Guest Author - Bonnie Sayers
Perhaps like me you find it confusing when reading about Asperger’s Syndrome and then hearing it being referred to as “high functioning autism”. Some parents say they have a child with autism while others mention having an autistic child. For those with Asperger’s Syndrome it is known as AS. However if you have AS you refer to yourself, as do others as an Aspy or do you prefer Aspie?
Probably the first time you hear the terms it is on an assessment and written in the form of “autistic traits” or “autistic like”. Then there is the low or high functioning aspect of autism and mild autism is another term being used. A child could be non-verbal and still high-functioning. For example Tito Rajarshi Mukhopadhyay is the author of The Mind Tree, yet he is non-verbal and would not be considered low-functioning. He has been profiled on Sixty Minutes with his mother.
For many parents with a child or children on the spectrum there are other related disorders they have to learn about as well. This includes OCD, ODD, DSI, ADD, ADHD, Non-Verbal Learning Disorder, Bi-Polar Disorder, Apraxia, Hyperlexia, Dysgraphia, Tourette Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, Down Syndrome, Epilepsy.
Then there are other disorders that have similar traits to autism. These are Fragile-X Syndrome, Landau-Kleffner Syndrome, Rett Syndrome, Williams Syndrome, Tourette Syndrome, Sotos Syndrome, Moebius Syndrome, Elective Mutism, Attachment Disorder, Hyperkinetic Disorder, Disintegrative Disorder, Avoidant Personalilty Disorder.
To learn about Asperger Syndrome I would suggest reading a book written by Dr. Tony Atwood. For knowledge and related experience pertaining to autism the person to read is Dr. Temple Grandin, an adult with autism and lecturer. To learn about Sensory Integration Dysfunction (DSI) Carol Gray is the author to consult. Future Horizons publishes a bi-monthly magazine entitled, Autism Asperger’s Digest Magazine, with more data available at Autism Digest
Some children will need medication, restricted diets such as Feingold or gluten-free and casein-free (gfcf) and Specific Carbohydrate Diet (SCD), speech, occupational and/or physical therapy. Others may be in a Applied Behavioral Analysis program also known as ABA or a discrete-trial training program (DTT). Then there are children that have auditory processing deficits and utilize AIT or other listening programs to help them deal with the senses.
Dr. Stanley Greenspan developed Floortime, which is another intense program teaching children to play by role modeling. Many of the therapies last for years with a high turnover in therapists and can be obtained through insurance, financial aid, Regional Center vending (for those in the State of CA) or out-of-pocket costs.
Parents keep separate records for medical expenses, diet interventions and therapies to deduct on their yearly taxes. Respite is available for various resources so parents can take a break, or have an additional person to help out around the house. Children with certain disabilities also qualify for Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or can get a medical waiver if their income does not meet the federal guidelines.
DSM-IV criteria for Pervasive Developmental Disorders
Autism Fact Sheet
Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS)
Educational Autism Tips for Families 71 page resourceful ebook for families entering the school system with a recent autism diagnosis. Find out what issues take place over the course of a school day and meet these challenges head on.