Achieving Your Full Potential Through Down Syndrome Awareness

The main goal of Down syndrome understanding is to celebrate the diversity of life and promote the acceptance of families and individuals with the condition. Lobbyists ensure that adults with Down syndrome have equal opportunity access to housing, schooling and jobs.

Organizations, like the National Down Syndrome Society, have helped people with Down syndrome fight for their legal rights and lobby for better educational programs. At its core, Down syndrome awareness is about enabling everyone to achieve his or her full potential, despite a disability.

The mission of the National Down Syndrome Society is “to benefit people with this disability and their families through national leadership in education, research and advocacy.” They feel that everyone has the right to reach their potential and that people with such a disability should have the opportunity to make choices affecting their lives.

Part of Down syndrome knowledge is pushing for better educational programs to help children with Down syndrome achieve their goals. Through the organization, parents can collect valuable resources and connect with local support groups. Down syndrome children can link up with local programs sponsored in part by NDSS, where they can foster a love of art, music or sports and gain the necessary tools to live a reliably independent life.

In addition to Chris Burke, from “Life Goes On” and “Touched by an Angel,” there are many other notable individuals with this disability who are ambassadors for Down Syndrome Awareness and serve as inspiration for Down syndrome children, adults and families. Actors include: Stephane Ginnsz (Duo), Max Lewis (Notes on a Scandal), Edward Barbanell (The Ringer) and award winner Paula Sage (AfterLife, BBC Scotland's River City soap).

Additionally, Joey Moss works as a locker room attendant for the Edmonton Oilers, Judith Scott works as an artist, Miguel Tomasin is the singer for the Argentinian rock band “Reynols” and Karen Gaffney works as a swimmer and motivational speaker. There are also people with such a disability who are children of famous people, like Isabella Pujols, the adopted daughter of the St. Louis. Louis Cardinal's first basemen, or Johnny Stallings, son of former University of Alabama football coach Gene Stallings.

Down Syndrome Awareness has brought great medical advances in just thirty short years. Every day doctors are learning more and more about how the condition works genetically, as therapists learn better techniques for teaching the developmentally disabled. Perhaps one day there will be a pre-natal treatment to remove the extra genetic material on chromosome 21, or perhaps children and adults with Down syndrome will just become more valued by society, thanks to organizations, methods of inclusion and awareness campaigns.

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Learning About the Down Syndrome Disability

Down syndrome is the most common developmental disability in the US. A Down syndrome baby is noticeable by the small ears, small head, small eyes, slightly upturned nose, flat facial features and round head. They will require more time developing, learning to breast feed, rolling over, walking, talking and dressing themselves. However, parents of babies with Down syndrome often say, if given the choice, they would not change a thing and that raising their unique child was one of the greatest things they could have done with their lives.

When learning about Down syndrome, you will discover there is a build-up of additional genetic material on the 21st chromosome. Doctors are not 100% sure what causes this abnormality, but they do know that parental age increases the risk. Eighty percent of Down syndrome babies are born to parents under 35, which is probably because more people in that age bracket are having children.

Statistically speaking, a 25-year-old woman has a 1 / 3,000 chance of having a baby with Down syndrome, while a 35-year-old-woman has 1/365 odds of having a Down syndrome baby. By 45 years of age, her baby has a 1/30 chance of having downs! It is very rarely passed down genetically and it is estimated that only 3-4% of all downs cases are caused from inherited translocation of genetic material, while the rest appear to be caused by random, abnormal chromosomal activity.

There are some common medical conditions that people with this chromosomal disorder may face. Half of Down syndrome babies are born with heart defects and increased susceptibility to illnesses. Often, they are born with a hearing injury or poor vision, and will likely encounter a speech impediment, sleep apnea or chronic ear infections later down the road. As a parent, you'll need to find a trusted, specialized, medical practitioner. You may find local resources through the National Down Syndrome Society at “Ndss”.

A support net is waiting for you; one mouse-click away. You can meet with other parents who have already gone through raising a child with Down syndrome. You can learn copying and teaching techniques or find an inspirational book that fills your heart with joy. Your life will be forever changed when any baby enters your life and you find that love can help you get anything. By participating in one of the many local community programs, you'll find greater strength.

