The support group for mothers of autistic children met once a month, in an old elementary school.
The women sat at a lunchroom table. I scanned them all, and only one looked as old as me. Ah, well. I was used to being the oldest mother in the room. I walked over to an empty chair, and asked, “Is this seat taken?”
A red haired woman answered, “No, have a seat.”
As I took my coat off, I noticed that many of the women had their eyes directed to the open door in the back corner of th
1. Educate yourself. Learn everything you can about Asperger’s.
2. Get over yourself. Get a doctor. Get a therapist. Get used to receiving help.
3. You will need allies. Gather the troops. Whether it’s family, friends, a support group, or an online group, you will need others to vent to, rejoice with, commiserate with, and talk to.
4. Tell your child about his or her diagnosis early.
5. You will need boundaries. You’re going to need structure, routine, and rules. Your da
Imagine the following.
Once upon a time on a beautiful sunny day, you were hiking through the mountains. You had been going for miles when suddenly you come across a deep ravine with a long steep drop and a river far below glittering in the sunshine. Long ago, someone had cut down a large single tree and placed it as a bridge across the expanse of the canyon - from one side to the other, a single narrow log bridge. The narrow log was strong and sturdy. However, with the passage of time it h
"The snow fell in a glittering silent curtain all around me. I pressed the phone closer to my ear with cold trembling hands as I listened for the sound of my friend's voice. "Where are you right now?" Hesitating and not hearing a response, my friend Charlie repeated the question. "Where are you?" "
"Mmm, I'm at the school."
"Okay, good. I'm going to come pick you up. Which school are you at? Can you describe it?"
"It's the, um, it's the one close to downtown, Washington elementary
Sabrina felt her phone vibrate in her pocket. She glanced up towards the front of the classroom where professor Horvath was lecturing. He wasn't looking in her direction. Sabrina carefully pulled out her phone and held it underneath the desk as she read her latest text from her friend Kaitlin. "Hey, I just ran into your boyfriend at the mall." What? That didn't make sense. Her boyfriend, Ronnie, was supposed to be at work right now and his office wasn't even on the same side of town as the mall,
When I was twelve, I started playing a video game called Neverwinter Nights, which rapidly became one of my favorite games of all time. It's essentially an online Dungeons and Dragons role-playing game. One day in-game I was in a tavern in the seedy little part of town and somebody beat me up in-game. When that happens, there's a sound effect when somebody clicks on your little bag to look into it. I heard that sound effect and got really pissed off that somebody had taken all of my stuff.
Starting in middle school, about when I was diagnosed with Asperger's, I started to get really stressed out once I got home from school. It became a problem for my parents to get me to do homework while at the same time honoring my need to unwind and have that decompression time. What they ended up doing (and what has worked really well ever since) was following this after-school/work schedule that we created through trial and error. Here it is:
The biggest thing that makes this schedule
This is the story of how I had cataclysmic level panic attacks and my realization of how to stop them. When I say cataclysmic level, I mean I was curled up in a fetal ball on the floor screaming "I don't want to die" while meanwhile it was a bright, sunny day with zero threat. Another time, I was on an airplane and absolutely convinced that, for whatever reason, I was going to fall through the airplane to my death. It was such an absurd notion that I could even logically see that the laws of phy
When I was deep in Defense Mode, it felt like I was constantly overwhelmed. It felt like I was constantly being attacked. Every single little thing, whether or not it actually had a logical, rational basis for being threatening, changed and colored my entire perspective. So for example: A pen could be threatening in Defense Mode, not because somebody is throwing it at you, but just because it is there, and seeing it triggers you in some way.
In Defense Mode, I often felt the need to control
"Dear Asperger Experts,
We are struggling and could really use some advice. We have been trying for months to talk to my son with Asperger’s (age 17) about some of his ongoing issues, and these conversations continually hit a brick wall. He has NO interest in learning basic social skills, getting a job, doing his homework, practicing basic hygiene, eating healthier… the list goes on. In fact, it seems he only cares about playing video games. He almost never leaves his room! When he does com
The Professionals Know Best, Right?
My name is Emma. I live in Northern Colorado and have a son and a daughter. We started with Asperger Experts about five years ago. At the time we had just gotten my son Oliver's diagnosis of Asperger's, so I said to myself "Alright. Well, first thing you do is you get ABA and you listen to what all the doctors and the teachers say." I was also a teacher, I have a a Master's in education so I thought I knew everything about kids and was approaching this fr
Hi. My name is Kim. I have 2 girls, Sophia and Madison who were officially diagnosed at 16.
