Tip #5: Being Blunt vs. Being Honest
Often, neurotypical children are very honest. They tend to speak the truth, but with a bit of a filter. Aspie children, on the other hand, don’t seem to have a filter so are often viewed as being rude or lacking in compassion.Their intent is not to be rude, but to be genuinely honest by speaking the truth. The value of being able to say “the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes” can become a wonderful virtue, but make sure to teach your little Aspie to couple that with some gentleness. Explain that sometimes the 'blunt' delivery can hurt someone's feelings and make them feel bad. So teach gentleness, but reinforce that being honest is a good thing.
“Life with Mr. M.” is the creation of children’s author, illustrator and cartoonist Angela DeMuro. The comic follows the humorous antics of Mr. M., an intelligent, curious and sometimes quirky 6-year-old boy with Asperger’s and his side kick, Bernard the fox. The comic was inspired by DeMuro’s youngest son who was diagnosed with Asperger’s in 2012. DeMuro resides in Northeast PA.
“Life with Mr. M.” Tip #4
Many children with Aspergers (High-Functioning Autism) have difficulty processing everyday sensory information such as sounds, sights, smells and touch. This is called “sensory sensitivity”. One common sensitivity can be the face and mouth area, which can make teeth brushing an unpleasant task. One positive factor is that most children with Asperger’s are very logical thinkers and this means that they can understand what will happen if they don’t brush. Sometimes simply explaining what can happen and giving a choice to your child is all that’s needed to help them work through some sensory sensitivity.
“Life with Mr. M.” Tip #3
“It’s raining cats and dogs”, “I’m all ears” or “Easy as pie”. These common idioms can be quite confusing for a literally-minded child with Asperger’s Syndrome. They do not understand idioms or metaphors.
Their highly literal minds are wired differently than that of the "neuro-typical" child. Children with Asperger’s will better understand what you mean if the words you use are clear, concise and to the point. This will help you to communicate more effectively with your child.
“Life with Mr. M.” Tip #2
Sometimes our little Aspies can experience ‘overload’. Their behavior may seem as though they are acting defiant, when actually they need to ground themselves and refocus. Heavy chores or heavy work is a way to calm your child. At home try dusting, wiping counters or sorting laundry. At school try cleaning chalkboards, returning library books or sharpening pencils. And outside chores may include weeding the garden, raking leaves or taking out the trash.
“Life with Mr. M.” Tip #1
A child having specific and narrow areas of interest is one of the most striking features of Asperger’s Syndrome.
Often children, such as Mr. M. will become very focused on one topic, wanting to know everything about it, reading and memorizing each detail. And then, even after they have mastered that topic, they will still engage daily in that particular subject.
Children may memorize volumes of detailed information on a relativity narrow subject, such as dinosaurs. Usually this behavior will be apparent at about 5 years or 6 years old.
Embrace this trait; it can be a terrific educational asset!
Whether you home school or have your child in a traditional school setting you can create an educational experience for your child based on the topic of interest. For example:
Create a spelling list from their favorite animals.
Read ‘stories’ about their interests, say the 7 continents, like Mr. M.
Create Math lessons using small plastic dinosaurs or sea animals. Again, wherever your child’s interests lie at the moment.
Use your little professor’s natural superpower to memorize into a positive. Work within Asperger’s; not against it.
Deep breaths and hugs,
Angela DeMuro is a published author, illustrator, syndicated cartoonist and homeschool mom. She has three sons, two grown and one young son who is diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome.
In addition to writing and illustrating children’s books, Angela speaks, writes and illustrates about parenting a child with Asperger’s with perspective from the child’s point of view. Angela resides in Shavertown, Pa. with her husband Douglas and two youngest sons. You may contact her at www.angelademuro.com