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Cerebral Palsy Treatment

Families that have children with cerebral palsy know that there is no cure for it. The only thing that families can do is get the best treatment for their child. What type of treatments considered for a child depends on what type of cerebral palsy they have. The medical staff will determine what type they have by the characteristics the patient has.Determining which type of treatments is given to a patient is done through observing the patient and giving them some tests. In this process a team of professionals such as therapists, psychologists and pediatricians will determine, based on the results of the patient, which treatments suit them.

Types of treatments:

Physical therapy – This method of therapy helps stretch the muscles of a patient with cerebral palsy. This can include exercising the muscles, massaging the muscles and possibly using heat. The purpose of this is to help with motor control.

Speech therapy – It is sometimes difficult for patients with cerebral palsy to communicate. With speech therapy, the treatments allow them to communicate with other means.

Occupational therapy – This treatment is to assist patients with this in their everyday living. This includes household duties and work duties.

Medication – There are medications for cerebral palsy patients that will help relax their muscles. Patients deal with muscle spasms and medications such as Botox will help those problems.

Surgery – There are times when therapies just do not help. In these situations surgery may be an option for the patient. Surgeries can help decrease spasticity and improve muscle tone.

Hearing aids, eyeglasses – It is common of cerebral palsy patients to have hearing or vision problems. These treatments will help improve the impairments of the child.

Assistive technologies – Cerebral palsy patients usually will require some type of assistive technologies such as wheelchairs to help them with everyday jobs that they may not otherwise be able to do so.

Other Cerebral Palsy treatments – Sometimes the common treatments are just not enough for a patient with it. If this is the case, other treatments may be applied such as hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT).

Clinical trials – The purpose of these trials are to try to develop new treatments for cerebral palsy patients.

The Cost of Cerebral Palsy Treatment

Cerebral palsy affects many children and there is no cure for it, there are only treatments to help a patient cope with their disability. Children go through different therapies that suit their needs but the financial costs are overwhelming usually exceeding $ 500,000. Insurance does not always cover all of the costs, and the families can get stressed with all the costs. Even those who do not have insurance, the financial load are overwhelming.

There are cases where medical malpractice may have contributed to a child's condition. Families in this situation often can receive compensation to help cover treatment costs and other expenses. If your child's cerebral palsy could have been prevented be sure to contact a cerebral palsy lawyer to discuss your options.

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Why Put Off Dyslexia Testing When You Can Get a Free Dyslexia Test?

Approximately 1 out of every 10 adults over the age of 25 sufferers from some form and degree of dyslexia.

Dyslexia is a neurological condition that affects the brain's ability to interpret the signals received from the eyes. Dyslexics see things differently, which can give them problems with reading and other tasks. Dyslexia testing can quickly pinpoint these differences and potential problems.

Because of these differences, dyslexics need to be taught in different ways from the 90% non-dyslexic portion of the population. Properly taught, there is practically nothing that a non-dyslexic can do that a dyslexic can not.

There is a frequently noted “Gift of Dyslexia”, the advantage dyslexia can give people once they have been tested, diagnosed and taught properly. There are many famous people with dyslexia, people such as actor Tom Cruise, singer-actress Cher and businessman-entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson and thousands more.

The problem is that although school-age children are routinely screened for dyslexia today, 15-20 years ago dyslexia screening was almost unheard of. So anyone who graduated from elementary school more than 15 years ago has most probably never gone through dyslexia testing or screening.

Thus the learning problems caused by the condition continue uncorrected. Worse, the educational system of 15+ years ago tended to treat dyslexics harshly, unfairly branding them as “underachievers”, “slow learners” or “lazy.” Dyslexics were embarrassed by the labels and worked out ways to hide their differences.

Result is that 95% of the adult dyslexics in the population are not only unaware of their condition but consciously or unconsciously do their best to hide the symptoms. This makes them very hard to find. The first step in identifying possible dyslexics and helping them over their problems is a screening test.

There are two kinds of dyslexia testing. There is screening which is generally a free dyslexia test to see if there are any indications of dyslexia. Then there is a full, professional in-depth test to check for exact symptoms and measure severity. (Every dyslexic is different, must be tested and evaluated separately.)

Symptoms of adult dyslexia include difficulty reading, problems taking phone messages, writing down the words and numbers for a message, transposing digits in numbers, difficulty in spelling, etc.

