Category Archives: mental disorder

COVID-19 Tips

Here are the tips for adults with autism on how to cope with the COVID-19 Pandemic. I’ve been doing these things during the pandemic.  

 

How to cope with disrupted personal routines:

  • Try to avoid burnout: If you are continuing to report to work, you may be working longer hours and having intense interactions with customers or co-workers. If you find yourself feeling burned out with the extra effort to sustain these interactions, tell a supervisor how you are feeling and that you need a break. You should document these conversations as well.

  • Practice mindfulness: Mindfulness means being in the present moment with the activity you are doing. This can take the form of meditation, yoga, coloring, or any other activity that helps you focus on the “here and now.” There are many free online videos and apps you can use to explore different activities to see which ones work for  you.

  • Respect your emotions: This is a stressful time and you may experience emotions such as sadness, anger, fear, or frustration. Know that your emotions are valid, and many other people are also dealing with their own heightened emotions. Think of ways you have worked through emotions in the past and try to use some of those same tools now.

Many adults with autism have strategies for avoiding becoming overwhelmed by emotions. In this new and uncertain situation, remember your strategies to avoid a meltdown and take action to avoid it, such as finding a quiet place.

  • Develop or revisit a crisis plan: Having a crisis plan may mean different things to different people. At its most basic level, this is a list of important information, including who to contact if you are in a crisis and what a crisis looks like to you. This plan may include emergency contact information when to call doctors, or other vital information to have in one place. Post a copy in your living space and carry a copy with you if you leave the house.

  • Stick to a new routine: With everything changing around us, we are still able to live some semblance of normalcy by sticking to our existing routines or schedules, while adapting them to the current situation. Try to get up at the same time, still get dressed like usual, go to bed at the same time, and complete any hygiene tasks as if it were a typical day. If you are working from home, or perhaps not working at all, you’ll need to adjust your routine to account for this time.  While it may be tempting to, say, not brush your hair or do chores when at home for long periods, these small details help to eliminate some of the stress of unpredictability.

  • Exercise your mind and body: Stress takes a physical toll on your body and also depresses the immune system. If you are already physically active, try to find ways you can continue these routines at home. Look for free fitness routines online or see if your local gym is offering virtual classes. Keeping your mind active is also important as part of overall mental health. Instead of only binging a new TV series or watching movies, try to add variety by picking up a book or listening to a podcast. Most public libraries have an online system that allows you to check out electronic books and audiobooks to use on your device from home.

  • Take care of your health: Taking care of your health at this time is extremely important not just for you, but also for others who you could unknowingly expose to the COVID-19 virus. Try to eat healthy meals, get enough rest, take medications as scheduled, and if you do feel sick, stay at home. If you have a medical emergency, you should call 911. If you have questions and are experiencing symptoms of COVID-19, please follow the CDC guidelines. Also, call your doctor’s office or emergency room before going for treatment.

  • Continue support networks: Many mental health providers, case managers, and specialists are still working but using different methods, such as virtual meetings or video calls. Call your providers to see how they can work with you during this time. Phone meetings may be harder, but prioritizing support right now can help you remember you are not alone. If you are part of an in-person support group, ask the leader if they can arrange a virtual meeting for those who want to join.

  • Find some online or phone resources: There are a growing number of online resources to help people feel less alone during isolation. The Autism Response Team (888-AUTISM2) and 211 can help connect you with needed resources, including new ones being created. Connect with your peers regularly using email, text, video messaging, or social media. Make the effort to reach out to families and friends if you are feeling stressed.

  • Take a media break: It is very easy to get overwhelmed with the constant barrage of information online about the current pandemic. If you find yourself feeling anxious while reading the news or social media, try to take a break. You can schedule a set amount of time to catch up on the news to make it less likely you’ll be overwhelmed by it. Remember to also schedule time at the beginning or end of the day to care for yourself by doing something fun or relaxing, depending on your needs that day.

