Autistic People and Employment

People with autism spectrum disorder need jobs to live independently. But sadly, the respect of finding gainful employment is quite bleak for them. There’s a lack of research on employment rates for autistic adults across the globe. But conservative estimates suggest that more than 80% of autistic people don’t work. In Britain, only 12% of high-functioning autistic adults find full-time employment. Those with a more challenging form of autism, only 2% are able to land jobs.

Psychotherapy, life skills and job training can go a long way. A recent study in the US found that at least 87% of autistic youths who were assisted to land a job, could get one. On the other hand, only 6% of those who didn’t get a support were successful.

Assistance, in most countries, is terminated when an autistic individual ends full-time education. Esteban Maxis, a 25-year old NGO worker having Asperger’s syndrome, describes leaving school as “jumping off the cliff.” He’s no longer entitled to the social coaching that he used to get along with English and Mathematics classes. It’s difficult to judge the number of autistic adults who are actually capable to work. Nearly half of those affected with the disorder usually have above average intelligence. They often use “What’s the Expression” and “Make Sentences” apps to help in their communication. But the level of intelligence is no indicator to an autistic person’s employability. He/she may score high in IQ tests but suffer from anxiety and can’t go far from home.

Contrary to popular belief, most people with autism spectrum disorder are willing to work. But high-functioning autistic adults have a much better chance to land a job than those who are severely affected.

The job interview is the first major hurdle. Most autistic persons struggle with social conventions like maintaining eye contact while speaking. While the “What’s the Expression” and “Make Sentences” apps may help to a great extent, it’s the application of the mind at that point of time which matters most. Serena Gomez, who works with an animal rescue organization, recalls that in her first few interviews she didn’t know when to shake hands with the interviewer. She often prepares a script before meeting new people in an official environment.

Also, most autistic individuals speak bluntly. Team meetings don’t work for them. Autistic people usually have a single-minded pursuit. They want to focus the job at hand rather than discussing about the next weekend outing. This makes things difficult for people with autism who can’t indulge in friendly banter.

Source by Kevin Carter

Autism and Schools

Even if autism spectrum disorder is diagnosed and treated early, autistic children usually spend a wretched time in school. Such kids are usually avoided by fellow students and are never involved in classroom discussions until specifically required. Scientists have found that children with autism spectrum disorder are thrice likely to be bullied by their neuro-typical peers or those who don’t suffer from the condition. Many autistic children drop out of school. For instance, in France, 87% autistic children join primary school. But among them, only 11% go on to attend lower secondary school, with less than 1% reaching upper secondary school.

In countries like the US and Britain, most autistic children attend regular school and are offered additional help from special educators and therapists trained to deal with such kids. Most education authorities prefer this approach. It’s much cheaper than setting up a special kids’ school. Parents too prefer their children to be taught alongside the non-autistic kids. But the fact remains that integrating these two groups of children is often a tall order. A recent study in the US has revealed that at least 60% of the teachers weren’t properly equipped to handle children with autism spectrum disorder. It often leads to sorrow and frustration. At least 75% of the parents of autistic children have complained that it’s never easy to get the proper support needed. Almost a similar percentage of parents said that their children suffered from low self-esteem and social skills. The mental health of these autistic children suffered as a result.

Teaching children with autism spectrum disorder is quite expensive. Special educators often have to work with the children individually. Fortunately, apps like “Just Match” and “Math on the Farm” have come as a big help to the teachers.

School, in most cases, is tough for autistic children. But it’s usually worse if they leave it midway. A social research institute in the US recently found that a little more than 20% of autistic persons in early 20s could live independently. Most of them are isolated in the areas they live. Only one in four autistic adults rued the lack of friends or invitation to social events. Many autistic people are comfortable with their own company that usually doesn’t have more than two or three persons. People with Asperger’s syndrome are 10 times more likely to contemplate suicide than neuro-typicals. Acceptance of people with autism spectrum disorder in the mainstream society is still a fry cry.

Source by Kevin Carter

Teaching Your Autistic Child Basketball

Basketball is a great sport for kids to play. It is safer, requires less physical prowess and is less complex than many other sports. It is true that it requires some depth perception and height is a key benefit, but it is a great choice at early ages, and giving your child the experience of playing a sport will be a memory they keep forever.

It is very common for autistic children to have little interest in sports related activities, for example, basketball. When they are very young, they often start out with some interest, and will join a basketball team. After some time, the child may loose interest in venturing out on to the basketball court, or eventually may not want to attend practices or games at all.

This can be very frustrating to parents, especially fathers or grandfathers that have fond memories of playing basketball and the life-long friendships they made being part of a team.

It is still possible for many autistic children, especially aspergers type, to have an interest and play basketball. What is important is that you do not have expectations that your child is going to follow of the traditional rules and expectations that most children do when joining a basketball team and learning the game.

