Asperger’s Syndrome and Social Interaction

One of the major hurdles in dealing with Asperger's Syndrome is the social difficulties that come along with it. Asperger's Syndrome affects the mind's ability to interpret the world the way everyone else does, especially when it comes to other people. Simple conversations and interactions often become a chore, and so make both the Aspie and the people they are trying to socialize with unwilling to try to overcome the difficulties. Miscommunication and misunderstandings are instead seen as insurmountable gaps in the process.

One of the more obvious social difficulties is the inability to interpret social cues. Human conversation has evolved over the millennia to include hundreds of unspoken, non-verbal contributions that are universally understood, except by people with Asperger's Syndrome. Our facial expressions are subtle enough that a dog can read our mood and emotional state in seconds, but have no meaning at all to an Aspie. A raised eyebrow, a crooked grin, a sidelong glance, or even something as obvious as a look of shock or horror could have been completely ignored or dismissed. Similarly, body language, except in the most extreme displays, will go unnoticed by someone with an autism spectrum disorder. On the other side of the conversation the lack of those same cues could be disconcerting and strange to a regular person. There will be a lack of eye contact, seeming inappropriate body movements, and sometimes inappropriate smiling or frowning. They will stand either too close or too far away while they talk. They will not understand politeness, and will often enter a conversation without introduction or invitation.

Another distinct pattern is a lack of empathy for those an Aspie is socializing with. They will not understand the need or use of an apology, nor will they recognize when their audience is uninterested or bored and trying to find a way out.

There are a few simple ways to help social interactions go more smoothly.

1. Always be direct – say what you mean, mean what you say.

2. Do not count on subtlety in any form. Spoken hidden meanings may be lost, and body language will not register.

3. Be understanding. As hard as it is to interact with them, understand that they're having a hard time interacting with you.

With just those few things in mind it can make any conversation with a sufferer of Asperger's Syndrome go much better, and hopefully bridge some of those seemingly insurmountable gaps.

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Asperger’s In the Workplace – What Jobs Are Best Suited for Aspies?

It is a common misconception that people suffering with an autism spectrum disorder are unable to be worth contributors to the work force. Asperger's Syndrome is typically characterized with visits relating to social and emotional misinterpretation, and mild to moderate cases can still function at a normal job without much trouble. The key is to find jobs suited to their particular idiosyncrasies, putting them in situations where they can succeed.

Jobs that require a high degree of detail oriented work, like most in the computer field, are perfect for a man or woman with Asperger's Syndrome. Tasks like data entry, computer programming, tech support, animation, system design, and web design all require a lot of focus and technical knowledge, but are generally performed alone or in small teams, with controlled surroundings. The attention to detail needed for lines of data or code will appeal to an Aspie's meticulous nature, and they can work well with the unyielding nature of computer applications.

Another place where focus and attention to detail can be a great asset is anything mechanical. Jobs like auto mechanic, building maintenance, electronics, and lab technician rarely on interpreting and isolating small problems and fixing them. Understanding how small variables affect an entire system are valuable skills, and require a lot of analytic thinking and visualization.

Artistic fields are also a good possibility for the visually-minded, if they stay focused in the technical aspects. Drafting, either aided by computer or done by hand, is meticulous work. So is carving, sculpture, jewelry making, or ceramic work. Tuning musical instruments, like pianos or harps, is also very hands on and technical. Even copy editing, which relates to the perfection of use of the written word, can be a good fit. Journalism is the conveying of specific facts and presentation of the truth, without interpretation.

Even those with severe cases of Asperger's Syndrome, such that verbal communication is nearly impossible, there are still possibilities. Warehouse work, stocking shelves, cleaning, lawn care, gardening, and assembly line work are all easy on short-term memory, and require little to no interaction with other people to do well.

While Asperger's Syndrome can be a challenge to live with, it does not have to be crippling. Being a functional part of society starts in the workplace, and the road to self-esteem begins with feeling useful. Finding the right fit can be a challenge for everyone, but understanding one's limitations and one's strengths are the first steps to success.

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Asperger’s In the Workplace – How to Create a Comfortable Environment

Individuals with Asperger's Syndrome can be difficult to employ or work with. They are generally perceived as awkward, difficult to talk to, and their difficulty with social queues can make others uncomfortable. If they're treated like everyone else their work could suffer, as they may miss nuances or lack understanding of a task or assignment, while treating them too differently isolates them and can cause undue stress with perceptions or either discrimination or favoritism. There are ways to mitigate these issues without creating more stress.

