Tag Archives: Sensory Input

Question?: What Is Autism Spectrum Disorder

Richard asks…

Is being in your own little world a part of autism?

I have autism spectrum disorder or aspergers syndrome and I am in my own little world most of the time. It distracts me form my learning I start thinking about star trek or videogames or something else. I wonder is this a part of AS? Because I can be looking at the teacher and daydreaming at the same time and not get the assignment. Are most kids with aspurgers syndrome in there own little worlds? How can I get out of there?

admin answers:

It’s quite common for people with autism spectrum disorders to be in their own world a lot, but not everyone on the autism spectrum is like that and some people who are not on the spectrum are in their own world too.

I think being in our own world a lot can probably be explained at least partly by our environment not being suitable for us. I have Asperger’s syndrome too and I’m in my own world most of the time and I seem to go there when there is either too little or too much stimuli in my environment. I go to my own world in attempt to regulate the stimuli to make it the way I need it to be.

When I was in school I was bored most of the time, because the things we were studying about were too easy for me, so I kept my mind busy by being in my own world a lot, dealing with something more challenging. When I felt lonely and didn’t really have any friends or family to feel close to, I went to my own world to spend time with imaginary, loving friends. At my current working place there is excessive sensory input and I go to my own world a lot to try to block out some of the sensory input and distractions around me. I don’t go to my own world when I’m in a good, suitable environment with an appropriate amount of challenges and sensory experiences and balanced emotions.

I’ve never really attempted to stop being in my own world, because I don’t consider it much of a problem, but I guess that if i wanted to, I’d try to do it by trying to make my environment more suitable somehow, for example by making sure I have something challenging and interesting to do, but a good sensory and emotional environment to do it in.

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Autism. Did you know?

Autism

Many of us have heard of people who appear to live in their own world, with unusual sensory interests such as sniffing objects or staring intently at moving things. We may be familiar with stories of individuals who are very good at mathematics, such as Einstein, or have other specific heightened abilities. The same people can be extremely sensitive to sensory input, causing them to avoid everyday sounds from hair dryers or other motorized machines, and certain sensations like the texture of sand. They even have intellectual impairments or learning difficulties. The term “autism” is commonly used to describe these people. In fact, Autism Spectrum Disorder includes classic autism, Asperger Syndrome and Pervasive Developmental Disorders. Each person with one of these disorders is unique and needs specific treatment. The common element among these disorders is developmental disabilities that may make these individuals have a strongly reduced capacity for social interaction, emotional reciprocity or communication and display stereotypical behaviour. The effects of an Autism Spectrum Disorder can often be minimised by early diagnosis, and with the right interventions, many children and adults with an ASD show marked improvements. Many children with autism go to school and continue on to university, work and raising a family.

Symptoms ASD

Even though people with ASD differ, they generally share three main difficulties:

1. Severe delay in social interaction, including some of the bellow –

Limited use of non-verbal communication such as eye contact, facial expressions gestures and postures.Difficulties forming and sustaining relationships due to a lack of empathy (understanding and being aware of the feelings of others).Lack of spontaneity and difficulties sharing enjoyment, interest and activities with other people.Difficulties with social and emotional responsiveness; dislike of cuddling or being touched.

2. Severe slowdown in language development and communication that occurs with:

Delayed language developmentDifficulties initiating and sustaining conversationStereotyped and repetitive use of language, i.e., repeating phrases, echolaliaLimited imagination or spontaneity characterized by a lack of make-believe play or role-play

3. Restricted, repetitive and stereotyped interests and activities, such as:

Unusually intense or focused interestsStereotyped and repetitive body movements like hand flapping and spinning obsessionsRepetitive use of objects like flicking a doll’s eyes or lining up toysAdherence to non-functional routines such as insisting on travelling the same route home each day

