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ADHD, Asperger's Syndrome, Teaching Children to Read and Write, Tips and Info

As a Special Education Teacher for over 20 years I am often asked to share my knowledge about learning difficulties, teaching children to read and write and Asperger's Syndrome. So here are some ideas. In the last 20 years I have seen the rise in autism and Asperger's traits in children. As with ADHD, (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) boys are significantly more likely to develop autism than girls. “Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability, increasing at a rate of 10 to 17 percent annually,” according to the Autism Society of America (Grossman 2002). Working in the field of Special Education, at the coal face, if you like, I have picked up various tips that may prove helpful. There is a growing body of evidence that environmental factors from the womb and onwards have a significant influence upon the development and severity of Asperger's/autistic characteristics. I am not a scientist. This information is what I personally have gleaned and what works for children I have taught. It's worth pointing out that ADHD is a measurable disorder. Its not a condition diagnosed on a hunch. There are specific characteristics evident which are measured with formal psychometric testing and technology such as brain scans. It's not something a doctor can just arbitrarily decide about your child. Get the proper testing for a proper diagnosis.

1. Plastics
Avoid storing or cooking food in plastics. Chemicals in plastic are released into foods which may be harmful. PCB's have been removed after scientific studies showed a link with birth deformities, but who knows what undiagnosed problems stem from our addiction to plastic? Tests have shown a chemical which mimics the human oestrogen hormone has a significant effect upon children, especially boys. It has been linked to the rise in autism and Aspergers. Use glass wherever possible and good quality stainless steel cookware. My philosophy is always 'Natural is Best'. Plastics are a byproduct of the petroleum industry, as is sorbolene cream. These are not natural elements. I myself am gradually replacing all the plastic containers in my home with glass or Corningware. (Glazes on pottery is also to be avoided for cooking)

2.  Screen time.
Limit the amount of screen time, be it TV or computer each day. Over-stimulation causes sleep problems, tiredness and inattention at school. Over-stimulation of the visual cortex means other senses are being left out, social skills aren't developed etc. and when you are not present to monitor content, who knows what influences your child is being subjected to? The media is shaping your child's mind and attitudes. Wouldn't you prefer to be that influence? It has been recommended that children aged 0-3 years watch NO TV at all as it can actually hinder brain development, in terms of neural pathways and connections. The child's growing brain needs all its senses to be stimulated and explore his/her natural environment physically to develop. Choosing a favourite show to watch and then turning off the TV or computer teaches children to monitor their own behaviour. We ought to be in control of TV, not have it control us.

3. Get Outside and move!
Boys do not learn the same way girls do. Haven't you noticed their insatiable energy? Boys in particular need to be physically active in order to develop the necessary neural pathways in their brain to cope with the static learning environment at school, where it's all about sitting still and listening/watching. Using both left and right brain hemispheres simultaneously is needed to learn to read and write. Girls have naturally more developed language centres in the brain. It's just the way they are hard wired. Boys need to move their arms and legs to stimulate their brains to use both hemispheres simultaneously, so bike riding, trampolining, swimming, karate, football etc. are all good. If your child does not socialise well, this is an opportunity to facilitate better interpersonal skills.

4.  Food
Please pay attention to what you are putting in your shopping trolley! Feeding your children is a sacred responsibility, the effects of which will influence their health for the rest of their lives. 'Rubbish' foods such as chips/crisps, lollies, chocolate-coated anything are not good for your child. As a special treat, SELDOM, yes, but not as a matter of course in the lunchbox every day. To keep food preserved, for your convenience, manufacturers add chemicals which would horrify you if you knew about them. Some parents are convinced that certain foods set off 'bad' behaviour in their children. I don't doubt this at all. Naturally tasty, home cooked food prepared from raw ingredients is best. I disturbs me that fast food companies now advertise 'family meal deals' as if this is a good substitute for what you yourself would make! I call it 'yellow food'. It's deep fried, full of fat and chemicals, highly processed, sugary. YELLOW FOOD. Real food is naturally colourful - all those beautiful shades of red, green, purple, orange, yellow, brown, pink etc. I know it takes time to prepare proper food, but isn't your child's health worth it? And if it makes their behaviour easier to control, it makes for a happier child and a happier family life.
Children should also be involved with the preparation of food. Make it fun! Teach them how to cook for themselves. After all, it's your job to prepare them for life as an adult. Picking up the phone and dialing for home delivery is not teaching them how to eat healthily or make proper food preparation part of their daily life, is it?
Aspie children are often quite finicky with foods, preferring a narrow range and are reluctant to try new foods. They may also dislike change in the routines of food preparation. For them, this is normal. If you are the parent of such a child, you've probably already decided that the trauma of forcing them to try new things is not worth the hassle. If their diet is unbalanced, perhaps including them in the process of choosing, shopping and preparing their food would help. Explaining the rules of a good diet and the minerals, vitamins and trace elements necessary for a healthy life may also help as Aspie kids quite enjoy learning about facts.

