Embracing Asperger’s by Richard Bromfield, PhD

A Primer for Parents and Professionals

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51IJe05kT3L._AA90_.jpg

 

In his introduction, Richard Bromfield encapsulates the essence of complexity that is Asperger’s syndrome.  This lets us know, as parents, that we can trust his advice.  His words set the tone and flavor of his approach when he writes:-

‘These children frequently smash through the glass ceilings that authoritative professionals have predicted for them.’

I enjoyed this discrete paradigm: the child, parent and teacher.  Although Richard acknowledges the impact of the deluge of other influences from therapists to peers, he restricts his remit to a manageable 170 pages.

To me, the choice of title seems a curious one–why would anyone NOT embrace Asperger’s?  Certainly, over the years I have met a great many children with Asperger’s syndrome as well as their parents.  As often as not, these parents are forthcoming about their children’s diagnoses, strong advocates, who are proud of their children’s achievements, talents and gifts.  Most of these children are mainstreamed although I would hazard a guess that this is primarily because these is no suitable alternative program.  There is no good fit available.  And that is the unwritten secret of this book, which also accounts, in part, for Bromfield’s patient and compassionate approach.

Most teachers have a heavy workload, more so, in the current economic climate.  Class sizes grow.  Resources shrink.  And then, teachers are expected to expand their skill set to accommodate and teach a wide spectrum, one or more quirky kids, some with learning difficulties, ADHD and maybe Asperger’s.

Teaching is a vocation, a fact reflected in their salaries.  They want the best for their students, all of them, but some are more difficult to engage and motivate.  This is where Bromfield steps in to demonstrate how teachers can intervene to promote successful learners.

There are so many useful bullet points here, one-liners that once grasped could make all the difference in a child’s life:-

–  Don’t take it personally

–  Assume anxiety exists

–  Model acceptance

–  Do not turn away from depression

But I won’t give too much away.

Bromfield’s hands-on experience shines throughout this book; his insight is sure to prove invaluable to many readers.

I do have one criticism, something easily amended on the next printing:-  give me an index!  [please]

 

Available from JKP and Amazon.

 

 

 

 


Bookmark and Share

From Anxiety to Meltdown How Individuals on the Autism Spectrum Deal with Anxiety, Experience Meltdowns, Manifest Tantrums, and How You Can Intervene Effectively Deborah Lipsky

http://ca.pbsstatic.com/l/38/8438/9781849058438.jpg

 

Deborah Lipsky, the self dubbed Raccoon Lady, has written a must read for people like me.  People like me with children on the spectrum are apt to sit on my children’s shoulders and try to examine the insides of their heads.  It is a less than perfect arrangement.  More often than not, what with the speech delays and such, my translations are usually just my best guess with a dollop of wishful thinking.

So here, Deborah provides great insight into the thought processes and thinking patterns applicable to many people on the spectrum.  Her perspective may not be unique, in that there are lots of other autistic people with similar viewpoints, but the trouble is that not enough of them have written a book about it to enlighten us.  So here is the opportunity.

 

I particularly warm to her distinction between a meltdown and a tantrum, but that is probably because I agree with her.  You may well think otherwise, as you are entitled to, once you have read the book.

 

Her insights, tips and approach should prove invaluable to many, but for me, I was particularly interested to read about the interplay between anxiety, OCD, stress and how these elements can affect someone in their adult life.  Her account provides ample evidence about the importance of intervention early in life, to provide our children with as many coping mechanisms as possible, as well as the need to teach and practice flexible thinking.

 

I was delighted to read about Deborah’s challenging and fulfilling life, which I’m sure will prove inspirational to both parents and autistic children.  It would be far too sweeping to say, ‘Nothing holds you back except the limits imposed by yourself,’ but the impulse to self-censure is a commonplace part of the human condition.

p.s. lastly, I would like to add a request, namely, that a sequel might look at another black and white issue:  depression, autism and the mire of inertia.  How can parents intervene effectively?

 

Available from JKP.

 

And you can visit Deborah Lipsky here.

 

P.s.  Added later – thanks to Trish for this link where you can hear and see Deborah lecture where you can get a flavor of her wit and wisdom.


