Monthly Archives: September 2015

Young Adult & Adult Aspies: Who Is In Charge of Your Life?

Who will navigate us successfully through life to success?  To achieve the goals we set for ourselves?

Dr. Phil as he is commonly known, says it has to be us.  We, ourselves.  And he has developed a set of what he calls “Life Laws” which he has used to help many of his clients find their way out of seemingly hopeless situations.

In his book, Life Strategies: Doing What Works, Doing What Matters, Dr. Phillip McGraw stresses that what is vital is “…understanding and controlling the cause-and-effect relationships of life; in other words, using your knowledge to make things happen the way you want them to.”

That we are responsible for learning the social strategies that will get us where we want to go, is probably, as Aspies, the last thing we want to hear.

But whether or not you are familiar with Dr. Phil’s non-nonsense TV Show style of therapy, I strongly suggest that every Aspie young adult and adult read this book at least once.

He goes on to state that “We live in a social world.”  This book explains why social skills are key to success and how to organize and manage your life in the direction of your own definition of success.

Perhaps the two most important aspects of this book, are 1) the insistence on one’s duty to self when it comes to learning social skills, and 2) the notion that we manage ourselves.

If you haven’t read this book, you might look at your current self-management strategies and ask yourself:

How’s that working out for you?

Yours truly,

Margaret Jean.

 

 

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ASD, Aspergers and PDD: Diagnostic Changes with DSM-5

With the publication of the DSM-5, parents of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) children may be wondering whether or not to submit their child to another diagnostic evaluation in the hope of qualifying for a more extensive range of resources under the new criteria.  Caution is recommended.

Generally speaking, evaluation for available services has been conducted in accordance with the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), although some agencies and districts may use a different criteria.

According to the DSM-4, diagnosing ASD included 3 designations: PDD or pervasive development disorder, high-functioning autism, and Asperger’s.  Asperger’s was generally used for fewer than six symptoms of autistic behaviour, high-functioning autism for six or more and PDD for any number of symptomatic behaviours that did not fit either pattern.

Then, in 2012 a study conducted by Dr. Catherine Lord indicated that while these three diagnoses varied widely, the symptoms among the children so diagnosed did not greatly vary.

What did vary to a great extent, however, were the services available based on the diagnosis.  For instance, a child diagnosed with high functioning autism would, in many regions, be entitled to a far greater range of services and resources than a child determined to have Asperger’s.

It was in an attempt to correct this situation that the DSM-5 abandoned Asperger’s as a designation and instead, diagnosed for high functioning autism as an umbrella category.

However, under the criteria of the DSM-5 a child must have at least two repetitive behaviours in order to qualify for a high functioning ASD diagnosis.  Repetive behaviours are not always present, and some professionals are finding that children are being eliminated from the spectrum on re-diagnosis.

It is important to note that the DSM-5 specifically states that individuals with a well-established DSM-4 diagnosis of autistic disorder, Asperger’s disorder or PDD not otherwise specified should be given the diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. (p.51).  

Thus, it is possible that a child already established as having Asperger’s could still be slotted into the autism spectrum disorder even without repetitive behaviours as long as he is merely carried forward in the system and not re-evaluated.

These are important considerations to keep in mind if you are thinking of having your child re-diagnosed under the new DSM-5.

(This article is based on information from A Parent’s Guide to High-Functioning Autism Spectrum Disorder; Ozonoff, Dawson, McPartland.  Please check with your physician or specialist regarding current DSM standards and issues it presents in terms of evaluation).

Hope you find this helpful!

Yours truly,

Margaret Jean.

 

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