If you think you might be dyslexic or know someone else who might be, take a free screening, free dyslexia test and see if there are enough symptoms to indicate possible dyslexia. It's free, so why not?

If you have no symptoms, then forget about it. If you have significant symptoms then think about going through full dyslexia testing. Only takes half an hour or so and can be done online, from anywhere … Knowing can radically change your life for the better!

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Cerebral Palsy Children – Causes and Impacts of Cerebral Palsy

A child with cerebral palsy has special needs and the severity of their condition will determine how much care a child requires. More often than not children need wheelchairs, they go through many surgeries and they go through different kinds of therapy such as physical, occupational and speech therapy. Meeting the needs of a child that has cerebral palsy can be financially overbearing and parents need to be aware that they can get support from local, national, or non-profit organizations in their area. However parents may, also, be entitled to other compensation through a lawsuit if there was medical malpractice involved.

Was Your Child Harmed by Medical Malpractice?

Cerebral Palsy is caused by brain damage before or during childbirth. Many factors contribute to the development of cerebral palsy. Possibilities that can contribute to these are infections to newborns, low birth weight, jaundice, seizures, just to name a few. On the other hand there are a small percentage of children with cerebral palsy that is caused by medical malpractice that could have been contaminated such as complications during delivery or lack of oxygen.

Medical professionals are to respond to any complications promptly and they should take the proper precautions to reduce risks to the child and mother. This is not always possible and medical professionals can and do fail in this commitment and the results can be devastating. They need to be held responsible for the damages that are suffered.

A Cerebral Palsy Lawyer Can Help

The treatment of a child with cerebral palsy can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars through their life. If medical malpractice is responsible for the state of your child, a cerebral palsy lawyer can help you to obtain the necessary money to provide the care of your child.

It is important to note that the cases of medical malpractice are prior to a statute of the limitations. This means that a non-negotiable deadline will apply to the classification of your lawsuit, if you are eligible. To ensure your rights are fully protected, you should contact a lawyer as soon as you suspect that your child has cerebral palsy due to medical malpractice.

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Asperger Syndrome Explained – Effective Ways To Deal With It

Asperger Syndrome As A Milder Form Of Autism

There is a difference between autism and Asperger Syndrome. Language is not affected in Asperger Syndrome, and since the symptoms are not obvious, it is difficult to pin down as a disorder. Also, it does not develop in early life, but seems to come on at a later stage in life. It is difficult to deal with, therefore if either your child or you find difficulty in communicating or suffer from behavioral attitudes in a social environment, you should consider it necessary to visit your family doctor who will be able to assist you.

There have been a number of distinguished and successful people who have suffered from Asperger Syndrome. According to historians, even Mozart and Einstein had been victims of this disorder. But, at the same time, the fact is that it is not to be associated with mental retardation. The people suffering from this disorder are usually highly intelligent and have keen mental faculties. Just as an autistic child struggles to interact in a group, a person with Asperger Syndrome finds it extremely difficult to adjust to a social environment. Children can be victims of unfair treatment in school if this disorder is left unchecked. In fact, once a child knows that he has Asperger Syndrome, he is aware that he can get help which is a relief to him instead of feeling that he is different from everyone else. So, correct diagnosis can help all around.

Symptoms Of Asperger Syndrome To Watch Out For

There are symptoms that are similar to autism, namely, being in a confused state when in a social gathering. Another symptom is the inability to deal with change – the person would like everything to be the same – a sudden change of scene is extremely disturbing and may cause anxiety.

Sometimes a person with Asperger Syndrome may be impolite without necessarily meaning to be that way – he has difficulty in judging other people? S mental processes. Another symptom is focusing on interests that capture his attention, but those with Asperger Syndrome are more controlled than their autistic counterpart.

If you see yourself with any of these symptoms or if you find them in a family member or close friend, you should seek medical help, and your doctor will be able to assist you with advice, and if need be, refer you to a specialist in the field. He will also recommend that you study all you can about the disorder and then gain an insight into the symptoms and how it can be treated. It is best to get timely help, so that you can move on with your life.

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Consequences and Effects of Adult Dyslexia

Dyslexia is one of the many learning disabilities that have an effect on language, and the acquisition of new knowledge. However, if you suspect that you have this condition, you should get a formal assessment. This is because; dyslexia can be mistaken for other learning disabilities that are related with it. Here are some of the general symptoms that you have dyslexia and some of the related conditions that can be mistaken for it.

