Category Archives: communication

Paul Louden

Paul Louden is a radio host with autism who hosts a radio show called “Theories of Mind.”  The show is about how adults go through life with autism.

Find him at KTEK 1110 in Houston, Iradio, or at www.business1110ktek.com.

Best Apps for Autistic Kids

Yes, it can be frustrating for kids with autism to communicate or socialize. Here’s are the best apps:

  1. Talking Larry: helps improve language skills as they make Talking Larry repeat their words, whistle, and talk
  2. Prologquo2Go: an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) solution for people who have difficulty speaking or cannot speak at all. Because the program allows users to talk with symbols or typed text, the app speaks in a natural-sounding voice that suits their age and character and is especially helpful for kids with language development delays.
  3. Injini-Child Development Game Suite: features 10 games and 90 puzzles that were developed based on two years of feedback from parents, early childhood educators, and occupational, speech, and cognitive experts. With its play-based learning style, toddlers and preschoolers will practice fine motor and language skills, visual processing, memory, spatial awareness, and understanding cause and effect.
  4. TOBY Playpad: uses a dynamic curriculum to create a program of tasks for you and your child to do. Tasks, which were designed by a speech pathologist, clinical psychologist and occupational therapist, increase or decrease in difficulty based on your child’s progress.
  5. Tiny Fractions: starts out very simply, but offers a visually interactive way to learn fractions.
  6. Grace: offers non-speaking kids an easy way to communicate independently via pictures
  7. What’s the Word: shows four pictures and lets users choose the word that describes them all. The app builds vocabulary, and is a simple and fun way for children with autism to engage.
  8.  SpeechTree: another augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) app that uses an interactive learning program to provide beginning and emerging AAC communicators with lots of practice, encouragement, and support.
  9. TapToTalk: an excellent way to give nonverbal or developmentally delayed children a voice and mode of communication all their own.
  10. Look At Me: helps kids learn how to better maintain eye contact, uses photos, facial recognition tech, and a series of games to help kids read emotions and communicate with other people.

 

Advice for Parents of Children Just Diagnosed with Autism:

Don’t be ashamed of yourselves. It’s not your fault. It just happened. It’s okay that you’re frustrated and overwhelmed, but things will get better in time. Be patient. Don’t push the autistic person too hard. That person is still there for you no matter what. Don’t give up! Quitting is not an option. Don’t worry what other people think. Find some support from people who understand your situation. To hell with the ignorant ones! Build a community of people you can get advice and support from.

You don’t always have to rely on just specialists and professionals, but on other parents of kids with autism, and adults on the autism spectrum as well. Jason Katims, the executive producer of NBC’s “Parenthood,” and the father of a son with autism, once said he thought that finding that community was the first thing any parent should do after their child is diagnosed. A network of new friends might recommend a therapist or a social skills group or a place for a haircut. More importantly, they’re on the same boat as you are. Whatever you’re going through or struggling with or celebrating, many of them have been there and they can relate. A little empathy can help a lot on a difficult day. People with autism want your unconditional love.

Here’s what other parents say: Sharon Fuentes, author of “The Don’t Freak Out Guide to Parenting Kids with Asperger’s,” blogs about her experience raising her son Jay, 13, at Mama’s Turn Now. Her advice: “Your son or daughter is still the same person they were before they got the diagnosis. I know this may not have been the path you would have chosen to have traveled down, but some of the best journeys in life are ones that happened when we unexpectedly took a left turn. Yes the road can get bumpy, but that is when you need to reach out to all those that have been there before you who do whatever they can to smooth the path for your child. Remember that you are not alone, trust your own instincts, breathe, laugh often, believe in yourself and more importantly believe in your child and never ever lose hope! ” Bernie DeLeo is a drama teacher at West Springfield High School in Fairfax and has a 20-year-old son, Charlie, with autism. This spring, the school staged a play DeLeo wrote, “Nerdicus (My Brother with Autism),” about his daughter’s experience growing up with a sibling with autism. His advice: “My biggest advice to parents is, first, don’t panic. Second, after the initial freak-out and panic (you will, even though I told you not to), educate yourselves and know your rights and options. Third and most important, don’t let people tell you what they think your child is capable of. They will immediately see the disability, and NOT your child’s capabilities! Every child will be different. At my son’s high school, they recommended that he not take languages or aim for the Advanced Diploma. ‘Special Ed children tend not to do well with languages,’ they said. We ignored that advice, he took 5 years of Spanish, and now he’s living away from home and majoring in languages at Marshall University.” Shannon Des Roches Rosa is one of the editors of the Thinking Person’s Guide to Autism, a book and Web site devoted to providing information information from autism parents, autistics and autism professionals. She also has a personal blog at Squidalicious, where she writes about her adventures parenting 13-year-old Leo, who has autism. Her advice: “I wish — more than anything — I’d tried harder to understand my son instead of trying to ‘fix’ him. He was the same sweet, capable boy both before and after his autism diagnosis; the only change was my awareness of his needs. And he needs me to love him, respect him and champion him. He needs me to make sure he has time to play. He needs me to fight for appropriate communication and learning resources. He needs me to get him supports to navigate an autism-unfriendly world. Understanding instead of fighting Leo’s autism makes us both much happier people.”

