Peer Support For Autistic Individuals
Peer support and advocacy are key for autistic individuals. Those looking to connect with organizations run by and for autistic people can refer to the Autistic Women & Nonbinary Network and the Asperger/Autism Network.
These organizations include information about getting diagnosed, treatment options, advocacy, and social support for autistic people and their loved ones.
How To Deal With A Child With High Functioning Autism
Teaching practical social skills is key.Solving problems becomes easier as your child improves his or her problem-solving skills.Providing them with self-awareness is a good idea.Do your best to encourage the development of socially responsible behavior in your child.A routine helps your child build confidence in themselves and in themselves.
Why Are These Legal Documents Critical
Over the years, Ive heard many parents and caregivers explain the incredible challenges of navigating finances and healthcare after their autistic child reaches adulthood. And this is especially true if there are no legal documents in place that allows parents to have some oversight in their childs decision-making after they turn 18.
Legal documents may be necessary because autism often affects executive functioning, expressive and receptive language skills, and social skills leading to unforeseen challenges in the adult world.
For example, executive functioning challenges may make it difficult for an autistic person to organize their finances and pay bills on time. This could lead to loss of housing or referrals to debt collection agencies.
Autistic individuals may also have a higher risk of exploitation and victimization from others due to social difficulties. Because of this, they could experience fraud or other financial abuse without essential legal safeguards in place.
Additionally, expressive and receptive language challenges could lead to miscommunication with authorities, resulting in unwarranted legal issues.
Challenges with healthcare can also occur. For instance, in the U.S., medical professionals cannot discuss an adults medical situation with parents or caregivers without guardianship or active power of attorney for healthcare. So, an autistic person may not have the support they need in a medical emergency.
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How To Treat A Child With Oppositional Defiant Disorder
Treatment strategies for co-existing ODD and ADHD start with controlling ADHD symptoms. When a childs hyperactivity, impulsiveness, and inattention are reduced, there is usually an improvement in ODD symptoms. Stimulant medications have been shown to decrease ADHD symptoms, as well as those of ODD, by up to 50 percent.
Our Home Is Safety Proofed
Youre probably familiar with baby proofing a house. But while most families can take down the safety gates and doorknob locks once the child ages, families with children on the Autism Spectrum often have these items and more protecting their child from their homes inherent dangers. This is because many children on the Autism Spectrum are prone to behaviors that can bring about self injury.
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Accept Them For Who They Are
Regardless of the message many parents of autistic teens get from the people and organizations around them, there is nothing wrong with your teen. They dont need to be fixed.
Instead, make your teen feel loved. Include them in all your family events. Get involved in their favorite activities.
Respect their boundaries, whether by letting them have their own friends and hobbies or by giving them privacy when they ask for it.
What Causes Aspergers Syndrome
The causes of Aspergers Syndrome are unknown. Genetics and brain abnormalities may be involved.
We do know that Aspergers Syndrome is NOT the result of a childs upbringing or poor parenting. Aspergers Syndrome is a neurobiological disorder, meaning it is just a part of the childs brain development, whose causes are not fully understood.
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We Need To Hear We Are Doing A Good Job
This is, of course, true of every parent, but it is especially true of parents of children on the Autism Spectrum. Raising a child with autism is a lifelong learning curve. As more and more is learned about the biology of autism, parents must keep up with new therapies and decide if they would be right for their child. For instance, there are new supplements, dietary concerns, and feelings about a new friend or teacher. The list of things to keep parents up at night is a long one.
Ask Questions And Facilitate Successful Dialogue
Autistic individuals who are verbally able and can communicate their thoughts often have very specific interests that they can talk at lengths about. Listening to what the person wants to say can go a long way in showing that you care and support them. If you get confused about what the person is talking about, ask clarifying questions. If the individual makes any inappropriate comments, point it out to them in a respectful way and explain why it is inappropriate.
Feedback like this can help those with autism to learn and have better experiences with social interaction in the future. When unsuccessful social interactions are repeated, they can lead to social anxiety and negative thoughts that may cause an individual to avoid social interactions altogether further limiting opportunities for practicing social communication skills .
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Talking To Your Child About Autism
It’s your choice when you want to tell your child about their autism.
Some parents do it straight away, while others wait until their child’s a bit older. There’s no right or wrong time.
