I know my blog is mostly about Torah Family Living, but asperger’s syndrome has become an integral part of our lives, and I know the same is true for many of you. We have been working with this whole asperger thing for about a year now, and have found some things that work. I hope they will be helpful if you are finding yourself in the same boat. Just FYI, my husband has aspergers syndrome, as does my five year old daughter, and I’m a bit suspicious of my two year old son.
Give digestive enzymes a try.
This one change has made the most difference in our home. There is definitely a connection between the digestive system and the brain. If the digestive system is not working right, the brain is affected. I would highly recommend the book Enzymes for Autism. We use Doctor’s Best digestive enzymes from Vitacost. This link will give new customers $10 towards their first purchase. Sadie’s speech and emotions are so much improved when she is taking her enzymes. When she misses them, she starts staring and stops talking. Doug also feels so much more in control and able to face the world when he has his enzymes.
Follow a relatively consistent routine.
We don’t schedule everything to the hour, but we do have a pattern to our daily lives. We eat burgers every Monday. We follow a school schedule, etc. I’m thankful for friends and family that call first so we can be prepared. It is helpful to my aspies to know what to expect, and what is expected from them.
Explain appropriate behavior.
Many times, when we correct a child, we say something like, “You know better than that.” In the case of an aspie, that might not be the case. They didn’t get the social behavior manual. If Sadie is hitting and screaming, I ask her, “Do you want to play with your brother?” “Yes.” “He doesn’t want to listen to you scream or get hit. If you want to play, you can’t do that.” Sounds silly, but she doesn’t really understand and needs me to explain an alternate point of view.
We also work on communication. She comes to me screaming and all upset. I need to first calm her down, and then we can work on solving the problem. So I require her to stop crying by explaining that crying doesn’t tell me what she needs. I need to hear words. She usually stops within a few seconds and then she can explain the problem. It is often a simple problem that is easily solved.
Prepare for changes.
If something out of the ordinary comes up, prepare them for it. Sadie needed to go the eye doctor, so we talked about it ahead of time. She remembered going with her big sister Holly. So her idea of going to the eye doctor was that she would first go to the girl doctor (running the machine) and then the boy doctor (checking her eyes). Funny how her perception was different. She was very excited and even the doctor commented on how she did a great job.
Know that “You’ve got this thing!”
You’re the momma, and you know your child better than anyone else. Do lots of research, ask for help, but know that at the end of the day, you do have what it takes to care for your child. YHVH created an amazing thing in families. We are designed to help each other, and when we fall short, YHVH gives us what we need.
Look into their eyes when giving directions.
I can’t expect Sadie to catch my instructions if I am calling across the room. So I get eye contact and give her very clear instructions, then I often have her repeat what I said. Then she is able to carry out my instructions. Otherwise, she isn’t focusing on me and she’s not listening either.
Rock, rock, rock.
There’s something about rocking that helps anyone feel better. But it seems particularly helpful for my aspies. Sadie can go from screaming to laughing and smiling in a minute of rocking. Elisha also immediately settles when I hold him on my lap. I think it is perhaps a combination of the rhythmic movement and the physical touch that they find so reassuring.
Give firm hugs and lots of lovin’.
Again, the physical touch, particularly firm touch, is very reassuring for them. In a busy day, it’s important to take the time for snuggles and cuddling. That is a big part of how they receive love. Find out what speaks to your child and give them plenty of it. For them the world can be a confusing place. An island of snuggling affection goes such a long way.
Try to eliminate heavy metals.
It just so happens that many of the symptoms of heavy metal toxicity are also on the list of symptoms of autism. That just doesn’t seem like a coincidence to me. We are working to cleanse our bodies of heavy metals. So far, we have been using zeolite, a volcanic dust that is negatively charged. It actually acts like a magnet to those heavy metals, grabs onto them, and flushes them out of the system. You can get zeolite here.
Enjoy the uniqueness of your child.
As Doug so often reminds me, there is nothing wrong with Sadie. She’ll be fine. Why? Because YHVH made her, and gave her wonderful abilities. She is a unique and delightful person. Embrace your child’s personality and truly enjoy them. It doesn’t all have to be about changing them. Bolster their strengths and minimize their weaknesses. We have discovered that even with enzymes and dietary changes and all our other efforts, aspergers doesn’t go away. And that’s okay! I love learning how they view the world and watching them face challenges and succeed. I do my best to equip them to handle difficulties, but I would never wish them to be different than they are. After all, they are my wonderful aspies, and I am so thankful for them.
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