Does your child have Asperger’s Syndrome or similar traits?
Are you wondering if homeschooling would be a good option?
I’ve never met a child with Aspergers Syndrome that didn’t flourish when homeschooled! Let’s see why!
Children with Aspergers Syndrome can be intelligent, articulate, and delightful, but display symptoms of difficulties. I find them to be delightful individuals with areas of keen interest and ability.
While bright and talkative, a child with Aspergers Syndrome doesn’t interact in a socially typical way. The child’s difficulties can bring challenges to his ability to learn in a traditional school environment. However, through homeschooling, a child with Aspergers Syndrome can find social acceptance and even admiration for his keen knowledge in areas of interest. Homeschooling can save your child from bullying he may receive in a traditional school.
Let’s look a bit more deeply into Aspergers Syndrome and how homeschooling can help:
Yale University’s Developmental Disabilities Clinic says, “In DSM-IV, the individual’s history must show “a lack of any clinically significant general delay” in language acquisition, cognitive development and adaptive behavior (other than in social interaction). This contrasts with typical developmental accounts of autistic children who show marked deficits and deviance in these areas prior to the age of 3 years.” and says:
Kids with High Functioning Autism (the end of the spectrum where Aspergers Syndrome resides) demonstrate:
1. paucity of empathy;
2. naive, inappropriate, one-sided social interaction, little ability to form friendships and consequent social isolation;
3. pedantic and monotonic speech;
4. poor nonverbal communication;
5. intense absorption in circumscribed topics such as the weather, facts about TV stations, railway tables or maps, which are learned in rote fashion and reflect poor understanding, conveying the impression of eccentricity; and
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes says, “The most distinguishing symptom of Aspergers Syndrome is a child’s obsessive interest in a single object or topic to the exclusion of any other. Children with Aspergers Syndrome want to know everything about their topic of interest and their conversations with others will be about little else. Their expertise, high level of vocabulary, and formal speech patterns make them seem like little professors.
“Other characteristics of Aspergers Syndrome include repetitive routines or rituals; peculiarities in speech and language; socially and emotionally inappropriate behavior and the inability to interact successfully with peers; problems with non-verbal communication; and clumsy and uncoordinated motor movements.”
“Children with Aspergers Syndrome have trouble reading social cues and recognizing other people’s feelings. They may have strange movements or mannerisms. All of these make it difficult for them to make friends. Problems with motor skills are also common in children with Aspergers Syndrome. They may be late learning to ride a bike or catch a ball, for example. Treatment focuses on the three main symptoms: poor communication skills, obsessive or repetitive routines, and physical clumsiness.”
According to Kids Health, “Aspergers Syndrome is characterized by poor social interactions, obsessions, odd speech patterns, and other peculiar mannerisms. Children with Aspergers Syndrome often have few facial expressions and have difficulty reading the body language of others; they may engage in obsessive routines and may display an unusual sensitivity to sensory stimuli (for example, they may be bothered by a light that no one else notices; they may cover their ears to block out sounds in the environment; or they might prefer to wear clothing made only of a certain material).
“Overall, people with Aspergers Syndrome are quite capable of functioning in everyday life, but they tend to be somewhat socially immature and may be seen by others as odd. ”
So, what are the prospects for your child living a healthy, happy, independent life with Aspergers Syndrome?
Given that children with Aspergers Syndrome have average or above average intelligence, and many of their issues are primarily social, with the proper treatments or interventions, the child can do quite well.
While a child with Aspergers Syndrome may not ever be totally free of their difficulties, the child can learn to function well in society.
“The core signs of Aspergers Syndrome can’t be cured. But most children benefit from early specialized interventions that focus on behavior management and social skills training. Your doctor can help identify resources in your area that may work for your child. Options may include:
- Communication and social skills training. Many children with Asperger’s syndrome can learn the unwritten rules of socialization and communication when taught in an explicit and rote fashion, much like the way students learn foreign languages. Children with Asperger’s syndrome may also learn how to speak in a more natural rhythm, as well as how to interpret communication techniques, such as gestures, eye contact, tone of voice, humor and sarcasm.
- Cognitive behavior therapy. This general term encompasses many techniques aimed at curbing problem behaviors, such as interrupting, obsessions, meltdowns or angry outbursts, as well as developing skills like recognizing feelings and coping with anxiety. Cognitive behavior therapy usually focuses on training a child to recognize a troublesome situation — such as a new place or an event with lots of social demands — and then select a specific learned strategy to cope with the situation.
- Medication. There are no medications to treat Asperger’s syndrome. But some medications may improve specific behaviors — such as anxiety, depression or hyperactivity — that can occur in many children with Asperger’s syndrome.”
The National Institute of Health gives the following treatment information:
“Treatment depends on the patient’s level of adaptive functioning. A high IQ will bring a better prognosis than a below-average one. For patients with severe impairment, treatment is similar to the treatment for autistic ”
“As with most developmental disorders, the long-term outcome and prognosis will vary according to the nature of the underlying problem and the interventions used to support continued development. Recent studies have shown that a variety of treatment approaches can help improve social function. Because the patient may have average or above average intelligence, ”
While an initial diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome can seem like cause for despair, once you get to know more about the syndrome, you will feel more hopeful. If you can find and feed your child’s strengths, particularly in subjects he is interested in, you will find great delight in inspiring your child to excel in his chosen area of expertise. I believe persons with Aspergers Syndrome can make great contributions to society through their focused attention on topics of interest.
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