Diagnosis of Autistic Spectrum Disorders

To diagnose ASDs professionals administer standardised tests or questionnaires and family interviews, normally in early childhood. Families usually visit paediatric physicians when their children are infants for routine examinations. Certain behaviour may prompt doctors to perform examinations for ASDs. The important thing is that professionals work with parents in order to make a correct and timely diagnosis. Professionals should support parents so they do not feel guilty or hopeless. They must also care for the children by providing appropriate treatment to help them improve. People with ASD can have different symptoms and display very different characteristics. Early diagnosis is made by paediatricians who screen children (usually 18 months to 3 years of age), checking their developmental abilities for their age, like eye contact, language skills, gesturing, posturing, and for the presence of ritualistic behaviour/stereotypy, etc.

Autism can exist on its own or in combination with other developmental disorders like mental retardation, learning disabilities, epilepsy, deafness, blindness, etc. Cases range in a continuous spectrum from mild to more severe.

What causes ASD?

Currently, there is no single known cause for ASD, however recent research has identified strong genetic links. Other studies suggest a neurological problem that affects those parts of the brain that process language and sensory information. There may be a specific chemical imbalance of certain substances in the brain. Some genes are suspected to have links to ASD. Autism may in fact result from a combination of various causes.

Did you know…?

Autism is one of the major developmental disorders, occurring 1-2 times in every thousand children born.Autism occurs worldwide in all races, nationalities and social classes. Four out of five people with autism are male.A person with autism feels love, happiness, sadness and pain just like everyone else, but some may not express their feelings in typical ways.With early diagnosis and treatment there are always improvements that can assist individuals with autism in having jobs and families.They may have “special abilities” in music, maths, etc.

Is there any cure?

Early diagnosis that leads to early intervention can help. Every individual with ASD will make progress, although each individual’s progress will be different depending on a number of factors like developmental factors, the child’s present level of functioning and capabilities, and the type of intervention. The aim of treatment is to achieve a good quality of life and to help families identify and participate in treatment programs based on an individual child’s needs. ABA (applied behaviour analysis) and experimental behaviour analysis focus on individualized education programs including teaching social and motor skills, speech, personal care and job skills. Some common characteristics of these interventions are a 1:1 therapist-child ratio, parent counselling and education with home intervention programs, supervised school integration and social inclusion, which are useful in reducing or eliminating maladaptive behaviours. Medication is also helpful in treating some symptoms of autism or other coexistent disorders in some children.

References

American Psychiatric Association. (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (Revised 4th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.

Cohen, D., Donnellan, A., Rhea, P. (1987). In (eds): Handbook of Autism and Pervasive Developmental Disorders. New York, Wiley.

Kaplan, H.I., & Sadock, B.J., Grebb, J.A (1994). In (eds): Kaplan & Sadock’s Synopsis of Psychiatry. 7th ed. Baltimore, MD: Williams & Wilkins, pp 1016-1154.

Rutter, M. Taylor, E., Hersov, L. (1994). Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Blackwell, Scientific Publications (3d ed). Oxford: England.

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Schoolyard Designed For Children With Autism

Main Category: Autism
Also Included In: Pediatrics / Children’s Health
Article Date: 09 May 2012 – 0:00 PDT Current ratings for:
‘Schoolyard Designed For Children With Autism’
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A Kansas State University graduate student is creating a schoolyard that can become a therapeutic landscape for children with autism.

Chelsey King, master’s student in landscape architecture, St. Peters, Mo., is working with Katie Kingery-Page, assistant professor of landscape architecture, to envision a place where elementary school children with autism could feel comfortable and included.

“My main goal was to provide different opportunities for children with autism to be able to interact in their environment without being segregated from the rest of the school,” King said. “I didn’t want that separation to occur.”

The schoolyard can be an inviting place for children with autism, King said, if it provides several aspects: clear boundaries, a variety of activities and activity level spaces, places where the child can go when overstimulated, opportunities for a variety of sensory input without being overwhelming and a variety of ways to foster communication between peers.

