaptive behaviors. Many of these programs also involve parent training so that lessons can be continued in the home. Like adults, many children find cognitive behavioral therapy helpful.
Group programs can be particularly helpful for social skills training. Speech and language therapy – either in a group or one on one with a therapist can likewise help with conversation skills. Many children with Asperger syndrome also benefit from occupational and physical therapy.
Most experts feel that the earlier interventions are started, the better the outcome. However, many persons who receive their diagnosis as adults make great strides by coupling their new awareness with counseling.
In addition to behavioral interventions, some persons affected by Asperger syndrome are helped by medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), antipsychotics and stimulants to treat associated problems such as anxiety, depression and hyperactivity and ADHD.
With increased self-awareness and therapy, many children and adults learn to cope with the challenges of Asperger syndrome. Social interaction and personal relationships may remain difficult. However, many affected adults work successfully in mainstream jobs, and some make great contributions to society.

Evolution of understanding about Autism : 


In 1944, an Austrian pediatrician named Hans Asperger described four young patients with similar social difficulties. Although their intelligence appeared normal, the children lacked nonverbal communication skills and failed to demonstrate empathy with their peers. Their manner of speech was either disjointed or overly formal, and their all-absorbing interests in narrow topics dominated their conversations. The children also shared a tendency to be clumsy.
Dr. Asperger's observations, published in German, remained little known until 1981. In that year, the English physician Lorna Wing published a series of case studies of children with similar symptoms. Wing's writings on “Asperger syndrome” were widely published and popularized. In 1994, Asperger syndrome was added to the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-4), the American Psychiatric Association's diagnostic reference book.
There can be considerable overlap in the diagnostic symptoms of Asperger and that of other forms of ASD among children and adults who have normal intelligence and no significant language delay. So-called “high functioning autism” and Asperger syndrome share similar challenges and benefit from similar treatment approaches.
In recent years, such high profile authors and speakers as John Elder Robison and animal scientist Temple Grandin have shared their stories of life with Asperger syndrome. In doing so, they have helped raise awareness of its associated challenges and special abilities.

Asperger Syndrome and Self-Advocacy


Many persons affected with Asperger syndrome take pride in their special abilities. Some take offense at the suggestion that their autism needs to be “cured.”

Autism is a communication disorder, with a broad range of affect. Some people's autism makes them eccentric and geeky. Other people can't speak at all, as a result of more severe autistic disability.
Therefore, in the world of autism, some of the population is capable of what some call self-advocacy while another part is not. It should come as no surprise that those groups would have very different wants and needs. That disunity of need and purpose is a fundamental issue we must address.
At its heart, self-advocacy is nothing more than speaking up to get what you want. Everyone who communicates does this, all the time. We self-advocate when we ask for different courses in college. We self-advocate when we ask for a chair with a lumbar support at work. …
You may believe your own communication problems will be reduced if the people around you are willing to change their style of engagement to accommodate you, or you may ask that they excuse some of your expressions, which might otherwise be offensive or unacceptable.
Those are all examples of what we call self-advocacy, because the speaker is asking for what he thinks he needs to be successful.

20 Things Not to Say to a Person with Aspergers 

1. Everyone feels like that sometimes.
2. Everything happens for a reason.
3. You’re fine. They have too many labels nowadays.
4. That reminds me of me. I wonder if I have that too.
5. Things could always be worse.
6. At least you don’t have autism.
7. Don’t worry. Be happy. Think Positive.
8. That’s no big deal.
9. You’re too serious. Get out of your head and help others.
10. Everyone has problems. Stop analyzing yours.
11. I never would have guessed. You seem so normal.
12. Are you sure? Maybe you need a second opinion.
13. Why do you think that?
14. That’s weird. Good luck.
15.  Aren’t you glad you found out?
16. That’s so trendy. Everyone thinks they have that.
17. Did you get an “official” diagnosis? 18. I’m uncomfortable with people classifying themselves by a diagnosis.
19. My cousin’s neighbor has Asperger's.
20. Well, now that you know, stop focusing on it, and get on with your life.

15 Beneficial Approaches in Response to “I have Asperger's”

1. Offer a warm smile and nod. Listen and comprehend.
2. I’m on your side. I’m here for you. You are not alone. I am here to stay.
3. Where can I find more information?
4. You are a strong person. I love you for being you.
5. Make a friendly call or send a friendly text or email.
6. What can I do? Tell me specifically. I want to help anyway I can.
7. Ask the person on a long walk, a picnic, or other excursion.
8. Scream it out together.
9. Do you need my support? How can I support you specifically?
10. Go to a matinee or rent a movie about Asperger's.
11. Sincerely compliment the person.
12. Validate. This is a big deal!
13. Read personal accounts about living with Asperger's.
14. Thank you for confiding in me and trusting me. I am honored to know you.
15. If you are comfortable, can you tell me more about your experience with Asperger's?

Side Note: If you tell someone you have fibromyalgia, diabetes,  heart disease, or depression, people usually don’t ask if you have an official diagnosis. But if you tell someone you have Asperger's, many people want to know how you know for sure. Interesting.