Category Archives: Our Blog

Interior designer creates peaceful home environments for autistic kids

A.J. Paron-Wildes’ home, a walk-out rambler in suburban Oak Park Heights, Minn., is a study in calm – all clean, uncluttered spaces and earthy, neutral hues that echo the autumn leaves framing the view of the St. Croix River. On an autumn afternoon, daughter Eva, 6, is having an after-school snack, while son Devin, 19, sketches intently, seated at the studio desk in his orderly bedroom.

This peaceful environment is entirely by design. When you have child who has autism, calm is a precious commodity – and Paron-Wildes has become an expert at creating it, starting in her own home.

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Holidays And Your Special-Needs Child

Lots of comments lately from parents…

The Holidays are just getting warmed up, and I’m already hearing from parents about how their kiddos are having a tough time adjusting. This can be a difficult time, with a noted increase in a child’s emotional and behavioral challenges, especially if your child is on the autism spectrum.

Why the problems?

Keep in mind that kiddos with autism tend to have a hard time especially with two situations; changes in routine and excessive stimulation. Unfortunately, the Holiday season is plum-full of both of these things, so you gotta plan in advance to avoid your child feeling stressed and overwhelmed.

Over-stimulation

A room full of relatives and friends, chatting and having fun, may sound like fun to you, but often it can be entirely too over-stimulating given all the different and novel smells, sounds, and sights that also are usually out of the child’s daily regimen and routine. We’ve found the following suggestions to be helpful:

  • It can be helpful to provide ample warning and preparation for the event. However, for some kiddo’s it’s best to not inform them ahead of time, until just before the event, or they’ll obsesses and fuss. It’s a judgment-call based on your own knowledge of your child.
  • If possible, beforehand, visit the place and people where the event will take place to promote some degree of familiarity.
  • Make sure your child is aware of who will be there, and what to expect.
  • It may be helpful to prepare some of the foods, ahead of time, that will be served to determine if your child is going to indulge, or fuss, and to promote familiarity.
  • Ultimately, it may be best to either bring your child’s favorite foods, or have a meal ahead of time.
  • It can also be helpful to educate some of the kids, friends, and relatives regarding your child’s tendencies and how to respond to promote your child feeling at-ease. This can be especially true for age-mates who may be approaching your child to play.
  • Ease slowly into the encounter (allow to remain on the periphery and work slowly into the mix of the gathering).
  • Provide a clear ‘escape route’ if things get too over-stimulating.
  • Let your child know of a quiet place for solitude (as needed).
  • Provide familiar and fun activities to occupy your child’s time.
  • Keep your child close to you, and familiar people.
  • Keep close tabs on your child and intervene early, at the first signs of discomfort, to help with calming and avoiding escalations.
  • Usually, removing your child from the room, to a calm place with some sensory-related interventions (deep pressure, massage…), is sufficient for a subsequent return to the periphery of the gathering.
  • Headphones can also be helpful to muffle excess noise.

Managing changes in routine

Much of the visiting, shopping, and preparation for the Holidays requires going to places and doing things that are far outside the normal routine for your child. However, the typical strategies you use daily to assist your child with such transitions also apply to the Holidays; it’s just more intense during these special occasions. Visual cues and schedules, practicing calming techniques, and scheduling time for solitude and individual time can help with any adjustment difficulties. Also, remember that you don’t have to attend all the festivities, or stay the entire time. Moreover, sometimes it’s best to allow your kiddo to remain at home while you shop, or keep the shopping outings brief and spread over a few days instead of one, long trip that is sure to go south. Children often respond favorably to visual schedules, reminders, play-by-play updates as to what to expect next, rewards for self-control and cooperation, and electronics and related items to keep your child busy when they get bored.

Have a wonderful Holiday Season

The goal is to make the Holiday season fun for everyone, and the extent to which your child is able to remain calm and at-ease, of course the better for you as well. I trust that these tips will help your child with the festivities of the season, but please feel free to contact me at DoctorC@autismcenterofpittsburgh.com if you have any question and I’d love to hear your thoughts and if you have other tips. I’ll pass your suggestions on to our other readers who undoubtedly will be appreciative. God bless.

Dr. John Carosso

What Type Of School Is Best For My Special Needs Child?

