View Full Version : Question for adults and teenagers with Asperger's


branjie
05-16-11, 12:40 AM
As a parent of a child with Asperger's, I want to do whatever is best for him. I'm new to all of this, and feel lost about what to do for my son.

I have read that experts say it's important to engage people with Asperger's in therapy such as social skills training. Otherwise the child may not fit in with his peers, leading to lonliness and depression. They may also grow up to have reduced work and social options, due to not being able to interact well with others. Also, physical movements such as hand flapping and tics should be avoided as they can be seen as odd by others, possibly isolating someone with Asperger's from other children at school, or collegues in the workplace.

On the other hand, yesterday I read a post (on another site) by a teenager with Asperger's, saying that he was angry that his Dad took him to social skills training. His father also tried to stop his son from hand flapping. The author of this post was angry that his Dad tried to make him feel like there was something wrong with him. He considered himself to be of superior intelligence, and saw no reason in changing his flapping or reduced social skills, saying he was happy with the way he was.

I understand that the person I mentioned above was indeed an angry teenager, who may in fact change his view over time. I want the best for my son. I don't want my son to experience isolation and depression as he gets closer to adolescence, but I also don't want to make him feel like there is something wrong with him, and have him feel resentful towards me for trying to get him to behave in a socially acceptable way, and stop his tic.

Can any adults or teenagers with Asperger's please tell me about their own experiences, or opinions regarding the above. I would be very grateful to read anything you have to say.

dsvlil1
05-16-11, 02:19 AM
I have a 13 yr old daughter with Asperger's, she's a little more severe than most females with AS.

What I have learned from trying to help her is that trying to redirect her or get her to abstain from the "socially unacceptable" behaviors has been hurtful to her, her impulses are important to her and she gets confused and upset when she is told she needs to behave in a manner that is incongruent with her impulses.

What has helped is explaining to her why other people treat her the way they do so she can decide for herself if she thinks modulating her behavior is worth it and can come to her own conclusion without being pressured.
Essentially, I don't tell how to behave, but I do warn her of the potential consequences of her behavior and why, that way it's in her hands and I haven't negated her.

corbykins
05-16-11, 01:31 PM
i was diagnosed with aspergers when i was 10years old, also when i was diagnosed with ADD. my parents never told me about the aspergers diagnosis I was put on meds for the ADD which is currently a big issue in my life. but anyways i was also put in therapy in my school, i would meet with someone once a week i was taken out of class and we would sit and play games and talk. i didnt know it at the time but the games were teaching me social skills. i think that most of it helped me a lot looking back on my high school years i probably would not have done as well without that extra coaching.

I still experienced a lot of depression throughout my school years and still do but not as bad as it was before the diagnosis

my advice would be to try therapy as long as you can get your child to agree to it. if he is completely against it then it probably will not be very helpful to him. i say therapy is definitely helpful in the long run if you can find a good therapist to work with and who knows what they are doing.

hope this helps if you have other questions feel free to ask me :)

fracturedstory
05-16-11, 10:06 PM
The superior rhetoric is just to make someone with AS feel better. I almost got caught up in it.

Each individual with an autism spectrum disorder is different. Some may want to socialise more and some may feel comfortable with who they are.

I'm a 25 year old with classic autism so I know pretty well what is best for me. I know that minimal social interaction is good but I need my breaks from it. I probably do need to develop better social skills but I think if I focus on my strengths rather than weaknesses then I'll have a less stressed life. I'm not particularly interested in other people and commit myself to my special interests which are a bit more than hobbies. They are usually ways to make a career since no one really wants to give me a job.

But you've got a child who may or may not want friends or want to change. You may as well give it a try. I do not encourage suppressing stimming behaviours because they are stress relievers. You might want to help them develop stimming behaviour that is less noticeable. Or what I do is just get it all out when exercising in my room. It feels good.

I wouldn't use isolation unless your child prefers to be on their own or has explosive meltdowns.

So I say give therapy a try and watch your child to see if they are happy with the results or are clearly in distress. They shouldn't be forced to do something they feel uncomfortable with, especially if they are autistic.

branjie
05-16-11, 11:43 PM
Thank you so much for sharing your experiences with me. What you are all saying makes a lot of sense. It really helps to hear from you, because I don't have anyone close to me that knows anything about autism, asperger's or ADHD. I feel like I'm the one who is supposed to me holding all the answers, yet feel so bloomin clueless, no matter how much I read in books or on the web.

My son isn't motivated to learn social skills, which troubles me. I feel like he's in a world of his own, and he's happier there. I know he loves his immediate family. He's even affectionate. Still, I feel kind of rejected by him, as he only wants to talk to me about his obsession, and we can't have many mutually enjoyable conversations.

I think like you've all said, I'll give any therapy available a go, and if my son is happy enough to go along with it, and we think it's beneficial, we'll just keep on with it.

