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Showing posts from March, 2010

Getting Empathy (Back) into Your Relationship - Part 2

Last time, we looked at all the ways in which modern society conspires against us to reduce the amount and quality of our family time. This time I'm going to start looking at ways to begin building visible empathy.
You might find that choice of words a little odd... after all, what is "visible empathy"?
It's clear that aspies feel empathy for others - I don't really feel the need to reiterate that. The problems aren't with the ability to feel. The real problems facing people on the spectrum tend to be related to interpretation and demonstration.
Or in plain English; How to tell what someone is feeling (indeed how to notice that something is amiss) when they're only using non-verbal language.

How to respond in such a manner that your response is understood as an empathetic response rather than a knee-jerk reaction or a flippant remark.
Before we begin looking at it from an aspergers/autistic point of view though, we need to first start to define what mak…

Getting Empathy (Back) into Your Relationship - Part 1

It's a point that I keep reiterating, Aspies are not incapable of empathy. We feel. We don't always recognise those feelings for what they are and we don't always respond appropriately but believe me, the empathy is there, waiting to be tapped.
I know that I've covered empathy dozens of times but it's usually been from a "complainer's" point of view. It's usually all about how aspies DO have empathy and how NT's don't recognise it. This time, I want to do something practical. In this series of posts I plan to discuss ways of getting that empathy (back?) into your relationship.

Where did it go? You may have noticed that in several cases, I've used the word "back", implying that there once was empathy but that now it's gone. This isn't necessarily true of all relationships but I believe that it's the case in at least, some.
If you're in a relationship, particularly a long term one, then regardless of the feelings…

Just a Reminder: The Black Balloon is out Tomorrow on DVD in the US

Since 59% of my readers come from the US, I figured that it was worthwhile noting that tomorrow (23 March) is the day that "The Black Balloon" comes out on DVD.
If you or anyone you know is on the spectrum, this is a good film to watch. It looks at a "lower functioning" part of the autistic spectrum than aspergers but I believe its message is appropriate for all.

It's an Australian film which doesn't appear to be getting a huge amount of publicity in the US (being drowned out by teenage vampire DVDs), and it stars Rhys Wakefield, Luke Ford and Toni Collette.
I've previously reviewed it here.The IMDB Page for it is here.The Facebook page for it is here. and the Amazon page for it is here.

Avoiding Human Contact

It's a common misconception that aspies dislike social contact. In fact, I've read somewhere that a major difference between "autism" and "aspergers" is that autistic children desperately want to have friends (and social contact) but can't while children with aspergers have better social skills but no interest in making friends. Of course, I might have this round the wrong way.
Either way, it's totally wrong.
In the first instance, aspergers is part of the autism spectum. They're "clinically identical" conditions, so there is no difference. Secondly, I've met plenty of people on the spectrum and with various labels, many of who lamented the fact that they crave friendship but have difficulty establishing/maintaining one.
Finally, and in my opinion, worst of all, these kinds of statements commit the "sin" of ignoring the individual.
Everyone on the spectrum is different regardless of their diagnosis. Everyone has different …

My Thoughts on the Changing Aspergers Label

In the last few posts, I've looked at the two sides of the controversy over the changes to DSM V regarding the absorbtion of the Aspergers label into the general autism banner.

In this post, I want to give you my thoughts and position on the issue.

Label Recognition
Aspergers is quite obviously on the Autism spectrum. There's absolutely no doubt in my mind that they (aspergers and autism) share many traits and that often, though not always, the intervention required is also the same.

At the same time, I'm confused by all of the sub-labels in the autism spectrum. Like Aspergers, High Functioning Autism (HFA) is a successful "brand" bringing almost instant recognition but who amongst the general public knows how to refer to the other end of the spectrum?


Label Reliability
What exactly does "high functioning" mean anyway? I have met a range of people with this label and they ranged from "rain-man style" savants to people who could barely speak.

The prob…

An Interview with Lynda Farrington Wilson, Author of Squirmy Wormy

I was given the opportunity to ask some questions of Lynda Farrington Wilson, the author of Squirmy Wormy, a book I reviewed last week.
I hope you find her answers as enlightening as I did.

1. While it's obvious that your sons were a major influence, what motivated you to write a "children's" book on autism and spd?
When my son Tyler was diagnosed with autism, my world spun into a research journey. I was on a quest to understand and gain insights into the way he approached the world. I would ask every professional I would encounter questions like,
Why does he spin the wheels on his toys cars and watch the ceiling fan spin?Why does he stare at the rolling credits on the television?Why does he run back and forth for hours? The answer was always the same, because he has autism. I continued to seek and provide therapies for my son, still frustrated by what I called the autism black hole. However, as we implemented sensory strategies to help in his sensory processing diso…

Book Review: Squirmy Wormy: How I Learned to Help Myself by Lynda Farrington Wilson

It's not often that I see a book which sits so comfortably across several age groups and brings useful and different information to each. Squirmy Wormy is such a book.
Squirmy Wormy is, at first glance, a picture book which deals with Autism and Sensory Processing Disorder.
The "story" itself is a mere 18 pages, so it's a quick and easy read but don't let that deceive you. Beneath its storybook exterior, Squirmy Wormy provides a wealth of explanations and tips. It's a book that you and your children will be going back to, time and time again.
Suitability for Young Readers Young readers will find Squirmy Wormy easy to read because there's only about five lines of new text on each page plus a little repetition of sound-words. None of the words are particularly difficult, making it a great book for good-reading children as young as kindergarten.
If your child is a slower reader, the book is still good reading at grades three and four. It's also a great…

FTF: Post 2: The Vows of Special Needs Parents by Chynna Laird

The Second Article in the First things First series is now available on "Hartley's Life with 3 Boys".
The article is called "The Vows of Special Needs Parents" and it's by Chynna Laird whom you may recognise as the author of several books including "Not Just Spirited; A Mom's Sensational Journey With SPD" which I've reviewed on this blog.
Chynna's article covers a topic which is close to my heart; Maintaining your relationship when you have a child with "tremendous needs". It was this very thought which inspired the logo I'm using for the series.
It's really interesting seeing this covered from a female point of view. The motivations and experience are quite different and Chynna's way of dealing with the issue is also quite different from mine.
This is a great article by a great writer, please have a read;
"The Vows of Special Needs Parents" by Chynna Laird