The consequent loss of self-esteem triggers the syndrome that makes dyslexia worse. A common example of dyslexia is reading words with the letters in reverse order, as in fyl for fly. Because brain scans have finally pin-pointed the cause of dyslexia, and if you remove the cause, the reading problem can be fixed.

Many “learning disabled” people become highly successful once they escape school. A learning disorder marked by impairment of the ability to recognize and comprehend written words. They did not suffer from learning disability, but teaching disability. We believe that anyone with Dyslexia or Specific Learning Difficulty (SPLD) should be empowered to reach their full potential. It means that one out of seven Americans is suffering from some kind of learning disabilities.

An analysis of reading, spelling, writing and number as well as an investigation into cognitive skills (eg working memory, phonological awareness, speed of information processing and visual perception) also takes place.

A specialist assessment can help you to access support, whether you are in full-time education or employment. It has been claimed that about 70 per cent of dyslexics never went through home school, home education the crawling stage as babies. For example, most educational methods and many areas of work tend to emphasize the skills that people with dyslexia have trouble with, such as reading, writing, remembering lists and sequences, and organizing and planning.

Today's educational methods are limited when it comes to teaching basic literacy skills to students who have problems with reading, writing and math. dyslexia teaching, dyslexia testing, spld, specific learning difficulties, teaching resources, dyspraxia, bristol dyslexia center, dyslexia education, home school, home education, adult dyslexia organization, nessy, dyslexia teaching system, dyslexia learning resource, special school, dyslexic school. It has been suggested that if children are not spld, specific learning difficulties, and allowed to play and roam free as part of dyslexia teaching, dyslexia testing and normal development, their postural control reflexes will not develop dyslexic school, study skills correctly.

Adult Dyslexia Access ADA was established in September 1998 to enable equality for dyslexics in learning, employment and the community. dyslexia teaching, dyslexia testing, spld, specific learning difficulties, teaching resources, dyspraxia, center, dyslexia education, home school, home education, adult dyslexia organization, nessy, dyslexia teaching system, dyslexia learning resource, special school, dyslexic school.

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It is because of such reasons that the federal law has now made it mandatory for every public school district to conduct the adult dyslexia test. Adult Dyslexia gives practical advice about identifying and helping adult dyslexics in ways that are relevant to the workplace and suitable for adults, rather than being adaptations of methods used with children.

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ADHD Treatment Goals

Many children have ADHD, a disorder that affects the attention, activity level, and functioning ability of school age children. Some children are able to manage their symptoms with help from a routine a strong support while others need medication to help them stay focused and on task. No matter what treatment option is right for your child you need to develop a plan that includes clear goals to strive for with their treatment.

Many children who have ADHD suffer with low self esteem because they have trouble following rules, developing relationships, and carrying out daily tasks. When children feel bad or different it takes a toll on their self esteem and makes them feel bad about themselves. One main goal of ADHD treatment for any child who sufferers from low self esteem because of ADHD should be to increase their self esteem.

Most children with ADHD have trouble succeeding in school because ADHD makes it hard to concentrate, focus, and stay on task. Their attention span in limited and even though many children with ADHD would like to be successful in school they lack the skills to do so without treatment. Giving a Child with ADHD the skills that they need to succeed in school should be a goal of treatment.

ADHD is known to cause behavioral problems in many children. Children frequently have a hard time following rules both at school and at home as well as acting appropriately in social situations. Constantly being in trouble is not good for a child and does not set them up for success later in life. Learning how to follow rules and conquer behavioral problems both at home and at school are goals that should be a part of any ADHD treatment program.

Children with ADHD often have problems making friends and interacting socially with their peers. Social interaction is important for children to be well adjusted but friendships can be hard to mange for a child with ADHD. ADHD treatment should absolutely lead to increased social interaction with improved social skills as a goal.

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ADD-ADHD – And Peer Pressure

When ever we think of peer pressure, we think of the bad peer pressure. We think of children and young people following the example of stronger personality which are not good for them. We do not think of the good peer pressure, which causes the child to excel and reach for their full potential. most of us do not acknowledge that we are constantly subjected to peer pressure and go along with the peer pressure if we believe it is to our advantage such as a new car, larger house or a perfect lawn.

