Tag Archives: Autism

SHY, GEEK, RUDE, AUTISM OR ASPERGERS

Parenting a shy kid?  A computer geek? One who doesn’t get manners or know how to be friends?   Starting to worry? Time to learn more.

IMAGE FROM: Lets chat autism. Another useful resource to visit.

ABOUT AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS (ASD) AND ASPERGERS

Autism is a group of developmental brain disorders.  Symptoms and burden vary greatly. The term “spectrum” refers to the wide range of symptoms, skills, and levels of impairment. Some live relatively normal lives and others barely function beyond the level of a toddler.

Aspergers is part of the spectrum or maybe not.  The shrinks are debating.

The numbers diagnosed with ASD or Aspergers seems to be growing, which makes more parents worry. The numbers may be growing only because of the growth of the psychiatric community which means many who had the disorder in the past didn’t get the label.  There may also be more children burdened by ASD or Aspergers for reasons not yet understood. Either way parents with children marching to very different drummers worry.

The main symptoms for all forms of Autism fall into three areas:

  1. Repetitive and stereotyped behaviors known by many as flapping, but can also involve intense fascination with objects, lights,  and sounds
  2. Delayed or no speech
  3. Marked difficulty socializing

 Once the child is out and about in the broader world, I add these three things to my worry list:

  1. Behavior that is troublesome wherever the child goes — that is usually the first sign a brain glitch is part of the problem and not how the child is treated in different environments.
  2. Not one friend of his or her age.
  3. Bullied or isolated by peers.  Differences make adults uncomfortable and children more so.

For lots more information about autism, the USA’s National Institute of Mental Health provides this site. 

For a parent’s perspective go to Flappiness Is.  Calum is a three year old, he has a five year old sister who is not autistic–what the autistic community calls neuro-typical.  Their mother writes movingly about parenting both and her blog  is a gift to those struggling to provide a good life for children challenged by this brain glitch.

PARENTING ADVICE ABOUT AUTISM OR ASPERGERS

Tip one: Reading the resources suggested above is a good first step.

Tip two: If you have already read about autism and Aspergers, and are still worried get competent professional help if you have not done so.

Tip three: Strengthen your  Emotional Fitness  skills.

Tip four:  Find support so you can share your hopes, fears, dreams, slips, set-backs and success with others. This will help you and others.  Helping others is practicing kindness and strengthens you and others.  One way to practice kindness is by liking, commenting, or sharing my posts. I promise kindness is always rewarded in one way or another.

Tip five:  Read my next post – due Wednesday – as I will focus more on Aspergers and a bit on finding competent help.

STAY STRONG

Parenting is difficult and often a struggle as you must know by now.  You should also know this: you are almost certainly a good enough parent. As noted above, if you’re having a hard time, my advice is not to ignore that, get professional help.

As always, thank you for your support, it means a great deal to me.

Katherine

DISCLAIMER: FORGIVE MY GRAMMATICAL ERRORS FOR I HAVE DYSGRAPHIAIf you need perfect posts, you will not find them here. I have dysgraphia which means that sometimes my sentence structure is not that easy to follow or I make other errors. Still, most people understand me. All of my books are professionally edited, but not all of my blog posts are. Thanks for your understanding and reading my work.

FURTHER PARENT ADVICE CAN BE FOUND IN MY BOOKS

All my books are available on Amazon, and readable on any tablet, laptop, Mac, PC, e-reader or Kindle device.

When Good Kids Do Bad Things. A Survival Guide for Parents of Teenagers
Parents Are People Too. An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents
Tame the Test Anxiety Monster

Watch for my about to be released How to Hold a Successful Family Meeting.  This is a Tool Kit with templates and posters as well as an E-book.

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ITCHY, SENSITIVE, ADHD, OR AUTISM?

My children hated certain kinds of shirts.  One needed labels cut out, he could be punished with a frown;  and was a very sensitive child who was  also ADHD.  He also had several allergies.

 

A good book for kids who have food allergies that make them itchy. Food allergies are sometimes the problem when kids are squirmy or moody or hyper.   

