Last Updated on January 23, 2023
The first two parts were mainly information about the features of Asperger’s syndrome. Now let’s move on to practical advice: what Asperger autism symptoms can be distinguished, what to do with it and what about Aspies in Germany.
Table of Contents
- Asperger autism symptoms by age
- I / my child has autism – what’s next?
- Aspies in Germany – School, Diagnosis
Who is Aspie
Why do you need to know about of Aspie and why does one need diagnostics?
Understand autistic person: perceptions, movements, social communication
Feelings, emotions and their expression: “emotional silence”, empathy, gestures and facial expressions, touch
Speech and Aspie
Aspie and intelligence
Asperger autism symptoms by age
What signs in children should warn parents? There are checkboxes so you can see how many signs your child has.
Important: These symptoms are possible, but not mandatory. It is not possible to diagnose young children with certainty. Also, your child may show clear signs of autism, but these are not enough to go above the line of diagnosis.
Up to three years old
- has no eye contact
- there were problems with breastfeeding (e.g., not wanting breast milk at all, difficulty sucking, difficulty applying to the breast or bottle, tantrums from delaying breastfeeding, hanging on the breast for a long time)
- sleeps with cars
- turns the wheels (often)
- repeats movements, creates rituals that must not be violated.
- obsessed with certain toys
- often yells for reasons you don’t understand or reasons related to visiting crowded places, breaking routines or rituals
- speech delay
- does not use a pointing gesture
- bends down when you hold him in your arms
3 to 6 years old
- speech problems
- the kindergarten characterizes the girl as wild and strange or touchy.
- has no friends (often it does not apply, because playing together already means for the kindergarten children to have friends)
- wants and needs must be met immediately
- bounces like a ball with excitement, waves his arms like a butterfly, or rocks back and forth to calm himself
- sleeps with cars
- speaks “like adults”
- strange intonations, made-up words
- starts reading too early
- too deep knowledge
- tantrums from overload
- strange excitement noises, too loud for the situation
- eating disorders, being overly picky (only certain foods, only certain names, everything separately, etc.)
- doesn’t like the roleplays
- only plays according to the rules he believes to be the only true ones, or does not play at all
- doesn’t like hugs and kisses
- does not want to participate in “morning circles” (when children are gathered in a circle for talks, shared songs, etc.)
- has no eye contact
6 to 9 years old
- motor skills problems
- tantrums, or tears, or other inappropriate response to overload
- makes strange noises, too loud or soft, or has monotonous speech
- few friends or strange friends or strange relationships with friends (e.g. no visits, no interest in meeting, doesn’t say hallo by meeting)
- the words don’t fit the situation
- inability to change the topic of conversation, the child does not see that his topic of conversation is not interesting
- takes words and phrases literally or asks for the meaning of phrases (“Why is the sky crying? It’s not a person”). Such questions are typical for younger children when they are learning the language. By autistic children they can appear later. Also in the form when a child is given a task or instruction but he remains stunned.
- badly oriented in space
- eating disorders, being overly picky (only certain foods, only certain names, everything separately, etc.)
- hypersensitivity (more often) / insensitivity to stimuli
- cannot do the task in the homework if there is not enough space
- cannot complete a task if it is not specific enough. E.g. “Give examples” is not specific. How many examples? I can’t do this, there are too many examples. Where the other children quickly write some rubbish , your child tries to complete each such task thoroughly and quickly becomes exhausted.
- does not write a story, writes too short texts, too boring and monotonous stories
- teachers say it is better for him to sit alone
- easily distracted by uninteresting lessons
- reacts to the smallest noises in the classroom
- if he cannot complete the task in the class test, it does not go on to the next one, but hangs on this task to the end
- can’t stop answering the teacher’s question, tries to tell everything it knows on the subject
- believes that he is not like everyone else
- the child is hardly aware of the extent of the problems – easily panicked and in “disaster mode” at any difficulty
- only plays according to the rules he believes to be the only true ones, or does not play at all
- has no eye contact
After 9/10 years old
Also check the age group 6-9 years old.
- is a target in the class: first pushed, stumbled and kicked (boys), then as a plaything for intrigue and goal-enforcement or just for fun (girls especially), then as a target for abuse and lies (both)
- has no friends, or has a “strange” friend, or has “fictional” friends with no real contact (sit together, post homework, but know little about each other)
- can not work in a team (either they delegate all the work to him, or he does not agree with the quality of work done by others)
- has difficulty with tasks that are too vague or with more than one possible answers that the author of the textbook did not take into account.
- often trips, kicks and bumps all furniture with elbows or knees, drops objects for no reason
- can’t find daily stuff
- eating disorders
- lack of household skills, difficulty in tidying up, cutting, etc.