So many from which to choose
There are many school options for parents; brick-and-mortar public schools, public cyber schools, private schools, specialized alternative placements, and homeschooling to name a few. Parents are often left wondering which is the best option for their child, especially parents of children with special needs.

The Public Option
Public school has many advantages given that, by law, the public school system must provide a “free and appropriate education”, and implement special education services if the child meets special education criteria. Public schools are largely compelled to educate no matter the condition (as opposed to expel your child), and ultimately meet your child’s needs or transition to a facility that can, and pay for it.

The Cyber Option
There are situations where parents believe the public school system is failing their child, and the alternative specialized placements are not seen as appealing. Parents may then decide to cyber-school, which can be an excellent option if it’s important for your child to have an individualized environment, a more flexible daily schedule, and be able to work at their own pace. However, parents need to recognize that  the “individual attention” is likely going to be provided by them (the parent); and that you may find yourself in the challenging situation of being your child’s ‘teacher’; i.e. sitting with them and providing the prompting, praising, guiding, and cajoling to get your child through their school assignments. If you have the time and gumption, then this can work, but it can be quite an undertaking.

The Home Schooling Option
Whatever is indicated as challenging above under “The Cyber Option,” multiply that x2 for Home Schooling. Not only is the parent compelled to provide individualized attention, the parent also must investigate, obtain, and implement the proper curriculum. Sometimes this works just fine but, again, similar with cyber-schooling, a parent serving as both ‘Mom’ (or Dad) and ‘Teacher’ can be tough for both Mom and the child.

A Private School?
A Private School can be a wonderful option. Private schools typically offer smaller classrooms, sometimes are more flexible than public schools in modifying structure, and teachers are often very accommodating. Moreover, parents often appreciate the spiritual elements inherent in such a setting. However, private schools are not legally compelled to educate your child and can expel if proving to be too difficult, and they are not required to provide ‘special education’ services. Also, at times such schools have the attitude of ‘our way or the highway’, which may not work so well for special needs children.

What about specialized or typical preschools?
Children with developmental issues often thrive in specialized preschools such as through DART/IU programs. However, parents often appreciate their child being in a regular preschool setting so as to model after neuro-typical kiddo’s language and play skills, but have concern that their child may not do well with 15-20 other kids in that typical preschool class. Deciding between the two school options can be quite a dilemma, which is often resolved by doing both. In that regard, enrolling part-time in a specialized preschool, and part-time in a typical preschool but with individualized attention such as from Therapeutic Staff Support. In this way, the child gets the best of both worlds.

So which is best?
Of course, there is no singular answer to this question; it depends on your child, the situation, and the time-frame. In terms of time-frame, I often see parents of a child with an anxiety disorder, for example, ultimately choosing to home or cyber-school their child due to ongoing anxiety and school-refusal. These children often subsequently perform well in the home setting, but the problem is that their anxiety disorder is often not addressed given that the standard mode of treatment for anxiety is having the child confront their fear (go to school). Nevertheless, the cyber or home-schooling experience can be advantageous for a few semesters as the child receives therapy and bolsters their coping mechanisms. However, a return to a more traditional school setting, at some point, would be optimal. In the same sense, many children with special needs flourish in smaller private school settings and home/cyber-school situations and parents relish the opportunity to assist in meeting their child’s educational needs, and have no reservations about the time and energy if it’s seen as beneficial.  In those situations, everyone wins. It’s important, however, that parents know ‘what they are getting themselves into’ prior to undertaking the endeavor to avoid any regrets. It’s also vital to thoroughly interview school officials to be sure exactly and precisely what is expected, and what will be provided to meet your child’s needs. It’s also helpful to observe classrooms when possible.  These decisions are often complex and multi-faceted; I invite parents to contact me at DoctorC@AutismCenterofPittsburgh.com to discuss their child and help them with such decision-making. God bless you in your efforts to meet your child’s needs.

Dr. John Carosso, Psy.D. Licensed Psychologist

Getting Back to School: Autism and Beyond

Yes, it’s that time

Yes, it’s tough to even think about the Fall, but nevertheless it’s time to prepare for the ‘back to the school’ routine.

Summer vs School Routine

Need I mention the difference between summer and school-year routine? If you start about 2-3 weeks out, it’s much easier to ship your kids into shape. Otherwise, it’s a culture-shock for your child, and not too pleasant for you either.