  • Plan for the future: One of the hardest things at this time is to think about the future with all of this uncertainty. Think positively about the future and the things you want to do when things improve. Is there a new skill or hobby you want to learn? Are there courses you can take to help you at work? Are there goals you want to achieve that you can work on while you are stuck at home? Make a plan to help you work toward bigger goals – it can help you try to stay positive.

Working from home: Developing a New Routine

Manage your time:

  • While your usual workday routine may not be possible right now, that doesn’t mean you have to be without a routine at all. Start by determining what tasks you need to accomplish and when they are due. If necessary, contact your supervisor to make sure you are clear about what is most important to work on. Then, break bigger tasks down into steps and schedule them into your days. Try to leave extra time slots open in case you get behind on a task. This way, you have a plan in place for when things don’t go exactly as planned.

  • A written schedule or visual routine is a good strategy for time management. You can use an app, a daily planner, or a simple checklist with the tasks you need to complete for the day. Many autistic people like to use visual cues to organize information, such as color-coding by task type or days of the week, or using pictures alongside a written schedule. For example, you might shade your break times in blue or include a picture of a phone next to any scheduled conference calls.

  • If you prefer a more flexible approach, you can break the project down by setting a goal for the end of each day. Then list the steps you’ll need to do to reach that goal.

Organize your workspace:

  • Set up a workspace that works to your advantage. As tempting as it is to lounge in bed or front of the TV with your laptop, this can make it harder to focus during the day and harder to relax at night. Consider your sensory needs—the type of lighting, noise level, and seating that allows you to focus. Choose a place that allows for easy access to any paperwork, tools, or other items you need without the clutter. If you’re having a hard time remembering your new setup, try using trays or bins with clear labels (made using text, color-coding, and/or visual cues).

  • If your work involves frequent emails, consider setting up your inbox with subfolders and color-coded tags for each sender. You can organize computer documents and files in the same way.

Communicate With Co-Workers:

  • The same technology that allows teams to work together across countries and continents makes it possible for projects to continue despite the circumstances brought about by COVID-19. Your employer may use a platform or app designed for remote work, such as Basecamp, where team members post announcements, schedules, to-do lists, and files. Team meetings may take place over a video- or web-conference platform such as Zoom or Skype. If you are having trouble navigating these platforms, contact your supervisor or a savvy co-worker and ask if they can walk you through how to use the most important functions.

  • Since in-person contact is not possible, you might see an increase in emails, phone calls, and video conferences. Leave time for responding to these in your daily schedule. Some of these communication methods may be more difficult for you. Don’t be afraid to double-check your understanding following one-to-one emails or phone calls, especially if you were given instructions.

  • During meetings, consider taking notes, writing down questions, or even asking permission to record. If you agree to do or are assigned tasks during the call, you can write them down as a list of action items. Then, you can reach out to the meeting leader, your supervisor, or a coworker with your list to confirm or clarify what you will be working on.

 

Stay Well:

  • Successfully working from home is as much about personal wellness as it is about productivity. As much as possible, keep the parts of your day that don’t have to change, like the time you wake up and go to bed, the clothes you wear. and meal times. Using these as anchor points can give you a sense of normalcy as you fill in the gaps with your new routine.

  • For many people with autism, work can be socially draining, so home becomes a place of much-needed alone time. In this case, working from home could mean too much isolation. With social distancing in mind, you can find ways to stay connected to other people once your workday is over. Play video games, invite coworkers to a long-distance movie night via Netflix Party, or take a walk while staying at least six feet apart.

  • Make sure you take breaks during the workday for both your body and mind—eat regular meals, get up regularly to stretch or take a short walk, and give your eyes a chance to get away from the screen.

  • As you develop your new routine, check in with yourself regularly. Are you meeting your goals? Are you getting healthy amounts of sleep, food, and exercise? Are you keeping in touch with other people? Are your mood and anxiety level manageable? Keep the big picture in mind—that your wellness is key to successfully working from home, and that your new routine is a good thing because you are helping to keep yourself and others safe.