Raising a Child with Autism: Educate yourself about autism. Love your child unconditionally. Ask someone is already aware of autism for advice if you need any help. Teach your family about autism. Learn how to deal with their behaviors or seek professional help that fits your criteria. Use caution or be prepared for their meltdowns or certain situations. Plan time for breaks. Help them boost their confidence when they’re feeling down. If they find out they’re autistic, talk to them about it. Help them understand the meaning of their condition and understand how they feel about dealing with their disability. Parents, you and your children will still lead normal lives. Don’t worry about other people say or think. Some people are just ignorant. There is nothing to be ashamed for raising an autistic child. Tell your children there is nothing to be ashamed of for being different. They are still special no matter what.

5 Lessons From Who’s Been There, Done Autism: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/julie-m-green/5-life-lessons-from-moms-whove-been-there-done-autism_b_6095578.html 13 Harsh Truths Only Parents of Children with Autism Face: https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/13-harsh-truths-only-parents-of-kids-with-autism-115310158708.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/cecilie-aslaksen/parents-of-children-with-autism-lets-stop-making-excuses_b_10004176.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592&yptr=yahoo

Siblings:

The “typically developing” siblings of autistic children are, in fact, the furthest thing from typical. Often, they are wiser and more mature than their age would suggest. And they have to be, given the myriad challenges they face: parental responsibility; a feeling of isolation from the rest of their family; confusion, fear, anger and embarrassment about their autistic sibling. And on top of all of it, guilt for having these feelings. My advice: Don’t feel left out or jealous. It’s okay if you feel neglected, but resenting your family or autistic sibling does not help. It only makes the situation worse. And yelling at your autistic sibling out of anger does NOT help either. Find some common ground with your autistic brother or sister and find a way to connect them. Don’t push them too hard. If you feel left out, talk to your parents and figure out how to work it out—getting the equal amount of love and attention as your autistic sibling. It’s not the end of the world. You’ll still get love and attention no matter what. Be patient and understanding. Put yourselves in your parents’ shoes to understand them. Create special time. There is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about. Don’t worry about what other people think or say. When you think your sibling’s embarrassing, encourage honesty and laugh. Example: if you have friends who make fun of your sibling, defend your sibling and don’t make fun of them. Tell your friends what’s going on and teach them how to tolerate your sibling, and if they don’t understand, they’re not your real friends. A lot of typical siblings are more outspoken. They’ll go up to people and say, ‘Yes, that’s my brother or sister. He has special needs. Do you have any questions?’ Sense of humor is key. Another example: At a bus stop, when an autistic kid, Annie, started jumping up and down and making weird noises-just being herself. When her brother, Charlie’s friend started making fun of Annie, Charlie said, “hey, don’t make make fun of my sister! Everybody learns differently. You gotta respect that.” Siblings, stand up for your brother or sister when he/she is being bullied by other people. If you’re embarrassed in public, ignore your sibling’s tantrums or quirks, find a way to calm them down, or ask for help from someone reliable and trustworthy.

