What Everybody Ought To Know About Children With Aspergers

In order to be in the best position to help children with Asperger’s, parents/teachers/therapists must be able to understand some key issues that these children deal with.

autism facts children with aspergers

photo credit: Beverly and Pack on Flickr

This article is a reprint of a post I wrote for Ezine Articles. You can find more of my articles here.


Theory of Mind

This phrase means the ability to recognize other people’s feelings, thoughts, beliefs, and intentions, and to be able to respond to them appropriately. Children with Asperger’s have a particularly hard time ‘reading’ the other person’s mind/intentions, and therefore struggle in social interactions and relationships. It is because, practically, the child with Asperger’s has no way of predicting how another person might respond to them, and what that person might do next in a given situation.

Executive Functioning

Many people with high functioning autism and Asperger’s have difficulties in executive functioning. This is a technical term referring to a person’s abilities to:

  • plan and organize tasks
  • monitor one’s own performance
  • inhibit inappropriate responses
  • utilize feedback
  • ignore distracting stimuli

Because of these difficulties with executive functioning, children with Asperger’s can experience major difficulties accomplishing school/work assignments and self-help tasks.

Abstract Thinking

Instead of seeing the big picture, the child with Asperger’s tends to see all the details of the picture, but has difficulty piecing those details together into a meaningful whole. So, while children with Asperger’s may be almost wizard-like in their mastering of details that interest them, they often fail to understand abstract or metaphorical concepts. An example of this might be a child looking out the window to look for small pets falling from the sky after someone remarks that it is “raining cats and dogs.” Because of their difficulty with abstract thinking, children with Asperger’s may have a very hard time doing school assignments that require them to identify a story’s main idea, or to compare/contrast two events.

Recognizing and Coping with Emotions

Depending on the person, children with Asperger’s often have trouble identifying, quantifying, expressing, and controlling their emotions. To you and me, they may appear not to have many emotions because they don’t show emotions outwardly the way the average person would. On the other hand, there may be children with Asperger’s who express emotion out of proportion with the way they actually feel. For example, annoyance might be expressed as fury, or mildly happy might be expressed as overjoyed.

Stress

When you put all of the challenges demonstrated above, I hope that you and I will be more empathetic and compassionate when parenting, teaching, and treating children with Asperger’s.   Here’s a way of understanding what living as an individual with autism spectrum is like:  it’s  like sending an English speaking person without any knowledge of Chinese language or culture to China and telling them to start work as an executive. Nothing will make sense, unless they are given tools to learn the language and understand the culture. It would be truly remarkable if a child with Asperger’s did not suffer with chronic stress, given their struggle to understand the most basic social/communication skills; cope with problems of organizing/planning; and dealing with difficulties understanding and regulating their emotions.

Through understanding, we can help them understand, and we can be in a better position to impart hope.

Did I leave anything out?  Please share your thoughts!

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About Stephen Borgman

 I'm Steve Borgman.  I'm a licensed clinical professional counselor and blogger committed to bringing you hope, understanding, and solutions that you can apply to your life immediately.
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Comments

  1. [email protected] reduction says:

    i run a critique blog publishing reviews of the most current in reducing stress, that is in all probability likely to be of enthusiasm to visitors of this write-up. good post

  2. Stephen Borgman says:

    Thanks!

  3. AudreyJohnson1 says:

    @Steve, thank you for your great site on information about aspergers,my son was recently diagnosed(6yrs old) so im learning each day.i always knew there was something “special” about my loving son and now its been clarified i need to learn more about day to day living with my son,it is just myself and my son and we are very close but of course with his disability i dont get to be as close as im sure we both would love but i see it in his loving brown eyes each time..thank you,im only new to twitter too,usually facebook but so happy i have found [email protected] borgman

  4. SteveBorgman says:

    @AudreyJohnson1  Audrey, it means a lot to me to know that you’re benefiting from my site.  People like you are why I write!  I know you’re a great parent, and will continue to be a great parent to your son.  Please continue to come back often as I share more and more of my own personal research into the autism spectrum.

  5. AudreyJohnson1 says:

    @SteveBorgman
     Hi Steve, thank you for your updates,there’s so much to learn and even though i am living with Asperger’s each day there is always something i learn about my son every day,sometimes im lost and try to make the best of a bad situation but i know in time i will pick up many more tools to help both myself and braidán live a happy life. I have a question for you,it was put to me in a course im doing about special needs and if you have the time i be glad to hear your opinion.What does the future hold for these children and their families-what would you recommend for the individual, family, services, professionals, the state,-by way of responding to the needs?I was asked to answer this as a parent of a “normal” child as not everyone in my course have a beautiful little man like me..thanks in advance Steve and thank you again for your site,from myself and Braidán

  6. SteveBorgman says:

    @AudreyJohnson1 Thanks for your feedback, as well as your question.  You’ll probably enjoy this article regarding what the future holds for children and their families: http://www.myaspergers.net/autism-aspergers-prognosis-positive-strategies/  As far was what I would recommend to individuals and families, I would repeat Michelle Garcia’s words (socialthinking.com).  Transition to adulthood begins in childhood.  As parents we have to be thinking ahead and educating ourselves as much as possible.  Kids who were diagnosed with Aspegers in the 90′s are coming of age now, and both states and professionals, as well as families are often not prepared for what to do when services go away, after the age of 21 or 22.

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