5.  Omega 3
This has been proven to calm children's behaviour. In 'the old days', the remedy of a teaspoon of cod liver oil every day wasn't as silly as it seemed. A good quality preparation given daily takes a few weeks, perhaps months to have effect, but in some children the difference is dramatic. And I mean DRAMATIC! I had a student whose behaviour would deteriorate dramatically after just one week of running out of the capsules.(I wasn't told they had run out, they just wanted to 'see' if it really did make a difference.) I knew. His whole personality changed. He became belligerent, uncooperative, distractible, noisy and disrespectful.Once he was on it again, the levels built up and he became the sweet-natured boy who was a pleasure to teach. The reason for this was that his ability to absorb and process information was improved. Imagine how much easier it was for him at school.

6. Every Day Life is Learning
Your child is full of natural curiosity and loves to learn new skills. They look to you to mentor them, and not just when they are small. Teenagers need even more leadership. You are teaching them how to be an adult in a world which is not always going to be kind to them, not always fair. They need to have the skills and confidence to tackle challenges and learn the important lessons, even if they are hard ones. It's in striving for our goals and achieving them that we feel strong and confident about ourselves. Don't wrap them up in cotton wool. Let life chip off a few corners. It's a natural process of strengthening. Also, create stages, rites of passage, that mark the different levels of development and goals to strive for. These punctuate childhood and are looked back upon with nostalgia later in life. It's important to have these defined stages. Leaving childhood behind and moving into adulthood under the guidance of parents/carers has a deeply important effect upon a child's sense of self and belonging. That you take the time to discuss what makes a decent man or woman so, will help them navigate their own way through to adulthood. Keep the channels of communication open. Ask their opinion, don't just make it about imparting your wisdom. Involve your children in the household chores such as food shopping and also decision making, give them responsibilities, at certain ages where it is appropriate. Even a two year old can put their empty plate in the sink. Rites of passage have all but disappeared from our cultures. These are important signposts for children, goals to aim for, and to feel proud of achieving.
For children with Asperger's Syndrome or Autistic characteristics, these goals and rites provide solid foundations for developing into a happy, well adapted adult by providing clear signposts on the way.

7.  Routines
I can't stress enough how important it is for children to have routines at home. Time is precious! It shouldn't be wasted sitting at a computer for hours. Mealtimes are a wonderful opportunity for families to sit down together to share the good bits and not-so-good bits about their day, NOT a chance to catch up with the evening TV news.
I have noticed in the last ten years or so that many parents are involving their children in afternoon sports or activities almost every day of the week. In my professional opinion, this is counterproductive. I see a lot of exhausted children who don't have time to complete their homework and have no relaxation time with their family doing simple home-based things, like cleaning out the garage together, playing in the garden/park, craft activities at the kitchen table or making dinner together. The home routines are SO important. When children have structure in their home lives, even if they buck against it, they feel safer and more secure. They feel part of the clan. They know what they have to do, they can organise themselves, get their school bag packed for the next day, make their lunch in the morning etc. These are habits for life. And it saves you having to nag or feel unappreciated for doing it all for them.
Homework is an important part of the home routine. It consolidates what has been learned at school that day. It transfers learning into long term memory and when marked by the teacher gives him/her a snapshot into the child's progress. Make sure you supervise your child's completion of homework. That way you can see if there are any difficulties first hand and keep the communication lines with the school open.
Children with Aspie traits often find the world a confusing place. Routines and structures help to anchor them and calm them. There needs to be time for play, time for homework, time for meals, time for chat and alone time. If necessary, plot these times on a chart, with the relevant time slots.
We can all benefit from routines. When tragedy strikes it is often our established routines which help us cope.

