Tag Archives: socialization

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
  • May be 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:


  • 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 



  • 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 



  • Prepare other students for their reaction (ignore or model appropriate behavior) 
  • Identify 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



  • 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 a sensory processing disorder has 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: 


  • Out of seat
  • Wiggling
  • Fidgeting

Why is occuring? 

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



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


Movement Issue #2


  • 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



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


Movement Issue #3


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


Why is this occurring? 

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



  • Reduce waiting time/limit turn taking
  • Assign a consistent place in line
  • Have motor restless child act as door holder
  • Give the student something to hold in his hands while standing and walking in line
  • 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
  • Hair bands
  • Textured fabric
  • Stretchy bracelets 


Oral Regulators

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

Autism Seminar Notes Part 5

At the autism seminar, I also saw Sean Barron speaking about unwritten rules of social relationships. He was also an amazing 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 prioritize. 

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 things.  

Unwritten Rule #4:  Honesty is different from diplomacy. Some people 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 people 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 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. Sometimes, it happens to me. Sometimes, 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 negotiated 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 people 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. 

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.

History of Autism

From the early 1900s, autism has referred to a range of neuro-psychological conditions. The word “autism,” which has been in use for about 100 years, comes from the Greek word “autos,” meaning “self.” The term describes conditions in which a person is removed from social interaction — hence, an isolated self. Eugen Bleuler, a Swiss psychiatrist, was the first person to use the term. He started using it around 1911 to refer to one group of symptoms of schizophrenia.

In the 1940s, researchers in the United States began to use the term “autism” to describe children with emotional or social problems. Leo Kanner, a doctor from Johns Hopkins University, used it to describe the withdrawn behavior of several children he studied. At about the same time, Hans Asperger, a scientist in Germany, identified a similar condition that’s now called Asperger’s syndrome. Autism and schizophrenia remained linked in many researchers’ minds until the 1960s. It was only then that medical professionals began to have a separate understanding of autism in children. From the 1960s through the 1970s, research into treatments for autism focused on medications treatments such as LSD, electric shock, and behavioral change techniques. The latter relied on pain and punishment.

During the 1980s and 1990s, the role of behavioral therapy and the use of highly controlled learning environments emerged as the primary treatments for many forms of autism and related conditions. Currently, the cornerstones of autism therapy are behavioral therapy and language therapy. Other treatments are added as needed.


One symptom common to all types of autism is an inability to easily communicate and interact with others. In fact, some people with autism are unable to communicate at all. Others may have difficulty interpreting body language or holding a conversation.

Other symptoms linked to autism may include unusual behaviors in any of these areas:

  • Interest in objects or specialized information
  • Reactions to sensations
  • Physical coordination

These symptoms are usually seen early in development. Most children with severe autism are diagnosed by age 3. Some children with milder forms of autism, such as Asperger’s  syndrome, may not be diagnosed until later, when their problems with social interaction cause difficulties at school.

Types of Autism:

Over time, psychiatrists have developed a systematic way of describing autism and related conditions. All of these conditions are placed within a group of conditions called pervasive developmental disorders (PDD). Within PDDs, the autism spectrum disorder (ASD) category includes the following:

Autistic disorder: Children with autistic disorder cannot use verbal or non-verbal communication to interact effectively with others. Usually, children with autistic disorder have severe delays in learning language. They may have obsessive interest in certain objects or information. They may perform certain behaviors repeatedly. To be diagnosed with autistic disorder, symptoms must have been noted before age 3.

Pervasive developmental disorder, not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS): Children diagnosed with “atypical autism” are included in this group. Children with PDD-NOS have symptoms that do not exactly fit those of autistic disorder or any other ASD. For example, the symptoms may have developed after age 3. Or the symptoms may not be severe enough to be considered an autistic disorder.

Asperger’s syndrome: Children with Asperger’s syndrome may display many of the same symptoms as children with autistic disorder. However, they usually have average or above-average intelligence and initially show normal development of language. They often want to be social with others but don’t know how to go about it. They may not be able to understand others’ emotions. They may not read facial expressions or body language well. Their symptoms may not become apparent until school, when behavior and communication with peers become more important.

Other conditions share symptoms with PDDs and ASDs. These conditions include the following:

Rett Syndrome: Children with this severe, rare condition begin with normal development from birth through about 5 months of age. However, from about 5 to 48 months of age, head circumference development slows. Children lose motor skills and social interaction and language development become impaired.

Childhood disintegrative disorder: Like Rett syndrome, children begin developing normally. However, from about age 2 to age 10, children are increasingly less able to interact and communicate with others. At the same time, they develop repetitive movements and obsessive behaviors and interests. They lose motor skills, too. This usually leads to them becoming disabled. This autism-like condition is the rarest and most severe in autism spectrum disorder.

What Causes Autism?

Autism runs in families. The underlying causes, however, are unknown. Most researchers agree that the causes are likely to be genetic, metabolic or bio-chemical, and neurological. Others also believe that environmental factors may be involved.

How Is Autism Treated?

Treatments for autism vary depending on the needs of the individual. In general, treatments fall into four categories:

  • Behavioral and communication therapy
  • Medical and dietary therapy
  • Occupational and physical therapy
  • Complementary therapy (music or art therapy, for example)

Behavioral and Communication Therapies:

The primary treatment for autism includes programs that address several key areas. Those areas are behavior, communication, sensory integration, and social skill development. Addressing these areas requires close coordination between parents, teachers, special education professionals, and mental health professionals.

Medical and Dietary Therapies:

The goal of medication is to make it easier for the person with autism to participate in activities such as learning and behavioral therapy. Drugs used to treat anxiety, attention problems, depression, hyperactivity, and impulsivity may be recommended. These do not “cure” autism, but they can treat underlying dysfunctional symptoms that get in the individual’s way of learning and growing.

There is some evidence that people with autism may have certain deficiencies in vitamins and minerals. These deficiencies don’t cause autism.  Supplements, though, may be recommended to improve nutrition. Vitamin B and magnesium are two of the most frequent supplements used for people with autism. However, one can overdose on these vitamins, so mega-vitamins should be avoided.

Diet changes may also help with some symptoms of autism. Food allergies, for example, may make behavior problems worse. Removing the allergen from the diet may improve behavior issues.

Complementary Therapies:

These treatments may help increase learning and communications skills in some people with autism. Complementary therapies include music, art, or animal therapy, such as horseback riding or swimming with dolphins.

Future Research and Treatment of Autism:

Researchers, health professionals, parents, and persons with autism all have strong opinions about the direction future autism research should take. Everyone would like to find a cure for autism. However, many feel that finding a cure is unlikely. Instead, scarce resources should be devoted toward helping people with autism find better ways to live with the condition.

No matter what the view toward the future, many techniques and treatments exist now that can help relieve the pain and suffering of autism. These treatments offer many options for improving quality of life of people with autism.


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.