American Asperger's Association
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American Asperger's Association Support Group

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» Chambers of Hope (COH) and American Aspergers Association (AAA)
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeSat Jul 27, 2013 1:29 pm by csweepigirl

» Introductions
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeMon Feb 06, 2012 12:39 am by earthenvessel

» June 4th 2011
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeFri Feb 25, 2011 6:22 am by csweepigirl

» Free Home Speech Practice Home offer
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeSat Feb 19, 2011 2:21 pm by csweepigirl

» Support group meeting and hbot volunteers
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeMon Dec 20, 2010 9:35 am by Dr. Ron

» Favor....Locals..read..please...
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeMon Oct 11, 2010 7:46 am by bondgary009

» Developmental Disabilities (AAIDD) is hosting the first of its best practices webinars
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeFri Aug 27, 2010 4:51 am by csweepigirl

» We need to start this website back up again!
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeMon Aug 23, 2010 2:33 am by man of a million names

» Group Home Manager is Yelling I Need Help
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeThu Aug 05, 2010 3:10 am by csweepigirl

» Facebook
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeMon Jul 05, 2010 2:27 am by KelleyNNelson

» Support Group Meetings 2011 *EDITED*
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeWed Jun 23, 2010 3:57 am by KelleyNNelson

» community happenings!
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeTue Jun 22, 2010 6:01 am by asg_tlm@hotmail.com

» Asperger's (how it is diagnosed and treated)
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeSat Jun 12, 2010 4:27 pm by csweepigirl

» What do you do when people look at you by the pills you take vs. the person you are?
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeSat Jun 12, 2010 4:01 pm by csweepigirl

» Items under your nose that are gluten free, and cheap too!
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeWed Jun 09, 2010 5:59 am by KelleyNNelson

» Adam
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeTue Jun 08, 2010 1:19 am by man of a million names

» Looking for friends
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeSat Jun 05, 2010 8:51 pm by channing28105

» Maas-Rowe Carillon Questions
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeSat Jun 05, 2010 8:51 pm by channing28105

» Video Emails from Dr. Ron
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeTue May 11, 2010 1:40 am by Dr. Ron

» Ah, it's good to be back.
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeSat May 01, 2010 5:03 am by man of a million names

» 1st Annual Aspergers Volleyball Tournament
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeMon Apr 19, 2010 2:03 am by Dr. Ron

» free event: Therapeutic Recreation Adapted Sailing and Kayak Clinic
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeThu Apr 01, 2010 3:20 am by csweepigirl

» Help! I Seem to be Getting More Autistic!" ARTICLE
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeMon Mar 29, 2010 10:22 am by csweepigirl

» Was this teacher out of line?
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeWed Mar 03, 2010 10:31 pm by lovethefish

» OMG THE PLACE IS REMODELED!!!!
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeWed Mar 03, 2010 2:38 am by KelleyNNelson

» Got Plates?
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeTue Mar 02, 2010 1:19 am by KelleyNNelson

» Local IEP Advocate!! THANKS VAL!!!
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeSun Feb 28, 2010 1:16 pm by csweepigirl

» Pinellas ESE advisory board meetings
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeSat Feb 27, 2010 12:31 am by lovethefish

» Dentists who use sedation.. thanks Dr. Ron
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeSat Feb 27, 2010 12:28 am by lovethefish

» Hey GAB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeWed Feb 24, 2010 5:25 am by csweepigirl

» Autism in the news: WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A hormone thought to encourage bonding between mothers and their babies may foster social behavior in some adults with autism, French researchers said on Monday.
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeThu Feb 18, 2010 7:01 am by csweepigirl

» **********echo*******************
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeSun Jan 31, 2010 11:16 pm by KelleyNNelson

» Any ideas on how to make a gluten regression easier for both child and family?
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeWed Jan 06, 2010 9:47 am by csweepigirl

» Hi! Long time no see.
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeMon Dec 21, 2009 3:04 am by KelleyNNelson

» Hellooooo? Need some freakin' help here.
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeTue Dec 15, 2009 8:50 am by man of a million names

» Cats or dogs? Summer or winter?
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeMon Nov 23, 2009 6:47 am by man of a million names

» Mozark and the whale *aspergers movie* on showtime on demand.. SUCKED by the way
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeMon Nov 23, 2009 6:42 am by man of a million names