ABOUT ITCHINESS, SENSITIVITY, AND ADHD  VERSUS AUTISM

When trying to comfort my sensitive son at bedtime. I read an article in the New York Times, reporting NIMH findings.  The report said  some babies are so sensitive they needed to be carried on a pillow.  Applied to me son it turned out picking him up every fifteen minutes only made his go to sleep crying longer and stronger.   When Hubbie finally barred the door so I wouldn’t rush into comfort him, he fell asleep after crying for 20 minutes.

This son was hard to hold for wiggling, could not sleep under a blanket because he even wiggled in his sleep and wrapped his blanket up in ways, I thought worrisome.   Later when he could climb out of his crib to sneak into our bed, we always woke up almost as soon as he joined us. The other son often inserted himself between us so quietly and slept so peaceful there, we were always surprised to find him there come morning.

Two different kids, two different ways of being.  Not unlike most kids and that is what makes knowing what might be a problem needed help and what is not.  Moreover, the tendency to make parents totally responsible for a child’s well-being clouded the picture for many years.  Sadly, it still does.

Temple Grandlin’s first book “Thinking in Pictures” got many thinking maybe a child’s problems were not all the created or solved by parents.   Here is a quote from her web page:

I have been talking and writing about sensory problems for over 20 years, and am still perplexed by many people who do not acknowledge sensory issues and the pain and discomfort they can cause.  A person doesn’t have to be on the autism spectrum to be affected by sensory issues. 

Sensitivity exists on a continuum.  Moreover, it varies in many ways.  Hubbie is very sensitive to smells and facial expressions; I am sensitive to facial expressions and sounds; but we can both deal.  Sensitive children have a harder time dealing,  but most learn,  many like Temple Grandlin may have greater struggles and may need professional help.

PARENT ADVICE ABOUT ITCHY-ness, SENSITIVITY, ADHD, and/or   AUTISM

Tip one: Every one of us is unique and for some that means we have allergies, for others we have brain glitches, and often the two intertwine. Even the professionals have a hard time knowing what causes what problem.  Medicine is both science and art; while, parenting is art and science.

Tip two: As a parent you either will be  more  or less worried about your child’s behavior.   Depends in part on your temperament style.  If you tend to worry lots you will find yourself marching to your own beat when dealing with some situations.  I worry lots, I worried about my sensitive son’s crying far more than my husband.

Tip three: Here are some things that will keep worrying in its place.  Where is that?  As a clue to calm down and investigate.

  1. With babies crying is part of the game.  Anyone with a colicky baby knows mostly it is a matter of grinning and bearing and waiting it out.  With all but extreme disorders–which will be most likely be diagnosed at birth or shortly thereafter, the mantra for parents of new-born is wait and see.
  2. That also applies to developmental stages.  Two grandsons followed one side of the family’s genetic pool.  Both were wiry, active kids and met many physical milestones early.  A third grandson has the other side of his family’s genetic pool,  he is more chunky and endowed with a big belly.  He sat up later, crawled much later, held on more when learning to walk. The older the child and the greater the lag, the more to worry, but with kids under three it is best to wait and see.
  3. For those who don’t worry so much, do not immediately rush to calm the worried parent’s fears, you might be denying a problem.
  4. When a health provider, child care, provider or teacher says worry, do not rush to defend your child.  Extreme behaviors are what this group notices.

Tip four:  Worry about kindness and cruelty to self and others more than mental health labels.  Why?  Because being kind matters most in moving self toward the good life. Moreover two and three year olds can be taught kindness as can those who carry mental health labels.

Tip five:  Strengthen your self-care and self-soothing skills.  You cannot be of use to others if you neglect these two skills.

Tip six:   Here is some more information about sensitivity; Kindergarten & Preschool for Parents & Teachers: ADHD, Autistic or Sensory Processing Disorder?.and some more information about sensitive children.

Don’t forget to read Temple Grandlin’s web page if you feel the need to know more.  Finally, if your child has allergies,Jill Gabowski’s book will help.

STAY STRONG

Parenting is difficult and often a struggle as you must know by now.  You should also know this: you are almost certainly a good enough parent. If you’re having a hard time, my advice is not to ignore that, but also to make sure you take care of yourself. When you stay in charge of your negative feelings, your child/ren will benefit too. I urge you to develop Emotional Fitness Training™ skills and share your success with others.