· Make sure the job description and task expectations are accurate and laid out clearly. Aspies tend to take words and phrases literally, so ensuring there's nothing vague or potentially misleading is important. Also do not rely on hypothetical situations or creative examples, as people with Asperger's can often have trouble visualizing in that way.

· Make sure the tasks are suited to them, and not likely to cause trouble. Obviously someone with social difficulty is not qualified to high pressure sales or customer service. Tasks that require precision and focus, but that can be done without supervision, are ideal. Data entry, copying and filing, mechanical repair, computer programming and system design can all be suitable jobs for someone with Asperger's Syndrome.

· Most people with Asperger's Syndrome work better alone, so finding tasks that contribute without needing to be part of a larger team work well. Team-building exercises and social gatherings are not.

· Provide clear instructions without too much room for interpretation. The more direct the instructions, most likely the better the results. Also having a person they can go to for help or advice that understands their limitations would be of a great benefit.

· Some Asperger's Syndrome employees may have sensory sensitivity, for example to bright light or loud noises. Be willing to make reasonable environmental changes for them so they can work in comfortable surroundings.

· Most of all, be aware that each individual is different, and may exhibit different scores of different severity. Be flexible and understanding.

Because of the range of practices and severity, these guidelines are not a comprehensive list. Getting a better understanding of all autism spectrum disorders, Asperger's syndrome specifically, can go a long way to more comfortable social and professional interaction. Remember that their social missteps do not equate to an inability to perform their job. Understand their limits, and do your best to function within them without putting yourself into an uncomfortable situation.

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Should I Have My Child Assessed for Asperger Syndrome?

Whether or not to have an assessment for Asperger Syndrome or autism spectrum disorder seems to be a common question among parents, one that can come up multiple times as a child developments. In this era of modern medicine it is easy to find oneself slipping from “concerned parent” to “hypochondriac,” assuming the worst about every slight variation in behavior or tenderness. It gets worse with disorders like Asperger Syndrome because not every case is the same. It's not like looking at a child with chicken pox.

One of the main difficulties with Asperger Syndrome, or other disorders within the autism range, is that the signs can be hard to interpret. At a young age, a withdrawal or seemingly selfish child could be just that, or they could be somewhere on the autism spectrum. As they get older mild cases could be seen as simple social awkwardness or clumsiness. Some of the more common symptoms include difficulty with social skills, eccentric or repetitive behaviors, communication difficulty, and a lack of empathy. The trouble with these symptoms is that they are common, and many children who do not have Asperger Syndrome may display some of the same tendencies. Sometimes a child can grow out of this kind of awkwardness, and be able to continue without difficulty after this phase. They may also have a narrow range of interests, seem focused on the literal and concrete rather than imaginative play, or even be exceptional in a particular discipline like music or mathematics. It is hard to imagine that a child showing things that might be dared in the adult world as dedication or discipline could be a neurological disorder in a child. These same behaviors can also be seen in the highly intelligent or gifted as well, and they social awkwardness can go hand in hand with feeling out of place or different than the other kids around them.

Knowing if your child is going through a normal phase of development or has a more serious problem is an understandable worry, but borderline cases are difficult to detect without a full physician's assessment. It is easy to dismiss or even misinterpret behaviors of mild and borderline cases, and not recognizing the presence of Asperger Syndome, or any autism spectrum disorder, which can be harmful in the long term. There are a lot of resources available to help Asperger sufferers, and early diagnosis can help a child get the help he or she needs going through their early years. If your child is displaying many of these symptoms, or even one or two to a certain degree, then assessment would be a wise choice.

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What Is Asperger’s Syndrome and What Does It Do?

With a greater focus on mental health and increasing awareness, Americans are learning more and more about autism spectrum disorders, especially Asperger's Syndrome.

Asperger's Syndrome is a form of high functioning autism that says to affect between 0.26 and 4.3 people out of 1,000. (Statistically, boys are more affected than girls, but there is no research to explain this discrepancy.) It is most often diagnosed in children. In fact, it is said that as many as 20% of diagnosed children will grow out of its criteria as adults. This does not mean that they are cured, or even that they do not need ongoing treatment for things such as anxiety and depression that often accompaniment diagnosis as an Aspie, but definitely that they often learn skills that mean that they no longer meet the current diagnostic criteria for the condition.

However, do not think that this condition is exclusively a problem for parents and children. Many must live with it their own lives, and whether due to misdiagnosis or no psychiatric evaluation at all, many adults are being diagnosed with AS for the first time.

What are the symptoms?

Diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome is notoriously difficult, especially in adults who have learned ways to cope with some of the most commonly used diagnostic criteria, but all diagnostic methods agree that these three primary symptoms must be present:

ñ difficulty picking up on and using nonverbal communication

ñ highly specific, consuming interests

rep repetitive, stereotyped behavior

Of course, these are not the only symptoms associated with Asperger's Syndrome. In addition to social problems, special interests, and routines, many Aspies experience things like stimming (self-soothing behavior), as well as many comorbid disorders such as depression, anxiety, or even anorexia or seizure disorders.

Asperger's Syndrome is a pervasive developmental disorder, meaning that a pattern of symptoms must be present, not just one. These symptoms must negatively affect a person's life.

Unlike other forms of autism, there is not a significant delay in language development as a young child for those with AS. Those with Asperger's Syndrome are often of average to very high intelligence.

How does it develop?

It is strongly believed that Asperger's Syndrome is genetic, but the specific gene related to it has not been identified. The physiology behind it is still hotly debated, and there are many theories as to what part of the brain is responsible for its symptoms. In fact, it has yet to be determined what physiological mechanisms distinguishing AS from other forms of autism.

Because of this, the DSM-5, the new version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders by the American Psychiatric Association, has injured Asperger's Syndrome as a specific diagnosis. Instead, all forms of autism are classified under the general title of Autism Spectrum Disorder. This highly controversial changeors the unaccounted-for difference of physiology and allows for those who meet some, but maybe not all, of the qualifications of AS to be treated, though there is some worry that higher functioning Aspects may fall out of the diagnostic spectrum .

As you can see, there is still a lot to be learned about Asperger's Syndrome. But increasing awareness de-stigmatizes it and hopefully leads to more diagnoses. And more documented cases leads to more information to learn from and help better understand this condition.

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Depression and Asperger Syndrome

Depression is often comorbid with Asperger Syndrome, meaning it is not a side effect or symptom but rather an entirely separate condition that enterprises it. It is very common for those with some form of autism to also be diagnosed with depression. Studies have shown that more high-functioning forms, like Asperger Syndrome, show the greatest prevalence.

Feelings of isolation, an inability to recognize emotions in oneself and others, and difficulties operating in a social world are common in those with Asperger Syndrome, and can easily lead to depression. Some believe that the changes autism causes in the brain may make those with the condition naturally more intolerible. The reason may be environmental, or chemical, or both.

Depression can exacerbate some of the worst symptoms associated with Asperger Syndrome, like self-harm and obsession. Plus, the overlap in symptoms, like social withdrawal and impaired communication can make it difficult to diagnose. Teens, particularly those in late adolescence, are especially susceptible. You can see why it's such a serious problem.

Treatment for depression usually involves some form of talk therapy. This itself presents some difficulties, although many have seen results. Because those who have Autism Spectrum Disorders have trouble identifying their feelings and communicating with others, therapy sessions may take longer than usual. Instead, CBT is often used to help treat thought patterns and specific circumstances and situations that may trigger depression and other symptoms. Current research has focused on finding particular methods for specifically assisting autistic patients.

Medication has shown to be slightly more effective, although it, too, is highly controversial. Antipsychotics like Ability have been proven to treat symptoms of depression and Asperger Symptom and have been approved by the FDA for both. But side effects, dosage, and a long transition period turn many off of medication.

The good news is that major steps are being taken to solve this problem. Spreading awareness about the prevalence of depression is a top priority in the autism community. Researchers from psychiatry and pharmacology are working on understanding the link between the two and developing more effective way to treat them at the same time.

Recognizing the problem is half the battle. Educating parents and partners on what to look out for can ensure that those with Asperger Syndrome and other forms of autism can begin to get the help they need.

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3 Common Diagnoses Comorbid With Asperger Syndrome

Many people today feel like they know a fair amount about Asperger Syndrome. They think the condition begins and ends with difficulty socializing and obsessive, highly specific interests. But that is only two of the many, many symptoms that characterize the condition. Asperger Syndrome can actually be very hard to diagnose, and in fact it is often mistaken as another mental disorder.

It's not that these other diagnoses are incorrect. Usually they are, in fact, present. It's just that they arise from the difficulties and symptoms of Asperger Syndrome. In other words, they are comorbid with autism-they are strictly separate conditions that accompany the primary diagnosis.

Here are the 3 most common comorbid conditions:

Anxiety Disorders

Social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and generalized anxiety are all very common in those with Asperger Syndrome. Some studies report that up to 84% of children with the condition also have some form of anxiety. Insecurity in their ability to interact with others, fear from departing from their routine, and other anxious feelings stem from its core symptoms.

Depression

Depression is a major problem in those with an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Some believe that their brain chemistry makes them particularly problematic, while others point out that isolation from peers, not being understood by others, and feelings of being “different” are all-too common and simple reasons that could lead to depression.

