Three Kinds of Ableism

Before, we dive into the complex and much hidden concept of ableism, we all need to fist understand the very basics of ableism.I did share with you all the very basics of what ableism and what you all need to know based on my first video series of this which you can find here above me on the right hand corner of the screen or you can watch it here below.

But in brief ableism is defined as by Wikipedia as, “discrimination and social prejudice against
people with disabilities.” What does that really mean, though? Before we can get into that,
we must first understand that there are 3 main types of Ableism, each regarding a different
type of affected ability and each discriminated against differently.

Physical Ableism

The first and most likely best known form of Ableism is that induced by a physical inability.
For example, an individual who is missing an arm will have to put more work into achieving a task such as cooking food then someone is fully bodied.You may be thinking, “How is this discrimination? I wouldn’t want a one-handed doctor operating on me?” It is important to be aware that physical discrimination can be much less obvious.

For example, a study published in the Journal of Applied Psychology (Vol. 89, No. 3) found that each inch above average height for males may be worth $789 more per year when it came to pay.

Still don’t think there is more to physical discrimination then just the disability? Let’s take a look at another study. This one is from the Honors College,Pace University. The study found that a higher beauty rating can be equated with a greater yearly income. In fact they found on average a person considered average made $13,349 less than a person considered attractive. Thus, it may be easy to see why missing an arm goes beyond disability.

The body is a highly politicized entity where power is assigned and negotiated. One body feature can quickly lead to a cascade of identities and discrimination. What would you think of Disney princess if they had physical disabilities like missing a leg or an arm?

Don’t judge a book by its cover. You’ll be amazed to know the person behind the disability!

Mental Ableism

A mental disability might be a less known cause of disability as it may not always be displayed on our bodies. However, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness approximately 1 in 5 adults in the U.S. or 43.8 million. So…chances are you may know someone who lives with a mental disability. Unlike physical Ableism, mental Ableism has a more direct link to discrimination. The negative stigma that comes with those who display mental disabilities such as Down Syndrome is well known but what about those who show no signs of mental disabilities and whose disability does not leave a mark on the body?

Mental disabilities, especially those that do not present on the victim’s body are a relatively modern discovery and are still being investigated by science. We know very little about disorders such as autism, dyslexia, and ADHD so linking them to specific cases of discrimination can be challenging.
Learning disabilities can be a challenge to identify and diagnose according to Gail Grodzinsky, Ph.D as most disabilities are highly individually based and complex. This means many people around the world may not physically display a mental disorder or even be aware they have one. What if your lack of focus is not because you are unmotivated or undisciplined, but rather because specific wiring and chemical pathways in your brain are malfunctioning?

A good example is ADHD. To quickly summarize, the disorder occurs when your brain’s reward pathway does not get stimulated enough, as a result you are not rewarded for focus and thus have a hard time paying attention. ADHD does present itself on the body (in the case of most adults)
and you most likely pass many people with the disorder every day without knowing it. So how can someone with a disorder like ADHD face discrimination if no one knows of the disorder? This is when we must address the concept of institutional discrimination. This concept is complex but it can be summarized as a built in social system, either intentional or not, which produces and maintains injustice. It is hard to spot at first but those living with ADHD struggle to navigate our social system. For example, a study by the Upstate Medical School claimed that scientific literature demonstrated well-documented driving risks and impairments associated with ADHD.

Mental disorders can come with multiple abilities that are beneficial and empowering. Some of these abilities are discussed elsewhere on this site.

Cultural Ableism

This type of ableism is the hardest to identify, but it is also one of the most influential on a global scale.
Before we even define cultural ableism, let’s acknowledge a few points first. Firstly, we know that there exists multiple diverse cultures, not just between countries but also cities, communities, neighborhoods, and families. Further, we can also acknowledge that there are certain ways to act in
certain situations. For example, the best time for stand-up comedy may not be during a very serious business meeting or funeral. With these two points in mind we can define cultural ableism as discrimination that occurs due to a ‘cultural disability’. Let us try to make more sense of this concept with a hypothetical example about Jonny Smith:

Jonny is a white lower class male. He was raised in a rural area of the U.S. and has no college education. He has grown up associating most closely with low culture. He enjoys working on his truck and having a BBQ with his neighbors. He also frequently watches NFL and is an avid Broncos fan. Jonny has worked a factory job for a few years now and has excelled at all tasks. As a result, Joe’s boss offers him a group interview to become part of management. The interview is ‘informal’ and begins with a game of golf followed by an expensive steak dinner. Along with Jonny a few other college educated candidates were invited from corporate. Jonny’s boss is one of the interviewers but so are other managers form all around the country. Unfortunately for Jonny, he has never played golf before and quickly became
the laughing stock for the other candidates. His confidence was shattered, and it seemed like the other interviewers saw him as incompetent. Dinner soon came and the interviewers could not help themselves but stare as Jonny smothered his steak with Tabasco and ate it with nothing but a fork. Even with a good word from his boss and a near perfect performance record Jonny did not stand a chance at the job.

Even though Jonny was most likely the best qualified he lacked the cultural knowledge to fit into the management in-group. Jonny did not have access to the in-groups high culture and thus was disabled during the interview process as he lacked the needed cultural capital. As you can imagine this hypothetical story gets worse as the cultural divide increases. If we replaced Jonny with an immigrant from South Africa many more factors then just high and low culture take play and the story might have ended before dinner.

Being aware of social situations and acting appropriately in them is something we do every day but we have all had that moment when a situation becomes ‘awkward’. This happens to most people but some on a much different and debilitating degree. Cultural ableism is different from mental ableism as it does not come with a known underlying biological condition. However mental and cultural ableisms can be highly interconnected. The reasons behind cultural ableism are diverse and can stem from
concepts such as cultural imperialism, whiteness, and social constructs.

This might make more sense if we look at culture as a resource. With money, you either have enough to but a candy bar or you do not, culture is much the same. If you want to belong to a social group, let’s say a hunting community, you either have enough culture to ‘fit in’ or you do not. An immigrant family who recently moved from Iran to Arizona may have a more difficult time fitting in and avoiding those awkward moments then a family who moved to Arizona from Utah. This is because the
Iranian family most likely lacks the cultural capital required to function effectively within their new community and thus can be considered culturally disabled. However, this idea works both ways. If a white family were to move from Arizona to Iran they may experience the type of disability because they lack the required cultural capital.

So, as you can see that there are many different kinds and or types of ableism and that I believe again that this need to be addressed on this matter at hand to create more understanding and awareness of this and if it means me to start this conversation/writing about this my hope is that others will follow.

All About Ableism- WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW!

What is it?

Like racism and sexism, ableism is a form of discrimination against people. Unlike racism and sexism, ableism is sometimes invisible, as it has less to do with hating the disabled, more to the assumptions that are made against people with disabilities of the normal ability status.

Wikipedia defines ableism as Ableism is discrimination and social prejudice against people with disabilities or who are perceived to have disabilities. Ableism characterizes persons as defined by their disabilities and as inferior to the non-disabled. On this basis, people are assigned or denied certain perceived abilities, skills, or character orientations. There are stereotypes, generally inaccurate, associated with either disability in general, or with specific disabilities. These stereotypes in turn serve as a justification for ableist practices and reinforce discriminatory attitudes and behaviors toward people who are disabled. Labeling affects people when it limits their options for action or changes their identity.


In ableist societies, people with disabilities are viewed as less valuable, or even less than human.
The eugenics movement of the early 20th century would be considered an example of widespread ableism. Racism, sexism and many other forms of discrimination are in the news fairly often when you watch on TV or hear it on the radio. As a developing society more than ever today, people tend to look at forms of discrimination as problems. However, this is particularly true if the discrimination is institutionalised through the governments. This is a sociological term when a concept or idea becomes intertwined with the government, society or other institution.
This form of discrimination I am talking about today isn’t discussed in the media as much. Ableism can take up the form of institutionalised discrimination or personal prejudice and can hinder the lives of disabled people. One classic example is some government buildings that
are inaccessible for people with mobility problems represents institutionalised ableism.
Ableism is also the practices and dominant attitudes in society that devalue and limit the potential of persons with disabilities. A set of practices and beliefs that assign inferior value (worth) to people who have developmental, emotional, physical or psychiatric disabilities.

Disablism – A set of assumptions (conscious or unconscious) and practices that promote the differential
or unequal treatment of people because of actual or presumed disabilities.

People who do not have a disability or who are not close to someone who does, might not understand how the world is wired for non-disabled people. It may be invisible to those who do not have disabilities. It is sometimes not intentional, but in certain circumstances, it is very intentional.

An ableist society is said to be one that treats non-disabled individuals as the standard of ‘normal living’,
which results in public and private places and services, education, and social work that are built to serve ‘standard’ people, thereby inherently excluding those with various disabilities.

Persons with disabilities face many kinds of barriers on a daily basis. These can be physical,
attitudinal or systemic.

ABLEISM – A COMPLEX ISSUE

So, you maybe wondering if ableism seems pretty straightforward, right? Wrong! Well not exactly as this is pretty complex. The word we are looking for here is, ‘Ableist’. This is because it is a way of looking at the world as if everybody had more or less functional bodies and minds. These able-bodied individuals becomes the norm. When someone who isn’t able to engage in certain activities comes along (someone that is disabled, that is) he or she can feel as if the world has left them out and that this can lead to the word ‘Exclusion” Notice that these are the set of assumption of what is considered to be ‘normal’, rather an outright hatred of the group of people like racial or ethnic discrimination. Instead, ableism generally exists as a form of negligence. People without disabilities don’t typically
have to think things like the disabled do, and that are then therefore being neglected of their needs and accommodations.

You maybe questioning yourself right now what form does ableism take? Well, first of all let me clarify to you the difference between non-institutionalised and institutionalised behaviours. Let’s first look at the non-institutionalised behaviour. An example would be say that a person’s home isn’t accessible to wheelchairs, this will however technically be ableist.
However, if a family doesn’t count a person who’s bound to a wheelchair among them,it’s unlikely that this is the lack of access is a problem under these circumstances.

