Tag Archives: Peers

Question?: Autism Signs In Children

John asks…

What age did your child put together jigsaw puzzles?

My son is 4 and loves to put together 150-200 piece puzzles. He will sit for hours on end and focus only on his puzzle. He was treated for speech problems at age 2-3. Is this normal for a four year old to concentrate so long? Do you think he is on the autism spectrum? Thanks.

admin answers:

This one sign alone would not cause me to think he might be on the spectrum, although it is very unusual for a 4 year old to be interested in 200 pc puzzles for hours without wanting help/getting frustrated. I have an almost 5 year old who happens to be ahead of her peers intellectually, but she would NEVER spend hours on one puzzle. However, her sister who is 2 years younger and not nearly as ahead at this age, is MUCH better at puzzles than she is!

Have you googled it and looked for other signs of autism or autism spectrum disorder? I understand your concern, but he could just be a very cognitive little boy! Apparently, my brother was playing chess with my dad by age 5 and was very good at it! He’s not at all autistic, just very, very intelligent and very in to “mind” games (AKA the intellectual type). Maybe you just have a little “genius” on your hands!

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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?: Rett Syndrome Causes

James asks…

Does PDD-NOS gradually disappear as they get older?

I’ve heard from several sources that unlike other branches of autism like Aspergers, PDD-NOS can be outgrown or disappears in adult life. Can I get some input from some mental health professionals with experience with people with it? My 4 year old daughter was just diagnosed with it and she loves trains and spends most if not all of her alone time jumping and flapping her arms in a corner and talking to herself under her breath. I love her to bits. I’m just wondering if it will stay with her as she grows up. Any help will be strongly appreciated.

admin answers:

Jessica,

First, big hug, a diagnosis at any time can be very stressful with so many unknowns and so many questions that can’t be answered.

Every child is different, and sadly there isn’t a crystal ball that will tell us where your daughter will be five, ten or twenty years from now.

She may be independent when she’s older, she may not, your role will be to reach for the stars, to provide what she’ll need to be successful, to ensure she reaches her highest potential and accept that no matter what it may be.

You may wish to seek out various therapies such as speech/language, sensory, diets, etc. If you plan to try a biomedical approach my only recommendation would be that you rule out genetic conditions that may be the root cause, such a angelman, rett or fragile X syndrome as those therapies will not correct the genetic problem. A trip to a genetic counselor could be a wise decision before spending thousands of dollars on therapies that may not help.

Think about what you think her education should look like, will she have the opportunity to model positive behaviors, will she be with peers who will aide in her learning?

As for sources you may have heard from, it’s important when viewing the sources to determine if the site/source is credible, reliable, this website might help:
www.trustortrash.org

Warmest regards, and best wishes on your journey.

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Question?: Asperger Syndrome

Helen asks…

Parents who have a child with Asperger syndrome, how do they get along with peers?

I am a college student.
I am doing a study on Asperger syndrome and high functioning autism and peer acceptance.
I also have a 16 year old son who has Asperger syndrome.
Any help in this matter would be greatly apprectiated.

admin answers:

Lifeline you are wrong.

My brother is 14 and has aspbergers. Sure, he is a little awkward sometimes, but not much more than any teenager. He had issues when he was younger mostly dealing with anxiety, but he has gotten better with age and therapy. He is on medication, but he is on less as he ages. Children with aspbergers do usually have “sensitive” stomachs and may have allergies or intolerances. But aspbergers is a type of high functioning autism and will not affect a person’s life negatively if the right steps are taken-my litle brother is proof!

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Question?: Adhd Symptoms In Adults

George asks…

Is medication necessary for adults who are diagnosed with high functioning autism?

In a world where everyone is diagnosed with something, unfortunately I have been labed Bipolar and ADHD as an adult, even though the symptoms did not quite fit. Upon starting college, behaviors and ways of learning seemed to give way to a new diagnosis (which replaced the others). Is this something that can be harnessed to be a positive force in one’s life, or is medication pushed on people who are diagnosed with this form of autism? If so, why?

admin answers:

My son has been diagnosed with ADHD & I have a 10 yr old grandson that has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome. When I was young I was just considered a very shy & quite kid. Now in my mid 70’s my daughter is convinced the Asperger’s Syndrome was inherited from me. Medication for ADHD did help my son learn better & make better grades in school, but no medication exists for Asperger’s. I’ve had a wonderful life to date & find nothing wrong with my dislike of meaningless conversation with people I have nothing in common with.
This “one size fits all” mentality & a desire for sameness appears to be a product of a society wishing to label & categorize each & every person. My grandson has an IQ of 165 & is typically at the top of his class in any subject, but has no friends among his peers… Therefore they see this as abnormal, while I view it as normal. My wife & I both have IQs above 140.

