Tag Archives: Conversations

Question?: Schizophrenia Definition

George asks…

Can someone explain Schizophrenia to me, in depth?

Can someone explain Schizophrenia to me, in depth?
i know the basic definition of Schizophrenia, but i would like to know what really goes on in the heads of people who have this illness. Anyway i really want to understand what is the thought process. Do nightmares occur, and how bad can they get? Thank you for time.

admin answers:

There are a number of different types of schizophrenia. About one third of schizophrenics have paranoid schizophrenia, like me. In this type, the intellectual functioning and affect (whether your face looks animated or not) are not really affected. Short term memory is apparently something which is commonly affected by schizophrenia, but I never found that this was the case.

I had busy thoughts. My delusions came to me as if they were repressed memories, and I thought that the voices were memories of conversations past as well. However, it was all false. I didn’t realise it at the time though. I believed in it all.

I was very concerned with what words meant exactly (including the derivation as found in the dictionary). I would draw connections between various ideas in quite an imaginative fashion, to put it politely. I think that this is what they call “concrete thinking.” It means that you can’t interpret a proverb properly, because you can’t handle abstract thinking. You interpret everything literally.

My delusions and voices were relatively benign. I didn’t really get scared from most of them. I didn’t experience nightmares.

It would be different for everybody though. A lot of people wouldn’t have enough insight into their illness to be able to look back and see what their symptoms had been.

Some people suffer from what they call negative symptoms as well. These are ones that stop you living life so well, such as apathy and avolition. I only experienced these after I was on medication. I’ve switched to a medication that doesn’t have these side effects.

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Question?: Asperger Syndrome Quiz

Joseph asks…

How do i know if i have Semantic Pragmatic Disorder or Asbergers?

or autism if i do how can i cure it or treat it can a get any prescription

admin answers:

Quiz: http://www.rdos.net/eng/ ~~~

The term ‘semantic pragmatic disorder’ has been around for nearly l5 years. Originally it was only used to describe children who were not autistic.

Features it includes are:-

delayed language development
learning to talk by memorising phrases, instead of putting words together freely
repeating phrases out of context, especially snippets remembered from television programmes
muddling up ‘I’ and ‘you’
problems with understanding questions, particularly questions involving ‘how’ and ‘why’
difficulty following conversations
Children with this disorder have problems understanding the meaning of what other people say, and they do not understand how to use speech appropriately themselves.

Soon both research and practical experience yielded two important findings:

Many people who definitely are autistic have this kind of language disorder (Dustin Hoffman’s character Raymond in the film ‘Rainman’ being a typical example).
Most of the children diagnosed as having semantic pragmatic disorder do also have some mild autistic features. For example, they usually have difficulty understanding social situations and expectations, they like to stick fairly rigidly to routines, and they lack imaginative play.
For a while some language therapists maintained there was still an important difference between children with semantic pragmatic disorder and children who were truly autistic. They believed the autistic features seen in children with semantic pragmatic disorder were only a result of their difficulty with language.

However, further research has shown that there is probably a single underlying cognitive impairment which produces both the autistic features and the semantic pragmatic disorder . The fact that children with semantic pragmatic disorder have problems understanding the meaning and significance of events, as well the meaning and significance of speech, seems to bear this out.

Eventually the idea of an autistic continuum was used to explain the situation. All the children on the continuum have semantic pragmatic difficulties, but the degree of their other autistic impairments can be severe or moderate or mild. This parallels the autistic continuum relating Asperger syndrome, where all the children have a marked social impairment but those with Asperger syndrome have only a relatively mild and subtle language impairment.

It seems that children who are diagnosed as having a semantic pragmatic disorder might more accurately be described as high-functioning autistic. Clinicians tend to give all autistic children who have good intelligence the label Asperger syndrome, even if a child actually has very limited speech. But there are important differences between bright autistic children with semantic pragmatic difficulties and bright autistic children with Asperger syndrome. Children with semantic pragmatic difficulties have usually learnt to talk late, whereas (according to diagnostic guidelines) children with Asperger syndrome were able to talk in sentences by the age of three. Also children with semantic pragmatic difficulties do better on performance IQ tests than verbal IQ tests, whereas with children with Asperger syndrome the results tend to be the other way round. However, if a child with semantic pragmatic difficulties eventually becomes a fluent talker, the difference between the labels ‘high functioning autistic’ and ‘ Asperger syndrome’ becomes fairly academic.

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Question?: Autism Signs In 15 Month Old

Donna asks…

Is speech impairment an essential symptom/sign of autism?