Now, let’s look at it from an institutionalized behavior. What if the building was a public building or business in these cases, people with wheelchairs won’t be able to access these facilities and not including any ramps or similar options for the disabled individuals to access these buildings, owners of these buildings are discriminating against them. If the building in question is a public courthouse or clerk office, this form of discrimination is doubly problematic, as excluded individuals are being denied the same rights to access the building as everyone else.

Romantic Relationships Experiences of an Autistic Women

Hi all,

I know that this has been a long time since I last wrote in my blog. I had to come away from it for a while to regather my thoughts and also to know what I was hoping to accomplish for my channel as well as this blog site that I hold close to my heart. I want to try and be true to you all either via through my writing as well as through my channel when you see me in the flesh or not as a human too.
I was doing a collab with Eneida Capaldi who’s from the UK and she’s a mom to an autistic son and she came to me by finding me on Instagram and was sharing with me that she wanted me to participate in a collab for her thesis based on her paper that is stated above in this title of my blog entry.

Before I begin, I did some videos based on this topic about Dating and Relationships for Autistics which you can find by clicking on the link to the playlist here:

(Reference: Autism/Aspergers Syndrome & Dating & Relationships – Help Central)

We came to an agreement and understanding about how for many of us autistics especially females, we are invisible and majority of what is shared is based on a male perspective or experience of whatever that given topic is. It’s also known that with Autism/Aspergers Syndrome it was known to be a male diagnosis. In most cases, people receive an autism diagnosis in childhood, usually after the age of 4 years or even as young as 2 years old and this is usually for males. Research shows that Autism Spectrum Disorder is more prevalent in males than females by a ratio of three to one. But there is increasing evidence that this gender difference may be slimmer than we think, and that autism symptoms in women and girls are frequently overlooked and misdiagnosed. 

However, some adults live with undiagnosed Autism Spectrum Disorder. Even people with more severe symptoms may not have received the correct diagnosis.There are some similarities between Autism Spectrum Disorder and certain other disorders, including attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.A survey conducted in the United Kingdom by The National Autistic Society found that compared to males, women and girls are more likely to be misdiagnosed, with 42 percent of females diagnosed with a mental disorder other than autism when being assessed, as opposed to 30 percent of males. 

There is no clear explanation as to why women with autism are often misdiagnosed. Child psychiatrist Meng-Chuan Lai, a clinician-scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, says that while there is a range of different reasons why women receive a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder later in life, one possibility is that autism characteristics aren’t so evident in females: “Girls and women may be more able to master ‘Camouflaging,’ so ‘Typical’ autistic characteristics could be masked when they learn social skills.” 

Lai describes this as the ability to learn neurotypical social behaviors such as eye contact, gestures, holding conversations, and the utilization of social scripts. These neurotypical behaviors represent those who are not on the autism spectrum, in contrast to the neurodiverse behaviors which refer to differently wired brains and cognitive styles attributed to those on the autism spectrum. 

In the foreword for Safety Skills for Asperger Women by Liane Holliday Willey, Tony Atwood describes this “Camouflaging” phenomenon, reporting that young girls mask the symptoms of autism by socializing and interacting with their peers, causing a delay in diagnosis.  

Lai notes that another possible reason for the misdiagnosis is that women and girls tend to have restricted and repetitive behaviors that are less likely to be recognized:

The issue is that some of these narrow interests of autism in males, if you only look at the content, are more traditionally male-typical such as trains, dinosaurs, trucks, and they are most easily recognized by clinicians because of our own stereotypes of autism. For girls, their restricted and repetitive behaviours might not be captured by standardized instruments as they are deemed as less noticeable.”

Recent research has touched on the idea of bias in the way autism is diagnosed. One study showed that girls are more likely to be diagnosed if they had additional intellectual disabilities or behavioral issues. However, without these, many women are receiving incorrect diagnoses or none at all. Hannah agrees: “Sometimes you might feel like you don’t fit in anywhere, everything everyone thinks about autism is male-biased. However, as slow and painful as the journey is, there is always a light at the end of the tunnel. It takes us a little bit longer to get to it, but it is worth the journey.”

In a study looking at sex differences between children with autism, researchers recommend new strategies for improving autism recognition in females. In fact, Australia is the first country to form new national guidelines to help increase early diagnosis of women with autism. Considerations of social camouflaging, anxiety, sensory overload, and depression are being included in these new guidelines.  

If these guidelines are implemented, it will be possible to decrease the number of misdiagnoses in women and girls who have autism, leading to less frustration for these women and more time to learn how to manage their diagnosis.

I talked about some of the Reference: Characteristic Traits in Females with Aspergers Syndrome which you can click here to find out more:

Receiving an Autism Spectrum diagnosis later in life can be helpful for many reasons, but particularly because it can provide people with better access to services and support.

I shared briefly about diagnosis in females that has autism on my channel which you can check the link here to view more about this: Reference: Female Aspies Young and Old on the Spectrum

Eneida Capaldi answered me the following questions to her thesis paper and they were as follows along with some of my answers in response to it which you can read and also listen to soon on my channel.


***
Reference: To find out more on this collab, you can find me answering more to the questions of what she asked me during the collab on my channel here is the link to it:

QUESTIONS

  1. How do you describe/define a romantic relationship? What does it involve?
    My definition of a romantic relationship is especially for autistic females coming from myself as an Autistic female adult would involve like similar workings as for Neurotypicals that they would have an emotional and spiritual connection between them (Male and Female) or whatever their gender type is. Platonic love from my understanding starts out as being friends and then it grows more into another level of the relationship. Most friendships begin as either personal or professional. In the latter type of relationship, the connection is intellectual and revolves around a common work interest. Loving others means understanding them in a special way, and as author Judith Blackstone (2002) says, “The ability to love goes beyond having an emotional response to or understanding another person. It requires a capacity for contact, and this contact does not necessarily have to be physical. It can include how you speak to them, the emotions you display to them, and the awareness you have about them. It’s about being in tune with another person.”
  2. How is it different to other types of relationships?

As we are aware that there are many different types and stages in a personal relationship that we go through in our everyday life. They may vary from person to person yte it works the same as you continue to grow a relationship of any kind. Yet, these are just a few based from Terry Hatkoff, a California State University sociologist, has created a love scale that identifies six distinct types of love found in our closest relationships. 

  • Romantic: Based on passion and sexual attraction 
  • Best Friends: Fondness and deep affection 
  • Logical: Practical feelings based on shared values, financial goals, religion etc.  
  • Playful: Feelings evoked by flirtation or feeling challenged
  • Possessive: Jealousy and obsession 
  • Unselfish: Nurturing, kindness, and sacrifice

Researchers have found that the love we feel in our most committed relationships is typically a combination of two or three different forms of love. But often, two people in the same relationship can have very different versions of how they define love. 

3. What should healthy romantic relationships be like from your perceptive?

A healthy romantic relationship always starts the very beginning of any relationship and that is built on friendship, trust and honesty. Along with that you will have commitment and communication, being able to accept one another’s differences in their ways of who they are and what they are as well as accepting the faults, flaws and imperfections. Being willing to stand by them through the good and the bad times.

Characteristics of a healthy relationship:

While in a healthy relationship you:

  • Take care of yourself and have good self-esteem independent of your relationship.
  • Maintain and respect each other’s individuality
  • Maintain relationships with friends and family
  • Have activities apart from one another
  • Are able to express yourselves to one another without fear of consequences
  • Are able to feel secure and comfortable
  • Allow and encourage other relationships
  • Take interest in one another’s activities
  • Do not worry about violence in the relationship
  • Trust each other and be honest with each other
  • Have the option of privacy
  • Have respect for sexual boundaries
  • Are honest about sexual activity if it is a sexual relationship
  • Accept influence. Relationships are give and take; allowing your partner to influence you is important; this can be especially difficult for some men.
  • Resolve conflict fairly: Fighting is part of even healthy relationships, the difference is how the conflict is handled. Fighting fairly is an important skill you help you have healthier relationships.
    (Reference: Conflict Management/8 Steps to prevent anger with someone who has Aspergers – Link to video:


4. What is an unhealthy romantic relationship from your perspective? What are the signs of an unhealthy relationship?

At times all relationships will have some of the characteristics listed below. However, unhealthy relationships will exhibit these characteristics more frequently and cause you stress and pressure that is hard to avoid. This tension is unhealthy for both members of the relationship and may lead to problems in other areas of your life.

While in an unhealthy relationship you:

  • Put one person before the other by neglecting yourself or your partner
  • Feel pressure to change who you are for the other person
  • Feel worried when you disagree with the other person
  • Feel pressure to quit activities you usually/used to enjoy
  • Pressure the other person into agreeing with you or changing to suit you better
  • Notice one of you has to justify your actions (e.g., where you go, who you see)
  • Notice one partner feels obligated to have sex or has been forced
  • Have a lack of privacy, and may be forced to share everything with the other person
  • You or your partner refuse to use safer sex methods
  • Notice arguments are not settled fairly
  • Experience yelling or physical violence during an argument
  • Attempt to control or manipulate each other
  • Notice your partner attempts to controls how you dress and criticizes your behaviours
  • Do not make time to spend with one another
  • Have no common friends, or have a lack of respect for each other’s friends and family
  • Notice an unequal control of resources (e.g., food, money, home, car, etc.)
  • Experience a lack of fairness and equality

If some of your relationships have some of these characteristics it does not necessarily mean the end of that relationship. By recognizing how these characteristics affect you, you can begin to work on improving the negative aspect of your relationships to benefit both of you.

  • What diagnosis do you identify with it? Can you tell me a bit about how you realised?

