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Whether we want to or not we have to live with Aspergers Syndrome because there hasn't been a cure developed yet. So I've compiled a page to help with our everyday life. So here is what I've found as useful information:


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Visual Support

Communicating is essential even for us. It enables us to interact, express and learn. We are often referred to as 'black and white' thinkers. Unfortunately, communication is said to have a lot of 'gray' areas. For example tone of voice, facial expressions and environmental distractions.

Whatever visual representation is used it's important that it is appropriate to the individual and that it's in line with the individuals needs and current state of development. Don't try these things if they are either too hard or easy for you. The introduction of the visual support needs to be a gradual process, both in the type of visual representation and the volume (start off with one symbol and then build up a schedule).

Types of Visual Objects

  • Real Objects
  • Tactile symbols/objects of reference-swimming trunks, packaging-chrisps, labels of food.
  • Photographs
  • Miniatures of real objects
  • Coloured pictures
  • Line drawings
  • Written word

How to use them

  • Schedule - a row of symbols to provide a whole day of activities.
  • Vertical or Horizontal - Both are effective. However, it's been suggested that a vertical presentation of symbols can be more effective because individuals tend to naturally work downwards e.g. a list.
  • Single symbol - Placed in a pocket or on an object it can act like an immediate source of communication.
  • Laminate - by laminating the visual supports it makes them more durable.
  • Board - a recognised area allows the individual to associate the symbols with a place.
  • Velcro - Velcro strips are often placed on boards and the back of the symbols. This allows schedules and activities to be easily altered and flexible for change on a daily basis.
  • Portable Folder - so that the method of communication is available in all contexts display it in a portable folder.

Where to put them

  • In a prominent place at eye level
  • On the actual object
  • Environments - labelling objects/areas in classroom or home.

How they help people with AS

  • Timetables/Schedules
  • Helping with sequences
  • Transition/Change
  • Starting and finishing activities
  • Introduction of new activities or situations, general knowledge, curriculum subjects, news
  • Instructions/reminders
  • Choice
  • Understanding of emotions and expressions
  • Sharing information
  • Behaviour - praise, demonstrate appropriate, stop inappropriate
  • Behaviour strategies
  • Social skills
  • Locating people/places
  • Safety
  • Structuring the environment
  • Independent living skills
  • Sex education
  • Health

Social Boundaries

I've had a great deal of problems myself in this area. The best way to play this area of aspergers problems is just sit back and see what is happening in a situation before doing anything. The advice I'm giving you is from personal experience. It's not easy I know that but we've got to make an effort if we expect others to make the effort for us.

  • Don't get close to people to fast or you may scare them. Take it a step at a time like they would. Trying to impress people also isn't a good idea. Be yourself as much as possible. If a person is going to like you they will do for who you are not what you act as. There really is no point covering up who you are because you fear rejection.

  • Don't break professional boundaries. This is a problem that everyone comes across at some point in their lives unless you don't have human feelings. You get friendly with someone but because of their professional position it's impossible to build a friendship with them without it being frowned upon as a major misconduct on both of your accounts in the place where you both are. I believe that things will happen if you want them bad enough. Things that have gone really bad can be undone, it's not good for people to hold something against you forever. Most of these problems are caused by circumstances and people's circumstances change as their life might in the future. You have to leave it up to the professional person involved with the power and things will work out if they think it will be ok to be friends with you.

Aspergers And Medication

Some people with Aspergers Syndrome unfortunately do get put on medication. This section is to warn of the dangers and things you should know about these groups of medications which people with AS are prescribed.

Brief facts about how the brain works...

 Disorders of the brain and nervous system may manifest invisibly (such as AS) or sometimes as physical impairments (e.g. Epilepsy or Strokes). Aspergers Syndrome/Autism comes under mental and emotional impairments. These disturbances are apparently caused by electrical impulses abnormally reacting with the neurotransmitters within our brains.

Common Problem associated with the Autistic Spectrum Disorder - Sleep disturbances/Insomnia/Poor sleep pattern

Medication for sleep problems is normally only given after natural remedies haven't worked. Those natural remedies could be a warm bath, hot milk or many of the hot relaxing drinks that are sold in the supermarkets. Medication should only be used for short term use and also only prescribed in small dosages. Basically these drugs depress brain functions which promote sleep due to interfering with your brains chemical activities. They eventually reduce communication between nerve cells which allows you to fall asleep more easily. The main class of sleeping tablets are Benzodiazepines. The whole point of the drug is to sedate you by causing drowsiness and slowing reactions. In some cases it makes it seem like some people who take them are drunk, especially if they try to fight to stay awake after taking them. Normally if not fought the drugs cause you to fall asleep within an hour. Although this is helpful in the short term, it isn't advisable to take them long term. This is because it's not the same as natural sleep. It's a substitute that doesn't allow people taking the drug the reach the normal level of deep sleep required naturally. It may make people feel 'hungover' the next day and feel lousy. They also can't be used long term due to becoming less effective each time they are taken. Also they can produce psychological and physical dependance when they are taken for more than a few weeks. There are also a lot of undesirable withdrawal effects. These include anxiety, convulsions and hallucinations.