What to do (tips for parents of children with autism, and typical kiddos):

1. Begin slowly adjusting routines for earlier bedtime.

2. Incorporate lengthier study and quiet-reading sessions throughout the day and week. This could include anything even remotely academic.

3. Visit the school playground more frequently to promote your child becoming more comfortable with being at school, and on the school grounds.

4. Arrange play-dates with school friends/acquaintances not seen for most of the summer, especially those kids who will be in your child’s class or grade.

5. If you can arrange a visit to the classroom, and meet the teacher, so much the better.

6. It can be helpful to color-code school supplies (notebooks, file-folders…). Integrate material-color with picture schedule.

7. Purchase school clothes early, wash them a few times, cut-off tags, and make sure your child is comfortable with them well in advance.

8. Pick-out a “cool” outfit for the first day and get a fresh haircut (first impressions are important).

9. Use picture schedules and social stories to prepare for the first day.

10. Prepare school with emergency contacts and any dietary issues.

11. Prepare the teacher, aide, Guidance Counselor, ‘specials’ teachers, cafeteria workers, and anybody else who will listen for what to expect, and how to effectively intervene if necessary.

12. Don’t forget to say a prayer with your kids before they venture off to school; they find that comforting and reassuring.

13. Autism-Speaks also has some nice back-to-school bulletins (I especially like the ‘about me’ activity): CLICK HERE to go site

If you have any other tips, please comment; it will be appreciated. Comment at jcarosso@cpcwecare.com.

God bless and enjoy the rest of the summer!

Dr. John Carosso, Child Psychologist

Peer-Led Intervention Helps Moms of Kids with Autism.

That’s what we do here at the Autism Center of Pittsburgh. We have parents of kids with autism ready to help.

Dr. John Carosso – Executive Director

Peer-led interventions that target parental well-being can significantly reduce stress, depression and anxiety in mothers of children with disabilities, according to new findings released in the journal Pediatrics.

In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers from Vanderbilt University examined two treatment programs in a large number of primary caregivers of a child with a disability. Participants in both groups experienced improvements in mental health, sleep and overall life satisfaction and showed less dysfunctional parent-child interactions.

“The well-being of this population is critically important because, compared to parents of typically developing children, parents of children with developmental disabilities experience substantially higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression, and as they age, physical and medical problems,” said lead author Elisabeth Dykens, Ph.D., Annette Schaffer Eskind Professor and director of the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center for Research on Human Development and professor of Psychology and Human Development, Pediatrics and Psychiatry. “Add to this the high prevalence of developmental disabilities – about one in five children – and the fact that most adult children with intellectual disabilities remain at home with aging parents, we have a looming public health problem on our hands.”

Nearly 250 mothers of children with autism or other disabilities were randomized into one of two programs: Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) and Positive Adult Development (PAD). The MBSR approach is more physical, emphasizing breathing exercises, deep belly breathing, meditation and gentle movement. The PAD approach is more cognitive and uses exercises such as practicing gratitude.

Supervised peer mentors, all mothers of children with disabilities, received four months of training on the intervention curriculum, the role of a mentor and research ethics. The peer mentors led six weeks of group treatments in 1.5-hour weekly sessions with the research participants.

At baseline, 85 percent of participants had significantly elevated stress, 48 percent were clinically depressed and 41 percent had anxiety disorders.

Both the MBSR and PAD treatments led to significant reductions in stress, depression and anxiety and improved sleep and life satisfaction among participants, and mothers in both treatments also showed fewer dysfunctional parent-child interactions. While mothers in the MBSR treatment saw the greatest improvements, participants in both treatments continued to improve during follow-up, and improvements in other areas were sustained up to six months after treatment.

“Our research and findings from other labs indicate that many mothers of children with disabilities have a blunted cortisol response, indicative of chronic stress,” Dykens said. “Compared to mothers in control groups, this population mounts a poorer antibody response to influenza vaccinations, suggesting a reduced ability to fight both bacterial and viral infections. They also have shorter telomeres, associated with an advanced cellular aging process, and have poorer sleep quality, which can have deleterious health effects. All of this results in parents who are less available to manage their child’s special needs or challenging behaviors.”

DSM-V and the Autism Diagnosis: Is the Change Hurting Children?