Most autistic children do not speak normally.What are the other symptoms of autism?

admin answers:

Yes. Autism is typically recognized between 15 – 24 months old. Though it may not be diagnosed until much later. In those 9 months a child with Autism will begin displaying signs that may indicate and delay or regression. The earliest signs can come in the first year. A child that isn’t smiling when they are suppose to and tip-toe walking are common early signs. The first major signs are a delay in communication or a regression in communication. Parents of children with Autism usually describe either A. Their child didn’t start talking “on time” ( same time as peers) or that they stopped saying words they usually said before.(regressed) . The delay in communication is usually paired with a sense of confusion or disconnect the child may have with peers or siblings. Example not responding when name is called, not making eye contact, unable to follow simple instructions, parallel playing with peers, not engaging in conversations with peers. Because of the lack of speech and communication the child may become frustrated and display tantrum behavior. Tantrums usually take the place of words early on in children with Autism. Behavior can also be due to the fact that the child is very particular with how they expect things to be or happen. They can have rigid routines and not like transitioning. These are also sensory issues that most children with Autism have. Other sensory issues include sensitivity to loud sounds, touch and textures. There are many other signs but these are the typical first major indicators. There are several levels of Autism the earlier Autism is recognized and therapy begins the better the outcome.

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Question?: Adhd In Adults

Steven asks…

What is the process a general physician would use to diagnose adult ADHD?

I’m have an appointment with my primary care physician to be screened for adult ADHD. Does anyone know what he will do in order to test and diagnose me?

admin answers:

Many things can look like ADHD so if he does a GOOD job evaluating you then he will do an extensive evaluation to rule out other possible causes. Unfortunately, MOST PCP’s don’t do extensive evaluations and are quick to give a pencil/paper self-report scale, write a prescription and call it a day.
I went to a specialty clinic with a psychiatrist who is trained in mental health and knows what to look for and what to rule out. For mine they did a really long self-report scale to make sure that I didn’t have any other mental health things going on like depression or an anxiety disorder. I took a computer test that gauged several things (impulsivity, attention and I don’t remember the rest). They should have you submit questionnaires to family and/or friends because they often have information about you that you don’t know yourself.For example, you may not realize tat you are tuning out in conversations because it’s normal for you, but others might recognize it!
Good luck!

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Question?: Pdd-nos Checklist

Jenny asks…

5 year old’s social skills and behaviour?

Hello, i have a son who has just turned 5. He started reception this year. He is not very talkative, when it comes to having conversations. He has very good vocabulary but does not talk to his teacher or the children in his class. He is quite shy but most of the time i feel like he just cant be bothered. He never askes questions about others and just doesn’t seem interested in other children. He will shout for attention if he has something to show but not very interested in others talking. He is easily distracted in class and has to be told 5 times before he follows instructions even at home. He does not mean to misbehave and really hates upsetting others. If i ask him how his day has been, he will ignore him and if i keep asking he will say he doesn’t want to talk. He hates answering questions even at home and cries if you keep asking them. He is very sensitive and gets frustrated easily and cries easily. He is very capable of making friends but doesnt seem interested. He is also very bright and creative.
He did go to full time nursery last year and was the same. He would play for hours on his own in the sand pit or waterplay. He would only talk if he had something interesting to show. It’s funny because he does have the vocabulary. They noticed his creative skills at nursery too. I am very much in touch with his teacher and she has the same concerns, she has suggested his assessed and i agreed. He is very playful and talkative at home and has a great sense of humour. But even at home he hates being asked questions or having conversations that do not interest him.
He does show alot of asperger’s traits. Particularly his lack of social interaction. The confusing thing is he gets sarcasm too, for example if i say ‘thanks for making the mess’ he’ll say ‘sorry mummy’. Maybe that doesn’t mean much. I will definately have him evaluated, for my own peace of mind if nothing else.
He does show alot of asperger’s traits. Particularly his lack of social interaction. The confusing thing is he gets sarcasm too, for example if i say ‘thanks for making the mess’ he’ll say ‘sorry mummy’. Maybe that doesn’t mean much. I will definately have him evaluated, for my own peace of mind if nothing else.
He does show alot of asperger’s traits. Particularly his lack of social interaction. The confusing thing is he gets sarcasm too, for example if i say ‘thanks for making the mess’ he’ll say ‘sorry mummy’. Maybe that doesn’t mean much. I will definately have him evaluated, for my own peace of mind if nothing else.

admin answers:

It is very obvious to me that this is asperger’s syndrome. Suggest the O.A.S.I.S. Guide to asperger’s syndrome by Barb Kirby. It is part of the autistic spectrum. Many of those with asperger’s tend to have a higher IQ. Social skills are delayed and its something that you will continue to work on with him. Those with asperger’s follow rules well. A great book by Dr. Jed Baker is the social skills communication picture book that depicts the wrong way and then the right way. Suggest setting some rules like stop look and listen, inside voice. Yes those with asperger’s are very aloof.