I shared about my diagnosis with Aspergers Syndrome on my channel which you can find me on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWKw1HpNsu_EyAhhEJrayyw?view_as=subscriber

AS Denied AS Diagnosis – My Story

Life of an Aspie/Part 6.1 My Life Story with Aspergers Syndrome

To be short and brief about how it all came about for me in the way of my diagnosis. When I was younger about sometime before I hit my early pre-teens that my parents found that something about me was different. I used to struggle in school and also when I was in kindergarten. I used to go through speech therapy when I was in primary years to play catch up as well as also during my primary or intermediate years of schooling my parents decided to take me to also see a person that specialises with children with Special Needs especially with specific learning disabilities which is known as SPELLD NZ. When I was in my intermediate years of schooling while I was being tested that I was diagnosed or misdiagnosed as having ADD/ADHD and then in my early teenage years or about to be diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome to confirm this at the time when I was 16 years of age.

Most of my topics I have shared so far on my channel is now also in a book that was written in 2016. Here is a playlist of my Animation/Audiobook of “Life of An Aspie”. This is also available online where you can find it here: https://www.amazon.com/Life-Aspie-Everyday-Aspergers-Syndrome-ebook/dp/B01D6NM4HO

  • Please describe the romantic relationships that you are or have experienced.
  1. How did the relationship begin?
  2. How would you describe the relationship?
  3. If ended: could you tell me about the ending of the relationship
  4. If still together: could you tell me about what’s helped you to stay together?
  5. What works/worked well?
  6. What are/were the challenges?
  7. How have your romantic relationship experiences affected/changed you?
  •   Autism and romantic relationships (based on your own experiences)
  1. How does being an autistic effects (if it does affect) your romantic relationships?
  2. Has it positively affected your experiences of romantic relationships in any way and why?
  3. Has it negatively affected your experiences of romantic relationships in any way and why?
  • What context or situations have influenced or affected your experiences of romantic relationships?
  1. Have sensory differences (if any) been significant?
  2. Have social skills differences (if any) been significant?
  3. Has verbal and non-verbal communication (if any) been significant?
  4. Were/are there any barriers/difficulties in the romantic relationship?
  5. What would help you to achieve the romantic relationship that you want?
  • You and your partner
  1. How do you think your romantic partner(s) see you?
  2. How do you see your partner?
  3. What qualities would you look for in a partner? Has this changed and why?
  4. What kind of romantic relationships would you like to have? Has this changed and why?
  5. What are your hopes or expectations for the future, in terms of romantic relationships?Is there anything else that you want to share or explore further in terms of romantic relationships?

Organisations and books might be a source of further support and/or information:

Organisations providing information about autism and Asperger’s Syndrome:

·         The National Autistic Society:  www.autism.org.uk

·         Ambitious about autism:  www.ambitiousaboutautism.org.uk

Websites and articles:

·         http://www.asd-forum.org.uk/

·         https://www.asperclick.com/

·         http://wrongplanet.net/

·         Asperger’s Syndrome and their neuro-typical loved ones’ based in Richmond, UK:  http://thegirlwiththecurlyhair.co.uk

Organisations providing support for domestic violence and abuse:

·         http://www.refuge.org.uk

·         http://www.womensaid.org.uk

Books written by/for women on the spectrum:

·         Asperger’s Syndrome, A Love Story. By Sarah Hendrickx

·         Women and Girls with Autism Spectrum Disorder. By Sarah Hendrickx

·         Love, Sex and Long-Term Relationships: What people with Asperger’s Syndrome really want. By Sarah Hendrickx

·         Asperger’s in Love. By Maxine Aston

·         Ultraviolet Voices: Stories of women on the Autism Spectrum. Edited by Elizabeth Hurley

·         The girl with the Curly hair. By Alis Rowe

·         22 Things a Woman with Asperger’s Syndrome Wants Her Partner to Know. By Rudy Simone

·         Aspergirls: empowering females with Asperger Syndrome. By Rudy Simone
·         Autism in Heels: The Untold Story of a Female Life on the Spectrum. By Jennifer Cook O’Toole 
·         The Asperkids’ (Secret) Book of Social Rules: The Handbook of Not-So-Obvious Guidelines for Teens and Tweens. By Jennifer Cook O’Toole  

Books written by or for professionals or parents:

·         The Complete Guide to Asperger’s Syndrome. By Tony Attwood

·         Asperger’s and Girls. By Tony Attwood and Temple Grandin.

·         Girls Growing up on the Spectrum: What parents and professionals should know about the pre-teen and teenage years. By Shana Nichols, Gina Marie Moravcik and Samara Pulver Tetenbaum.



Dear Ableism

As you can see this is a letter that I am writing to you in the HOPE that putting these everyday and constant thoughts onto paper I have on a daily may or might change between you and I. A change that may open up our eyes wider to see the bigger picture and/or problems that we all face today. We know that there are a lot of issues and problems that we all face today. The question is who is it to blame for all these issues and problems that we encounter everyday and that we face everyday of what has happened in the past and present?

Just to let you know before I continue writing this letter and share this to the world. I’m speaking only for me, as an Aspie, but I believe that there are others like me that has something to say as well. They may like to write to you as well or even share with you their feelings and thoughts about you and state their case and or claims too and hopefully they’ll be listened to closely as well.

I believe wholeheartedly that I may have carried you around for a very long time without knowing or realising that you were there and existed in my life. To be honest, I thought I got rid of you before you wrecked havoc in my life for a period of time in my life where no one will know me or my existence.

Only to find a great number of the rest of the world still wielded you like a social axe with sharp oppression edges and it’s like dying the death of a million paper cuts that we cut ourselves everyday.

I was at least young to wake up and realise when I very first noticed you, but you were there from birth. You morphed into a massive weight around my neck as I aged. I wore you like a restrictive, chafing Elizabethan neck collar as well as a chafing Elizabethan corset. I thought you were necessary in my eyes because the world around me did.  No one told me to rip you off and be proud until my 30’s in which I am now in my 30s.

Sometimes I find myself still picking you back up and wearing you again. Just like an old worn work shirt. Like the one you might choose to wear when doing a dirty, unlikeable task in our everyday life.

So in the interests of trying to dispatch you into the void of the past, I’d like to ask you to stop doing some things.

Sometimes you are like an invisible radio, you broadcast these things through other people, but the signal is sometimes just accepted.  It’s time to change the channel, change the signal.

Sometimes you broadcast your poisonous frequency from abled people and sometimes  from other disabled people – so however you broadcast them, the list is the same.

Impairment judgement. You don’t and won’t  get to judge:

  • How Autistic I am.  Those with genuine expertise or lived experience don’t use high and low functioning anymore.  With “high” and “low” you set me up to fail or have certain expectations of me so low I cannot achieve – either way you then use inappropriate measures of me to incorrectly prove your prejudice.  Ask questions if you must (or maybe just read this list and apply it!), it’s better than rank some assumption. 
  • How I speak or even if I speak at all. You also don’t get to interpret my innate directness as rude.  I can be hyperverbal, a chatterbox and I can want to not talk to anyone.  It’s not your call to make, whether this is necessary or not.  I can communicate with you whether verbal or not, but it might not be in way you expect or how you expect it.  Give my communication the same respect as any form of communication and take time to appreciate it.  Speech is not the only form of communication and Autistic communication is different (not deficit). 
  • How I think or process information. There isn’t one way to think.  I may seem to go around things in a different way, but what I produce, what I do, and what I say (or not say) are valid.  Thinking is not measured against the neurotypical only.
  • How my senses operate and how I take care of my environment.  You don’t get to decide if it’s too bright, too loud or too many people in a space for me. Or whether I should force eye contact or not (I’m doing my best to look at your glasses or eyebrows usually, then looking away regularly).  I get to decide how I manage that, and I do know what hurts me.  I can not change my sensory parameters to suit yours, I am not a machine with dials and switches anymore than you are.  I cannot step out of my senses.  
  • How social I am or am not.  To you it’s anti-social, to me it’s self-care.  My need for solitude, peace and privacy is not your business.  I also am not in need of a dinner companion because you have decided it’s lonely.  I will seek the company of other people when I want and if I can.  My social boundaries are different, not wrong.
  • What I call myself. You can say “person with autism”, but to me autism isn’t something separate from me and it is not something to be ashamed of.  For me, I am autistic or autistic person.  Or as I classically call myself everyday an Aspie.
  • How I do a task. I know what I can do, so don’t exclude me from a task because it is too “stressful” “challenging” for me based on your limited judgement of me or without checking with or in with me first.  This happens to autistic people even when we are skilled and qualified and have a proven track record.  I also deserve to try something now and modify a task to fit my known workarounds and ways I use aids and accommodations to suite my needs.  I also deserve the right to abandon a task if it does get too much for me.  I will seek support if and when I need it. Don’t make these decisions for me.  

Assistance Policing.  This is my final ask.  You don’t get to decide:

  • How I do or don’t use aids or accommodations. Using communication techniques or social scripts that I have learned from the neurotypical world are my choice to use as I see fit.  They are no different to any other disability aid.  I won’t use them all the time.  But when I need to feel safe it is my right to use them like a semi-ambulant persons uses a stick at times and then sometimes not.  Give me that right to decide for myself.
  • Whether I’m masking.  I’ve had people counsel me about the dangers of masking or think I am being untrue to my nature when I use communication aids and tools.  I know “masking” can hurt me by ruining my health especially my mental health and I know my “rudeness or directness or realness” is perfectly okay for me as I accept who I am with all my faults, flaws and imperfections.  I also know that after years of abuse from neurotypical people I tend to start slowly and may mask for self-preservation.  I’ve made the decision to mask from time to time to feel safe and that is my darn given right.  Sometimes I will choose to mask because I know logically (if not emotionally) that I may offend (on a given topic).  I ask neurotypical people to take time to get to know my communication styles as well and sometimes I need to do that for them too.  I pick my own battles (sometimes poorly!) and that’s my right also. I pick my own battles to know which one to keep fighting and any to let go or give up if need be! Make no mistake, I will not always mask. One form of oppression doesn’t need to be matched with another.

So, Dear Ableism, to be completely autistic, or even as said to be complete Aspie, I’ve had enough of you.  This is my last communication to you and I wish you well and hope that you shall and will not return anymore in my life.