Bookmark and Share

Learning About Friendship by KI.I. Al-Ghani

This book concentrates on children with Asperger Syndrome and High-functioning Autism, and is designed to address many of the difficulties these children experience with friendships.  However, even if your [and my] children have not yet reached this stage of development, the book can still be a useful tool.

The book covers ten different scenarios.  Each chapter starts with an explanation to the adult, parent or carer and raises awareness of some of the common pitfalls.  This is then followed by a social story to illustrate how they can be overcome.  I enjoyed both aspects of these scenarios for several reasons.

Firstly, the explanation told me that the writer knows what she is talking about rather than preaching from on high.

Secondly, it is apparent from the text that her intuitive approach works–she gets the quirks and triggers–in that although you are working on one particular skill, there can be lots of other issues that interfere with the main plan.

Thirdly, she reveals parental errors in a kindly manner.  We know our mistakes, or some of them at least, and she understands why we made them.  To illustrate:- a child has an obsession and the parent literally buys into it.  We end up buying far too many dinosaurs, Thomas paraphernalia and Legos, because as she says, and I quote “a special interest may have been just the key needed to unlock the delay seen in the acquisition of speech and language.”

Fourthly, she used our childrens’ most common obsessions in the social stories – which is a great short cut for us parents as we don’t need to re-write them to fit our children – thank you!

Fifthly, [and this is one of the main reasons I would recommend this book] although as I already said, it’s designed for high functioning and asperger children, many of the social stories are easily adaptable for other children.  Here, you may be doubtful, but I am sure I can convince you by examining one story in particular, the second one- Spit and Chase.  This tackles the issue of children using inappropriate strategies to get attention.  It addresses the underlying behavior which results in spitting.  Here, the children involved are able to speak, but it could just as easily be the case if they were non-verbal.  It’s easier to unscramble the cause of a particular behavior if a child can communicate with words, but it’s not insurmountable if there is no speech.

We may think that some children may not be ready for such material but the underlying tenants described in the social stories are certainly applicable to both of mine, if in a somewhat simplified format and has certainly helped me formulate an approach for the future.

As a final note it would be remiss of me not to mention the illustrations that accompany the stories which are clear cut, black and white line drawings – perfect for my guys who always [used to] had a hard time with photographs of real people and color pictures.  They’re a wonderful and useful addition that complement the stories rather than detract from them.  It wasn’t so long ago that there were whole shelves of books which were off-limits because the pictures triggered all kinds of unpleasantness.

You can see more of K.I. Al-Ghani’s work over here at Kay’s slot at Jacketflap.

And you can buy your own copy from JKP or Amazon as well as her other books.

And lastly, for any of you budding authors out there, you might find it helpful to check out Marni Wandner’s Sneak Attack site which helps people promote their cause be that in the performing arts or other endeavors, such as book promotions, which I came across having read Monica Holloway’s Cowboy and Wills, which I’ll be reviewing shortly, a jolly good read.  And Marni Wandner – she’s a real ‘out of the box’ thinker.


Bookmark and Share

How to make your own mouse

Tackle It Tuesday Meme
Try This Tuesday

You will need;-
A 12 inch square of felt
Another scrap of felt for the shawl
A scrap of thick yarn for the tail [knot both ends]
stuffing
Two small buttons for eyes [optional]
Sewing thread and needle
Scrap of fabric for the skirt
Scissors

Cut out the shapes in felt from the template
Sew up the back [curved] seam
Insert the stuffing
Stitch the circle on the base inserting the yarn as a tail and check that the mouse stands upright

[Understuffed will produce a concave base which is much more likely to remain standing]

Sew on the buttons [or stitch eyes in place so that it would be safe for a baby]
Stitch the whiskers and ears [folded]
Hem, join and stitch a drawstring runner through the top of the strip
Gather the strip and attach to the middle of the mouse
Cut the scrap of felt into a triangle and snip the edge to make a fringe, stitch in place

Voila!

A Tale of Foolishness:-
The why? Why bother to make your own mouse when you can buy a dozen from Petco at $3.99?

Well as you may recall, currently my son is still at the ‘part cat’ stage of development but loathes the smell of catnip. Anyway whilst we were at Longleat in England he fell in love with a very similar mouse, a mouse manufactured for the princely sum of many pounds sterling. I resisted the purchase and a great pall of gloom descended upon us. The only reason I managed to extract him from Longleat at all, was the faithful promise that I would indeed, given time, produce a mouse. It was so tempting to indulge him especially as he mewed so pitifully but apart from anything else, Longleat’s version was a doorstop and hence it was weighted down with a hefty rock inside, not ideal for international travelers with a weight limit!