When you tell your child, it may help to:
- do it when they’re feeling calm or relaxed
- talk to them in a place where they feel comfortable, with no distractions
- explain they do not have an illness, but they might need extra support to help them with some things
- explain they might find some things harder than other people, and some things easier
- bring them to a support group to meet other autistic children
The Autism Easyread guide from the National Autistic Society might help you explain autism in a way your child will understand.
Iep Transitions And Approaching The Autism Cliff
Like many autistic students in the United States, my sons educational journey from pre-school to high school graduation was mapped out with an Individualized Educational Program . An IEP is a legally binding document developed and instituted when a child meets the public schools criteria for specialized education.
This document outlines the childs needs and designs an educational program to meet those needs best, whether through speech and language therapy, occupational therapy, or the addition of support people like paraprofessionals to assist the child throughout the day.
With an IEP in place, a childs educational journey does not have to end at 18. Instead, the young person and their parents can decide to continue attending school up to age 21.
This 1821 period is considered one of transitions and is designed to shift the young person from educational-centered to adult-oriented learning. Much of this includes teaching independent living and job skills.
In the United States, statistics suggest that 500,000 young adults with autism will transition into adulthood over the next 5 years.
Unfortunately, many schools dont have the resources to develop transitions programs that fully address the needs of autistic students entering the adult world.
Furthermore, even if a transitions program exists, it may not cover all the gaps in services that suddenly occur when the child reaches 18 years old. Parents often refer to this sudden loss of services as the autism cliff.
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Things Parents Of Children On The Autism Spectrum Want You To Know
It is estimated that one in 68 children are now diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum disorder, and yet, this diagnosis remains as misunderstood as ever. We simply do not live in a society that is accommodating or even accepting of those who are not neurotypical. Fortunately, parents of autistic children are wonderful at communicating who their children are and why. Below are 30 things those parents of children on the Autism Spectrum want you to know.
Building A Bridge Over The Autism Cliff
When faced with a sudden reduction or loss of services, parents of autistic children must build a bridge over that gap. And they may not always have the information and resources needed to construct it, which leaves them unsure about what to do next.
Fortunately, my sons experience has been different due to the charter school for autism he attends. His school, Lakeland STAR School/Academy, was by a group of dedicated parents, educational professionals, and community members and supported by generous donors. STAR serves diverse learners in grades 712 and has a transitions-focused curriculum.
However, because autism rates continue to rise, the school has seen tremendous growth. As space to enroll new students became limited, a need for a separate transitions program emerged.
To address this need, Lakeland STAR is now developing a transitions center with the help of community-based organizations, including Aspirus Health, Lakeland Union High School , the Howard Young Foundation , and the HYF Womens Legacy Council.
Scheduled to open in the fall of 2022, the center will offer transitions-based education, including independent living skills, job skills training, and related services. The new center will help my son and other autistic young adults bridge the gap over the autism cliff and into the adult world.
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Tip : Manage Anxiety And Depression
Some people find that anxiety and depression go hand in hand with symptoms of ASD. For example, difficulty relating to others can lead to feelings of anxiety. Increased anxiety can, in turn, make it even harder to communicate. You might even feel so flustered that you cant form sentences.
Feelings of isolation can also trigger depression. But there are steps you can take to manage your mood and improve how you feel.
Stay active. Exercise is good for the mind and eases stress. Some studies show that vigorous exercise can be especially useful for helping adults with ASD manage aggression. Find an aerobic exercise that fits neatly into your routine and wont potentially throw your schedule into chaos. It may be something as simple as going for daily walks or runs. Make sure its something you enjoy, so youre more likely to stick to it.
Rely on close friends. Socializing can also be good for your mood, as long as the people youre with dont stress you out. Find people who share your interests. Thanks to the Internet, its easy to find people in your local area who share your interests. If possible, look for conventions or other gatherings where people who share your hobby come together and interact in person.
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Speech And Language Therapy Assessments Suitable For High
Our speech and language therapist can provide detailed assessments on your childs language and communication skills. Formal and informal assessments can be offered by our speech and language therapist for these difficulties:
- Attention and listening difficulties.
- Group therapy.
- Communication groups.
Speech and language therapy can help increase the ability of a child who has high-functioning autism to develop a better understanding of those around them and to create, maintain and develop new relationships with peers, friends and family. Our speech and language therapist can assess your childs abilities at school and home to create a holistic individualised therapy programme that aims to work on their potential goals and concerns.
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Know That Its Not A Cure But It Is A Start
There is no cure for autism. But helping your child understand social skills is a great starting point for a rewarding life. Keep in mind that, with progress, you should use rewards for good behavior less frequently over time. Work with a therapist on the best timetable for this tapering. The idea is that as a child gets better and better at a skill such as conversation, the behavior itself becomes more natural.