In high school, Sophia would have these bouts of meltdowns. Normally she would get out of them, but one in particular, she was 15, and she was in her bed acting like a two year old. Literally, not just figuratively, pulling the covers over her head, not talking. So I said, "Sophia, what's going on? What's bothering you? Is it your stomach? Is it this?" And she just said, "ehhh, ehhh". Just screamin
They Locked Him In A Closet.
My name is Emily. I'm a mom, and an Aspie. I have two Aspie sons. One is 20. One is 19. I am a retired lawyer who had to hire a lawyer to sue my school district because of what happened with my son. Right off the bat I want to say that I would never have done that by myself. I think you need to have a professional. If you're living in a school district that doesn't want to work with you, if you find yourself at a meeting and you're confused, bring in a professio
Seriously. Take a moment. Breathe. Sit and absorb this message: You are an amazing parent. You know how much you have to put up with that most parents never do? They would probably crack after 1 day in your shoes.
I would say that I don’t know how you do it, but I do (and you do too!). And if you are doubting yourself remember this: We work with over 400,000 people in over 89 countries, so we’ve seen some patterns develop. The so called “bad parents” aren’t the ones reading about Asperger’
Note: This is from our upcoming book of school stories, written by fellow parents.
My name is Katrina. I am a mom of a fourteen-year-old son named David who is diagnosed with ASD at age nine and we live in the UK.
When he was in nursery he was very hard to keep in a group and would get very distressed if things changed quickly. So if a nursery nurse didn't give him advanced warning of something changing or if he didn't think something was fair, he'd get very upset and would have a tant
Let me ask you a question: Do you ever feel like you don't fit in? I felt that way when I was a kid. I was the twelve year old that was happy browsing a forum about a video game. That was my idea of a fun time. Obviously, I didn't have many friends. I didn't go out and do many things. I stayed in and was on the computer.
My world was the computer, and if you took me away from what I knew, I was really sad and really depressed.
As I said, I was diagnosed with Asperger's when I was twel
The Story of the Time I Flipped Off Antarctica
When I was in high school I found Geography to be an exceptionally boring class. My teacher was awesome, and he did his best to make it interesting, but, sometimes, there’s only so much you can do when it comes to memorizing countries and capitals. On one fateful Thursday I was sitting there, wriggling around in my tan plastic chair trying to get comfortable, when the assignment of the day slid onto the desk in front of me. Apparently, I was ex
Allow me to provide you with a simple but powerful script that you can use as a template for having uncomfortable conversations when you need to hold boundaries... without walking on eggshells.
It's called the X, Y, Z method and it has three parts: When you did X in Y situation, I felt Z.
That might sound something like this; "When you came home an hour after curfew last night, I felt worried." Or to give another example; "When you left your coat on the living room floor after school y
Do you feel that? Right there in your chest. . . Listen. . .
That’s your heart. That’s what’s keeping you alive right now.
If you’re like most people, your heart will have beat roughly 4,800 times in the last hour (80 times per minute). However, what you may not realize is that not all of those beats were exactly the same. Most people’s heartbeat tends to be pretty steady but not perfectly so. Some beats happen a little faster and therefore closer together. Others are just a little slo
My name is Sarah, I have a 23 year old and a 15 year old. My 15 year old was diagnosed with ASD and in the beginning, we were pretty desperate. It got really bad. We're talking about near-hospitalization, therapeutic schools, lots of trauma. Day to day life was just nearly impossible.
When my daughter was 11, It was really bad. There were lots of meltdowns and frustration and I was in a constant state of anxiety. It didn't feel like anxiety. It felt like anger and frustration and desperati
Running A Marathon... And Almost Dying
According to legend, the first marathon was run by an ancient Greek soldier named Pheidippides. The year was 490 BC and the Persian army had moved into Greece coming to conquer. Fearing for their lives and their homeland, the city of Athens sent an army to meet the Persians outside the city of Marathon. Despite being heavily outnumbered, the Athenians were victorious. Following the battle Pheidippides ran the distance from the city of Marathon all the
The Issue Isn't That They Are Unmotivated (Here's Why)
In my experience, most people that manage to roll themselves out of bed in the morning and engage in some activity besides staring at a wall all day are motivated people. How do I know that? Because they’re moving with a purpose.
Psychology has a much broader definition for motivation than most of us. Someone might think of the motivation behind a morning jog as the desire to be happier and get in shape. However, a psychologist wo
How does change affect you? I have been going through a lot of changes lately and though most of them have been for the good, as I knew they would be, I had to prepare myself as my aspy side doesn't do well with disruptions of schedule and/or environment. I can react very strongly with inappropriate anger when an unexpected interruption occurs while I am in the middle of doing something I consider important.