Here are more coping tips: 

  • Don’t get upset when certain events get canceled or postponed. Just deal with it and move on.  
  • Make a post-pandemic plan.  
  • Put off traveling until it’s safe to do so. 
  • Try virtual tours of museums, national parks, etc.   
  • Watch virtual events (concerts, conferences, etc). 

Here’s more info:

Support for Autistic Adults Dealing With COVID-19 Employment Changes:

https://www.autismspeaks.org/blog/support-autistic-adults-dealing-covid-19-employment-changes

Applying for Unemployment: https://www.usa.gov/unemployment

Here are tips on coping with stress from WHO (World Health Organization):

  • It is normal to feel sad, stressed, confused, scared or
    angry during a crisis.
  • Talking to people you trust can help. Contact your
    family and friends. 
  • Don’t use smoking, alcohol, or other drugs to deal with
    your emotions.
  • If you feel overwhelmed, talk to a health worker or
    counselor. Have a plan, where to go to, and how to seek
    help for physical and mental health needs if required.
  • Limit worry and agitation by lessening the time you
    and your family spend watching or listening to media
    coverage that you perceive as upsetting.
  • If you must stay at home, maintain a healthy lifestyle –
    including proper diet, sleep, exercise, and social contacts
    with loved ones at home and by email and phone with
    other family and friends.
  • Get the facts. Gather information that will help you
    accurately determine your risk so that you can take
    reasonable precautions. Find a credible source you can
    trust such as the WHO website or, a local or state public
    health agency. Ignore the fake news or misinformation. 
  • Draw on skills you have used in the past that have
    helped you to manage previous life’s adversities and use
    those skills to help you manage your emotions during
    the challenging time of this outbreak.

Here are more mental health tips including the resources from the American Psychological Association: 

https://www.autismspeaks.org/covid-19-information-and-resources-adults-spectrum

Extra Tips 

  • Ration all the supplies. 
  • Once in a while, order essential items online, but don’t overspend. 
  • If you run out, deal with it and use other options. For example, if you run out of hot dogs, eat something else instead. Or if you run out of shampoo, use dry shampoo or some other hair resource.  
  • Sanitize mail and food deliveries. 
  • No contact with the deliverers.    
  • If you’re on essential errands, wear masks, carry hand sanitizers & tissues, and stay away from strangers. 
  • Donate to charities. 

Here’s a link of more info and resources for families, educators, caregivers, etc:

https://www.autismspeaks.org/covid-19-information-and-resources

Here’s a link of how people with autism are coping with the pandemic:

https://www.cbs.com/shows/cbs_this_morning/video/cjVS8oLnb8UWHTMkijxTJpbgY1qhjjSY/how-people-on-the-autism-spectrum-are-navigating-pandemic-forced-routine-disruption/

If you had been vaccinated, don’t do anything strenuous. Go easy on yourself. Relax and read or watch TV. Get some sleep. Take some Tylenol, Ibuprofen, or some other medication once in a while. Eat lightly, nothing heavy. Keep your vaccine card. Do not lose it or misplace it. Put it in a safe place. Take a picture of it.

Autism Seminar Notes Part 10

Three classifications

  • Socially Avoidant
  • Socially Indifferent
  • Socially Awkward 

 

 

Socially Avoidant:

  • Minimal interaction
  • Turning or walking away
  • Fear of unexpected touch
  • Maybe hypersensitive to another’s voice or smells 

 

 

Socially Indifferent: 

  • Doesn’t seek interaction with others
  • Interaction increases when “wants and needs” are necessary
  • Will initiate rather than respond 

 

 

Socially Awkward:

  • Most common category
  • Want to experience social engagement but lack the skills
  • History of being excluded or left out
  • Lack reciprocity in social interaction
  • Poor conversation skills

 

 

Social-Emotional Issue #1:

BEHAVIOR:

  • Unsafe use of playground equipment
  • “Aggressive” with peers
  • Disrupts others’ games 

 

Why is this occurring? 

