Tag Archives: aspergers

Christmas Gifts

Christmas Gifts: A Guide for those with Autistic Spectrum Condition

When it comes to buying Christmas Gifts for those with Autistic Spectrum Condition  I think that what it is easy to forget that the recipient still likes the same presents as other people. What may be different is that they may be a little more restricted in their likes and dislikes. It is important to remember that everyone is an individual, and this is definitely the case for those with Autistic Spectrum Condition. Although there are some things that seems to have a common element to them; with that in mind I asked some British Women with Asperger’s Syndrome for their thoughts on Christmas Gifts. Note that most of this will also apply to those with Sensory Processing Disorder but it was a bit of a mouthful putting both each time.Christmas Gifts

Buying Christmas Gifts for Indivudals with Autistic Spectrum Condition

I think it is important to remember that just because you like certain Christmas Gifts then this does not mean that someone else will too. Some of the women with Asperger’s Syndrome expressed how actually they really would rather not have any Christmas gifts at all, than the wrong ones. That mountains of Christmas gifts can be overwhelming – especially for those who are sensory avoiders – with all that colour being be too much! Some even prefer no gifts at all, not wanting their space to be filled with something they do not want or need. Not wanting to waste money for the sake of it. Instead why not club together with other members to buy one perfect present. However, something small and appropriate is better than spending lots of money for the sake of it.  Something homemade/handmade is a nice idea or what about an experience or day out – even better still accompany them on it to help reduce any anxiety.Hot chocolate Santa Gifts

The Christmas Gift of Alone Time

Sometimes those with Autistic Spectrum Condition may find the best Christmas Gift is that of  some alone time. This may be just to shut off from the world, to cope with a meltdown, or to relax, for example. This could be a place to hide (like a tent), or a trip away to a spa/night away, or even just back to some bath products for them to find some peace. Again how you decide on the perfect time alone will depend on the individual’s needs. Personally I need to sleep to cope with the changes that Christmas brings, it is what helps me to reset – and therefore some nice new pjs are perfect for this! (with the right textures of course, I hate those hot fluffy tops!)Christmas Gift of being alone - woman covering her eyes with a hat

Giving the Wrong Christmas Gift to the Individual with Autistic Spectrum Condition

Giving someone with autistic spectrum condition the wrong Christmas gift can be even more stressful than not getting them a present at all. They may feel that they have to pretend to like it or be called ungrateful for not being happy with the givers choice. This may ruin their Christmas as they try to hold it in until they end up having a meltdown about it. That is if it doesn’t eat away at them for months because they want to be grateful and are thrilled someone has put so much thought into it- but they really don’t like it! Often generic gifts are unwelcome and they may then hate how unwanted Christmas gifts clutter up their home. This can leave them feeling really anxious about what they are supposed to do with them and find it hard to get rid of. This could especially be the case if the gift is useful but they just have too many of them (like socks!). Again presents that interfere with their Sensory needs will be unwelcome even if well meaning – such as smells they have not chosen (shampoos, perfumes, candles, etc); foods (which may be too rich, or not spicy enough); make-up (which may not have the right texture) and jewellery (again the touch and visual being not to their liking).Christmas Gifts bottles of perfume

Christmas Gifts Guide for Someone with Autistic Spectrum Condition

Christmas Gifts Based on Special Interests

The individual with Autistic Spectrum Condition often has special interests which will make it easier in finding Christmas gifts that they will like. It may be clear what their special interest is and then you just need to ask yourself whether they already have said item related to that gift – and if so would they like another! Books about their main interest is often an item to avoid because if they wanted it then they would most likely have already read it. It may be hard to get the individual with Autistic Spectrum Condition to wait for Christmas to receive something because they may just want something when it is available (I struggle with this particular with my oldest son with Asperger’s Syndrome and his special interest of computer games, which are released around a month before Christmas!). If they don’t want a duplicate item then make it easy for them to return it with a gift receipt – which will also help make it clear that you won’t be offended if it isn’t what they wanted.

Christmas Gifts Special Interest Pokemon TopDon’t get hung up about age-appropriateness of the gifts either – if they still like Thomas the tank engine in their teens then why try to dictate that they have something else? It’s about developmental appropriateness and where that individual is at. Surely Christmas is a time for happiness. Again consider whether such an item is suitable for their sensory, verbal, gross and fine motor levels of development. For example, it does not matter how old someone is, if they are still putting everything in their mouths then small pieces of LEGO are not ideal, nor are they any good for someone without good fine motor control (although they could help with developing it). Board games may be too complex cognitively for their age even though they state that they should be able to play it – but then can it be adapted. . If it is a child that you are buying for then it is easy to check with their parents.

