Monday, January 31, 2011
1. Who is the Aspie in your life? What is his or her age?
Actually the correct question is "who is the neurotypical in my life". My wife is the only neurotypical in our family. I'm an Aspie, my eldest son Kaelan who is 10 is an aspie and my other son, Tristan who is 7 has a diagnois of high functioning autism but leans much more towards Aspergers syndrome.
2. When did this person get diagnosed?
Kaelan was diagnosed with aspergers in about September 2006, I followed less than a year later and Tristan was a couple of years after that.
3. What was different about this person that lead to getting a diagnosis?
The main thing that I noticed about Kaelan was that he was having a lot of trouble paying attention. This obviously isn't a typical Aspergers trait so he was eventually diagnosed with ADHD-Inattentive (ADD). His teachers and my wife noticed considerably more but I didn't pick up on their observations. First there was the "sensory things" for example he became obsessed with water and would stop all water activities at preschool to simply run it over his fingers instead.
There were other things too, odd speech, strange tilts of the head, an unusual gait, deep obsessions and unusual mannerisms. He would "space out" at times and we had a lot of difficulty getting his attention when this happened. Personally though, I didn't see many of those things as "different" and would often tell my wife that I was exactly the same as his age.
We had a lot of arguments about it and it was a tough time for the family because I simply couldn't understand the difference.
4. Does your Aspie have any obsessions, if so, what?
Kaelan went through a "wheels" obsession as a child where he would simply spin wheels and watch them for hours. He had a lot of cars but they spent most of their time lined up in rows or upside down. He later developed a Transformers obsession which lasted about a year and a Lego obsession which has been going for at least six years. He's also obsessed with Star Wars.
It was very different with his younger brother Tristan and for a long time I thought that he didn't have an obsession. It's only recently that I've recognized his love of animals for what it truly is. As for myself, I developed an obsession with Doctor Who when I was four and I am still obsessed today.
5. What is one of the funniest experiences you have had with your Aspie?
Every day that I spend with my sons is funny and our minds are often so close that we have jokes between us that others simply don't understand. I feel bad for my wife sometimes because this can mean that she is left out of the fun. It's funny because she'll often use a trite expression which would go down perfectly in a room full of neruotypicals. In our family though, she understands the true meaning of the phrase but the rest of us take things literally. It can have some very funny consequences.
One time we were driving and the boys were bombarding her with questions. She reached her limit, held up her hand and said, "talk to the hand". After a few minutes of puzzled silence, there was a voice from the back seat that said tentatively but friendly; "Hello Hand...".
6. What advice do you have for others that also have an Aspie in their life?
The greatest gift that you can give your aspie is acceptance. You need to let your aspie know that there is one place where they will always be welcome and accepted; home.
7. Is there anything else you'd like to share?
The best kind of therapy for your aspergers child is early intervention. This includes physiotherapy for balance, control and co-ordination, speech therapy for more emotive vocalisation and occupational therapy to develop a whole lot of other critical skills. Of course, it doesn't stop there, you should be looking to get an IEP at school which specifically addresses the known weaknesses of aspergers and is truly individualised to your child. Other things which can help are private tutors for academic development and scouts for social development.
Thank you for sharing your Aspergian Tale with us! We hope you enjoyed letting the world at large see a little into your life!
Thursday, January 27, 2011
Grab the Badge:
Welcome to my New "Stalk Hop Friday"! It's hosted at: Mrs. Marine and the Tiny Troops, Novel Bloggers, Two Peas in a Pie, and Aspergian Tales! This one is a little different from the usual, instead of just following on Google Friend Connect (GFC), each week the "Follow Theme" will rotate to something different! There will be two linky's each week, one for the Theme and one for GFC! So everyone has a chance to participate!
**Hop around the Links ("Stalk" each other) Follow others, Follow Back, have fun!
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Link to your Twitter account below!
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Link directly to your Blog post about "Stalk Hop Friday" or Friday Follow below!
**Please grab my Badge to put in your post, help spread the word and make this hop big!! Note: It's a lot easier for others to leave a comment and follow you back if they have a specific post to comment on.
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Labels: Stalk Hop Friday
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
Motivating an Aspie to do what you want, when they don’t want to do it can be difficult. No… it can be down right impossible. You see, negative consequences simply do not work well with them. You have to motivate them by using positive goals and support.
My daughter would not pick up her room. If I tried to force her to do it, she’d end up rolling on the floor crying and screaming. If I tried to threaten her, she’d end up laying on the bed playing with a toy and “forgetting” that there was a consequence and crying when she got in trouble.
Aspies get overwhelmed and even those who are high –functioning, like my daughter, devolve a bit when they hit their overload point.
My daughter goes through the obsessive phases and I remember when she was obsessed with pirates. She would dress as a pirate. She only wanted pirate books. She wanted to watch pirate movies… etc. You get the idea.
Well, I decided to use that to my advantage. I said, “well, as a pirate you need a treasure! Right?” and she whole-heartedly agreed. So I told her that I would give her tasks and for each task she completed, she would get a quarter. I then gave her a bucket to keep her “booty” in.