     Brothers and sisters, if you feel like you’re the parents, let your siblings be the children. Don’t think of it as a babysitting job. Think of it as an opportunity to be responsible and bonding with your sibling. Ask family members for help when it comes to holiday social gatherings and other different types of situations. And discuss future plans when you have doubts about adulthood. Find a safe haven, a safe room, in case your autistic sibling gets aggressive. Help your parents create an intervention plan.  Parents: educate your non-autistic children about their sibling’s disorder. Dr. Raun Melmed, co-founder and medical director of the Southwest Autism Research and Resource Center in Phoenix, suggests including non-autistic children in visits to the doctor or other autism professionals. A great way for kids is to meet other siblings of autistic children, which they can do at sibling workshops. Siblings will commonly have negative feelings, some might never connect or want to connect with their autistic siblings, but the good news is that typical siblings often turn out to be more compassionate and caring than average. Love your sibling unconditionally. Let them come to you. This advice for parents and siblings may also apply to relatives and guardians.

https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/i-have-autism-here-are-1359434603208758.html

African American families share autism experiences: http://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-05-african-american-families-autism-video-series.html

12 Great Things to Say to Parents of Kids with Autism: https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/12-great-things-to-say-to-parents-of-kids-with-117807341361.html

12 Things Not to Say to Parents of Kids with Autism: https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/12-things-not-to-say-to-parents-of-kids-with-117800029051.html

20 Confessions of an Autism Dad: https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/20-confessions-of-an-autism-dad-121866238891.html

Amazing! Learning life skills isn’t always easy for those on the spectrum—but that didn’t stop Noah and his dad. http://blog.theautismsite.com/living-with-autism-a-grocery-store-outing/

Much APPlause for this Dad: http://blog.theautismsite.com/autism-village/

The Jack Nicholson Line that Made this Parent View Autism Differently: http://themighty.com/2015/04/the-jack-nicholson-line-that-made-me-view-autism-differently/

Autism Mom Blog: http://patienttalk.org/mumsnautism-net-dorly-osullivan-tells-us-her-autism-blog-in-this-fascinating-guest-post/

Things I Have Learned…: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shawna-wingert/things-i-have-learned-since-my-son-was-diagnosed-with-autism_b_7691824.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592

How To Keep Your Marriage Strong When You Have An Autistic Child: http://autism-daddy.blogspot.com/2011/12/12-ways-to-keep-your-marriage-strong.html

What It’s Really Like to Have a Child With Autism: https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/what-its-really-like-to-have-a-child-with-autism-126936999977.html

When a Mother Realized Her Nonverbal Autistic Child was Communicating: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/marci-lebowitz/the-first-time-i-realized-my-nonverbal-autistic-child-was-communicating_b_8965384.html?ncid=txtlnkusaolp00000592

How Families Experience Autism: http://www.npr.org/2016/01/17/463359369/after-the-diagnosis-how-families-experience-autism

Raising a Tween with Autism: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/parenting/wp/2016/03/17/raising-a-tween-who-has-autism/

FRIENDSHIP:

Tell the autistic person your name. Hang out with them. Bonding is a great way to get along with each other. People with autism encounter great difficulties in social interactions. This is a way of being for them. Most often you may need to be the one to make first contact and initiate any discussion. They show little interest in playing games etc, so you may need to be the one who initiates these interactions. Hanging out with them all the time may make them feel like they are the most important person in the world! Ask them their dislikes. Some autistic people have louder hearing then we do. Help them out with anything including their problems. Compliment them. Find little things that they are good at and notice them. They will have more confidence with things that they do, and that will help them stand up for themselves in the future. Don’t push them too hard at anything or they get stressed out. Give them time and space. Sometimes they like to be alone to think, so if they ask you to go away, do what they say, or if they seem upset, ask them if they are. Don’t take it personally if they don’t respond. They’re wrapped up in something else, not being ignorant. If they say no at joining a club or going to your house or whatever social opportunity it is, it doesn’t mean they’re rude. They just want to think about it whether they want to do it or not. Don’t encourage them to do bad things or force them to do things they don’t want to do. Don’t pressure them to give up on things they love.

