What is this?? Asperger's related - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 9 Old 12-29-2011, 06:39 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just curious if any of you have seen this in your kids with aspergers, or if these behaviors sound familiar at all...I'm trying to figure this out.

 

My 9 yo recently was dx with aspergers, he also has developmental delays, lots of trouble with writing, slow processing.  He gets tons of support at school.  He is also very creative, has all kinds of different ideas, and basically just thinks differently than other people. 

 

I am noticing that more and more he does things that just don't make sense.  Such as, he wants a snack- so rather than grabbing one of the numerous snacks or prepared foods in the kitchen, he'll do something like get a whole pineapple, a tiny plastic baby bowl, and a plastic butter knife, and saw away at it (unsuccessfully) forever, until I point this out and either get him the appropriate tools or do it for him.

 

Or, I noticed this esp. at Christmas, when opening boxes and packages, rather than simply opening the top or the obvious openings, he'll get a pair of dull kiddie scissors and hack away at the middle of the box for ages and tear the thing to shreds. (he has easy access to scissors and knows how to use them!) Again, until I say, why don't you simply open the top of the box and look in? 

 

Or when he needs a drink, he won't use the cups I put out in reach, he'll run around the house searching for a stepstool, and ransack the cabinets for a drinking vessel, and come up with something bizarre to drink from, or instead of a plate (again, in easy reach) he'll get a tiny plastic lid that doesn't at all match the food he's trying to eat. 

 

Or, maybe in a positive light, often when we are doing math, he'll come up with the answer, and think of a totally different way of reaching the correct result than I ever would have thought of. 

 

What would you call this?  Poor motor planning?  Or some psychological thing?  Or just a quirky kid doing things his own way?  And yes, we have been seeing a developmental/behavioral ped. but our dr. just left the practice and we haven't found a new one, so I don't really have an upcoming appointment to ask about this. 

 

His IEP meeting is next week, so I thought I'd bring it up then and see if this would fit under any of the therapies.  I don't know if things like this would be helped by OT, some aspect of speech therapy (which he already gets), special ed, psychological counseling??

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#2 of 9 Old 12-30-2011, 07:08 AM
 
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The recent "thing" I've been reading about is executive skills (of the brain). This sounds like a combination of executive skills that could use improvement. I'm thinking of these in particular: working memory, planning/prioritization, flexibility, and metacognition. My son, who has been dx'd with aspergers, sometimes has a shortage of these particular executive skills, too. Though, it may be less apparent at my son's age 6 than where yours is at age 9. At age 6, it's easy to chalk these things up to being a young kid. At age 9, we expect a little more of the child. So is it an aspergers thing...yes and no, I think. The combination of executive skills weaknesses tend to be somewhat similar among kids with aspergers. However, we all have strengths and weaknesses in various executive skills areas. If you haven't read up on executive skills, it's an interesting read - and as a great side effect, it's helping me to understand my own areas of weakness (to hopefully improve them).

The books I've been reading on the subject of executive skills are:
Smart But Scattered
http://www.amazon.com/Smart-but-Scattered-Revolutionary-Executive/dp/1593854455/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1325257559&sr=1-1

Late, Lost, and Unprepared
http://www.amazon.com/Late-Lost-Unprepared-Executive-Functioning/dp/1890627844/ref=pd_sim_b_1

Kim mama to DS 12/2005, Pepper kitty , and 10/03, 1/05;
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#3 of 9 Old 12-30-2011, 07:25 AM
 
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I was going to recommend Smart but Scattered also!  That's 100% executive functioning, which many kids on the spectrum have difficulties with to some degree.  The book will be a lot of "Aha!" moments.  