That is very funny to me about him not wanting the questions about his day. My son, who is 8 and PDD.NOS (autistic features that include typical features, autistic and asperger features) says all the time, mom no more talking!

The not talking to anybody can be anxiety based too though his typical demeanor is shy. Getting frustrated easily and crying can be anxiety. Anxiety is a component that usually accompanies those on the autistic spectrum but it also stands by itself a lot too.

He thinks differently, and probably has some amazing art work.

The distraction and difficulty following directions:
Attention disorders do go hand and hand with those on the autistic spectrum as well.

Language disorders, especially pragmantic do roll with this diagnosis frequently too.

Auditory processing disorders also accompany the symptoms.

My son who is 8 has been diagnosed with all of these. Does he really have all of them, doubtful, but there is significant overlap.

He is diagnosed
PDD.NOS (atypical autism)
ADD.NOS (features of an attention deficit disorder)
CAPD (central auditory processing disorder)
Pragmatic disorder, mixed expressive and receptive language disorder

So does he really not understand spoken language (receptive) or is it the auditory processing?

Is he really ADD or is it bipolar, or SPD (which he has as well) sensory processing disorder or the CAPD

here is a good PDD assessment (PDD is the umbrella term that encompasses all of the autistic spectrum disorders)

the sand pit and water play, excellent, that is code for sensory processing, both are sensory based and he is giving his body what it needs, precisely what an OT would do for him

A pediatric neurologist is the way to go, developmental pediatricians don’t give as much feedback, child psychologists/psychiatrists-some are good, most are not and would try to convince you he needs medication and there is nothing here at all that suggests that to me.

Conversations are learned and it takes time. My 8 yr old loves to answer the phone, but continues to abruptly hang up on anyone that is boring him. He easily gets annoyed with chit-chat and I don’t get it myself being autistic as well. He asked me why is it that everybody everywhere always asks How was your day or How’s it goin but they don’t want the real answer. They want you to say fine, good, ok but if you tell them how you really feel they act as if you turned into a martian. Funny to me how someone with delayed social skills, who is poor at reading nonverbal behavior including facial expressions can get it and be so perceptive. And I have no answer for this, and feel its fake, yet its rude of us to ignore these q and not give the expected response.

For his day, ask specific questions and you will get a response and he won’t be agitated by it. Ask what was the letter of the day? What game did you play in gymclass? Who did you play with during free time/recess? My son’s favorite q is who got in trouble today? He loves to dish on who threw up, got hurt, said a bad word, broke a pencil etc.

The autism asperger’s publication co.

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Question?: Asperger Syndrome In Adults

Steven asks…

Where can an adult get social skills training?

My brother is 25 and he needs social skills training. He has Aspergers Syndrome, meaning he does not interact as he should. He often does not initiate conversations and instead sits quietly. He does not make eye contact.

He graduated from college with a BA in Biology. Other than socializing he is intelligent. The question I have is, what can be done or where can he go to get proper social skills training? He is already an adult, and it is hard to find social skills training programs for adults. We live in Western Massachusetts, near Springfield,so something local would be better, but any information will help.


admin answers:

Unfortunately, there are a lot of options for younger people, but very little support for adults over age 22 with AS. This is an area of HUGE need. I have AS. My wife and I plan to start an AS support group for adults very soon.

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Question?: Pdd-nos Checklist

Carol asks…

Do you think my 26 year old brother could be autistic?

I just checked out this website and he has every symptom on there. http://www.autism-pdd.net/checklist.html#checklist

He didn’t start speaking until he was 3-all he did was growl. I have a 3 year old, so I know that’s not normal.
He used to bang his head when he was angry so hard that he would get bruises.
The teachers thought he was dyslexic and he couldn’t color in the lines.
He strongly prefers to be alone in his room ever since he was little. He lives with my parent’s now and doesn’t come out of his room unless he absolutely has too.
He says things that don’t make sense in conversations.
He’s extremely sensitive to loud noises.
Has only had one job in his life as a stock boy and that didn’t last long.
Just sort of pushed through school-without ever learning anything that my friend’s 8 year old doesn’t know.
He graduated from high school through a special ed program.

I love my brother very much, but I’m worried about his ability to live on his own someday. Also, one of my cousins is autistic. He’s different from my brother, but I know that there’s different types of autism

What do you think might be gong on?

admin answers:

You are correct, there are many different types of autism. Some people may have profound autism with equally profound intellectual impairments, whilst others may have very mild autism and be intellectually normal (or better).

