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The numerous difficulties of autism spectrum disorders that people face on a daily basis can be extremely hard to deal with. I should know: being the mother of a child, now adult, with Asperger Autism and Bipolar disorder, I have received some of the worst expressions and have heard some extremely rude remarks from people that could not, did not, or would not see that my son has a disability.
The reason may be is that he sometimes, at a glance, appears to have normal reactions and looks normal (whatever normal is). If you look and listen carefully you can see that he is tense, stutters when talking at times (difficultly with communication skills) and he has an odd gait, a stiff walk. When he walks it is not the soft sounds of a shoe walking across the room, it is more like a horse clopping around in a stall. You will notice that he is intent on what he is doing and sometimes unaware of his surroundings. He is focused on one thing and does not have the skills to multi-task.
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A Typical Scenario from Personal Experience
My son is 30 years old and is so smart in the computer field he has the ability to write computer programs, create and update web sites, has HTML coding skills and the list can go on. He writes extremely well and is so smart in allot of respects. In fact, he writes articles on computer technology, cell phone technology, and gaming for Bright Hub. (I only wish I knew as much as he knows.)
The problem comes when he is trying to apply for a job position. He does not have the social or daily living skills conducive to making a good impression on an interviewer, even though he has the skills and the knowledge to do the job.
It is difficult for people that live with autism to understand they have a problem with social skills. This is one of the inherent difficulties that people living with autism spectrum disorders face every day. They believe their behavior is acceptable even though they are talking in a very loud voice, appearing not to pay attention to someone who is speaking directly to them, making no eye contact or even just walking off before whatever is being discussed is completed.
Loss of interest one would think. But no, that is not true, at least not all of the time. It could be that the autistic person is aware of what is being said and they just don't know how to respond appropriately to let you know they comprehend.
Poor social skills can also be revealed in another way. It could be the person with a form of autism will begin to complete your sentences, and interjecting his/her thoughts in a very loud voice, or just saying what is on their mind at the time. This would obviously be a difficulty that is noticeable to the public, but the person with the disability cannot seem to have control over their actions.
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So What Else is Difficult, and What Can Help Counterbalance the Associated Problems?
Another extreme difficulty is the daily living skills. Most people take showers, shave, wash their hair and have good grooming skills. We all change our clothes, brush our teeth, and comb our hair daily because good hygiene is a must to be acceptable in public. All of, or some of the daily living skills that are important to us are not important to someone who has Asperger Autism. I do not understand why after all of these years repeating and talking and counseling and taking whatever course you can take to emphasize the importance of good hygiene it has not taken hold, but it has not.
Medications can assist with the behaviors, but here is no known cure for Asperger Autism. You can make a difference in the quality of life for someone who has a form of autism by learning how to deal with the behaviors. Be consistent in what you say when giving instructions, and have patience and a lot of love.
I do have to reiterate that you really do have to repeat things over and over hoping that what you are saying is getting through and that it will stick. There is a fine line between really trying to help and also being verbally abusive.
If you are like me, and you continue to teach daily you will feel sometimes that you can over-do it. That is not a good feeling because you do not want to damage a good self-esteem that you have worked on for years, and that is very rewarding to see.