Tag Archives: Young Adult

Question?: Autism Symptoms In Teenagers

Sharon asks…

Without them telling you can can you tell if a teenager/young adult suffers from the following conditions?

1. Autism
2. ADHD
3. Dyslexia
4. Anorexa

You dont have to pick all 4 conditions if you dont want 2. If you just want to pick 1 or 2 then thats fine 🙂

admin answers:

1.sometimes i can tell it really depends on how severe it is. But most of the time i can suspect but i couldnt actally know without meeting them and iinteracting with them and stuff

2 no because symptoms of adhd can all be signs of other things as well. For example some of the signs like inatentiveness and zoning out could actually be explained by a diagnoses of one of the autistic spectrum disorder’s ( autism, asperger’s, ect.) they can also be signs someone just is tired or bored and stuff

3. No how do you know its not some other larning disability or even not an ld at all but alanguage barrier.

4. No you cant tell by just looking

Powered by Yahoo! Answers

Question?: Adhd In Adults

George asks…

How does a Doctor test for ADHD on adults?

I was tested for it when I was 6. I was put on Adderal (Sp?) up until 4th grade. Im 18 now and about to go to college I want to get put back on medicine for ADHD.

How does a dr really test for ADHD in a young adult?

admin answers:

You would detail your symptoms, state your wishes, and get your diagnosis and Rx. You can get special help up until age 22. So that includes college if in the US if there is an IEP, and the school has staff to assist you. You can get modifications in your tests. These are entitlements under IDEA.

Powered by Yahoo! Answers

How to Teach Your Child With Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome to Understand the Feelings of Others

Do you know a child or adult with autism or Asperger’s syndrome who seems to be blind to the feelings of others? Do you ever ask yourself…

How do I get him to see that the world doesn’t revolve around him?How do I teach my child with autism to understand that others have feelings and needs too?How can I get him to help out around here without constantly nagging him?

Ultimately, this is a problem of lack of empathy. Your loved one on the autism spectrum simply does not understand others’ feelings or how to empathize with others.

Tips to Help a Child or Adult with Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome Develop Empathy

To try to help you understand how you can help your child with autism or Asperger’s syndrome to understand and feel the emotions of others, I have asked a young adult with Asperger’s syndrome to share her live experiences with us. Hearing the words and experiences of a young woman with Asperger’s syndrome hopefully will give you insights into how people on the autism spectrum think and how their brain works.

With these insights you will be able to help teach your loved one to better understand others.

This is part of a series of “Friendship Academy” newsletters written by a young adult with Asperger’s.
Young Adults with Asperger’s Syndrome Accommodate Each Others’ Needs

Last night, I found myself going to a play with some friends (who also have Asperger’s syndrome), most of whom I had known for many years. We did the things for each other that most people who had known each other for many years would — mainly, we accepted and worked around each others’ quirks. We knew each other well enough to know how to do this.

One of our friends with Asperger’s syndrome has a challenge with traffic. Another has time issues etc. We accommodated one friend’s need to avoid traffic in driving to the play, made sure to give extra explanation of what we were doing to a second friend, and made sure to leave on time for a third friend who hates being late.

I was allowed to choose our seats, because I can be pretty particular about where I’m sitting.

Accommodating the Needs of Others is a Skill that Those with Asperger’s Syndrome Have to Learn

This may seem pretty commonplace to you, but it’s actually a skill that takes a while to grow in most people with Asperger’s syndrome — considering the needs of others, and making a sacrifice, however small, in your own comfort to accommodate them.

More and more I have been considering the matter of empathy in people with autism and Asperger’s syndrome. I am sure many of you parents have been considering it too. “How do I get my child with autism to consider the needs of others?” you may think. “How do I get my child with autism to see that the world doesn’t revolve around him?” “How can I get my child with autism to help out around here without constantly nagging him?”

What Affects A Person’s Ability for Empathy – Whether or Not they have Autism?

A big part of being able to empathize with others depends on a person’s age and emotional readiness. Theory of mind, the theory that others have thoughts and needs other than yours, takes a while to develop. In people with autism or Asperger’s syndrome in can take longer yet, as we are talking about a development delay here.

Sensory Overwhelm in Children with Autism

One reason that children with autism often do not empathize with others is sensory overwhelm — when the world is so overwhelming to you on a daily basis, it’s really hard to think about others. A person with Asperger’s syndrome may feel that they can just barely keeping your head above water. But we find that even children with autism and Asperger’s syndrome, when they get old enough and learn better coping strategies, they eventually have more energy to expend on others–and begin to appreciate the feelings of others.