If you don’t like some of their interests, ignore it. Maybe you’ll have something else in common with them. Find a way to put up with their quirks. Like any other friendship, stay loyal. You’ve got their backs no matter what. Love your friends unconditionally. Treat them like a regular person, a human being. Nothing to be ashamed of having an autistic friend. If they get bullied often, stand up for them. Even if the bully is your best friend. Getting you friends to be nice to your autistic friend will help he/she feel like they are not just a person but an important person. Always be there for them. It will make him/her feel appreciated! Everyone, remember this: You are not alone. Autism is a unique thing.

A Little Girl Explained About her Friend: https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/a-little-girl-asked-why-my-daughter-with-autism-is-115318232851.html

Truths About Making Friends When You Have Autism: https://www.yahoo.com/health/10-truths-about-making-friends-when-you-have-124615316498.html

7-Year-Old Girl with autism writes Heartbreaking letter: http://news.yahoo.com/7-year-old-girl-with-autism-writes-heartbreaking-161740146.html

A Parent’s Letter to Autistic Child’s Friend: https://www.yahoo.com/parenting/to-the-friend-who-s-1343999367151670.html

Romance

Dating tips for People with Autism:

  • Advice for Dating with Asperger’s (this can also apply to those on the spectrum): Don’t Call 100 Times a Week: http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/08/08/338910290/advice-for-dating-with-aspergers-dont-call-100-times-a-week
  • Connect Through Common Interests: Date people you get to know through common interests.  Do not make dating the main objective, such as volunteer organizations.  Get to know people while involved in the activities.  Don’t shy away from social activities.  Have a graceful escape plan if needed, but do go along.
  • Build a Relationship Online, Then Meet Offline. But be aware that there can be predators and manipulative people online. Find tips on how to date online safely. Or, you may want to consider finding a pen pal, and getting to know each other through good old fashioned letter writing!
  • Work on the Uncomfortable – “NT” Social Skills. Work on learning NT communication skills. Study people. Hang out at restaurants and bars and other public places and watch people interact. Read books, look up sites, or watch movies or TV on social interaction, posture, and body language. Ask questions.
  • Learn How to Tell If the Other Person Is Interested.
  • Learn How to Ask a Person on a Date.
  • Rejection: If the person rejects you, just say “ok, that’s fine,” walk away, and forget about that person. Look for other fish in the sea (not literally!) Do NOT contact the person who rejected you and stalk them. You’ll be in a lot of hot water if you did.

 

Tips for dating people with autism:

  • Take the initiative: Since people with autism have trouble reading body language and cues, they find it difficult to negotiate the complex art of social interaction. While in the professional field, this may have only limited impact, while engaging in personal relationships, this becomes a major handicap. This is the reason why people with autism are perceived as socially awkward and sometimes even rude. So if you wish to get to know your date better, you may have to take the initiative more than once. You will have to invite him/her to join you in activities and experiences which will bring you closer. The important thing for an autistic person is to cross the “threshold” of dating. So do whatever you can to get your partner started in dating or other relationship socialization. Once they cross the threshold, they can learn a good deal of social behavior and eventually improve their knowledge as well as handling of relationships. Don’t push them or they’ll stress out.

 

  • Communicate carefully: When dating an autistic person, don’t expect him/her to have sophisticated communication skills. They usually born with an inability to pick up behavioral cues, interpret them and then send their own response – a skill that non-autistic people learn naturally and easily but one which many autistic people take time to learn. So it is best you develop ways of communication which suit your relationship particularly. For instance. in the earlier stages while conversing with your date, stick to subjects he/she is deeply interested in. It will be easier for them to participate in a discussion based on their likes rather than merely making polite talk. Be prepared to listen to them talk to you about their “specialty subjects”. They may not realize that you are not interested without you telling them. Then again do not pressure them to have eye contact with you. It is extremely uncomfortable for most people on the autistic spectrum to look at people in the face for extended periods of time, if at all. As the individual becomes more comfortable socially he/she may look at you in the face more, or they may not. Either way it’s usually best not to draw attention to it. Remember that just because they are not looking at your eyes does not mean they are not listening to you. Also avoid pointing out or criticizing unusual behaviors your partner may have such as hand gestures, knee-jerking and pacing. If you do this you will not only hurt the person’s feelings, but possibly destroy any chance of having any sort of relationship with them. On the other hand if you keep behaving normally, without drawing attention to the unusual things that they are doing, they will be more relaxed and more capable of modeling their behavior on yours.

