Asperger's Syndrome

<p>I would like to ask for help/assistance from anybody that might be a parent of a child with Asperger's. I have a child that I have been teaching for two years now that we have recently determined has Asperger's. He is absolutely brilliant but has all of the classic symptoms of this disorder. He has been functioning ok and maintaining good grades to this point, but his classroom teacher and I are really worried about what will happen as he progresses through his education to high school and college. His lack of social cues and fixation on certain topics has started to affect his academic and social progress.</p>

<p>I'm hoping there is possibly a parent who comes here who might either have a child with Asperger's or who may have a relative or close friend with a child that has it. I would like to find out what they did in order to help the child be successful as they progressed through school. We've tried several things and just aren't seeing the results that we had hoped so now I'm investigating other possibilities that we or the parents could try. We're all frustrated and this is such a great kid that I would hate for him to be held back because of something that right now he just can't control. Let me know if anyone has any experience with success in this area from a parent perspective!!</p>

<p>I have a friend who has a son who is a senior in high school with Asperbergers's but she isn't on this site. If you can e-mail me your contact, however you can do that, I will connect you</p>

<p>I've come into contact with quite a few kids on the Asperger's continuum over the course of following high level math competitions for the past 8 years. It seems like it is possible to "dissect" social situations in a very concrete way with them which helps them to develop general guidelines that moderate their more noticeable behavior so they can fit in better if they want to. And they do seem to improve over time. The may never win any awards for social skills, but they don't stand out from their peers as much at age 18 as they do at age 12.</p>

<p>There is a lot of info on this on the internet, including forums for people with Asperger's and their families. There are organizations devoted to it. An interesting book with a Asperger's boy as the main character is "Curious Incident of the Dog in the NIghttime". There is also a well-known adult spokesperson for Asperger's whose last name is Granville. She used her different way of viewing social cues to develop more humane animal chutes in slaughterhouses.</p>

<p>students can certainly be very successful with Aspergers ( just read the thread about all the Aspies in Silicon valley!)
I don't know where you are, but many areas have support groups/social groups for parents and youth who are on the spectrum.
I would suggest contacting your children's hospital for local resources
But here are some things to get you started.

The National Center on Secondary Education and Transition has a new
resource called "My Future, My Plan", a transition planning resource
for life after high school for students with disabilities. Visit
<a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

This is a listserv for Aspies and their loved ones interested in
sharing information, resources, and forming friendship
opportunities. Go to <a href=""&gt;;/a> and
click "Join this group" to begin</p>

Get expert advice on what you can do to obtain a Free Appropriate
Public Education for your child with disabilities. Reed Martin,
nationally recognized expert in special education law, is the
moderator and provides answers to your questions. Sign on at
<a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;.&lt;/p>

Resources compiled from a variety of organizations include overviews
of depression and anxiety, treatment and referral, and tons of
resources for families, teens, and children. Visit
<a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;.&lt;/p>

Information and bulletin board about Asperger's Syndrome in the NW:<br>
<a href=""&gt;;/a>. Lists of resources, activities, and lively
discussion groups!</p>

<a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

The Dan Marino Foundation has launched their Autism TV channel on
the internet. Watch shows, speakers, and presentations on your
computer! Fast connection recommended. Visit
<a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

Two teens with Asperger's Syndrome created a website,
<a href=""&gt;;/a>. The site features forums, articles, and a
variety of great resources. Definitely worth a visit!


<p>There is also a well-known adult spokesperson for Asperger's whose last name is Granville. She used her different way of viewing social cues to develop more humane animal chutes in slaughterhouses.</p>

<p>Temple Grandin- She actually has autism which is more severe.
I highly recommend her books- she has just published one on social differences that I am looking forward to reading.</p>

Temple Grandin is inarguably the most accomplished and well-known
adult with autism in the world. Now you can learn more about her at
her new website: <a href=""&gt;


<p>These children have many wonderful qualities, but it can be difficult to get them on track socially. As Texas mentioned, the pre-teen years are especially tough, but, during junior high years, they will develop more awareness and desire to fit in.</p>

<p>They need to learn social cues the way most people learn a foreign language. They've never picked up on tones of voice or subtleties of behavior. They aren't interested in other people's emotions, and pay them no attention until a situation slaps them directly in the face.</p>