Peer pressure can be good. It can cause us to be better and more successful. Or it can cause us to take action which are not good for us in order to reach a peer pressure goal (examples are lying, cheating or other unhealthy things). You must be the judge. Bigger is not always better. Responding to peer pressure causes you to try to live up to others expectations.

With add / adher peer pressure is shown at it worst. We have all of these professional (teachers, doctors, etc) telling you to put your child on mood alternating drugs for ease. In order to have a easier time in the classroom; you should start your child on a lifetime of drug use when the answer to add / adhd is a lack of nutrition.

Add / Adhd is a lack of nutrition problem. Our life style causes us to use up neurotransmitters. And our current food supply (as great as it is) limited in nutrition which the body needs to make more neurotransmitters.

Neurotransmitters are a chemical messenger used by neuron (nerve cells) to communicate in the brain. And a shortage of neurotransmitters can cause unclear or confusing messages to the body which lead to ADD / ADHD.

Neurotransmitters are used in the communication process between the brain and the body. Shortage of neurotransmitters can cause unclear or scrambled messages to be received by the body. These confusing messages or commands are the symptoms which we identify with add / adhd. This is add / add simply explained.

The Add / Adhd condition is best and easily furnished by giving the body a natural supplement designed to give the body what it needs to manufacture neurotransmitters. No drugs, only natural nutrition.

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Down Syndrome

What Are the Causes of Down Syndrome?
The causes of Down syndrome are genetic problems related to chromosome 21. While Down syndrome is genetic in that it involves an extra chromosome 21, it is not usually hereditary in the conventional sense. That is, Down syndrome is not inherited; It does not “run in families.” Down syndrome is usually the result of a random event that occurs during the formation of reproductive cells (eggs and sperm). One exception is Down syndrome caused by a balanced translocation (see below).

As far as we know, Down syndrome is not caused by any behavioral activity of the parents or environmental factors.

Understanding Chromosomes
Chromosomes, the spaghetti-like strands of hereditary material found in each cell of the body, determine such characteristics as the color of our eyes and hair, our height, and whether we are male or female. In humans, there are 23 pairs of chromosomes in each cell. A person inherits one copy of each chromosome from each parent.

Each cell contains 22 pairs of chromosomes (called autosomes) that are the same in males and females. The remaining pair of chromosomes, the X- and Y-chromosomes, are not shaped similarly, and so are not matched in the same way as the autosomes. The X- and Y-chromosomes are called sex chromosomes. They are responsible for the difference in development between males and females. A Y-chromosome contains genes responsible for testis development; and the presence of an X-chromosome paired with a Y-chromosome will determine male development. On the other hand, two X-chromosomes are required for normal ovarian development in females.

Is Down Syndrome Inherited?
Most cases of Down syndrome are not inherited, but occur as random events during the formation of reproductive cells (eggs and sperm). The one exception is some cases of translocation Down syndrome.

In these cases, an unaffected person can carry a rearrangement of genetic material between chromosome 21 and another chromosome. This rearrangement is called a balanced translocation because there is no extra material from chromosome 21. Although they do not have signs of Down syndrome, people who carry this type of balanced translocation are at an increased risk of having children with the condition.

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What is Cerebral Palsy? A Look Into the Classifications, Symptoms and Causes

Defining cerebral palsy is rather complicated because it is just an umbrella term that covers a set of conditions that are both non-progressive and non-contagious, which cause disability in physical development. It is not a single disorder, as many people would have believed, but rather a group of disorders. The term “cerebral” refers to the part in the brain which is affected, the cerebrum. The term “palsy” refers to movement disorder.

4 Major Classifications:

  1. Spastic – occurs in 70 to 80 percent of all cases;
  2. Ataxic – occurs in about 10 percent;
  3. Athetoid or Dyskinetic – occurs in 40 percent of all cases; and,
  4. Mixed – combines 2 or all 3 types of cerebral palsy.

Symptoms of Cerebral Palsy

– abnormal muscle tone (stiff or floppy) – bad posture (always slouches when sitting) – deformities in joint and bone (fixed or tight muscles and joints) – spasms (involuntary movement or facial gestures) – scissor walking (knocked knees) – lack of balance (uneven gait)

In some cases of cerebral palsy, babies have an irregular posture, with their small bodies may be either floppy or stiff.

