Autism: C'hele's Story

May 14, 2007

Autism: I’m Not A Bad Parent! I’m A Parent Of A Child With Asperger’s Syndrome ~ Part IV(Or

Filed under: Aspberger Syndrome, Autism, Special Needs — C'hele @ 16:23

Part IV

3. AS(D) kids are unable to perceive or predict what another person may think or feel and will be unable to “walk in another person’s shoes“. In the world of Autism, this is called Theory of Mind. Again, my daughter is unable to deceive others as she is not capable of figuring out what it is “that other person” may think, feel, do, or react in any given situation. Teaching these children about different facial expressions by the use of visual aids is important. It is also vital to gently remind these children when you are feeling anger, happiness, sadness, etc., as these children are often unable to interpret emotion or look you in the eyes. The reason for this is because they’ll be busy looking around in the environment instead of you. Many have the tendency to make eye contact but it is very brief before they quickly look away. In fact, if they could, they’d look “anywhere” but in your eyes when you are speaking to them (I have observed that it looks almost “painful“ for them to have to do this). AS people are considered by others (people unaware or uneducated about AS/Autism) to be bossy, arrogant, unreasonable or unsympathetic as they often fail to understand that other people have their own point of views and agendas and not everyone will think as they do.

Others may think that people with AS(D) have not been taught any manners. Again, I’m a horrible parent for not teaching Michaela the appropriate skills and she is sometimes a very rude child (but at least she’s honest!). Some AS(D) children are considered to be cold, heartless, un-empathetic and may appear to lack compassion. Michaela thank goodness, has strengths in these areas and is considered by most to be anything but cold or heart-less. She may be a bit too spacey and scattered at times to properly pay attention to another’s emotions perhaps, but she is definitely is not cold or heart-less. Like other AS kids, eye contact is difficult for her.These so-called unsympathetic children who lack empathy, do not do this by choice. In my understanding, this part of the brain has been damaged by the disorder. It is up to the parents and the child’s professional team to “teach” the necessary skills to help the child memorize “what emotion looks like” and that it is important to look at people when speaking. This is done via visual aids, strategies and constant repetition. It is also important to educate others that these people have a huge heart. If they appear cold, rude, un-empathetic and un-compassionate, it is to a large degree (not solely) based on the fact that they are unable to read the other person’s face.

People with Asperger’s Syndrome are “not” evil or mean people. They have more fortitude, an openness to trust, and a healthy sense of self than most typical people I know. For those who think that they have no other option but not to trust, they are able to choose; they can choose whether to go within and loose contact with the outside world (if they feel that they are not strong enough to handle it) or struggle, fight, and be a part of it. Any self-esteem challenges is due to their inability to conform with societies expectations and insensitive criticism by others.

To be continued…

C’hele

 

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