<p>Because the kids are often advanced in math and fact-based learning, adults assume too much in dealing with them emotionally. It's helpful for them to be around other Asperger-y types, for instance, a math club, chess team or computer group. They can relate in the straightforward, unemotional way they enjoy best, and the other members of the group can serve as role models, positive and negative.</p>

<p>Try to break things into small segments and discuss improvements in these areas beforehand - these kids like to know the reasons behind things, and usually need time to adjust and process any changes. Use brief, unemotional reminders to get the child motivated. Give them another point of view without giving them the sense that theirs is wrong. Let them know that everyone has areas of difficulty in life, and the social graces can be learned.</p>

<p>Good luck! You sound like a caring and thoughtful teacher.</p>

<p>You might also want to look into Landmark College
<a href=""&gt;;/a> which offers a two year associate degree to learning disabled students and helps them transfer to four-year colleges.</p>

<p>A recent article in the Goucher College student newspaper-- Quindecim-- was by a student who only recently realized she had Asperger's and how she was learning to cope. Networking through websites mentioned above is a great way to get help with learning disabilities. </p>

<p>Children with this type of social problems cannot learn by observation how they should behave in society--social rules have to be made explicit and learned by rote. Cf. Curious Incident book--excellent in demonstrating this.</p>

<p>I appreciate all of the suggestions to this point and will definitely follow up on them! I actually had a friend in grad school who got involved in Asperger's research which is where I got my initial research on it. I've been reading everything I can get my hands on (as is his regular classroom teacher) but we're still hitting brick walls to this point!</p>

<p>Contacting a local support group for parents is a really good idea. I'm in a larger area so there should definitely be at least one of these! Some one suggested chess which he actually is already involved in (and of which I sponsor the club so I get to observe him in another environment) and it has been a positive experience in giving him interaction experience...even if some days it's hugely frustrating for me! =)</p>

<p>Every kid is different so his teacher and I are of the mind right now that if we just keep trying that we'll eventually hit on the strategies that actually work for him. That's why I appreciate all of the info you have all suggested right now. It gives us more avenues to try. Thanks!</p>

<p>Does this child take music lessons? Or have some way of expressing himself like art? This is not based on research or anything, just my feeling that having a skill and being part of something (like a band, or orchestra, or art group or <em>something</em>, perhaps a sport?) is a good way to connect with other people and to be appreciated by them, and also an important emotional outlet. But yes, keep trying different things and see what "takes" and run with it. Something will.</p>

<p>Sports are a great way to learn social skills- my daughter has had fantastic coaches and teammates- and the skills they learn on the field are transferable to the classroom ( no not passing the ball, but perserverance- determination and the ability to learn from your mistakes)
Many people find that regular exercise ( that raises heart rate) helps with anxiety and attention as well as sleep. People on the spectrum can especially benefit from it.</p>

<p>My older son has Tourette's Syndrome, and I suspect Asperger's, although we never had that diagnosed. (We had trouble enough getting the TS diagnosis years ago, so didn't even bother with the other.) Because he was homeschooled until high school, he avoided some of the social problems, learning to socialize in small groups at first. When he was young, we read a book on being a friend together, and I had to teach him specific social skills. Later, attending high school part-time, he was able to learn better social skills. Although he will never be a social butterfly, he does now (at 22) interact appropriately with others. It has just been a slower development for him, and we have to realize that, despite his academic skills, we cannot expect him to quite act his age socially.</p>

<p>What helped him most was having a few people who were close friends and thus gave emotional support. Also working with a partner or small group, rather than in large groups, when he was younger, proved helpful. And, as others mentioned, having specific training in reading social cues. That just did not come naturally to him.</p>

<p>I'm totally clueless here, but one question might be whether one wants to overcome it or play it for what it is worth. Many elites don't necessarily want well-rounded students. There must be plenty of types at Caltech down through lots of good colleges who really get a lot out of serious focus. Maybe there's time to further develop a social personality later. Of course, if that's not the goal, maybe a more nuturing LAC or broad-based program would be better. In any case, it seems like a shame to stifle unnecessarily what is special about a talented child.</p>

<p>How old is this kid?</p>

<p>The poster said the boy is not yet in high school.</p>

<p>Here is a link to "The Infinite Mind". <a href=""&gt;;/a> </p>

<p>They aired a show a few years ago featuring Temple Grandin. She was also on NPR's "Science Friday" earlier this year. See <a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>I have a relative with Asperger's Syndrome. Feel free to message me privately.</p>

