Frequently Asked Questions1. Which doctor should be consulted if my child is suspected to have Asperger's syndrome?
Assessment under a Psychiatrist can help the child. A child psychiatrist is the ideal however this may not be always possible.
2. What are the common problems faced by a child afflicted with Asperger’s syndrome?
The main difficulties faced by a child with this disorder manifests in poorly developed conversation skills, expression and non verbal communication. Victims do not possess adequate emotional intelligence to handle social interactions. They appear clumsy and confused, therefore end up being marginalized amongst peers. Group activities are a cause of anxiety to victims. The adjectives of ‘eccentric’, strange or ‘queer’ fit them to a ‘T’. This leads to aggression and resentment and many of them withdraw into their own world. Many of the victims also suffer associated mental health problems like anxiety disorder, depression or Obsessive compulsive disorder. Some children portray learning problems as well.
3. What are the challenges faced by an Asperger’s syndrome child in school? How does it affect the child?
Behavioral problems lead to unpleasant experiences in school. A place which is welcome to most kids becomes a source of anxiety to Asperger’s syndrome children, especially if they are not accepted amongst the peer group. Behavioral problems and non conformance to laid out rules in school, attracts the ire of teachers and students. Many of the victims become the target of ridicule and bullying, which only increases their aggression and negativity. This leads to an aversion to school and to learning itself. Many of the victims turn away from friends and interaction and trap themselves in their own negative thoughts.
Trouble in school causes allied problems and could manifest in any of the following forms:
- Fluctuating moods
- Temper tantrums
- Tendency to avoid school
4. What are the strategies to assist Asperger’s syndrome children combat teasing and bullying in school?
Parents must establish a proper channel of communication with the school. Children who are constantly bullied withdraw rather than fight back. Parents must always show empathy and understanding. This is important to reassure the bullied child. Home, should be a comfort zone for the victim to regain composure. Constant motivation is perhaps the only way to restore normalcy in such children.
5. How can parents help the child in speech and conversation skills?
Good parenting can make all the difference to the troubled child. Parents can train the child to communicate clearly. To do so, parents must demonstrate the required voice and expression, in order that the victim learns the correct manner of speech and expression. Tape recorders can be employed by parents to train such children.
Read – aloud sessions with the parent is a tested way to improve clarity of speech and expression. Victims often leave inexplicable gaps in conversation. Sometimes when they are asked a question, they are confused about the answers. This may mean that they leave long silent pauses before the conversation resumes. Training them with rescue phrases such as “Let me think for a moment’, ‘I am not sure’, ‘I don’t know’ bails the child out, making it easy to hold the conversation.