So I did my best to prepare for retiring from teaching and moving from San
My father used to say, "You are the luckiest SOB I have ever known." An objective review of my life confirms his observation. And yet, my basic aspy nature is not to trust - regardless of how things are going. I am wondering if any of you have similar feelings. I have trouble letting go of control and collaborating with others. I used to do everything myself, because I didn't trust others (not even God) to do things up to my standards and attention to detail. I have spoken with others who have f
Things are slowly starting to get better because we've flattened the curve. Restaurants, small businesses, and churches have reopened. Speaking of churches, last Saturday was my first time I went to mass at church with other people besides my family. While at church, we had to wear masks to continue to slow the spread of this coronavirus and protect ourselves. We also had to be signed in by the usher for a seat.
When things start to reopen, I was still scared to be outside of places while a
I was meant to do something creative at a young age when I first grabbed the pen to come up with new ideas. When I was 6-years-old, I first got into drawing. Drawing was one of my early interests of mine because I have a strong visual attention to details. One time, I drew a picture of my mom for her birthday (April 21) and she loved it so much that she hopes to frame it one day.
When I entered my teen years, I started to get interested in writing. I once told my 7th grade English teacher t
I felt a little guilty for not going to the therapy center for days ever since the pandemic started. I stopped going to the therapy center when it was announced that my sister Mikayla has to be sent home from college and seeing no toilet paper stacked in the shelves at the grocery store. There is no right or wrong answer based on the decisions you make. I stopped going to the therapy center for days just before the pandemic started and schools were closed for the rest of the year to do what's ri
According to the famous Aesop fable The Tortoise & The Hare, slow and steady wins the race. This means you should take your time to get to the finish line without rushing so you can catch a breath here. It takes a lot of patience to accomplish your dreams as there are obstacles that can get in the way by persevering those obstacles.
With this pandemic still going on, it's gonna take a lot of time and patience for things to go back to normal. The first half of 2020 has been rough so far
so this is my first spot to 'blog'. I looked at the 'tags' and decided on none. but I would like to, say, wirite a little something on these topics/tags. anyway, I also don't like capital letters, but should try, I think, to use them. They make it more interesting to type. Thank you I tell myself. I also like to use commas, since for the longest time, I have created sentences which are long.
I was diagnosed with Autism on Dec. 12, 2012. It's true, I believe, that I could have been
I've been staying at home self-quarantining myself for over a week since this epidemic became a pandemic. Last Sunday, I tried to stay calm with myself, hoping that everything will be okay as there is always hope that things will get better if we do our part self-distancing ourselves from other crowds 6 feet apart. But when I was having leftover Mexican food for lunch, I yelled at my parents that I'm not gonna finish everything. The way I yelled was for them to grab my attention by listening to
So... I posted this to my timeline to document and help me cope with the current world as this seems to help me cope a little better and a dear friend suggested that I document things.....
This is to give people insight into what this pandemic is like from someone who has autism .... This is not an end all be all fits every situation sort of thing.. I am just documenting it so people can understand how one Aspie is trying to cope..
Right now I am overstimulated by people... news... pla
All of our routines are being disrupted in some way right now. Even if you live in the basement and just play video games all day, we're all being affected. So how do you build a new routine and create some certainty in your life when every day is different?
Here's some ideas:
First, recognize that above all else, establishing a routine is more about having a sense of certainty than it is keeping an exact schedule. It's about knowing what to expect, and having a sense of familiarity wi
The coronavirus outbreak is driving me crazy right now. I can't go to the therapy center and have to stay home instead, my 19-year-old sister Mikayla is coming home from Loyola Chicago, and my 16-year-old Katrina doesn't have school, which means schools and colleges are closed in favor of online classes. According to state governors, this quarantine is not a snow day. But my parents have to work to take care of me and my family in this household while trying to be super precautious with their hy
I’m freaking out. You’re freaking out. We are all losing our marbles. We are in a scary time, there’s a lot of uncertainty, a lot of change in routine, and a lot of chaos. At Asperger Experts we aren’t denying that and we don’t want you to deny it either. It is of the utmost importance that for the health of ourselves, our loved ones, our neighbors, and complete strangers that we stringently practice empathy, social distancing, washing hands, and if need be social isolation.