The fact that he was in special education indicates he has some diagnosis. His behaviors sound strongly like either autistic disorder or PDD-NOS. I say PDD-NOS as to be diagnosed with either autistic disorder or Asperger’s syndrome there must be repetitive and restrictive behaviors. He may have them but they haven’t been listed. Things like obsessive interests (that may dominate conversations, that he spends significant amounts of time researching or doing), insistence on non-functional routines (such as sitting in the same spot, watching the same episode of a TV show or taking the same route to a particular location) and repetitive movements or speech (repeating what he or someone else has said, rocking back and forth – you have already mentioned head banging).

It seems likely that he has some form of autism. He should get diagnosed and then see a specialist who can help him with things such as independent living, social skills and sensory problems.

You should also be looking out for any problems in your son. You have a family history of ASD. You would have noticed if it was anything serious but the milder forms (Asperger’s syndrome and high functioning autistic disorder) may not present with speech delays, self injurious behaviors and severe impairments. If you notice anything odd then see a specialist because early treatment is one of the most effective methods for minimizing the eventual severityof an ASD.

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Question?: Asperger Syndrome Symptoms

Mandy asks…

What Are The Symptoms For Aspergers Syndrome?

My mum said she has a friend with Aspergers syndrome and says that i’m very similar to her. Does anyone know the symptoms so I can see if it does sound like me?

admin answers:

Signs and symptoms
Signs and symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome include:

Engaging in one-sided, long-winded conversations, without noticing if the listener is listening or trying to change the subject
Displaying unusual nonverbal communication, such as lack of eye contact, few facial expressions, or awkward body postures and gestures
Showing an intense obsession with one or two specific, narrow subjects, such as baseball statistics, train schedules, weather or snakes
Appearing not to understand, empathize with, or be sensitive to others’ feelings
Having a hard time “reading” other people or understanding humor
Speaking in a voice that is monotonous, rigid or unusually fast
Moving clumsily, with poor coordination
Having an odd posture or a rigid gait

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47 days


Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek.

~ Barack Obama

I am grateful that Liz has begun the process of reaching out to self-advocates. I am hopeful that through her conversations, the gap can be bridged, changes will be made and that when Autism Speaks it will be autistic voices that we hear.

~ Diary , August 2012


We lament the pace of change. It simply doesn’t happen fast enough to satisfy our hunger. Call us impatient. Go ahead, we’ve been called far worse. But we need the world to be different NOW. There is no time to wait. 

We scream and shout and we talk and cajole and we negotiate and politic and then …

And then we climb into bed at night and wonder if all that we did, all that we do, was and is for naught. We wonder if we stood and shouted into the air yet again, the wind taking our words before they could ever dream of being heard, having impact, making something – anything – different for our kids.

We cry and we fight, we scratch and we claw and we wonder …

We wonder if the very people who are meant to represent us, to support us, to help us, are really representing or supporting or helping us at all – or if perhaps, despite all the good they might be doing, if they’re also part of the problem.

We shake our heads (and our fists) and wonder how they could be getting it quite so wrong.

So wind or no wind, we keep talking. And we talk and we talk and we talk. And we listen. And we ask questions. And we offer solutions, suggestions, different paths. Real, solid alternatives to what we know isn’t working. Because banging on the walls and yelling isn’t enough.

And sometimes, the right person listens. If we talk enough the odds are good. 

And we begin to hear not just platitudes and empty promises but our words reflected back to us – our ideas winding into strategy and flowing into execution. And we realize that things are changing. That priorities are shifting. That attitudes and organizations and elected officials are listening. And evolving. More slowly than we’d like perhaps, but the monumental changes we seek simply do not happen overnight, no matter how much we may want and will them to. 

And in that moment, that very instant that we see something change, we know that it is possible. We can change the institutions that represent us. We can affect the process.

Autism Speaks put out a video yesterday. It looks different from what you may have seen them do in the past. For one thing, it prominently features autistic adults speaking for themselves.

Are people going to find plenty to take issue with? Yup. They always will. Autism is far too sticky and messy and God, it affects us all in so very many different ways – I can imagine almost nothing that will please everyone in one fell swoop. But is it a hell of a closer? Yup. Is change happening? It is.

The other night, I listened to Liz Feld, the President of Autism Speaks, speak to a room full of some 220 people. She talked about autistic young people transitioning to adulthood. She talked about transportation and housing and employment. She talked about bullying and respect. She talked about research as an avenue to make life better – to mitigate the challenges of those on the spectrum. She talked about returning money to the communities from which it comes – supporting services for autistic individuals and their families.