Fuss

There has been lots of fuss about the DSM-V and the autism diagnosis; will it result in less children meeting diagnostic criteria and therefore less children getting the services they need? Is this concern legitimate? I’ve written about this in prior posts, but here I’ll provide further elaboration.

What’s the problem, and what is the diagnostic criteria?

Is the DSM-V Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) diagnosis the issue at hand, or is it another DSM-V diagnosis that might be a “problem”?

First let’s take a brief look at the ASD, the criteria includes:

1. “Deficits in social communication and social interaction” manifesting in, for example, poor back-and-forth communication, deficient eye contact, and absence in an interest in peers or inability to sustain the relationship/interaction.
2. “Restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities, and/or hyper or hypo-sensitivities.

There are also specifiers for severity of the social and verbal deficit, and the extent of restricted interests. Finally, there are specifiers for “with or without intellectual impairment”, “with or without language impairment”, and “associated with a known medical or genetic condition or environmental factor”.

So, you can see that this criteria, with the specifiers, cover everything from what formerly was called ‘Autistic Disorder’ at the more severe end; ‘Asperger’s Disorder’ at the ‘high end’ and ‘Pervasive Developmental Disorder NOS’ for those in-between.

Is There Another Diagnosis?

Yes, there is another ‘competing’ diagnosis, and this is where there may be a potential “problem”.  In that regard, the DSM-V has a new diagnosis referred to as “Social (Pragmatic) Communication Disorder (SCD), which entails “persistent difficulties in the social use of verbal and nonverbal communication manifesting in”, for example, difficulty “greeting others and sharing information”, using “overly formal language”, and “following rules for conversation” such as in turn-taking and rephrasing, and “difficulty understanding what is not explicitly stated.”

This diagnosis would cover those kiddos who may have autism-like verbal and social deficits and kiddo’s who ‘don’t quite get it’ socially, but who do not have any restricted or repetitive patterns of behavior or interests.

Which DSM-IV diagnosis will be most affected by the SCD diagnosis?

At least a portion of the kiddo’s who would have been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDDNOS) will now be diagnosed with Social Communication Disorder (SCD). Research published in January 2014 in the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry found that about 8% of kids diagnosed within the autism spectrum under DSM-IV have subsequently been changed to SCD, which is a far-cry from the 20% predicted earlier by the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Most of the children whose diagnosis was changed had been diagnosed with PDDNOS, and were changed to SCD, which is understandable given that PDDNOS has such vague criteria. Those who had been diagnosed with Autistic Disorder or Asperger’s Disorder under DSM-IV were largely unaffected.

Nonverbal Learning Disability

Another “diagnosis” that may be impacted is “nonverbal learning disability” which essentially is the same as SCD. However, given that there has never been a formal DSM-IV “nonverbal learning disability” diagnosis, now these NVLD kiddo’s too have a better diagnostic fit with SCD.

Consequence of the DSM-V?

It’s likely this change in diagnosis to SCD, for the very few children who will be affected, will generally be positive. In that regard, having seen these kiddo’s first-hand, they clearly struggle with verbal and social skills, but are not “autistic”. Up to now, the diagnostic options have been few besides PDDNOS. These children can still obtain services consisting of individual and group speech/language, and outpatient social skill training, while avoiding the autism diagnosis that does not quite fit anyway.

Hope that helps to clarify the effect of DSM-V regarding the “Autism Spectrum Disorder” vs. PDDNOS, Autistic Disorder, Asperger’s, and Social Communication Disorder.

Feel free to follow-up with me, with any questions at doctorc@autismcenterofpittsburgh.com

Dr. John Carosso, Psy.D.

Do Weighted Blankets Improve Sleep in Children and Teens with Autism? See If You Are Correct.

Study finds that kids and parents like them, but weighted blankets don’t increase sleep time or decrease time it takes to fall asleep

Photo courtesy Cozy Comforter

New research finds that weighted blankets don’t significantly improve sleep in children and teens who have autism. Overall, however, the families who completed the study preferred the weighted blanket over a nonweighted one that otherwise resembled it. The findings appear today in the journal Pediatrics.

Weighted blankets have long been popular for calming individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Typically the blankets contain metal or plastic beads sewn into quilted layers. The idea is that the weight provides gentle, deep pressure that addresses the sensory-integration issues often associated with ASD. These sensory issues, in turn, may add to the sleep disturbances that are likewise common among those who have autism. Studies suggest that 40 to 80 percent of individuals with ASD have significant sleep problems – in particular difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep.