When a child has a successful conversation or makes a new friend, the success is its own kind of reward for that child and for the parent who gets to witness it.
Development Of Repetitive Or Restrictive Habits
Repetitive habits are another sign of high-functioning autism. Those habits could interfere with the persons ability to do what they need to do or what others want them to do. One type of repetitive habit might be related to movement. The individual might have to tie and untie their shoes multiple times before they are satisfied and are able to start walking or leave the house. Some people develop restrictive habits that interfere with socially accepted living. For example, an individual might refuse to wear any other kind of shirt than a tee shirt. This could impact their health and well-being if they live in a place with cold weather.
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Fixation On Particular Subjects Or Ideas
Continually discussing the same topics in conversation, obsessively playing the same song repeatedly, or reading every article written about a certain topic are some ways that autistic fixations can manifest. These interests can be negative if they take over the individuals life or interfere with their relationships with others. Of course, these obsessive tendencies can also be helpful Dan Aykroyd, writer and star in the hit film Ghostbusters, was inspired by his focus on ghosts and the paranormal. Many other high-functioning autistic individuals have used their focus on mathematics, biology, or writing to inspire successful careers.
Praise And Rewards For Appropriate Behaviour
Praise is when you tell your child what you like about their behaviour. When your child gets praise for behaving well, your child is likely to want to keep behaving well.
Descriptive praise is when you tell your child exactly what it is that youre praising. Descriptive praise is best for encouraging good behaviour for example, Thank you for staying calm when you didnt win the game.
Many autistic children like praise and want to behave well to get more praise. But some autistic children dont respond to praise. If your child tends to withdraw from other people, your child might not be motivated to do things to please others. Or if your child has limited language, your child might not understand the positive words youre using.
You can help your autistic child learn to respond to praise. At first you might need to add something to help your child link positive words with things your child likes. This could be something to play with or an activity. After a while, your child might eventually enjoy the praise on its own.
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Tip : Find Nonverbal Ways To Connect
Connecting with a child with ASD can be challenging, but you dont need to talkor even touchin order to communicate and bond. You communicate by the way you look at your child, by the tone of your voice, your body language and possibly the way you touch your child. Your child is also communicating with you, even if he or she never speaks. You just need to learn the language.
Look for nonverbal cues. If you are observant and aware, you can learn to pick up on the nonverbal cues that children with ASD use to communicate. Pay attention to the kinds of sounds they make, their facial expressions, and the gestures they use when theyre tired, hungry, or want something.
Figure out the motivation behind the tantrum. Its only natural to feel upset when you are misunderstood or ignored, and its no different for children with ASD. When children with ASD act out, its often because youre not picking up on their nonverbal cues. Throwing a tantrum is their way of communicating their frustration and getting your attention.
Teach Your Child To Be Self
Its important to help your child develop different strategies for coping emotionally. Self-awareness is an important part of managing emotions effectively. You can start by teaching children to correctly identify their feelings and emotions when in different situations. Its also important to make sure your child knows how to manage these emotions so that anxiety and stress doesnt trigger a meltdown.
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Focusing On Weaknesses More Than Strengths
When my son was diagnosed with ADHD it was all I could think about and talk about. As soon as my husband opened the front door, he received a deluge of what Id learned that day about ADHD and all the struggles I was worried about. At family dinner each night, wed discuss ADHD . When I spoke to friends and extended family, it was all about ADHD. When I chose a book to read, it was all about ADHD. I had invited ADHD and my sons weaknesses, by extension to consume our lives. It wasnt healthy for any of us, especially my son.
Our kids are constantly reminded of their weaknesses. Its our job, as parents, to ensure that they feel like they have more strengths than weaknesses that they feel they can have successes that they have opportunities to boost their confidence and self-esteem. Determine what they are good at, what they like doing, and what theyre passionate about and give them many, many opportunities in those areas.
When Do These Signs Typically Begin To Appear
Signs of ASD can change from childhood to adulthood. In many cases, autism cant by definition be diagnosed unless its signs are present when your child is young so that a pattern of behavior can be established.
Of course, theres no exact time when these signs of autism will become noticeable in your teen.
But as with many teens, you may start to see behavioral and emotional changes happen when they hit puberty, usually at 11 to 13 years old.
Signs of autism may also become more noticeable when they start attending middle and high school, where social relationships often become more central to a teens life.
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