“The biggest issue with traditional schoolyards is that they are completely open but also busy and crowded in specific areas,” King said. “This can be too overstimulating for a person with autism.”

King researched ways that she could create an environment where children with autism would be able to interact with their surroundings and their peers, but where they could also get away from overstimulation until they felt more comfortable and could re-enter the activities.

“Through this research, I was able to determine that therapies and activities geared toward sensory stimulation, cognitive development, communication skills, and fine and gross motor skills — which traditionally occur in a classroom setting – could be integrated into the schoolyard,” King said.

King designed her schoolyard with both traditional aspects – such as a central play area – and additional elements that would appeal to children with autism, including: A music garden where children can play with outdoor musical instruments to help with sensory aspects. An edible garden/greenhouse that allows hands-on interaction with nature and opportunities for horticulture therapy. A sensory playground, which uses different panels to help children build tolerances to difference sensory stimulation. A butterfly garden to encourage nature-oriented learning in a quiet place. A variety of alcoves, which provide children with a place to get away when they feel overwhelmed and want to regain control. King created different signs and pictures boards around these schoolyard elements, so that it was easier for children and teachers to communicate about activities. She also designed a series of small hills around the central play areas so that children with autism could have a place to escape and watch the action around them.

“It is important to make the children feel included in the schoolyard without being overwhelmed,” King said. “It helps if they have a place – such as a hill or an alcove – where they can step away from it and then rejoin the activity when they are ready.

King and Kingery-Page see the benefits of this type of schoolyard as an enriching learning environment for all children because it involves building sensory experience and communication.

“Most children spend seven to nine hours per weekday in school settings,” Kingery-Page said. “Designing schoolyards that are educational, richly experiential, with potentially restorative nature contact for children should be a community concern.”

The researchers collaborated with Jessica Wilkinson, a special education teacher who works with children with autism. King designed her schoolyard around Amanda Arnold Elementary School, which is the Manhattan school district’s magnet school for children with autism.

“Although there are no current plans to construct the schoolyard, designing for a real school allowed Chelsey to test principles synthesized from literature against the actual needs of an educational facility,” Kingery-Page said. “Chelsey’s interaction with the school autism coordinator and school principal has grounded her research in the daily challenges of elementary education for students with autism.”

Article adapted by Medical News Today from original press release. Click ‘references’ tab above for source.
Visit our autism section for the latest news on this subject. King presented her research, “Therapeutic schoolyard: Design for autism spectrum disorder,” at the recent K-State Research Forum.
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Children with Asperger Syndrome

When a child in the family is suspected to have an Asperger Syndrome, every family member will experience emotional changes like worry, fear and concern. There are ways to help a child with Asperger Syndrome to cope with their daily life. First, the family must be knowledgeable with the signs and symptoms of Asperger Syndrome. These symptoms are mostly related to problems in socializing, language and communication, motor skills and sensory input and output.

Children with Asperger Syndrome find it difficult socializing with others. They may find it difficult to approach and start a conversation with other children for they do not understand how to interact with others. Usually they wait for other people to approach them. They have trouble in making friends. They fail to understand the feelings and emotions of others. They do not comprehend with group discussion or instructions in game activities. They find it hard to interpret body gesture, body language and facial expressions.

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In problem with communication and language, children may have problems in paying attention on people and topics that he or she does not like. They may not understand the message of the conversation that sometimes leads to misinterpretation and misunderstanding. Children with Aspergers fail to make eye contact when making conversation to others. They may speak in a flat tone or in an emotionless manner. Aspergers children may use words that are inappropriate in a situation and sometimes they create their own choice of words while in a conversation. There are also moments that they use adult words or language that are far advanced based on their age.

Regarding in difficulty with their motor skills, children will have a hard time joining in any sport activities and even imaginary games due to their poor motor skills. They prefer to play alone. They have poor handwriting skills and they cannot learn without using visual aids.