8. Medicating your child for ADHD
There are many aspects to consider. Medication is not my first recommendation. If the steps above have yielded no joy or significant improvement I recommend assessment by a pediatrician and a psychometric evaluation by an educational psychologist. This will help to determine the learning style of your child, his/her brain function in the various areas such as speech and language, non-verbal skills as well as the highly important working memory/distractibility functioning. A proper diagnosis is not possible without proper assessment. A clinic I refer clients to conducts diagnostic brain scans as well as a full history. This way you can be sure that if medication is recommended, it is actually appropriate.
It can be an emotional decision for some parents, but I always maintain knowledge is power. The more you know, the better informed decision you can make. Hiding from a diagnosis is not giving yourself the power to make the best decisions. All my students who have been medicated have followed this series of steps before opting to try it, some taking years to finally relent, but all of them, without exception, have shown significant, often life-changing improvement. It's not an easy decision, but rest assured, if you get the right information, you can make the choice that's best for your child, no matter what your preconceived ideas about medicating per se. There are valid, measurable scientific reasons why medication works and the side effects these days are minimal because we've been using these stimulants for decades now. We've got the dosage pretty much down pat. It's worth considering this option. And if you try it (six months minimum I suggest) and see no improvement, you just cease the medication.

9. Learning to Read and Write
Children with specific learning disorders or learning difficulties usually begin to struggle in the first or second year of schooling. By year three the gap widens between them and their peers and parents start to panic. This is the stage at which they usually come to me. Often the school is in denial and the parents question their own intuitive feelings about the progress of their child. Please, trust your instincts. Similarly, if the teacher is saying something is not quite right, have the courage to investigate. Your child is relying upon your advocacy.
So, reading and writing. There are different styles of learning which are natural to each person. You may have noticed you remember things better if you write them down, or perhaps you work better with a verbal explanation. Or perhaps you need to physically move things, put them together, copy the action to see and understand how things work. These are all valid modalities, of visual, auditory or kinesthetic. When learning difficulties surface my first thought is, 'what style of learner is this child?' (It is often a completely different learning style to the parent who is trying to help.) Once that question had been answered I tailor the program to suit.
Highly visual learners tend not to have a problem with learning to read, spell and write. Similarly, auditory learners pick things up from explanations and can quote verbatim what was said. It's the kinesthetic or multi-modal learners who are the square pegs in a round hole. For them, you can try various physical methods, such as magnetic letters on the fridge to make words, games that involve putting pieces together, jigsaws, playing matching games, SNAP, Memory and even being allowed to move (standing up and shifting their weight gently from one foot to the other) whilst learning can significantly help some children to absorb and process information better. I make little 'beanie bags' of soft cotton fabric, filled with split peas that fit neatly in their hand. They toss the bag back and forth while they read or listen. This activates both brain hemispheres, enabling them to understand and focus better. It's weird, but it works! You might like to try  NIM (Neurological Impress Method), reading along with your child, out loud, while the child tracks underneath the words with a finger. When the child encounters an unfamiliar word you provide it, the child repeats it before moving on. I also include an explanation of the word's meaning if the child needs it but try not to interrupt the flow and comprehension by stopping too frequently.

10. A quiet space, following rules.
Children with Asperger's syndrome often experience a great deal of frustration and confusion as they try to interpret the world around them. Provide two things - A quiet space for them to be alone and have control of the environment (their bedroom or a play room) and an activity which gets them moving and doesn't require social skills (a trampoline perhaps). Aspie kids are easily overstimulated. Bear this in mind when they lose their temper suddenly or behave in ways which you may find odd or disturbing. They need down time. They like to become absorbed in one activity and they often have imaginary friends for longer than most children. Aspie kids benefit from having social rules explained to them. They tend to like rules. It gives them a somewhat tangible way of existing in the confusing world. You might say 'The rule when you travel on the bus is that you sit in your seat and you talk quietly, so as not to disturb others. You don't get up and make a lot of noise.' or 'The rule when we do the food shopping is that we have a list and we quietly go about finding all the items on the list. We don't run. We don't shout and we queue behind someone patiently at the checkout.' These may seem like such obvious social etiquette rules to you, but they must be explained and reinforced regularly. When the child knows what to expect and sees (most) other people following the same rules, they feel safe.