But in addition t
The Coronavirus on the news is driving me crazy right now. This brought me back to the Ebola outbreak back in 2014. These outbreaks remind me of the Flare from The Maze Runner, where the kids get sent to maze to see if they were immune to this virus. This makes me wish I was immune to both Ebola and the Coronavirus. If someone in my hometown got tested positive for the Coronavirus, I would quarantine myself in my house and not take the bus to work to prevent myself from getting that virus. Or sh
Here's what you need to know about me. I'm 23 years old and I have high-functioning autism. With my autism, I would feel trapped like I don't know what to say or don't know what to do or don't know what to think that it causes me to shut down. Despite the highs and lows in having autism, what makes me who I am as a person is that I have a wild, endless imagination as well as a greater sense of curiosity. With that imagination and curiosity inside me, I was meant to do something creative the firs
WARNING: MATURE CONTENT: DESCRIPTIONS OF NUDITY.
What up guys, Growth Monkey here.
Before I start, I want to preface this by saying that in addition to getting help, I'm also using this blog as an opportunity to work on my blogging skills for when I eventually start my own blog as a way to build a following for my own eventual online business. So feel free to react, follow, & leave feedback.
Hygiene, Manscaping, & Defense Mode
First of all, let me preface this
WARNING: MATURE CONTENT. VIEWER DISCRETION IS STRONGLY ADVISED. OH YEAH, & THIS IS LONG. REALLY LONG.
What's good, everybody?
Welcome to my blog on life with Asperger's. Before I get started, I think I should let you guys in on a little background info.
Who Am I?
I am a 23-year-old man born & raised in the suburbs of Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I was diagnosed with Asperger's at 3 years old, and at the time, could barely talk or run, let alone make friends on the
One of the hardest decisions I had to make as a parent of a child with Aspergers was what to tell people when they met him. Should I let them form their own opinions of James perhaps wondering about his lack of eye contact, but charmed by his incredible vocabulary, and a little confused by his volatile anger all on their own? Or should I interject my pat phrase, “James has Aspergers, which is high-functioning autism. He’s very intelligent, but he has emotional problems.”
It seemed prudent t
I was in Los Angeles last weekend, walking around DTLA and people watching and observed something I had seen thousands of times over the years: Parents telling their kids what to do. Not in the sense of "Throw away your trash" or "Come here", but things like "You need to trust me" and "Calm down".
It occurred to me that the most effective parents, the ones that have a deep relationship with their child, and the ones that ultimately raise physically & emotionally healthy children that go
My 5 year old son, C, is one of a kind. He is the most imaginative person I have ever met. He lives in a world full of magic, but visits our mundane planet to spend time with the people he loves (and for the chocolate).
The sensations on this planet can be hard for him to handle. Some noises are so loud or distracting that he has to plug his ears. Some places that are so quiet that it makes his head hurt. He is afraid of the dark, but bright lights make him edgy (even if he doesn't realize
Time moved slowly in our house. Everyone else’s children grew up quickly, became dentists and lawyers, and most of all, best friends as siblings often do, later in life. Our lives were different. We moved forward in small increments, too often unnoticed, too often unfelt. And our goals were more simple -- get James through sixth grade, be able to go out to dinner as a family without being asked to leave because the kids had a screaming match at the ice cream bar. . .
Once Emma asked me wh
Learning is defined by dictionary.com as:
1. Knowledge acquired by systematic study in any field of scholarly application.
2. The act or process of acquiring knowledge or skill.
3. Psychology. the modification of behavior through practice, training, or experience.
Let's look at #3, the modification of behavior through practice, training, or experience. When you really think about this definition it can be exciting or kind of scary. What behaviors are we practicing,
I sometimes feel like dealing with people with Asperger's is like playing Dungeons & Dragons as a Gnome Wizard and then stumbling into a non-magic zone.
"Haha! Your tricks won't work here!"
The "normal" tactics that we reach for as a society tend not to work well with folks on the spectrum.
In other words: people with Asperger's tend to not respond well to force. I was on a train last night coming back from Los Angeles and the guy behind me was talking about his experiences
This is a paradigm shift that changed my life, so I'd like to share it with you: When we want to change something about a person, place or thing, it is very common in our society to ask "How can I get X to...?"
"How can I get my daughter to do her homework?"
"How can I get my husband to finally pick up his socks?"
"How can I get my computer to stop freezing on me?"
Yet when we ask "How can I get?" there are some hidden assumptions there that can be very dangerous and damaging
Every year between 2014 and 2019 I told myself that I was going to go the gym. Every year, I was going to get healthy…. I’m going to get healthy, I’m going to get healthy, I’m going to get healthy. But come the first week of January, or any time really, I would be in that gym for 10 minutes max.
Sensory overload is the loud noises of weights dropping. The massive amounts of people. Someone engaging me in a conversation that I really don’t care about. It's uncomfortably bypassing a group of ex
“James has autism,” I typed the next day. I was sending an email to our family and friends. I couldn’t imagine talking to them all, saying the words again and again on the phone. I knew some people would be mad that I was putting such big news in an email, but I also knew that some people would be relieved that I wasn’t telling them face-to-face.
“The psychiatrist at Dayton Children’s diagnosed him, and we will, of course, seek a second opinion, but it looks like the diagnosis is correct.
It starts with a little push.
Life, it screws me over.
Standing on the Edge
And I've fallen sober.
As I plunge into the
I feel numb.
I feel nothing.
I feel so
All emotion is void
And there's nothing I can do.
But fall endlessly.
Fall into Numb.
Where nothing is feeling.
And feeling is nothing.
Where I am nonetheless
Dead in all ways except physical.
I am numb.
And I've fallen deeper into
My heart beats normal,
My eyes see the same world,
But my brain doesn't meet there...
My mind is gone.
My emotions are dead.
My feelings are left at
Nothing but physical.
My heart keeps beating,
But my emotions have
I'm dead inside,
I feel disconnected.
You could call me
A robot, of sorts.
I've lost touch with
My Vital Signs Failed.
“I feel like I’m shielding our son from having a Christmas,” I said to Sean.
“I know. Not very merry, is it?” he answered. He was untangling the lights that we were going to put on the tree.
“His counselor actually said that we should try to keep things normal.”
“Well, that’s fun,” Sean said. He yanked too hard at one of the knots, and two little bulbs popped out, extinguishing all the lights.
“Your sister is still coming next week?”
“Yeah,” Sean said.
In September, my son James started at his new school. I decided not to tell his teachers about his autism diagnosis. I was determined that he not be labeled. As a teacher myself, I knew what labeling did to a child -- it hurt them, it stunted them. Even though I worked hard not to categorize my special needs’ students, I still sighed when I saw the words “learning disabled” on a student’s file at the beginning of the year. To put it simply, it meant more work for me.
I was determined that
I was often concerned about Danny’s eating habits. He wasn’t willing to try pizza or pasta until he was 9, and has never tried red meat, fish, or most vegetables. He would have a meltdown if we cooked anything involving fish or olives that he claimed “smelled up the house and caused him pain,” and would be agitated if any prepared meal had anything green on it. As for school lunches, he ate the same thing - a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and apple sauce - every single day for 7 years!
We're returning to Los Angeles for our flagship workshop, Deep Into Defense Mode Live!
We'll be in Pasadena, CA on March 21st & 22nd, 2020 with 40 awesome individuals ready to get out of Defense Mode, gain some clarity & know what to do when it comes to motivation, relationships & more.
In this workshop, we focus on 4 major areas:
Understanding Defense Mode - What goes on inside the mind & body of someone with Asperger's when they are in Defense Mode?
By Ellen Raede (Danny's mom)
Raising a son with Asperger's, we often had to celebrate in a different way. Here are three examples:
1) When Danny turned 12, we were on vacation in Seattle. To celebrate his actual birthday, Danny didn't want a party or special dinner, but instead requested a tour of Microsoft Headquarters. Fortunately, we had a business acquaintance whose son coordinated a fabulous tour of the campus. I really didn't understand all of the technical terms or descriptio
After James' diagnosis of Asperger's, Syndrome, I read hundreds of articles on autism, sensory processing disorder, and oppositional behavior defiance disorder. I signed up for a conference given by Tony Atwood, sat in on "chats" in discussion rooms online, and attended a parenting class at the local YMCA. I joined a Mother's group too. I knew I needed to talk about it all -- but instead, the mothers talked to me.
Mostly about diets. Good Lord, the diets that were recommended to me! No dai
Since I can remember, I have hated looking back at the child I was. I look at my childhood and I cringe, and for the longest time I have had the resounding thought that I was a stupid kid. I was stupid, weird, and ugly, and that's why other people made fun of me. That's what I thought, for years. But it wasn't the truth. Because when I was seventeen, I was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. And while I hate to say it, that explained everything.
For instance, I have never understood s
Throughout my life I have not been able to relate to people on a level where I feel connected, understood, or accepted, and even more painful . . . in a way I feel loved. There was always a missing piece, a sense of being different, excluded, isolated, and just not part of.
I used to love rolling myself up in a rug and feel the tightness around me. I loved my grandmother’s heavy comforter. I could barely slip under it, and as I lied there with this heavy weight from the comforter on my ches
Right after James’ diagnosis of autism, his preschool had an end -of -the -year party. Parents talked about their vacation plans while little ones played on the swings and slides. I sat on the curb, away from everyone and glared at them. I glared at his teachers, who had first referred James for testing. I glared at the kids, who had refused to play with him all year and even now, were avoiding him. I glared at the other parents, especially the woman who had said upon hearing our news, “Oh, we
Are the holidays something you dread? Maybe it’s too many people, high expectation placed upon you or even worse low expectations? You’re not alone.
I can tell you that I approach holidays from a very different place now that I know better. What do I mean by know better? I mean listening to my own body and being honest about the capacity I have for celebrations, as well as listening to my twins Lillian & Chloe.
Before I understood what Asperger’s/Autism was, I took my daughters
Coming Out with Autism
By Eva Angvert Harren, Core Coach and Educator
Often when we get into recovery we think, “Oh, THAT’s what’s wrong with me! Now that I know what’s wrong with me, I know how to fix it.”
If I use the 12 steps and do what they tell me, I’ll become a better wife, mom, daughter, friend…a better whatever! That great awakening happened for me in 1990.
The support in the 12-step programs is incredible, and many participants of these programs create a life beyond
In just about a week and a half we'll be headed to San Jose, CA for "Understanding Asperger's" where we will take you on a 2 day deep dive into what it feels like to live with Asperger's. You'll learn what goes on in our heads, how we think, as well as whats happening on the physiological side too.
We tend to go all over the country, and its rare that we repeat an area for at least a year and a half, so if you are interested in coming, see this page ASAP. Tickets are limited.
Note: This letter was emailed in to us, so, with permission, we're posting it on the behalf of the author here.
I attended one of Danny’s seminars early this year on Getting Unstuck. I want to share my impressions with you.
I was so impressed with the quality of the work he and his partners are doing, the resources they offer, and their international reach…and with the brilliant, courageous participants.
I am a psychotherapist specializing in trauma treatment and an executive coac
Note: This author of this letter has asked to remain anonymous, so we are posting this for them.
Yesterday C and I discussed mandatory non-electronic down time after school (and what qualifies), then the importance of doing homework and chores before electronics.
He rolled around on the floor and moaned for a short time when it came time to do chores, and then he suddenly sat up and with pursed eyebrows said, "I'm feeling overwhelmed." I asked him if he would like me to help
Note: The author of this letter has asked to remain anonymous, so we're posting this on their behalf.
Three years ago I came across you in a state of acute desperation.
My 11 year old eldest daughter had been diagnosed with aspergers, and our life was in chaos. She was decidedly unhappy and angry and we all tip-toed around her sensitivities and tantrums. She would squeeze her head to stop unwelcome thoughts, throw things and destroy her possessions in her anger, and I lived in trepidat
Note: The author of this letter has asked to remain semi-anonymous, so we're posting this on their behalf.
Dear Asperger Experts;
I recently flew from New Jersey, to Seattle, to attend your two day seminar with my 15 year old son who is on the autistic spectrum.
I am a physician and have practiced for 16 years, at some of the most prestigious institutions in the country.. I have attended countless seminars and conferences watching presentations of the most innovative advancements
Note: The author of this letter has asked to remain anonymous, so we're posting this on their behalf.
I have 5 children 2 of which have aspergers, We have struggled for the last few years with my now 14yr old son who is aspergers. He has been (as we now know) in full defence mode.
His school anxiety became so bad 2 years ago that he developed emetaphobia and refused to eat which resulted in dangerous weight loss and him being signed out of school on medical grounds, after a long battl
There’s a famous scene in Alice in Wonderland where Alice encounters the Cheshire Cat in a tree and asks him for directions. The interchange went something like this:
Alice: “I just wanted to ask you about which way I should go.”
Cat: “Well, that depends on where you want to get to.”
Alice: “Oh, it really doesn’t matter so long as I get somewhere.”
Cat: “Then it really doesn’t matter which way you go...”
See, your child doesn’t just need to have enough internal and exter
Once upon a time I was coaching a mother and her daughter who was diagnosed with Asperger’s (we’ll call her Sarah). In one particular session, they were having some disagreement about what constituted an appropriate bedtime for a ten year-old. Sarah insisted that she wanted to stay up reading an additional thirty minutes and that she could still wake up on time.
Mom was principally opposed to the idea. She said that she frequently had to nag Sarah all the way out of bed and through her morn
Folks, here’s the meat and potatoes: When you’re trying to change or encourage a particular behavior, “capability” is the first and most important place to start. Many people believe that if someone doesn’t appear to be motivated, it’s because they don’t want it. People hardly ever look deeper to find that someone actually does want something, they just don’t have the capacity and capability. As a coach, I see this every day when talking to parents. They tell me they’ve been trying for years to
I was once working with a mother who had a twenty-something year-old son living in her basement. She complained to me that he never did anything except play video games. I asked her to describe what approaches she had tried so far, and what a typical day looked like. What she said next genuinely surprised me.
It turned out that her son had no regard for cleanliness and self-care. So, bless her heart, mom would go down to the basement every day to clean and organize his room. She also said h
In 2003 a brilliant woman by the name of Christine Miserandino published an essay entitled “The Spoon Theory” which went on to change the way people think about mental and physical challenges. Here’s the short and sweet version:
“Spoons” is a metaphor, a code word, to describe and measure how much physical and emotional capacity each of us has to get through the day. Imagine you start the day bright and early with ten Spoons. You use up one Spoon getting out of bed and getting ready, then a
Dad comes home from work and tells little Johnny to take out the trash. So Johnny disappears for about 10 minutes and then says “I did it!’.
When the dad checks, the trash is literally just sitting outside the door. So dad gets frustrated. Meanwhile Johnny still thinks he fulfills his end, and this devolves into a fight.
The problem here is unclear expectations AHEAD of time about what “take out the trash” means.
In other words, if you are speaking German and
Holding space is one of the simplest and most effective things you can do to help someone with Asperger’s emotionally process the day. Simply put, holding space is acceptance without judgement. It often, but not always, involves sitting with someone, practicing Deep Listening, and being a mirror to help them become aware of themselves (their feelings, emotions, and physical sensations).
Holding space helps people with Asperger’s (or really anyone) process their emotions, feel safe, and be a
When your child is of moving out age and you’ve tried everything you know to light a fire under them and get them motivated.. And nothing seems to work, make sure your actions are informed by these 2 guidelines:
#1 - Your job is to create calm, not join their chaos
If they are struggling to be motivated to move out, 99% of the time it is a capacity issue, rather than a motivation issue. They are probably deep in Defense Mode, so make sure to hold some space for them, and help them proc
"Everyone is always doing as well as they can within their personal limitations, their personal history, what they know and don't know and what they're feeling in that moment. If they could make a healthier decision, they would. This includes you." - Carl Alasko, PhD.
Not Now, Grandma!
Imagine a young soldier crouching behind a rocky outcropping. Bullets are flying overhead and explosions are booming in the distance. She feels trapped. Beneath her mud splattered military fatigues, her
You have never felt more powerful than you do in this moment. You are conscious of your muscles warming up as blood flows into them preparing to handle whatever is about to happen next. You feel the familiar tightening in your chest and neck. The tingle of sweat beginning to form on your skin. Your focus sharpens. You feel awake and alive.
What is this amazing feeling? The answer may surprise you: stress.
For those of you that have somehow avoided feeling stress this far into your life
Ah that is the age old question, isn’t it? Why won’t they just listen?
You daydream about a perfect world where the beds are always made, homework is swiftly done, teeth are frequently brushed, your viewpoints are clearly expressed and understood, and there’s not an argument to be had.
Sadly, that is not the world in which we live. It sucks, I know.
So what do you about it? Are you doomed to wallow in misery as these problems remained unsolved? Sure, if you want to. But there’s a
Why do people with Asperger’s sometimes smell like the inside of an onion that has been rotting in a graveyard for a century? Or to put it another way, why do people with Asperger’s often struggle with hygiene issues?
It’s not that they aren’t motivated. It’s not that they don’t care. Often, it’s just that they are so deep into Defense Mode that they don’t have enough energy to care. Their energy is completely spent just getting through the day, and defending against the world in general.
So your child has just gotten their very own Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis, or at very least, you strongly suspect that they’re on the spectrum somewhere. Congratulations! As a proud Aspie myself it is my honor and pleasure to welcome you and your family to our little community. I really think you’re going to love it here.
Many times when I’m speaking to parents who are just getting introduced to this new world I’m often asked the same question. Whether the child is 4 or 44, pare
You screwed up again, didn’t you? And you know what that means. It means you’re a failure. Well my friend, let me be the first to congratulate you! I’m a failure too, and I couldn’t be prouder. Oh man, I’ve failed loads of times. More than I could ever possibly count. Some of my mistakes, both conscious and accidental, have been small and mostly inconsequential. Others have been so monumentally, unfathomably stupid that they are still impacting my life today. And of cours
Note: This was written by a parent in our AE+ Support community who wished to remain anonymous. Learn more about AE+ here
Why rewards and punishments don't work with neuro atypical people who suffer from anxiety.
I am prompted to expound on this topic because I am frequently in frustrating positions trying to explain to others why their well intentioned suggestions of a rewards and punishments model will not work with my neuro atypical daughter. I try hard to not be offended at their d
I’ve noticed the theme of my personal life over the past 6 months has been building a solid foundation, so I’d like to share some thoughts that may help you:
I’ve observed that most people’s problem solving strategy is “Oh crap! There’s a problem! How do I fix it now? Hurry!” As you’ve probably noticed, that doesn’t work all that well. It is extremely stressful and doesn’t actually do much to solve a problem, because inevitably you end up making decisions out of fear, and as one AE+ member
Today I’d like to share with you a story of something that impacted me deeply during our event we held in Los Angeles last year.
On the second day we try to go deep into the feelings of hurt that usually manifest on both sides of a family struggling with Defense Mode:
Oftentimes the kids feel powerless,manipulated, and invalidated… meanwhile, the parents feel like they are never given any respect or gratitude.
That was shown clear as crystal when one of the moms stood up and said
We’ve unfortunately heard this story thousands of times. School ends, the services dry up, and a wonderful young person with Asperger’s and all the potential in the world ends up playing video games in their room all day, refusing to get a job and move forward with their life.
It sucks. So whether you are in this situation, or worried about what will happen to your child when that time finally comes, here are 3 things to remember:
#1 - It’s rarely a willingness issue
I remember when I first discovered that the body had an innate ability to resolve its own issues. And what I mean by that is any time that you are uncomfortable, anxious, depressed, scared, or just plain a new sensation that you don't like, the idea is that you need to stuff it down. You need to force it. You need to manipulate it.
You need to change it. You need to fix it. You need to heal it. You need to do something about it. And I was of the same idea.
I need to take some medicatio
Adrian took another bite of her hamburger and as soon as she finished chewing, she immediately resumed her excited chatter about her latest obsession, anime cartoons. Her mother Margaret continued to listen, politely thrilling in the fact that her daughter was actually talking openly. Finally, a real conversation! For the past few weeks Adrian rarely, if ever left her room. She often refused to join the family for dinner, preferring to spend most of her time alone on her computer. As a result, M
To be honest, when I was diagnosed with Asperger’s (High-Functioning Autism) at age twelve, it didn’t have much of an impact on me. My parents, the therapist, and I sat on the couch as the good doctor took a few minutes to explain the particulars of my diagnosis while I listened politely. He asked if I had any questions. I didn’t. I remember thinking it was a funny word, but, at the time, I didn’t comprehend its full meaning. To me, it was just a word like any other.
And that was it. In fac
Back in the early days of Asperger Experts, when we were first learning how to help everyone in the best way possible, I attended a seminar called “Experts Academy”. There I was taught how to create courses, market those materials, work with coaching clients, etc.
The music was loud. There were a lot of people. It was hectic. And yet, because it was my current “special interest”, I enjoyed it. I didn’t get overwhelmed. Funny how that works, isn’t it?
Anyway, there was 1 thing that Bren
A lot of people ask me, “Danny, what was the “thing” that changed you and got you motivated? How did you become independent and start thriving in life?”
Today I’m going to answer that question. Our story begins with a boat. And not just any boat. I'm talking about Oasis of The Seas, currently the one of the largest cruise ships in the world.
Back in 2009, I had just gotten out of high school and I moved to Denver, Colorado to attend College Living Experience. College was nice, but the
It was the Spring of 2013. I was sitting in a chair on day 3 of a 4 day seminar on spreading your message as an expert. At that time, Asperger Experts had really only reached about 100 people or so (mainly my mom’s friends) and I WANTED to do great things in the world, but I really didn’t believe I could.
Then that day, I “got it”. Finally I was in a place where people could see I was doing great work, I felt appreciated, and more than that, I had guidance.
The speaker on stage was tel
This is going to suck. A lot.
I’m not talking about this article. I’m talking about your journey with Asperger’s.
There are times when you are going to be frustrated. There are times when you are going to want to give up. There are going to be times when you just can’t. At all. You have 0 left to give.
There are times when you are going to be confused. There are times when you are going to feel like the weight of the world rests squarely on your shoulders.
And there are going
Stop berating yourself. Seriously. Stop, right now. You’re an awesome parent. Do you want to know how I know that? I’ll tell you. At this very moment you’re reading an article trying to learn how you can better help your child. Bad parents don’t do that. In fact, bad parents are often the ones that think they they already know everything there is to know about parenting.
Having occasional doubts about your child’s capability doesn’t make you a terrible mother or father. It only makes you hu
You read a book. Or listen to a doctor or therapist and think "That's a great idea!"... but when it is time to finally IMPLEMENT that advice, you easily forget to actually use your new found wisdom.
Sound familiar? It's something I've done time and time again. So as a reminder, here are the top 9 things to remember when raising someone with Asperger's. You might want to print this one out and hang it somewhere to remind you. If you'd like more reminders, inspiration, and hope, you can join