10 signs of Asperger’s Syndrome

Asperger’s syndrome is a neurological disorder in the family of autism spectrum disorders. Because every child exhibits a different set of symptoms, there is no precise checklist of behaviors that must all be present for a diagnosis. Instead, there are many behaviors that may be signs of Asperger’s syndrome. Here we’ve rounded up 10 of the common behaviors to watch for, as shared by moms whose kids have the condition.

1. Fixation on One Activity

Many children with Asperger’s syndrome are preoccupied with a single or a few interests and focus on them for hours on end. As Circle of Moms member Karen R. shares: “The most common report from every parent I know . . . is that their kid fixated on something (their cars, their blue toys, their books) and played or attended [to] that thing for an outrageously long time.”

2. “Little Professor” Speech

“Typically a child with Asperger’s sounds like a little professor,” shares one Circle of Moms member, Sheila D. “They tend to have advanced verbal skills, but due to the autism aspect of the syndrome they might seem fixated on a topic that they want to talk about all the time.” Children with Asperger’s syndrome may also speak more formally than usual for their age or prefer talking to adults.

3. Difficulty Reading Social Cues

Social difficulties are another key sign of Asperger’s syndrome. Reading body language may be hard, as well as taking turns or holding a conversation. As Eliana F. shares: “Group work at school is also hard for him, as he does not understand waiting his turn or accepting others point of view.” Similarly, Colleen notes: “My son is very social, but he doesn’t engage in two way conversations. He just talks and talks.” As a result of their social difficulties, children with Asperger’s syndrome may seem isolated from their peers.

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Emotional dysregulation: Just like regular kids, but only moreso!

Ken Shyminsky, a former vice president of the Greater Toronto Chapter of the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada, draws upon his personal experiences as an teacher and student with Tourette Syndrome to help children with TS and related disorders. He also has Tourette himself and is the founder of the website Neurologically Gifted.

A very dear friend and expert special educator insists that kids who have neurological disorder are just like regular kids …

only moreso!

Let me explain what that confusing statement means…

Kids who have neurological disorders have feelings just like everyone else, except their feelings are so much more intense. They feel so much more of everything. They experience more joy when happy, (hence their hyperactivity), they feel more pain when injured (we think they’re over-reacting), more anger when frustrated or disappointed (leading to rage) and more sadness (also misinterpreted as over-reacting).

Emotional Dysregulation:  Neurologically GiftedThis evening, my stepson erupted into a fit of screaming and pounding the floor in a rage over homework, to total recovery and calm. Soon after, he collapsed into a heap of tears as he suddenly recalled the death of his grandmother the previous year.

The intense grief lasted about 2 minutes, and he recovered once again, to join his friends in playing basketball. I shouldn’t be surprised by his behavior tonight. He was bound to fall from perfection at some point. He’s been stable and even tempered for months – and it’s because of consistency at home and at school.

Kids with neurological disorders are incredibly susceptible to change, as we all are …

only moreso! Continue reading

My TS, My Story: Part 2, Understanding my tics, explaining my understanding

Part of the Tourette Syndrome Foundation of Canada’s mission is to help individuals affected by TS through programs of self-help. That is why our posts this week will focus on self-understanding, self-knowledge and self-awareness. Today’s post is from Tina T.

closeup-on-womans-hand-writing-in-planner460x300As a female diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome and someone studying in the health-care field, I have made a point of becoming very familiar with my tics and the ways in which they present themselves.

As I mentioned in part one of this three-part series, I was diagnosed with TS at 8 years of age. Within the past 10-plus years, I have experienced many different forms of tics.

Though I was diagnosed with a mild case of the disorder, I have experienced more severe episodes. This is not a big surprise, since tic severity levels often vary not only from person to person and but also over time.

Some people with TS experience a physical clue right before they tic (called a premonitory sensation). I’ve worked hard to try to understand my tics and any physical clues/cues that precede them. Continue reading

Conditional Corner: Depression & the need for governmental support

Conditional Corner is a series that runs Fridays on TSParentsOnline. All stories, including this one by Vrinda Pendred, were originally published at Conditional Publications.