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Question?: Rett Syndrome Video

Mary asks…

When sharing about Autism, what are the main points I should cover?

I just want to educate my peers without going too in depth to the point that they are bored and tune me out and subsequently don’t learn about the topic. If you have any experience or resources it would be greatly appreciated. Perhaps you know of someone that has autism and you are familiar with their struggles and know what common misconceptions are involving autism. And if you have any questions about autism, what are they? If there is anything you would like to know about the disease what would that be?

Thank you in advance for your input!!! It is greatly appreciated.

admin answers:

My son has an Autism Spectrum Disorder.

The biggest struggles we face: Others lack of understanding when he misbehaves in public, having to fight for every acommodation he has in school and every service we’ve gotten for him.

Common misconceptions: That children with Autism are not disciplined properly. I have had people tell me that if I would take him off all his meds and give him a firm spanking he would be okay. They don’t realize that would most likely make him worse.

Good topics about Autism you might want to cover:
***The 5 diagnoses under the Autism Spectrum “Umbrella” including PDD-NOS, Asperger’s, Rett’s Syndrome, Childhood Disintegrative Disorder, and Autism. You could go into the differences and similarities.
***The new DSM-V is coming out in a few years, but is being drafted. They are proposing changes including lumping all the ASD’s together into one diagnoses. There are conflicting views on this which might be interesting to read about.
***The treatments for Autism including medications and therapy.
***How Autism is diagnosed
***The theories on what causes Autism. There are theories that it is caused by vacinations. Currently there are several studies going on around the USA about the genetic component that may exist. Some say environmental concerns cause Autism. There are many theories, but nothing proven.

I made some videos on Youtube about my son with Autism your class might find interesting:


Hope this information helps. Here are a couple of my favorite Autism videos which are NOT by me:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hHW0lxICADs

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Dear Joe

*

Dear Joe Scarborough,

Autism is not dangerous.

THIS, however, is.

Ignorance is dangerous.

Television newscasters diagnosing people they’ve never met is dangerous.

A father of a child with Asperger’s who would jump to the conclusion that (an obviously gravely disturbed) mass murderer is autistic is not only dangerous, but appalling.

Assuming that a young man whom you have never met (whom you presume to be autistic because he’s been described by other people who also have never met him as a loner) would become murderous because he doesn’t have (your definition of) a “loving family to support him” is dangerous.

Lack of support, understanding and compassion for autistic people – all of which are eclipsed in a heartbeat by the kind of fear that you have just recklessly promoted – is dangerous.

Autistic people are not any more nor any less dangerous than their neurotypical peers.

Jumping to conclusions which insinuate that they are can be lethal.

Autism is not dangerous. But words can be. Please, Joe, think before you speak.

Jess Wilson

~

– May the families of the victims of this horrific crime somehow find peace in the days and weeks ahead. My prayers are with them. –

P.S. I’d urge you, and anyone else reading along here to read the following posts. They are vital to understanding why this matters so much. Thank you.

Dangers of Misrepresentation

All I Want to do is Weep

The Unknown Why in the Aurora Killings

Autistic Journalist Demands Joe Scarborough Retract Comments Linking Autism to Aurora Shooting

~

If you are looking for a way to take action, Rachel Cohen-Rottenberg has started a petition urging Joe Scarborough to retract his statements. Please click HERE to sign the petition.

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How to Bully Proof Your Child With Autism

Does your child have a bully problem? If not, consider yourself lucky that you don’t have a bully to deal with right now but would you and your child be prepared if one should arrive on his or her doorstep tomorrow?

Bullying is difficult for anyone to deal with, regardless of age. All children are targets for bullying but a child on the autism spectrum is especially vulnerable. Due to the fact that the social part of their brain is wired differently, this type of behavior can be very complicated for a child with Autism to understand and deal with. Therefore, they desperately need our guidance in learning how to label bullying behavior and practice in ways to manage it.

Teaching a child with Autism to cope with bullying behavior is imperative in today’s world. Bullies like to target peers that they consider to be weak or passive. Weakness may be determined by physical size but can also be interpreted as someone who is sensitive by nature, has a quiet personality, or seems needy or isolated. Bullies also enjoy taunting a peer who is easily provoked to tears or triggered into a meltdown.

A bully and his or her target are often lacking in social skills but in different ways. Bullies typically know the basics of social skills but for various reasons choose to ignore them and utilize power and force to develop relationships instead. On the other hand, a child with Autism will use appropriate social skills if taught – it’s not that they are intentionally awkward in a social situation or don’t want to make friends – they just don’t know how in many cases.

How do you prepare your child for the negative social interactions she or he may have to deal with?

Studies show that helping your child develop a sense of self-confidence and a mindfulness of body language can help reduce their possibility of being targeted by a bully. You may be doing a lot already to prepare your child for a possible encounter with a bully without knowing it. I invite you to review the following strategies and see if there are any new ideas you can incorporate into your teaching role as parent.

– Help your child be social: Social skills training and teaching your child how to think socially is imperative. Whatever social skills your child is able to acquire will be helpful. At a minimum, knowing what a healthy friendly relationship is like will be a positive asset to many situations. If a child has an accurate sense of what constitutes a friendship he or she will be able to identify and see bullying for what it is right from the start. The sooner one spots a bully the easier it is to deal with.

– Teach assertiveness: Learning how to be appropriately assertive rather than aggressive or passive is one of the best gifts we can give our children. Bullies are counting on their targets to be passive and will not spend time grooming a child who is likely to speak up for her or himself. Teaching your child the word no and how to say it in various forms and ways is crucial. The non-verbal language for assertiveness is just as important and it involves standing straight, using a firm voice and looking someone in the eye – all of which send powerful messages to bullies.

It is a well-known fact that some children with Autism do not like to make eye contact. Try challenging them to determine the ‘color’ of a person’s eyes when talking to them. This a simple distraction technique for an uncomfortable task that will make them appear confident and self-assured.

– Build confidence: Give specific praise each time your autistic child makes an effort to try a new task. “You climbed the ladder by looking at where to put your feet. That’s the safest way to do it!” This gives your child a detailed picture of what she did which makes it easy to replicate for continued success. Hearing that she is climbing the ladder safely and correctly provides her with a feeling of accomplishment that can carry over into other areas.

– Encourage independence: Children who appear capable are less likely to be targeted by individuals who bully others. Bullies actively search for those who are vulnerable, those who seem helpless. Helping our children become as independent as possible is important and we need to be mindful of the tendency to do too much for our children with special needs because it can lead to learned helplessness. Don’t ever hesitate to help your child learn and master a new task if you think they are ready. The feeling of “I can do it” is powerful and will serve as one more layer of protection from the taunts of a bully.

– Address fears: All children have fears that are caused by a number of different sources. Learning to identify and express their fears is crucial to children’s emotional well-being. It is important to give your child language for his fears and various ways to express them such as speaking, signing, drawing, writing or acting them out depending on their abilities. If your child is being bullied you want to make sure he will have the language and the avenue to tell you what is happening in a safe environment.

– Preparation and practice: Whenever time allows, helping your child prepare for new situations will boost their confidence for the real event. New experiences are often difficult for many children with Autism to approach because of their reliance on routine and resistance to change. The first day at preschool or the transition to a new school, can be a worrisome affair to many young children. Because we often fear what is unknown, the more information and practice opportunities we can present to a child, the better the chances will be for success.

Find a social skills curriculum or a book about bullying that will help you and your child practice what to do in the presence of a bully. Bullies are a Pain in the Brain by Trevor Romain takes a humorous approach to bully-proofing yourself and uses lots of pictures which appeal to visual learners.

Also, remember to take the time to discuss bystander behavior with all of your children. One of the most effective interventions for bullying behavior is the response from those who are witnessing it. Bullies often rely on bystanders to help intimidate their target but it can be just as powerful, and often ends the bullying, when a bystander or two supports the child who is being picked on.

Connie Hammer, MSW, parent educator, consultant and coach, guides parents of young children recently diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder to uncover abilities and change possibilities. Visit her website http://www.parentcoachingforautism.com/ to get your FREE resources – a parenting e-course, Parenting a Child with Autism – 3 Secrets to Thrive and a weekly parenting tip newsletter, The Spectrum.