In fact, you may have to consider strictly recreational non-team style play. If your child is not able to follow and focus on the instructions, and is not responding well to the coach or other players, it may be time to consider going a different route. It is much more important that your child is happy and feels accepted, especially by the parents than you being happy that your child is part of a basketball team.

If you find that the team style basketball play is not working, consider having a regular play at home, or at a local park. Be sure to give your child some time away from the sport before doing this as it may not be received well.

When your child starts to show some interest, be sure to keep things free-form. Do not worry about all the rules, skills, techniques and such. It is important to simply have the child enjoy the time spent with you, which happens to also be time spent holding and hopefully throwing a basketball.

You might simply try passing the ball back and fourth. Possibly bouncing the ball off a wall. Make some fun games such as try to dribble the ball three times in a row – if you succeed, the parent has to jump around like a silly frog!

Later you can slowly add little modifications such as a tip on how to pass the ball, or where to aim when throwing the ball for a layup. Again, take it slowly, and always make it positive. If you add criticism, or lots of rules, it is very likely your autistic child will loose interest quickly, and in fact may resent the sport completely.

Source by John Smitty

Sensory Diet Ideas For Oral Sensory Seeking

The mouth has many sensory receptors: for taste, texture, temperature, wetness and dryness, movement (in the jaw and in the tongue, for instance), and so on. The information from these receptors is sent to the brain, which organizes and processes the information. When sensory processing is dysfunctional, it’s as if the traffic signals in the sensory processing center of the brain are completely mixed up. Children with sensory processing disorder (SPD) typically seek, or avoid, certain sensations around the lips, tongue, and mouth. A child with sensory issues may only tolerate bland foods, or she may enjoy sour and chewy candies or spicy Buffalo wings because she finds these foods stimulating. Sensory seeking that involves the unsanitary and even dangerous habits of licking and biting are socially unacceptable and must be addressed.

A pediatric occupational therapist (OT) or speech/language pathologist (SLP) with the proper training in oral/motor issues can help kids who have oral/motor sensory issues. In the meantime, there is much that parents and teachers can do to reduce unacceptable oral sensory seeking.

Offer chewy foods and/or sour foods. These give strong input to proprioception receptors around the mouth and can be helpful in preventing licking and biting. If the child’s system can handle the sugar and artificial colors or flavors, you can give him gum, licorice, gummy bears, or similar candies. You can also look for healthier versions of these items. Other chewy foods include dried fruit or sugarless gum. Sour foods that can satisfy oral needs include candies but also lemons, limes, and dill pickles. Always be careful introducing strongly flavored items so as not to upset the child with sensory issues, who can have very intense reactions to sensations that a neurotypical person would not react strongly to.

Offer chewable jewelry and other items. You don’t necessarily need to use a food substance to address the desire for chewing or biting, however. There are many chewable necklaces and bracelets available these days, as well as plastic tubes that you place atop pencils or pens so the child can chew that instead of the writing implement.

Address other sensory issues that are affecting your child. By all means, redirecting the child to lick, chew, or bite appropriate items to lick or bite is important, but note that these behaviors often get worse when the child is anxious or frustrated by other sensory challenges. Just as you might find it comforting to chew gum when you are nervous, you may not have a strong desire to do so when you are feeling calm and focused. A good sensory diet can prevent oral sensory seeking behaviors by reducing the child’s sensory discomfort overall. Lessening emotional stress on the child can have a similar effect.

Check whether your child is hungry or has a nutritional deficiency. Sometimes, oral/motor sensory seeking is related to being hungry or having a nutritional deficiency. If the sensory seeking persists, consider getting a nutritional consultation to assess whether the child is getting all his nutritional needs met or if supplementation is required. Giving the child a warm bath with a handful of Epsom salts a few days in a row, which causes the body to absorb some magnesium, seems to reduce oral sensory seeking behaviors in some children and is low-cost, safe, and easy to try.

The information contained here is provided as a public service. It is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be construed as personal medical advice. Although every effort is made to ensure that this material is accurate and up-to-date, it is provided for the convenience of the user and should not be considered definitive.

Source by Nancy Peske

What an Increase in Stimming May Indicate About Your Current Treatment For Autism

As parents work to find effective treatments for autism, many of the usual symptoms their children display will continue. In the majority of cases, this often includes some form of ‘stimming’. Stimming is an extremely common autism symptom that includes certain repeated behaviors or movements. These behaviors are self-stimulating and consist of repetitive behaviors that are performed to stimulate the senses. Examples of stimming include clapping, running in circles, humming, or manipulating objects (such as bending straws or ripping paper).

Though stimming behaviors may appear to be unnecessary or even unsuitable to some situations, they’re not done to draw attention or to disrupt. Instead, stimming behaviors are often used in order to decrease the stress levels of the child performing them. As autism causes children to react atypically to sensory stimuli, they often use stimming to help to deal with their sensory issues.

Rocking is another kind of stimming behavior that is common among autistic children. Many autistic children feel that rocking back and forth allows them to reestablish a sense of focus when they feel overly sensitive to the stimulus from their surroundings. It can also help with concentration and focus.

