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Old 02-24-2012, 09:09 PM   #1
SmallWorld71
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Middle Schooler with Asperger's/ Sensory - need advice

So, I am seeking advice concerning my nephew (grade 7, turns 13 in April).
Background: DNephew has Asperger's/ Sensory Issues. Like many children on the spectrum, he is very smart but has poor social skills. His mother is pretty sick and also has some psych difficulties and has been unable to work for a while and really doesn't leave the house much other than to go to Dr's appts. My brother (his dad) has been working a lot to make up for the financial loss when SIL had to stop working. Anyway, as a result of this, I often invite DN to accompany us when I take the kids places - movies, museums etc... Lately, I've been having some difficulties with him and this is where I am seeking your advice as I have worked with little ones on the spectrum, but not older ones:

My nephew (I'll call him "Joe") has been doing a lot of what I can only think to describe as overreacting.
A couple recent examples:
1) We were on the subway heading to a museum the other day and were standing as there weren't available seats. Joe wasn't holding on well and when the train starting moving, he crashed pretty hard into DS13 who said, "OW,Joe! " Joe then went on a HUGE tirade and started YELLING about what an awful person he is, how he didn't know the train was going to move but everybody hates him anyway....he was really putting himself down and other people were getting scared and starting to move away from us.
2) He was at our house for dinner (unexpectedly) recently and DH had made a sauce and pasta. Joe is VERY picky and doesn't eat pasta. So, I offered him some cereal or a PB sandwich. He kept saying he wasn't hungry. Well, come to find out later he was hungry. But, DH had asked him how much he weighs earlier in the evening (part of a bigger conversation) and he took that to mean that DH thought he was fat and had decided he could never eat in front of him again, but didn't say anything.
These are just two small examples. But these things have been happening a lot. Joe's self-esteem is almost non-existent and I don't know what to do to help.

If you are still reading, Any suggestions or books you could recommend would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 02-25-2012, 07:26 AM   #2
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The first thought I had when reading your message, is that like many ASD kids these outbursts sound like anxiety. In our kids, anxiety can manifest itself in really unexpected ways. I am not a Doctor and would not presume to attempt a diagnosis, but I assume Joe has a Doctor and this is something that should be discussed with him. Would your brother let you attend an appointment? Sometimes the view from someone a little further away from the situation can be really helpful, My Sister catches things with DS that I simply don't notice or have gotten used to, and she is great about bringing them to my attention. Good luck.
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Old 02-25-2012, 09:38 AM   #3
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I can relate.. I have a 12 yr old Aspie/adhd with sensory issues and I to have my own health issues that keep me from working. What I dont have is family that cares as much as you do .

I know that with my DS everytime I am ill or his schedule changes his behavor changes. He will regress. I am also starting to deal with teenage hormones. All teenangers go through the drama but with our ASD kids it is amplified. Question for you! Does Joe know he has aspergers? If so This is a good book Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's is a New York Times bestseller by John Elder Robison, chronicling the author's life with Asperger syndrome and tough times growing up. John Elder also has another book called Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian with Practical Advice for Aspergians, Misfits, Families & Teachers. I find his advice most useful because he has aspergers and I am able to understand what my son needs better. My DS knows he has Aspergers, so wer have read the books together, He likes the fact that John Elder has a Facebook page because he dosent feel so alone in the Aspie world.

I hope this helps please feel free to PM me if you want to chat Kim
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:06 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by krisnme View Post
The first thought I had when reading your message, is that like many ASD kids these outbursts sound like anxiety. In our kids, anxiety can manifest itself in really unexpected ways. I am not a Doctor and would not presume to attempt a diagnosis, but I assume Joe has a Doctor and this is something that should be discussed with him. Would your brother let you attend an appointment? Sometimes the view from someone a little further away from the situation can be really helpful, My Sister catches things with DS that I simply don't notice or have gotten used to, and she is great about bringing them to my attention. Good luck.
Thank-you. I will find out about the Dr. I know he was seeing someone last year due to issues with being bullied, but not sure if that is still the case. Anxiety would make sense. While he does OK academically in school, I know he has a hard time getting along with the other students and I see from his interactions with my own son, how hard it is for him to relate to others his age.
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:20 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goofy4mykids View Post
I can relate.. I have a 12 yr old Aspie/adhd with sensory issues and I to have my own health issues that keep me from working. What I dont have is family that cares as much as you do .

