Autism: C'hele's Story

June 18, 2007

Autism: Asperger’s Syndrome: In The Eye’s Of An Eleven Year Old Child~

Filed under: Aspberger Syndrome, Autism — C'hele @ 10:44

I found this the other day whilst I was in the midst of sorting through a plethora of paperwork that I dread to undertake when I have to. It was written a year ago in the same school I used to work in when I supported a young, medically fragile, young boy. This particular elementary school is well known in the district for being supportive to many cognitive and physically disabled young children. Each year they provide and teach a week-long educational program on various disabilities. Each classroom picks a particular special need and they spend the whole day going through every classroom in the school to educate the students on their chosen disability.

There is one young man there; an awkward, red-headed boy. I immediately took note of this boys physical restlessness and self-talk. His mother, someone whom I consider friend and a fellow parent advocate, is a cross-walking guard and noon hour supervisor of this school. We spoke off and on over the years and she would tell me how she was noticing very odd behaviour in her son. At school he was getting in trouble a lot; peers often made fun of him, and his teachers were continually frustrated with him and would often send him to the principles office.

There were many times when I would walk by with my student when he was in his wheelchair, by the principles office and I would notice the red-headed young man sitting in a chair located beside the principles office door. When I first noticed him sitting in the principles office, he would be sitting in his chair like he was sitting on hot coals. Later, as the year went on, his restlessness then turned into weeping. I remember speaking with his mother and she informed me of all the difficulties they were experiencing with their eleven year old son and the challenges they had receiving help now that their son was older. Asking her “what she though her sons challenge was“, she immediately replied: “Aspberger’s Syndrome. “ I immediately recommended and referred to her, a paediatrician who specializes in the field of autism. After they had an appointment with this doctor, help flowed out to this family but not without its stresses or frustrations. Their son missed receiving the early childhood that is so vital to his cognitive and physical well being. However! Better late than never and things over time improved for this young man and his family.

Once this young man received the formal label of Aspberger’s Syndrome, teachers became more understanding and tolerant and visits to the principal’s office were less frequent. He was able to receive autism funding that provided the necessary counselling and life-skills, educational materials and courses for his parents, and behavioural consultants that assisted the family when needed. Before I left this school, I watched with the pride as another parent of a child with autism, this young man take an important acting role of the conductor in a Christmas play on The Polar Express. Since I left this school, I have lost touch with this young man’s mother. But not for long, as parents of children with autism or any other disabilities may get lost in the business of life, but they never forget the heart to heart bonds and friendships that they make.

This young man, newly diagnosed, immediately volunteered to donate information on behalf of his class to educate others on the nature of Asperger’s Syndrome. The class dignified him by allowing him to proceed. This is what he wrote:

Asperger’s Syndrome

Everyone has challenges.

People with Asperger’s Syndrome have a different way of receiving and processing information.

They don’t always read a situation the same way as others do as they tend to be literal thinkers – seeing things either black or white, so they may not always respond appropriately.

It can be hard for them to interpret your facial expressions or understand what you mean.

They have to work twice as hard as everyone else, because not only are they learning “new math” or other information, they are decoding everything around them.

They don’t instinctively know some of the things that we “just know.” They have to be taught those things.

Yet they are very bright, creative people. Many famous and successful people have Asperger’s Syndrome. Examples would be: Albert Einstein, Wolfgang Mozart, Bill Gates, Henry Ford, Isaac Newton, and Alexander Graham Bell, just to name a few.

Experts say, “without Asperger’s people, man would still be living in caves.”

Ways to help someone with Asperger’s:

Be clear.

Say what you mean.

Don’t change the rules.

Give them time to adjust to changes.

Be kind, patient and understanding.

People with Asperger’s are more sensitive to the world around them and easily find themselves in sensory overload.

They may need a break and we should allow them to take this time.

Remember: people with Asperger’s Syndrome are just like you and I. They enjoy doing many of the same things. They don’t always know how to join in, or always know how to react appropriately. Sometimes all they need is our support.When I rediscovered this information that I had safely tucked away, I could not help but share it with my fellow online friends with children of autism and related disorders.

Peace to all.

C’hele

 

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11 Comments »

  1. Thanks for the post. And thanks for sharing.

    Smile.

    Comment by Clownscape — June 18, 2007 @ 23:37

  2. I’m in an emailish mood. I think one of my email addresses will come with this comment. If you write to me, I’ll write back.

    Comment by BONGO MIRROR — June 18, 2007 @ 23:58

  3. This was a great post. It was helpful and interesting to hear what this young man had to say about Asperger’s Syndrome since I know so little about it first-hand. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    Comment by mrachel — June 19, 2007 @ 04:20

  4. From my experience in the classroom, I would add to that list (Ways to help someone with Aspergers) – Give extra response time when asking a question. Just because an immediate response is not given doesn’t mean that haven’t heard or aren’t processing what you said.

    Comment by startingtoday — June 19, 2007 @ 04:42

  5. Thank you for sharing this. I think it is true in general that people with what we tend to call mental/emotional “disorders” are incredibly intelligent, creative individuals who are operating out of a different and not always congruent knowledge base. They know so many things that we do not . . . but the things we take for granted are mysterious to them.

    Comment by davidrochester — June 19, 2007 @ 08:19

  6. Hello startingtoday :). Thank you for commenting! In my experience, your comment is so right! However, extra response time is equivalent as allowing extra processing time :).
    For each child, the amount of processing time needed may vary due to each child’s unique sensory needs. Again you are right, unless a child is experiencing overstimulation, they most definitely heard the question, but need the time to cope so they are calm enough to answer. Thank you for visiting :).

    Comment by cheles — June 20, 2007 @ 11:30

  7. David? Yes, so true. These kids struggle immensely with the little things that we take in life for granted. This is what we to do: to help them learn and most importantly, how to cope in life(aka: life-skills).

    Comment by cheles — June 20, 2007 @ 11:32

  8. Cheles, a great post on the boy with Asperger’s. I work with kids who have lots of odd challenges, one of them being Asperger’s.

    Your advice was right on. Adults need to be more consistent with children generally. But, when you’re dealing with someone who has Asperger’s the expectation of consistency is huge for them. Black-and-white thinking is to be expected. Also, if you lay out expectations well ahead of time, keeping the possible pitfalls in mind, everything can go smoother.

    I wish everyone patience and luck who is working with these kids.

    Comment by rationalpsychic — June 25, 2007 @ 10:38

  9. Thank you so much “RP!” You are so right, we do alot of Pre-macking when we work with our kids. This approach is a god-send so the kids are able to process and cope for what is expected or is coming ahead of them. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and I salute you as a fellow autism advocate and supporter!

    Comment by cheles — June 26, 2007 @ 12:00

  10. “Many famous and successful people have Asperger’s Syndrome. Examples would be: Albert Einstein, Wolfgang Mozart, Bill Gates, Henry Ford, Isaac Newton, and Alexander Graham Bell”
    -No. I’m not sure if this is true or verified. You shouldn’t diagnose people who are dead.

    Comment by Brian — March 3, 2010 @ 00:53

    • Sorry for the delay in replying Brian. I believe that the above people you mentioned are. I remember reading in Temple Grandin’s book “Thinking in Pictures”, that the medical profession is considering gentic testing/screening to eliminate those who may have Autism/Asperger’s. She felt that it would be a terrible price to pay as many gifted and talented people would be wiped out. And I would agree. Personally, I love my job assisting these individuals. They are amazing people. If we all could percieve the world as they do, what a colourful world it would be.

      Comment by C'hele — April 1, 2010 @ 09:05


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