Monthly Archives :

January 2018

Autism Q&A

Autism Speech Therapy

560 315 Paul Louden

Welcome to the 2018 series of the Louden on Autism Q & A . As many of you know, I receive questions every day, and I want to make sure that the answers to these important questions are being shared with all of you.

 

Please know that these are my opinions and my answers come from my research and my own personal experiences. Of course, each situation is different. All of us as people are different. And no two people with or without autism should be treated the same exact way.

 

This week, I received a question about a child with autism who is having difficulties becoming more verbal and if therapy might be the best option.

 

QUESTION

 

What can I do? Where do I go for help? My daughter has had early intervention and ABA therapy. The ABA therapy didn’t seem to help her very much as she did not show much improvement. What therapy can you recommend? Thank you so much for trying to help us understand people with Autism.

 

ANSWER

 

ABA can be valuable for developing the technical ability to do specific things, but can run into challenges when attempting to address the more subtle challenges of autism and motivation. One problem with autism is that through life you learn to lose confidence in yourself.

 

ABA can even reinforce this. You’re taught that you don’t know how to do things and need others to explain them to you. Even when you have the skills, you don’t have the confidence to do it yourself, and you’re afraid of the results of failing. It can result in a very reactive life, only doing things in response to specific other things. Even when told to do it, the internal anxiety can overwhelm you and make it hard to start or do the things.

 

You may want to look into therapies with a developmental focus – ones focused more on a slow approach to internal growth rather than skills focus. I hesitate to recommend individual therapies as I don’t have the time to investigate all of the ones out there in-depth, and I’m not a doctor and can only gauge them loosely. It’s important to work on natural confidence growth. When you succeed at something because someone else told you to do it, and you doubted your ability to do it, that can result in confidence growth, but it can also result in confidence loss: “I can’t even judge whether or not I can do it, I have to depend on someone else for that.”

 

Look for opportunities to create situations where she can choose to act, and succeed. Start in areas she’s interested in, don’t worry too much about the behaviors you want to encourage yet. Just getting her to do things on her own volition, and either succeed or learn from the failures (and in particular, learn that failures are okay) can help with the sort of growth it sounds like you want, I think.

 

Thanks for reading. Check back soon for another Q&A.

Autism Q&A

Signs of Pain

560 315 Paul Louden

Welcome to the 2018 series of the Louden on Autism Q & A . As many of you know, I receive questions every day, and I want to make sure that the answers to these important questions are being shared with all of you.

 

Please know that these are my opinions and my answers come from my research and my own personal experiences. Of course, each situation is different. All of us as people are different. And no two people with or without autism should be treated the same exact way.

 

This week, I received a question about a child with autism who is having difficulties communicating signs of pain to his parents and grandparents.

 

QUESTION

 

I’m having a very difficult time understanding when my son is hurting, hungry or showing other signs of pain. Any advice?

 

ANSWER

 

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do before he’s developed a path of communication. Just like any person, if they don’t tell you something, you can’t really know it other than just looking for clues or signs.

 

Those of us on the spectrum can have communication delays, but sometimes it’s also an issue of communication methods. For various reasons, sometimes people with autism work better with communication methods other than words. They may be unable to say what they need, but may be able to write, or point to pictures, or use other means. It may be worth experimenting with other ways to see if he can show you something or do something when he’s hungry.

 

I think that it would be beneficial if you work to understand what methods of communication might work best in certain situations, as these can change often. Dependent on how your child is feeling, one day they might want to communicate in a different way than before.

 

The best advice I can give is that being open-minded about communication methods is very, very important. Not all people on the spectrum will communicate problems of pain or hunger the same way — especially if they’re non-verbal in most cases. But working to make things easier on them, rather than getting frustrated, is a great place to start.

 

Thanks for reading. Check back soon for another Q&A.