  • Sensory seeking
  • Difficulty controlling body movements
  • Poor modulation
  • Lack of social skills for play 

 

Solutions: 

  • Practice safe use of equipment
  • Provide and review a written list of playground rules
  • Pair student with a peer model
  • Review playground performance and offer immediate feedback 
  • Alert the playground supervisor of the student with special needs
  • Be aware of signs and signals of over-arousal 
  • Student may need additional adult supervision 

 

 

Social-Emotional Issue #2

BEHAVIOR: Making rude or inappropriate comments

Why is this occurring? 

  • Decreased perspective-taking
  • Deficits in verbal communication  (receptive and expressive) 
  • Difficulty with social pragmatics 
  • Challenges reading nonverbal signals from others 

 

Solutions:

  • Prepare other students for their reaction (ignore or model appropriate behavior) 
  • Identify the pattern and be prepared to help the student 
  • Make your immediate feedback and be specific 
  • Practice the social interaction 

 

Social-Emotional Issue #3

BEHAVIOR: Difficulty accepting criticism or help

Why does this happen?

  • Concrete thinking interferes 
  • Perfectionism/control
  • Anxiety increases

 

 

Solutions:

  • Maintain a calm, quiet voice
  • Avoid “black and white” words such as “wrong” 
  • Use qualifiers (“very close” or “almost”)
  • Try writing your corrections or assistance rather than talking 
  • Prepare peers to expect such behavior and disregard or encourage if appropriate  

Autism Seminar Notes Part 7

What does sensory processing have to do with learning and behavior at school?   Necessary for systems to work together in an organized manner or major traffic jam! 

Sensory Processing Dysfunction

  • Sensory Modulation Disorders (SMD)
  1. Sensory Over-Responsive (SOR)
  2. Sensory Under-Responsive (SUR)
  3. Sensory Seeking (SS) 
  • Sensory Discrimination Disorders
  • Sensory Based Movement Disorders: Dyspraxia and Postural 

Not all children with sensory processing disorders have autism, but all children with autism have sensory issues. 

 

How Can We Best Categorize The Concerning Behaviors?

  1. Movement Issues
  2. Avoidance and Retreat Behaviors
  3. Difficulty with Routine and Academics
  4. Social-Emotional 

 

Where do we see these behaviors?

  • Inside the classroom
  • Outside the classroom—arriving, in line, leaving school
  • PE and Playground
  • Art, Music, Assemblies
  • Pull-Out Services
  • Lunchtime and Snack 

 

Movement Issues

  • Student appears to be under-aware of his body and environmental stimuli
  • Student may be defensive to touch
  • Student appears to be hyperactive, or a “sensory seeker” 
  • May be labeled as “aggressive” with peers 

 

Movement Issue #1: 

BEHAVIOR:

  • Out of seat
  • Wiggling
  • Fidgeting

 

Why is occurring? 

  • Student craves movement
  • May be an attempt to maintain an arousal state 

 

Solutions:

  • Movement breaks
  • Allow the student to stand at the desk
  • Hand fidgets
  • Seat cushion device
  • Oral strategies
  • “Calm Down Breathing” 

 

Movement Issue #2

BEHAVIOR:

  • Breaking pencils or canyons
  • Extremely dark lettering
  • Messy dark
  • Can’t keep up with written work 

 

What is the cause?

  • Touch and force systems are under-aware
  • Attempt to self-regulate by drawing and writing darkly 
  • Poor fine motor skills lead to frustration

 

Solutions

  • Use heavier writing utensils that won’t break
  • Use heavier stock paper
  • Use a mechanical pencil
  • Try keyboarding
  • Peer scribe
  • Supply handouts, use a highlighter 

 

Movement Issue #3

BEHAVIOR:

  • Doesn’t line up in time
  • Wanders away from a group
  • Pokes or pushes other students
  • “Aggressive” during PE and on the playground 

 

Why is this occurring? 