<p>The child is in 4th grade so we're not really looking for a college just yet. We also don't want to change who he is. We're just noticing that his fixation on one particular subject area and inability to think about anything else is starting to affect his academics in other areas. He's also having trouble behaving socially during group instruction and it's affecting how he is perceived by his peers as well as what he is learning. His parents have also observed the behavior in other settings such as Boy Scouts and karate. We're not worried about him becoming Mr. Popularity. We just don't want him to become so socially isolated in the coming years that it causes other problems. We're trying to be proactive to help him in the elementary setting before things get worse. As his regular teacher says, school is just going to get more structured for him rather than less structured so this is going to get worse as he moves into middle school and high school. Right now he's having trouble functioning in whole group instruction. We try to do small group or individual instruction with him when possible, but again we're looking ahead to the future and knowing that realistically that won't happen as much in high school so we want to help him gain a little control over the situation before he moves ahead.</p>

<p>He is a fantastic kid and unlike some I've taught I don't believe he's using the situation to his advantage. To be honest, I don't really think he realizes there's a problem yet due to the lack of picking up on social cues. In the younger grades the other kids thought he was they are starting to see him as different and want to avoid being in groups with him or sitting by him. Young children tend to accept things that older children tease about. </p>

<p>Again I appreciate the suggestions.</p>

<p>If anyone is interested in Tourette's (or just good books), I have a book suggestion for that too. "Motherless Brooklyn". It is not about Tourette's, but the main character (an adolescent male) has Tourette's. It is a detective story. My book club read it and everyone loved it, which is unusual for our group. <a href=""&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>I haven't posted earlier in response to your question, but now that I realize you are talking about a child who is 9/10 and not a teenager I have some very different thoughts on the subject. The obsessive interest in a single subject is classic Asperger's. His single-minded focus may draw in some friends with the same interest, but long after they have moved on he will still be completely obsessed by that interest and will have a very hard time understanding why his friends no longer want to share that experience with him. His ability in his academics will be affected by his lack of social skills. My brother has a child with Asperger's who just turned 18. He has no friends, he is completely unable to function in a normal high school environment, and schools for special needs students have been less than satisfactory because of his academic ability. He has not been able to attend school for several years now. I could go on about how I believe my brother and his wife have done a disservice to their son by being unable to "let him go", but they are now left with a child who despite significant intelligence cannot function in the world. He is finally getting structured daily therapy to assist him with his social skills, but it is intensive therapy and can only be done at the cost of his academics. Had he gotten the kind of social skills therapy he is now getting, I believe he would be on his way to a properly structured college environment. If there is any way that they can avail themselves of that kind of a behavioral therapy program now, it will pay huge dividends in the future. I don't know where you are located, but there are states that have better programs in place for Asperger's students. I believe California and New Jersey are way ahead of some other states.</p>

<p>unsoccer-mom has a good point. Therapy at this age (as the child transitions to puberty) could be immensely helpful. This is a great time to find an excellent therapist who can work with this kid's issues, help him find his place, (and it will help the parents as well). </p>

<p>Also, if parents are willing to look at dietary issues (do some foods/additives have negative effect on behaviour/mood/etc.?), that can be helpful for some kids.</p>

<p>unsoccer-mom shares a fairly frightening story. I don't think any of us want to raise children who can't function in the world. "Quirky kids" with the sorts of quirks described by Perri Klass in her recent book do have various degrees of quirkiness (it is a spectrum, right?) and I don't begin to know at what point professional intervention is advisable. Our local homeschool community over the past couple of decades has included lots of these kids. Like the students texas137 observed they tended to be able to fit into social situations by their mid to late teen years.... if they cared to do so. We just thought that was a part of them growing up and figuring out how the world worked. Most entered high school and did just fine socially and extremely well academically. All seem to be doing fine in college. They definitely can function in the world: do well in school, hold part-time or summer jobs, and have a few like-minded friends. Are they a bit odd? yes. Does it really matter? Would early intervention have helped or just made them feel more self-conscious and uncomfortable about being somehow "different"? Now I am not suggesting that a very quirky kid be left in a regular classroom without support! But is that classroom the best place for that child?</p>