You can also practice kindness by liking, commenting, or sharing my posts. I promise kindness is always rewarded in one way or another.

As always, thank you for your support, it means a great deal to me.

Katherine

DISCLAIMER: FORGIVE MY GRAMMATICAL ERRORS FOR I HAVE DYSGRAPHIAIf you need perfect posts, you will not find them here. I have dysgraphia which means that sometimes my sentence structure is not that easy to follow or I make other errors. Still, most people understand me. All of my books are professionally edited, but not all of my blog posts are. Thanks for your understanding and reading my work.

FURTHER PARENT ADVICE CAN BE FOUND IN MY BOOKS

All my books are available on Amazon, and readable on any tablet, laptop, Mac, PC, e-reader or Kindle device.

When Good Kids Do Bad Things. A Survival Guide for Parents of Teenagers

Parents Are People Too. An Emotional Fitness Program for Parents

Tame the Test Anxiety Monster

Watch for my about to be released How to Hold a Successful Family Meeting.  This is a Tool Kit with templates and posters as well as an E-book.

BONDING YES, BUT MANNERS MUST FOLLOW

BONDING IS NOT ENOUGH

A child development theory, called object relations, focuses on the parent/child bond.  The big buzz word is “Attachment”.  A good enough theory, bonding matters.  At the same time, few theories are perfect, and this one has been widely misinterpreted and not just by parents.

The first and gravest misinterpretation came about when it was noticed that parents of children diagnosed with autism were observed  avoiding eye contact, cuddling, or playing the usual games parents play with their little ones.  The researchers focused mainly on the mothers and dubbed this kind of mothering “Ice Box Mothering. ” The parents were sent to long term analysis to cure them. THERE WAS NOTHING WRONG WITH THE MOTHERS.

Autism is a disorder of the brain that makes the child super sensitive to various stimulation including eye contact. (Go to Dr. Temple Grandlin’s  website or buy her book Thinking in Pictures for a fascinating account of a woman of enormous strength who happen to be autistic.) The mothers were sensitive to their children’s pain and what seemed like coldness was kindness and attunement to the child’s needs. The moms were very good moms.

Flash forward to this article.  Kids suing mom for bad parenting   Mom’s sins seemed to be not writing enough checks or sending care packages when the kids were in college.  The judge threw the case out.  Wise judge.  You should also know the father was one of the lawyers representing the kids.  Moreover, he was the one who raised the kids.

To me this represents how the importance of bonding has come to mean (for some) “Gimmie what I want when I want it.”  A gross misinterpretation.  Ironically, those words generally are used by theorists to describe the mindset of the two year old, what I call I call a “needy greedy” mindset. Teens do a momentary backward turn and become “need greedy” but mostly in wanting to do things their way.

WHAT IS A PARENT TO DO? 

Most parents should not worry about bonding, it happens naturally as good enough parents tend and care for babies lucky enough to be born without challenges.  There is too much discussion and focus on bonding.  One should worry more about teaching good manners and how to get along with other people.  That is a much harder job and should start as soon as the child begins walking and understanding language.

Temple Grendlin says the best thing her mother did for her was teach her good manners.  Mom also didn’t put up with temper tantrums. Moreover, when Temple was sent to her room, her Mom’s version of time out, she often had to stay there an hour.  Would have many of today’s parent advisors shaking their heads and talking about abuse.  That Mom is one of my heroines.  It is hard enough to teach a normal child to be mannerly.  Teaching a severely autistic child manners and to be praised by that child for doing so is gold medal parenting.  And lets be clear about what I mean by manners.  Manners are not about using the right fork although in some circles that will win approval.  Manners are about respecting the rights of others.

As always it starts with modeling what you expect.  How regularly do you think to say “Please” and “Thank You” or ask “May I?” when dealing with a  child?  The more those words are in your vocabulary, the more you will hear them from your child. Minding your manners teaches the younger ones you love to mind theirs.

PRACTICE KINDNESS

Care and share.  If you have ideas about how to keep caring, share them here.  If you think another parent might find help in this post, share it.  Meanwhile, thank you and as I tell myself over and over, “Stay Strong.”

Katherine

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