By Anna Vagin, PhD. I’m working with a group of four third graders in a social learning group. As they play a cooperative board game, they are working on being flexible – listening to each other, sharing strategy plans, and letting go of their individual ideas when others present a better one. Oh, yes, and they are managing their uncomfortable…
The chances of detection and treatment depend on who you are and where you live
By PAULINE TAM, Published in The Ottawa Citizen
OTTAWA — It’s the unspoken rule about autism services that Anne Jovanovic knows all too well: Getting help for her son, Mica, requires her to wage a constant war with the gatekeepers of provincial programs.
Since Mica was diagnosed two years ago, Jovanovic has parsed government documents and doggedly pursued officials to press her case. In doing so, the federal public servant has established herself as a mother whose demands can’t be easily dismissed.
Persons diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome (AS) lack the understanding of nonverbal communication that so many of us take for granted. A nod of the head, a smirk, a change in voice tone is so often misinterpreted or totally missed by those with this diagnosis. If you do not read these non-verbal signals, you are not likely to send the appropriate non-verbal messages either. Additionally, youngsters with AS often interpret language literally and miss the more abstract references. These youngsters often have difficulty building relationships with their peers. For this reason many of these individuals also suffer with poor self-esteem. Yet traditional “social skills” programs have not been very successful in teaching these capable individuals the skills they need in our social world.
Emotional regulation can be defined as the ability to separate your emotional responses to a problem from the thinking you must perform to resolve the problem. The 5-point scale is a visual system that can help to organize a person’s thinking when working through difficult moments, particularly those that require social understanding.
Students with autism, Asperger’s Syndrome, PDD and other diagnoses that fall within the autism spectrum experience significant challenges in communication and social skills. In addition, they may demonstrate behavior challenges that can prevent successful participation in school and family activities.
For many with autism, engaging in a social interaction is like playing a game without knowing the rules. Some individuals report that the social demands of making small talk or walking into a party can create stress, anxiety, and panic; they may feel as if everyone else knows the secrets necessary for success and they do not. Liane Holliday Willey (1999), a woman with Asperger’s Syndrome, illustrates how stressful it can be when one does not understand certain social requirements: