Getting Aspies into the real world

Yesterday, I discussed how the Aspergers mind layers things on top of one another to create what we call the “Sensory Funnel”. I said that if you work on the sensory issues the most, instead of the social/emotional, then everything else falls into place. We had some awesome comments on that post, with a few questions of “Ok, how do I actually DO this?”

So, we shot a video explaining how to actually do this:

See our post “Why people with Aspergers do what they do” for the “Sensory Funnel” video referenced in the video above.

This process comes down to age. If the person with Aspergers IS at the maturity level to recognize that they have a problem with sensation, and that they need to do something about it, then great! Here’s what to do:

1) Have them identify exactly which sensations give them the most issues, as well as which category of sensation they have trouble with (Auditory, visual, kinesthetic, gustatory, etc).

2) Have the person with Aspergers expose them self to that sensation. Start in slow “doses”, with each exposure being only a few seconds, then gradually increase the time.

This forces the brain to figure out another way to deal with the sensation, since we are forcing the avoidance to no longer work. In turn, this leads only one other outcome: Integrate the sensation so that it no longer is a huge issue. This will take time, but is the best long term solution.

However, if the person with Aspergers is NOT at the maturity level where they can recognize, and willingly engage in exposing them self to stressful stimuli, then a different approach is required. Here’s what to do in that case:

1) Start off the same as above. Identify exactly the areas in which sensation is an issue.

2) Instead of exposing the person with Aspergers to that sensation, your job is to minimize it.

For example, I still dislike the smell of a fish market, but when I was younger it was 10x worse. So instead of trying to drag me to the fish market, my mom went there without me. Simple. What you will find when you minimize disruptive sensation in people with AS is that they will spend more time in THE world rather than THEIR world.

And because of that fact, they will have an easier time being aware of their own actions, picking up social skills, becoming confident, and moving into the person you know they can become.

We would love to hear your thoughts. Post a comment below!

17 thoughts on “Getting Aspies into the real world

  1. My son is a sensory-seeker. He is hypo-sensitive. He is addicted to the computer.
    How can I work with this type of sensory issue? (the seeker, the hypo-).

  2. Hi Danny, I can’t tell you how long I have waited to hear from someone who actually had first hand experience so actually knows what they are talking about, yes professionals can be helpful but they learn from books not actually going through it themselves, my son doesn’t have Aspergers he has Autism and has Echololia with minimal Spontaneous speech, he is 6, he has gone through an enormous amount of loss and change in the past 3 years, more than many adults should have to deal with in a lifetime, I’m finding it very hard to help him process as he can’t communicate verbally so he demonstrates serious challenging behaviours in and out of school, your Funnel explanation makes complete sense to me and is the process that I have been trying to use with him in the sense that I have tried to desensitise him to certain things in life and this has worked in many areas, but I do seem to take 3 steps forward and 20 back at times. I guess I just wanted to let you know that your idea can work for people with Autism too,and thank you, it is vital to so many people to have first hand detailed help.

  3. What do you think of Applied Behavior Analysis as a therapy for a 5 year old boy who is almost certainly Asperger’s?
    I work with him and have a lot if questions that aren’t getting answered by my superiors.

  4. Thank you so much. When my daughter was younger I could figure out her triggers,now we can work on this together. You made it so simple. She is 14 and her behavior seemed to be getting worse. Now I know how to help. God Bless!

  5. I have a different problem that is related to this. I love to play video games and watch cartoons/anime however I have a visual sensory overload when it comes to huge explosions both in the normal and CGI variations, if it’s too big or it has too many flashes or if it’s too colorful my brain goes into overload and it ends up with me jumping into the air and crashing down back first with all my force and I end up angry at myself for some time. (Going as far as scraping my arm with my teeth to make it bleed) I have tried to face up to this and have failed every time and I can’t just give them up because it has been my way to escape from the hardness of the real world for me. Can anyone tell me what I should do?

  6. I love the way you broke this down. You verbalized what I have been discovering with my daughter, now 14, through trial and error. Thank you!

  7. My daughter truly doesn’t have sensory issues any more. She did when she was younger but has gotten over them as she has gotten older. She does have all the rest of the layers described in your “funnel”. She has a weak (at times, absent) awareness filter, and all the way up. What can I do?

    1. At this point, you need to start to build her awareness level. Think of it like a skill, it needs to be practiced. So she literally needs to practice being aware of things.

  8. Thank you Danny, that was excellent! I know now not to try to “fix” something in my grandson that he is not ready for, and I also know that I have the information he will need when he is ready.

    I also want to thank you for what you shared in the following statements you made in responding to one of the comments and questions. You said: “The key to stims is that we only do them at certain times. Specifically when we are slightly stressed, or in super focus mode. As far as lessening it, if he is just doing this at home, then I would just let him do it. But if he is doing it at school as well, then he can do other visual stims that don’t involve his body. I used to look at intersecting lines of buildings, and then by moving my head slightly, I could make the lines move. Less noticeable, but achieved the same outcome.

    He will need to do this consciously at first: Catching himself, and then switching to the other stim. But eventually it goes unconscious.” There was a wealth of information in this sharing and I am going to share it with my grandson as a possible way he can “stim” that could help him not disturb others in school. How exactly did you move your head?

    1. It doesn’t really matter how I moved my head. What matters is that he finds something that works for him that is less noticeable.

  9. This is truly amazing! Exactly…I mean exactly what I have been waiting on! A play-by-play action plan that is well-explained with examples and a video to back it up! Genius!!!

    If I can visualize the plan–I can make it reality for my son! Thank you sooooooooo much!!! This is life-changing!!! Complicated simpleness!

    xoxo

    1. Thank you so much for your comment susie. We really appreciate hearing from people who we have helped. Do us a favor and let us know how it goes! You can find our contact info at the top, under “contact”

  10. I love the advice. “Play their game”.. Ok. He can keep wearing his shoes that have holes in the soles until he is ready to try new shoes…

    1. Eventually he will realize that the reason he gets so many blisters is because his shoes are all worn out 🙂

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