There are many great reasons why a lot of people want to become teachers. The truth is that it can be fulfilling to teach children and be the source of guidance and inspiration from them. However, the life of a preschool teacher or even those in the elementary stage is a challenging one. You need to consider several issues and concerns that each kid may experience in school. It is the primary reason why some teachers end up seeking professional help or attending therapy sessions. (more…)
It’s important to understand that high functioning autism is not an actual diagnosis and not even a medical term. But despite that, people casually use the name when they talk about individuals on a spectrum that can write, speak, and handle necessary life task. Preferably, they can live on their own.
People who often fall on this type of spectrum are living lives just like everybody else. Aside from that, they even have a higher functioning cognitive compared to others who are having the same condition. But how do people talk about and understand the situation? Why is there an anxiety issue on both having and treating the disorder?
“People who suffer from ambient anxiety have not developed an internal psychological and emotional barrier. Things they see and hear penetrate them to their core.” –Fran Walfish, PsyD
The difference of high functioning autism from other autism spectrum is the milder forms. Before this, only those severe cases tend to be diagnosed and treated. That’s the mere reason why Asperger’s become the most popular diagnosis as a whole. So when people came to realize that there’s a whole lot more about the autism spectrum, they begin to categorize all the cases as “autism spectrum disorders.” But other individuals still use the outdated terms such as Asperger’s because they somehow haven’t kept up with the numerous changes of the treatment.
Symptoms Of High Functioning Autism
Just like an individual on an autism spectrum, high functioning people still struggle with making eye contact and having consistent communication with others. Since socially interacting with different people can sometimes become very difficult, those who are high functioning have a feeling of anxiety. They have issues about social gatherings because, for them, the act of social activeness takes so much of their energies. People believe that OCD, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and depression are the significant co-morbidities of high functioning autism. Meaning, each of these mental illnesses happens simultaneously at a particular time. Perhaps that’s due to the abnormalities in the serotonin production.
People with high functioning autism tend to be more aware of their situation. They can differentiate their state from others. With that, they get too anxious with interacting with people and become immensely depressed on their incapability to connect with someone. As a result, these individuals develop other forms of mental health issues. In some unfortunate events, they struggle to understand sarcasm and jokes from friends or families as well. In this sense, there’s a chance that they can appear more mature for their age, but the truth is they are just uncomfortable sticking around with a bunch of people. Honestly, they don’t understand what’s typically going on in social situations as a whole.
“Autism is a complex developmental disability that causes difficulties in many areas, with varying degrees of severity, most notably with social interaction and communication.” Karla Helbert, LPC, E-RYT, C-IAYT said. But in other cases, most high function people with autism disorder still manage to complete a routine or task. These people’s restricted habits and rituals may appear odd to those around them, but it won’t matter. Because working the things they are comfortable doing can help these individuals to manage their anxious feelings better and comply with the sensory overload that they may be experiencing. So, therefore, their tantrums or meltdowns are normal.
There’s still no definite conclusion of how people get autism spectrum disorders. However, research already shows that individuals with ASD suffer from abnormalities in the particular region of the brain such as the frontal cortex and amygdala. These two sectors are responsible for cognitive processing and decision making, as well as emotions, memory, and survival. That’s the reason why people who are experiencing ASD struggle regulating their emotions, and therefore can’t control social situations.
Interventions And Treatments
According to John Cutrone, LMHC, MCAP, CAS, “Being diagnosed with Autism does not have not to impact you negatively. People with Autism can live fulfilling and meaningful lives. It is about learning the tools and skills that can help lead to success.” Luckily, there’s so much that we can do to manage autism spectrum disorders. But first, we have to understand that the condition is not something that people do not grow out of, nor it is something that requires an immediate solution. With significant social involvement, we can create a difference for these people with ASD. Interventions such as setting up occupational therapy, providing speech therapy, and encouraging applied behavior analysis are a good start. People can also promote social skill classes, psychotherapy for anxiety and depression, and engage in floortime activities. They can also help those people with ADS in relationship development intervention, or utilize picture exchange for much better communication.
There’s pretty much nothing to worry about ASD. As long as people work together in helping each other, handling social issues will become smooth and straightforward.
People diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder may act, think, and feel a bit differently. However, they’re very much capable of maintaining meaningful relationships with friends, family, and a significant other. Although they have a disability, they can positively identify with romance and gender roles.
