Making Peace With The Phone

February 18th, 2009 by Sandy | 2 Comments


(photo by William Hook)

Ring ring.  It’s the telephone!  (Actually, they don’t sound much like that anymore.)  I had a fun conversation with another Aspie recently about how much we detest talking on the phone.  Apparently this is a known trait in both children and adults on the spectrum.

Did anyone watch Peanuts?  Remember Charlie Brown’s teacher?  That’s pretty much what I hear when I answer the phone.  It’s actually what I hear when many people talk in person, but seeing moving lips helps to break it up a bit.  On the phone I am completely helpless.  When in doubt, I take a few seconds to run it through my head a few times and then make a semi-sympathetic “oh” sound.  If their tone sounded like they were trying to be funny, I ramp it up to an amused “oh”.  On the bright side, my cell phone gets so little use that I’ve been able to drastically downgrade my plan.

Some tactics I’ve learned:

  • Before calling about something specific like making an appointment, I organize all of the information (dates, referral numbers) visually best binary options indicators and keep it in front of me.  If it’s a phone number on a website, I highlight the text beforehand, because know I can’t scan a page while trying to process speech.
  • Keep a list of local websites for ordering food.  It sounds lazy but Aspies hate ordering food over the phone!  Plus, checking off a list on a website is the easiest way to make sure Buy Nvidia shares the instructions are accurate.  (I think you know what happens when we Aspies get food made the wrong way.)
  • Jott, YouMail, and MessageSling offer services that transcribe your incoming voicemails to texts or emails.  This is something I might try if I had to use voicemail more often; Lifehacker compares two of the services and their accuracy here.
  • Focus my eyes on a fixed point free of distraction because I need to concentrate 100% on auditory input.  This is something kids can learn to make a habit.  And definitely, absolutely no driving!


Using Photography As A Therapy Tool: Part 2

February 17th, 2009 by Sandy | No Comments

In Part 1, I explained why photography Nvidia shares works so well for me as an adult with Aspergers.  Now let’s look at some of the creative projects you can make with your child’s photographs!


Moo makes these amazing mini cards that are a little smaller than half a business card.  What’s great is that you can order a set of 100 where every card has a different image and up to 6 lines of text on the back.  Ideas for 100 mini-photos:

  • Catalog of Fixations Let your child carry around a point-and-shoot and take a photo every time they encounter the object of their affection, er, fixation.  Have them make a note of the date and type, and this can be the text on the back of the card.  Punch holes in the mini Moo cards and hold them together with a binder ring.  Great way to catalog their interests!
  • Personalized Social Stories Work together to take pictures of everything that happens in their day.  Stick magnetic tape on the backs of mini Moo cards and use them to illustrate social stories on a magnetic white board.  (Ikea has a great one!)

Photobooks: If you have your child try to photograph examples of different social situations, you can choose the best ones to compile into a photobook.  Together you can come up with appropriate captions; check out The Social Skills Picure Book for ideas or if you’re just feeling lazy and want a book ready-made.  Blurb and Snapfish are a couple of the more popular and easy-to-use photobook sites.


Stickers: Both Qoop and Moo will turn your photos into stickers.  So after your child photographs his extensive dinosaur collection, you can use those photos as little incentive stickers!


Using Photography As A Therapy Tool: Part 1

February 17th, 2009 by Sandy | No Comments


Cross-posting photos from my Flickr pool.  My husband is a life-long photographer and it wasn’t until he got me into it that I learned that my father (undiagnosed but most definitely also an aspie) has had a forever passion for photography as well.  I can’t get enough of it because as strong as I am with words in some respects, pictures say it faster.

021609-jewelry-smallI can’t tell jokes for the life of me.  Only my husband appreciates my pathetic attempts at humor.  But who can resist the irony of the curious dog nose in this jewelry photo?

Try putting a camera in your child’s hands and asking her to find photos of people who look happy.  5 photos of people who are sharing.  5 photos of people who are giving each other enough personal space.  5 People who are friends.  You’ll get a sense of how much she really knows about body language, and the still images will help you point out expressions and gestures.  When she’s done, she can go off and hunt down photos of her obsessions.  It’s a win-win situation all around!


Preventing the Adult Aspie Meltdown

February 16th, 2009 by Sandy | 2 Comments

Over the weekend, I experienced the adult equivalent of the aspie meltdown.  As a young child, I couldn’t be taken out to settings like restaurants due to the noise and crowds.  My family had to arrange for someone to stay home with me while everyone else went out.

Although I’ve recovered enough to be able to teach children, for some reason concerts, bars, markets, and loud restaurants still get the best of me.  Just as many NT adults don’t know what to make of a child having a meltdown, they completely misunderstand an aspie adult trying hard to control a meltdown.  It starts with irritation that gets more and more severe.  It becomes hard to resist telling people when they’re being flat out offensive.  (Let me tell you that trademark aspie honesty, brawny men, and alcohol don’t mix.)  I just know I need to get out of there, away from the crowds and the noise, because I want to scream, but of course this is happening in a deafeningly loud setting where I’m completely trapped.

A child may have his parents to mediate the situation, but what steps can you take as an adult?

  • Monitor your mood every 5 minutes when in loud or crowded places if these are sensory triggers.
  • Ask your companion in advance to take you outside if you seem irritated.
  • Don’t force yourself to stay at an event for hours just to make everyone happy.  Showing up can be enough.
  • Have a goal to accomplish or something to keep you distracted.  Someone who will keep you laughing would be a great companion to bring.
  • Plan breaks at intervals where you can be away from the stimuli and look at something pleasant.  Take a quiet walk if you need to, or sit on a bench.  Just get away.
  • Keep a photo of your pet in your wallet if you have a close, soothing bond with your pet.  When you feel yourself getting irritated, pull out the photo and smile.  Yes, I’m telling you to physically smile!


4 Ways to Be Your Child’s Advocate

February 10th, 2009 by Sandy | 3 Comments


It seems to happen far too frequently - child with ASD acts inappropriately at school, teacher or staff member reacts without knowing the underlying cause of the behavior, child becomes more frustrated by consequence and has a meltdown, a phone call goes home.

I can tell you from having been a teacher that you can’t automatically assume everyone’s been filled in on the situation.  IEPs “disappear” in more ways than you could imagine and teachers are often left in the dark.  Schools like to do the absolute minimum possible to not get sued, which means it is up to you to advocate for your child.  Chances are, your child’s teacher would love to help your child learn while reducing classroom disruptions.  Here are some steps you can take to be proactive rather than reactive:

  1. At the start of the school year, make an effort to get to know the teacher.  This will take you a long way, and with an established relationship you’re more likely to get constructive phone calls/notes.
  2. Talk to him/her about situations that are likely to come up and appropriate interventions.
  3. If your child is big on routines, ask if a copy of the daily or weekly schedule is posted anywhere or if you can have a copy to share with your child.
  4. Establish a system of daily communication, whether it is a daily report, folder, or notebook.  You’ll be able to tell how your child’s day went as well as whether assignments and notes are being brought home.

(photo courtesy of phxpma)