Do not reply.  Go hastily into the night or day and do not forever return.

Aspie.

How Teachers And Parents Can Motivate Children On The Autism Spectrum

What I am about share is that with this article blog that this can work with other children with special needs also not just for Autistics. Bear in mind that I usually speak mainly about Autism and Mental Health.

The best approach to solving this problem is to figure out what is causing it in the first place.
A good place to start is with this assumption: if a child won’t do something, there’s a reason.
If they won’t, it’s because they can’t — but figuring out “why not” takes some detective work for parents and teachers that are teaching children on and off the spectrum or with special needs.

Could it be something in their learning environment that is affecting their behavior?
As I shared in one of my videos that with many of us autistics, we tend struggle with a few sensory outputs and inputs that are going on. For example, if we were in a classroom with a huge amount of students in class – that it could be the lighting or heating in the room -either too hot or cold or it could be due to the lighting in the room is too strong and bright.

As you start, please ask yourself if your expectations are meeting your child at their developmental age.
While the lack of motivation issue has nothing to do with intelligence: the social-emotional age of our bright, verbal autistic children can fall well behind their biological age by about one-third. There’s not enough research to give exact stats, but this lag is a common experience among individuals and is widely reported by parents. They may also just move much slower as they cycle through their tasks — this rule of thumb is that they may do half the work in twice the time. It may look as if they aren’t motivated to do a task, but it is critical to understand what slower processing speed means before jumping to conclusions about intent. Just as a key note or reminder here that not all Autistics are the same when you meet one, that doesn’t mean that they’ll show similar traits or characteristics.

With that in the back of your mind, let’s take a look at some of the factors that may contribute to what looks like lack of motivation. If you can address the underlying issues, you may be able to help your child to peel himself or herself away from Fortnite, put down the graphic novels,
or stop watching unboxing videos and focus on important chores, responsibilities and opportunities as well. Autism is just another way of being human, so the reasons can vary widely, but here are some common autism-related issues that can impact motivation.

Our children are wired differently as I can’t stress this enough!

Brain-based skills called executive functions allow us to achieve any goal-oriented tasks, and autistic children — regardless of how bright they or verbal they are — often have problems with executive functions. You can watch this video called An Autistic Perspective of Autism & Executive Function along with EF Hacks [2019] here to understand more of how I would work as an Autistic myself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pgka-QWdQf8&t=174s

This can affect their ability to:

• Start anything

• Plan, sequence steps, and manage time

• Be flexible in our thinking

• Transition from one task or step to the next

• Remember what they were just asked to do

• Manage our emotions or control our responses

• Organize anything — desks, backpacks, notebooks, rooms, wallet.

• Maintain focus and attention

The majority of people with ASD(Autism Spectrum Disorder) do have significant executive functioning challenges, and one of the most common issues is difficulty initiating tasks that are given. This means even when your son or daughter knows how to do their work, they may not know how to start. Thus, when autistic children refuse to do a seemingly reasonable task, consider that they might be communicating, “I don’t know how to start this.” If we understand this, we can find some strategies that may help the child get started and get through what we are asking them to do.

Just as importantly, maybe we can get teachers to stop editorializing the behavior (lazy, difficult, weird, zoned out, inattentive, won’t focus, rude, oppositional). Perhaps we can also get them to stop suggesting solutions or posing questions that are both offensive and outside of their areas of expertise
(“You should be more consistent at home. Can you take him to the doctor to get medication for attention? What’s going on in your home?”)

Fortunately, challenges in executive functioning can be addressed in your child’s Individual Education Plan. Once you know what you’re dealing with, the school can help you identify strategies that may help your child to find ways to be successful. The book called Smart But Scattered is a fantastic read, I suggest for you to read this to help better understand your child.

Children and teens with autism often seem to have performance anxiety. Since autism is a pervasive developmental disorder, they may develop skills differently than a typical person in every area of functioning across a lifespan. Our child’s communication skills, social skills, life skills, as well as how they experience the physical world, may not develop or be learned in the same way as your typical child acquires the knowledge — or at the same pace.

The way a person with ASD learns things isn’t “wrong,” but it is outside of what we commonly see. There’s not a lot of patience for “different” in our society. We “talk the talk” but don’t uniformly “walk the walk.”

What does this mean for your child? Often, it means that he is corrected in every area of functioning, in every setting, by everyone, from the time he is old enough to understand language. Over time, our children can shut down and stop trying. Why bother trying to make friends when you get embarrassed, humiliated and scolded each time? Why bother trying a new life skill or homework problem or sport? Same outcome — the reprimand and the shame.

It happens at school a lot. Our children are expected to learn the same curriculum as their typical peers and do the same volume of work. Our visual learners are expected to learn by lecture; our auditory learners who cannot hear and write at the same time are expected to take notes; our kinesthetic, hands-on learners are expected to make sense of text and words instead of experiencing something for themselves.

When they try to do the work, it is done incorrectly, too slowly, they missed the point of the question or it’s illegible. Over time, our children learn not to trust their instinct and ability. They don’t want to try, because if they do, it’ll just be another opportunity for an adult to tell them they’re wrong or that they need to do something over again. They may develop chronic performance anxiety. Who would want to try if they knew they’d experience that same loss of dignity every time? Not me. Not you. Not them.

Performance anxiety is just one kind of anxiety that can impact our children and affect motivation. Children who are teased or bullied may have a difficult time feeling motivated enough to even get out of bed, let alone study or get through a major project. In fact, children with ASD who are bullied can show symptoms of anxiety that resemble post-traumatic stress disorder: they keep reliving the incident(s) and it plays over and over in their mind, even years later. They cannot seem to shut off the
memory of these social injuries. Anxiety is a major concern for our children that cannot be overstated. It impacts not only motivation, sleep and learning, but a child’s ability to experience happiness, joy and well-being.

The more engaged they are, the more likely they will be to do or to try what is expected of them. Children with AS often have narrow interests, but they can become quite the experts in those areas. It can be frustrating for parents to try and expand those areas. Often, our children want to do nothing but eat, sleep and game, or eat, sleep and talk about horses.

Experts in the field of AS know these intense interests and the challenges in getting our children to participate in anything else is part of the package; it can go hand in hand with being an autistic learner.

Think of the level of engagement as a light switch. When a child with autism is interested in something, their energy levels, body language, posture, voice and facial expression are all turned to the ON position. They are really interested in what they are sharing with you, or what you are sharing with them. Their “light” can stay on all day and they’ll be a happy camper! But if presented with a topic of no interest, that has not been made relevant or seems like an overwhelming task, watch the light switch: the voice, the posture, the attention, the energy— pffffft….zaaappppp. OFF.

In order to improve motivation, we need to make the work meaningful to the child. We have to connect it to a future goal or to an area of special interest.

Sensory processing and motor challenges can be a significant factor in motivation (or lack thereof). We know that up to 90 percent of those with autism have sensory and motor issues that are the cause of, or contribute to, emotional or behavioral responses. We have to know how our children are experiencing their physical and sensory world before we try to figure out why we can’t get them to do anything except their special interest.

Since fine motor challenges can make all life skills and homework onerous, tiring and even painful, and sensory overload can leave children in a state of heightened anxiety, it is critical to know how your children are impacted as you figure out the best way to teach and support them. Executive dysfunction, engagement, anxiety and sensory and motor issues are just some of the factors that can contribute to lack of motivation. These barriers to motivation can seem daunting, but once you put on your autism goggles and view them through those lenses, the path becomes clearer. Here are some suggestions.

• Start with a couple of assessments if you don’t already have them.

Get a thorough occupational therapy assessment, including a sensory assessment.
This document should be
completed by an OT with additional university courses completed in sensory processing. Also, get a complete psycho-educational assessment including an evaluation of executive
functioning skills. Results from this report, along with the sensory processing information, can let you know if a child’s difficulty with motivation may stem from
learning,
environmental or sensory differences. Use the documentation to improve your child’s supports within the IEP.

• Keep the child focused on the future.

Your child is 12 years old and wants to be a game designer. They are academically capable, but you can’t get them to do language-based work. They ‘re telling you that writing an essay is useless and pointless, projects are boring and hard to do, and besides, they can never think of anything to write
about. How can you make this homework have value to the child? How can you make it relevant so that they understand how this skill ties in to their future?

  • Show them.

Make the future real. School can be such a challenging place for our kids that the end of high school seems so far away and insurmountable. We have the power to
keep them focused on a future that is built on their strengths and has them surrounded with those who share their interests. Some creative ideas that
have worked for others
include:

  • Read course descriptions from post-secondary programs; take the virtual tours to show them the dorms, the cafeteria, the gaming lab.
  • Call the university or college they might attend one day and see if you can get a professor to meet with you and your child.
  • Pay for lunch and let the prof get your child excited about the future. Let the professor praise him for his high marks in computer tech and math, and also tell him he’ll have to raise his English marks to get into this kind of program.
  • In this case, the right messenger can make all the difference when you are trying to motivate your kid. Your child’s elementary or high school may be able to help improve motivation. Can you encourage teachers to use the child’s special interest to get them more engaged in school work? For example, instead of having them write a short story, let them write a game story and plot. Include famous game developers in the options when the class has to write a biography. For art class, let them create the video game cover art. There is no end to the creative ways to teach the relevance of the work we require them to do if we can hook it to areas of interest.

• Parents and teachers can use strategies that will help the child be successful with the task. Do they need a visual to supplement or support whatever you told them verbally?
This could be a list of the steps of a chore or project, or maybe just putting the expectation onto a calendar. Poor working memory may mean they don’t remember what you just
asked them to do: use visuals. Most children on the spectrum are strong visual learners.

• Expectations should match the child’s ability and skills. We often expect our autistic children to learn things just because we’ve shown them a few times,
or because they are old enough, so we feel they should be doing it. Keep in mind that anxiety can make it impossible to remember what we know. When we are anxious,
our thinking brain goes offline and our emotional brain kicks in.When children with autism are allowed to learn in an environment that does not assault their senses,
this can help them to manage and regulate their behaviors and
emotions in the school setting and at home. This means one less barrier to doing what is expected of them.