You may be interested in my Christmas Gift Guide for Pokemon Fans and LEGO Christmas Gift inspiration.

Clothes as Christmas Gifts for those with Autistic Spectrum Condition

Clothes can be a really complex area when considering buying Christmas gifts for someone with Sensory Processing Disorder and/or Autistic Spectrum Condition. This may be due to knowing exactly their needs – are they are sensory seeker or sensory avoider? Do they like a tight or lose fight? What is the feel of the material like? How does the visual of the item make them feel? Where are the seams and labels? Is it soft or scratchy? How much of the skin do they touch? Do they have problems with the fit (too tall/too short)? Clothes as Christmas Gifts could annoy some people with Autistic Spectrum Condition, seeing it as rude and assumptions to determine what someone else should wear, whereas someone else might love to get right the right piece (such as some over the knee socks!) – so it is really important to think about their individual likes).

line of pegs - christmas gifts for those with autistic spectrum conditionI remember my mom being surprised when I HATED the leggings she bought me with the gold spots on because I LOVED the top that was exactly the same – but to me it wasn’t and it made me feel ill. Likewise now I cannot find a pair of jeans I like for love nor money (they have changed the design and they are really tight on my legs), and I have worn jeans for as long as I can remember! I don’t like change and that is the same when it comes to clothes. I also like clothes that are practical – big pockets, zip pockets so I do not have to carry a bag with me. Plus I hate long sleeves as I get hot easily.

Practical and Sensory Christmas Gifts for those with Autistic Spectrum Condition

As I said I love things that are practical – anything that makes my life easier. That said there’s a thin line between a thoughtful useful gift and me being insulted (I would go mental if anyone bought me the pots and pans we need as it is like it is implying I should be cooking, rather than being something for me personally). You need to once again think about the individual person, especially if they have sensory needs.For example I really do like expensive shampoo, conditioner and body washes as they are things that I use anyway but have a touch more luxury (as long as they smell okay, as the wrong smells can make me feel sick). This seemed to be common with the other ladies on the Autistic Spectrum who enjoyed getting toiletries IF they were the right ones – don’t assume and buy the wrong ones. Lush products seem to be popular with their glittery colourful bath bombs, particularly as so many of the ladies with Asperger’s Syndrome found the shop hard to navigate with the overpowering of too many smells and colours, and pushy shop assistants wanting to speak to them. Again remember this will not apply to every individual with Autistic Spectrum Condition.

Christmas Gifts LightsOf course Sensory Christmas Gifts may be very welcome offerings for those with Sensory Processing Disorder and/or Autistic Spectrum Condition and could help improve their lives. Sensory enriching products include pretty lights (fairy, ones for the bath, lighting up the ceiling and walls, colour changing objects, projectors and salt/lava lamps); things with nice textures (pillows, teddy bears); a bubble machine; art equipment (visually pleasing and allowing the individual to be creative); a range of fiddle toys and noise cancelling headphones (although I just have wireless headphones and I play music through them and this works well for myself).

For children with Sensory Processing Disorder and/or Autistic Spectrum Condition some practical things that they may love (dependent on age and ability) are a trampoline, bicycle/scooter, LEGO and board games – as the former are great for getting them moving (beneficial to both sensory seekers and sensory avoiders); and the latter develops fine motor skills, patience, following instructions and even turn taking.

Getting it Right when Buying Christmas Gifts for Someone with Autistic Spectrum Condition

The biggest suggestion given for buying Christmas gifts for Someone with Sensory Processing Disorder and/or Autistic Spectrum Condition is to just ask what they like instead of assuming that they are all a hive-mind who like the same things. Many people on the Autistic Spectrum like routine and therefore changes are not welcome, so do not obsess that presents must always be surprise. Maybe have a traditional gift, that you know they like, and can give every year. Something practical like a calendar maybe (of their special interest). But then do bear in mind that if they suddenly do not receive it then this can also cause some issues.

Christmas Gifts CalendarAnother idea is to look at their wish list, that way there is still an element of surprise but in a controlled way that means they will still receive something they like. This can be done either by creating an online wishlist (like on Amazon) or they could print off specific pictures of Christmas Gifts they want. Those with Autistic Spectrum Condition may be aware that they are difficult to buy for and therefore would not be offended if you decided to play it safe with a gift card; as long as you do not get it wrong. Does anyone like being told what to do or where to shop? So make sure you know that they would appreciate a specific store to spend their gift card at. Clothes shops (see above) are usually not a good idea. Instead why not buy Gift Cards which can be used at many different places/buy a variety of things – such as Amazon gift cards or Love 2 Shop Vouchers. But do not be afraid to give money especially if it what they have asked for – as this may anger them, especially if they are trying to save up for something. Alternatively you could use a pre-paid debit card.