Aspergers children may react to certain smell, taste, sound, and light due to problems in sensory input and output. They do not like foods with distinctive smell, color and taste. They may hate being touched by others. They may use repetitive movement like rocking back and forth or flapping their hands to calm themselves when engaging in a stressful activity.

If a parent suspect their child to have asperger syndrome or notice the asperger symptoms in them, it is better to seek further help from medical professionals. Parents can do research to understand better the condition of their children. With time and patience, parents will able to know some coping strategies that can help their children with Aspergers with their daily life. Don’t lose hope. There are many ways on how to cope with this kind of problem. Just be well guided by our medical professionals and continue to engage in therapies that aids your child to help control the symptoms brought by Asperger Syndrome.

Dr. John E. Neyman, Jr.Christian CounselorDr. John has reared 3 children, Philip, Laura, and Matthew. Dr. John has been teaching families for the last 30 years. He is a family coach that specializes in parenting. Dr. John’s motto is “Empowering parents to transform their homes.” Dr. John was a pastor for 25 years.Dr. John has been serving as a Counselor/therapist for 30 years. He is currently a Behavior Specialist Consultant and Mobile Therapist in Western PA. Dr. John also is the director /Owner of the Renewed Life Counseling Center. Dr. John is a bestselling author entitled Wake up Live the Life You love: Success and Wake up Live the Life You Love: Freedom.Dr. John has developed a strategy that parents are able to use immediately, and effectively. It is entitled Power moments with Your Children. It takes less than 1 minute to put a strategy into place. Dr. John holds degrees from Liberty University and Rochville University.Dr. John has a passion to teach principles that transforms lives. He has spoken to audiences from 4 to 4 thousand. Dr. John’s teachings are practical, pointed, and powerful.
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Autism Behaviour – Autistic Behaviour Management Solutions and Strategies

Autism Behaviour

The comprehended such a kids amid autism do bad details intentionally is a big misconception. Their distinguishable misbehavior such as slapping this peer, running off from a room, declining to take half in a game, or on the rise a excessive place, are usually lead to by external concerns and can be resolved by creative and cooling down parents. Below are tips for parents on how to successfully manage their child’s behavior: Autism Behaviour

1 – Understand your child. A very small number of autistic children manifest undesirable behavior intentionally. The key to learning how to manage your child is knowing them, because every child is unique. What is your child sensitive from? Is it light, or sound? Does your kid need loads of sensory input? More information learned about your child equates to easier troubleshooting. Autism Behaviour

2 – Adjust your expectations. Typically, children are able to sit through dinner for one hour, but this is not a sensible expectation for a lot of kids with autism. Try to begin with smaller goals, like sitting still for four minutes, or eating with the use of a spoon; whatever you believe your kid can handle. As soon as this is accomplished, you can move on to bigger goals like sitting through a full meal. Autism Behaviour

3 – Think of the possible sources of your child’s behavior. A lot of kids with autism deal with sensory input differently. They either over-respond or crave it. Some kids go to alternate between the two. More often than not, undesirable behaviors are a reaction of too little or too much sensory input. Try to observe your child carefully so that you will discover the things that set him off. Autism Behaviour

4 – Make changes to your child’s environment. Safety is vital. It’s true that creating a safe environment for an autistic child poses a challenge. A lot of your child’s behavior is potentially dangerous, so it is wise to always be on the lookout. Better yet, take precautions like placing a dead bolt on the doors and securely latching cabinets. Autism Behaviour

5 – Do away with overwhelming or excessive sensory input. There are various ways on how to alter a situation in case your kid has the tendency to over-react to sensory input. Indeed, the first thing you can do is avoid situations that can overload his senses like parades. If that’s simply impossible, you can make use of ear plugs, or you can bribe him for both of you to get through challenging moments. Autism Behaviour

6 – Give sensory input. If you notice that your child is fond of climbing the couch, or spinning in circles, he is craving for sensory input. You can give that in various ways. A number of parents suggest providing lots of bear hugs, or putting their child in between cushions, or tucking them in quilts. Autism Behaviour

7 – Celebrate your child’s success. Cheer your child on whenever he’s able to finish a sentence, kicks a ball back to you, or agrees to go with a playdate. Autism Behaviour

8 – Look for ways on how to have fun together. It can be hard to relate fun with autism. But think about it. Bouncing together on a trampoline or cuddling with your kid can be fun! Don’t worry overmuch about the therapeutic action of every move, and enjoy being plain silly, enjoy your child. Don’t let your love ones suffer anymore! Lead them out through Autism Behaviour program now!