  • Challenges with waiting
  • Lack of awareness of environmental cues
  • Student is sensory seeking 

 

Solutions:

  • Reduce waiting time/limit turn taking
  • Assign a consistent place inline
  • Have motor restless child act as door holder
  • Give the student something to hold in his hands while standing and walking inline
  • Practice walking to various locations on campus to build a visual memory map 
  • Review the play and line rules
  • Provide positive reinforcement for appropriate behavior 

 

Movement Breaks in Class

  • Theraband
  • Move ‘n Sit cushion
  • Semi-inflated beach ball
  • Classroom helper
  • Push-Pulls
  • Chair lifts
  • Wall push-ups 

 

Movement Breaks Out of Class

  • Messenger
  • Playground activities 
  • Custodial helper 

 

Some Ideas for Hand Fidgets

  • Squeeze balls
  • Koosh balls
  • Rubber bands
  • Tangles
  • Hairbands
  • Textured fabric
  • Stretchy bracelets 

 

Oral Regulators

  • Jolly Ranchers
  • Spicy, crunchy, chewy snacks
  • Ice
  • Straws
  • Stir sticks 
  • Water bottle with a thin or long straw
  • Gum 

Autism Seminar Notes Part 6

At the seminar, Beth Aune, an occupational therapist, presented behavior solutions in and beyond the inclusive classroom. 

  • The growing emphasis on the inclusion of disabled students into the general education population. 
  • Over the past few decades, U.S. students enrolled in special education programs has risen (National Education Association) 
  • Three out of every four students with disabilities spend part of all of their day in a general education classroom (National Education Association)  

 

 

Common Labels

  • Autism spectrum disorder
  • Asperger’s syndrome 
  • Sensory Processing Disorder
  • ADD/ADHD
  • Tourette’s
  • Learning Disability 

 

 

Common Characteristics:

  • Hyperactivity
  • Distractibility and inattentiveness
  • Impulsivity
  • Difficulty with self-control
  • Emotional instability 
  • Poor peer relations and social interaction
  • Low self-image
  • Weak expressive and receptive language
  • Poor handwriting
  • Poor organizational skills 

 

 

What do Educators Need?

  • Please? No more boring theory!
  • Help me understand what I am seeing
  • Help me understand why it is happening
  • Give me tools to help my student 

 

 

Sensory Processing—A Review by Dr. Lucy Miller

Sensory processing refers how the CNS and the peripheral nervous system manage incoming sensory information. The reception, modulation, integration, and organization of sensory stimuli, including the behavioral responses to sensory input, are all components of sensory processing. 

 

 

Sensory Systems

  • Sight (visual)
  • Hearing (auditory)
  • Taste (gustatory)
  • Smell (olfactory)
  • Touch (tactile)
  • Movement (vestibular) 
  • Muscle awareness (proprioceptive)

 

 

Visual System

  • Most relied upon a sense for orientation in space
  • Receptors are in rods and cones in the retina
  • Mediates number of protective and postural responses 
  • Perceptual—how the brain interprets visual information
  • Motor—how the extraocular muscles work, including binocular (two eyes), tracking, and scanning

 

 

Auditory System 

  • Receptors are in the cochlea, transmitted from hair cells through cranial nerve
  • Has own set of reflexes related to protective behavior
  • Connects to the reticular formation
  • Evokes responses in the autonomic nervous system  

 

 

Gustatory System

  • Receptors are located in the tongue, soft palate, and upper regions of the throat
  • Sweet, sour, salty, bitter 
  • Chemical and somatosensory experience for eating and protection 

 

 

Olfactory System

  • Receptors are the specialized epithelium in the roof of the nasal cavity
  • Stimuli go directly into the amygdala of the limbic system 
  • May elicit emotional responses or primal behavior associated with survival  

 

 

Vestibular System

  • Works as a team with the visual system
  • Receptors are in the semicircular canals
  • Sensitive to head movement 
  • Rotary acceleration or declaration 
  • Utricle and saccule sense the direction of gravitational pull 

 

 

Tactile System

  • Receptors in the skin
  • Works with the proprioceptive system to influence development and awareness of body scheme
  • Two functions:
  1. Discriminative—touch, pressure, vibration. Tactile discrimination identifies spatial and temporal qualities of stimuli    
  2. Protective—produces sympathetic arousal and directs input to reticular formation. Pain, temperature, tickle, itch 

 

 

Proprioceptive System

  • Receptors are deep in muscle spindles, Golgi tendons, and joints
  • Understanding of where joints and muscles are in space 
  • Works with the vestibular system to give sense of balance and position 
  • Works with the tactile system to coordinate posture and movement of limbs 
  • Neck joints and proximal limb joints give most feedback to CNS
  • Powerful therapeutic tool! 

