Asperger's Syndrome is a neurological, developmental disorder that is in the Autism spectrum. Until they receive an accurate diagnosis parents of children with Aspergers face many challenges due to symptoms exhibited. Individuals with Asperger's have trouble interpreting and processing non-verbal communication and social interacting is challenged. A parent may simply begin to sense that something is not quite right but be unable to pinpoint exactly what is wrong. Both child and parent can be frustrated, and the child may exhibit tantrums or explosive behavior. Outsiders may see a child's behavior problems and think "why doesn't that parent control their child". It is not as simple as giving a time out in order to control behavior. Asperger's Syndrome is a real and complex disorder.
I was first introduced to Aspergers by a friend. She sensed something was not quite right with one of her sons. Her son had fits and tantrums, had trouble relating to others his age, had amazing memory for certain things and sometimes exhibited out of place mannerisms. In spite of sometimes being told her son was just being a brat or she was not parenting well she knew something was wrong. She listened to her heart and not to those around her and sought help for her son. She found a doctor who understood. Once her son had a proper diagnosis he could then receive the therapy and help he needed.
The symptoms of Asperger's Syndrome vary and those symptoms vary in severity. The symptoms are a source of frustration for both parent and child. This frustration can increase intensity of symptoms or further increase anxiety and stress levels. A child with Asperger's may lack the inborn ability to pick up on or understand body language, voice inflection and other social cues we all take for granted. They may avoid eye contact and speak in monotone voice with little or inappropriate facial expressions. Hand flapping or other repetitive motion may be be observed in children with Asperger's during times of stress or anxiety. There may be a reduced tolerance to touch or there may be a heightened need for touch. Other symptoms include larger more advanced vocabulary than typical for their age group, poor or delayed motor skills and a need for routine. Deviation from routine can cause anxiety.
A child will be diagnosed with Aspergers' after a series of tests doctors and interviews with those most closely involved with the child. If your child is diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome the most important thing you can do is learn as much as you can about the disorder. Parent education is step one. Find a support group and have your child followed by qualified professionals.
Step two will most likely be to establish routines for your child. This will increase their comfort level and drastically decrease stress level. Using checklists and establishing routines for day to day activity is important. Set clear rules for your child.
For your child, additional treatment for Aspergers will depend upon the symptoms exhibited. Your child's doctor and therapists will determine the areas that need to be addressed. The social skills and cues we take for granted have to be taught. Teaching a child to read body language and facial expressions and to use them. Role playing of appropriate behaviors and social expression scan be very helpful. Medications may be necessary if your child exhibits debilitating anxiety, hyperactivity, or other issues as determined by a qualified medical professional.
Hand flapping occurs during times of stress or anxiety and should not be discouraged. Hand flapping is a coping method that helps your child.
Be sure your child gets the proper services from their school. Your child is entitled to an education and all the resources he or she needs. You are your child's advocate. If their motor skills are such that writing by hand is too difficult, than typing needs to be allowed. If your child periodically needs a sensory break or needs to release energy provisions should be made. Determine what your child needs and then ask for it. Be prepared to fight for it. Arm yourself with information and doctors affidavits to support your request.
Be sure you have a support system for yourself. Raising a child with special needs is a stress.