- does not notice any sloppiness in appearance (stains on clothes, protruding T-shirts, etc.)
- self-perception as “different”, “wrong”, “broken”, “alien”, “spoiled”, “from another planet”
- constant nervousness, despair
- inability to switch off in the evening and fall asleep quickly because there are too many stimuli and emotions of the day to be processed. Asperger’s autistic teens often cannot sleep and analyze for hours at night.
- can’t stand certain music
- speaks too directly, often unpleasant things, does not understand the weight of the words
- can not talk about feelings and describe emotions
- falls silent in certain situations
- uses a lot of offensive or rude words (although parents don’t swear that much and there is no such society)
- avoids phone calls
Aspie girl specifics
- goes to an imaginary world, read a lot
- does not participate in the discussion of boys and considers this topic nonsense
- after 11-12 years old she does not understand peers well, prefers the role of “tomboys” and/or feels good in the company of small children and/or tries to blend in with adults (listens to adult conversations instead of communicating with peers)
- learns well, has a developed logic
- does not pay attention to her appearance, prefers practicality to beauty – simple clothes, larger sizes, a hidden figure, simple hairstyles (often long hair).
- looks younger than she is, looks naive
- has stomach problems, gastritis, anorexia, eczema
- facial expressions reflecting all emotions or “stone face”
- speech blockage (selective mutism)
- repeating quotes, dialogues, situations from books and films – of course, more often in the mind, parents are unlikely to know about it
- has no intuitive understanding of how to touch people, so avoid the touches
- constantly twists her hair, braids her hair, rocks her leg when she sits, flexes her fingers
I / my child has autism – what’s next?
Do I need an official diagnosis?
Of course we are talking about those situations when you have a choice, but not about those when you are compulsorily sent for a diagnosis.
Regardless of a diagnosis, the child should learn that his problems have the name and that he is not the only one who has them, as early as possible.
In my opinion adults don’t necessarily need a diagnosis unless they want special status or need medical treatment.
It is advisable for preschool children to get a diagnosis when the social rules and attitudes in the country allow it (there is no risk of your child becoming isolated from mainstream society).
It’s a little late for teenagers in secondary school, but if there are serious conflicts or health problems (e.g., anorexia), then an official diagnosis is required, otherwise the child may be assigned to another, much less comfortable group of psychos. In addition, teens can benefit from support groups and treatment. So rather yes than no, depending on the situation in the country. But if the problem is already visible at an earlier age, there is no need to delay diagnosis until adolescence, as things only get worse during puberty.
It is also not possible for every society to publish the diagnosis. If the child found out about the diagnosis early, treated it with ease, and already accepted it as a part of himselves, then you can talk about it openly. If the diagnosis comes in adolescence, then its publication is a disaster for the child. Recognizing yourself as autistic is like coming out for a teenager. He must be prepared for bullying.
Parents should warn other parents that the child can cause trouble. If open acknowledgment of the diagnosis is undesirable, then one can point to ADHD, which is much more tolerantly accepted by all.
What to do with a toddler
- analyze the situations in which he loses control in order to avoid them in the future
- don’t hit, don’t scream
- don’t be stubborn, don’t enforce the rules. Explanation and logic helps a lot more than “You have to do this because I said so”
- Don’t ignore, don’t say “You’re grown up, stop now” and definitely don’t punish when the child loses control. It is best to provide him with a quiet place, away from people, where he can come to his senses and feel your support.
- try to avoid spontaneous rule changes
- don’t force to eat. The “good old” methods of sitting at the table until it’s all eaten is the worst thing you can think of.
- In the period up to 4 years old, as long as there is curiosity about food, try to expand the child’s menu as much as possible. Then it usually only shrinks until adulthood, when it grows back again.
- encourage trying new things. For this, use adult relatives – beloved uncles and aunts, grandparents, as well as travel
- Basic needs (eating, drinking, peeing, sleeping) must be met on time
- autistic children cannot wait. This is linked to their high level of anxiety, the constant feeling of impending catastrophe. So explain the reasons for the delay, ease the fear and try to prevent it. But don’t try to “educate” patience by deliberately delaying.
- Logic and explanations, discussing plans and problems in advance will help avoid mishaps
- It is better not to go to very crowded places, be content with more relaxed birthdays, and not “Pirate Jungle”. It is better to point out possible problems to the parents of the child you are visiting.
What to do with a pupil
- talk and explain. Logic instead of emotions
- Explain the child’s peculiarity using children’s books about autistic children. The sooner you can explain this to your child, the easier it will be for him to accept himself for who he is. When the diagnosis occurs in adolescence, then it doesn’t always work well. Diagnosis, in turn, helps adults.