In addition, we endure a daily craft during the summer holidays. In this instance we were able to introduce the concept that a sewing needle is not necessarily an instrument of torture but may indeed be the means of achieving the current motivational goal, a mouse. Fine motor skills limitations meant that he was an observer rather than a sewer, but he managed to remain within the same room and peek through his fingers at the scene. Clearly most crafts can be adapted to suit the individual needs of any particular child, but if we achieve joint attention then we’re on a winner, which indeed we did. He was quite happy to stuff the mouse so we did have a little hands on experience.

Of course, if I had been more sensible I would have saved myself a whole heap of bother by not going into the shop in the first place. This is one of the reasons why so many parents of autistic children become hermits, it’s just easier that way. However, we continue to venture forth as the easy option is not always available.

Lastly, I know that this kind of parental indulgence frequently evokes criticism, maybe you have been on the receiving end yourself? All I would say is that people who criticize, [usually ‘Anon’] generally do not have first hand experience, long term with autistic people. If you actually live with an autistic person who has no interest in anything, or maybe only one or two things, to the exclusion of all other things, then part of a parent’s job is to help expand those interests, gently and gradually. Our job is not to eliminate the one or two special interests, that would certainly be a mistake, unkind and probably cruel. No, instead we offer all and everything that we can think of to tempt them into other things. Given time and encouragement there may just be a tiny little spark and it is those little sparks that ignite us into action, no matter how trivial or obscure. I tell you truly, it’s worth every effort.

This design is available in an out of print book called “My Learn to Sew Book.” It is a bit dated but has easy to follow instructions.


Bookmark and Share

Puppy Training:- a brief summary

Hosted by “Tracy” at “Mother May I,” but the photo-picture below will whizz you right there with one click.

Just call me snap happy.

red BSM Button

Photobucket

I attend the primer.

A two hour lecture.

I did try very hard not to yawn.

• Consistency
• Persistence
• Always follow through
• Think like a dog
• Use logic
• Dogs have common dogginess principles
• Each dog has it’s own unique personality and character
• Keep language concise
• Use body language
• Use simple signs
• Generalize skills in different locations
• Reward with treats initially
• Don’t forget to fade rewards
• Pick your battles
• Schedules, routines and predictability
• Never punish natural doggy behaviour such as chewing, digging and barking
• Provide safe opportunities to chew, dig and bark
• Tone of voice
• Facial expression
• Repetition

On and on and on it goes……..

And do you know what? I can do all this standing on my head, whilst knitting and drinking Ensure. I tell you truly that if I had known it would be this easy, I would have found a dog years ago. Then again, years ago, I didn’t know, what I know now. Do I mean to imply that Autistic children learn similarly to dogs? No. I imply no such thing. On the contrary, children, both autistic and typical, need good teachers. It is easy to scoff, especially since I am so exceptionally good at scoffing:- why doesn’t everyone already know all this stuff? But we all have to start somewhere. This provides me with the perfect opportunity to thank those professional and vocational teachers who work tirelessly for my children, to help them reach their full potential. If I cannot learn to be a good teacher, then children are probably not a good career choice for me. Luckily, despite all the odds against me, it seems that old dogs like me really can learn new tricks. Other young pups master nauseous chalk when they have just the right motivation.

Woof!

Don’t forget to keep your eyes and ideas open to “Jessica.”


Bookmark and Share

Core Body Strength – SOOC Smiley Saturday

Slurping Life

Many autistic children have this deficit which is one of the many reasons that we visit an occupational therapist regularly. This deficit makes many every day tasks more difficult, such as dressing.

Both the boys can now dress themselves but it’s still not easy for them. It’s not just the fine motor skills and co-ordination, it’s also a question of balance.

Most of us are quite capable of putting on a pair of trousers, hold open the waist, drape the legs out in front, stand on one foot, insert the other foot, shimmy down to the opening, transfer weight and repeat with the other leg.

Is that about right?

Try it out.