11. Out of Control Behaviour and Over-stimulation
All children seem to want two things - their parents' approval and their parents' time. Notice neither of these costs money or involves shopping for the latest gadget or toy! If your child's behaviour is off the chart, with tantrums and screaming matches they may not be able to verbalise what's bothering them. It may be due to over-stimulation. Retire to a quiet room with subdued lighting and just cuddle, perhaps read a book together or listen to some quiet music. By reducing the sensory input to manageable levels you can calm your child and perhaps (don't push it!) discover if there was anything particularly bothering him/her, such as teasing at school or a confusing social experience. Often kids will volunteer a problem when you're in the middle of cooking dinner or in a rush to leave the house. Watch your own reaction to this. It's important not to put them down or make them feel their concerns are inconvenient. Gently acknowledge the problem and that you want to talk about it. Agree on a special time alone to do this as soon as possible. Another fantastic way to quieten things down is with a nice bath and candlelight. Watching the flickering flame helps switch the brain off. Its amazing how fire gazing soothes the mind! (Just make sure the child doesn't interfere with the candle....)

12. Resilience
 All children need to be equipped with one essential developed skill - resilience. The Mayo Clinic in USA defines it thus:

"Resilience means being able to adapt to life's misfortunes and setbacks... When something goes wrong, do you bounce back or fall apart?" 

This website provides excellent resources and thought provoking questions which would be very helpful to any child, but especially our ADHD and Asperger's children. Personally, I found it useful even for myself! We need encouragement to tackle life's challenges with faith and belief in ourselves. This is something we can develop, which will strengthen us. Life doesn't stop being difficult just because you don't like what's happening! The Mayo Clinic - Resilience

13. Rigidity versus flexibility
Children with Asperger's Syndrome have rigid ways of thinking and behaving. They like things to be done the same way every time and can become highly agitated by even the smallest changes. Once social etiquette has been tackled, you must then move on to teach your child about flexibility, which is a lot harder. These children don't read social cues very well and tend to take things literally. (Imagine how difficult it must be in English, to learn about and understand metaphors, imagery and other literary techniques?) What tends to follow a breakdown in routines, order or rules is acute anxiety for the child.  But learning to read when the rule applies and when it's better to let it slide a little is very difficult for these kids. It takes a great deal of patience. There are some good tips here
Be aware that social occasions are largely anxiety ridden for these kids. You may notice your child loses the plot days, even weeks before the event, and on the way home in the car and even perhaps the next day. Be patient. It's overwhelming to be in social situations when interacting doesn't come naturally and is often perceived as an unrewarding experience. Aspie kids like to have friends, but find the mechanics of maintaining a friendship confusing. They are told one helpful tip about socialising and apply it rigidly to every encounter, then get confused and angry when it doesn't seem to work or when the other person rejects it. There are excellent websites and books, seminars and CDs these days. You, and your child, are not alone.

14. Delayed Gratification and Goal Setting
I've recently heard this guy speak on radio and was much impressed with what he had to say. The current generation seem so lost, many taking their own lives (especially young men) and it saddens me greatly to see them this way. They are fed a daily diet of 'If you want it, just take it or demand it' so little wonder they find goal setting and delayed gratification difficult. There are far more intense joys in life than partying and getting drunk and being obsessed with your appearance is a shallow and unsatisfying existence. Our children need solid leadership and good quality advice, not to have advertisers decide every aspect of their lives! (Yes, this is a hobby horse of mine, slightly off-topic) I encourage you to read what Daniel Akst has to say on the subject, We have Met the Enemy - Self Control in an Age of Excess or listen to an insightful podcast interview. podcast interview with Daniel Akst

I highly recommend books by Steve Biddulph, Raising Boys  is particularly excellent, also The New Manhood  and The Secret of Happy ChildrenSteve Biddulph It's quite an eye opener to realise just how physically and mentally different your son is to your daughter. Steve has amazing insights which will help you.
Another expert who has a good handle on ADHD, ADD, Apsergers and Autism is Mark Selikowiz. borders books online . He runs a specialist clinic in Sydney. sydney cognitive developmental clinic
Another book which has helpful checklists, is Parenting Your Asperger Child by Alan Sohn and Cathy Grayson.
One of the best experts on Autism and Asperger's is Dr Tony Atwood. He has a comprehensive website with resources and information.There's also plenty on girls with Asperger's - aspergers and girls & women
Lots more helpful books on AUTISM and Asperger's here:  www.bilby.net
You can take an Aspie test here: AQ test 
You may also find these titles second hand at www.abebooks.com or www.betterworld.org.I particularly like Better World, as it funds worldwide literacy with every book sold.