But part of it is experience. I’ve come to believe that since kids with autism and Asperger’s syndrome don’t have the same social experiences as others. Therefore, it can be really hard for these children with autism to relate in what would be called a normal way to “common” experiences that others have.

As one young adult with Asperger’s syndrome I know puts it, “I have great theory of mind with other Aspies. I can read them just fine. It is typical people I have trouble with!”

Children with Autism Don’t Learn In Early Childhood How to Relate to Others

Think about the childhood of a typical child. Lots of rough and tumble games, competitive sports, team building activities, slumber parties — endless opportunities for the neurons in the brain to make connections of “This is how it’s done, this is what other people are like.”

If I poke my friend Jimmy, he’ll say Ow. If I share my candy bar with Jimmy, he’ll smile at me. If we both score the winning goal on a soccer team, I feel good about him and he feels good about me — a sense of connection. These basic connections are the building blocks for a sense of belonging, for self-confidence, and for being able to relate to others and understand their needs. But this is often not the case for children with autism.

Children with Autism May Never Develop Social Skills

Now think of a child with an autism spectrum disorder. Maybe he just prefers to play alone, and the diagnosis is not caught until much later, especially if he does well in school. Maybe he is diagnosed, but due to sensory issues and developmental delays cannot handle playing with other kids.

He may memorize the A-L section of the Encyclopedia Britannica and be able to recite full movie scripts, but other kids just seem like foreign objects which he has no idea what to do with. Those connections, therefore, are never made for many children with autism and Asperger’s syndrome.

Sympathy versus Empathy in Children with Autism

It is often said that sympathy is when you feel sorry for someone but can’t really relate to what they are going through. Empathy is said to be when you can relate to what they are going through because you went through the same thing or a similar enough experience that you can feel their emotions. Many children with autism or kids with Asperger’s syndrome may have one or both of these things, but just show it differently.

Why Don’t Kids with Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome Develop Empathy?

The reactions of a child with autism may be delayed due to having so many things going through his or her head all the time and being over focused on their environment. The subtleties of understand another’s feelings and emotions are lost as he or she simply tries to survive the over-stimulating environment in which they live. They might understand and sense another’s feels and think “That’s rough” but forget to say it, or it may occur to them hours later when they are processing the conversation.

One Adult with Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome Relates Her Experience

I recall a phone conversation I was having with someone not long ago. We were talking about some issues I was having, and then suddenly the person said she had to go because her elderly mother had just had a fall and she had to call to check up on her. I continued talking about my situation for a minute and then said goodbye. After I hung up I realized I hadn’t commented on the situation with her mother or expressed any concern — and I was concerned! It’s just that it took a few minutes for my brain to switch gears between thinking about me and thinking about her.

On another note, if a person’s empathy comes largely from shared experiences and a person with autism or Asperger’s syndrome is lacking many common social experiences, it is easy to see why this sense of empathy can be often absent or delayed.

We can see here the different ways that empathy may be slow to develop in someone with high functioning autism or Asperger’s syndrome. It is still there, but it needs the right circumstances to come out.

What Can A Parent of a Child with Autism or Asperger’s Syndrome Do?

A parent can help their child understand others’ emotions. As you watch your child, think to yourself…

Does Sammy understand that his grandmother is sad?Does Tina see that her friend is worried about her sick brother?

If you sense that your child misses emotional cues, ask your child to focus on what the other person is thinking and feeling. How is the other person feeling? How would YOU feel in the same situation?

After all, most children with high functioning autism and Asperger’s syndrome are quite intelligent. They can be taught. But many parents forget or do not notice that their children with autism miss the signals that a neurotypical child sees. By pointing out to your child that another child is worried, scared, sad or happy, it will help them develop the skills necessary to develop a sense of empathy for others.

And for further tips and techniques to help your children with Asperger’s syndrome live a happy and fulfilled life, go to the web site AspergersSociety.org and http://www.autismparenthood.com/. There you will be able to sign up for the free Asperger’s and Autism newsletter as well as get additional information to help your loved ones thrive on the autism spectrum.

View the original article here

Asperger’s Syndrome Child: Developing Social Skills at Home and School by Teaching Empathy

Many parents feel notice that their child with Asperger’s syndrome of high functioning autism shows little if any empathy for others which inhibits their social skills. These children can seem aloof or selfish and uncaring.

But any parent with a child on the autism spectrum knows that outward appearances can be deceiving. Our loved ones with Asperger’s syndrome of high functioning autism are very caring and feeling beings. But they often have difficulties understanding the feelings of others which is a contributing factor to the well known autism symptom — lack of social skills. Often times, we see this inability to understand another person’s feelings as a lack of empathy.

