Asperkids Blog

Office Space (Can Be Intimidating)

Office Space (Can Be Intimidating)

While they shouldn’t be, doctors’ offices can be intimidating to a lot of people. And to those of us who live with and love Asperkids, it can be very hard to - on cue - be able to articulate why our obviously brilliant children are NOT just “anxious and highly gifted.” Do NOT allow your instincts to be dismissed – highly intelligent, articulate kids (ESPECIALLY girls) are the most like to be under- or mis-diagnosed, leading to years of heartache and wounded self-esteem.

Before you go to an evaluation

Write out as many specific examples of the following behaviors – read each aloud and offer to leave a copy behind. You may also wish to leave a copy with any teachers who are filling out forms – your notes often will jog their memories.

Last – insist on “critiquing” your kiddo OUTSIDE of his/her presence. Clinicians sometimes forget that theirs isn’t the first (or last) you’ll visit – and no one needs to hear repeated lists of their own personal challenges.

Here’s what to make note of:

  • Ticking: eye squinting or blinking, finger flicking, biting or picking at lips, smacking or licking lips, licking or mouthing non-food items, running or spinning in circles, repeating words or sounds for no apparent reason
  • Touching: other people, objects, etc without regard for “personal space”
  • Changing Routine: specific instances of being very upset by changes in routine (like not watching a show at a particular time, a change in classroom arrangement, even in her “spot” at the dinner table or class rug)
  • Anxiety: generalized anxiety and prolonged separation anxiety, extreme concern with getting things just right or having objects just so – opening and closing doors, garbage can lids, cabinets, the length of sleeves, the order of displayed collectibles)
  • Scripting: directly quoting tv or movies and/or expecting others to play exactly as the story went
  • Play: not really knowing how to collaboratively, interactively, spontaneously “play” when given freedom to do so (ESP in a new place or with other kids); preference for the company of older kids, adults or much younger children
  • Rule Police: upset when others break rules, correcting peers without understanding the consequences
  • Rude: interrupting frequently without really meaning to be rude
  • Facts: knowing a professorial amount of facts about something (trains, history, mermaid lore, etc)
  • Cues: talking about that topic at length even when others’ body language cue that they are not interested
  • Rigid Thinking: inability/extreme difficulty in compromising, considering alternative plans or solutions, or “going with the flow” when plans change
  • Sensitivity: to noise, tags, movement, crowds, unexpected touch, clothing textures
  • Dialogue: lack of reciprocity in conversations; being unaware of the “natural give and take” in relationships and dialogue
  • Discernment: not discerning between “friendly” and “friend”
  • Bluntly (or refreshingly!) Honest: but can be perceived as self-centered, rude or arrogant, even though is actually compassionate and sensitive
  • Perspectives: difficulty seeing or truly understanding others’ perspective
  • Attention: has a hard time shifting attention from one task or activity to another without getting upset, confused or overwhelmed
  • Organizational Struggles: extreme distractibility/gets off-task quickly and repeatedly
  • Inclusion: wants to be included but can’t figure out how to join in OR how to maintain friendships
  • Comfortable: much more comfortable with “facts than with folks”
Be prepared with very specific examples and expect to have to fill out lots of forms. Hope this helps you to be the best advocate for that precious,’precocious kid who’s depending upon you.  Xoxo,  j

About Jennifer

Jennifer Cook O’Toole is bubbly and spirited — exactly the opposite of what many people think of when they hear the word, “Aspergers,” but her expertise (and the strong personal endorsements of greats like Drs. Temple Grandin and Liane Holliday Willey) proves she’s the real deal.

8 Awesome Comments So Far

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  1. Meaghan Jackson
    August 1, 2013 at 6:27 pm #

    Thank you for this article. We have our first appointment with a paediatrician in two weeks. THis will help me write out specific examples.

  2. Cheryl
    August 18, 2013 at 10:53 pm #

    These are excellent questions! Somethings I didn’t even think to look for but notice all the time with my son. We’re on a waiting list to see a doctor. But this will be a great stepping off spot to begin watching for patterns to keep track of when the time comes. Thanks!

  3. Debra Sherlock
    October 19, 2013 at 5:53 am #

    Thank you for this article, it is really helpful to have a go to list when trying to organise my thoughts on how to explain certain behaviours and symptoms.

  4. Shelley
    November 5, 2013 at 11:42 am #

    Thank you so much for this list. My almost 11 year old daughter is in the middle of her diagnosis. she has seen a specialist pediatrician, then had her basic CAHMs assessment and has been kept on with the CAHMs team and will see the Dr there in January, which we are hoping will be where she is finally diagnosed. Instead of yes she ticks the right boxes.. etc. Reading through this list has made me more aware of her aspies… As reading through the list I have been nodding and saying what she does to each point! I can now go more armed up with evidence to help my darling awesome daughter!
    xxx

  5. nic smith
    January 5, 2014 at 3:15 pm #

    I think there are only 2 or 3 of these statements my son doesn’t have lol

    It is a great little list to run through, we all forget the most important stuff very handy thank you

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. OFFICE SPACE—An Article by Award-Winning JKP author Jennifer Cook O’Toole « JKP blog - Jessica Kingsley Publishers - March 21, 2013

    [...] To learn more about Jennifer, the Asperkids series and to read her original post, please visit her website: Asperkids. [...]

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    […] why our obviously brilliant children are NOT just “anxious and highly gifted.” But click here, and you’ll find a wonderfully user-friendly list of “what AS actually looks […]

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