Romantic Relationships Of “Aspies” And “NTs”
Adults with Asperger’s (Aspie) may have difficulties in navigating the social world. They do not often exhibit signs of empathy and affection. They’re also not very conscious of other people’s emotions. Despite that, many relationships thrive with an Aspie partner.
A person with Asperger’s syndrome is no different from the rest of the normal crowd (neurotypical or NTs). Qualities such as beauty, personality, and intellect are also some of the criteria for attraction in Aspies. “Asperger’s Syndrome (Autism Spectrum Disorder) is more common that we realize and there are increasing numbers of high-functioning adults who are self-identifying or being diagnosed.” Eva A. Mendes LMHC explains.
In some cases, people tend to find a partner who has the qualities they lack. Aspies are known for their awkward social skills. Therefore, Aspies may find a partner who is highly perceptive and can help them interact with people.
However, as a neurotypical partner of an Aspie, it will be a challenge to cope with his or her personality. Although many Aspie–NT couples who are still going strong, there are inevitably a few bumps in the road. Here are some traits you can expect from an Aspie partner:
- They Are Not Voluntarily Affectionate
We need to feel loved and secured as human beings. For people with Asperger’s, displaying such affections is not in their personality. Unlike NTs, the Aspie do not share the innate understanding for the need of warmth. For them, usual gestures of love are incomprehensible.
An Aspie in a relationship thinks of saying I love you, holding hands, and hugging as things in a to-do list to soothe their partner’s needs for affection. Sometimes they even need an explicit reminder to do these things.
They do not intend to hurt their partner by withholding these actions. It’s just that they do not feel the need for such displays of affection because they do not comprehend it as normal people do.
- They Are Too Independent
People with Asperger’s are not clingy. It would seem that they respect your space and independence for not always demanding to spend time with you. However, the reason they act this way is that they are very self-absorbed and do not pay attention to your interests.
Again, this is not intentional. They’re known to have incredible focus in doing tasks; however, this also implies that they have a narrow and concentrated focus on their self-interests. This results to unintentionally putting themselves first before their partner.
- They Cannot Take Hints
An Aspie has difficulty catching people’s subtle display of emotions. Often they do not recognize body language and sarcasm. This phenomenon is called mind blindness. Therefore, you should explicitly communicate your feelings and emotions with them.
Probably the best-known person in pop culture with Asperger’s is Sheldon Cooper, a character in a famous sitcom the Big Bang Theory. If you have seen the show, you can observe how unusual Sheldon interacts with his girlfriend in their relationship.
Sheldon appears to be very self-centered and would even require a written agreement or rules for the relationship. These are surprisingly in detail such as “what to do during a date” and “when to hold hands.” The television show has perhaps exaggerated it a bit, but according to some real-life Aspies, a written set of rules helps them in the relationship. Without it, they feel lost.
Although a person with Asperger’s Syndrome does not portray the ideal qualities of a romantic partner, just like any of us, they can still love. Only they show it a bit differently.
Gender Identity And Expression
Love and romance are one of the many things that we share with those with autism. Moreover, given their unique personalities, these people usually are resolute on their gender orientation. But unlike their NT counterparts, they typically do not identify themselves with non-binary gender identities. In most cases, they would only be heterosexual, gay, or lesbian. Catherine Davies, MEd, MSc,CPsychol, LMHC says, “Individuals with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD) progress similarly to their typically-developing peers in terms of sexual health.”
Regarding gender expression, Aspies are not very much inclined to identify with the constructs for males and females. Instead, they’re more focused on sensory experiences. Therefore, the way they dress and the way they project themselves would only be for comfort and practicality rather than style and fashion.
Some people may question the preferred gender identity of these people because of their disability; however, like in love and romance, they’re capable of determining their sexuality. Also, like the NTs, people with Asperger’s syndrome and autism are also susceptible to gender identity crisis and gender dysmorphia.
People diagnosed with Asperger’s and autism may be different from the abled crowd in many ways, but they’re still capable of loving and managing their sexuality.
Even though people in the autism spectrum think, act, and feel a little differently, it does not mean that they’re less capable than NT people. When you have friends like this in your circle, or you’re in a relationship with one, the key is communication to know better how they feel. “For the partner on the spectrum, confusion about doing or saying the right thing, coupled with an inability to grasp the unwritten rules of social engagement, can cause great anxiety, frustration, and often depression. The world is processed cognitively, with logical thought patterns.” Sarah Swenson, MA, LMHC said.