Autism Seminar Notes Part 5

At the same seminar, I saw Sean Barron speaking about the unwritten rules of social relationships. He was also an amazing public speaker. Here’s what I learned from him:

Unwritten Rule #1: Rules are not absolute. They are situation-based and people-based. People should handle situations properly. 

Unwritten Rule #2: Not everything is equally important in the grand scheme of things. Many people with autism have a hard time having a healthy perspective on things. Certain things have to be prioritized. 

Unwritten Rule #3: Everyone in the world makes mistakes. They don’t have to ruin your day. Don’t expect to be perfect. People with autism have a hard time accepting mistakes, but they have to learn from them. They need to let things go and move on. Life is not perfect. They need to be objective, not blow things out of proportion, or stress over unimportant matters.  

Unwritten Rule #4:  Honesty is different from diplomacy. Some individuals with autism can be very blunt and direct. They need to know their boundaries when it comes to honesty. 

Unwritten Rule #5: Being polite is appropriate in any situation. 

Unwritten Rule #6: Not everyone who is nice to me is my friend. Some people want instant results. Some people may take advantage of individuals with autism or be a bad influence on them. People with autism have to learn body language. 

Unwritten Rule #7: People act differently in public than they do in private. 

Unwritten Rule #8: Know when you’re turning people off.   

Unwritten Rule #9: “Fitting in” is often tied to looking and sounding like you fit in. 

Unwritten Rule #10: People are responsible for their own behaviors. 

    

 

Autism Seminar Notes Part 4

Evaluation of Treatments:

  • Risk vs. Benefit
  • Cost vs. Benefit
  • Evidence of Effectiveness 

 

 

Low Dose Principle

Some individuals on the autism spectrum need only 1/4 o 1/2 of the normal starting dose of drugs in these 3 classes:

  • SSRI Antidepressants
  • Tricyclic Antidepressants
  • Atypical Antipsychotics 

 

Too much causes insomnia, agitation, and irritability. Other drugs usually require normal doses. If used in small children, microdoses – 1/10 of meg of Risperdal. 

SSRIs antidepressants work well for anxiety and panic attacks. They are:

  • Prozac (fluoxetine)
  • Zoloft (sertraline)
  • Celexa (citalopram)
  • Lexapro (escitalopram)
  • Paxil (paroxetine)

 

 

Principles of Using Medication

  • Try one thing at a time
  • Medication should have an obvious beneficial effect
  • Withdraw medication slowly if a person has been on it for a long time. 
  • Be careful about switching brands. 
  • Don’t expect 100% control of a symptom 

 

Atypical antipsychotics may have severe side effects. They are:

  • Risperdal (risperidone)
  • Geodon (ziprasidone)
  • Zyprexa (olanzapine)
  • Abilify (aripiprazole)
  • Seroquel (quetiapine) 

 

Blood pressure medications reduce anxiety and are used as sleep aids. Much safer than atypicals: Beta-blocker propranolol & clonidine. 

 

Anticonvulsant drugs for aggression and mood stabilization: 

  • Depakote
  • Lamictel (lamotrigine)
  • Topamax (topiramate) 
  • Special diets work for some individuals 
  • Vitamins and supplements B6 and Magnesium
  • Vigorous exercise for calming
  • Weighted blanket or vest for calming
  • Omega 3 supplements help the brain
  • Poor diet—more depression 

 

ADHD Drugs and Autism

  • Stimulants tend to make classical autism worse
  • Stimulants sometimes help individuals with mild Asperger’s 

 

Traits in Close Relatives

  • Four Generations of Bankers
  • MIT-Trained Engineer/Co-Inventor Auto Pilot 
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Visual Thinking Skills–Artist, Home Decorators 
  • Food Allergies
  • Intellectual Giftedness—Writing English Literature 
  • Asperger Traits 

 

Look Up All Drug Interactions:

  • Prescription drugs
  • Non-prescription drugs
  • Herbal supplements 

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I don’t take medication for my autism. 

