Anyone with any experience with Asperger's Syndrome ? (1 Viewer)

Dragon

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Background:

We have had a young girl living with us most weekends for the last few years. She is a friend of our foster daughter. So when she ran into family problems we became official support (don't know if this is the correct english term) family for her. She is 19 years old now and have had a lot of trouble staying in school. She seems to get sidetracked/distracted all the time causing her to miss classes/appointments and generally forgetting what she was supposed to be doing. She also have problems interacting with people she doesn't know very well.

She is actually very intelligent and writes her own music and poetry and her teachers says she is very gifted when it comes to math. But we had long felt that there was something more than just distraction going on, and finally got the juvenile services to get her some help. Well the result came back today. She has Asperger's Syndrome and the doctor said that the diagnoses were very clear and was wondering why it hadn't been caught earlier. Well I know next to nothing about this except that it is somehow related to autism, but thats about it.

Anyone have any experience with children /young people with this handicap ?
 

Hoyasaint

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Search the forums, there are actually quite a few members that know plenty through their own experience and threads come up quite often about it. Those are likely a good place to start. Best of luck :tup2:
 
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Dragon

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Will do. Thank you
 

primadox

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Background:

We have had a young girl living with us most weekends for the last few years. She is a friend of our foster daughter. So when she ran into family problems we became official support (don't know if this is the correct english term) family for her. She is 19 years old now and have had a lot of trouble staying in school. She seems to get sidetracked/distracted all the time causing her to miss classes/appointments and generally forgetting what she was supposed to be doing. She also have problems interacting with people she doesn't know very well.

She is actually very intelligent and writes her own music and poetry and her teachers says she is very gifted when it comes to math. But we had long felt that there was something more than just distraction going on, and finally got the juvenile services to get her some help. Well the result came back today. She has Asperger's Syndrome and the doctor said that the diagnoses were very clear and was wondering why it hadn't been caught earlier. Well I know next to nothing about this except that it is somehow related to autism, but thats about it.

Anyone have any experience with children /young people with this handicap ?
I'll get with you later when I have some more time, but here's a start: Asperger's is actually on the autism spectrum. My son is 10 and is high functioning autistic, which is similar to Aspergers in that the kids will usually be able to function in a regular classroom with help, they communicate well, and are generally of very high intelligence. It isn't unusual for an Aspie to be diagnosed later on, since they aren't as "obvious" as a more typical child with autism.

Do a search here on Autism, and some old threads will come up with some great links. In the meantime, I'll find some links for you and post them here later.

:)
 

'79 Saints

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My son has it... there is a lot of information out there to help.

The most important thing is to work on her social skills, because she probably has none -meaning she has a hard time discussing appropriate things (i.e. you are talking about football, and she comes in and starts rambling about what she saw on television... politely remind her that it is more important to talk about the subject at hand or teach her how to transition the conversation into something else).

Unfortuantely, because she was in the foster care system, the one thing Asperger kids need is routine, and she had none of that.

Asperger's, BTW for those who don't know, is a form of autism... however, unlike most forms of autism, most who have Asperger's are usually misdiagnosed as having ADD, because some of the symptoms are similar.

My son is younger than this girl and we've been aware of his issues for most of his life, so we've done a lot of work to lessen his Asperger's...
 
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Dragon

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I'll get with you later when I have some more time, but here's a start: Asperger's is actually on the autism spectrum. My son is 10 and is high functioning autistic, which is similar to Aspergers in that the kids will usually be able to function in a regular classroom with help, they communicate well, and are generally of very high intelligence. It isn't unusual for an Aspie to be diagnosed later on, since they aren't as "obvious" as a more typical child with autism.

Do a search here on Autism, and some old threads will come up with some great links. In the meantime, I'll find some links for you and post them here later.

:)

Thanks a lot. This is all very confusing and on top of it, our "weekend daughter" is asking a lot of questions and are kind of scared/relieved after receiving the letter. Relieved that there is an explanation of why she is how she is and scared about what it is mean for her future. I've been searching the Net for hours and think I might have found a youth support group. I have called the number and left a message and hope they come back to me soon.
 