» Adult Aspergers Syndrome
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeSun Nov 22, 2009 4:07 pm by KelleyNNelson

» Asperger’s Syndrome: A Developmental Puzzle by Michael McCroskery
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeSun Nov 22, 2009 12:22 pm by csweepigirl

» Really Cool Super Awesome Thing! Kim And Kelly You Have To Read This!
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeFri Nov 20, 2009 4:24 am by man of a million names

» 2 Articles of Interest Re: Aspergers
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeThu Nov 19, 2009 6:15 am by csweepigirl

» Accidently stubled across some info about meletonin oops!
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeTue Nov 10, 2009 2:41 pm by csweepigirl

» Lack of Services for ASD
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeMon Nov 09, 2009 8:04 pm by Dr. Ron

» New and having a hard time
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeWed Nov 04, 2009 3:40 am by lovethefish

» Sorry I haven't been around as much (update)
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeTue Nov 03, 2009 10:53 pm by KelleyNNelson

» Having a hard time again
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeTue Oct 20, 2009 8:35 am by man of a million names

» Important paradox/riddle! Anyone care to help with it?
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeMon Oct 19, 2009 10:46 pm by KelleyNNelson

» Follow through or not.
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeThu Oct 15, 2009 4:01 am by csweepigirl

» New Pediatrics Autism Study Putting Prevalence at 1 in 91
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeWed Oct 14, 2009 11:45 am by csweepigirl

» Different Directions
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeFri Oct 09, 2009 12:41 am by csweepigirl

» AS is a very difficult diagnosis to make.
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeThu Oct 08, 2009 1:47 pm by csweepigirl

» How is everyone?
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeMon Sep 21, 2009 9:48 pm by Jerry Graham

» CD to benefit the AAA ~!!!!! Check this out!!
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeMon Sep 21, 2009 11:14 am by bassfiddlesteve

» I met Joe Diffie's son!
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeSun Sep 20, 2009 8:01 am by csweepigirl

» Anyone feel like helping me smack the crap out of my former boss?
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeSun Sep 20, 2009 7:56 am by csweepigirl

» Lazy or Aspergers?? or both?
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeSun Sep 20, 2009 5:20 am by man of a million names

» The right thing?
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeTue Sep 15, 2009 7:27 am by man of a million names

» Mark Fowler and his wonderful work.
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeSun Sep 13, 2009 5:51 am by man of a million names

» A.A.A. RESEARCH STUDY. Do you see any differences between females with Aspergers vs. males with Aspergers
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeThu Sep 10, 2009 1:49 pm by csweepigirl

» What happened?? because I don't know, do you?
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeThu Sep 10, 2009 6:24 am by man of a million names

» Haha, Funny URL.
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeWed Sep 09, 2009 9:15 am by man of a million names

» Dude! Kim, I forgot to tell you... and maybe anyone else at the last meeting...
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeSat Sep 05, 2009 4:59 am by man of a million names

» My son is making strange noises!
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeFri Sep 04, 2009 11:41 pm by KelleyNNelson

» Terrible sound on video
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeFri Sep 04, 2009 9:30 am by man of a million names

» Aspian or Aspergian?
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeFri Sep 04, 2009 7:22 am by man of a million names

» If you, or you know someone who needs a BIG/HUGE carseat..
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeFri Sep 04, 2009 12:33 am by csweepigirl

» Just a quick hello
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeWed Sep 02, 2009 7:37 am by man of a million names

» We started the FLDRS process...and here's what we found out so far
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeWed Sep 02, 2009 7:19 am by man of a million names

» Support Groups
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeSun Aug 30, 2009 1:31 pm by KelleyNNelson

» (Aspergers) Boy Meets Girl Movie
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeTue Aug 25, 2009 8:13 am by man of a million names

» I give up, with trying to ever just relax, really.. I'm so flustrated!
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeMon Aug 24, 2009 9:15 am by man of a million names

» Basic White or Yellow Cake
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeSat Aug 22, 2009 6:33 am by man of a million names

» When did this category get here?
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeSat Aug 22, 2009 1:55 am by man of a million names

» Pork Fried Rice
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeThu Aug 20, 2009 11:17 pm by man of a million names