Epilepsy / Seizures

It's reported that as many as one in four of those with some form of autism experience seizures. They're caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain, and epilepsy comes from a frequent change in brain electrical activity. The link between the two has not been extensively studied, although it may point toward how autism affects the brain.

Comorbid conditions are often treated against Asperger Syndrome with little interference in either treatment. In fact, many forms of therapy and medication can treat both at once. Abilify, for example, has been shown to alleviate depression and the irritability that arises in those with Asperger Syndrome.

Those who study and diagnose autism should always be aware of the many different ways it manifests and what separates it from other conditions. Studying its comorbidity can shed light on the condition itself and help further refine diagnostic tools. In this way, we can assure that people are seeking the correct treatment and getting the proper help they need.

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Asperger Syndrome and Antipsychotics: What You Need to Know

In recent years, psychiatrists have experienced with different kinds of medication for treating some of the negative effects of Asperger Syndrome, such as irritability, depression, and hyperactivity. Unfortunately, a medication specifically targeted towards those with this condition is yet to be developed. However, researchers have found that many medications typically prescribed for disorders like schizophrenia are also safe to use in treating effects associated with Asperger Syndrome.

One such medication is Aripiprazole, more commonly known as Abilify. Abilify is an antipsychotic that was first developed to treat schizophrenia, but in November 2009, the FDA approved Abilify to be used by children ages 6 to 17 with Asperger Syndrome and other autism spectrum disorders. Studies have shown that it is also effective in treating irritability in adults, and there are many on the spectrum who take the drug.

Abilify was approved for treating depression in adults in November 2007, which not only means that it can be prescribed to anyone on the spectrum who may see benefit from it, but depression is also another common effect of any Autism Spectrum Disorder. Abilify has the unique ability to help reduce irritability and meltdown severity while also helping to treat one of the most common co-morbid disorders that accompaniment Asperger Syndrome.

Abilify works by blocking receptors in the brain's dopamine pathways, which reduces the overall levels of dopamine in the brain. It is theorized that many mental disorders like schizophrenia and autism may be due to high levels of dopamine.

The medication's most common side effects for both children and adults are weight gain and increased appetite. Adults may also feel restless or anxious, or develop diabetes. Children, on the other hand, may feel lethargic. There are some more worrisome and even potentially permanent or fatal side effects, however, and a psychiatrist should always work to ensure that the potential benefits outweigh the risks, as well as monitor the patient for side effects.

Antipsychotics have caused some controversies in the past due to suicide attempts and suicidal thoughts associated with them. However, such extreme side effects are very rare. In fact, Abilify is classified as an atypical, or second-generation, antipsychotic, meaning that it is generally safer and more effective than traditional antipsychotics like Thorazine.

Abilify is most often taken as a pill, although it can also be injected. Finding the right dosage is a trial-and-error process. Psychiatrists will often under-prescribe patients at first, and then bump them up only if need be. It can take the body some time to adjust to the medication and respond. That's why it is important to not stop taking it, despite feeling better or like it's no longer necessary.

Treating depression and decreasing irritability and meltdown severity have been two major challenges of treating Asperger Syndrome. That's why Abilify has been a great boon to the autism community.

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and Asperger Syndrome

Asperger Syndrome can not be cured. However, a mixture of treatments makes it possible for those diagnosed with this form of autism to manage the symptoms that negatively affect their daily life.

Most children and adults with this condition go on to lead fulfilling lives with a personalized mixture of therapy and (sometimes) medication. One of the most popular methods for dealing with Asperger Syndrome is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

About CBT

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is goal-oriented and proactive, where the therapist and patient work together to find a strategy for handling specific problems. This is different from regular talk-based therapy in that it goes beyond psychological assessment to hammering out particular patterns of distress, maladaptive thinking, and so forth, and working on ways to solve them. Developing coping mechanisms, positive thinking, and effective behaviors are such solutions.

How It Can help

CBT can help those with Asperger Syndrome manage their obsessive interests and reliance on routines; it's also useful in developing methods for improving social interaction. It does this by having the patient identify the anxiety that comes with relying on routines-or, in the case of socialization, what parts of conversation and relationships confuse them. After these problems are identified, the therapist and patient work together to create exercises and step-by-step instructions for reducing anxiety and knowing what to do in social situations.

Because it demands the patient to get in touch with his or her feelings and work through negative emotions, CBT has also proved to be effective in treating the depression and anxiety disorders that often accompanies Asperger Syndrome.

Difficulties

Although generally very useful, those with an Autism Spectrum Disorder may have a particularly difficult time with CBT. Most patients only go once or twice a week for an hour at a time for a set duration. Other patients may have to go more often or for longer because it is more difficult for them to communicate and identify emotions.