During the first half of the study, 63 children – ages 5 to 16 – slept with either a weighted blanket or a nonweighted look-alike blanket for 12 to 16 weeks. After this first phase, the two groups switched blankets and used the other blanket for approximately two weeks.

During the study, the children wore sleep monitors each night and their parents completed sleep diaries. Parents and children also completed a questionnaire about the experience.

Overall, the researchers found no difference in overall sleep time, time needed to fall asleep or nighttime wakings with the weighted versus the look-alike nonweighted blanket. However most of the children reported preferring the weighted blanket. Their parents likewise reported preferring to use it with their children.

Autism + Intense Interest = Career?

Matthew was just one year old when I noticed his intense interest in wheels at a Gymboree class.

“He’ll probably be an engineer someday!” I told my husband.

A few months later, a friend noticed Matthew’s fascination with lights. “Maybe he’ll be an electrician some day!” Over time, there were the drains,(“Plumbing!) the cows (“Farming!), the gates and the airplanes.

These cycles of intense interests came and went, but the one that stuck was lawn and garden maintenance. Matthew watched with great interest while garden crews in our neighborhood mowed, trimmed, pruned, raked and edged. He smiled and jumped gleefully for the finale as gardeners strapped on their gas-powered leaf blowers and cleared any stray grass , dirt or leaf trimmings before loading up their trucks and driving away.

Matthew got his first gas powered mower when he was eleven, and now, at 28, he works nearly every day maintaining the landscape at Camphill Communities California near Santa Cruz and other properties in the area.
First mower

***

As a child, Jonathan Murphy, who has Asperger’s, showed interest in (and a talent for) acting. His mother Jodi encouraged him to audition and perform in community theater. She wondered how she could help Jonathan leverage his talent in acting into a career as he approached adulthood. When Jonathan was 16, he tried voice over lessons.

Jonathan, now in his 20’s, has been in the voice over business for the 5 years.

Jodi pooled her family’s talents—Jonathan’s voice over, her daughter’s writing, her husband’s technical expertise and her own marketing skills—and collaborated with creative professionals to develop a children’s book and storytelling app series for the iPad.

Geek Club Books debuted in Fall of 2013 and has received many awards and acclaim since. Now Jonathan is performing the story telling series, Dorktales, live.

Watch Jonathan and book a show here.
Jonathan Murphy

***

Dani Bowman always loved to draw, and when she was 11 years old, she became extremely interested in Pokemon. Her aunt told her that the co-creator of Pokemon, Satoshi Tariji—who was also on the autism spectrum—created his company Game Freak, Inc. when he was 17. So Dani set out to beat his record and founded Power Light Animation Studios.

Read an Kerry Magro’s interview with Dani on Autism After 16.

“I believe that many with autism can lead fulfilling and successful lives doing what they love,” say’s Dani, “For me, that’s animation!
Dani Bowman

Dani Bowman

I share these stories with you today because I remember how anxious I felt as a young mom about “the future”. I would have felt better if I knew there would be a variety options not just for jobs, but for housing–and even a social life.

I encourage you to share your concerns and success stories, too, either in the comment section, or here.

Let’s all help each other.

In the next few weeks, I’ll also share stories about community resources and housing option for people with autism and other developmental disabilities.

Stay tuned…

You might also enjoy this post: In which I again wonder what he’ll do when he grows up.

It’s written by Ellen Siedman, author of one of my favorite blogs, Love That Max

Autism: Ten Ways to De-Stimulate Those ‘Stims’

Children with autism invariably demonstrate what are called ‘self-stimulatory behaviors’. These are compulsive rituals and behaviors that can be quite challenging to squelch; including hand-flapping, rocking, jumping, squealing, pacing, echoing, and obsessing. To manage these behaviors, parents must first realize that we all ‘self-stimulate’ to one degree or another; hopefully, we do so in more socially acceptable ways. Take a look around you, and you’ll see finger, pencil, and foot-tapping, pacing, biting fingernails, chewing on a pencil, rocking in a rocking chair… These are outlets for our anxiety and energy. It’s also important to note that, equally often, these behaviors tend to be self-soothing as opposed to stimulating. So, with those considerations in mind; here’s what to do:

  1. Determine the underlying purpose of the behavior. For example, is your child rocking after an over-whelming day (self-soothing), or pacing when bored (self-stimulating).
  2. Find more appropriate or less noticeable avenues of expression. This would include finger or hand-flapping as opposed to flapping the entire arm; going for a brisk walk or jog rather than pacing, using a trampoline rather than jumping.
  3. Teach more appropriate coping strategies, including teaching mindful breathing (deep breathing), healthy self-talk, and communicating thoughts and feelings to problem-solve.
  4. Limit these ‘stimming’ behaviors to certain times of the day, and particular places.
  5. Keep your child occupied with more appropriate activities. Children who are unoccupied are more prone to self-stimulate.
  6. Play music that is soothing, enjoyable, or with a fast tempo, depending on whether bored or anxious.
  7. Anticipate what causes your child stress, and prepare ahead of time either by avoiding the stressor, or helping your child to better-cope (deep breathing; allowing for breaks from the stressful activity, picture schedule…).
  8. If your child is obsessive, for example, on the military or the tornado’s, such can be limited to a particular time or place. However, another approach is to permit your child free indulgence as long as another topic is broached, in conversation, in less than two minutes, or some similar arrangement. Of course, this would need to be rehearsed and practiced.
  9. Reinforce (praise, stickers, hugs…) appropriate behavior; do not punish self-stimulatory behavior.
  10. In the event that the self-stimulatory behavior is self-injurious, or unresponsive to the aforementioned strategies, it’s important to seek professional treatment. Call us toll-free at 1-855 HOPE 360.

I trust you’ll find these strategies to be effective. Please provide some feedback regarding what you’ve found to be helpful. Also, feel free to ask any questions and don’t forget to subscribe to regularly receive our posts the emails. Also, if you found this helpful, why not forward to a friend. God bless.

Asperger’s and Social Outings: Don’t leave it to chance

Written by Dr. John Carosso

The Challenge

In my work with parents, it’s all too common to hear the concern that their child, with high functioning Autism/Asperger’s, initially tends to ‘fit-in’ but, invariably, peers begin to notice peculiar tendencies, and social immaturity, and then shy away from their child. Of course, this causes distress, sadness, and frustration for everyone involved.

The Dilemma

Parents want to promote their child’s independence, and give them opportunities to socialize. Consequently, they’ll let their children play in the neighborhood, or participate in a sport or activity. However, again, invariably there are problems and the child feels distressed.

The Answer

It is vital and necessary to encourage social opportunities for children with high functioning Autism and Asperger’s. The key is to “success” is four-fold:

1.) Provide ongoing, child-friendly, rehearsal of social skills, and preparation for the social encounter.

2.) Monitor the social situation. The ‘monitoring’ is done by an adult who is familiar with the child, understands the potential problems, and is instructed how to intervene. This could be the parent, neighbor, coach, youth pastor, cafeteria aide, teacher, teacher’s aide, family friend, relative, babysitter, librarian, camp counselor, TSS, Mobile Therapist… Actually, it could also include an older sibling or peer, if mature and trustworthy in that regard. The adult does not necessarily need to be well-trained, but simply have an understanding of what may ‘not go so well’ and some simple steps on how to respond. In that regard, it’s likely unwise to simply send-off the child to the social encounter with expectation that ‘all will go well.’ Structure and over-sight is imperative.

3.) Group-oriented social skill training. However, it can be quite challenging for a parent to find the proper social group for their child with Asperger’s. These high functioning kiddos, whose symptoms are often mild, don’t fit-in so well with children struggling with more severe autism. Groups for such children, especially those with very subtle symptoms, are not especially abundant. Here at Community Psychiatric Centers, we put together group therapy sessions for just these type of children. However, otherwise, the pickings remain slim. Consequently, we must rely heavily on social gatherings with typical peers, but with adult oversight.

4.) To the extent possible, instruct and help peers to be compassionate, empathetic, and tolerant. Many kids will rise to the occasion, if given some direction and information.

The Bottom Line

Your child with Asperger’s needs to be monitored, when possible, in a social setting. Reinforce good social skills, and gently and tactfully redirect peculiar tendencies. Don’t leave it to chance. Educate adults who will be present during the encounter on what to ‘look out for’, and inform of simply ways to intervene. That is the recipe for success.

Please let me know your success stories and how they came about. Thank you. God bless.