As for the stimming. I've only just come across this word in the last week or so, but I think it may explain what I have been calling my son's tics. He doesn't really flap, but he pulls at his shirt near the collar, and at the bottom hem at the same time, back and forth very fast. Then he does this thing where he's tugging at the fabric at the upper part of his trousers, really quickly. Is that what you would call stimming? He does it the most when he comes up with a good idea :).

rlmkelley
06-25-11, 02:54 PM
My son feels the same way. We are trying to determine if he does have Aspergers or ADD. He says "all these doctor appts make me sick" and claims he is not dyslexic b/c he can read. He wants to be left alone! I do want him to go to social skills training regardless of the diagnosis.

Rachel

rlmkelley
06-25-11, 03:01 PM
Would humming in a low monotone be a 'stimming' behavior? My son cannot keep his hands still off the Vyvanse, but he has taken up humming in the last year. Stimming can be caused by both ADD and Aspergers correct?

branjie
07-10-11, 02:45 AM
I'm not sure if you would call it stimming, sensory seeking, or something else, but I figure if it's not bothering anybody, it's probably a good thing for him. One of my sons had a habit of clicking with his tongue which really annoyed my other son. After about two or three months, he stopped doing it. The humming might be a phase. My son with Asperger's has recently started doing this, for want of a better word, insane sounding laugh. I'm going to ignore it, I think he will stop if people don't pay attention to it.

Fortune
07-10-11, 03:15 AM
Does your son typically stop a stim if people ignore it?

That's interesting. I didn't really care if people ignored me, stimming or not. I generally preferred it.

Lunacie
07-10-11, 09:38 AM
My 9 year old granddaughter has a dx of Atypical Autism (or PDD-NOS). She really enjoys her therapy sessions, often done as play therapy, and her visits with her case managers a couple of times a week where they help her to work on social skills, again in the form of play therapy or visits to the library or park. She wants to have friends and made a new one last week which thrilled me.

We've never tried to interfere with her stimming, in her case that's standing in the middle of the living room floor and spinning in circles for up to an hour, or more sometimes. I think we realized that was her way of dealing with stress. People with ADHD do something similar when they pace while talking on the phone, or bounce a leg, or tap a pencil on the desk. Those things can be very annoying to others, but somehow they don't look as weird as the things that Autists and Aspies do.

julesjampot
07-10-11, 06:03 PM
I'm so ther e for you Lunacie my daughter was diagnosed asd january and her elder brother who i adopted has adhd so its a genetic thing

branjie
07-10-11, 07:26 PM
Luncie what type of therapist does your granddaughter see? OT, speech path, psychologist? Not sure which would be best for my son. I've been told about some teachers who specializing in tutoring kids with Autism who live near here. I'm wondering if they could even help with social skills??? They have a child with autism. Does your granddaughter not get dizzy? Interesting what you said about the behaviours ADHD people do seeming less weird than the Aspie/autism ones. Helped me clarify my hubby is more ADHD and my son is more Aspie, both are a mix though.

Fortune sorry, the son who has stopped his tongue clicking doesn't actually have Asperger's but has some traits I guess you could say. I think it may be a sensory seeking thing with him. The shirt pulling that my Aspie son does, he's completely unaware he's doing it. He's suprised when he sees a video of himself and he's doing it. I don't know if that's a tic, stimming or both. He does however have behaviours that I think are stimming, which do pass. He may stroke his face for a few weeks, for about three months he was chewing his clothes. He definitely did it more if you told him to stop. Recently he kept doing this whistle thing which was kind of funny. He only did that for a couple of weeks or so.

Fortune
07-10-11, 07:45 PM
Sorry, I was referring to this bit:

My son with Asperger's has recently started doing this, for want of a better word, insane sounding laugh. I'm going to ignore it, I think he will stop if people don't pay attention to it.

It's possible I didn't understand what you were saying here, though. It read to me like if you don't pay attention to his stim, he'll stop doing it for that reason. Is that what you intended?

Lunacie
07-11-11, 09:11 AM
Luncie what type of therapist does your granddaughter see? OT, speech path, psychologist? Not sure which would be best for my son. I've been told about some teachers who specializing in tutoring kids with Autism who live near here. I'm wondering if they could even help with social skills??? They have a child with autism. Does your granddaughter not get dizzy? Interesting what you said about the behaviours ADHD people do seeming less weird than the Aspie/autism ones. Helped me clarify my hubby is more ADHD and my son is more Aspie, both are a mix though.

Fortune sorry, the son who has stopped his tongue clicking doesn't actually have Asperger's but has some traits I guess you could say. I think it may be a sensory seeking thing with him. The shirt pulling that my Aspie son does, he's completely unaware he's doing it. He's suprised when he sees a video of himself and he's doing it. I don't know if that's a tic, stimming or both. He does however have behaviours that I think are stimming, which do pass. He may stroke his face for a few weeks, for about three months he was chewing his clothes. He definitely did it more if you told him to stop. Recently he kept doing this whistle thing which was kind of funny. He only did that for a couple of weeks or so.

At age 5, we began seeing a family therapist, very helpful for the family dynamic but not as helpful for her as we'd have liked.