That’s quite a good deal of sequencing let alone anything else. If that’s a difficult task, how might one overcome the problem?

This is how my boys do it, both of them.

See if you can follow along.

Lay out the trousers flat on the floor. Turn your back on the trousers and sit down on the carpet behind them at the waist end with a three foot gap on the floor. Roll onto your back and swing your legs over your head until your toes touch the carpet. Lift your arms over your head to grab each side of the waist of your trousers to open, insert feet into the hole and then into each leg, pull the trousers up to your waist, continue body roll onto your knees backwards and jump to your feet = done. Your work out is complete and you’re half dressed! Those compensatory skills kill me every time. It’s very funny to watch one child whip through this sequence, but watching two boys whiz through the same sequence simultaneously is somewhat hysterical, a daily dose of a comedy double act, but then I always have been a little “biased.”

Get the code:-
Cut and paste
from this little
boxy thing below

Bookmark and Share

SOOC Smiley Saturday

Slurping Life

Learning the error of your ways
From a few weeks back in the summer

On the third week they break a third vase, although I miss the magic moment to identify exactly which one committed the crime. I am excessively annoyed. The vase was cheap and cheerful, of no intrinsic value, but the mess, glass, foul water and dead flowers exacerbates my already frazzled nerves. As in all things, I adhere to the principal of three:- one vase in use, one in the closet and one in transit, just like knickers. Now I am vaseless which is a mild improvement on knickerless. How can this dastardly state of affairs have come to pass? I hear the dulcet tones of our Irish ABA guru waft through the ether, 'what incident immediately preceded the event in question?'

What indeed?

The tantalizing question that haunts so many of us. There must be a logical answer, although even an illogical one would do for the time being.

Three weeks ago? Three weeks ago? What could it possibly be? Probably about that time, was the time that my youngest decided that his body needed exercise, regular exercise, frequently. He would hurtle out of the house chanting in time with his self imposed exercise regime, to fly around the garden on his bike, three circuits before flinging his bike aside and hurling his body back indoors. I began to recognize the signs, faster speech, many nonsense words, cycles of ever speedier ditties before they burst like an ant hill to catapault him into the garden. Self regulation is all very well but why does it have to involve such destruction? Neither of them has ever volunteered to enter the garden until this summer.

I stare at the double glass doors, willing my brain to function. Once a week I collect the organic vegetable box along with a bunch of flowers. Once a week I take the old dead flowers and stick them outside until time permits me to visit the compost heap. Once a week I snip the elastic and drop the new fresh flowers in a different vase, not exactly tastefully arranged. It frees up a moment to clear a shelf in the fridge and shove ten pounds of organic vegetables in to chill. The same routine for about five years. What has gone so horribly wrong? Their dad appears by my side to note the latest dollop of carnage, “geez, I'd I thought you'd have stopped it by now.”
“Me? Stopped it? And how exactly do you think I should magic that one?”
“Stop dumping those vases in the doorway to trip over.”
“!”

Get the code:-
Cut and paste
from this little
boxy thing below

Bookmark and Share

Photo Friday – exercise

Actually this apparently isn’t exercise, merely play, and supposedly fun.

Each to their own I say dearies.

Cheers


Bookmark and Share

Special exposure wordless wednesday

5 Minutes for Special Needs

Or if that doesn’t work for you try this link “here” for the last days of “summer.”

p.s. have your ‘volume’ on medium, wouldn’t like to squirt your ear drums without a warning!

Alternatively, I do have a few words over here on “alien” completely free of spittle, or some other words over on “Sandwiched Genes.”

p.s. a few people have asked which camera we used so here is a link to it = the Sakar 26692 VGA underwater digital camera, sorry it’s commercial but there are no details on the camera itself and we recycled the packaging, don’t forget to read the ‘ratings’ bit.  Although it does technically hold loads of photos if you want good resolution…..er……clear piccies then we used the setting that limits you to 26 photos.  Don’t ask me anything more technical than that, I’m at my limit.

p.p.s I lied.  On the camera it says ‘made in China.’

Cheers dears


Bookmark and Share

Ruby Tuesday

Scroll down to next post for “Magic Marker Monday”

After numerous prompts that it is necessary to walk backwards when wearing fins, he decides to opt out of walking altogether.

Related Posts with Thumbnails

Bookmark and Share