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How to Flirt and Get a Date! – Autism Talk TV 20

How to Flirt and Get a Date! – Autism Talk TV 20
Posted on Tuesday, June 26 @ 02:48:01 EDT by WrongPlanet Audio Alex Plank FlirtsIn this episode of Autism Talk TV, I discuss flirting and dating with Dr. Liz Laugeson from UCLA’s PEERS Program. This is the first episode of our social skills series we filmed at The Help Group. And the best part about this episode is that I demonstrate asking out a REAL girl!

Liz first walks me through the process of flirting which involves making eye contact, smiling, and then looking away right when the other person smiles and notices you.

Next we go over asking a girl or guy out on a date which involves finding a common interest and suggesting something that relates to that common interest. There’s more to it but you’ll have to watch to find out all the tips and tricks relating to body language, eye-contact, and what to say!

Watch the episode to learn about flirting and dating!


UCLA’s PEERS Program is located in Los Angeles, CA
               
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Ak! I’ve apparently been unintentionally flirting with loads of people over the course of my life! How are you supposed to not flirt, then?! If someone looks at me and smiles, how am I supposed to not smile and look away out of nervousness or not wanting to stare? I need more information!!!
Re: How to Flirt and Get a Date! – Autism Talk TV 20 (Score: 1)
by MakaylaTheAspie Tuesday, June 26 @ 13:38:07 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Oh… that looks a little awkward to me. At least it can be done!
Re: How to Flirt and Get a Date! – Autism Talk TV 20 (Score: 1)
by Washi Tuesday, June 26 @ 13:57:50 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) What, you mean you’re not supposed to wait for the co-worker you’ve had a crush on for the last year to put in his two weeks notice and casually ask for his email on his last day of work and tell him how you feel inviting him to ask you out in an email because you figure if the feeling isn’t mutual you never have to see him again? And then be mortified when he decides he’s keeping his job after all and shows up for work the next day but he hasn’t checked his email yet? Oh well, that way wound up working for me anyway.
Re: How to Flirt and Get a Date! – Autism Talk TV 20 (Score: 1)
by momsparky Tuesday, June 26 @ 18:22:50 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) This is great stuff – keep it up, please!
Re: How to Flirt and Get a Date! – Autism Talk TV 20 (Score: 1)
by AScomposer13413 Tuesday, June 26 @ 22:05:39 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) While I do love how concise the video is and love that there’s a visual example to follow along with, there’s one thing it overlooked (unless you’re planning to cover it in another video) – that scenario isn’t always going to be the standard when it comes to flirting. The only reason why I knew personally it was happening was because it was explicitly stated. When you’re acting on it in the moment, there are LOTS of shades of grey, especially when you’re trying to flirt with someone you just met. I’d suggest covering it in a later video, if you can.
Re: How to Flirt and Get a Date! – Autism Talk TV 20 (Score: 1)
by Ai_Ling Wednesday, June 27 @ 00:34:18 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) The thing I dont like is that, it seems awkward to ask someone you just met randomly on a date. If a guy that I know nothing about starts hitting on me, its creepy most of the time. I would prefer to get to know them in a more non-pressure way. Being female, the way the girl subtly demonstrates interest took me “years” to figure out.

Re: How to Flirt and Get a Date! – Autism Talk TV 20 (Score: 1)
by LadySera Wednesday, June 27 @ 12:41:18 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) I’ll watch one of these when it addresses how a girl is supposed to flirt back & act uninterested (when she actually is interested) because that’s something I’ve never mastered. I’m not settling for someone I’m not at all attracted to. Those are the only times guys think I’m flirting. “You’re playing hard to get”. No, I’m playing no get cuz you’re 20 years older than me and have 5 baby mamas. I’m sure if I were a male aspie (I’m fairly attractive, as was my father who I now believe is an aspie & he did just fine in that department) I could pick someone up way easier. I know it’s that same argument that happens on here all of the time. Believe me I grew up on YM & Cosmo & then read every dating book in the library, some of us are just hopeless.
Re: How to Flirt and Get a Date! – Autism Talk TV 20 (Score: 1)
by StuckWithin Wednesday, June 27 @ 22:39:17 EDT
(User Info | Send a Message) Interesting, but even recognizing these signs doesn’t preclude reading a person’s intentions correctly if they choose to be insincere or to give a certain impression but not really mean it. That’s where one can get into some really vague situations. As always, follow your heart – but listen to your gut 🙂

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Autism In Teens – Teaching Social Skills Pays Off

Editor’s Choice
Main Category: Autism
Also Included In: Psychology / Psychiatry;  Pediatrics / Children’s Health
Article Date: 19 Jun 2012 – 11:00 PDT Current ratings for:
‘Autism In Teens – Teaching Social Skills Pays Off’
not yet rated4 stars
In 2006, the UCLA Program for the Education and Enrichment of Relational Skills (PEERS) clinic was established in order to help high functioning adolescents with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) improve their social skills to fit in better with their peers at school.