Opening the Christmas Gifts with Individuals with Autistic Spectrum Condition

Those with Autistic Spectrum Condition may feel uncomfortable being watched opening their Christmas Gifts. This is because people with autistic spectrum condition may struggle with emotions – including hiding their own. It might not even be anything to do with the gift itself but, as mentioned, many do not like surprises. Or it could be a case of their expression not matching what they would like to communicate. The anxiety of the “wrong present-face” may make them not want to open their presents at all. An example I was given was someone who was opening a perfectly lovely present got sticky-tape under their nail and pulled a, “ewww gross horrible!” face and was scolded for it.Christmas Gifts opening

Thank you to all the ladies with Asperger’s Syndrome who helped me to compile this article. If you have any further insights I would love to hear them. And a Merry Christmas to you all.

Related Posts of Interest:

Living in Limbo - Life with No Diagnosis

Living in Limbo – Life with No Diagnosis

I really do hate the school run because it means interacting with people. When I come home I am actually drained to the point where I have to sleep. I have even started taking antidepressants and fighting off the need to recuperate until the afternoon. But it is no good I can only reset myself with sleep. Then I have to do the school run again. I was put on these tablets fourteen months previously when I went to ask the doctors about a referral for seeing whether I have Asperger’s Syndrome. He told me it didn’t matter and that I could tell people I have if I liked – and wrote out the prescription. Ever since I have just been taking the tablets and paying for repeats. But still nothing is easier.Living in Limbo - Life with No Diagnosis

This morning on the school run a random man who works for the council called me a bully. I asked him what he meant and he laughed and said I had stolen my son’s scooter. I told him it was mine. My son was on his own scooter and mine (adult size too) has flowers on. I don’t get it – was he trying to tell a joke? People always have to comment on my scooter – there’s always something. But it isn’t just my scooter – it’s my clothes and other things too. I get hot really easily and hate to overheat. I was wearing shorts the other day when the sky was grey but it was still really warm. Again always said in this “jokey” way was whether my weather app was wrong! I am sure it was a joke but I can’t help it I just feel the need to explain that I get hot and can’t cope.

The doctor said that it was unlikely I was on the spectrum because I was aware that people treat me this way. That I want to fit in. He said I just haven’t had the right role models – teaching me how I am meant to behave in certain situations. But I thought that social skills were meant to come naturally? He said I could make a list. But I have no energy all the time. Surely someone should just be able to assess me and see. Why does it always have to be proven? I have begun to accept myself whether I have or haven’t got Asperger’s. Explaining to people that I don’t always say the right thing, or do the wrong thing or even get what is expected of me. It is up to them how they behave back towards me then. I do not know what more I can do.

Could I have Missed Signs that my Son has Autism

Frogs and Snails and Puppy dog’s Tails

Could I have Missed Signs that my Son has Autism?

There’s a question I want to ask, that I need to find out the answer – but not sure I can. I don’t know whether it will do more harm than good. See thing is I believe there’s a strong possibility that my child have Autism. Sadly the only reason I opened my eyes to notice is when his behaviour suddenly went out of control. No one had mentioned Autism with this particular son before this point (he is almost a teenager) and now those mentions of it feel like they are being swept under the carpet: I was then told that “everyone has Autism in some shape or form!”

Frogs and Snails and Puppy dog’s Tails

Looking back now though it falls into place, and I can’t believe that I was too wrapped up in my other children’s additional needs that I could have missed the signs. When did he start fiddling? Making sounds? Clicking his fingers?  Did he always not like changes of routine? Not being prepared? Has he always been awkward because things have been irritating him (clothes/heat/smells etc)? Is he not actually being rude but doesn’t know how to handle his emotions/know what to say? He never really did have a group of friends – well not until he got in with the wrong crowd and started behaving inappropriately. I always felt he was just trying to get attention (his oldest and youngest siblings having special needs). I feel awful that sometimes I just thought he was being “just a boy” and misbehaving: Like spoiling surprises, saying the wrong thing.Could I have Missed Signs that my Son has Autism

But now I have opened my heart to compassion and am trying to stop and listen to what his behaviour has being showing me.  I feel unbelievably guilty and now feel I can’t do anything about it – as the blame for his behaviour has heavily been pointed at me. We are not talking other parents in the playground, or some health visitor suggesting I need a parenting course. No. This blame has come from my own child. A statement he made that I can only assume was to keep him out of trouble. Words said that almost destroyed me, and took all my children from me. Questioned as to whether The Sensory Seeker is actually only that way due to the environment that I have brought him up in (thank goodness I had someone to leap to my defence and say it is not!).

