Monthly Archives: September 2014

Brain Differences and Sports Ability Make Sense in ASD Kids, Grandin Says.

As a child, Grandin took years of skiing lessons without making much progress.  In her book, “The Autistic Brain” Grandin admits she was in her forties when she finally figured out what the problem was.

That’s when she found out that her cerebellum, the brain’s center for motor control co-ordination, was 20% smaller than normal.

So if your Asperger’s kid or ASD child is not good at sports, this could be the reason.  It could be that their brain has developed differently.

My daughter, Bev who has Asperger’s and is the mother of an Asperger’s child, is also a special education assistant in a high school.  Together we attended a presentation by Bill Luis, founder of the Sluis Academy located here in Vancouver BC and on the internet at http://www.sluisacademy.com/.

Luis has developed a unique sports-based therapy for ASD children, and what thrilled us about the therapy was not just the friendly, gentle and confidence building technique.

What especially impressed us was Luis’ way of helping the children learn not only how to play sports, but also how to get invited to play.

This makes Luis and his academy exceptional as far as I’m concerned, since few professionals understand that it is not only the lack of physical coordination that confounds us when it comes to sports.  The toughest concept to get is the social.  Ask any kid with ASD and I am sure he/she will tell you they are usually the last person to be picked for a team.

It’s not a fault, it’s just a challenge.

If your child wants to learn, help him.  If he dreads sports maybe his brain has something to do with it.  Why try to make a sports hero out of a doctor or scientist or library clerk or security guard?

Let your child be comfortable in his own skin.

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Disturbing Ice-Breaker Behaviour Targets Autistic Boy.

By now everyone has heard of the autistic boy who had a bucket of urine and feces dumped over him.  The kids told their victim he was going to be part of an ice-bucket challenge.

Imagine his thrill at being accepted.  Imagine his horror at discovering their real intentions.

This incident perfectly illustrates why older kids on the autism spectrum are paranoid and distrustful of their peers.

The fact that the perpetrators most likely will not be punished in any way is a vivid reminder of how inadequate our systems are in dealing with bullies.

And my question is this:  Why did “autistic” make the headlines, and not “sociopathic”?

Why was the stunt labelled in the terms of the victim and not the perpetrators?

Are their parents proud?  I hope not.  But honestly, I wouldn’t bet on them not being proud.

Are their school friends laughing it up?  If they are, they are more socially challenged than the victim.

The perpetrators are obviously people who lack empathy, compassion and just plain kindness.

Not the kind of people who will ever make a great community, or ever be a part of a strong and supportive society.

 

 

 

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Grandin: Understanding Individual Brain Differences Can Help Control Behaviours

You really get Temple Grandin’s enthusiasm when she talks about brain differences.  Just knowing how your brain is unusual can help people with autism better understand and control their behaviours and emotions, Grandin says in her latest book, The Autistic Brain.

She gives the example of her own brain.  For instance, the amygdala is the part of the brain that processes emotions like fear.  Just so happens, Grandin’s amygdala is enlarged.  Since this is the part of the brain that signals the fear emotion, Grandin credits this brain anomaly with her hyper anxiety.

Because she now knows that her brain construction is probably responsible for her high levels of anxiety, she finds that anxiety easier to deal with.

Grandin gives the example of students talking  under her bedroom window at night.  This creates anxiety for her regardless of whether they are talking softly or loudly.

Knowing that this state of anxiety is not caused by any real threat, she can reassure herself that the problem is not outside;  the problem lies within her brain.

She can then deal with the fact that threat is not real.  What is real?  How she feels about it.  And that she can deal with.

 

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