In my last post, I pointed out resources for diagnosis and support if your child has Asperger’s Syndrome. I would like to address some other concerns parents and kids have raised. In sum, the future is good and reassuring!
One concern parents have is this: Can my child learn how others view the world? The answer is–yes!
People with Asperger’s are seen as often only thinking in terms of themselves and not able to understand how others think—and feel. When I work with kids, I provide them with a face expression chart. I ask them to point to how they feel and we explore their feelings and why they may feel that way. Parents can help their child with similar exercises. One client of mine years ago took an acting class. When I asked him why, he said: “I want to try on other people’s feelings.”
In working with kids, I often play games. They may play with their own set of made-up rules, none of which are told to me. And their rules can change. So I express my frustration with them and say: “Let’s play only when we both agree on the rules.”
Similarly, I “challenge” them to try to understand me or someone else in their family—or their pet. A couple of examples might help. One young man was due to take his driving test. I asked him if he was ready. Yes. Are you anxious? Why would I be anxious? Either I pass or fail. I told him that I might be anxious and probably would feel that way for any test, that he and I were different that way.
Another young boy had some difficulty understanding sibling rivalry. He just knew his younger brother was a pest. So I told him about two of our cats. One was long-haired; the other, short-haired. The long-haired cat needs to be brushed to get the garden stuff out of his fur. The short-haired cat never needs it. When my wife brushes the long-haired cat, the short-haired cat gets jealous and comes to get brushed. y client, a 7-year-old, just laughed.
In my next posts, I’ll talk about schools, jobs, and romances.