• Make sure they understand the value and relevance of what you are asking them to do. No one likes doing things that are unpleasant or hard.
If we understand why we are doing it, it can make it easier to get through, or even to get started.

• Try to address anything that is causing or contributing to anxiety He’s being bullied or teased? It is critical that schools find a way to make that stop.
He is afraid to try for fear of being incorrect? Teach tolerance of making mistakes by “living your life out loud.”
That means you let him see and hear you make mistakes
and calmly try again. Let his teacher do the same. Reinforce him for making a mistake and sticking with it to try again. If he is less fearful of making a mistake,
he may be more motivated to try.

• Encourage your school to teach your child to self-calm to reduce anxiety in the school setting. Again, this can be part of your child’s Individual Education Plan, if it is a documented need. Some school boards have mental health nurses or social workers that can work directly with your child to teach these things. Others may have staff that are knowledgeable and experienced implementing programs for sensory and self-regulation, like the Zones of Regulation or the Incredible
5-Point Scale.

  • Don’t forget to praise or reinforce your child for effort, not just for achievement. I’m not saying we bribe our children, I am saying that when they find a way to initiate something we may say, “Thanks, hon. Appreciate it.” Other children may be motivated by seeing boxes checked off on a list of steps or chores throughout the day. You know your child best interests at heart. Recognize their efforts and achievements in ways they respond to.

One caution to let you all know is to be genuine in your response, and careful not to overdo it. Some of our children are very uncomfortable with praise or attention, and find this kind of reinforcement patronizing and uncomfortable. For those children, you are the true expert. It’s still necessary to recognize when they’ve had to extend effort to do something you know has been difficult for them. For those children, your response might be much more low-key. It might be something like, “I appreciate that you did that.”

A final note. We do not grow out of being on the autism spectrum. If we need visuals to support our memory, our learning and our executive functioning needs, then we may always need them in one form or another, even as an adult. I’m sure many of you use visuals every day for yourself. I know I would be lost without my cellphone, tablet and computer. I have many separate calendars, one on my Android, on my email accounts and in a diary planner. Without them, I’d be more lost than I already am.
Just make the supports that you provide for your child age-appropriate and appealing, and that will help to motivate the buy in.

AUTISM & BLACK AND WHITE THINKING – NO ROOM FOR GRAY

I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. Quote from Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day – a real great example for black and white thinking.

Black and white thinking can sometimes feel intentional or manipulative, especially when it happens again and again and in similar situations when it arises.

Black and white thinking is also known as “polarized thinking patterns”. Polarized thinking patterns are ways of thinking that just make sense to people with Autism yet other people with mental illnesses such as Bipolar, Depression etc. Black and white thinking is a pattern of thoughts that are characterized in thinking in the extremes as they will work in way of being polar opposites.Example is that everything will be the worst day ever or best day ever. Individuals on the spectrum struggle with the nuances and non-verbal gestures and communication that exist in interpersonal interactions and communication standards
that may come more naturally to others.

How many times a day do you find yourself thinking, feeling or talking about something as if there must be only one or two possible choices or ways to go?

For example – Either I’m a winner or I’m a loser; I can prove I was right, so that proves you are wrong; to take care of your needs I have to give up on mine; if you can’t be open and spontaneous (like me) then you are inhibited; I only have two choices, fight or give up; you are controlled by your feelings and he is controlled by their own mind.

Another classic example here is that anything lower than a 100% on a math quiz = failure. And, that’s even if the actual grade earned is a 97%. Handling conflicts is a tough one to begin with, but for someone with Autism, an argument or lack of agreement about a topic = no more friendship. A young woman with Autism may get in an argument with a friend at school and immediately feel they are not friends with this person anymore, struggling to understand that disagreements are a natural part of any relationship and can and should be able to be worked through with communicating to one another. These automatic thoughts can lead to significant setbacks in a child’s academic and social functioning.

Notice also that this way of looking at the world also contains very strong judgmental elements. The essential energy behind each polarized thought is that one idea, one person or one side is good or powerful and the other is wrong or powerless. So, what is going on that locks us in to this limited way of looking at life and robs us of our freedom of choice?

This way of seeing the world (polarized thinking) is not only common, it is often emphasized during childhood and teenage years, by our parents, (you are a good child or a bad child; if you don’t tell the truth you are lying) our teachers (If you know the ‘right’ answer or do your exercise the ‘correct’ way you pass; if you can’t do it correctly you fail) and our spiritual leaders (until you are ‘saved’ you are not a true believer; this is only one ‘true’ faith, no other faith can get you into Heaven).

Polarized thinking is the very essence of our legal system (either you are innocent or guilty, if you can prove it you win the case, if you don’t have the evidence you lose the case).
Polarized thinking for black and white thinking can go to the extremities.

Our government and our political parties operate very much within the limits of polarized thinking, which effectively rules out most opportunities for compromise or consensus.

Most wars are between two sides, each stuck in the same kind of restricted thinking but polarized in opposing positions with no room to move. (We are right, they are wrong and we must kill them to prove it).

Sports such as football encourage the same approach to life.

This sort of approach is like known for as a “All or Nothing thinking.” As this will interfere with our lives of a healthier relationship or friendship with someone.

Does this seem to look and feel familiar to you of what we say to ourselves?

With this type of thinking this can distort our reality and contribute to negative impacts of our lives such as anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses.
How we change our way of thinking is up to us.

HOW DOES BLACK AND WHITE THINKING AFFECT US?

Black and white thinking can create helplessness. Example is that we may put our partner down by saying that they were a complete jerk for not doing what you asked them to do
and you on the other hand isn’t willing to change your thoughts and outlook of the problem at hand.

*Invites defensiveness in others:

Example you never done the chores I asked you to do. You start yelling and all and that makes them feel worthless and defenseless due to you attacking them with your words. There are a lot of reasons why they may not have done that they could’ve been busy, tired, forgot to do them and not intentionally trying to drive you insane. This sort of thinking behavior towards our partner will then result for break-ups, divorces, arguments and so much stress etc to the point that you will be left alone.
So, we need to be careful how we use or choose our words to whoever we’re talking to as this can result in consequences. You can always find ways of improvement for your communication that you’re having issues with. Also, be patient with them.

*Negatively impact your relationship with others.

Say that you’ve been dating for a while and everything felt really good with being with that person. You feel on top of the world and then all of the sudden they’re the worst person to be with. You’re in a vicious cycle of love and hate, good and bad, up and down. When this happens all too often in a healthier relationship the black and white thinking can impact your peace and comfort with each other and being able to connect with each other on a deeper level as you crave for love and acceptance from your partner.

  • It can hurt your self-image

How and what do we see ourselves as a person can be another way of looking at it as we may think either we’re a good or bad person yet in reality we’re in between.
Yet, when
we think black and white we risk being overly self-critical or we end up refusing to see our own faults, flaws and imperfections. This can lead us being hypersensitive towards
others opionions and make it difficult to accept cristicism without deep insecurity that will in turn lead us to not being able to love ourselves and allow for growth
in all areas in our lives.

WHY DO WE USE BLACK AND WHITE THINKING?

Black and white thinking can serve as a purpose in the right way yet this is a form of a defense mechanism for us as we act like we’re a victim from a traumatic experience
or that we want to be in control of everything and everyone around us.

So how can we begin to help our children and adolescents develop a sense of the gray area? Below are a few strategies that can be used to help the black and white thinker in becoming more comfortable in all of the gray areas that life tends to throw our way.

  1. Define the gray area for them

Since black and white thinkers don’t naturally see the gray, it can be helpful for others to define it for them. For example, if a child who has Autism worked on a long-term project in art class and brings it home, claiming they are disappointed with how it turned out and writing off the entire thing as a failure, a parent can ask their child questions such as “did you have to learn any new art skills to make this project?” or “what is one thing you do like about the project?” Asking these questions prompts children to see that both positive and negative aspects of one thing can coexist.

  1. Changing our thinking patterns

Another way to define the gray and expand the walls of black and white thinking is to ask the child or young man or woman if there are other reasons that a particular outcome may have taken place. For example, if you are driving along on the highway and notice that there has been a car accident, engage the gray area thinking by asking, “How do you think that car accident happened? How else could it have happened? What else? Anything else?” The goal is to help him to identify that it could have been
the red car that hit the blue car. It could have been the driver in the blue car was texting or focusing on a phone call. Perhaps the driver in the red car sneezed or was arguing with the passenger and wasn’t processing that the driver in front of her was slowing down.

When gray area thinking isn’t happening naturally, provide choices or ask questions. For example, “Do you think it could have been the fault of the driver of the red car or the blue car? Do you think the driver didn’t notice that traffic was slowing down?”

And here’s another big set of questions – ask about perspective and feelings. “How do you think the drivers of the cars might feel? What do you think the driver of the red car is feeling right now (if the red is obviously banged up more than the blue car)?”

These conversations will not be met with ease and it will take persistence to initiate discussions about other reasons, feelings, and perspectives again and again until the language and thinking patterns begin to change, even if just a little.

  1. Remind children that a bad moment does not equal a bad day

Many black and white thinkers are very quick to write off an entire day as a failure after making one mistake, or having one behavioral issue in school. Hearing from their teachers, parents and peers that the day still has a potential to improve can empower these children to move past their assumptions and generalizations.

This is another tough idea to internalize because one bad thing = bad day. It’s difficult to weigh the good and the bad of the day and come to the realization that although 1 or 2 bad things happened today, it was still a good day overall. Riding the ups and downs of the day is a life skill that will benefit black and white thinkers as they grow older and learn to navigate the world of school and work and everything else around them.