Autism Seminar Notes Part 3

Jobs for Middle School and High School Kids

  • Walking dogs
  • Maintaining computers
  • Making Powerpoint presentations  
  • Selling artwork or crafts
  • Working on church or neighborhood website

 

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I never had a job in middle school and high school. I attended a high school career academy. I majored in culinary arts from grades ten to twelve. In the middle of my senior year, I switched to Early Childhood Education because culinary arts was unsuitable for me.  For ECE class, I volunteered at an airport festival and interned at an elementary school and a public library. Those experiences were quite educational. I interviewed a professional therapist for my mandatory Capstone PowerPoint project on autism. Autism was related to my ECE major.      

 

 

Preparing for Employment 

  1. Jobs for teenagers
  2. Mentors
  3. Visit workplace
  4. Trade journals
  5. Wall Street Journal. Make portfolio—people respect talent
  6. Sell your skills, not yourself 

 

 

Educational Resources:

  • Community Colleges
  • Technical Schools
  • Online learning
  • University Courses 

 

AUTHOR’S NOTE: I took many online college courses and one traditional class from several schools. 

 

Science Websites:

  • U.S. National Science Digital Library Project 
  • The Science Prize for Online Resources in Education (SPORE) 
  • Physics Education Technology PhET 
  • OpenCourseWare Consortium 

 

 

Jobs for Verbal Thinkers

  • Stocks and bonds analyst
  • Journalist
  • Translator 
  • Librarian
  • Copy editor
  • Accountant 
  • Specialty Retail
  • Bookkeeper & record keeper
  • Budget analyst 
  • Special education teacher
  • Book indexer
  • Speech therapist
  • Inventory control specialist
  • Legal researcher
  • Stage actor 

 

 

Jobs for Visual Thinkers:

  • Industrial design
  • Computer network specialist
  • Graphic arts
  • Drafting 
  • Auto mechanic 
  • Computer repair
  • Handcrafts
  • Equipment design
  • Convention AV technician 
  • Photographer 
  • Animal Trainer
  • Architect 

 

 

Bad Jobs for People with Autism

They require lots of short term working memory and fast processing information. 

  • Cashier — making change quickly puts too much demand on short-term working memory
  • Short order cook — Have to keep track of many orders and cook many different things at the same time
  • Waitress — Especially difficult if have to keep track of many different tables
  • Casino dealer — Too many things to keep track of
  • Taxi dispatcher — Too many things to keep track of
  • Taking oral dictation — Difficult due to auditory processing problems
  • Airline ticket agent — Deal with angry people when flights are canceled
  • Future market trader — Totally impossible
  • Air traffic controller — Information overload and stress
  • Receptionist and telephone operator — Would have problems when the switchboard got busy

And any other fast-paced careers. 

 

 

Jobs for Music and Math Thinkers 

  • Math teacher
  • Scientific researcher
  • Electronics technician
  • Music teacher
  • Chemist 
  • Computer programmer
  • Engineer
  • Physicist
  • Musician/composer
  • Statistician 

 

 

Jobs for People with Poor Verbal Skills or Non-Verbal

  • Shelve Library Books
  • Factory Assembly Work
  • Fast Food Restaurant Work
  • Data Entry
  • Lawn and Garden Work
  • Recycling Plant/Warehouse 
  • Stocking Shelves
  • Inventory Control
  • Handcrafts 

Autism Seminar Notes Part 2

Sensor thinkers sort specific pictures, sounds, touches, and smells into categories. Temple Grandin thinks things in pictures. They flash into her memory like a series of still Googled pictures. Occasionally, it happens to me. I think in words or numbers. 

