How to Help Children With Asperger Syndrome

Connie McKinneyStarred Page By Connie McKinney, 17th Nov 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>General Health>Children's Health

Children with Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism, have trouble making friends and playing with other children. Here are some tips for helping them cope.

What Is Asperger Syndrome?


She could recite the lyrics to every Frank Sinatra song ever recorded, tell you ever place he ever performed and even tell you what his favorite ice flavor was.
But this precocious 10-year-old struggled to make friends and play with other children because of her diagnosis of Asperger Syndrome, a form of autism. People with autism have a complex brain disorder marked by difficulty understanding verbal and non-verbal language, repetitive behaviors such as rocking or spinning and trouble socializing with others.
Sometimes called high functioning autism, Asperger Syndrome is at the top of one umbrella diagnosis of varying levels of autism, according to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-V). People with Asperger Syndrome usually have average or above average intelligence. Their symptoms are not as severe as people who are listed further down the autism spectrum, according to Autism Speaks.
People with Asperger Syndrome have narrow, restricted interests such as trains, cars or certain singers such as Frank Sinatra. They often learn so much about their favorite interests that they become experts. Sometimes this knowledge, combined with the unique way people with Asperger Syndrome see the world, results in extraordinary talents. Several famous people are believed to have had Asperger Syndrome including Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison and Beethoven.

Use Their Interests


Parents and teachers should never try to discourage a child with Asperger Syndrome from their so-called "preferred interest." This won't work because the child is so obsessed and takes pleasure in their area of interest.
Instead, look for ways to use the interest to motivate the child. The interest may be used as a reward. For example, the child who does her chores and homework can then listen to Frank Sinatra CDs.
Remember that many interests have practical applications. The girl who loves Frank Sinatra could grow up to be a knowledgeable employee of a music store. The boy who loves cars could grow up to be a car mechanic. Parents and teachers can remind the children of their long-term goal. For example, they need to do their homework because mechanics need a high school diploma in order to get hired.

Teach Social Skills


Children with Asperger Syndrome struggle to play well with other children or to carry on a conversation. They don't know how to take turns, follow the rules of a game or let the other person talk and respond to them instead of doing all the talking. Children with Asperger Syndrome often lack a "filter" and will blurt out whatever they're thinking. They don't realize that they may be hurting other people's feelings.
Fortunately, parents, teachers and therapists can teach these social skills. Model how to greet someone, how to listen and "play nice." Role play the part of another child. How would you play with a child who came to your house after school? What do you say to them?
Empathy is another skill children with Asperger Syndrome may need to learn. They don't understand that other people have feelings and have trouble "putting themselves in somebody else's shoes." Ask them how they would feel if someone told them they were wearing an ugly shirt.

Celebrate Their Strengths


Don't forget to look for the positive parts of Asperger Syndrome. These children may have extraordinary gifts, talents and knowledge. Many children are talented artists, musicians, or scientists. Encourage them and celebrate their strengths. Someday, they may grow up to become another Albert Einstein.

For more information, visit Autism Speaks

Here is an article I did about talking to children with autism
Here is one I did on helping children develop empathy

Attribution


This article used some information from the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.
This article used some information from Autism Speaks.
The photos came from Wikimedia Commons.
This article was based on m own knowledge and experience of working with children and adults with Asperger Syndrome.
This article was reformatted and rewritten from one I previously published on Yahoo Voices.

Tags

Asperger Syndrome, Aspergers, Aspergers Syndrome, Autism, Autism In Children, Autistic Children

Meet the author

author avatar Connie McKinney
I enjoy exercising, pets, and volunteering as well as writing about these topics and others.

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Comments

author avatar cnwriter..carolina
17th Nov 2013 (#)

I put this on Twitter with #FF..

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author avatar Connie McKinney
17th Nov 2013 (#)

Thanks so much, Carolina.

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author avatar MarilynDavisatTIERS
18th Nov 2013 (#)

Good evening, Connie - another Twitter in the works; informative and insightful. Thanks.

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author avatar Connie McKinney
18th Nov 2013 (#)

Thanks so much, Marilyn. I am Twittering all your articles too.
I think your articles help a lot of people. Keep up the good work, Marilyn.

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author avatar Jack Goblin
18th Nov 2013 (#)

As one of the Aspie set, let me say "Thank you!" for a well written and informative article. I really wish I could have read something like this 50, 60 years ago, it would have explained so much...

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author avatar Connie McKinney
18th Nov 2013 (#)

Jack, it is too bad that it took so long for people to figure out what Asperger Syndrome is. Now we know about it and can help people who have it. Thanks so much for your kind words. It means a lot to me.

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author avatar Fern Mc Costigan
18th Nov 2013 (#)

Nice article and infroamtive, thank you Connie for sharing it with the post

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author avatar joyalariwo
18th Nov 2013 (#)

once again an educative and informative post Connie, one to keep in mind to help these beautiful and intelligent creations of God

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author avatar Connie McKinney
18th Nov 2013 (#)

Thanks so much, Fern and joyalariwo. Well said.

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author avatar Retired
19th Nov 2013 (#)

Thank you for this. It made sense when I realised I had possibly married someone with Aspergers.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
19th Nov 2013 (#)

It is important to remember that they too have their strengths and can put them to good use. Thanks Connie for an enlightening share - siva

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author avatar Connie McKinney
19th Nov 2013 (#)

Thanks, Jackalyn Ann and Siva.

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