Causes of Cerebral Palsy

The causes are still a puzzle to doctors, even on this age of advanced medical technology. But some early studies have established that it can possibly occur during these 3 stages: at some stage in pregnancy (about 75 percent), while giving birth (about 5 percent), and after the child is born up to age of about three years old (about 15 percent).

In the United States, 1 to 2 babies in every 1,000 births are diagnosed with cerebral palsy each year. The nature of extent ranges from mild to severe.

Causes before birth: – asphyxia (oxygen deficiency before and during birth) – hypoxia (caused by asphyxia) – trauma while giving birth – premature birth – mother had infections during pregnancy – multiple birth (twins or triplets)

Causes after birth: – infections in the central nervous system (due to physical brain injury) – jaundice (characterized by yellowing of skin) – toxins (ie lead poisoning) – encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) – meningitis (inflammation of parts of brain) and spinal cord) – hypoxia (caused by asphyxia during drowning accidents)

Causes of asphyxia in young children: choking, poisoning, and near drowning.

Learning the causes may help prevent its occurrence. Practice utmost care and protection during gestation, during birth, and during the early years after birth.

Cerebral palsy in most cases is not preventable. When the occurrence is due to negligence during medical care or inadequacy of medical attention, it is potential preventable by observing safety measures and standards of care .. To discuss whether medical malpractice could be a factor in your child's case, contact an experience lawyer to discover your options.

Many cases of cerebral palsy undergo early medical evaluation to determine early diagnosis. To diagnose, a doctor will check the muscle tone, reflexes, and movement; then under the patient to a MRI scan, a CT scan, and other various medical tests.

After a positive diagnosis of this disorder, the child patient may be referred to a specialist for further examinations to find out if early treatment can provide improvement and help the condition of the patient.

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How Do I Fit In? Avoiding Bullying and Teasing

Trying to fit in and being bullied are things all children face. These are also areas that children with Aspergers struggle with daily. In his book “Aspergers and Girls” Tony Atwood discusses the topics of bullying and teasing. Although he discusses the interactions between girls in this book much of the material still applies to boys as well.

One trait with Aspergers is the inability to analyze social situations, read facial cues, or even be aware when situations are not as they might appear to be. Joking and sarcasm are often misunderstood and taken literally. These social cues can be learned by people with Aspergers but usually do not come intuitively. Teaching using social stories, watching movies and commercials and even “people watching” in public can help show social situations and what facial cues and body language are being used between people. When trying to make friends and fit in teaching body language is essential. They must learn what clues are saying “I am friendly” or “do not bother talking to me”. They also should be aware of their own body language to know how to look approachable and friendly. Observe their interactions with others and discuss privately what may be inappropriate and what may be more appropriate in the future.

In Tony Atwood's book “Aspergers and Girls” he lists a few books that can help in explaining fitting in, making friends, bullying, teasing, and more. Some are the award-winning American Girl books called “The Smart Girl Guide to Friendship Troubles”, “Guide to Sticky Situations” and “Guide to Middle School”. Another book is called “Queen Bees and Wannabees” which the movie “Mean Girls” was based on.

Bullying can sometimes be relentless and is really intimidating. Obviously there is physical bullying but can also include gossip, rumor spreading and cattiness. The Aspergers child may be totally unaware of the bullying or what it means. This can change at any time though. Other times they are completely aware but lack the social skills to know how to handle the situation correctly. Many can begin acting out at others, cry, turn inward, act childish, or become depressed. Many times they will not report bullying and teasing because of their inability to deal with the situation. They are needing help but may be unsure how to get it because they are not able to fully explain the situation. Asking children / teens about their friendships, daily interactions and even directly asking if anyone is teasing or bullying them is something parents and teachers need to do often.

Teasing is usually about something the recipient is unsure with or in this situation about a disability. Teasing can also be relentless and cause humiliation. Gossiping usually companies leasing and turn into rumors that can become hard to clear up or stop.

Explain when teaching social skills that those who bully, tease or gossip are trying to bring attention to themselves at the expense of someone else. They may have self esteem issues, want to build “power” for themselves, establish status and respect out of fear, or just be insecure. Also give them ways to receive help if they are being bullied or teased. They should always feel comfortable talking with their parents. Establish with teachers and school administrators your concerns so they can watch for problems and also be available to talk to. Depending on the situation parents of the other children may need to be called for a discussion and be made aware of the events.