Anti Anxiety Drugs

Stress is good for people to a certain level. If it gets too much it will often result in anxiety. Anxiety is caused by a disturbance within the brains chemicals. When people feel fear their brain activities increase. That can trigger the nervous system which results in the physical symptoms of anxiety, i.e. breathlessness, shaking, palpitations, digestive distress and headaches. Benzodiazepines and Beta Blockers are the most used drugs for treatment of anxiety. They are prescribed for short term relief of severe anxiety and nervousness caused by psychological problems. These drugs can't resolve the underlying causes though. Long term treatment is normally counselling and psychotherapy.

Anti Depressant Drugs

These types of drugs are self explanatory in the name. They are normally used to treat depression which can affect people, not just on the spectrum, but anybody. There are three main types of anti depressant drug groups.

Tricycle anti depressants, Selective Serotonin re-uptake inhibitors (also known as SSRIs), and Lithium.

Minor depression normally doesn't require medication as a solution. Moderate or severe depression will need drug treatment in most cases. In almost all cases though, the drugs will have to build up inside a person before they become effective. Depression is thought to be caused by a reduction in the level of certain chemicals called neurotransmitters which affect moods by stimulating by stimulating brain cells. Anti depressants increase the level of those excitable neurotransmitters. Taking anti depressants isn't an instant cure for depression. They take up from 10 to 14 days for the full effects to kick in. There may be side effects at first but once a tolerance is built up to the treatment then they should disappear or lessen. It's not advisable to overdose on these medications. Tricyclics can cause seizures, disturbed heart rhythm or even a coma (which could result in some people waking up brain damaged). Monamine   Oxidase Inhibitors can also cause muscle spasms or even death. Both of these drugs are prescribed with caution for people with heart problems and epilepsy. When taking the MAOI's shouldn't be taken with certain foods or drugs high in tyranine. i.e meat, yeast extracts and red wines can produce a rapid rise in blood pressure which results in headaches and vomiting. People taking this drug are given a card that lists prohibited drugs and food. Due to these adverse interactions MAOI's are less frequently prescribed nowadays. SSRI's and Tricyclics are prescribed instead, although SSRI's aren't generally prescribed to under 18s.

Anti Psychotic Drugs

Psychosis is a term given to describe mental disorders that prevent suffers thinking clearly, recognising reality and acting rationally. These drugs will never cure the disorders but help to control some of the negative symptoms. They may also sometimes be given to sedate a highly agitated or aggressive person.

A-Z of Drugs that may be prescribed to people with Autistic Spectrum Disorders

Amisulpride/Sulpride - Anti Psychotic which is commonly used to treat Scizophrenia. But also been known to treat Torettes Syndrome which is closely linked with the spectrum.

Amitriptyline - Anti Depressant which belongs to the tricyclics group of anti depressants.

Bupropion - Anti Depressant which is chemically unrelated to other classes of anti depressants. It has been used to treat depression but nowadays is mostly used to aid giving up smoking.

Chlorpromazine - Anti Psychotic drug which was first to be marketed. It is still used today. It has a calming and sedative effect that usually treats short term anxiety, agitation and aggressive behaviour.

Citalopram/Escitalopram - Anti Depressants which are selective seretonin re-uptake inhibitors (SSRI's). They are used for depressive illness and panic disorder. Escitalopram is used for social and generalised anxiety disorders.

Clomipramine - Anti Depressant which belongs to the tricyclics group of drugs. It is used mainly for long term treatment of depression. Especially useful in treatment of obsessive and phobic disorders.

Dosulepin - Anti Depressant which belongs to the tricyclics class of drugs. It is used in long term treatment of depression. This drug is particularly useful in treating anxiety and insomnia as it encourages sleep.  

Fluoxetine - Anti Depressant which belongs to the group called SSRI's.  This drug is especially useful for treating obsessive compulsive disorder.

Flupentixol - Anti Psychotic which is prescribed to treat Schizophrenia and similar illnesses. Occasionally used as an anti depressant for mild to moderate depression.

Lofepiamine - Anti Depressant which belongs to the tricyclic group of drugs. They are used primarily long term treatment of severe depression.

Mirlazepine - Anti Depressant which increases the natural occurring chemicals in the brain. It increases Serotonin and Noradrealline. Only used in treatment of severe depression.

Promazine - A Phenothiazines which was introduced in the late 1950s. It is meant to regulate abnormal behaviour. The main use of this drug was to calm agitated and restless behaviour. It has also been used as a sedative for short term treatment of severe anxiety. Nowadays it's not used much due to it's unpleasant side effects.

Sertraline - Anti Depressant which is a member of the SSRIs group of drugs. It causes a less of a sedation effect on the user. The drug is mainly used to treat depression, anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder. It seems to only be prescribed for post traumatic stress in women.

Venlafaxine - Anti Depressant which has a chemical structure unlike any other available anti depressant. It combines the therapeutic properties of both the SSRI's and tricyclic anti depressants without adverse effects. This drug is mostly used in treatment of depression and generalized anxiety disorder.



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