» Why Are The Private Messages Still Disabled????
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeThu Aug 20, 2009 10:48 pm by man of a million names

» Sorry I've been M.I.A.
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeWed Aug 19, 2009 6:04 am by man of a million names

» 5Km Run For AS!
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeFri Aug 14, 2009 11:30 pm by man of a million names

» Help for a mother.
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeWed Aug 12, 2009 12:01 pm by Dr. Ron

» Aspergers and empathy
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeSat Aug 08, 2009 11:41 am by csweepigirl

» We are the three amigo(a)s!Aanyone care to join?
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeFri Aug 07, 2009 12:42 am by man of a million names

» Vaccinations, Red Book, What?
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeThu Aug 06, 2009 12:21 am by Dr. Ron

» What is the first step?
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeWed Aug 05, 2009 7:14 am by Dr. Ron

» Children who can’t cuddle
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeMon Aug 03, 2009 1:27 pm by csweepigirl

» Challenging popular myths about autism
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeFri Jul 31, 2009 10:59 pm by Dr. Ron

» I NEED your HELP!!
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeSat Jul 25, 2009 2:41 am by melissa

» Ok..what do I do? any suggestions..
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeFri Jul 24, 2009 3:53 am by melissa

» Back home!
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeWed Jul 22, 2009 2:10 pm by KelleyNNelson

» Any spanish speakers willing to help an aspie in spain?
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeWed Jul 22, 2009 1:34 pm by csweepigirl

» Gluten Free Simple Bread
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 21, 2009 11:49 am by csweepigirl

» More research (genetics)
Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help I_icon_minitimeTue Jul 21, 2009 11:43 am by csweepigirl


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Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help

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csweepigirl

csweepigirl
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Social Skills for Children and Teens with Asperger's Syndrome: How Schools and Families Can Help


When asked about the students she sees with Asperger's, Ver Ploeg says that often they experience many problems. For example, a very bright student was brought to her who was being expelled for the last six weeks of school - and it was the third year in a row in which he had incurred expulsion. For these students, frustration often mounts because they do not cope well with stress. Many of the stresses they face involve their inability to read social cues as well as other students do; and consequently, they make social mistakes and are often bullied. But instead of seeing students with Asperger's as indifferent to their social ineptitude, Ver Ploeg says that children with Asperger's as young as eight years old suffer an agony of loneliness. One eight year old told her, "I can't make friends. I don't have friends." It is only later, as these children grow older, that she sees them make an adjustment, and adapt to the lack of a more complete social life. She is certain that at every age they care very strongly for others, even though they often have great difficulty expressing their feelings.

The School Environment
Schools can exacerbate these problems, or they can help alleviate some of the difficulties that children and teens with Asperger's Syndrome face. Ver Ploeg tells the story of a young boy who was one of 800 students in a gym - being supervised by one teacher. A large group of boys started bullying the boy with Asperger's, teasing him about why he was hiding in the corner. Finally he picked up a chunk of broken concrete and threw it at them. He was punished, and sent to her office for counseling. But no one sent the bullies to her office. Clearly, that particular school was unhelpful, and probably should have dealt with the incident very differently. Ver Ploeg says that a simple hall pass, allowing the child with Asperger's to remove himself from what must have seemed a threatening and confusing situation, could have solved the problem on that day. Hall passes provided as an outlet for times of social stress, offer a simple, practical solution.

Some smaller schools, such as some of the small rural schools Ver Ploeg works with in Alaska, have fewer problems because they practice an ethic of inclusion. Because all the students and teachers know each other (and perhaps in part because of local cultures emphasizing community), there is more acceptance. Students get used to someone behaving differently, and use expressions such as, "That is just him" (or her). In these kinds of schools with inclusion settings, bullying is addressed by the whole group. Children may even explain the situation to each other. The inclusion provides the acceptance that fosters healthier relationships.

Diagnosis
Diagnosing students with Asperger's and then designing a program to meet their needs can challenge the creativity of teachers and specialists. Asperger's diagnoses are far from clear-cut; there are quite a few wrong diagnoses, and sometimes even correct diagnoses are a matter of degree rather than absolute certainty. Ver Ploeg looks for a combination of factors, including physical awkwardness, such as walking without swinging the arms or an unnatural walk, poor handwriting, lack of eye contact, nonverbal learning disabilities, and the presence of more social problems than most children have. Often other members of the near or extended family have Asperger's or related symptoms or behavior patterns. The label, "Autism Spectrum Disorder", can be upsetting for a family, but can help a child get much needed services. She has seen a rise in Asperger's diagnoses in the past few years, as the condition has gained recognition, and perhaps due to other factors.