Autism Q&A

Dating For People With Autism

560 315 Paul Louden

Welcome to the 2018 series of the Louden on Autism Q & A . As many of you know, I receive questions every day, and I want to make sure that the answers to these important questions are being shared with all of you.

 

Please know that these are my opinions and my answers come from my research and my own personal experiences. Of course, each situation is different. All of us as people are different. And no two people with or without autism should be treated the same exact way.

 

This week, I received a question about a child with autism who is having difficulties talking with females and his parents are worried about his dating life.

 

QUESTION

 

My son has a rough time talking with girls. He will tell them how much he likes them. He will try to interact with girls in the ways he sees on TV and in movies, but his quest to find a girlfriend has caused issues at school. I don’t think he is trying to upset people, but he just doesn’t understand relationships in general. Any advice?

 

ANSWER

 

This is a very difficult topic even for neurotypical kids – dating is something you have to try and fail at repeatedly before you sort of get the hang of things. Some things are just going to come slower for those of us on the spectrum. That being said, I do feel it might be best for all directions on the topic to come from one source. Contradictory directions can be very confusing. As well, if one person knows how to communicate ideas to him better, that can be important, because with the habit of taking things more literally or more absolute, good advice can sometimes backfire.



My biggest recommendation would really just be focusing on the question “why?” As you said, you think he just wants friends, and just wants a girlfriend. Focus on exploring those ideas. Not just stopping at “because that’s what other people are doing” but into “why do you think they’re doing it?” And the idea that such things are a two-way street, it’s like the idea of sharing. You’re sharing something, the relationship, and when you’re sharing you don’t tell someone “I want this” but rather “would you like to share this with me?” And if someone says no, you accept that.

 

But really, focus on “what does he hope to get in a relationship.” So often it’s the answer you said above, “because others are doing it” or a similar “because you’re supposed to” and without a foundation of a realistic reason for being in relationships, it’s hard to build a good set of ideas about how to go about starting and maintaining one. It will come with time, but learning experiences are all part of the process for all humans, especially those of us on the spectrum.

 

Thanks for reading. Check back soon for another Q&A.

Autism Q&A

Children Becoming More Defiant

560 315 Paul Louden

Welcome to the 2018 series of the Louden on Autism Q & A . As many of you know, I receive questions every day, and I want to make sure that the answers to these important questions are being shared with all of you.

 

Please know that these are my opinions and my answers come from my research and my own personal experiences. Of course, each situation is different. All of us as people are different. And no two people with or without autism should be treated the same exact way.

 

This week, I received a question about a child with autism who is becoming more and more defiant and difficult to deal with on a day-to-day basis.

 

QUESTION

 

My 24-year-old daughter on the spectrum has suddenly refused to do some things that were givens for years that she was so good about doing. She used to be very nice about doing chores and the day-t0-day life responsibilities. But recently, that has changed. Any advice?

 

ANSWER

 

It’s hard to say, exactly. Changes in behavior can come from a lot of things. Often behavior like that, which may be seen as a “regression” suggests that there’s some new challenge in her life, something that’s taking mental energy, and leaving less for being able to do things that may have seemed “easy” for her before.

 

This can be something like physical distress, such as illness or pain from co-morbid conditions, or it can be emotional distress, such as reaching those mental “teenage years” where she’s wanting something else out of life, but doesn’t know how to express it or relieve some of that stress. She’s most likely doing it as the only way she knows to help preserve her mental health, but it may be hard to observe and see if you can figure out whether something has changed externally or internally, or if it’s just a change in personality as she grows.

 

A lot of the challenges we face in raising children with autism is that situations are all so different for each person on the spectrum and as we all get older, things impact our lives differently. Some situations that typically did not bother a child, might bother them in the future, or in the present. Overall, it’s important to know that she is likely working hard to preserve a feeing of safety and she’s just growing as a person. As we grow, we all change — we need to allow people with autism that opportunity as well and not jump to any conclusions about defiance.

 

Thanks for reading. Check back soon for another Q&A.