At age 7 we switched to the mental health clinic and a play therapist. He coordinates with the case managers who spend time with her each week doing play or social therapy. So she's getting 3 hours a week with 3 different people.

For two summers they provided summer camp, which was really beneficial, but funding was cut this year so she just has one morning of group therapy a week. During the school year she has one or two group therapy sessions after school, drumming or fit rhythm (dance?).

She also began seeing a psychiatrist a few months ago to work on adjusting her meds rather than just seeing the family doctor.

At school she gets some OT, has had speech therapy, and the special ed teacher has many years of experience with Autistic kids, and takes classes all through the year to learn new ways of working with these kids. She's been awesome. She coordinates with the other teachers, and was helpful in working with the phys ed teacher so that my granddaughter wouldn't be freaked out when other kids bumped her or 'tagged' her.


And no - she never gets dizzy. I don't have a clue how she can spin for so long without getting dizzy. At her therapy groups, they have an office chair in the back of the room for her to sit and spin when she needs to regain her composure. Even as a baby she was fascinated by ceiling fans spinning around.

She doesn't pull on her shirts, but she chews on her cuffs and collars. She's ruined the neckline on several shirts. That's apparently common with these kiddos.

Fortune
07-11-11, 02:29 PM
It's due to a hyposensitive vestibular system. Spinning makes it easier to get that sense of balance where for most people it would be overstimulation and they'd become dizzy. People with this also often prefer to be in constant motion.

I used to spin all the time as a child, although I don't think I kept it up for an hour or more at a time. Now, spinning a little bit makes me dizzy. I know someone else who did, and he said it really kind of weirded people out to see someone do that.

fracturedstory
07-13-11, 12:30 AM
I just got addicted to spinning because the dizziness was so much fun. I was hyposensitive to pain when I was younger though. These days getting up from the floor will make me dizzy.

Something I have noticed with ADHD is that when I'm hyperactive I will make more noise. I read later that this was due to an over stimulation from the environment and this was a way of blocking it out. On my inattentive days I feel like my ears are blocked.

Stimming for me is to get rid of restless energy, anxious feelings or just over excitement. I think stimming in autism is just fidgeting in ADHD. I have ADHD impatient fidgeting although most of my hand flapping is when I'm in a hyper mood. When I jump up and down or do a repetitive movement it's hard to stop, so when I exercise on a trampoline I don't just slow down when I stop jumping. Who knows what's going on. Sometimes I think my limbs move independent of any signal being sent from the brain.

Warning: I could make animal noises forever if people just ignored it. It's not like we do it for attention. We do it because...umm...well, mine is after a lot of stress and burn out.

Lunacie
07-13-11, 09:15 AM
I just got addicted to spinning because the dizziness was so much fun. I was hyposensitive to pain when I was younger though. These days getting up from the floor will make me dizzy.

Something I have noticed with ADHD is that when I'm hyperactive I will make more noise. I read later that this was due to an over stimulation from the environment and this was a way of blocking it out. On my inattentive days I feel like my ears are blocked.

Stimming for me is to get rid of restless energy, anxious feelings or just over excitement. I think stimming in autism is just fidgeting in ADHD. I have ADHD impatient fidgeting although most of my hand flapping is when I'm in a hyper mood. When I jump up and down or do a repetitive movement it's hard to stop, so when I exercise on a trampoline I don't just slow down when I stop jumping. Who knows what's going on. Sometimes I think my limbs move independent of any signal being sent from the brain.

Warning: I could make animal noises forever if people just ignored it. It's not like we do it for attention. We do it because...umm...well, mine is after a lot of stress and burn out.

I assume that if you were dizzy from spinning, you had difficulty in walking steadily after spinning? We've never seen any sign of dizzyness or unsteadiness in my granddaughter after spinning.

When she was 5 she fell on the playground at school and broke her forearm. The teachers could tell she was hurt, the nurse could tell she was hurt, but they couldn't tell the extent. She just seemed numb, but she was clearly cradling her arm, which had started to swell. Forward to 9 years old and she got a cut on the bottom of her foot last week, she calmly put a bandaid on it and matter-of-factly hopped around for several days. Clearly it was hurting her, but still she doesn't seem able to complain about it the way NT kids/people do. We often have to guess by a change in her behavior when she's getting sick and check for fever and look for infection in her throat and ears. Rather like caring for a sick pet.

fracturedstory
07-13-11, 07:27 PM
Yeah, walking difficultly was my first experience being drunk, except I wasn't. I have had many such experiences since my 18th birthday though.

I would fall from trees, scrape my knee up pretty badly and just...laugh.
I also remember jumping off platforms in the park and deliberately not landing on my feet onto the hard gravel. I got a thumb tac in my foot once too and it just felt like I had stepped on bluetac.
I also loved to mock faint by falling down straight. Now if I trip slightly I worry about hurting my back. But on rare occasions I do feel numb where punching myself in the knee or slamming my hand hard on the table doesn't hurt.