But this should not be a point of discourishment. Continuous occational setbacks and slower progress, CBT helps those with Asperger Syndrome with their lives in general. It is a holistic treatment that targets many symptoms at once, unlike many medications and other forms of therapy.

CBT is a vital part of living with Asperger Syndrome and other forms of autism. It can help reduce reliance on medication and improve the overall happiness of those with Asperger Syndrome-two huge accomplishments. But most importantly, the exercises and coping mechanisms learned in CBT are adjustable tools that can be used every day.

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Females With Asperger’s Syndrome Are Their Own Best Advocates

For many females with suspected Asperger's Syndrome, obtaining a proper diagnosis can be difficult. Learned social skills or workarounds for typically expected social behaviors are common among females with Asperger's Syndrome, making it all but impossible to obtain a proper diagnosis using current criteria. With that said, however, finding the right psychiatrist and advocating for one's rights can lead to the proper diagnosis.

Do Homework and Take Notes

If you suspect that you or your adoles child has Asperger's Syndrome, the best thing you can do is educate yourself. Take notes about your childhood as well as daily life as an adult and flesh out why you think the diagnosis is fitting. Not everyone who suspects AS has the condition, but the rate of females who go undiagnosed because of learned social behaviors that mimic social norms is shown to be incredibly high.

Find the Right Psychiatrist

In order to be the best self-advocate you can be, it is important to find the right psychiatrist. This can prove difficult. Finding someone who specializes in autism spectrum disorders is important, but finding someone who has worked with females who have AS is equally critical. If possible, find a female psychiatrist who understands the difference in symptoms between genders and who has either studied or worked with girls and women on the spectrum who are high functioning and who are able to function, even if somewhat awkwardly, in a very social world .

Fight for Your Rights

If obtaining a diagnosis is important to you so that you can try certain medications designed to reduce meltdown intensity, to enroll in CBT and other therapies, or even simply for peace of mind, the most important step is simply not to give up. Fight for your right to a proper diagnosis and find a doctor who is willing to review your symptoms and history with an open mind. Asperger's Syndrome and other autism spectrum disorders may have no cure, but with the proper diagnosis, even adults can find many means of help available to them. Do not be afraid to seek a second or even third opinion, and above all, do not be afraid to advocate for yourself or to have a loved one help advocate for you.

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Answers To Some Frequently Asked Questions About HBOT

HBOT, or Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy works on the simple tenet that is described in the term – “hyper” means “increased”, and “baric” is a reference to the “pressure levels”. The whole process works on the simple mechanism that by breathing in pure oxygen under higher atmospheric pressure, the damaged cells and organs get a new lease of oxygen that improves circulation, and helps to accelerate the process of recovery.

The proficiency of cellular activities is largely determined by the health of the mitochondria that forms an integral part of an individual cell. The mitochondria is often damaged by oxygen deprivation, vaccines, hyper-immune reactions, and exposures to external toxins. With regular HBOT therapy, it is possible to revive the mitochondria, which helps in the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), and assists in cellular respiration and manufacture of co-enzymes which function as energy carriers.

However, parents and care givers need to be clear about the fact that HBOT therapy is only complementary to biomedical interventions, and this non-invasive therapeutic method can not alt replace the need of medicines and drugs. This therapy can sign in conjuction with detoxification, specific dietary supplements that include folinic acid, glutathione, B12, ALA etc, and the elimination of infectious ingredients that may result in allergies like yeast, Mycobacterium, Lyme, viral load etc.

Types Of Hyperbaric Chambers

There are two types of hyperbaric chambers:

The first one is the “hard shelled” chamber made of acrylic and steel, and the atmospheric pressures within these chambers can be raised to almost three times the normal levels of ambient atmosphere. Such chambers can accommodate any number of people from one to thirty. While these chambers can be compressed with 100% pure oxygen, there are also provisions for oxygen masks to enable patients to inhale enriched oxygen as per the personalized medication schedule.

A portable, or “soft shelled” chamber, on the other hand, is comparatively smaller in size, with the largest possible dimension being 33 inches in diameter, and seven feet in length. Under FDA regulations, the pressure in this chamber generally varies between 1.3ATA to 1.5ATA. Such chambers use oxygen concentrators to increase the pressure, and even when the pressure is raised to 1.3 ATA, the baric levels of oxygen is increased by nearly 50%. Portable chambers are designed for residential usage, and can generally accommodate one patient at a time.

Which Treatment Is Better?