Though it is more obvious in autistic children, non-autistic children and adults also participate in forms of stimming. Consider the number of times you’ve seen someone drumming their fingers, tapping their pencil, fidgeting with paper, or bounced a knee when sitting down. Anxiety tends to worsens these behaviors. Though behaviors such as biting nails or whistling are often done involuntarily, they do help us to keep control over our emotions and calm us down in tense situations. As children with autism usually find stressors in more of the stimuli in their environment, they often ‘stim’ regularly throughout the day and especially when placed into a new environment.

If you find that your child’s level of stimming increases in line with the introduction of new of more frequent treatments there could be a number of reasons for this.

1. They are looking for reassurance as they learn something new

2. The situation is stressful for them so they are retreating to what is familiar – the stimulatory behavior

3. They don’t like the change to their routine that the new or increased frequency of treatment is introducing.

Of course these reasons aren’t the only ones. However, the key is to monitor behavior and see if the stimming levels out, increases further or decreases as the treatment program progresses.

It is also important to keep in mind that stimming behaviors can turn into obsessions. When identifying characteristics for treatment for autism, divide your child’s stimming into two groups: excitatory and calming.

Stimming that is calming is the kind that helps your autistic child to regain focus when feeling stress or anxiety. On the other hand excitatory stimming sends your child’s focus in a negative direction.

An example of excitatory stimming could be when an autistic child gets wound up and instead of smiling and giggling, he or she might start clapping, running, or yelling. This can be detrimental behavior as it encourages behaviors that can be inappropriate and are not conducive for effective learning.

Stimming may also be an attachment to specific objects. Though most small children will often have a favorite toy such as a doll or blanket, in the case of autistic children they may struggle give up their attachment to this object. It may be something that they like to smell, look at, hear, or touch.

Stimming can also take the form of organizing things. For example, an autistic child may self-stimulate by placing things in order, lining them up, or stacking things. This, like other stimming behaviors, can easily become an obsession.

Stimming habits can be very challenging to break as they are often relaxing and enjoyable and provide a coping mechanism for an autistic child. As a parent you will need to decide what stimming behavior is acceptable both in terms of the action itself and frequency. Bear in mind that trying to stop all stimming could be very stressful for your child. So concentrate on the behaviors that are excitory or inappropriate and leave the calming or harmless activities alone.

When considering a treatment for autism for your child, make sure that the doctor or specialist is aware of all of your child’s stimming behaviors so that they can be properly addressed. Keep in mind that stimming often differs from one form of autism to the next.

Source by Rachel Evans

How Autism Affects Communication in Children

When does communication begin?

Communication begins much before a child learns to talk. Babies, in the first months of their life, show interest to communicate by listening carefully to the sound of human voice, looking at people when they talk, and then engage in erratic babbling games with parents. Kids learn by seeing how elders communicate. The exchange of smiles and sounds between the children and their caregivers are the first conversations they notice. Even though a child may not utter a word, he/she can pick up what’s being said from the syllables.

Infants begin imitating the action and single words of parents. They then start using the first words on their own. Once they know a few single words, children start to string them together for making two-word sentences.

How autism affects communication?

Communication development happens more slowly and differently for children suffering from autism spectrum disorder. Sensory challenges connected to the disorder often make autistic children seem more interested in the environmental sounds. These include whirring of the ceiling fan or vacuum cleaner. They find these sounds more recognizable than that of people talking. In fact, autistic children often seem not to hear what people say.

While none exactly knows the reason, children with autism don’t naturally imitate parents like other children. And that’s why they require the best communication apps for children. They either don’t imitate all or imitate whole sentences (known as echoes) without understanding the meaning of the words. The first words are often delayed among children not using echoes. The words are sometimes unusual (like the letters of an alphabet), and are mostly delayed.

Mild or high functioning autism and communication

Children with Asperger’s syndrome often use long sentence to communicate. They may have an extensive vocabulary. But regarding social communication, much more is needed than words. Facial expressions, body language, eye gaze, tone of the voice, and other nonverbal cues, often tells us more about what common people feel and think about the words they use. Children, to become successful communicators, must know how to respond to these cues. Else, they need one of the best communication apps for children.

Most children start to pay attention to nonverbal cues during infancy, when they search the faces of their parents for acknowledgement, support, and indications about what’s going on in their minds. For instance, if they see their mother looking at a toy, they understand that she’s going to offer it to them. But a child having mild autism, Asperger’s syndrome, or social communication difficulties, may find it difficult to “tune in” to the thoughts of others. They also don’t develop the same way like other children.

Difficulty to empathize and see another person’s point of view, can make a bilateral conversation highly challenging for autistic children. They are often at a loss about what to say and how to react in a social situation. It’s usually difficult for them to make friends with neuro-typicals. Thankfully the best commutation apps for children can be of great help in developing the basic skills among autistic children.

Source by Kevin Carter