  1. Utilize a visual

Visuals are an excellent tool to use to help expand those parameters beyond the black and white. Incorporating a rainbow with multiple colors or a traffic light visual can assist black and white thinkers by developing alternative options and will lead them to selecting the most likely and realistic outcome. That is, use the colors or different color lights to identify multiple solutions to a problem, or different possibilities that could take place if a decision is made (e.g., to end a friendship because of a disagreement, or to try to work through it and keep the friendship or to work through it to keep the friendship if it is worth having or losing a friend). A number chart that includes rating scales of 1-10 can also assist children in understanding that the in-between area does exist. The bigger the range, the more the gray area because the nuances of the emotions expands and the child or adolescent has to make a decision how she feels without it being just happy, mad or sad. It could be a combination of feelings, or variations of angry or mad or sad.

  1. Start to see the signs of the all or nothing thinking that arrives in our mindset.

Just think about what was shared earlier about how we speak like always, never. Trying to make someone perfect.

  1. Challenge our thoughts

Just because you’re thinking it, doesn’t mean that you may act upon it or it doesn’t sound true. Take away your negative thoughts and replace with them with positive thoughts.

  1. Replacing negative thoughts to a moderate standard of thoughts
  2. Increase your willingness to feel all your emotions.

It’s okay to feel not okay some days but the number one thing to remember is how we express or act upon it. Talk to someone that you trust or even to talk to the other person that you’re having issues with and try to work on a solution than making it an everyday problem.

  1. List your options

We know that when we do end up thinking negatively we should be able to weigh up our positive thinking as well. Black and white thinking patterns can have quite the impact on everyday functioning, both in and out of school, relationships, friendships and more.

Incorporating some of these strategies can assist black and white thinkers in challenging their automatic thought patterns. For those who see the world in nothing but extremes, it is important for them to gain some perspective and learn that life rarely fits itself perfectly into an “all or nothing” approach.

Life sure can be tough and have a lot of different feelings and emotions that comes with it yet again as I said it’s up to us how we are going to approach the situation and ‘how or what we think. Can someone love me for who I am and what I am

10. Ask others for help.

Sometimes it is good to have someone else to talk to and being able to share our thoughts etc so that we can gain a better understanding and perspective to what and how they see if there was a problem. As said communication is key here and two heads are better than on.

Bottom line here is that with all these strategies and knowing what is causing you to think the way that you do, the sooner the better you can get help for yourself. It’s all about taking care of yourself first and foremost. It’s all about accepting the fact that something isn’t right and with the right methods we can go further in our lives. Remember what we say and do in our lives is up to us and starts and ends with us. We’re the authors and painters of our stories.

Self-Identity And Self-Esteem For teenagers With Autism – What YOU CAN DO To Help?

Many times as we grow up that we tend to look for a lot of experiences, fun and experiment with everything in our lives.. We all have that dreams, goals, purpose and vision in life and it’s up to us to make that change and create the very first chapter in our book of life.

As we know that as we grow up at this point of time as we transition from a child to an adult that we fully rely on our parents as they’re the first one that are in our lives and that they’re first in contact with us.Our parents should be our role models, mentor, guide and all these other labels in front of it based on what we go through in our everyday life.

One of my proudest moments in life of graduating with support of my parents. (Taken at UCOL New Zealand, March 16, 2016)

We should be able to trust our parents and what not to actually share our problems too or what have you. It’s all about trust and communication, I believe also.

During adolescence, your child with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is forming an independent identity. This is a normal and important part of becoming an adult, and you can do a lot to support your child and build his self-esteem along the way.

As an autistic adult, I can tell you if you let me tell you that without hesitation, that I wasn’t always confident and had great self esteem as this took time and patience with people around me along with basically having to have the right people around me. Young children and adults with autism have self-esteem problems. (In my video, I talked about my life growing up from a child to a young adult to who and what I’ve become based on my experiences and some life lessons I’ve learnt).

When you are critical of your child’s behaviors or social interactions with their peers or with you or whoever they are, they often feel hurt. They feel like that you’re judging them, you’re criticizing them on how they should be living or whatever. It’s just how you come across as an adult when you’re actually
teaching your child especially about self- identity and self-esteem. I’ve noticed that sometimes in saying this that some adults tend to what I’ve witnessed just bear with me and don’t hit me hard in the comments in the comments or what have you to what am about to share about this as this is based on my own experience and what I’ve seen and heard basically in my lifetime that many you know parents tend to bully or just make the child so small to the point that they don’t want to come out of their own shell. They already feel as if they are under a microscope because of the doctor visits, occupational therapist sessions, and the stream of interventions we try. I’d feel like everybody was trying to fix me in the same set of circumstances, and it would hurt my self-esteem, too. (I have enough problems feeling good about my cooking when my anyone who comes in my circle criticizes me.)

Kids with autism don’t understand subtle jokes very often, and social interactions often turn out badly for them, which erodes their self-esteem even more. Combine all this with the expectations of siblings and the all-too-frequent bullying, and it’s easy to understand how devastated a child with an autism spectrum disorder can feel.

So, the big question I ask is, “What can we do?” It’s crucial that family members, educators, and professionals learn strategies and techniques to build self-esteem in kids with autism and Asperger’s. Everyone needs a reminder now and then of just how precious they are, and our very special children
need those reminders every day. For example, “Sammy, you are doing a great job cleaning your room. If you pick up those clothes over there, it would look even neater.
Boy, you sure are a good listener.”

It Starts with You as a Parent

In order to build your child’s self-esteem, you need to believe in your child’s inherent value and convey that to everyone else before that child’s self-esteem can begin to improve. These kids know when we’re faking our compliments, and the therapy books say we should give five positive comments to each correction. We have to walk in our child’s shoes and empathize with how they feel. We need to look for these special gifts, tune in to the child with our hearts, and find ways to bring out their precious essence.

It helps when you go to conferences, read books, research and share information. Teach extended family, educators, and other professionals to help your child integrate into groups. Be intuitive when advocating for children, and be persistent, not abrasive or not abrupt.

Emphasize the Positives

In addition, keep a positive attitude. Children with autism oftentimes have an incredible sense of humor. Say what you mean and mean what you say. So, what you say we are usually black and white thinkers.How you speak to us is important and avoiding any misunderstanding or conflicts as this is crucial here. I already have spoken about how you can speak to your autistic child as well as literal language which you can click above me or look into the description box below me.
Look for the good in every child, even if you don’t see it at first. Many people don’t get it as they think that autism is a disease. Autism is a curse. Autism whatever the label is going to be for many of us. We are not broken. We don’t need to be fixed. I don’t believe that we don’t need a cure. We just need to be treated like a human being because again we are still humans. We still have feelings.
Model a mental attitude of “things are great.” Express yourself in the positive, rather than the negative. Kids with autism/Asperger’s are masters at copying what others say, act and do
so make sure they’re hearing things that are good for them to copy. When we say, “You are great!” to a child often enough, he/she, too, will believe it and feel valued for who he truly is. Also, encourage children to share their thoughts and feelings. This is so important, and it often sheds new light on existing situations.

Balance the Physical with the Mental and Spiritual

Like most people, kids with autism feel better about themselves, when they’re balanced physically, emotionally, and spiritually. These are all great areas in which to build self-esteem.

Since your child may have digestive problems, which often makes him or her a very fussy eater and likely to gravitate towards junk food, most doctors say it is important to try supplements. However, be sure to check with your child’s doctor first. Also, provide regular physical activity, when possible, to
relieve stress and clear your child’s mind.

Set the stage for success by acknowledging their successes, however small, and reminding your child of their previous accomplishments. Keep their life manageable,
and don’t overwhelm your child with too many activities.

*MENTIONED ABOUT THE IMPORTANCE OF MAKING LISTS SO THAT IT DOESN’T OVERWHELM THE CHILD WHEN YOU GIVE THEM SET TASKS TO DO THROUGHOUT THEIR DAY. LISTS ARE GREAT AT LOOKING AT WHAT IS NEEDED TO BE DONE AND WHEN TASK IS DONE WE CAN MARK EACH ONE OFF AND THAT WE CAN SEE HOW MUCH WE DONE IN WAY OF PROGRESS. ADVICE TO THE PARENTS:
DEPENDING ON THE AGE OF THE CHILD AS A SUGGESTION THAT YOU CAN DO A VISUAL TO DO LIST OR SCHEDULE OF THE DAY OF WHAT IS NEEDED TO BE DONE AS WELL.

Provide choices frequently, so they understand they have a say in their own lives. You might want to try to give them a whole day in which to be in charge of something.

Give your child every opportunity to connect with their spiritual side, through religious avenues, or by communing with nature. This can help them feel purposeful and that their lives have meaning. One strategy that helped raise my Jonny’s self-esteem, especially when it came to overcoming his victim thoughts and feelings, was to employ spiritual affirmations. Using affirmations took some time, but we found that it brought calm and peace to Jonny and our family.

Dr. Gerald Jampolsky, author of Love is Letting Go of Fear and founder of California’s Center for Attitudinal Healing, offers many principles I find helpful in teaching us to love ourselves, thereby enhancing our own self-esteem and that of others. Some of his principles include:

  • The essence of our being is love
  • Health is inner peace
  • Live in the now
  • Become love finders, rather than fault finders
  • Learn to love others and ourselves by forgiving, rather than judging
  • Choose to be peaceful inside, regardless of what’s going on in the outside world around us.
  • We are all students and teachers to each other.

Part of Dr. Jampolsky’s message is that, by focusing on life as a whole, rather than in fragments, we can see what is truly important. His concepts, when embraced, positively affect how a child with autism thinks and feels about him- or herself. Anger, resentment, judgment,
and similar feelings are all forms of fear. Since love and fear cannot coexist, letting go of fear allows love to be the dominant feeling over fear for us.

Look for the Miracles everyday

Every day, there are miracles and good things happening all around us. Be on your child’s side by tuning into who they truly are: unique expressions of divine light. Empower your child to be okay with who they are. Do this by loving your child not for who you want them to be, but for who they are.

