Asperger Syndrome

Asperger Syndrome (AS) is development delays in the child’s socialization, communication and imagination. Where the child has a hard time to fully understand what is being told to them. The child understands the words used, but they do not understand the message you are telling them. They miss the non verbal part of the socializing and/or communicating. When someone smiles at the child, the child believes that the person wants to be their friend, and will be hurt when they play with someone else. No one really knows how a person gets AS, but it has to go with a person’s genes. Asperger Syndrome cannot be cured, but as the child grows older they will learn more about other people. Asperger Syndrome falls under the Autism Spectrum Disorder, but there are differences between Asperger Syndrome and Autism like; 

        • a child with AS functions better than children with autism 
        • basically AS children have normal intelligence and language

Most Asperger children have a hard time making friends because they do know how to be a friend, so they usually end up playing alone. They do not know how to have a conversation with others and may do something that will get them into trouble, because they do not understand feelings. AS children will more likely have conversations with themselves rather than with other people, the children also lack knowledge of common sense. AS children have odd/silly behaviours and/or mannerisms. It is best to leave it up to your doctor and other health care professionals to assess your child by signs and symptoms.

There are also 3 subtypes of Asperger Syndrome
 
        • Rule boy 
        • Emotion boy 
        • Logic boy

The better understanding we have of which subgroup your child falls under, the greater chance we know what your child’s strengths and weakness are.
 
“Rule Boy” Child

This child needs rules to follow! When there are no rules they will be unsure of what they are supposed to do and then make up their own rules. If the child makes up their own rules, there is a good chance that you and others may not like what your child is doing. This “Rule Boy” child wants to please everyone, and does not like it is someone is upset with them. These children do well in school and their behaviour at home will be more like the following; 

        • Bossy 
        • Controlling 
        • Yells almost everyday 
        • Argues 
        • Have fits/tantrums

The reason for these behaviours is because the rules at home are not as clearly stated and followed as they are at school. Plus the child needs to know that the parents are in charge and that the parents created the rules. The parents have to be the authority figure, not the children or teens. Please keep in mind that being the authority figure does not mean that you have to be aggressive. You just have to be assertive by having structure, routine and a schedule for your child. Your child will more likely be better behaved and will respect you for having structure, routine, schedules and rules.

As parents you can help your child by having picture cards, where the pictures show the child what they are to do step by step. You can also have a list of rules, where the child can see and read them, you can start your list by saying “The rule is….” and you complete the sentence. This can help you and your child in their day to day life, where the child can complete the tasks on their own, because the have the list to follow.

Although some “Rule Boy” children are too well behaved everywhere, and the child is over controlled. This is when the parents will have to slowly teach the child to be flexible in their everyday life. But if your child behaves badly at school and home, then your child is not a “Rule Boy”child.

“Emotion Boy” Child

This is when the child’s emotions decide how they are going to act or behave. Here the rules and reasons will not matter to them, it is all about emotion. These children may be harder to handle and you will have to have more patience. Most of “Emotion Boy” child need to on medication given by the doctor and also a behaviour plan. Your child will need professional help, but you as parent will need it too, you cannot do this alone.

Your child can be paranoid, live in a fantasy world, angry, negative, anxious, and/or obsessive. Now your child can have one or some of these characteristics. If the child is paranoid they will think people are out to get them, so your child will be on the defensive and ready to protect themselves. The child can be violent, aggressive and have outbursts. It will benefit you and your child if you create a structured life and have outside help.

If your child lives a bit in a fantasy world, they are a little removed from the real world. This is how the deal with stress and unpleasant things that happen around them or the negative things that has happened to them. The fantasy world is their escape goat, where they do not have to face the reality of life, or socialize with others. Now fantasy can be videogames for hours and hours, or fantasy books, comics or movies. It can be many things, but usually something with electronics, so you will have to limit their time using electronics.

When your child is lend by anger, it is because they feel things are not going their way or how they want them. They have a need to feel in control all the time and will have a fit if they do not get what they want. But this does not mean, you should give in to their requests/wants. What you should try to do is stay calm and help them solve their problem. Remember they are arguing with you because they feel anxious and unsafe. You will need to be clear in the fact that the child knows you are a problem solver and that the child feels safe.

An “Emotion Boy” negative child cannot and unable to see the positive side of anything. These children can be bossy, whinny, arguable and likely to have fits. These children have a higher risk of having depression when they are older, so as parents and teacher we need to teach them to be more positive. The child needs to try to see the good in people and things around them, but they need help to see positive things.

The anxious child usually shuts down/fall apart in most situations they are in and cry. They will try to avoid/hide from others and the world. They have a comfort zone which they do not want to leave since it causes them distress and they do not know how to deal with any task, big or small. Plus anything can upset them, but it also depends on the child. As the parent you will have to provide the environment where there is structure, routine and rules. But when you tell them about the rules, they need reasons why the rules are in place but also what they can do and what they cannot do and what can happen to them. You will need a great deal of patience and calmness for your child to gain confidence.

When your child becomes obsessive, they have a set of rules, rituals and routines that they have to follow before they can move on to something else. When the child is obsessive, they are usually a perfectionist and everything is black or white. So it has to be done the child’s way (the perfect way) or it’s done the wrong way and has to be fixed. The obsessive child seems like the “Rule Boy” child but the “Rule Boy” child has to follow other people’s rules, where the obsessive child has to follow their own rules. As parents you will have to teach them balance, add limits and restriction, but this can only be done with the help of your doctor and other professionals.

“Logic Boy” Child

These children need reasons for the rules they have to follow. They need to know why the rules are in place and they have to understand those reasons before they are okay with following the rules. An example of this is the following;

The rule is not to play on or close to the stove, because the stove is hot, since it is hot it can burn you.

When you make rules for “Logic Boy” child, there will always have to be a reason. For these children a rule cannot exist without a reason. If the reason does not make sense to them, the child will not listen to you or follow the rule. This child is always trying to understand the world and how it works. Please be prepared that your child/teen will ask lots of question about anything and everything, all the time. Your child is not testing you or bugging you. It does not matter how smart your child is, or how annoying all the questions will be, your child needs you to help them look at the world differently. So asking a lot of questions everyday is their way of trying to know the world around them, this is how their mind works; this is how your child will identify with what you are telling them.

Website Bibliography/References

 “Asperger Syndrome” KidsHealth
http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/brain/asperger.html#a_About_Asperger_Syndrome  (13 Aug 2010)

“Asperger Syndrome” Kids’ Health
http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetailsKids.aspx?p=335&np=287&id=2339  (Aug 17 2010)

“Asperger Subtypes” Family Education
http://school.familyeducation.com/learning-disabilities/behaviour/56317.html     (16 Aug 2010)

“Autism Spectrum Disorder Health Centre” WebMD
http://www.webmd.com/brain/autism/mental-health-aspergers-syndrome   (13 Aug 2010)

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