Speaking to her at the end of the evening, she said, “See, Jess? I listened.” I told her I’d heard it. That I’d heard my words reflected back to me.

She looked at my friends Judith and Jersey who were standing with us. “She taught me,” she said, “that our words matter.”

I was heartened.

I felt empowered.

I felt like the words, the emotion, the passion of so many who stuck around and continued the conversation mattered.

Liz is listening.

Autism Speaks is listening.

And changing.

And I am so, so grateful.

Because they have a voice. They have a platform. They have political connections and they have resources. And we need them.

In 47 days, this nation will elect or re-elect its next President. We have GOT to part of the conversation. We are too big and our kids are too important to be ignored. We need to – by God we HAVE to – work together to become an unavoidable topic in any political debate. From town councils and school boards across the country to state legislatures and Governor’s offices. From the House of Representatives to Senate to the Oval Office. WE MUST BE PART OF THE DEBATE.

When candidates talk about so-called entitlements, WE must remind them that behind that now dirty word and political hot potato are programs with very real impacts on very real lives. WE must remind them that it’s not just morally imperative but fiscally responsible to ensure accessible employment opportunities, to allow us to save for our own children’s futures, to support education and housing and transportation that will enable them to grow into not just fulfilled human beings but productive members of society.

It is up to our entire community to remind them that individuals with autism matter.

What will YOU do in the next 47 days to make us part of the conversation?


More on becoming engaged in the political process and what I believe we need from our politicians:

My letter to Massachusetts congressional candidate Joe Kennedy

My letter to the President

View the original article here

New TV project uses comedy to help kids on – or near – the autism spectrum

Ever since Christa Dahlstrom’s eight year old son was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, he’s benefited greatly from extra support at school for those things that just don’t come naturally for him, particularly the unspoken rules of social interaction.

One thing that does come naturally for her son is engaging with, acting out and creating stories. “One of his favorite activities is enlisting the whole family to act out scenes from movies and TV shows. He has memorized entire episodes and can recreate them perfectly or combine elements from different stories to create something all his own.”

Dahlstrom, who lives in Oakland, found herself wishing there was a way to incorporate the ideas about perspective taking, give and take in conversations, or managing emotions into the shows her son loved. And she wondered why there wasn’t a television show to help teach social skills, the way other shows helped kids learn to read, or do math or learn about science.

So she decided to make one herself.

Dahlstrom teamed up with Jordan Sadler and Liesl Wenzke Hartmann, experts in social communication with a wealth of experience working with children on these issues. They too had been looking for lively and engaging ways to help families reinforce the learning from therapy sessions and social groups they conducted with kids with social communication challenges.

The result is Flummox and Friends, off-beat, live-action comedy that helps kids navigate the social and emotional world. The Bay Area-based team just released the pilot episode, which was funded in part by a grassroots Kickstarter campaign. I watched the pilot, loved it and enthusiastically recommend it.

The lighter side of social skills

“There are products targeting social emotional teaching on the market,” explains Hartmann, a San Francisco speech and language therapist. “But it’s hard to find something that adults and children can really enjoy together. This show gives families kid-friendly language to demystify and normalize social challenges, showing that everyone is ‘flummoxed’ by social rules at one time or another.”

“I wanted to create a show that really connects with kids’ intelligence and sense of humor,” said Dahlstrom. “I hope families will think of this show first and foremost as a comedy. If kids enjoy the jokes and the characters, they’ll watch it again and again and the educational messages will sink in naturally.”

The program focuses on the adventures of three quirky inventors and their neighbors. The show intersperses musical and animated segments with the live-action storyline.

Families and educators can watch or download the pilot episode for free from the Flummox and Friends website. They can also download companion guides – for families or professionals – that have ideas for ways to integrate ideas from the show into conversations and activities at home and in the classroom.

The Flummox and Friends team hopes the pilot episode will generate sufficient viewership and enthusiasm for investors and broadcasters to take notice. “We want to turn Flummox and Friends into a series, and I think our pilot will show there is a large audience that’s been waiting for this kind of show.”

“We are already getting a lot of effusive feedback from parents and educators – and kids! – through social media.” says Dahlstrom. “One parent wrote to tell us, “I’ve been wishing, hoping, praying for a show like this for my daughter. THANK YOU!”

You can watch the pilot episode of Flummox and Friends and find out more about the show at www.flummoxandfriends.com.

Watch a trailer for the show
More about the show


Do you have questions? Contact me HERE and I will do my very best to help.


Read the first three chapters of my book HERE.

You’ll be hooked.

View the original article here