Where do I go from here? With the finger of suspicion firmly still pointing in my direction? The more I try to justify my son’s behaviour in terms of Autism the more I feel that I am just trying to excuse my rubbish parenting – why I have a child who has not been behaving as they should. I am still waiting to go on the parenting course – holding on to the hope that it is me after all, because wouldn’t that be easier.

I take a risk with this post, I know I do. He might see it. They might see it. But I can’t cope with all of this on my own any more. I guess this post isn’t even helpful because I haven’t even put down my concerns. But I suppose it is a question of whether we just carry on or whether I should push to find out one way or the other. I suppose the other thing is whether I am really convinced that I may have Asperger’s or not – because again that would certainly back up how easy it is to miss the signs, but then I am a girl.

 

X+Y - Film Review

X+Y – Film Review

X+Y is an emotional British drama inspired by a true story. A story of growing up, leaving home, maths, relationships, loss and Autistic Spectrum disorder. Nathan (played by the young and talented Asa Butterfield) who following his diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome loses his dad. He seems to be the one person who really understood Nathan and made him happy. We see how hard Nathan’s mother Julie (Sally Hawkins) tries to understand her son but she fails even to get him to let her hold his hand.

X+Y - Film Review

Nathan is gifted at Mathematics and is spotted by an unconventional teacher Mr. Humphreys (Rafe Spall) and lands a place on the International Mathematical Olympiad UK squad. It is just when you want to scream at your television that not all kids with Aspergers are savants the film comes into its own and shows that in the team Nathan isn’t superior – he’s just average. He no longer feels weird, and in contrast another boy, Luke (Jake Davies) also has Asperger’s and is very different to Nathan. The harrowing contrast between someone on the Autistic Spectrum finding love and being happy, to that of not fitting in to a sad extent. I think that anyone who has been touched by Autism will enjoy this film. I think it does a good job of bringing about awareness of the condition in a watchable way. Be prepared to be moved to tears.

X+Y - Film Review

This film portrays Autistic Spectrum Disorder and Sensory Issues well – as Nathan struggles to understand others, communicate and cope with visual and auditory stimulation. I watched this film with my husband and we agreed that we saw some parallels with our own son with Asperger’s syndrome – such as sometimes he just needs to be really pushed to do the things he feels uncomfortable with.

X+Y - Film Review In saying that there were also areas of the film which we felt ignored the fact that Nathan was on the Autistic Spectrum – such as his (and his mother’s) ease at him moving out of home, and the general adapting to changes without any seeming problems.

X+Y - Film Review

This film is a 12 and I think that there are some scenes to that viewers may find emotionally distressing, including scenes of injury and self-harm.

I received a free copy of X+Y for purposes of review. I was also given a book and some maths equipment. All words and opinions are my own.

Is there any point seeking a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome as an adult?

Asperger’s Syndrome: Is there any point seeking a diagnosis as an adult?

Is there any point seeking a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome as an adult?

I often wonder whether it is worth being assessed for whether I have Asperger’s Syndrome or not. But as an adult is there any point in seeking a diagnosis even if I did? It has been hard enough fighting for support for my children, never mind myself. Is there even much support out there for adults with Asperger’s Syndrome: For women even? Where would I begin and what would it achieve.

Why I even considered that I may have Asperger’s Syndrome

Is there any point seeking a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome as an adult?I first started to consider that I may have Asperger’s Syndrome when a seed was planted in my head when my oldest son was diagnosed. We were asked whether I had any traits as part of his diagnosis. I often have `meltdowns’ but have always just put them down to all the undealt with issues from my childhood. We did mention the fact that I cannot have hangers with nothing on them left in the wardrobe in between clothes. I hate change and really struggle with it. And of course I really struggle with relationships whether people want to admit it or not.  I do not understand really the concept of things not being the way the rules say and just ignoring it. I know people do not like to be corrected and if I think hard about it I can stop myself from acting – but the thoughts are still there. I am sure there a lots more reasons that put me in the three areas of the triad but I try not to think about it too much as I feel like I am trying to make myself fit when I may not.

What would a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome mean for me?