It may be difficult to understand them at times, but to keep a healthy relationship with them, it is best to try to put ourselves in their shoes even if they cannot always do the same.
Some of us deal with autism through someone we know. It is a much more personal when it is a family member that we live under the same roof with. The 2016 Los Angeles Autism Awareness Week elaborates on the three things people with autism need.
Dealing with the symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome is undeniably challenging for anyone who has it. Although the condition is high-functioning autism – meaning, a person can typically attend regular school and pass as a regular human being – there are still instances when it makes you stand out in a not-so-good way. For example, you may not understand when someone cracks a joke or react quite well to sarcasm. If you do realize it later, it might embarrass you and knock your confidence level down a notch.
Nevertheless, this particular autism spectrum disorder does not merely affect the mental health of the patients. It changes the psychological well-being of their loved ones too, primarily after witnessing someone with Asperger’s syndrome experience sensory overload. Hence, the latter yells, cries, throws and breaks stuff, and acts violently towards people. As explained by Karla Helbert, LPC, E-RYT, C-IAYT “Often, kids, teens and adults on the spectrum spend a lot of time trying to be “normal”, fighting sensory overload and overwhelm, fending off personal quirks, and trying so hard to “fit in”,socially and otherwise.”
If you are a relative or friend of a person who has the same disorder, you should know what to do when he or she has a meltdown for the sake of your mental health.
1. Don’t Get In The Way
The first thing you should bear in mind when someone you love breaks down is not to try to hold or hug him or her. Sensory overload is tricky to handle, you see. Even laying a finger on that person might enable his or her fight-or-flight reaction.
2. Avoid Forcing The Individual To Speak
In case your sibling, child, or colleague seems okay one second and then melts down another second, you should not bother to ask “What happened?” You won’t be able to extract a sound answer from this fellow at the moment. If we are honest, your question might even aggravate the condition as it may sound much louder in their head now.
3. Keep An Eye On The Person
Take note of that fact that all meltdowns can quickly turn into dangerous situations. The individual cannot get a grip on reality due to his or her senses getting overwhelmed, and so it is possible for him or her to self-harm subconsciously. Though it may not happen often, it may still be best not to leave the person alone as a meltdown takes place. “It is important to help people with autism notice when they are stuck on details. Over time they can get in the habit of recognizing when they are focused at the detail level and learn to zoom out to see the big picture.” John Strang, Psy.D. said.
4. Help Your Loved One Remember Coping Mechanisms
Assuming you have been living with an Asperger’s patient for some time now, you likely have an idea of what movements will allow him or her to overcome sensory overload. For instance, vocalizing, scratching, blinking, head-banging, and rocking physically. If you notice that the individual seems to have forgotten any of that, you may offer a subtle reminder without getting in their way still.
5. Try Not To Feel Negatively When It Happens
Whenever you are in the room when your loved one’s Asperger’s is on attack mode, and he or she starts saying hurtful things, you should try not to let the words get inside your head. It is as if a wayward soul takes over his or her system at this point. He or she may not even remember whatever has been said when the meltdown stops. Thus, you should understand that the person does not mean anything he or she might talk about then.
“Healthy boundaries are necessary for self-care, and healthy relationships and most people are not equipped with these important life skills.” Janeen Herskovitz, LMHC said. Watching someone that you love deal with meltdowns because of an incurable disorder and being unable to make it stop for him or her may genuinely be unbearable for friends and family members of an Asperger’s patient. However, keep in mind that this person needs you now more than ever to feel as normal as possible. If you don’t take care of your mental health, you cannot help the disabled individual at all.
Individuals on autism spectrum receive a clinical diagnosis of anxiety. However, it doesn’t limit the condition there. Children also experience subclinical levels of anxiety that don’t necessarily need a diagnosis. It affects their lives even without noticing any signs and symptoms.