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Autistic Behavior – Developing an Autism Behavior Plan

Autistic Behavior

Intervention, medical or otherwise, is a the best way of somehow putting a moratorium on the progression of autistic behaviors. One good intervention is the autism behavior initiative or the Behavior Intervention Plan. Autistic Behavior

Definition of Behavior Intervention Plan

The Behavior Intervention Plan or BIP is a written plan that lists down supports and strategies to reinforce positive behaviors while discouraging the recurrence of unwanted behaviors. In many ways, this plan may be associated with behavioral analysis, an area in the field of psychology that experiments on the best ways of modifying behaviors. The tools here typically involve the use of the ABC model which shows the relationship between the antecedent or cause of the behavior, the behavior itself, and the consequence of the behavior. Autistic Behavior

Quite simply, BIP focuses on these three areas to improve the behavior of an autistic individual. It gives more attention, however, on the function of the behavior. According to the principles of functional behavior assessment, all behaviors are purposeful. Although it is clear within autism that some children act spontaneously, many experts believe that these behaviors are not completely devoid of purposes. In one way or another, a behavior serves a purpose for the individual performing it. Autistic Behavior

There are plenty of ways to determine the function of a particular behavior. One of the most effective is the systematic analysis of a certain behavior that provides a prediction of the motivation behind the behavior. There are at least four categories wherein most behaviors fall under namely, escape or avoidance function, gain attention function, gain sensory input function, and gain a tangible item function. Autistic Behavior

Special attention should be given in understanding the function of a problem behavior and the indicators for each function since an autism behavior plan is partially established on these functions. Below are some of the widely accepted indicators of each function: Escape or avoidance function Misbehaviors typically occur when a task or a new activity is presented. This will continue until the activity has begun. Autistic Behavior

At this point, misbehavior will progress until the autistic individual is allowed to discontinue doing an activity or when he is allowed to leave. Gain attention function Before or after performing a specific behavior, the patient would try to gain the caregiver’s attention by smiling at him or by performing gestures. Don’t let your love ones suffer anymore! Lead them out through Autistic Behavior program now!

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Do You Think Your Child May Have Aspergers?

Lots of people have Aspergers syndrome, which is a type of autism that is relatively mild, and many children begin showing symptoms at an early age. Some of the common symptoms of Aspergers can also be present with other disorders, so if you suspect your child has Aspergers syndrome, you should have him or her tested by a child psychologist or other professional. The following are some common Aspergers symptoms you should be aware of.

While kids afflicted with Aspergers syndrome probably have tight relationships with family members, they typically have very few if any friends close to their age. There is a plethora of reasons for this, however a high amount of it is linked to their incapacity to communicate in a way that other people this is regular. A child with Aspergers will seem very shy, aloof or strange to other kids. Communication can also be challenging, as children who are afflicted with Aspergers will at times say things that are improper or maybe shout for no clear reason. From this motive, these kids are habitually broken up and placed in special education classes or in some situations even home schooled, despite them being typically intellectual or even above average. The complexity with socializing is a key syndrome of Aspergers. A symptom of aspergers to keep in mind is sensory input sensitivities such as to light or sound. They may want to avoid bright lights or loud sounds, as well as certain smells or foods. You may find them refusing to eat certain textures or smells. Where many kids won’t react to sounds shapes or odors in their environment a child with aspergers probably will. Especially because the behavior or reaction may be unpredictable it’s important for parents and teachers to learn the triggers. In most cases this can be changed by certain treatments.