That's it for now!

Any feedback on this page is welcomed.
Dawn

Below is a social checklist which you may find helpful from Sohn and Grayson's book. There's a ratings checklist here are other checklists for other areas of development here on a very helpful website.



I. Difficulty with Reciprocal Social Interactions
A. Inability and/or a lack of desire to interact with peers. You are concerned with the child’s reciprocal interactions with others and the quality of those interactions. It is very important to observe how the child interacts with same-age peers. This category comprises two separate issues: the ability and the desire to interact.
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1. Displays an inability to interact because she does not know how to interact. She wants to interact with others but does not know what to do.
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a. Observes or stays on the periphery of a group rather than joining in.
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b. Initiates play interaction by taking a toy or starting to engage in an ongoing activity without gaining verbal agreement from the other players, will ignore a negative response from others when asking to join in, will abruptly leave a play interaction.
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c. Lacks conversational language for a social purpose, does not know what to say this could be no conversation, monopolizing the conversation, lack of ability to initiate conversation, obsessive conversation in one area, conversation not on topic or conversation that is not of interest to others.
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d. Lacks the ability to understand, attend to, maintain, or repair a conversational flow or exchange this causes miscommunication and inappropriate responses (unable to use the back-and-forth aspect of communication).
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e. Lacks an understanding of game playing — unable to share, unable to follow the rules of turn taking, unable to follow game-playing rules (even those that may appear quite obvious), is rigid in game playing (may want to control the game or those playing and/or create her own set of rules), always needs to be first, unable to make appropriate comments while playing, and has difficulty with winning/losing.
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f. Is unable to select activities that are of interest to others (unaware or unconcerned that others do not share the same interest or level of interest, unable to compromise).
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g. Compromises interactions by rigidity, inability to shift attention or “go with the flow,” being rule bound, needs to control the play/activity (play may “look” imaginative but is most likely repetitive — e.g., action figures are always used in the same way, songs are played in the same order, Lego pieces are always put together in the same way).
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h. Displays narrow play and activity choices (best observed during unstructured play/leisure activities: look for rigidity/patterns/repetitive choices, inability to accept novelty).
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i. Engages in unusual behaviors or activities (selects play or activity choices of a younger child, seems unaware of the unwritten social rules among peers, acts like an imaginary character, uses an unusual voice — any behaviors that call attention to the individual or are viewed as unusual by peers).
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j. Displays a limited awareness of current fashion, slang, topics, activities, and accessories (does not seem interested in what peers view as popular or the most current craze, unless it happens to match a special interest).
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k. Displays a limited awareness of the emotions of others and/or how to respond to them (does not ask for help from others, does not know how to respond when help is given, does not know how to respond to compliments, does not realize the importance of apologizing, does not realize something she says or does can hurt the feelings of another, does not differentiate internal thoughts from external thoughts, does not


respond to the emotions another is displaying — misses cues).
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l. Prefers structured over nonstructured activities.
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2. Displays a lack of desire to interact.
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a. Does not care about her inability to interact with others because she has no interest in doing so. She prefers solitary activities and does not have the need to interact with others, or she is socially indifferent and can take it or leave it with regard to interacting with others.
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b. Sits apart from others, avoids situations where involvement with others is expected (playgrounds, birthday parties, being outside in general), and selects activities that are best completed alone (e.g., computer games, Game Boy, books, viewing TV/videos, collecting, keeping lists).
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c. Is rule bound/rigid and spends all free time completely consumed by areas of special interest. Her activities are so rule bound, it would be almost impossible for a peer to join in correctly. When asked about preferred friends, the individual is unable to name any or names those who are really not friends (family members, teachers).
B. Lack of appreciation of social cues. The individual, unable to identify or interpret the “messages” others give in conversations or interactions, demonstrates social thinking deficits.
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1. Lacks awareness if someone appears bored, upset, angry, scared, and so forth. Therefore, she does not comment in a socially appropriate manner or respond by modifying the interaction.
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2. Lacks awareness of the facial expressions and body language of others, so these conversational cues are missed. He is also unable to use gestures or facial expressions to convey meaning when conversing. You will see fleeting, averted, or a lack of eye contact. He will fail to gain another’s attention before conversing with them. He may stand too far away from or too close to the person he is conversing with. His body posture may appear unusual.
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3. When questioned regarding what could be learned from another’s facial expression, says, “Nothing.” Faces do not provide him with information. Unable to read these “messages,” he is unable to respond to them.
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4. Has difficulty with feelings of empathy for others. Interactions with others remain on one level, with one message.
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a. Ignores an individual’s appearance of sadness, anger, boredom, etc.
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b. Fails to assist someone with an obvious need for help (not holding a door for someone carrying many items or assisting someone who falls or drops their belongings).
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c. Talks on and on about a special interest while unaware that the other person is no longer paying attention, talks to someone who is obviously engaged in another activity, talks to someone who isn’t even there.
C. Socially and emotionally inappropriate behaviors. This is a direct result of not understanding the rules of social interactions. If you don’t understand what someone is saying or doing, you will be unable to give the appropriate response
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1. Laughs at something that is sad, asks questions that are too personal.
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2. Makes rude comments (tells someone they are fat, bald, old, have yellow teeth).
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3. Engages in self-stimulatory or odd behaviors (rocking, tics, finger posturing, eye blinking, noises — humming/clicking/talking to self).
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4. Is unaware of unspoken or “hidden” rules — may “tell” on peers, breaking the “code of silence” that exists. He will then be unaware why others are angry with him.