I am 35 years old. I have been diaganosed with Major Depression since I was 21. I spent my 21st birthday in the hospital. Most days I can handle it well. But when something changes too much in my life, it’s hard for me to deal with that.

Example: my SSDI check and my hubby’s check have been cut because of the goverment.  There is no funding to pay the insurance for our meds.  So they have taken a total of $261 from our collective check.  Now they say they are on the way to getting it back to us but we haven’t heard anything yet.

So how I deal with it is I watch a lot of TV.  TV has always been an outlet for me.  Even when I was a kid and there would be a lot of yelling going on and verbal abuse in the house, I would turn to TV.  It soothed me and made me feel like my problems were going away. To this day it does the same for me. The only difference now is that when I’m done watching TV I am so down that I want to do nothing. Continue reading

Abusive ignorance

My daughter has been a source of inspiration to both my husband and I, although I can’t say the same for her 13-year-old brother.

At the ripe old age of 5 years old, we knew she was suffering from some type of emotional, mental and/or behavioral issues. We brought her to a child psychiatrist hoping that he could help us with some advice and/or a diagnosis. After answering the doctor’s looong list of questions and his close observation of her, she was diagnosed with Tourette Syndrome.(TS)

My first cousin and her daughter along with our cousin’s son also have TS. (Not to mention the many other relatives we have who suffer from depression and debilitating anxiety). Needless to say, my daughter’s diagnosis, although sad to hear, was no shock.

Through the years my daughter’s TS symptoms have waxed and waned over and over again. At 8 years old, her anxiety was so extreme, she didn’t want to live anymore. My mother-in-law and I drove her to the IWK childrens’ hospital (three hours away) in search of some reprieve.  We spent two days in the mental health ward before returning home, but this time we were armed with a few more coping skills and much more understanding of her situation. (We were asked to stay in our room in  the hospital as some patients were witnessed cutting themselves in public.)

My husband and I have had to change my daughter to a new school as the principal at her first accused her of lying about her anxiety and even refused to believe that she had anything wrong at all. (This was around the time she was admitted to the IWK!!!) Continue reading

“Tourette Syndrome: Coping With Difference” — Inquiry

The following is part 2 of a series of entries that, as a whole, comprise a paper titled “Tourette Syndrome: Coping With Difference” I wrote for a class I am taking at the University of Texas-San Antonio. Read part 1 here.

In the book “Pathways For Inquiry,” Marian L. Martinello describes the inquiry process as our tool for navigating through increasingly complex and confusing data in the search for meaning in all the topics and times of our lives.

Interdisciplinary inquiry lends a voice, not only to my own knowledge and experiences, but across a variety of perspectives or points-of-view. My own experiences in difference led me to believe that I stood alone, but the truth is that everyone walks in the shoes of difference at varying points in their lifetime. In order to understand the perspectives of difference, it is essential to see it from the points-of-view from the wider audience.

I cannot base the truth on my biased opinion and those memories of what it was like to experience those days of unjust labels nor Jacob’s experiences so far. I want Jacob to find comfort in his chosen place and never long for what seems to be the perfect world of another. I often think of the following quote:

“Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
— Albert Einstein (“Everybody is a Genius”, n.d.)

In our differences, we are the fish longing to climb the trees that others seem to so flawlessly climb. This inquiry is my own personal quest to find, not only answers, but to also question the answers I have found throughout my research of TS. Continue reading

Setting goals through occupational therapy

We spent the first 30 minutes of occupational therapy (OT) the other day setting new goals for the next 12 weeks. That means that in the last three months, we have met or exceeded our goals or we are refining them. Right now we are working on:

  1. Interactive play, improving social/emotional regulation and refining expected/unexpected behaviors and how we react to them using social thinking curriculum.
  2. Improving explorative play skills resulting in him being able to catch a ball 7-10 times over 3 sessions. Improve skills resulting in him kicking a ball and timing correctly 7/10 times over 3 sessions.
  3. Improving self-care skills resulting in him eating a meal with minimal spillage (not getting spills on his clothes) on 80 percent of attempts.
  4. Improve self-care skills, resulting in him indicating that he needs to use the bathroom without being cued on 80 percent of attempts.
  5. Improve self-care skills, resulting in him tipping his own head back during bath time for hair washing on 80 percent of occasions.

