Autism Spectrum Disorder Tools (including Asperger’s & Developmental Delays)

Autism Spectrum Disorder Tools (including Asperger’s & Developmental Delays)

When I was 14 I was diagnosed with Non-verbal Learning Disorder (NLD). My mother and father spend countless amounts of time and money looking for ways to help their son with this strange diagnosis. In 1997-98, things like this were not common place and the attitude of education was barely changing from that of “push them through” to “help them overcome”. In fact, the teacher who completed the testing that diagnosed me told my mother that, “Brian will be lucky if he flips burgers or changes oil for a living.” I am thankful for my mother, who refused to take that answer and pulled me from school to make sure I got a quality education.

But I digress. In recent years, the psychological community has reclassified NLD as being a part of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Similar to Asperger’s Syndrome, NLD is grouped into the Autism spectrum to simplify the process of diagnosis, prevent confusion, and increase ease of treatment. Here are the signs of NLD as provided by University of Michigan’s medical website:

What are the signs of NLD?

  • Great vocabulary and verbal expression
  • Excellent memory skills
  • Attention to detail, but misses the big picture
  • Trouble understanding reading
  • Difficulty with math, especially word problems
  • Poor abstract reasoning
  • Physically awkward; poor coordination
  • Messy and laborious handwriting
  • Concrete thinking; taking things very literally
  • Trouble with nonverbal communication, like body language, facial expression, and tone of voice
  • Poor social skills; difficulty making and keeping friends
  • Fear of new situations
  • Trouble adjusting to changes
  • May be very naïve and lack common sense
  • Anxiety, depression, low self-esteem
  • May withdraw, becoming agoraphobic (abnormal fear of open spaces)

If you click the link above, you will see some advice given about how to help these people. As someone who has this neurology, I completely endorse the ideas presented. Furthermore, these ideas are actually useful for any student with higher functioning autism, as well as students who may have been diagnosed with ADD/ADHD (or show similar symptoms), who struggle with anxiety or anger issues, or may just be overwhelmed with life. The rest of this post is going to be listing different resources and pieces of information that might help parents, teachers, and students overcome challenges rooted in ASD or similar.

Asperger Experts:

The young men who created this service were diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and have chosen to do something about it to help others. Their advice and observations apply to high-functioning ASD as well as a lot of lower function ASD as well.

Here are a couple great videos that will give you an introduction to their work. I also highly recommend visiting their website.

What is Asperger’s?

How Asperger’s Works

 

Polly Bath, Behavior Specialist:

Polly’s work is exceptional. Furthermore, her work applies to MOST behaviors in the classroom, not just ASD. With a little imagination, the tools she offers can be applied at home too. In either case, Polly offers some great tools to help resolve behaviors and to avoid reinforcing behaviors that are counter-productive.

I especially love her quick 1 to 2 minute videos that offer expert advice in a simple and fast way.

Here are some examples:

A Quick Little Way to Interrupt a Behavior Escalation

Don’t Wait Until a Kid Kicks the Desk Over

When a Student Tries to Bait Me…

How to Handle an Angry Student

 

Vital Smarts:

This company is research based and focuses on solving problems for businesses and adults, but their advice applies in so many walks of life! I especially love their YouTube series, the BS Guys. BS as in behavior science. Here is a playlist that has all of the BS Guys videos.

I also highly recommend their books. They are available in print and audio formats.

 

Updates:

As I move forward, I will update this post from time to time to add other resources and ideas that will help. Some might be original ideas that I have tested and proven to work for me, others will be research based or service based. In either case, I hope this resource will be helpful to you. Please feel free to contact me via the site’s contact form to offer suggestions or comments.

Thank you,

Brian Middleton