 

  • What to do on a date: When going out on a date with an autistic person, it is necessary to choose the venue carefully. If you wish to get to know each other better, head for a place where there are minimal distractions or sources of stress around the individual. Try to avoid flashing lights, annoying sounds, excessive crowds which may distract or stress out your partner. Better still, organize your date around an activity like mini-golfing or chess which provides structure and regularity. Avoid forcing him/her to be part of a group or going to a place where social activity like dancing is expected.

 

  • Give him/her space: Autistic people are often wrapped up in their own worlds, as a result of which they can seem withdrawn and even emotionally distant. Another important thing to remember is that people on the autistic spectrum do not filter out things in the same way that most people do and thus it can be a lot to manage. So, if you can tell that your partner is getting more and more stressed or anxious as you talk to him/her, don’t force them to communicate with you immediately – just give them some space and maybe come back later. This does not mean that they do not like you, it just means that they have had enough for the day. If you stay on and keep talking, you can put them at risk of having a meltdown.

 

  • Take it slow: Don’t try to push your relationship too quickly because this can cause a lot of stress for the autistic person. Take it slow and as far as possible be consistent so your partner can adapt. Physical intimacy may take time since many autistic people can have difficulty in expressing their emotions through physical gestures. In fact at the earlier stage of dating, avoid touching your partner without warning. Usually people with high functioning autism do not like to be touched unless they initiate it, like if they tap you on the shoulder. Of course one person differs from another and the general pace at which your relationship should move, will depend on your partner’s stage of social development.

 

Marriage Tips for People with Autism:

  • Overcoming Roadblocks To Getting Married: Keeping the promise of full inclusion for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities includes supporting individuals to date and get married. Having a job, going on vacation with friends, spending holidays with family, volunteering, playing on a local softball team or singing on a choir are great ways to experience friendship, love, accomplishment and feeling part of the larger community. But they are no substitute for an intimate relationship.

 

  • Will Getting Married Change My Benefits?: Yes, if you or your partner receives SSI, your monthly check will be reduced if you get married. This is called the Marriage Penalty. As of 2013, the maximum federal SSI payment is $710.00 for a person each month. When two people with disabilities get married their benefits are combined and they receive one SSI payment each month. Their benefit check is reduced to $1,066.00. They roughly lose 25% or $354.00 of their income for getting married or living like they are married. The $354.00 penalty for falling in love and being together is a roadblock to marriage faced by many people with disabilities.

 

Free Marriage Advice from Aspergers Adults: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/spectrum-solutions/201405/free-marriage-advice-aspergers-adults

Lessons from an Asperger’s-NT marriage: http://musingsofanaspie.com/2012/10/22/lessons-from-an-aspergers-nt-marriage-part-1/

Husband’s POV on being married to an Aspie: http://aspiewriter.com/2012/08/i-married-aspie-husbands-perspective-on.html

All-Autism Wedding: http://news.yahoo.com/couple-prepares-first-ever-autism-wedding-113700220.html?bcmt=comments-postbox

Love letter to a neurotypical husband from autistic wife: http://themighty.com/2015/10/a-love-letter-to-my-neurotypical-husband-from-your-autistic-wife/

An autistic man writes love letter to future wife: https://www.autismspeaks.org/blog/2015/10/13/love-letter-my-future-wife-your-autistic-husband

An Adult with Autism Who is Married: http://offbeathome.com/adult-with-autism/

For more information, I recommend reading “The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to Be a Better Husband” by David Finch and “Alone Together: Making an Asperger Marriage Work” by Katrin Bentley.

The marriage advice can also apply to people with ASD and their partners.  

 

Divorce:

  • Ending Relationships: Separation and Divorce: Some people with disabilities dream of getting married, but how do you know you’re with the right person? What do you do when you know that you’re with the wrong person? What are your options? What changes can you make in your situation?

Where do I Look for Information and Help?