Aspergers may also cause kids to have difficult concentrating in school, even if their intelligence is high. These children may have one or more intense interests, and will find it easy to focus on these, but they may have a hard time concentrating on other subjects. Many kids will do better in a subject they like than one they don’t, but the child with Aspergers may do very well in one subject and make no effort at all in another. Children with this condition may get A’s in one subject and F’s in others. Sometimes the child’s teacher may notice that he or she doesn’t follow instructions, even simple ones. This is one symptom of Aspergers, but of course there can be many other reasons children have difficulty with certain subjects in school. The more you are knowledgeable of Aspergers syndrome, the more you’ll be able to collaborate with kids in your life who have this disorder. In this day and age, it’s turning out to be easier to notice and minister to those children and they can more easily lead rather customary lifestyle. If you are guessing that your child is showing signs of Aspergers, the imperative thing is to find out how to communicate effectively with them, so don’t dawdle in looking for the help you might need.
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Stop The Explosion: Handling The Meltdown Of A Child With Aspergers

It is a well-known fact that children with Asperger’s syndrome have the occasional meltdown.  It is normally triggered by things that might bewilder the normal mind but makes perfect sense to the child with aspergers.  Meltdowns aren’t planned, but when they happen everyone that is involved with calming down the kid feels the pain of the meltdown in their own way.  When a meltdown starts the first thing you must do is make sure that everyone around the kid with aspergers as well as the kid remains safe until the end.

Professionals who have studied the meltdowns of children with aspergers have defined four distinct stages that happen which are usually followed by a recovery period.  Stage one is the ‘starting out’ stage, where you as a parent will start to hear whispers of a meltdown coming on.  

Stage two is the ‘picking up steam’ stage, where it starts to become evident that a meltdown is about to occur.  Stage 3 is the ‘point of no return’ stage, where the child’s flight reaction kicks in.  Its usually here which reasoning will become impossible with the kid and you have to let nature takes its course.  Stage four is the ‘explosion’ stage and the child is in full meltdown.
To help stop meltdowns in children with Asperger’s before it takes place, you can put your child on a sensory diet.  

This diet will help prevent the very first stage of a child’s meltdown from even starting, thereby preventing the meltdown.  You can start out by employing a sensory integration session with your kid each day, getting ideas on how to regulate your child’s sensory input from his or her doctor, school counselor, or special education teacher.  When used proactively this is a good, solid start in preventing a meltdown.

The next thing you need to work with your kid with aspergers on is visual supports.  By giving them images to aid them understand cause and effect, you can aid make sensory transitions smoother and keep triggers at bay.  Visual supports utilized on a regular schedule with sensory integration will aid your child remain in control.  They should be used before the triggers are released in your kid and the meltdown starts.

The last thing which you would have to do is aid your child with aspergers to manage their emotions.  Since we do not understand what triggers a meltdown, you need to sit and talk with your child about how they feel when the meltdown commences and what they were thinking about.  It takes time to aid a kid with aspergers learn to deal with emotions that are too big for them, but it can be done.

Children with aspergers and their families do not have to meltdown any longer. With proactive work on sensory integration, visual supports and emotion management, your kid with aspergers could stop numerous meltdowns. Access the best Asperger syndrome community to assist with your parenting by going to http://www.parentingaspergerscommunity.com
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How To Identify The Symptoms of Asperger’s Syndrome in Children

If you’re trying to identify if your child has Asperger’s Syndrome, then there are a few things that you should know about. Probably the most important step in treating an Asperger child is recognizing the symptoms. Although it has become quite common these days, even doctors aren’t quite sure what causes it. The symptoms in this article are some of the more common ones you need to watch out for.