We have been fairly fortune with our Aspergers daughter. She is in advanced classes at school which means every year she ends up with the same advanced classes students. They have had time to get to know her and her quirks. Teachers have even reported these students stand up for her and watch out for her. They have been observed gently assisting or correcting her when needed. She has had a few minor situations with teasing / bullying which have been eliminated with by school administrators. Our doctor made us aware that although she does not display depression now as she grows and becomes more aware of the social atmosphere around her she very well could become depressed as many Aspergers children do. Watching and monitoring her social interactions closely, discussing her feelings, and teaching social skills is the key.

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Sensory Sensitivity

Imagine a world where things around you just bugged you to death! Well, that is a reality for many people with Aspergers Syndrome. Sensory sensitivity is a symptom of Aspergers and can range from minor to severe. There is a large variety of sensory sensitivities as well. Everyday experiences with sound, light, touch, taste and overall comfort can be such a challenge. Identifying sensitivities can allow you to work with or even modify your environment to make each day a little easier to get through.

In our experience with our Aspergers daughter we have found that sensory issues have to be identified and addressed. We have found that at times when she “shuts down” or will “act out” we can trace it back to a sensory sensitivity. We find this especially in school situations. Our daughter is sensitive to crowd noise. It is like she can not think or compute with all the noise. She might act out, but usually will retreat into herself and shut down. She also is fearful of loud noises and will cover her ears. Especially with fireworks. We have found that in situations where she is unsure about what is about to happen she will still cover her ears as a way to protect herself from sensory issues. During quiet work time in class she easily distracted by noises and movement. She will not be able to focus on work until she is able to stop focusing on the sensory issue. She can be distracted by a clock ticking, light bulbs buzzing or blinking and even someone tapping a pencil. We have worked with her to identify these moments on her own and she has ways to help herself re-focus. Sometimes counting to ten, breathing, or re-focusing techniques work.

Re-focusing techniques we have used might be to take a paper with words on it and circle all the “a's” and then underline all the “b's”. She has even asked to go to the bathroom or leave the room until she can feel comfortable and refocus. We have also realized that giving her a little space or corner can help. Even in a classroom situation she can ask to move to a desk or table in the corner, or even face a corner or wall if there is too much going on to focus. Her teachers are aware of her disability and she knows she can let them know when she is in “sensory overload” and needs help.

I like using the term “sensory overload” when describing those moments where they have reached a breaking point. Obviously multiple issues all at once will lead to sensory overload. Crowd noise or commotion alone can be overwhelming and a major sensory overload moment. Help them describe their sensory level. We use the “volumn control” theory. Based on the television or radio volumn where is their sensitivity level?

Like everything with Aspergers not everyone will have sensory sensitivity or the same sensory issues. If you suspect sensory issues may be the cause of acting out or shutting off the world take the situation apart to see what is going on that might be the sensitivity. Discuss ways to block out or remove sensory sensitivities from their environment and find some re-focusing techniques that can be used as well. Here is a list of other sensory issues I have found during my research that have been associated with Aspergers Syndrome:

1. Intense starring or may avoid eye contact
2. Standing extremely close to others or objects
3. Covers letters with certain sounds or has extreme fear when unexpected noises are occurring.
4. Will leave or withdrawal to avoid noises
5. Needs to smell or touch food before eating it
6. Difficulty when being touched by others (even lightly brushed by another) and my display anxiety when touched
7. Needs to smell materials before using them
8. Complains about the way clothing feels specifically with tags or seams.
9. Underreacts or overreacts to pain
10.Limited on their food choices and may only tolerate foods with particular color or texture.
11.Cannot have different foods on plate to touch eachother or may have to eat all of one item before. moving to the next.
12. Oversensative or undersensative to environmental stimulation such as change in light, sound, smell, or even location of objects.
13.May engage in self-stimulatory behaviors like rocking, chewing, hand movements, playing with objects.