An easy to use website, called The Modern Woman’s Divorce Guide, lists the following information for each state:

  • State Laws on Divorce
  • Child Support Guidelines and Enforcement
  • Divorce Forms
  • Domestic Violence Resources
  • Free or Low Cost Legal Services Programs
  • Mediation Centers and Services
  • Lawyer Referral Service Links

Tips for Ending a Relationship: 

Ending a relationship can be painful for both people involved. Here are some tips on how to end a relationship with someone and how to deal with pain and anger written by Katherine McLaughlin and Green Mountain Self-Advocates.

Ways to end a relationship…

  1. Make a clear decision about whether to end a relationship or not. Talk to friends and family about your decision. Be sure that you either don’t want to work things out or you can’t work things out.
  2. Know that you will probably be hurting someone else, but you would hurt them more by staying in a relationship that you don’t want to be in. You may also feel some sadness as well.
  3. Once you’ve made the decision, stick to it. Your partner may try to talk you into staying together. You may be feeling sad and this may make you feel weak and scared. Getting back together may take away this sadness, but the reasons for ending the relationship will not go away.
  4. It is important to be truthful, but kind, about why you are ending the relationship. Think about how you would want to be treated if someone was breaking up with you.
  5. Pick a good time and place. You should also do it somewhere safe in case the situation gets uncomfortable and you want to leave.
  6. Try not to blame yourself or your partner for the break up. It’s easy to want to blame someone, but relationships end for many reasons. You and your partner aren’t “bad.” It is normal for interests and needs to change.

 

When you are ending an abusive relationship…

If you are in an abusive relationship, it is important to remember that you do not deserve to be abused. There are many people who have ended abusive relationships, and though this might feel scary, it is probably safer than being in an abusive relationship.

The ideas above can be used in any relationship whether it is abusive or not, but in ending an abusive relationship here are some more tips to help keep you safe from your abuser.

  1. Tell someone that you can trust about the abuse and your plans to end the relationship. This person can be helpful, supportive, and have ideas about how to keep you safe.
  2. Call your local domestic violence and sexual assault group. Trained counselors can give you information and support and are also prepared to deal with emergency situations.
  3. Choose a safe place to end the relationship. It’s hard to know how your partner will react to the news, so expect the worst and make a plan. Pick a public place and consider having your friends and family close by.
  4. Use the legal system. If you are afraid of the violence, you may want to get a restraining order from a judge. A restraining order helps to keep your partner away from you. Your local domestic violence agency can help you decide whether you need a restraining order and how to get one. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-SAFE or 1-800-799-7233 or Text TELLNOW to 85944.
  5. Find a counselor that you can talk with. After being in and ending an abusive relationship, you will probably need to talk about your experience and your feelings.

What are Healthy Ways to Deal with Pain and Anger?

Pain and anger are normal and natural feelings to have when a relationship ends. While the feelings may be strong, they will decrease over time if you deal with them in a healthy way.

  • Let your feelings out—have a good cry or two. It’s okay to yell and scream when you are alone to let your anger out. Some people try to do something physical like working out, playing a sport, or going for a long walk.
  • Take care of yourself. Exercise, eat well, get plenty of rest and do something special just for yourself.
  • Keep your usual routine and stay busy on weekends. Filling up your day keeps your mind off what you have lost.
  • Talk to people who will listen.
  • You may want to get rid of pictures, letters, or other reminders of the relationship you lost.
  • Think carefully before getting involved again right away. Sometimes after a break up, people start another relationship before they have dealt with the loss of the last one.

What are the “Don’ts” in Dealing with Pain and Anger?

  • Don’t blame yourself. Relationships end because people change or their needs are not being met. You did not fail.
  • Don’t make big decisions right away. Your thinking is not clear during this time and you need a clear head to make a good decision.
  • Don’t drink or do other drugs to numb the pain. This may work for awhile, but the pain won’t go away unless you deal with it.
  • Don’t hurt yourself. Call your local suicide hotline or 1-800-273-TALK if you are having thoughts about ending your life.
  • Don’t hurt others. It’s okay to feel angry, but it’s not okay to hurt someone because of it.

What are Some Other Resources?