'79 Saints

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Dragon:

One thing real quick... you're going to have to tell her everything she can expect when she encounters something new, and don't get frustrated if she prefers to do something familiar.

We found out the hard way when we went to Disney World with my son and we tried to make every thing a surpise just to get that "look" everyone adores when a child discovers something for the first time... It was a nightmare every morning.

They also tend to need some alone/down time during the day just to recharge from the extra stimuli. Don't fight it, but encourage it to be as short as possible.
 

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My sister has Asperger's. She wasn't diagnosed until her senior year in high school, however, she was diagnosed at a very early age as being "developmentally delayed", which sounds like a "catch-all" diagnosis for not knowing what she actually had.

She exhibited a number of characteristics of autistic behavior as a child: self-stimulation, repetitive actions, obsessive behavior (she'd get up EVERY morning at 5:00 a.m. just to watch "Lassie" on Nikelodeon). She struggled in school with math, but had good verbal skills. She actually won the district spelling bee. Her biggest struggle was social interaction. She had trouble picking up on non-verbal cues and exhibited a level of naivete that usually led to her being ridiculed. We all know how vicious kids can be when they detect blood in the water - easy targets. She dealt with a lot of anger and frustration; she was different and she knew it. However, since she didn't LOOK different, as someone with Down's Syndrome might, people expected her to be "normal".

After her diagnosis, she was prescribed Paxil and Buspar. I was not a fan of her being "medicated into normalcy", but once the right levels were found, she's become a very high functioning person. The anger and frustration aren't there any more. The social anxiety she had before isn't nearly as big an issue. She has a part-time job. She's married, and she's the "mom" to a puppy! She still obsesses over things. She can't go to sleep at night unless all of the laundry is done and the kitchen is spotless. She loves the group Hanson, and when she realized that she wouldn't be able to see them in concert recently, she melted down.

As days go by, more and more people are going to be diagnosed. As such, there will be more and more information available. On-line forums are good sources of information. Having a psychologist/counselor for the child and the parents to speak to isn't a bad idea, either.
 

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Dragon, I have Aserger's Syndrome. I was diagnosed with it about a year and half ago. It was not easy for me to take because of it being a mild form of autism. I suppose I had always had a bad feeling about autism because it meant that someone was mentally handicapped. I will say that As berger is like having a lot of intelligence inside your brain and everyone sees it but something marks you as different. Your whole view of the world changes. Its like you have this vantage point that is hard to understand from a normal person's viewpoint.
Its hard to explain in proper words or using a good example, but I think I have a gift if you like.

Its a gift but it can be a difficult thing to explain. Which I guess makes some sense
 

Rugger

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My son has it... there is a lot of information out there to help.

The most important thing is to work on her social skills, because she probably has none -meaning she has a hard time discussing appropriate things (i.e. you are talking about football, and she comes in and starts rambling about what she saw on television... politely remind her that it is more important to talk about the subject at hand or teach her how to transition the conversation into something else).

Unfortuantely, because she was in the foster care system, the one thing Asperger kids need is routine, and she had none of that.

Asperger's, BTW for those who don't know, is a form of autism... however, unlike most forms of autism, most who have Asperger's are usually misdiagnosed as having ADD, because some of the symptoms are similar.

My son is younger than this girl and we've been aware of his issues for most of his life, so we've done a lot of work to lessen his Asperger's...

Just to echo here...

As a speech teacher I come across students with Asperger's. The biggest challenge in my experience is teaching my students social skills or pragmatics.

As others have said Aspergers is a high function form of Autism. Meaning that most kids with Aspergers are able to function well enough with academics, but tend to struggle socially.

With Aspergers the main focus seems to move toward appropriate communication. For example, I was walking down the hall with a group of students a couple of months ago. One of the students has Aspergers. Coming down the hall in the other direction was a maintenance man. The student and the maintenance man bumped into each other. The maintenance man said "excuse me". I looked at the student and told him he needed to do the same. He looked at the maintenance man and said "excuse you". Had that been any other type of kid I would have probably written him up, but with this student I gave him a stern correction and used it a learning experience.