In a new book, Unstrange Minds: Remapping the World of Autism, anthropologist Roy Richard Grinker argues that his research shows that rather than an autism epidemic, there has simply been a dramatic shift in the effectiveness of diagnoses for autism spectrum disorders, including an increase in diagnoses for milder conditions such as Asperger's Syndrome. But Ver Ploeg points out that the research that locates Asperger's on the autism spectrum is itself shaky. While some Asperger's Syndrome symptoms seem similar to symptoms of classic autism, Ver Ploeg notes that there is no final conclusion that Asperger's is actually part of the spectrum. In fact, she argues, Asperger's students often show true emotional connectedness, including an ability to empathize that is less characteristic of autism; the difficulties that students with Asperger's Syndrome face are tied to perceptual problems with nonverbal communication, and problems with their ability to draw social inferences, more than to any underlying emotional disconnection. But regardless of whether there is a rising epidemic of Asperger's Syndrome, or simply a greater number of correct diagnoses, schools must provide adequate programming that enables these children to learn and thrive. While Ver Ploeg reserves judgment on whether Asperger's Syndrome is truly a form of autism, she recognizes that the Autism Spectrum Disorder diagnosis helps ensure that adequate services reach these children.

School Programs for Asperger's Syndrome
The best school programs honor all students' needs, including the students with Asperger's, and that may mean, for the Asperger's students, bypassing much of the regular curriculum and focusing on areas that are interesting to them, and intellectually stimulating. If school is fun and challenging for these students, and they have opportunities to share their special interests, they will do better both academically and socially. Because many students with Asperger's are also very bright, the school may have to make extra efforts to meet their needs academically. Ver Ploeg took one student to a high school algebra class every day for an hour when the child was still in elementary school. Social skills training can be even more of a challenge for the regular school, but several approaches can work well, including teaching problem-solving methods, weekly social skills training sessions, and video-taping students and letting them see themselves, so that they can gradually make adjustments to their social behavior. Sensory integration issues may also be important for many children and teens with Asperger's; for them to adjust fully to the classroom, it often helps to allow these students to move away from a bright window, or to wear headphones, or dark glasses. Parents should be fully involved in learning about their children's needs in school, and should meet with school personnel during the IEP and as part of any counseling programs offered to Asperger's children and their families.

The Home Environment
The home environment can also help or hinder the child or teen with Asperger's. Ver Ploeg says she has seen some wonderful homes, where children find both unconditional love, and firm boundaries that provide a necessary structure to their lives. She illustrates her point with a story about a family she knows. When she talks to the father, he says of his son, "Oh, we think he is wonderful - sure he's different from other kids, but he's our boy." This family is very structured, sticks to a schedule with their son's activities, and warns him if changes are coming up. They drive him to regular after school classes for physical activities such as swimming. The family members pour a lot of energy and love into this child, but at the same time, provide him with lots of structure. It can be a challenge for families to be so supportive, but the effort pays off. Some home environments are so well adjusted for the child that the Asperger's Syndrome is not noticed.

One of the most important ways that the parents can be supportive - and bridge the distance between school and home - is to organize play dates when the parent can be present to help facilitate social interactions when needed. Visits from friends seem to work best for children with Asperger's when a parent is involved and provides highly structured activities that all the children will enjoy. For example, volunteering to be a scout leader is one way to ensure a regular flow of such activities in a structured social environment.

If parents, teachers, and school personnel can find ways to honor and respect the special needs and the special abilities of children with Asperger's, these children will have a good chance of finding their way in the adult world as well. In the schools, honoring and respecting must take the form of ensuring acceptance for the Asperger's student's differences, as well as supportive programming for those different needs and abilities. In the case of the parents, Ver Ploeg stresses the importance of unconditional love for the unique child they have, and providing a structured, consistent environment. The crucial early interventions must help these young students to love education, and to think about their future. While many go through a rough period during adolescence, with support they can often emerge into a future with a shining array of possibilities.

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