Consider that children and adults with autism/Asperger’s are wonderful beings, here to teach us empathy, compassion, understanding, and most importantly, how to love. Do whatever it takes to authentically include your child in your life, rather than merely tolerate their presence or exclude them once and for alls.
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Explaining Autism to Others

Autism can seem like a life sentence one moment and a spiritual celebration of life the next. But, however we see autism, we should see it in a positive light, I believe.
Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability today to date. We constantly explain our children to people who don’t want to understand via through social medias, books and whatever other resources that are readily available. We define autism continually to educators who oppose us. We speak out, because many of our children do not have a voice.

Unity and fellowship seem to elude our movement. Some of us search for treatment, some for a cure, and some ask simply for adequate programming. Nonetheless, it should be all about the children.

According to an article by the American Academy of Neurology and the Child Neurology Society:

Autism and pervasive developmental disorders encompass a wide continuum of associated cognitive and neurobehavioral disorders, including the core defining features of
impaired socialization, impaired verbal and nonverbal communication, and restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior . . . .

There are several hundred different treatments offered for autism, with many viewpoints and a wide variety of theories. So how, with all this information around you, can you explain the sense of loss you feel when your child stops being who he was? It is like he’s there, but he’s not there. He is disconnected.

How do you explain the sensory issues, the outbursts, and the pain your child wrestles with every day on a daily basis? How do you explain that autism is unique and unpredictable,
but not horrifying? How do you explain the undying love and dedication we have for our children?

Look into your child’s face, watch him or her smile, and you’ll understand. No explanation is necessary.

Teenagers with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) can find it harder than typically developing teenagers to work out who they are and what their values are. They might also find it difficult to build self-esteem – that is, seeing themselves as valuable members of society with skills and strengths.

Your child might find these things hard because she has trouble recognizing and controlling his or her own emotions. This can make it difficult for him or her to work out how he or she feels about herself, how she feels about certain issues and what his or her values are truly are.

Also, typically developing teenagers often learn about themselves from their peer group, but your child’s ability to do this might be more limited. For example, he or she might be unsure of how he fits into and relates to his or her peer group. Or he or she might notice for the first time that he understands or interprets things differently from his peers. He or she might be cut off from his peer group, or just not interested in his peers.

And then there are the usual adolescent ups and downs. Your child might just be feeling more ups and downs than they’re used to. This could be for many reasons – physical, emotional, social and psychological – and not for any one reason in particular. Often you can’t pin it down.

Autistic children often struggle to understand or talk about emotions. There are some therapies that are available for your autistic son/daughter at any age. This will determine where you are and what type of therapy you feel is right for your child. Remember that not all therapy will work for any of us that goes through it so it will again vary from person to person.

I’ve mentioned some therapy types of what they are and what they do for people which you can find here above me. Emotional development happens according to your child’s cognitive or developmental age rather than his age in years. For example, your child might be 13 but be more like a 9-year-old in emotional development and behaviour stage. Building your child on the autism spectrum is important.

Talking about being different

Talking with your child about how everybody is different – which is what makes us interesting – can help your child see himself or herself as a valuable part of society.

You can help your child understand that people can look, speak, think or act differently from each other – and this is OK. Although your child might feel different from other children at school, or people might tell him that he’s different, she/he is not the only one who is different.

Meeting others

Joining an activity that she enjoys, like a sports club or a band, can help your child build a better sense of her strengths,
what she enjoys and where she fits in. It’s also a good chance for her to develop and practise her social skills
and mix with teenagers who don’t have autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

Getting involved with other teenagers who do have ASD can help your child to understand more about ASD and the different ways it can affect people.
They’ll be able to share his own experiences with an understanding audience. Your state autism association or local council can help you find a local group.

Thinking about ‘me’

You can encourage your child to think about:

what he or she likes and doesn’t like his or her personality – for example, whether she’s generous, artistic, polite and so on what words she would use to describe herself to others.
One way to get your child thinking about themselves is to help him or her create an ‘All about me’ book. This might include pictures of things your child likes, pictures of friends or things about their hobbies and achievements. Drawings or craft creations from when your child was younger can remind them of past experiences. Things like school reports can help your child think about past and current achievements.

When your child comes up with a list of words to describe themselves, these can go into their book.

Knowing about family

Your child’s self-identity also comes from knowing about his family. You could show your child things like family photographs and include them in the ‘All about me’ book too.

It might also help your child to hear about your experiences of growing up and being a teenager,
especially if your child doesn’t have a lot of support from peers and friends.

EXPLAINING AUTISM TO AN AUTISTIC CHILD

Raising a child with autism does brings it challenges and difficulties yet here I am today to share with you how you can talk to your autistic child of what autism is as a how -to – guide.

So today, we will go over just a few basics on understanding and explaining autism to an autistic child. With so many resources that are readily available now that we can access at our advantage.
The world is our oyster. You as a parent will need to be prepared to handle the discussion in a positive way!

Explaining autism to a child can be tough. Even more so if you are explaining autism to an autistic child.
Check out these great tips to make the conversation go smoother and give both you and your child a better understanding of autism. First and foremost, remember to keep it simple. Explaining in too much detail will overwhelm your child and do more harm than good.
Here are a few key ways as form of advice from me as an Aspie to explain autism as well as resources to help along the way.

WHAT IS AUTISM?

First thing is to explain autism. According to the age and maturity level of your child, this may be slightly different, but still the basis of what you need to explain. Simply put “Autism means that your brain works differently from other children’s brains. Or some autistics says that we’re a different operating system due to the wiring of our brain of our mindset of how we process information and how we do our form of communication and everything else.


As I said before that not all autistics are the same when you think that you’ve met one and you basically think that they’re autistic as well. Don’t forever assume that just because they’re showing different signs of autism that they’re not.You never know so the best bet is to seek professional help or even
ask the person themselves. You will also need to know more about autism yourself as a parent or educator or whoever in order to answer any questions your child may have or any child that
may come up to you if you are educating them. Basically, there are few things to know about autism which I did share obviously of the signs and symptoms or the characteristics
in an autistic female. Remember to keep your answers simple and to the point or as the for the famous quota is for this is KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) . Many people with autism do not understand sarcasm, and may not understand metaphors until a much older and mature age.

EXPLAINING AUTISM IN A POSITIVE WAY

Whenever you talk to your child (around or even near) about autism, remember to keep it positive. Be open and honest about autism. Teaching different not less is ideal when explaining autism to a child with autism. Because this is one of the slogans that we live by obviously. Although there is still a large stigma around autism and mental health basically and that’s why I’m here hopefully to demolish some of this stuff for your guys understanding so on and so forth.
You are your child’s biggest advocate. You’re their role model. You’re their teacher. You’re everything. Obviously, the child comes to see you in their everyday life from birth to teens to adult and to what have you. Right? So, therefore you need to be wearing your crown or whatever as an advocate or whatever for your child no matter what age as you’re their advocate and voice to share to others that they’re different basically when you meet others out on the street. We shouldn’t you know feel fearful.
We shouldn’t feel judgmental of others that then again being different can be so exhilarating, exciting and a bit of a roller coaster of other emotions all in one as well. How you see autism is how they will see autism obviously after you explain it to them.


SOME BOOKS AS RESOURCES TO HELP YOUR CHILD TO UNDERSTAND AUTISM

THE SURVIVAL GUIDE FOR KIDS WITH AUTISM SPECTRUM DISORDERS (AND THEIR PARENTS

This positive, straightforward book offers kids with autism spectrum disorders (ASDs) their own comprehensive resource for both understanding their condition and finding tools to cope with the challenges they face every day. Some children with ASD are gifted; others struggle academically.

Some are more introverted, while others try to be social. Some get “stuck” on things, have limited interests, or experience repeated motor movements like flapping or pacing (“stims”).

Never be afraid to stim as stimming is good for us to do. This releases any negative energy and help us to stay calm as well as helping us to cope with some situations for us that are difficult.

The Survival Guide for Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorders covers all of these areas, with an emphasis on helping children gain new self-understanding and self-acceptance. Meant to be read with a parent, the book addresses questions (“What’s an ASD?” “Why me?”) and provides strategies for communicating, making and keeping friends, and succeeding in school.

The Girl Who Thought in Pictures: The Story of Dr. Temple Grandin

IF YOU’VE EVER FELT DIFFERENT, IF YOU’VE EVER BEEN LOW, IF YOU DON’T QUITE FIT IN, THERE’S A NAME YOU SHOULD KNOW… MEET DR. TEMPLE GRANDIN―ONE OF THE WORLD’S QUIRKIEST SCIENCE HEROES!
When a young Temple was diagnosed with autism, no one expected her to talk, let alone become one of the most powerful voices in modern science. Yet, the determined visual thinker did just that. Her unique mind allowed her to connect with animals in a special way, helping her invent groundbreaking improvements for farms around the globe!

WE’RE AMAZING 1,2,3! A STORY ABOUT FRIENDSHIP AND AUTISM

We’re Amazing 1,2,3! is the first Sesame Street storybook to focus on autism, which, according to the most recent US government survey, may, in some form, affect as many as one in forty-five children. It’s part of Sesame Street’s autism initiative that has expanded to include a new character with autism.

Elmo introduces his longtime friend Julia to Abby, who’s a little confused at first because Julia isn’t saying hello. Elmo explains that Julia has autism, so she does things a little differently. Julia sometimes avoids direct eye contact, flaps her arms when she’s excited and is sensitive to some noises.
But Abby soon learns that she also has a lot of things in common with Julia. All kids want love, friendship, and to have fun! They are all wonderful, each in his or her own way.

ALL MY STRIPES: A STORY FOR CHILDREN WITH AUTISM

This is the story of Zane, a zebra with autism, who worries that his differences make him stand out from his peers. With careful guidance from his mother, Zane learns that autism is only one of many qualities that make him special. It contains a Note to Parents by Drew Coman, Ph.D., and Ellen Braaten, Ph.D., as well as a Foreword by Alison Singer, President of the Autism Science Foundation.

DIFFERENT, NOT LESS: A CHILDREN’S BOOK ABOUT AUTISM

Children with autism can do amazing, incredible things!