Develop Talents in the Individual’s Specialist Brain

  1. Photo Realistic Visual Thinking—Poor at algebra
  2. Pattern Thinker Music and Math—Poor in reading
  3. Verbal Facts Language Translation–Poor at drawing
  4. Auditory Thinker–Visual perception fragmented 

There can be mixtures of these thinking types. I’m a visual learner.  

Hands-on Activities taught Grandin practical problem solving skills.

There are two categories of mathematicians: algebraists & geometers. 

  • All of Grandin’s uses specific examples to create concepts. 
  • It’s bottom up thinking and not top down thinking. 
  • She learned all concepts using specific examples. 

Is autistic learning memorization? It is memorization and scripting, but as more information is memorized, it can be assembled into more and more categories which will help thinking to become more flexible.  

Play games with people with autism to categorize many objects, so they would learn concepts such as color, shape, bigger than, smaller than, clothing, food, etc. 

Teach Number Concept Generalization:

  • Count a variety of different kind of objects  
  • Addition and Subtraction–Teach with many objects
  • Fractions–Teach by cutting up fruit and paper circles 

Details are Attended to Instead of Whole Gestalt:

  • Autism faster response time to small letters
  • Attend to details of faces instead of the whole   

Teach Word Concepts with Specific Examples

  • Walk down the stairs
  • A plane goes down and lands
  • Put a cup down 
  • Lie down on the bed 

Give out specific examples. 

Sometimes, objects are more interesting than faces. 

Sensory and Neurological Problems That May Need Accomodations:

  • Screams when the fire alarm rings 
  • Tantrums in a supermarket 
  • Cannot tolerate scratchy clothes 
  • Poor handwriting 
  • Tantrums or hyperactive under fluorescent lights 
  • Difficulty multitasking 
  • Difficulty with long verbal directions 

Social Interaction Through Shared Interests

  • School Clubs
  • Organizations such as Scouting 
  • Hobbies
  • Careers
  • Classes that really interest as individual 

The 1950s upbringing taught Grandin many important social and job skills. Everything was learned by categorizing specific examples into these concepts:

  • Turn taking in conversation and activities—such as board games
  • Being on time
  • Doing family activities I disliked
  • Doing things that pleased other people
  • Saying please and thank you 
  • Social mistakes were instantly corrected by telling me what to do 

I learned all that in the ’90s and early 2000s.

Categorize Behavior Problems

  • Is it biological? Sensory oversensitivity and hidden painful medical problem. 
  • Is it behavioral? Frustration because cannot communication, get attention, and escape from a task 

People with autism need to be disciplined like everyone else if they’re misbehaving. They need to be taught how to be polite and courteous and clean themselves up. It is unacceptable to be rude, disrespectful, and sloppy. 

Teach Social Skills in the Community:

  • Shaking hands
  • Eye contact when meeting people
  • Ordering food in restaurants
  • Table manners
  • Shopping—talking to store staff 

People with autism should practice them. 

Kids doing projects and playing games where the rules and duties are negotiatble teaches valuable social skills.

Rule System

  1. Really bad things
  2. Courtesy rules
  3. Illegal, but not bad
  4. Sins of the system 
  • Eccentric is acceptable; being dirty and rude is not.
  • Do not try to de-geek the geek! 

Hidden Painful Medical Problem in Non-Verbal Individuals That Can Cause SEVERE Behavior Problems

  • Acid Reflux heartburn (most common). Not always obvious. 
  • Constipation 
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Yeast infection
  • Ear infection
  • Bd tooth
  • H pylori (stomach, ulcer bug) 

 

Fear is the main emotion in autism. Some individuals with autism have anxiety issues. Sometimes, speech is easier when the child is swinging. Sitting on a ball and wearing a weighted vest helps concentration. Use for 20 minutes then take off for 20 minutes. Other things help concentration. 

It is important to desensitize touch sensitive autistic children so that they will enjoy affection. Feeling the good feelings of being held helps to develop feelings of kindness.