While kids afflicted with Asperger’s syndrome probably have tight relationships with family members, they typically have very few if any friends close to their age. There are several reasons for this, although a great deal of it is associated with their failure to communicate in a method that is thought to be customary by other people. A child with Asperger’s will seem very shy, aloof or strange to other kids. Communication can also be challenging, as children who are afflicted with Asperger’s will at times say things that are improper; some will even shout for no clear reason. Because of this, these kids tend to be split up and placed in special education courses or get home schooled, despite the fact they might be intellectually normal or even beyond average. This snag with socializing is a key symptom of Asperger’s.

Another Asperger symptom is being unusually sensitive to light, sound or other sensory input. They may have an aversion to light, sound, smells, or some foods. Certain smells and textures might trigger a strong refusal from them. Unlike a normal child, an Asperger child may react negatively to his or her environment. Due to the fact that the behavior or reaction may be unpredictable, it’s important for parents and teachers to learn the triggers. In some cases, this can be modified by certain treatments.

Parents may notice at a young age that their child doesn’t like to be touched, which is a symptom of Asperger’s. For most parents, especially those unfamiliar with the symptoms of Asperger’s, this can be quite upsetting. The dislike of being touched is typical of all forms of autism, so while Asperger’s is a high functioning type of autism, children may still have difficulty with typical human touch. However, this is not the case in all children with Asperger’s who in some cases may touch people in ways that appear strange. They may also have an unusual sense of personal space, either standing very close or further away from others than is normal. Because the symptoms of Asperger’s can vary quite a bit from one child to the next, it is important to consider each case individually.

Now that you’re more aware of the intricacies of Asperger’s Syndrome, you’ll be better prepared in determining whether or not your child has this syndrome. Even professionals who are experienced at recognizing the symptoms of Asperger’s have to look at a child thoroughly before knowing for sure if this is their problem. However, the symptoms we’ve discussed above may indicate a child has this syndrome, so they should always be checked out.

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Shopping With an Autistic Child

Shopping is an essential part of our every day lives, we need to shop. However even a normal task like shopping can become a nightmare for an autistic child.

 

Autistic children have difficulties processing the different sensations we all experience in the environment on a daily basis. This is mainly because children on the spectrum can either be hyposensitive (under sensitive) to sensory input in the environment, or hypersensitive (over sensitive) to sensory input in the environment.

 

Autistic children may have difficulties blocking out what other people may be able to ignore as background noise, for example a low drone of chatter, the ring of a till, an escalator, the noise of a shopping trolley, the list goes on, all meaningless noises we can filter out and ignore.

 

For an autistic child these noises are all equal, they can not shut them off and ignore them in the same way we do. They will be aware of each noise, and added to these noises will be the sudden noise; for example an announcement over the tannoy, or a child scream out someone dropping something, again the list goes on.

 

There are not only the noises to consider when shopping with your autistic child. There are also smells; all smells we again ignore, some ones perfume the odour from different foods, like fish or meat a perfume counter. You may find that certain areas of the shop can cause the child to become upset and it could be a certain scent is causing distress. They may find it difficult to distinguish between different smells and be overwhelmed.

 

The fluorescent lights in the shop may hurt their eyes, there may be a lot of differing displays, light settings, and the whole visual effect of the shop may be confusing to them.

 

Sometimes autistic children can be affected by the feel or touch of different fabrics, trying on new clothes or shoes can sometimes cause pain and distress, coupled with the noise and light sensations this whole experience can cause an autistic child a lot of upset.

 

So how as a parent can you help your autistic child cope with these things? One suggestion is the introduction of social stories.

 

Social stories can be used as a tool for helping your autistic child understand and deal with all these sensations. Helping them to understand what is going on in the shop, what they can expect and what others will be expecting of them.

A good social story can help you turn what potentially can be a nightmare shopping trip into a bearable experience.

 

Autism social stories to help with shopping trips as well as other activities can be downloaded at www.autismsocialstories.com

My name is Janine and I am an autistic adviser, I have been writing social skill stories now for over five years to help parents, carers and teachers cope with managing autistic behaviors.
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