Aspergers Corner

Aspergers and about other forms of Autism

What about the girls? April 1, 2010

Filed under: Manifestations — allieyost @ 4:48 am

Aspergers syndrome is ten times more prevalent in males than in females.  It’s not uncommon for girls with Asperger’s to go undiagnosed well into adulthood.  Manifestations of aspergers found in females tend to be less pronounced and different than some manifestations in males.  Some of these differences include:

–          Less motor impairment

–          Broader range of obsessions

–          More of a desire to connect with others

One main similarity between boys and girls is the obsession they may have about a certain topic.  Girls usually have more socially acceptable obsessions like horses and reading.  If you think you have aspergers and you are a girl, or you are a parent of a girl who you think might have aspergers consult with a specialist in aspergers because manifestations in girls are much more subtle.

 

What are you thinking?

Filed under: Manifestations — allieyost @ 4:05 am

What are you thinking?  The only way to really know what someone is thinking is to ask them this simple question.  Alex Olinkiewicz explains in his own words how he thinks, what he thinks, and how individuals with aspergers syndrome do think and act differently than most people.

Alex points out that most people with aspergers have a difficult time empathizing with others. They find it difficult to role play and understand how another person is feeling.  People with aspergers also have a hard time understanding body language and social cues.  After watching and listening to Alex talk about aspergers, and how he thinks and acts gives great insight into the world of aspergers.

 

To medicate, or not to medicate? That is the question.

Filed under: Treatments — allieyost @ 3:49 am

To medicate? Or not to medicate?  That is the question!  It is a big decision for parents of children with aspergers and other developmental disorders including ADHD, depression, bi-polar disorder, etc whether or not to medicate the individual with the disorder.  Unlike these other disorders (ADHD, depression, bi-polar disorder) there are not any specific medications specifically for individuals with aspergers.  There are many who find that there are types of medications which can address some of the symptoms of aspergers. 

Medications used by individuals with aspergers normally include one of the following:

  • SSRI: (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors).  SSRI’s are made to treat anxiety and depression. 
  • Antipsychotics: these prescriptions help address  irritability, repetitive movement, etc.

It is important whenever starting a new medication to weigh the side effects against the benefits and decide if one or any of these medications would be appropriate in treatment for aspergers.  If you are an individual considering medication, or have a child you are considering medicating consult a doctor.  Because not every person with aspergers is the same one medication may not work on another individual with aspergers.  It may take a significant amount of time to find a medication that is right for you or your child.

 

Cortisol Levels in Aspergers and Anxiety March 30, 2010

Filed under: Causes,Diagnosis,Manifestations,Treatments — allieyost @ 8:44 pm

80% of individuals with Asperger’s experience extreme anxiety.  Some manifestations among these individuals include avoiding new things, irritability, avoiding social situations, repetitive behavior, comfort in rules and rigidness, and sometimes becoming very silly.

In 2009 the University of Bath did a research project which studied normal males of 18 years of age versus 18 year old males who were diagnosed with aspergers.  They found that after a normal male walked up a hill his Cortisol levels had increased, the men with aspergers did not have an increase in cortisol.  This may explain a key clinical manifestation of aspergers which is anxiety.  Although this finding has not found the cause or cure for aspergers, it has opened the door to new possible methods of treatment.  The low amount of cortisol in an individual decreases the ability to cope and deal with stress. 

It is important when living with, interacting, and teaching those with aspergers to know that they are prone to high levels of anxiety when in a stressful situation.  When they do exhibit anxious behavior it is not them acting out, but trying to cope with their environment and situation.   There are many resources and therapies to help individuals deal with anxiety, some include:

–          Education about emotions and emotional self awareness

–          Group games and therapy

–          Behavioral reward systems

–          Parent involvement and coaching

 

The GFCF Diet

Filed under: Treatments — allieyost @ 7:34 am

A popular and rising treatment among those with Autism Spectrum Disorders and ADHD includes starting a diet free of Gluten and Casein( also known as the GFCF diet).  A link between gastrointestinal related problems and Autism is a hot research topic right now.  Researchers say that children have shown mild to dramatic improvements in speech and/or behavior after these substances were removed from their diet

Gluten is found in wheat and other grains and Casein is found in milk products.  This diet is fairly extreme but for some people worth the try.   There are websites available with lists of food and supplements that should be available to purchase at your local grocery store.  Obviously there are many foods that are eliminated in this diet, however there is Gluten free and Casein free supplements for wheat, milk, oats and barley, etc. for cooking and making food to comply with the regiments of this diet.

It is important to note that the GFCF diet is not a cure for Autism Spectrum Disorders but rather a tool that can be used to help with symptoms and behavior challenges of autism.  Consult a doctor before deciding if the GFCF diet is right for you or your child.

 

Obsessions

Filed under: Manifestations — allieyost @ 6:12 am

              Many people with aspergers have a “tendency to fixate on a particular narrow topic”.  For example, my little brother has aspergers Syndrome and one of his current obsessions is outer space.  He really wants to be an astronaut.  Something my parents do is teaching him how without school and hard work he can’t grow up to be an astronaut and do those things he’s passionate about.  This is a good motivation for him.  He is also very obsessed with video games.  He can talk with you for hours on end about the video games he is playing and what is coming out into the market regarding new video games.

There are a few great examples of individuals with aspergers syndrome who have taken their obsessions and have made something big of them.  One of which includes professor, author and researcher Temple Grandin is a great example of an individual with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and has taken her obsession and has worked hard to make a difference.  Her “obsessions” include both autism advocacy and animal welfare. 

She has made great strides for animal welfare with her doctorate degree in animal science.  She travels around the country to speak to family and individuals with aspergers Syndrome and has written a few books regarding her experiences and ways to live as a person with aspergers and how to live with people who have aspergers. 

     With children and individuals with autism let them reach for the stars.  Perhaps use their obsessions to foster dreams and motivation to do well in school and increase their studies.  Learn to listen to the things they are interested in and you never know, they can be the next Einstein or Temple Grandin.

 

The Media and Aspergers

Filed under: Publicity — allieyost @ 3:05 am

Organizations all over the nation have worked hard rallying, campaigning, and working hard to campaign, rally, educate, promote and inform American’s about Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism.  These organizations include Autism Speaks, Autism Society of AmericaASPEN, along with many other organizations raise and spend an exponential amount of money each year for the purpose of promoting Autism awareness.  

Shortly after the Olympics ended, NBC introduced a new series entitled Parenthood.  The series plot is centered around challenges families encounter daily.  A recent episode, Man Versus Possum, featured a son in a family who was diagnosed with Asperger’s.  The next day the New York Daily News reported that “Asperger’s Syndrome” was in the top searches on Google.  In one evening NBC reached out to families across the nation in under 60 minutes.  NBC promoted and informed audiences faster than any national organization.   The episode shows the frustration and challenges a family can go through when first learning about and treating Asperger’s syndrome.  Although this is a drama, and the information this episode displays is not entirely accurate it has definitely enticed the public to search and learn more about Asperger’s.  I feel that this is an extremely positive step forward for the Autism Spectrum community and for parents of children.  Check out the episode Man Versus Possum online and share how you feel about this publicity of Asperger’s Syndrome.