You can best serve your child by
Asperger's syndrome and providing a supportive and
loving home environment. Remember that your child, just like every other child,
has his or her own strengths and weaknesses and needs as much support,
patience, and understanding as you can give.
about the condition and about what to expect is an important part of helping
your child develop independence and succeed outside of his or her home. Learn about
Asperger's syndrome by talking to your doctor or contacting Asperger's
organizations. A good source is OASIS @ MAAP: The Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support Center at www.aspergersyndrome.org. Learning about Asperger's will reduce your and your family
members' stress and help your child succeed.
By Nancy RonesEvery inch of progress that Ryan Kalkowski makes in his battle against
autism gives his parents new hope — and new determination. In this month’s
installment, we look at how far this little boy has come, how far he still has
to go, and what his family is willing to sacrifice to get there.
In the prevent installment of REDBOOK'S Living With Autism series, Nicole
Kalkowski was amazed and overjoyed when she began witnessing signs of progress
in her little boy. After Ryan started...
The following are some suggestions on how to help your
child who has Asperger's syndrome. Some of the ideas will be helpful, and some
may not work for you. Flexibility, creativity, and a willingness to continue to
learn will all help you as you raise your child.
General strategies for success
Children with Asperger's syndrome benefit from
daily routines for meals, homework, and bedtime. They also like specific rules,
and consistent expectations mean less stress and confusion for
Many people with Asperger's syndrome do best with verbal
(rather than nonverbal) teaching and assignments. A direct, concise, and
straightforward manner is also helpful.
People with Asperger's
syndrome often have trouble understanding the "big picture" and tend to see
part of a situation rather than the whole. That's why they often benefit from a
parts-to-whole teaching approach, starting with part of a concept and adding to
it to demonstrate encompassing ideas.
Visual supports, including
schedules and other written materials that serve as organizational aids, can be
Be aware that background noises, such as a clock ticking
or the hum of fluorescent lighting, may be distracting to your
Children with Asperger's syndrome often mature more slowly.
Don't always expect them to "act their age."
Try to identify stress
triggers and avoid them if possible. Prepare your child in advance for
difficult situations, and teach him or her ways to cope. For example, teach
your child coping skills for dealing with change or new situations.
Strategies for developing social skills
Your child may not understand the social norms
and rules that come more naturally to other children. Provide clear
explanations of why certain behaviors are expected, and teach rules for those
Encourage your child to learn how to interact with
people and what to do when spoken to, and explain why it is important. Give
lots of praise, especially when he or she uses a social skill without
Practice activities, such as games or
question-and-answer sessions, that call for taking turns or putting yourself in
the other person's place.
Help your child understand others'
feelings by role-playing and watching and discussing human behaviors seen in
movies or on television. Provide a model for your child by telling him or her
about your own feelings and reactions to those feelings.
your child how to read and respond appropriately to social cues. Give him or
her "stock" phrases to use in various social situations, such as when being
introduced. You can also teach your child how to interact by
Foster involvement with others, especially if your
child tends to be a loner.
Teach your child about public and
private places, so that he or she learns what is appropriate in both
circumstances. For example, hugging may not be appropriate at school but is
usually fine at home.