High functioning adolescents with ASD are considered healthy enough to be “mainstreamed” in school.

Although PEERS was shown to be effective in earlier studies, researchers were still unsure as to whether the new skills “stuck” with these adolescents after they completed the PEERS classes.

Now, results from a long-term follow-up study show that these teens maintained the skills taught, and in some cases even improved. The study is published in the current edition of the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders.

Approximately 1 in 88 children born in the United States has some form of ASD.

The disorder is characterized by impairments in communication and socialization.

Elizabeth Laugeson, director of the PEERS Clinic and a UCLA assistant clinical professor of psychiatry, and colleagues found that the PEERS intervention resulted in considerable improvements in social skills among the teens.

In addition, reports from parents indicated that by the end of class and even at 14-week follow-up, adolescents’ ASD symptoms associated to social responsiveness significantly decreased. The researchers also found that the teens’ knowledge of social skills improved and they spent more time together with their peers.

Although the teachers did not know the adolescents who took part in the PEERS class, their ratings of the teens social functioning in class showed significant improvements at the long-term follow-up.

Furthermore, 14 weeks after the program was over, both teachers and parents reported fewer behavioral problems with the teens.

Laugeson, who also directs The Help Ground-UCLA Autism Research Alliance, explained:

“Teens not only showed better social competence and greater understanding of social skills, but they were having more frequent get-togethers with their peers because they had developed the critical skills needed to make and keep friends.”

Although earlier studies have shown that intervention during childhood and adolescence is vital, only a few evidence-based interventions focus on enhancing the social competence of adolescents with ASD, which makes findings from this study unique and important.

Laugeson said:

“This is exciting news. It shows that teens with autism can learn social skills and that the tools stick even after the program is over, improving their quality of life and helping them to develop meaningful relationships and to feel more comfortable within their social world. The fact that these social skills are sticking is critical, because we need them to thrive throughout our lives.”

According to Laugeson, the parents played a significant role in the effectiveness of the program. The PEERS classes, which focus on educating the teens about the rules of social etiquette, require parents to take part as well.

Parents were informed in separate meetings on how to be social coaches for their teens in the real world, for instance, how to avoid bullying or deflect taunts (“Yeah, whatever”), how to have a conversation (by trading information), and how to show good sportsmanship (“Hey, nice shot!”).

The 90 minute classes were held once a week for 14 weeks. During the class participants were given: role-playing demonstrationsbrief didactic instructionin-class coaching with performance feedbackbehavioral rehearsal exercisesIn addition, they were given weekly “homework” assignments, supervised by parents, such as inviting a friend over to their house for a get-together.

Laugeson concluded:

“The class is very structured, and the skills are broken down into small rules and steps of social etiquette that give the teens specific actions they can take in response to a social situation. This method of instruction is very appealing to teens with autism because they tend to think concretely and literally and often learn by rote.

Furthermore, the program teaches skills used by socially accepted teens – not what adults believe adolescents show do. For instance, if adolescents with ASD are teased, most adults will tell teens to ignore the person, walk away or tell an adult.

But when you ask teens if this works, they say no. So we want to teach our teens to do what kids that are socially accepted are naturally doing. In this case, that would be to give a short comeback that shows what the person said didn’t bother them – like saying ‘whatever’ or ‘yeah, and?’ They learn not to take the bait.”

Written By Grace Rattue
Copyright: Medical News Today
Not to be reproduced without permission of Medical News Today

Visit our autism section for the latest news on this subject. “Evidence-Based Social Skills Training for Adolescents with Autism Spectrum Disorders: The UCLA PEERS Program”
Elizabeth A. Laugeson, Fred Frankel, Alexander Gantman, Ashley R. Dillon and Catherine Mogil
Journal of Austism and Developmental Disorders, June 2012, doi: 10.1007/s10803-011-1339-1 Please use one of the following formats to cite this article in your essay, paper or report:

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Grace Rattue. “Autism In Teens – Teaching Social Skills Pays Off.” Medical News Today. MediLexicon, Intl., 19 Jun. 2012. Web.
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