I know that with my DS everytime I am ill or his schedule changes his behavor changes. He will regress. I am also starting to deal with teenage hormones. All teenangers go through the drama but with our ASD kids it is amplified. Question for you! Does Joe know he has aspergers? If so This is a good book Look Me in the Eye: My Life with Asperger's is a New York Times bestseller by John Elder Robison, chronicling the author's life with Asperger syndrome and tough times growing up. John Elder also has another book called Be Different: Adventures of a Free-Range Aspergian with Practical Advice for Aspergians, Misfits, Families & Teachers. I find his advice most useful because he has aspergers and I am able to understand what my son needs better. My DS knows he has Aspergers, so wer have read the books together, He likes the fact that John Elder has a Facebook page because he dosent feel so alone in the Aspie world.

I hope this helps please feel free to PM me if you want to chat Kim
Thank-you for the book recommendations! I will look into them. I really think it would help him (and us!) if he understood more about himself; he is so down on himself. He recently had an evaluation at school (he's had IEP's or 504 plans for years, depending on the year) and he has HUGE splits in his abilities. With many of his skills being in the superior/ high average range and many others under the 5th%. I think he needs to know this information too. It must be so hard to be so bright yet not be able to do the simplest things like get yourself ready for school because you can't remember what to do next.

And with two teens, I understand the drama. But, as you said, it can be even harder for the ASD kids. I am having a hard time figuring out what is hormone related and what is spectrum related. And then there is the issue of what to do. When my own teens are being surly, I find a little humor/ sarcasm diffuses things quickly. But, that doesn't work with someone who is so literal and I find myself saying the wrong thing all time.

Thanks for you help.
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Old 02-25-2012, 10:46 AM   #6
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I agree by this age he should be well versed in his genetics and the gifts and challenges that they create and how they are interrelated.

If not he is likely to be suffering from anxiety and insecurity that can be debilitating at times.

How is his social skills curriculum going at school?

A great book for him to read would be genius genes (Obrien), which is available on Amazon
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Old 02-25-2012, 11:32 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by bookwormde View Post
I agree by this age he should be well versed in his genetics and the gifts and challenges that they create and how they are interrelated.

If not he is likely to be suffering from anxiety and insecurity that can be debilitating at times.

How is his social skills curriculum going at school?

A great book for him to read would be genius genes (Obrien), which is available on Amazon
Thank-you for the book recommendation.

I don't know a ton about what kinds of services he is receiving at school. I got involved back when he was in K and the school did not want to offer anything and helped brother and SIL fight for services. After that, he did really well for a long time, so I pretty much stayed out of it. Middle School has been one problem after the next though, and I may have to push my way in again. Brother and SIL are very caring people and want what's best for nephew, but they are not the argumentative/ fighter type and have a hard time pushing for services. It's a fine line I walk between being the caring aunt and the pushy big sister/ SIL!
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Old 02-25-2012, 11:34 AM   #8
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I would read John Elder Robison's books yourself before giving them to your nephew. I love him and his brother Augusten Burroughs (who wrote Running with Scissors), but their books are definitely aimed at an adult audience. Augusten's are much more intense (I would never let my kids read him, although I do), but John Elder's book _Look Me in the Eye_ also contains drugs, sex, profanity, etc. To each their own; I just thought I would mention it.
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Old 02-25-2012, 11:35 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by BusyMom2Three View Post
I would read John Elder Robison's books yourself before giving them to your nephew. I love him and his brother Augusten Burroughs (who wrote Running with Scissors), but their books are definitely aimed at an adult audience. Augusten's are much more intense (I would never let my kids read him, although I do), but John Elder's book _Look Me in the Eye_ also contains drugs, sex, profanity, etc. To each their own; I just thought I would mention it.
Thanks for the info.
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Old 02-25-2012, 06:10 PM   #10
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My DS AS is in 7th grade now, 6th was not not bad since he had to teachers who "got it", not so much this year.

The social complexity grows quickly at this age an they needs a robust social skills curriculum to keep up.

It is not uncommon for some parents of AS kids to have some struggles too with their contributing genetics if they never became "self aware". Often they learn a lot through their kids, I know I sure did.

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Old 02-25-2012, 08:01 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by bookwormde View Post
My DS AS is in 7th grade now, 6th was not not bad since he had to teachers who "got it", not so much this year.

The social complexity grows quickly at this age an they needs a robust social skills curriculum to keep up.

It is not uncommon for some parents of AS kids to have some struggles to with their contributing genetics if they never be came "self aware". Often they learn a lot through their kids, I know I sure did.

bookwormde
Makes sense.
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