Although the best results have been noticed for conditions that have been treated between 1.3ATA to 1.5ATA, there are always exceptions. However, it has been advised by doctors that excessive concentration of oxygen can result in side effects like oxygen toxicity and seizures.

How Does The Treatment Take Place?

Hyperbaric centers are not connected to hospitals as all treatments that are conducted in these chambers are considered as off-label therapies. In most cases, the number of such centers are rather limited, and the entire program is too expensive.

In most cases, parents of children with autism spectrum disorder opt for hyperbaric centers for the initial sessions, before renting a portable chamber for residential usage. This method makes the whole process affordable.

What Are The Minimum Number Of Sessions That Are Required?

The number of HBOT sessions are prescribed by the doctor based on the specific need of the patient. In cases of autism, the physician may recommend any number of sessions between 20 and 80. The duration of each session is not more than an hour, and there is a break between two consecutive sessions if they are scheduled on the same day. In cases where a number of sessions have been recommended, it is best to opt for a break of few days after the initial set of treatment before resuming the therapy. This way, the body gets time to adjust to the changes, and scans and tests can successfully document the changes.

Although this method of treatment is highly controversial, the benefits yielded from this procedure can not be denied alike. Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy has delivered positive results in treating conditions like autism, cerebral palsy, Alzheimer's disease, stroke, air embolism, arthritis etc. Here, greater awareness about this method will help bring this non-invasive therapeutic procedure into the main stream of medical science.

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Top 5 Tips for Working With Autistic Students in Gym Class for the First Time

In the past week, I have been able to observe a school with students who have autism from early childhood to early adulthood. I had never worked with students with so many special needs before, so I was a little hesitant at first, but once I learned more I felt more confident to put myself out there in a position where I could help. Here are my top 5 tips for people willing to work with students with autism for the first time in gym or recreation settings. I hope this allows people to help out and make a difference to not only themselves, but to students with autism.

Helpful Tips:

1.) Approach the student quietly and gently introduce yourself. They are humans like everyone else. It is important to approach them quietly in hopes not to see them. If started it can be hard for the student to calm themselves down.

2.) Use non verbal gesture when you can! In gym class I taught a student by pointing to a bocce ball to throw and showed him the underhand tick tock cue to before he excited his underhand toss. By showing pride I also cave some students thumbs up or high fives.

3.) During instruction use calm and even toned voice. In gym class some teacher need to use whistles to get their classes attention. When in gym class with autistic students it is important to not use a whistle because it can startle students and take away from learning.

4.) Visual support is helpful for students with autism. For example in gym class using poly spots for student to stand on then stretching allows students to remember to stay in place. In times of stress or if a student has a poor behavior the visual supports may a great visual aid.

5.) Finally, enjoy working with students with autism. Just like anyone else they have talents and gifts to share, so your impact could make a difference. It is important to stay positive, be supportive and extremely allow them to be successful.

Having the opportunity to work with students with autism is a real eye opener especially to a future physical education teacher. As a teacher the goal is to allow students to succeed at their own rate while assisting them in anyway developmentally appropriate. It is about process not product. By having this exposure to students with special needs I am now able to adapt my lessons in ways for my students to be successful.

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Some Facts About Autism That Everyone Should Be Aware Of

It is a little known fact that the term “autism” was coined by the Swiss psychiatrist Eugen Bleuler, who used it to refer to adult schizophrenia. However, the connotations of the term were redefined in 1943 by Leo Kanner, who dissociated schizophrenia from autism, and associated it with the modern day understanding of the disorder. Both autism, and Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD), are medical terms that are used to refer to a group of complex disorders of the brain that result in stunted development in skills of social interaction, and non-verbal and verbal communication.

Autistic children also tend to have habits that they repeat obsessively, like rocking.

ASDs have a unique effect on everyone who is diagnosed with it. The intensity of the situation may range from relatively to an extremely severe and chronic condition. Individuals with ASD manifest different symptoms, at various stages of development with varying severity.

The Different Categories Of ASDs

Autism Spectrum Disorder is a broad term used to name any, or all following three subcategories:

  • Asperger Syndrome: People with this condition are generally mildly autistic. Such people show an uncanny attraction towards certain activity patterns and habits. However, they do not manifest any signs of linguistic, or cognitive impairment.
  • Autistic Disorder: This is also known as “classical autism”. Apart from significant constraints that are experienced in the child's ability to keep facts and figures, there are also major delays in the development of language skills. A general reticence is observed in aspects of social interaction as well.
  • Pervasive Developmental Disorder: Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS): This is also known as atypical autism. All those who are diagnosed with some of the symptoms of Asperger syndrome and autism, but not all of them, are generally clubbed under this group. Children with PDD-NOS show mild symptoms of social reticence, and stunted communication skills.