How Can a Person with Asperger’s Syndrome Develop a Sense of Empathy and Improve Social Skills?

Lack of emotional readiness, sensory overwhelm, and lack of relevant experiences can all contribute and help explain why your child with Asperger’s syndrome may seem distant or uncaring of others feelings.

In this article, we will talk about the process of developing empathy — an important ingredient in improving social skills. Below, a young adult with Asperger’s syndrome shares her experiences and feelings to help us understand how those with Asperger’s syndrome feel and cope.

If a child with Asperger’s syndrome or high functioning autism is disconnected from people when he is young, due to different brain wiring, this sense of difference is likely to persist and cause him to withdraw from people and experiences over the years. The more he thinks of himself as a person who can’t connect with other people, the less likely he will be to try.

In order to develop social skills, one must practice. But if a child continually fails in his or her social interactions, they will eventually become discouraged and give up.

Experiences of a Young Adult with Asperger’s Syndrome —

I moved to a house with a 94 year old, very vibrant and active roommate two years ago. This woman, Madeline, has the most welcoming smile and presence I have ever felt. I immediately felt calm and comfortable in her presence, which never happens for me. I started spending more and more time with her, watching TV and talking about nothing important — just soaking up her gentleness and positivity, her utter acceptance of me. Every time she smiled at me, it made me happy.

I thought this behavior — willingly spending time with another person — quite out of character for me, but I kept doing it. Madeline was always happy to see me. Merely entering the room could make her face light up. Therefore I started feeling a sense of connection to her.

Some of these principles, especially high affect — Madeline was a very passionate speaker with highly evident emotions — as well as pure acceptance, gentleness and meeting someone on common ground are some of the very principles of the autism therapy floortime. (Floortime is a therapy designed to increase emotional and cognitive connections in an autistic person’s brain, and to bring the person slowly into the world around them by first joining them in their world.)

Madeline had wonderful social skills. She had the ability to make me feel welcomes and to draw me out.

My Relationship with My Roommate Increases My Empathy and Improved My Social Skills —

After I had been living here about seven months, Madeline had to go to the hospital for about two weeks because of a problem in her leg. The first night she was there, I worried about her constantly. I kept thinking “But she was always talking about how much she hated hospital food!” I hoped she had something good to eat and was being well taken care of.

This probably sounds quite unremarkable, except I had never before worried about someone on quite an emotional level before. I had always expressed sympathy (when I remembered) and felt intellectually things like “I hope so and so gets better soon. That’s terrible. Well, I hope it works out,” but never really on a gut stabbing, stomach hurting, almost visceral emotional level before.

It rather took me by surprise. While the feelings were of a negative nature, I was so happy to have them (upon later reflection) because they made me feel so much more connected to the human race! I didn’t feel so isolated inside myself when I had those feelings.

So That’s What They Were Thinking!

Later on, at different times, two of my friends began having severe health problems of the same sort that I had experienced a few years ago. They were both long distance, so I was limited in what I could do to help them.

I had many long phone conversations with one friend, Elaine, trying to provide both emotional support and practical solutions. After the often hour long conversations, I was drained and in emotional turmoil. I felt helpless. I wanted to ease her pain so much. I wanted to make things better for her. I did what I could, but it wasn’t much. It almost felt like too much to deal with, but I would never walk away from her.

After a few phone calls like this, I got an epiphany. So THAT’S what my parents and friends were feeling during all of my crisis phone calls to them! Years before I had called them during my own health crisis in tears. They tried to help, but I just felt more alone. I kept telling them “YOU DON’T UNDERSTAND!” I was convinced they didn’t care, because they often had a hard time showing their emotions about the situation and I had an even harder time reading what they did say.

I would mention something that was bothering me and be hurt when my grandfather would change the subject without any response. “Why didn’t you say anything?” I would ask him. “You know how I feel,” he would say. “No, I don’t!” I would tell him. “Come on, you know I feel bad for you,” he’d say. “No, I don’t!” I’d repeat.

I truly felt isolated from those that were trying to help me because I couldn’t imagine how they were feeling towards me. Why? Because I had never felt that way towards anyone else. How could I even know those feelings existed, or at least know what they felt like?

Relationships Develop Empathy for a Person with Asperger’s Syndrome —

If you can understand how others are thinking, you can feel more connected to them. You can understand their needs more and feel the desire to fill them. This, as I understand it, is empathy. Without the kind of interactions and friendships that foster this awareness (that so many on the autism spectrum don’t have), you’re stuck pretending to be functioning in a world you don’t understand one bit, longing for emotional connection and having everyone around you think you’re self-centered and uncaring about others. Without these emotional connections you never really can have sufficient social skills to develop deep and nurturing relationships.