  • Couple Therapy and Support: A Positive Model for People with Intellectual Disabilities by J. Dale Munro, MSW, RSW, FAAIDD. 2007 NADD Bulletin Volume X Number 5 Article 1.In 2007, J. Dale Munro had completed 36 years of work as a couple and family therapist working with couples with intellectual disabilities. “The purpose of this paper is to review literature on the topic of marriage for people with intellectual disabilities and present an effective couple intervention model. In this article, “a couple” is defined as two people closely associated, bonded or paired with each other, at least one of whom functions in the mild or moderate range of intellectual disability. A couple can be a man and a woman—or a same-sex relationship – engaged, married, living together or in a committed love relationship.” The sections of the article include:
    • Reviewing Marital Research
    • The “Positive Support-Couple Therapy” Model
    • Therapeutic Stance: Being Unconditionally Positive
    • Four Alternative Roles for the Couple Therapist
    • Assessing the Couple, the Extended family and the Service System
    • Intervening with Couples, Extended Family and Service Systems
    • To Parent or Not to Parent? That is the Question!
    • Private Sessions: What Couple Therapists Need to Know!
    • Case Illustration of the Intervention Model
    • Conclusions
    • References
  • Asperger & Marriage: Therapy Recommendations for Marriages Impacted by Asperger Syndrome by Kathy Marchack, Ph.D. http://www.kmarshack.com/Asperger-and-Marriage.html and Divorce and Asperger Syndrome by Kathy Marchack, Ph.D.This book specifically addresses the touchy issues of sex, rage, divorce and shame and gives a glimpse of the “inner workings” of these relationships. It offers new ways to look at the situations presented, as well as tips on how to handle similar situations in one’s own life.
  • Connecting with Your Asperger Partner: Negotiating the Maze of Intimacy by Louise Weston Drawing on her own experience of being married to a man with AS, Louise Weston shows that the road to intimacy begins with letting go of expectations and looking after your own physical and emotional needs. She provides tried-and-tested strategies for relating to and connecting with your AS partner, as well as useful tips for coping with hurtful words and meltdowns, helping your partner to interpret emotions, and finding further sources of help and support.
  • Love, Sex and Long-Term Relationships: What People with Asperger Syndrome Really Really Want by Sarah Hendrickx.Many people on the autism spectrum have limited knowledge of how to establish or conduct sexual relationships: drawing on extensive research with people on the autism spectrum, the book openly explores the desires, needs and preferences of people with AS in their own words. Attitudes to issues such as gender, sexual identity and infidelity are included, as well as positive advice for developing relationships and exploring options and choices for sexual pleasure. This accessible book is an invaluable source of information and support for those with Asperger Syndrome and couples in which one or both partners has Asperger Syndrome, as well as counselors and health and social care professionals.

 

Communication and Socialization

Communication and social skills are problems for people with autism.

iPads may help boosting skills in kids with autism.

A UCLA professor said the children used the IPad when they were engaged in play. It focused on helping them initiate conversation, using the iPad to comment on what they were doing. The iPad worked because it’s a visual stimulant with auditory feedback. For example, children would mispronounce a word, hear it pronounced correctly on the iPad, and learn to say it correctly.

Even though, it’s only a tool, it’s very efficient for some people with autism who have difficulties in speaking and communicating.

On the other hand, there are sensory friendly activities with apps that help children with autism. Social activities are very challenging when the noise level is high or the crowd of people is overwhelming when attending an activity. Coping skills are often nonexistent and parents and people get frustrated. Sensory friendly activities that control the noise level and limit the number of participants are very helpful to parents who are looking for fun activities for their child. Lights and sounds that are pleasing to children who are sensory challenged are great points to consider when looking for an activity. Examples: roller skating, movies, and bowling in sensory-friendly environments.

iPads also help improve language skills:

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/ipads-improve-language-skills-in-autistic-kids/

 

Another thing, it is EXTREMELY important for children with autism to learn how to read, write, and communicate like everyone else even if it’s difficult to do so.

http://medicalxpress.com/news/2014-12-autistic-kids.html
http://medicalxpress.com/news/2015-08-people-autism-spectrum-disorders-idioms.html