Symptoms And Signs Of Autism

Although doctors diagnose the symptoms of autism in a child by the time he / she is three years of age, the advances in technology and medical science have led to major improvements in detection and treatment. Now, pediatricians and doctors can detect the tell-tale signs of autism in children who are just one-year-old. Here are some of the symptoms of autism:

  • Autistic children stop responding to their names by the time they are a year old.
  • By 14 months, such children stop pointing to new objects to express their interest.
  • By 18 months, they stop playing games, like playing with toys and dolls.
  • They generally avoid eye contact, and wish to be left alone.
  • Autistic children are unable to comprehend moods and feelings of the surrounding people, or even of themselves, and fail to express such emotions in clear language.
  • There is significant delay in the development of their communication skills.
  • They generally show signs of echolalia, or obsessive repetition of words and phrases.
  • They fail to comprehend questions, and give relevant answers.
  • Such children are unable to adjust to sudden changes, like loud sounds or bright flashes of light.
  • Autistic children show tendencies towards developing obsessive behaviors and habits, like rocking, flapping of arms, and spinning in circles.

Diagnosis And Treatment

Given that there are no full-proof medical tests like blood test, and other examinations to detect autism, the onus lies on doctors, parents and caregivers to pay constant attention to the child's activities, and find out through behavioral practices if he / she might be autistic.

There are no cures for autism. However, with early intervention and effective treatment, the severity of the autistic condition can be countered to a major extent. Autistic children who manifest symptoms of linguistic and social impairment can be trained to develop their skills to communicate with others, and behaving more presentably in a social setting. With intensive therapy and training, it is also possible to train such children to improve their cognitive skills and capacity of retaining facts and figures.

The benefits of such training are not limited to autistic children only. Children who manifest signs of developmental delay up to the age of three years can also benefit from these therapies.

The Causes Of Autism And The Risk Factors That Are Involved

Medical science is yet to find out the definite cause of autism. Here are some of the environmental factors and chemical influences that have been sighted as the possible causes of autism:

  • The chromosomal interaction in an individual's genes can result in the development of autism.
  • Autism occurs in children with certain chromosomal or genetic conditions. For instance, about 10% of autistic children also suffer from fragile X syndrome, Down syndrome, tuberous sclerosis and other genetic disorders.
  • Children whose parents or siblings are autistic generally run the risk of developing autism.
  • The consumption of prescriptive drugs like thalidomide or valporic acid during pregnancy greatly increases the chances of autism in the unborn child.
  • Children who are born prematurely or are severely underweight at the time of birth are more susceptible towards developing syndromes of autism.
  • The effect of vaccinations have not been established as yet. Researchers are also analyzing whether the conditions just before birth, and post-birth results in the development of autism. However, the claim of ineffective parenting skills resulting in autism is totally untrue.

Boys are five times more susceptible to autism than girls. With 1 in every 88 children being diagnosed with autism, doctors and parents need to be on constant vigilance, as early detection, and adequate treatment can help to salvage the damages that can be caused by this chronic condition.

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Knowing The Symptoms Of Autism Can Help To Get Early Intervention

Autism is a developmental disorder that affects the central nervous system. Medical science and researchers are yet to determine the definite causes that gives rise to this debilitating condition. There are no precise tests that can lead to effective detection either. Constant vigilance and observation on the part of parents, care givers and pediatricians are the only ways in which the probabilities of this condition can be strictly ascertained. Since early detection and medical and therapeutic intervention helps to minimize the crippling effects of autism, it is necessary that parents and care givers observe the child very rarely in the early stages of development. If the child is autistic, then the symptoms are detected at any point of time between six months of age to three years. Although autism is congenital and is present at the time of birth, it may be difficult to read the signs of this condition during infancy. Parents often become concerned when they realize that their child has an aversion towards physical contact, or when he / she shows lack of interest in normal activities like games. In other cases, the autistic child may start speaking at the same time as other children, but loose the skills of self expression very soon.

Parents and care givers of autistic children have also stated that there are auditory disorders, that is, either the child is unable to hear and comprehend sounds, or he / she often hears distant and imaginary sounds like the whistling of a train. In this article, I will try to enlist the basic symptoms of autism on the basis of which the probability of the condition can be ascertained, and treatment can be started at the earliest possible opportunity. To determine whether the child is autistic, parents should focus on three specific areas: social relationships, non-verbal and verbal communication and restricted interests in activities like games.