I believe empathy lives in every single person — but the right experiences and circumstances have to be present to bring it out.

Tips for Parents and Those with Asperger’s Syndrome or Autism

Try to expose your child to social situations and experiences that they haven’t had before, within the limits of their abilities. Social groups, summer camps, anything that will offer the ability to foster these forms of relationships. Make sure the programs are well matched to your child’s needs, though.
For children, social stories are also a good way for a parent to focus on development of social skills and empathy. You can create your own social stories with your child by drawing pictures of people and events and adding captions to the stores. Perhaps a relative that your child knows was in the hospital. Maybe a friend fell off their bike and scraped their knee. Think of an event that your child can relate to. By developing a story around this event, you can help your child fill in the emotions that the people in the story felt — worry, fear, sadness — to help your child with Asperger’s syndrome practice empathy.
You can also purchase books that are specifically designed to teach empathy and feelings. Check out Amazon.com which has arrange of these books.
Many therapists can help your child with Asperger’s syndrome learn social skills by focusing on developing empathy. Check with your school or a local Asperger’s syndrome or autism support group. There may be a class offered by your local education department. So many children with autism and Asperger’s syndrome need this type of training that classes are common.
Consider purchasing videos or audio tapes. Many companies sell videos specifically geared to children to help them understand the feelings of others. After all, practice makes perfect. One good thing about videos is that they can help your child read facial expressions. Children with high functioning autism and Asperger’s syndrome often have challenges reading facial expressions. Videos can make a point of highlighting the aspects of facial expressions. And by allowing your child to watch the video many times, they can pick up a lot of clues to reading the feelings expressed by a person’s mannerisms, gestures and facial expressions.
For adults with Asperger’s syndrome, try to expose yourself to different social opportunities. Also consider therapy to try to help you work through these issues.

And for further tips and techniques to help your children with Asperger’s syndrome live a happy and fulfilled life, go to the web site AspergersSociety.org and http://www.autismparenthood.com/. There you will be able to sign up for the free Asperger’s and Autism newsletter as well as get additional information to help your loved ones thrive on the autism spectrum.

View the original article here

Teenagers and Sensory Processing Disorder: The Special Challenges

Teens with sensory processing disorder have special challenges because of the stage of development they’re in and the fact that until now, their sensory issues may have gone unaddressed.

1. Finding the right OT can be difficult. Few occupational therapists are trained or experienced in working with teenagers who have sensory processing disorder. Play-based SI therapy may seem silly and embarrassing to teens.

2. Poor self-esteem. Teenagers who have had sensory issues for years will have learned at least some accommodations to get around them and are less likely to experience the extreme behaviors and responses they did when they were younger. However, years of feeling different and not knowing why, and noticing that they have never been quite as mature and self-controlled as their peers, take their toll. Teens with sensory processing issues usually struggle with self-esteem. They need a lot of encouragement to admit they have sensory issues and need some help.

3. Need for independence. Teenagers need to have their independence respected, so being told, “You need to do X, Y, and Z to manage your sensory issues” usually doesn’t go over very well!

4. Desire to fit in. Even teenagers who don’t feel the need to have a lot of friends or be conformist want to have some friends they feel they fit in with. Sensory challenges can embarrass them and may make them feel isolated, and different in a negative way.

5. Changing hormones. Teenagers have ever-changing hormones that can exacerbate sensory issues by making them more sensitive to input than they were in the past. The normal changes of adolescence can also make them more moody and emotionally sensitive.

6. New expectations. People are less likely to see your teen as a young, immature person with a hidden disability and more likely to see him or her as a young adult whose behavior is willful.

What’s a parent, teacher, or therapist to do?

1. Modify traditional SI therapy techniques to be more teen friendly. As a substitute for playing with a tray of shaving cream or finger-paints, encourage the teen to cook, garden, do art or arts and crafts, and engage in other activities that challenge his tactile issues. Work with a sensory-smart occupational therapist who is willing to alter her approach to helping your teenage son or daughter to reduce any embarrassment or defensiveness.

2. Talk about sensory issues positively. Reassure your teenager that sensory issues are simply a difference in brain wiring that can have advantages but that can also be controlled and addressed to make life a little easier. Explain what SPD is and why in some cases, it’s good to be extra sensitive or to crave certain sensations, and that people with sensory issues often have other gifts as well, such as the ability to “think in pictures.” Then explain that there are “tricks” you and/or an OT can teach them to “make their lives easier.” Everyone wants his life to be a little easier! Acknowledge how hard your teen has to work to be organized or tolerate certain sensations and praise her for her efforts.