Is there any point seeking a diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome as an adult?But a diagnosis (if I were) – well that wouldn’t change any of that would it. Possibly if I knew there was a cause would that make me feel any better about myself? And what if it was determined that I wasn’t on the Spectrum – would that make me feel bad that I have these behaviours with no reason – would the Asperger’s give me a reason to feel so different? Am I just hoping that it would give me a sense of belonging? Would there be any help I could access to help me fit in better? I mean I know that I am useless at small talk: I can barely even manage to say hello how are you on social media when I have something I want to discuss. I have made myself aware of this and try to at least apologise and say it afterwards – or is this normal? Am I actually just too self-absorbed?

If you have been diagnosed, or know of anyone who has, as an adult – then how did you know? And what did you do?

You may have found this page and discovered that I do not have Asperger’s Syndrome, or would like to talk to someone who has received a late diagnosis, therefore I can recommend that you visit Jax’s who has.

I would really appreciate any feedback on this topic please. x

aspergers bullying

Bullying & Autistic Spectrum Disorder

Bullying is a problem for too many children, but a child on the Autistic Spectrum may be more at risk than their peers. They are also less likely to be able to make it stop, as they struggle with social communication. They might not even be able to tell those close to them. The National Autistic Society have written a guide on bullying for parents. In this post I talk about bullying and Asperger’s syndrome, as experienced by my son.anti-bullying week

Victims of Bullying generally are either:  Passive Targets – those with low self-esteem, shy, academic, on their own, smaller, weaker OR Pro-Active Targets – those with inappropriate behaviour, socially clumsy, perceived as irritating, attention-seeking and not knowing when to stop. Children on the autistic spectrum are more likely to be a target for bullies because they may be seen as different because they cannot always relate to the situation they are in – or communicate what is going on. Children who are on the Autistic Spetrum are often perceived as being low in  social status & friendship (having few friends to defend them). They are naive, gullible,  & eccentric. They are neither cool, macho or popular and are perceived as ‘soft’

I remember my oldest son crying upset that he did not want to go to school when he was only 7 years old. Now granted, he was at a new school, where he had to make new friends and the rest of the children had known each other a long time – but we’d moved a lot and he was used to this. He loved  enjoyed school and has always worked hard, so it came as a bit of a shock. This actually was one of the first big moves towards him being diagnosed as having Asperger’s Syndrome.

aspergers bullyingThings can be very black and white.

I remember my son being confused as to why he was in trouble when one of the boys told him it was “a good idea” to bend another boy’s fingers back.

Those on the Autistic Spectrum are unable to distinguish between who are bullies and who are friends. They are unable to differentiate between friendly sparring and physical attacks.

Our son often kept complaining to the teacher that he had been hit so many times that they stopped taking him seriously – they said he complained as if he had been punched when someone so much as accidentally brushed passed him. Fortunately, the school was very supportive. I went in and explained the situation and they put things in place to help him. They made break times (when he was less supervised) more structured by introducing chess club. He also had a dinner lady buddy – that if he had ANY problems (even the seemingly most trivial) he could go and speak to them. They encouraged circle time sessions where children would focus on each other’s strengths.

I hear of so many children who end up being Home educated because of bullying. Do you have a story to share about bullying and ASD? I would especially like to hear any success stories.

Images maybe subject to copyright, used for illustration purposes only.

Aspergers teen driver

Driving Test passed by Teen with Aspergers

Our Teen with Aspergers is Driving

Only yesterday I was doing my A-levels whilst pregnant. So how is it today that the baby I was carrying is now the proud owner of a full driving license?! How did the time go so quickly? 7 years ago I would never have believed that this day would come. My son was struggling  in so many areas, and had been newly diagnosed with Aspergers’ syndrome. Now we have so much hope for him and his future., driving is just the start. In fact now we are struggling trying to get him to decide on Universities and courses! We have established that he does want to go, and has an end goal of what he wants to do – but that’s it. Actually looking at them and making a decision for himself – well that’s just another hurdle. But for today we celebrate that our teenage with Aspegers can drive.

Teen with Aspergers Driving

Now for the next nightmare. Insurance – omg! It seems the more expensive car that is bought the cheaper the insurance – but is that wise? And will he know what to do (socially) when out on his own? I guess it is natural for all mothers to worry (Aspergers or not). And actually the sensible lad in him is very reassuring. What about the other idiots on the road though – eek. Today someone walked across the road (fully) then (without looking) ran back again in front of me. I think everyone around was shocked, and horrified. Me I was just glad I pressed the brakes fast enough. The poor guy who was nearly hit couldn’t say sorry enough, I was just shocked speechless. My 11 year old (who was in the front) just said that he hoped that never happened to his brother. But I am sure my oldest will be fine. And when I have got over worrying about him, I am sure it will be his little brother’s turn!

Ethans Escapades