You can use this book to teach your child about Autism Spectrum Disorder. The poem will explain how those diagnosed are different, but also wish to be included in most social circles. The poem was written by the father of a son with ASD. This book will give you an opportunity to explain the diagnosis to your child when you believe they are able to understand.

Different, Not Less: A Children’s Book About Autism was written with children in mind.

The text is big and bold and runs down the page similar to a list format.
This should help avoid the skipping of words since it is easy for parents to cover up words as the child reads.
Each page also has a hidden word. Red letters mixed in with the black letters spell uplifting words for those diagnosed with autism.

DIFFERENT LIKE ME: MY BOOK OF AUTISM HEROES

“Different Like Me” introduces children aged 8 to 12 years to famous, inspirational figures from the world of science, art, math, literature, philosophy, and comedy.

Eight-year-old Quinn, a young boy with Asperger’s Syndrome, tells young readers about the achievements and characteristics of his autism heroes, from Albert Einstein, Dian Fossey, and Wassily Kandinsky to Lewis Carroll, Benjamin Banneker, and Julia Bowman Robinson, among others.
All excel in different fields but are united by the fact that they often found it difficult to fit in-just like Quinn.

Fully illustrated in color and written in child-friendly language, this book will be a wonderful resource for children, particularly children with autism, their parents, teachers, carers and siblings.

In the comments section below, please let me know how your conversation went! What was the most successful part of your talk?

AUTISM AND ART THERAPY

American Art Therapy Association has quoted that “Art therapy is a mental health profession that uses the creative process of art-making to improve
and enhance the physical, mental, and emotional well-being of individuals of all ages.
It is based on the belief that the creative process involved in artistic self-expression helps people to resolve conflicts and problems, develop interpersonal skills, manage behavior, reduce stress, increase self-esteem, and self-awareness, and achieve insight.”There is no single way to provide art therapy; as a result there are some factors to consider.

  • It can look very different when practiced by and with different individuals.
  • It can be free-flowing or structured, open-ended or goal-oriented. For children and adults with autism,
  • It can be a wonderful way to open doors to self-expression and engagement.

Although, it may seem cliche that art and autism are a great combination for people with autism from all ages. For those of us who cannot always get words to come out of our mouths, art offers a way of self-expression. For children, it allows their imagination to run wild and come to life before their eyes.

As I’ve mentioned so many times before about the characteristics and traits of autism that a major aspect of autism is difficulties in communication. This can be anywhere from completely non-verbal to having a hard time processing language and turning it back into a smooth conversation for others around them. Though communication may be difficult, we still want to express it ourselves.
Art allows for those with autism to speak visually.

Why Use Art Therapy to Treat Autism?

One of the hallmarks of autism spectrum disorders is a difficulty with verbal and social communication.
In some cases, people with autism are literally nonverbal and unable to use speech to communicate at all. In other cases, people with autism have a hard time processing language and turning it into smooth, easy conversation. People with autism may also have a tough time reading faces and body language. As a result, they may have difficulty with telling a joke from a statement or sarcasm from sincerity around them.

Meanwhile, many people with autism have an extraordinary ability to think visually “in pictures.” Many can turn that ability to good use in processing memories, recording images and visual information, and expressing ideas through drawing or other artistic media. Art is a form of expression that requires little or no verbal interaction that can open doors to communication.

All too often, it’s assumed that a nonverbal person or a person with limited verbal capabilities is incompetent in other areas. As a result, people on the autism spectrum may not be exposed to opportunities to use artistic media, or the opportunities may be too challenging in other ways
(in large class settings, for example). Art therapy offers an opportunity for therapists to work one-on-one with individuals on the autism spectrum to build a wide range of skills in a manner which may be more comfortable (and thus more effective) than spoken language.

How Art Therapy Is Different From Art Classes?

Art therapy is a tool for helping clients to access their emotions. By contrast, art classes are intended to provide students with instruction on how to achieve specific artistic effects or goals. While art classes may be appropriate for individuals with autism, they are not a substitute for art therapy.

What Art Therapists Do for People With Autism

The research is somewhat sketchy regarding the impact of art therapy on people with autism however to let you know. The literature consists mainly of case studies and papers describing the observed impact of art therapy programs. Some of the papers written and presented on the subject, however, suggest that art therapy can do a great deal. In some cases, it has opened up a whole world of opportunity to an individual with autism who has significant artistic talent. In other cases,
it has created a unique opportunity for personal bonding. Other possible outcomes include:​

  • improved ability to imagine and think symbolically
  • improved ability to recognize and respond to facial expressions
  • improved ability to manage sensory issues (problems with stickiness, etc.)
  • improved fine motor skills

THE BENEFITS OF ART FOR AUTISTIC CHILDREN

There are a lot of benefits but these are just a few I came up with. They are as follows:

*Offers a visual communication

*Improves communication skills:

Art therapy can help stimulate the diffuse part of the brain and also help children with Autism Spectrum Disorders in expressing non-verbal conversations.
For example, children with Autism Spectrum Disorders can produce a painting or describe something as a way for them to communicate using symbols or icons.
This process can help develop communication directly and can help in their thinking process. This method can also train children with Autism Spectrum Disorders to focus more and can directly engage in interacting with their peers and others around them. It is also a good way to reduce anxiety and help improve their emotional development.

These are the many emojis that are being used everyday by all people not just autistics.

*Easy way to help resolve conflicts they can not verbally express.

  • Build and develop feelings and emotions using art

Art therapy is also good for children with Autism Spectrum Disorders because they are sometimes challenged in maintaining emotional stability around them. Hence, by drawing or making a craft, it can train them to express feelings through drawing or drawing activities such as making collages and crafts alone. This therapy is also used to train their endurance and patience in solving an art task other than helping to improve their expression and feelings.

*Reduces Stress

*Helps with imaging and thinking symbolically

*Improves the ability to recognize (and respond) to facial expressions

*Helps with Self-Esteem and Self-Awareness.

*Can be used to help with Sensory Processing Issues

*Improves fine motor skills

*Help with social skills – As mentioned in one part of my video that most autistics struggles to read body language and cues from people along with the tones of voice and facial expressions too

*Art therapy can address Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD)

Sensory processing disorder (SPD), a pervasive problem in autism which contributes to a great deal of difficult emotions and behaviors, yet is too often overlooked. Seemingly innocuous sensations, such as the texture of carpet, fluorescent lighting, crunchy foods, the hum of a refrigerator,
may be irritating, or even excruciating, to people with autism (“like nails on a chalkboard,” as a client once put it). When thus overstimulated, people with autism may become agitated, avoidant or simply “shut down” and become impassive in order to escape the unpleasant stimulus.

Remember when you meet an autistic, not all autistic will exhibit these signs of sensitivity. Each autistic will be different. SO, never assume that they’re all the same!

One of the most common goals in art therapy is to increase tolerance for unpleasant stimuli, while channeling self-stimulating behavior into more creative activity.
Because art is naturally enjoyable for almost all children, autistic or not, they are more likely to tolerate textures and smells they might otherwise avoid when they are part of a fun art process. A child might find that he or she can actually cope with handling slimy, paste-covered strips of newspaper, for instance, when it’s part of a fun paper mache craft project. Repeatedly confronting the stimuli they prefer to avoid helps to desensitize kids to them, making it more bearable when they encounter these sensations in daily life. A child who learned to deal with paper mache, for instance, might then find that handling slimy hand soap was no longer so unpleasant.

Sensory fixations are another common feature of autism. Some people may stare in rapt attention at their fingers as they flick them back and forth or endlessly twisting tiny strips of paper. Repetitively engaging in such self-stimulating behaviors (or “stimming”) can make people with autism stand out,
prevent them from interacting with others, and can distract them from other activities, such as school work or play. On the other hand, these sensations may provide some calming, soothing feelings when the person is agitated. In art therapy, the goal is to channel non-functional or inappropriate stimming into socially acceptable, creative outlets.

Stimming refers to self-stimulating behaviors. It’s a repetition of movements, sounds, or words that’s common in autistic people.

A stimming behavior is often referred to as a stim.

*Training the nervous system

The nervous system in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder is one of the important aspects. With that, multi-sensory use can help in building their feelings like listening and touching.
For example, use of musical instruments or practices singing periodically and continuously each time different therapy. This method can build communication skills and sensory sensitivity during the therapeutic process. It also corresponds to the unique character and variance of each child with Autism Spectrum Disorder being able to perform a positive interaction during therapy.
Another example that relates to their sense of touch is by using ‘slime,’ clay, kinetic sand and many other forms of craft materials to help them explore and
improve the nervous system.

WAYS TO INCORPORATE AUTISM ART THERAPY AT HOME

PAPER AND CRAYONS:

This is the easiest way to get started. Get out whatever art supplies and let your child have fun.
Autism art therapy does not have to be complicated or even overly structured.

USE TO DE-STRESS

Another way to incorporate autism art therapy at home is using it as a redirection.
Redirecting a child who is overwhelmed with art is a great calming technique.
Before getting into a meltdown, have them draw out how they are feeling or what they want to happen.
Not only will it help with communication, but it will cause them to focus on one activity and calm themselves down.

GET CRAFTY

Pinterest is an autism parent’s best friend! There are so many diy crafts out there for all kids.
One of our favorites we have made is the DIY Sensory Bags for Autism. They are so easy to make, super cheap, and a perfect calming tool for later too! Autism art therapy is an amazing resource for children with autism. It is so easy to incorporate into everyday life. So get your pencils, paints
and so much more art materials out and get to doodling, crafting, painting and so much more! You’ll be really surprised and amazed to see inside your child a talented artist of some kind.

In addition to its efficacy in improving sensory, social and emotional functioning, art therapy is an excellent treatment for autism because it is inherently reinforcing. Kids get enjoyment, stress relief and a boost to their self confidence from tackling art projects or simply exploring art materials.
That they are practicing life skills while doing so may not enter their minds.

Art therapy is a unique form of treatment for autism, as it helps mitigate symptom, while also channeling autistic behaviors into an expressive, creative outlet. It promotes communication, emotional growth and sensory integration while also fostering social interaction in a fun setting.