It was not that he was trying to be "smart". He told me himself that he thought that was what he was supposed to say. I guess that is my point. While it can be difficult, try to remember that as "normal" functioning as they may appear, they do have a disorder and as a parent/guardian you should always look for learning/teaching opportunities. As in the example I gave you, often they are able to communicate adequately, however, they tend to miss learning social norms. Often the message is clear (i.e. the sentence structure and speech sounds), but the intent is not.

In fact I come across mid-older individuals every day that I am convinced would have benefited an early Aspergers diagnosis. It is those type of individuals that come off abrasive and they really do not understand why they do not get a positive reaction from others. In fact I am convinced that some of my Asperger kids have Asperger parents once I met them.
 

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Outstanding post, Rugger. That is my son's main problem as well...appropriate social communication skills. He's 4th grade, and I'm already noticing that as he and his classmates get older, the communication isn't as cut-and-dry as it was earlier on, and he misses the nuances, inferences, sarcasm, visual clues/facial expressions, etc. Naturally, even though he is a super reader, he has trouble with language arts and writing, but excels in math and science.

What I really love about these kids is their pure sweetness...most, with their impaired social skills, simply aren't calculating enough to plot against people, LOL. My son simply wants to please, that's all. It's sweet, but it's SCARY at the same time....
 

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I think that's why my son has latched on to sports as much as he has... it's a way he has figured out how to communicate with his peers. He talks about sports -what he plays and what he watches. He is quite good at sports, which makes it all the better for him gaining social acceptance.

He lives for sports stats and devores encylopedias and dictionaries -and like Primadox's son, he is very sweet and kind to others -especially younger kids.

Rugger's example is a great one, because my son does that, and I stay on him about those types of situations. Another example is people exiting a crowded elevator, and there is a small opening that is eye level for my son... he would think of nothing to cut right through essentially running down the people in front of him, because in his view, the door opened, and I could walk out.

My wife and I remind him constantly to be aware of others and that being a polite person is to let others pass in front of you. It also helps that he has two younger sisters who are very social, so he picks up a lot of cues from them. As he has gotten older, he has improved on a lot.
 

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My son (6) has Asperger's. I've posted a fair amount about him on this and the previous incarnation of the EE Board.

All I can do is echo that routine is the most important thing for any kid on the autism spectrum. The more structure and rules you can provide, the better.

I recently saw a movie when an adult with Asperger's made a great point. For most people, the majority of communication is nonverbal. For someone on the autism spectrum, 99% of communication is verbal. People on the spectrum take words literally and do not inherently interpret based on inflection or tone.

The teenage years are particularly difficult, I imagine, because that is when kids really become their most sarcastic and duplicitous. Probably no different for the girl you mentioned in the original post.

Anyway, PM me if you want any links or particular tips...I'll happily oblige.
 
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Dragon

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I recognize a lot of what you are telling me, especially from when I first got to know her but my "weekend daughter" has taken so many hits socially that she is becoming more introvert. We are trying to help her open up again. It looks like she is living in her own world part of the time forgetting appointments and school and she has lost her part time job because she kept getting her schedule mixed up or got sidetracked on the way.

She just moved into her own apartment (we have small one room appartments with kitchen and bath for young people at a subsidized (very low cost) rent - not college dorms since the criteria to get one is age not going to school). After talking to her councilor this afternoon we have applied for a part time support person to help her get organized and get a fixed schedule set up and since she lives less than 500 yards from our house , we will be seeing her during the week as well.

The good thing is that all this is all free, and so are the weekly doctors appointment she has until they get everything settled in. She will also receive a disability grant until she can resume school /while she goes to school since the expert say that she wont be able to manage school and part time job simultaneously. They have also offered a tutor.

This day has been like a roller coaster ride for all of us. Thanks God I have a very understanding employer that would let me take a couple of days of to get everything started. I also want to thank everyone here for your help. You're the best !
 

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I've thought I've had it at times, I mean I'm not sure but I scored pretty high on one of those "autism quotient" tests. I've always had a hard time with communication, my social skills are lacking, I take everything too literally, I have a very hard time expressing my point, I'm a total introvert, I lack empathy, etc. It could just be a social anxiety (I definitely have a lot of anxiety) but I don't know for sure, I never go to a psych and I am not on any meds.
 

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