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5. Responds with anger when he feels others are not following the rules, will discipline others or reprimand them for their actions (acts like the teacher or parent with peers).
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6. Touches, hugs, or kisses others without realizing that it is inappropriate.
D. Limited or abnormal use of nonverbal communication. The individual uses gestures, body language, or facial expressions infrequently or atypically when interacting with others.
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1. Averts eye contact, or keeps it fleeting or limited.
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2. Stares intensely at people or objects.
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3. Does not observe personal space (is too close or too far).
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4. Does not use gestures/body language when communicating.
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5. Uses gestures/body language, but in an unusual manner.
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6. Does not appear to comprehend the gestures/body language of others.
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7. Uses facial expressions that do not match the emotion being expressed.
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8. Lacks facial expressions when communicating.
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9. Does not appear to comprehend the facial expressions of others.
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10. Displays abnormal gestures/facial expressions/body posture when communicating.
E.g.:
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a. Looks to the left or right of the person she is talking to.
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b. Does not turn to face the person she is talking to.
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c. Confronts another person without changing her face or voice.
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d. Stands too close or too far away from another person.
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e. Smiles when someone shares sad news.
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f. Has tics or facial grimaces.

© Alan Sohn and Cathy Grayson. Parenting Your Asperger Child. New York: Perigee, 2005.


5 comments:

  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome, James! Glad I could help. Good luck with your studies.

      Delete
    2. To help make learning to read fun and engaging, our reading program includes lesson stories that are matched to the progress of your child's reading abilities.

      These lessons stories are part of the learning program, and comes with colorful illustrations to make learning reading fun and engaging for you and your child.

      These are the exact same stories and step-by-step lessons that we used to teach our own children to read!

      Find out here: Teach Your Child To Read?

      Best rgs

      Delete
  2. Hi Dawn, thanks for sharing this article. I've heard from human behavior specialists and some people said ADHD isn't an actualy disease. It's a wrong label to children when we as adults force them to do what they don't want to do. What's your opinion on this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chris, it depends exactly what you mean by 'force them to do what they don't want to do'. We, as adults, have a duty to teach children how to be confident, responsible, compassionate citizens. This means that sometimes their wants will be at odds with our agenda, because we're all born self-centred. I agree, ADHD isn't actually a disease, its a condition, and labelling children can be unhelpful, perhaps even detrimental in some cases, but I am also a big believer in the need for children to be aware of their own peculiar ways and how that affects others, as well as the effect on their own progress. I had a student who was 'diagnosed' Oppositional Defiance Disorder, and it was clear to me that he simple struggled to live up to the expectations he thought his parents had of him, compared to his older, very successful siblings. As I worked on bringing out his own confidence, while insisting he must work with instead of against me, I saw a transformation begin to take place. As a parent myself, there are many times I have to insist my child do as I say, whether she understands or agrees or not. My experience tells me what she needs to learn and this guides my decision making. Sometimes there is room for negotiation and sometimes my authority is the most important factor, in giving her a sense of safety. After all, if I'm not steering this boat, who is? I hope this answers your question, Chris!

      Delete

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