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Dysgraphia – A Handwriting Disability

Many people with Aspergers Syndrome have motor skills difficulties. One of those motor skills is handwriting. This is also known as dysgraphia which is a form of dyslexia but affects the handwriting instead of reading. Dysgraphia in dictionary terms is a deficiency in the ability to write even with the ability to read. It is not due to any intellectual impairments. Although on some level they can usually write there still is a lack of coordination. There is also a lack in basic spelling skills. Often “p, q, b, d” are difficult and the wrong word can be written when trying to formulate thoughts on paper. Dysgraphia will appear as inappropriately sized and spaced letters, writing incorrect or misspelled words even when instructed. There may be other learning disabilities present but usually academic problems are not present. When tested for dysgraphia it is found that their writing skills are substantively below those expected for their age, measured intelligence and age specific education.

Our daughter was diagnosed by the school district in 3rd grade as having dysgraphia. At first we thought she was either rushing her work or being lazy. Her writing looked worse then a kindergartener and even she had trouble reading it. She often complained of her hands hurting after long writing assignments. When diagnosed she was given weekly time with an instructor from the school district who worked with her on visualizing space and size of letters. She learned the “feel” of each letter as it is written. Although when writing slowly she can now form decent letters, her speed is obviously lacking to keep up with grade level work. Most doctors will suggest writing instruments and computers for most of their work because of the time involved as well as pain in the hands that often occurs when writing. We were able to meet with our school for a 504 plan meeting (Texas). Here we discussed with the teachers, principal, district representative and myself all the things we felt she needed accommodations for at school / home. She was provided access to a computer for almost all assignments. She also is given copies of notes and transparencies so she is not having to copy them. Many assignments were shortened or given longer due dates to provide for her disability. We currently are working on getting the school to provide her own laptop or writing tool (like an Alphasmart machine) that she can use at her desk.

We believe that her dysgraphia is directly related to motor skills difficulties associated with Aspergers Syndrome and continue to research and work with her. Although physical therapy as well as the school district courses have shown improvement in many people with dysgraphia they still will probably use use of a computer for most of their lengthy writing projects.

Our doctor made a substantial statement to me when I inquired about what options were out there to help fix this. He said it is just like being blind …. in most cases you can not cure blindness but you can help them learn other techniques to function in society and have a full life.

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Aspergers Diagnosis – Our Steps to a Diagnosis

After I had found an Aspergers Syndrome checklist online I asked from our pediatrician about who to see for an evaluation. We were given the name of a Neurologist specializing in “Children with Developmental Disorders” and also certified in Pharmacology. I was sent a huge packet of information that I was to fill out. There was also evaluation forms for her teachers to fill out. I sent all the information in for them to look at before my initial visit. The initial visit was between me and the doctor only. We sat down for an hour going through a checklist of information …. “does she do this”, “how does she do with this” ….. type questions. He reviewed our information from the packet as well as his checklist and told me he felt she did indeed have Aspergers Syndrome based on what he has evaluated from our conversation.

The next step was to bring her in to meet him. His initial reaction was that on paper she is Aspergers, but to meet her he never would have known. His explanation was she is very “high functioning” Aspergers. What does that mean? Well, she has enough control over herself to appear “normal” however she has the little quircks of Aspergers. Once he had seen her several times he started to see some of those little quircks. His evaluations began with motor skills type tests like walking, hopping, touch your nose, etc. He would ask her questions about friends, social atmosphere, school, etc. Being a Pharmacologist he also has an extensive knowledge of medicines and what they do and do not do for all the varieties for mental and neurological disorders. She was on Concerta for the ADHD which was acceptable to help with the ADHD and Aspergers symptoms.

What I liked about this doctor was how he was in his assessment of everything. We had blood work done to check for genetic problems as well as an MRI to check the size, shape and growth of her brain. He wanted to rule out any other conditions. Wow, what a relief since in the past we would go along thinking all was hunky dory and then find out she had ADHD and then the dysgraphia …. and quite the Aspergers. So, it was a huge burden off our backs that he was checking for anything he could think of that would display the same symptoms to rule them out before settling on just Aspergers Syndrome. A year into his treatment of her he redid her blood work because of new technology that can check for more detail into different genetic disorders. What a great doctor!

I would highly recommend anyone feeling their child has Aspergers, Autism, or any other mental / neurological disorder such as ADHD or Bi-Polar disorder to seek a Neurologist for testing. I personally like that ours specializes in children and also knows the pharmacy side as well. He continuously researches and discusses with his associates about new information and technology specific to children.

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