Asperger Syndrome

Aspergers, Nonverbal Learning Disorder (NLD), and Families

Parents of any child with differences struggle with feeling isolated. One of the challenges for families with Aspergers Syndrome (AS) and nonverbal learning disabilities (NLD or NVLD) children is that these children don’t look different.  They’re bright and verbal; their quirkiness, sensitivities and apparent oppositionalism aren’t easy to understand. As a result, parents often feel blamed for their children’s special challenges.

Asperger Syndrome

Asperger’s, NLD and Social Teaching

For students with Asperger’s and NLD, coaching in social understanding and skills must be embedded throughout their day in real time, and not relegated to a social skills group and a weekly meeting with a counselor. Professionals and parents have to recognize social misunderstandings when they occur, and teach rather than correct or blame.

Asperger Syndrome

Aspergers, NLD, Triggers and Reactivity

Over the next three blogs, I’ll address three areas parents and adults need to understand in practical terms once they have an Aspergers or Nonverbal Learning Disability diagnosis: emotional reactivity, social challenges, and inflexibility. I’m addressing reactivity first, because emotional self-regulation underlies handling all other issues. 


Recognizing Aspergers or NLD

No two people with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS) or NLD are alike. People with AS and NLD are usually enjoyable bright people who bring unique insights and hard work to any task they undertake. However, the official diagnostic criteria for AS or NLD focuses on challenges, so in this post I share some of the experiences I've had with clients that I hope bring this criteria to life. There are differences between NLD and AS, but these experiences tend to be shared.


Can Hospital ERs Be Asperger-Friendly? 10 Tips to Help.

Going into a hospital ER is an overwhelming experience for anyone. It’s particularly difficult for someone with Aspergers, NLD or similar challenges. First, you’re there for a reason and that’s often scary. Second, there’s the sensory bombardment of noises and lights. Being around people who may be upset themselves in close contact challenges anyone. Third, ER’s have administrative procedures and staff that are unfamiliar and therefore challenging.

Some hospitals are taking steps to make ERs more sensory-friendly for children.


Schools, Discipline And Students With Aspergers / NLD

Kids with Aspergers and similar challenges often face punitive consequences for their behavior in school. They usually do what makes sense to them, which can be seen from the point of view of others as oppositional, disruptive and rule-breaking. Parents and schools must know the law protecting behaviors related to a disability.
An appropriate response requires that the school understand the inappropriate behavior in the context...


Talking So Your Child With Asperger’s or NLD Will Listen

Divergent thinkers' ideas make logical sense to themselves. I’m often the one trying to help families and schools understand my Asperger’s/NLD clients. I worked with one boy who was shoving kids in the hall. This boy had a behavior plan that he shouldn’t push; he would have a consequence of being sent to the principal  if he did.

I listened to his perspective, which was that kids were bumping into him on purpose, and he had to defend himself. It wasn’t fair that people could bully him and he couldn’t push back. I acknowledged that I would want to push someone who pushed me too.


Welcome to Divergent Thinkers: Asperger’s, NLD & More

There is something to be said for the value of "thinking outside the box." We tend to prize people who can do this because they seem to arrive at new destinations by streets unknown.

And really, that's all that a person with Asperger's Syndrome (now known as simply a form of autism spectrum disorder) or a non-verbal learning disability (NLDs) is -- someone who thinks differently. Someone who thinks outside the box, and interacts...