Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Aspie Digest - October 18, 2005

New Link

Someone has sent me this. Haven't checked it out yet.


Currently Reading

Cathy has recommended some fiction to me. Which is good, because my brain is just about fried from reading "Different Minds"! I checked them all out and am reading two of them at this moment.

Haze - very easy reading, interesting kids' book. I think it would be good reading for classmates/siblings of kids with AS. I will have K10 read this book.

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time - very interesting, but tough. I had to stop and take breaks because some parts of the book are seriously freaking me out. I guess I'm lucky, because my son is a lot higher-functional than the main character. That said, a lot of chapters (on math, the life, the universe, and everything) sounds exactly as though they were written by I12, as well as things like "I stood there for 4 minutes and 28 seconds"... this is I12 all over! hehe

The Speed of Dark - just got it from the library yesterday and took a quick peek. Cathy is right, it does raise an interesting question - how far do we want to go in changing our Aspies? I12 says he doesn't need to be changed as he's fine just the way he is. On the other hand, as a reformed Aspie myself, I have to say that the more social skills I acquired, the more I was able to enjoy life and the more successful I became at work. Tough question. I'm looking forward to reading this book.

This one is non-fiction:

Careers for Individuals with Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism, by Temple Grandin and Kate Duffy - not much use for my particular situation yet, but will be very helpful for people with ASDs graduating high school or college and starting their careers. The book even explains how to deal with office politics! It also lists all suggested careers and talks about each one in detail. Good read for those that need it. Of course, right now, my son thinks that he will be a freelance programmer, so it's kind of hard to convince him that he needs survival skills for working in an office.

Success Story - From One of the Readers

I have received a comment from a mother of a teenage boy with AS who has been reading this blog (the mother of course, not the boy). She shared some of what they did to improve their son's social skills, and I think they are doing a great job. She has allowed me to post her advice on this blog. Here it is.

My son is 14 and in the 9th grade, he was diagnosed with Asperger's in the 5th grade.

Social skills - I realize experts will tell you many things about social skills, but a few things we have done in our home are:

1. If he is going to encounter something new I walk him through the situation and what may happen, we may try different situations. For his first dance we talked about how to approach a girl to dance and how to be polite, after all our hard work he spend all night working the concession stand because he was not ready to dance, but at least he went and had fun.
2. HE is AWARE that he acts differently than other kids so he has learned to watch and learn in new situations.
3. He has been lucky he has been with the same kids since kindergarten and they just think he is strange, and he hangs with kids who are also strange which helps him not stick out so much. (Computer geeks, nerds, non-jocks)
4. We have had him in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts since the 1st grade, and this has allowed him to form a relationship with a small group of boys in a supervised setting. (He earned his Eagle Scout in April 2005) We agreed he could quit scouts but he has to join a club or group at school. (one of his choice).
5. We live in a community of 8,000, this past summer we encouraged him to get a job, he washes dishes at a local restaurant a few hours a week, this way he does not have to interact with the public, but does have to interact with the other employees. He actually enjoyed it and continues to work weekends once school started.

We have found if he is not encouraged to tackle new social situations he will sit in the house and read and play computer games, hence the rule that he has to be involved in a group at school.

The past 3 years we have seen many advancements in his social skills. He has learned to go to his teachers and request help or ask questions when he doesn't understand. He will actually tell other kids some form of hello when he sees them in town, and on occasion he will actually start a conversation or say hello first. He knows his limitations and when I encouraged him to get a job bagging grocery's he is the one that told me it would be to stressful because he would have to talk to people all day. That if he was going to get a job it was going to be one that was not stressful.

Feel free to contact me if you have questions.

The Goldie has spoken at 9:19 AM

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