This worked really well, while she was in the pirate phase. Then one day I said, “ok, are you ready for a quarter?” and she said, “Yes” and I said, “Ok, go put all the shoes in your room in the closet neatly.” And she said, “oh, no, I don’t want a quarter anymore.” And poof, the pirate phase was over and she was moving on to ballet… and the quarters simply didn’t motivate her.
What are some tricks or experiences you have to motivate your Aspie?
Friday, January 21, 2011
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Before we discovered our daughter had Asperger’s, we were told it was ADD. One thing was always obvious to us, and that was she was quite a bit different than her sister. The parenting techniques that were successful on the older daughter were rarely successful on my Aspie.
I remember one day, I wanted my Aspie to clean her room. She laid in the middle of the room crying and then got distracted and ended up talking to herself. She laid there and did nothing for about an hour.
I went to her and said, “If you don’t start picking up your room, right now, I’m going to go get a trash bag and pick up all the toys on the floor and put them in the trash.”
Her response to me, “That’s ok, I’ll help you. I don’t like those toys anymore and you’ll just buy me new ones.”
Really, as a parent, how do you respond when your parenting technique completely backfires? The two of us ended up filling a trashbag with toys.
When I told her therapist about this episode, his advice was that just saying “clean your room” is too overwhelming for her. She walks in and sees endless opportunities of things she has to do and she can’t break it down and get started.
So, the plan was, tell her individuals tasks, such as: “Go pick up all the shoes and put them in the closet. When you do that, then come back for more.”
It became much like a mission game for her. She would be given one task at a time, like, “take this trash bag and pick up the trash off the floor, then come back for more.”
Giving her these line by line instructions helped her focus and achieve these little tasks. Her room wouldn’t be completely cleaned, but at least I’d get her to clean some of it and with a lot less crying and screaming.
Friday, January 14, 2011
There are plenty of occasions when my girls get into disagreements and have normal sibling rivalry. Then there are those moments when my thirteen year old simply becomes annoyed and frustrated by the Aspieness of her younger sister.
One of the difficulties my Aspie has is telling stories. She often has the “ums” “ohs” and “yeahs”. More than once her story will focus on details that don’t really matter to anyone but her and then in a “round about” and very slow way, she ends up at the end of her tale.
The other day my thirteen year old flopped her hands down and said in a very exasperated way, “I hate the way you tell stories!”
I told her that wasn’t a very nice thing to say, but it is frustrating to listen to my Aspie relate stories more often than not. It takes patience and attention. I know more than once my mind has started to wander while she goes on about something she feels is very important and I have to force myself back to attention.
I had to tell the teen that sometimes we just have to listen to our Aspie the best we can and that it’s ok that she was feeling frustrated but to remember her sister has feelings and that she can’t really help the way she does some things.
Honestly, I’m thinking I need to take my teen to see someone to talk to about the frustrations she has with her sister. Just to help her understand and cope with some of these daily difficulties.
Monday, January 3, 2011
It’s a question I get sometimes from parents or teachers. Doctors tend to word it a little differently. But the answer is… from birth. No, even before birth. At 19 weeks I went on bedrest with pre-term contractions. Nothing every happened but I guess my little Aspie liked bouncing around an awful lot.
She is very petite and was always on the 0 to 10% percentile for growth. We took her in regularly to make sure she was growing. She was, just on a very small scale. She was picky. I remember her as a toddler dancing around the room in her diaper and my mother saying, “She just dances to the beat of her own drum.” And it was a very true statement.
By the time she was five and in kindergarten we learned that she actually was different from her peers. I would get nearly weekly phone calls from the teacher. The teacher said my Aspie was very bright and knew the answers, but she wouldn’t do the worksheets and she kept getting distracted by everything. She would also cry, a lot. And she would nearly miss the bus every day. My Aspie moves at her own speed and no matter how much you say, “quick, quick, like a bunny” and clap your hands it doesn’t do much.
We took her to a psychologist who said she was young and immature and that really all he could say is that she had ADD – with no hyperactivity. My Aspie tended to sit and focus on something for hours, even foregoing trips to the restroom while in her obsession. He told us that ADD was like a bucket that these days everything got tossed into. He said that when she got older we could test her more accurately.
In the second grade we were blessed by a wonderful teacher. She called us in one day and said that she had been working with ADD and special needs children for 15 years and my Aspie didn’t have ADD, she said that she likely had a social disorder, perhaps Asperger’s.
I took her to the doctor and the doctor recommended a pediatric neuro-psych eval. Well, one psych eval later and we find out she’s got Asperger’s with above average intelligence and skills, except for deficiencies in math. Now that we know what she faces, it’s easier to work with her and help her do better. She has sensory difficulties and easily gets overwhelmed at school, we had to initiate an IEP plan to help her do better in school and this year she has no D’s or F’s. That is truly something!
Labels: Discovery of Asperger's