More Asperger Signs

Frustrations began when Ben was three, four and five years old because he did not know how to use words to express what he wanted.  For example he would stand by the door he could not open and whine and cry until someone noticed what he wanted.  We began to say the sentence he needed to say and ask him to repeat it.  After he would repeat it correctly, then we would open the door or do whatever he wanted.  We, his family members, spent a great deal of time teaching him to verbalize rather than whine and cry.  We even put up a sign which read “No whining zone.”
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Around this same time frame, we began to notice how sensitive he was to loud noises. They lived near an Air Force Base and when a plane would fly over he would cover his ears. It was also during this time that his eating became somewhat of a problem. He would eat cold cereal, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and little else. Once I insisted he try a bite of scrambled egg and he vomited. I did not try that again. He would not eat spaghetti or any form of pasta. We finally realized that his sense of taste and texture were affected the same as his sense of hearing. I believe the literature covers the fact that many Asperger children (and maybe adults) have issues with the senses of hearing, feeling, touching and tasting. Remember he was still undiagnosed as having Asperger Syndrome at this time. I am just trying to recall his behaviors that we could not understand at the time.
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When Ben started to preschool he had no idea the correct way to hold a crayon or a pencil. He would hold the very top of the pencil by the eraser end and try to write. Most children seem to know how to hold a crayon or pencil probably because they had observed a parent or sibling holding it the correct way. We now know why he did not know how to do such a seemingly simple thing. Autistic or Asperger children are totally focused on self. They do not seem to notice things going on around them as normal children do.
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Remember I have already discussed his obsession with tiny things. When he started kindergarten, the teacher did not want the children to bring toys from home. Ben always had a tiny car in his pocket wherever he went. Ben’s mother began to ‘”frisk” him each morning before school. One particular day after she had removed the toy from his pocket, she noticed that during the day he had broken his pencil into two pieces. Then he had something little to hold on to. We did not understand this behavior at all at the time, but since have learned the tiny toys gave him a sense of security much like Linus and his blanket in the cartoon strip.

Asperger Syndrome – Early Indicators

Ben was born March 7th, 1990, and he was a beautiful, normal-looking baby with a full head of brown hair. Our daughter has three boys and Ben was the second born. He was a happy baby. In fact, we called him, “Bennie, the beamer” because as he grew older he was always smiling.
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Bennie The Beamer

Bennie The Beamer

A common trait that Asperger children share with autistic individuals is fixation, although they usually have more control over their fixations, which take the form of highly focused interests. Ben was born in Virginia, into an Air Force family and I did not have the privilege of seeing him on a daily basis but as far as I know Ben did not exhibit any unusual behaviors that might have indicated autism until he was about two years old. Even then we had no idea that his love for tiny match-box cars was the beginning of many fixations (obsessions) to follow.
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Ben was slow at learning to talk, but we still thought nothing unusual about that since children are not exactly the same. He could say many words, but did not make a sentence for quite a while later. We also noticed that he learned to walk much later than his older brother, but knew the danger of comparing one child to the other. Ben also had trouble learning to use the potty. He was well past three years old before the training was completed.
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Another fixation that appeared was his interest in hair. He definitely did not like to get a haircut, but a neighbor who visited his home had a large, rather bushy hairdo and he loved her hair. He would point to her hair and say “haircut.” On more than one occasion Ben would go to sleep by his mother while rubbing her hair. As Ben grew older, new fixations seemed to take the place of old ones. I will discuss some of these in future articles.
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At about three years old, Ben underwent some psychological testing which indicated some problems with development. However, nothing was said about autism at that time. He was placed in an early childhood program in their community.
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The early childhood program did help Ben in that he began to learn how to relate better to other children. I emphasize the word “began” because we have learned that relating to others appropriately is always going to be difficult for Ben.
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If you suspect a family member of having this disorder, be aware of some of the signs I have mentioned. Your doctor should be able to answer further questions and provide both reading material and treatment for this disorder. When Asperger Syndrome goes undiagnosed, children do not get the help they need. This could lead to problems later on in school such as bullying.

A life changing event impacted our family eleven years ago when my grandson at the age of nine was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, which is a form of autism. I began to study and research the subject so that we could be better equipped to provide adequate help for my grandson. Until the time of the diagnosis, I had no idea how the entire family would be affected.
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The first thing I did was search for a definition of autism. The best way to describe it is that it is a neurological disorder that affects a person’s development in the areas of communication and social skills. I also learned that no two people will have exactly the same symptoms nor the same level of severity.
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After hearing a lecture from a leading authority at the time, I learned that Asperger Syndrome is a high-functioning form of autism. Not unlike regular autism, there are many levels of severity. Most Asperger children are slow in learning to walk, talk and become potty trained. Even though Ben, my grandson, was formally diagnosed at the age of nine, I have observed the symptoms of Asperger Syndrome in him since he was a baby in his high chair. For the last twenty years I have been actively involved with helping Ben. My first hand knowledge and hands-on experience in dealing with his handicap uniquely qualifies me to speak with authority on this subject.
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I will be writing future articles regarding my experience with Ben and will cover subjects such as Asperger symptoms, early signs, school problems, medical treatment and counseling. I will also include essays written by Ben which express his feelings about being a person who has Asperger Syndrome.
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If you have a child who exhibits any signs of Asperger, I want to encourage you to seek professional help from competent medical personnel who are specialists in dealing with autism. It may be that your child, after being properly diagnosed, does not have Asperger Syndrome but it is better to be safe than sorry. Early intervention by professionals is critical because Asperger children can be prone to depression which,in turn, could result in them being harmful to themselves or others.

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