 

 

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#4 of 9 Old 01-02-2012, 01:45 PM
 
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Along with executive functioning, I think this could also have to do with visual processing.  I (who have a visual processing disorder as part of NVLD), more so than my ASD son, was known for this sort of thing as a kid.  If I didn't have the plates visually on the counter (rather than a low shelf of the cupboard) it was like they didn't exist.  And the opening to the box thing I get.  Slightly less severe than your son, but I was years figuring out you could open a milk carton without opening the whole thing.  I can design my own knitting and sewing patterns, fix my sewing machine, but can't read the sewing machine threading diagram.  Similarly, I'm great at intuitively remembering how to get someplace or sensing direction or following verbal instructions, but I only now got to the point I can read maps (I had a baptism by fire this summer working as a trail guide.  I practiced on my own a lot till I could teach it)  Point being, visual processing issues are not across the board, so your son could be, say, good at puzzles or drawing, but still have this issue.

 

Stuff that helps with this would be verbal reminders of locations of household objects, verbal directions about opening things (actually, I had to do everything verbally for my ASD son to learn when he was younger, even visual stuff like drawing I had to describe the shapes and process) always having objects in the same place, and having some frequently used objects out, not put away.  If it's visual processing, your son also probably has some clutter blindness, and stuff in stacks even clear bins kind of disappears (it's like the individual objects just become "stack" and not objects).  It also helps not to place stuff too close together so that, say, cups don't disappear into the plates they are next to.

 

Might not be it, but visual processing issues aren't uncommon with ASD.

 

 


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#5 of 9 Old 01-03-2012, 07:00 AM
 
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Information Processing Disorders

 

Visual and Auditory Processing Disorders | LD Topics | LD OnLine

 

Visual Processing Disorders: In Detail


"It should be a rule in all prophylactic work that no harm should ever be unnecessarily inflicted on a healthy person (Sir Graham Wilson, The Hazards of Immunization, 1967)."
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#6 of 9 Old 01-03-2012, 07:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Wow, thank you all SO much!  This is all very illuminating!  Thank you for giving me some words to define this, so I can research it more and ask his teachers and therapists about it.  The IEP meeting is this week, so I will bring it up and see if they can recommend what type of therapy or educational interventions might be appropriate.  They are already doing a ton though- but maybe having it more defined like this will help refine what they are doing.

 

I will read those links and check out the books- very interesting!!

 

For those of you who have these issues, or have kids with them, what type of professional have you found most equipped to make recommendations?  As I said above, we had been seeing a behavioral/developmental ped who was knowledgeable about both medical and natural/alternative treatments so could be sort of an overseer of his case, but that dr is no longer practicing and we haven't found someone comparable.  Is this a neuropsych dr kind of thing, OT, Speech, psychiatrist...???  Or all of the above??  I just want to focus my efforts in finding a new dr or therapist appropriately.

 

Another thing he does that may go along with this, is having no idea what are appropriate clothes to wear.  He'll put on his younger brother's clothes which are clearly way too short and small and not even notice.  He will put on shorts and t shirt on a freezing day, and a sweater on a cold day, seemingly unable to reason through what type of clothes to wear on a given day, and put them on backwards, and inside out.  we have to pick out his clothes every day and help him get dressed (he is 9!!!)

 

He also has very poor ability with spelling- no carryover of previous rules learned.  He can do reasonably well on a spelling test of a specific list of words we have practiced, but doesn't figure out for example, that play and tray and hay and say all have the same endings and will follow a pattern if they're on the list- he'll write plaey  trayee  hae  and soae   His handwriting is good but free form writing is nearly unintelligible because of the spelling.

 

 

 

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#7 of 9 Old 01-03-2012, 06:53 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Awaken View Post

Wow, thank you all SO much!  This is all very illuminating!  Thank you for giving me some words to define this, so I can research it more and ask his teachers and therapists about it.  The IEP meeting is this week, so I will bring it up and see if they can recommend what type of therapy or educational interventions might be appropriate.  They are already doing a ton though- but maybe having it more defined like this will help refine what they are doing.

 

I will read those links and check out the books- very interesting!!