Some of these goals will be met after refining proprioceptive input — for example, using weighted tableware so he can feel his grip better. Some we just need a lot of focused practice. I am finding that short stints of practice more frequently throughout the day work better than long sessions.

Stick around and I will update on our goals as we plug along! Still so proud of my little super reader. 🙂 What are you proud of lately??

Read more from me at my Momma Has Monsters page on Facebook!

Emotional and sensory support

The conference I attended last weekend was amazing. Four hours of great speakers and information — enough to fill a binder — and I still want to hear more. I learned some valuable information about how a child’s emotional development is so deeply intertwined with their sensory system.

The most important thing I learned is to evaluate on a daily basis where my children’s emotional level is operating and then offer sensory input that will help regulate their system to support their emotional needs! Does that make sense? No? Ask me and I will tell you more!

Speaking of sensory issues, do you have a sensory-seeking child and a dog who is not such a great leash walker? Well let me tell you what a perfect pair that makes! The boy was getting very silly inside and a little hyped up. A short walk with our little dog Lola after dinner was just what we all needed 🙂 Lola pulls just a bit so he has to use his voice and body in a gentle but firm way to redirect her. The best part is that he takes pride in doing this “the right way.”

64274_410463602369157_56496465_nThe boy also likes playing games. He and his occupational therapist played a game together the other day, as you can see in the picture above. In the last month, he has hugged her goodbye once, used her name when speaking to her and asked to “play a game on the big boat together”. He did some really nice turn taking with conversation, too. I’m a proud momma!

Read more from me at my Momma Has Monsters page on Facebook!

What are you looking for in a Tourette Syndrome blog?

Greetings from Los Angeles. As of today, tics for Stink remain at a minimum. (Knock on fake wood desk.) I need to make a few gluten-free sandwiches with natural strawberry jelly and carrot sticks (can you feel my son’s excitement?) so I’ll keep this short:

Is this blog enough? Assuming I continue to write a couple of times per week, I really want to know: Why do you come here or to my Happily Ticked Off site?

  • Tips on diet?
  • Emotional support?
  • Doctor referrals?
  • Homeopathic aids?

I ask because I’m considering doing another site – a kind of “upgrade” support-group type site. Continue reading

2013: The year to let you be you no matter what

changeDetermined to make my resolutions happen this year, I checked the first one off my list and attended a new church on Sunday. True to form, Stink dove right into his Sunday school class. “I loved it!” he beamed. “They taught us everything through music and song and games. I could actually pay attention!”

Pipsqueak, on the other hand, was less enthused. She is my conservative throwback paper doll child. She wears black Mary Janes in winter and white sandals in summer and will not wear shirts with logos or faces of tween singers. No sparkles or glitter for her. She is pragmatic and elegant and a big fan of order and ritual. “I miss our Catholic Sunday School,” she moaned on our way back to the parking lot.

I can’t really blame her. Routine is important to me, too. If it was not, I would not be so hell bent or reorganizing the house. I would not drool like a love sick fool inside Home Goods when my eye lands on a set of toile shoe boxes.

But there’s a fire in me as well. The older I get, the less I like the feeling of stuffing my emotions inside my chest, like one might stuff socks inside that chic container set. Sure, it might look polished from an outsider’s view, but inside, you’ve got mismatched footies with stains and holes. Why not just get real about it? “I’ve got old socks! They don’t look good all the time, but they keep me warm and they are functional and I’m confident enough in myself I don’t care who I impress!”

Tourette Syndrome has taught me this attitude. Continue reading