The Beauty of The Spectrum

 

 
Over the last few years, I have worked with a lot of kids on "The Spectrum." What that means, is that the kids have a diagnosis of Autism or Asperger's Syndrome - in various stages, and with varying degrees of effects on their functioning.
They are some of my most challenging, amazing, rewarding, didImentionchallenging kids that I have ever worked with.
Every. Single. One. of these kids that I have worked with calls me "Jenny," even though I have never introduced myself that way. I find it endearing (but don't you try it). It's a weirdly wonderful coincidence.
They see the world in a way all their own (just like all of us).
They are smart, and can teach you so much if you are willing to learn.

I have worked with their parents, to bring understanding, support and resources. For many parents, this is a life-altering diagnosis and they need to allow themselves to go through a grieving process for the hopes of a traditonal "normal" life for their children (whatever that means). However, in the end, they always come to realize that this diagnosis does not change who their child IS. It does not define them. It does not change their amazing hearts, spirits and delightful personalities. 

It changes how we teach them. It changes how we reach them. But it doesn't change who they are.  

And if a doctor says there is "no hope" in reaching them, run in the other direction, because there is always hope. I've seen so many success stories and been part of success stories when we find the way to connect with kids, there is so! much! growth! possible. Often times the success began with a doctor saying there was little hope, and a parent not accepting that answer. 

I wanted to share some resources that I use with familys to support them in helping their kids reach the maximum potential. For most, information is power, and the more you know - the less helpless you feel to the label of a diagnosis.

 

Websites: 

Autism Speaks

Asperger's Syndrom and High Functioning Autism

Parenting Asperger's Blog

Diagnostic Criteria for Autism Spectrum Disorders

 

Programs: 

Picto Selector (free program for creating visual schedules)

Signing time (sign language program, I've had some success with teaching sign language to kiddos when verbal abilities are low)

Sensory Integration Exercises

 

Books: 

The Out of Sync Child

Siblings of Children With Autism

Running with Walker

All Cats have Asperger Syndrome 

 

Hope this is a helpful resource for some of you out there!

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