 

For those of you who have these issues, or have kids with them, what type of professional have you found most equipped to make recommendations?  As I said above, we had been seeing a behavioral/developmental ped who was knowledgeable about both medical and natural/alternative treatments so could be sort of an overseer of his case, but that dr is no longer practicing and we haven't found someone comparable.  Is this a neuropsych dr kind of thing, OT, Speech, psychiatrist...???  Or all of the above??  I just want to focus my efforts in finding a new dr or therapist appropriately.

 

Another thing he does that may go along with this, is having no idea what are appropriate clothes to wear.  He'll put on his younger brother's clothes which are clearly way too short and small and not even notice.  He will put on shorts and t shirt on a freezing day, and a sweater on a cold day, seemingly unable to reason through what type of clothes to wear on a given day, and put them on backwards, and inside out.  we have to pick out his clothes every day and help him get dressed (he is 9!!!)

 

He also has very poor ability with spelling- no carryover of previous rules learned.  He can do reasonably well on a spelling test of a specific list of words we have practiced, but doesn't figure out for example, that play and tray and hay and say all have the same endings and will follow a pattern if they're on the list- he'll write plaey  trayee  hae  and soae   His handwriting is good but free form writing is nearly unintelligible because of the spelling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This issue with the dressing is very much like my 11 year old with ASD.  In fact, it's the number one thing that's still not come along with teaching, whereas the other issues improved rapidly with social skills classes and anti anxiety meds.  The OT feels it's partly due to under sensitivity to touch, which is also fairly common with ASD.  We can't really get him to feel shoes on the wrong feet or that things are on backwards.  What has mostly helped has been concrete guidelines about dressing, and at a certain point even a visual schedule.

 

About the professionals:  It depends on what you have access to, but we really had the best luck once we had a whole neuro-developmental team collaborate.  The developmental pediatrician oversees, but it's been the clinical psychologist who has made the most concrete decisions about appropriate home and school interventions (especially involving visual processing issues, and like your son, DS used to have very extreme spelling issues and then everything just "clicked" and he's fine) and the OT looked a lot at sensory diet (but especially from the angle of developing his own awareness of sensory needs) and troubleshooting ways to encourage good self care.  The neuro developmental team in our local hospital meet once weekly and collaborate with the school team as well (school services are part of hospital outreach here).  We probably have some pretty big medical and educational differences in our locations, so you may have to work with very different resources, but if you can have access to a collaborative team I recommend it.  If not, your continued involvement with the developmental ped and a clinical psychologist used to dealing with Aspergers/ASD would do.  I find the more you can get everyone to share information and the more you keep track of specific concerns/recommendations/evaluations, the more easily you can get help for your child when something isn't quite working.  It helps so much to get the help early, it's much better than muddling through difficulties as a teen wondering why calculus is a breeze but copying the teacher's name correctly or finding a pencil is difficult.  I was almost 17 when I went to a clinical psychologist to get help, being nine would have been a lot easier.

 

 



 


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#8 of 9 Old 01-08-2012, 07:45 PM
 
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I have some of the same issues. I haven't been diagnosed, but it looks like my DS (3) has aspergers.

 

Sometimes I don't feel like I'm "here" in this world. I feel like my body and brain are just floating around and I have a hard time trying to do things in procession. For example, clearing the table after dinner.

 

I'm thinking of so many other things at the time that even a few things on the table are overwhelming to me. Especially if it involves numerous steps such as putting things back in different rooms.

 

I've learned to compensate by breaking things down into micro steps and then taking little breaks in between the micro steps if that makes sense.

 

I'm one that would have grabbed a pineapple and started trying to fit it into a tiny bowl if I was hungry and thought it would take me too long to figure out all these "micro steps" to getting food the proper or expected way.

 

 


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#9 of 9 Old 01-09-2012, 09:44 AM
 
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Thanks for the book recs! Very helpful!

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