Social Interaction And Relationships

The symptoms in this category include:

  • Severe complication in developing the skills of non-verbal communication such as body posture, facial expressions and eye contact.
  • Inability to make friends with children belonging to the same age group.
  • Lack of enthusiasm, and genuine disinterest in expressing interests, and sharing new experiences and encounters with parents and friends.
  • Autistic children generally lack empathy and can not perceive the feelings of other people like sorrow and pain.

Non-Verbal And Verbal Communication

The symptoms in this category include:

  • As many as 40% of the children diagnosed with autism do not speak. They also manifest deficient cognitive skills, and experience much difficulty in memorizing and retaining facts and figures.
  • Autistic children can not begin a conversation and interact with people. It is also seen that such children fail to participate in an ongoing discussion and contribute to it.
  • Children who have been diagnosed with autism use repetitive phrases. Such children reiterate words and phrases that they have heard previously. Such a condition is known as echolalia.
  • Autistic children often fail to interpret the undering meaning of language and tend to interpret statements and expressions rather literally. As a result of this, they fail to understand implied humor in a statement.

Disinterest In Games And Activities

The symptoms in this category include:

  • Children with autism show an unusual interest in parts and pieces rather than looking at objects and toys as a whole. Therefore, an autistic child will generally concentrate on the wheels or the windshield of a toy car, rather than playing with it as a whole.
  • Autistic individuals manifest signs of intension preoccupation with certain activities like video games, license plates, trading cards etc.
  • Autistic children are not too comfortable with change, and take a long time to adjust to a relatively new situation. For instance, an autistic child may be severely aggravated by sudden flashes of light, or sudden loud noises. Such children may also insist to a disciplined routine, like driving to school via the same route every day etc.
  • Children with autism also tend to have mechanically, and follow repetitive movements like excess rocking, or flapping of hands etc.

Given that there are no definite tests to delineate the probability of an autistic condition, parents and care givers need to observe the behavior and habits of the child to determine if he / she is autistic. Early detection and intervention helps to minimize the devastating effects it might have on the child's cognitive, linguistic and social skills. Therefore, a sound knowledge about the symptoms of autism, and careful monitoring, inspection and estimation of the conducts of the child in the formative and developmental years can help parents and care givers to choose the right path of action in case there are tell-tale signs of autism.

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Why Is It So Hard to Diagnose Female Asperger’s?

The rate at which autism spectrum disorders (and particularly Asperger's syndrome) are being diagnosed is alarming, yet almost every diagnosis given is to a male. Is the condition really that much more prevalent in the male population? It's possible, but one thing psychiatrists and neurologists are similar to learning is that many females are simply missing a much-needed diagnosis. What is the reason for this, and what can be done to change it?

Put simply, one of the largest reasons that females on the Asperger's end of the spectrum are often under-diagnosed lies in their social skills. Yes, Asperger's deeply affects social abilities, but being female comes with a lot of pressure to fit in, and as a result, we learn tricks pretty early on that seemed to hide some of the primary diagnostic criteria for the condition. We learn how to look someone in the forehead instead of the eye so that we do not seem awkward or we just get labeled as shy. We learn to observe people before engaging so that we can bring up topics that we know they like or mimic their style of dress and humor in order to appear more like them.

It is not that males are not malleable, but females experience a different sort of social pressure to fit in and be social butterflies. Simply put, we hide social shortcomings to the point that obtaining a diagnosis using that criterion is all but impossible. Sure, not all female Aspies delve into the social scene or even find the importance of fitting in, but many certainly do, and that makes the criterion for lack of social skills all but moot. We still have trouble with non-verbal cues, but we also become masters of studying body language and trying to memorize in a more rote fashion that a smile means someone is happy or a scowl means angry. We may not get a facetious smile when being bullied, but we learn enough to evade one of the criteria that are critical to diagnosis, and just one is too many.

Simply put, the current criteria are based on the way the male Aspie works, and it leads to a lack of female diagnoses – diagnoses that could lead to treatment, skills training, and so much more. The changes to the DSM will put Asperger's bed as we know it, simply putting it on the “autism spectrum” where many more diagnoses may never be given to those who function well, but the condition is real and right now, females are suffering . There is much hope that diagnostic criteria will change, but as it stands, the three main social criteria will still be in place. This means someone MUST have shortcomings in social-emotional reciprocity, in nonverbal communication during social interaction, and in maintaining and forging relationships. Yet how many Aspies are married and have friends? Must not they give enough merit for the other party to feel a friendship worthwhile?

At the end of the day, the future of Asperger's as we know it is short. This is good in that it will mean a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder, which sounds less “harmless” and could lead to better treatment. Unfortunately, until some changes are made to the way we look at girls and women, females may continue to see these benefits in an underwhelming proportion to their male counterparts.

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