The Details of Asperger’s Syndrome

Hello, I am LaShondra Manning, a therapist at Lifetree specializing in treatment for teens and tweens.  While pursuing my doctorate degree, I’ve been able to study some of the more challenging diagnoses’ in the realm of therapeutic treatment, including Aspberger’s Syndrome. I have discovered a lot more about this syndrome recently, both through my intensive study and through working with Aspberger’s-diagnosed teenaged boys in my LPC internship.  I hope that the excerpt from my paper found below helps you to get a better understanding of Asperger’s Syndrome as well.  Even for those that are already familiar with the syndrome or have a diagnosed loved one, sense sensitivity and repetitive behaviors may be particularly challenging:

Asperger’s Symptoms: Sensitivity and Repetitive Behaviors

Children with Asperger’s syndrome also have sensitive senses.  Examples of this symptom manifesting include:  “oversensitivity to smells, textures of clothes, and a variety of sounds:  loud sounds, regular sounds, and the noise of a crowd” (Docter and Naqvi, 2010, p. 115).

Sometimes, children with Asperger’s sensory needs will find that they “manifest as getting too close to another individual or touching inappropriately because of a need for tactile stimulation” (Docter and Naqvi, 2010, p. 115).  This overwhelming need for tactile stimulation also leads to self-stimulatory behaviors such as: hand-flapping, twirling or fidgeting with objects, pulling or twisting their hair, waving of hands in front of their faces, constantly picking at fingers, making noises with their mouths, or feeling the need to stand up and move their legs (Docter and Naqvi, 2010, p. 120; Jacobsen, 2003, p. 74).  Additionally, Jacobsen (2003) states that these children, “may mouth or chew on objects, their clothes, or their fingers and they may rock or bounce” (p.74).  When the symptoms use these expression forms in public, “these activities may make others uncomfortable, yet they may actually be soothing and may even help these children to stay focused and calm.  Tolerating these behaviors requires our understanding that the need is appropriate, even if the behavior is not socially acceptable” (Jacobsen, 2003, p. 74).  Therefore, planning ahead with input from parents can best prepare the Aspberger’s-diagnosed student to be successful in social and public environments.

Facilitating Improvement and Management

Jackson (2002) offers suggestions on how parents can assist their children with Asperger’s syndrome, as they deal with their children’s sense sensitivities and repetitive behaviors:

  • Give clear and specific instructions about what you want your child to do.
  • Avoid using similes and particularly metaphors unless you can explain them accurately.
  • Don’t ever presume that your child can pick up the rights and wrongs of certain behaviors along the course of his or her life.
  • All things need to be spelled out clearly to any child, but a child on the autistic spectrum needs things spelled out to them more than most.
  • Teach them about the value of money and the rights and wrongs of taking other people’s things. Explain clearly that this is a rule.
  • You need to tell your kids that others will be sad and angry if their property is taken and use illustrations from the past so that the child can identify with how the other person may feel.
  • Explain things in a way that is very clear and use comparisons that your own child is likely to understand.  Analogies from their specialist subject will capture their attention.
  • Keep checking things over with your child to make sure they have understood.

For more information or to schedule an appointment call us at (972) 234-6634

Kathleen Mills

Kathleen is a creative and gifted therapist who has extensive experience in helping children, adolescents, and adults with a variety of issues.