3. Offer accommodations and sensory diet ideas for him or her to choose from. Present accommodations and activities to teenagers and let them decide which they would like to use. Honor and respect their choices and encourage them to engage in collaborative problem solving with you. If they don’t want to be seen doing a brushing protocol for tactile issues, can they do it discreetly in the bathroom at school? If all the kids are wearing loose clothes and they prefer them tight, can the teen wear tight clothing, such as bicycle shorts, underneath looser clothes that seem more stylish?

4.Help your teen with sensory issues to feel okay as he is and find a group of peers he’s comfortable with. Practical solutions for grooming, picky eating, and dressing, and encouraging talks about the upside of being different, can help your teen with sensory issues feel more comfortable among his peers. However, he may also feel better about himself if he expands his group of friends. Encourage your teen to develop hobbies and engage in new activities from individualized sports that don’t require high levels of skill and competitiveness to enjoy them to groups that engage in the arts, community service, spiritual growth, etc. Extracurricular activities can help kids find their “tribe” and feel the power to make a difference in the world as well.

5. Accept that your child may be more emotionally sensitive at this stage. Be alert to signs of increased anxiety and depression and consult a medical health professional with any concerns you have. Remember, addressing sensory issues will reduce overall anxiety that can lead to mild or moderate depression (when you feel you can’t manage your discomfort, over time, you can develop depression). Don’t forget some of the most effective treatments for mild or moderate anxiety and depression include physical exercise, time spent outdoors, meditation, and breathing exercises. Mindfulness practices from yoga and tai chi to tai kwan do and karate can help, too.

6. Focus on self-awareness and accountability for self-regulating. It’s very difficult to get others to accept poor self-regulation in a teen, even if you educate them on hidden disabilities. Therefore, the sooner you collaborate with your teen in creating a workable sensory diet that prevents negative behaviors, the better. It will be easier for your teen to develop better self-regulation if she is trained in using specific self-calming and self-alerting techniques that she knows work for her. Hold her accountable for using her alerting music and gum, taking time out to sit in a quiet space and do breathing exercises or use a brushing protocol, etc. Have her participate in creating a sensory diet tailored to her needs to keep her sensory needs met and to prevent fight-or-flight behaviors. Let her experience the natural consequences if she refuses to use her calming, focusing, alerting techniques.

Above all, never forget that kids with sensory issues need a “just right” challenge, a balance of accommodations to make them more comfortable and challenges that take them out of their comfort zone. Sensory diet activities for teenagers help them to develop a higher tolerance for situations and activities they’ll encounter in life, and over time, retrain their brains to process sensory information more typically. Be creative and encouraging in setting up a sensory diet for a teenager, and always be collaborative to respect the teen’s need for independence.

Finally, if you’re a parent frustrated by trying to get your teenager’s sensory issues under control, consider joining an in-person or online support group or creating one. Knowing that you aren’t alone, and having practical and emotional support from other parents going through the same experiences with their teen, can help you enormously at this stage of your child’s development.

Nancy Peske is the coauthor of the book Raising a Sensory Smart Child: The Definitive Handbook for Helping Your Child with Sensory Processing Issues. Learn more about sensory issues at http://www.sensorysmartparent.com/ and visit Raising a Sensory Smart Child on Facebook.

View the original article here

Autism Fire Rescue Program Featured on NBC’s ‘Today Show’

The training of first responders is absolutely critical to keeping individuals with autism safe. Unfortunately, there are far too many stories of dangerous situations that arise because of a lack of communication and understanding between safety professionals such as firefighters, and individuals with autism and their families. Yesterday, NBC’s Today featured Bill Cannata, the father of a young adult with autism who has developed a program that has educated over 15,000 first responders around the country in how to handle people with autism, and as a result, saved lives. Bill was also a member of the professional advisory committee for the Autism Speaks Autism Safety Project, where he provided tips and quick facts for firefighters interacting with individuals with autism. To further these efforts, in 2011, the Autism Speaks Family Services Community Grants program provided funding for the Autism and Law Enforcement Education Coalition (ALEC), designed to help foster a deeper understanding of autism spectrum disorders by training public safety and law enforcement personnel. Autism Speaks applauds these first responder training efforts.

Longtime firefighter Bill Canatta is committed to caring for his 21-year-old son Ted, who is living with autism. Bill teaches people across the country how to rescue other people with the condition, and his training helped one first responder save a boy’s life. TODAY’s Amy Robach reports. You can find out more here.Be the first to like this post.

View the original article here