Top-Down And Bottom-Up Data Integration
The integration of top-down and bottom-up data is crucial in helping children with autism. The top-down process is where teachers provide parents with a standardized checklist and questionnaires about anxiety symptoms. It allows parents to monitor their children in their respective homes to know how often they show signs of anxiety. The bottom-up data, on the other hand, is the collection of data where teachers evaluate to understand what anxiety looks like to children experiencing it. Sally Winston, PsyD once stated that “some commonly held beliefs about anxiety disorders that are mostly or partially false, including why reducing stress, thinking positive thoughts, gaining insight about its origins, and lots of reassurance often do not really help much in reducing significant symptoms of anxiety.” However, the top-down and bottom-up data integration helps in getting a more in-depth and fuller description of what anxiety looks like in children with autism.
Anxiety undergoes a lot of description, which is why there’s a need to know its specifications. “It can feel as if something is medically or physically wrong, but if you are having a panic attack, nothing is physically wrong. What you are experiencing is actually psychological, and can be very effectively treated with psychotherapies.” says Dr. Chantal Gagnon PhD LMHC. The development of an anxiety profiling system allows identifying children’s signature over the mental condition. It is called a signature because every child in the autism spectrum suffers from different signs and symptoms. The process allows teachers and parents to know if the symptoms of anxiety will stay the same as children grow of age or it will reveal changes as they cross different educational settings. Though the process may somehow take time, it is proven to show significant results to those who underwent anxiety profiling system.
Understanding Primary Emotions
Understanding the primary emotions of children with autism is an essential factor in helping their developmental growth. Their fear and anxiety give them a constant sense of doom. So to get a cut-down on the emotional and psychological dilemma, there must be sameness in children’s lives. There should be a predictable and safe routine environment where children can stay away from drastic changes so they can avoid getting freaked out. Though change is an inevitable event and no one knows what could happen, children with autism should get an idea that things will soon happen. It doesn’t have to be precise though. Encouraging a safe environment is enough to grow children with autism into adults who are flexible and adaptable.
Less Anxiety With Visual Support
Visual support creates lesser anxiety for children with autism. With the use of a lot of pictures, it helps them understand and follow things thoroughly. It allows them to know entirely what they have to do every day in school or even at home. Since children with autism do not tend to initiate, visual representation breaks down their expectations and gets them to do each step. However, it is significant to note that every child is different. Therefore, not all visual representation applies to all of them. Depending on how severe the autism spectrum condition is and depending on the rate of their IQs, results may take time.
“There is no cure for autism, nor is there one single treatment for autism spectrum disorders. But there are ways to help minimize the symptoms of autism and to maximize learning.” Karla Helbert, LPC, E-RYT, C-IAYT said. There is no easy way to teach children with autism anything, so patience is a must. Instead of pushing them to know things, allow them to learn it through themselves. It is essential to understand that these children need support, care, and attention, so the first way to do it is by removing their fear and anxiety out of the way.
A child “on the spectrum” is what some people would refer to a child who is diagnosed with autism. This has also been mentioned in https://www.urgentteam.com/. Autism is not limited to just one particular type of condition. Instead, autistic conditions may vary in challenges that include trouble with social skills, learning disorders, repetitive behaviors and speech and nonverbal communication, to name a few.
How we take care of ourselves during pregnancy can certainly affect our unborn babies.
The recent study on autism spectrum disorders revealed that low vitamin D levels at birth were linked to the mental condition as seen in children at the age of 3 years. This is a very crucial medical information because a lot of pregnant mothers still do not take into consideration the importance of taking supplements and at the very least Vitamin D.
Raising and disciplining children is difficult because parents need to find balance in showing affection at the same time being an authority figure. It is quite common for parents and society to give a pass for children with autism. Often, screaming fits and tantrums would generally result to a child in the cozy corner (time-out) or might mean taking his gadget privileges. When these happen in children with autism, it appears to be acceptable and expected behavior. Adults especially parents may give a pass for inappropriate actions out of concern and understanding of the child’s condition; probably, with false beliefs that the child is not capable of better behavior or maybe, thinking that disciplining a child with autism will further complicate the situation. Whatever reasons they may possess, adults need to give structure and discipline to the child with autism. After all, even though they have a condition. In essence, these children are still kids who need direction and support from parents. This has been the emphasis of hopecounselingcenter.net/
Finding out that your child has Asperger’s syndrome will redefine your parenting roles. The condition would entail acceptance of the possible challenges for yourself as a parent, for your child with Asperger and the whole family. The good thing is more than ever, there are therapies, support group and forums to help the child as well as the family to lead fulfilling lives despite the condition.