- The more skills you teach, the better. In puberty there will be a rollback, so in the period of non-resistance, teach the child the skills.
- teach to copy the behavior and words of people as a role model (one says “Hello” and shakes hands – you do the same)
- teachers should be aware of the problem. If the school is such that you are afraid to speak up, consider another school.
When the child gets older
- forget your ambitious plans. Sending the child to the strongest class and best school so that he tries his best, going to several sport clubs and plus music lessons etc. – this is not good for most autistic people. The life of an autistic person is already difficult, don’t add the stress of elite school and competition
- let go of the reins. Don’t push. Offer choices and explain when there is no choice
- Insist on gradually mastering everyday skills, explain why they are needed and offer to make a plan for this work
- speak honestly, don’t evade. Show that you understand this or that problem, explain that it cannot hide from it and agree on ways of solving it
- look for good books for teenagers where the hero is autistic and give them to your child
- swear to a minimum, do not use derogatory words. There is no need to lower self-esteem any further
- Support self-esteem by looking for positive qualities. You are different, but that’s not bad and sometimes even very good. You are a loyal friend You can know things deeply. You don’t use other people or bully them.
- Computer and mobile games can play a calming role as stimming. You must control their content and playing time. Nervous and aggressive games are not good.
- Teach older teens to be honest when they don’t understand social norms, emotions, feelings, or what’s expected of them (“I don’t understand if you’re angry or not, tell me,” “I feel that you feel bad but don’t know how to put it” and so on)
- Autistic teenager needs a separate room.
- However, do not let the child dance around on your head. No means no. Just because you understand him and ignore his slip-ups doesn’t mean he can say whatever he wants.
Do you have any more questions? Use comments ⇓ or private communication form ⇨
How can you talk with the silent child
Children under the age of 10 are still willing to talk, but cannot explain what concerns emotions. Adolescents do not want to speak because they do not believe that the person who wants to speak to them understands them. All age groups cannot speak because they have speech block at the moment.
Blocked speech (selective mutism) occurs in embarrassing or dangerous situations, for example, when the child
must respond to allegations in class (mostly of acts not committed)
in the event of verbal or physical threats
is shouted at
when strangers are rude to him in a public place
All cases of blocked speech are extremely painful for the child. If it couldn’t be talked about with someone (and that happens in most cases), they are remembered for years and are acutely experienced.
First of all, you should not create such situations of speech blockage yourself. If you see the child in this situation (silences, looks stupid at one point), stop it, let the child calm down if possible, and try to discuss the situation later.
German psychotherapists believe that a person should be willing to tell everything himself and make contact. In autistic people, and especially autistic teenagers, this is less likely. Therefore, sending an autistic child to a psychotherapist to help solve their day-to-day problems will rarely work.
Of course there are psychotherapists somewhere who know how to talk to autistic people, but you only find them by chance: other doctors and responsible persons in Germany are not allowed to give recommendations.
This brings us back to the fact that those close to the child need to learn to talk to them. The more you connect with your autistic child and learn how to get the answers from him, the easier it will be for you in teen horror.
- do not talk to the child during his meltdown or speech block, do not yell at him or speak sternly at all, do not discuss his actions in front of other people. His silence in such a situation can not be taken as consent or acknowledgment of guilt!
- Ask questions in different ways until the answer is given. Silence is not an answer for an autistic person because it can mean anything:
rejection of an inaccurate wording,
the desire to be alone
a blocked speech.
- Show that you understand what is going on with the child. I know you can’t explain what’s going on and how you’re feeling. I know your head goes blank and you can’t say anything. Are you out of thoughts and words at this point? are you out of breath? You are not alone, other people, especially autistic people, experience it too. But you’ll feel better if we talk about it anyway. If someone is silent, he cannot be helped. So I will ask you questions and you will answer yes or no or correct me if you can.
- The questions must be very specific and straight. How do you feel? – wrong question, too uncertain. Ask specifically: Do you feel offended? Are you afraid of…?
- Get creative: instead of asking: How would you like…? the reverse question might work: How would you not like…?
- Autistic people sometimes cannot understand the weight of the word and its consequences. Explain the consequences.
- The question to which, from your point of view, there is only a yes or no answer, can still have an answer for autistic people: “The question is formulated incorrectly”.
- Also, if you received any type of response, please clarify again using different wording. Perhaps the child understood you differently.
Is there a treatment?
Is there a cure for meanness, over-kindness, explosive nature? The vast majority of autistic people fall into this “trait, difficulty, but not a real disease” category.
You have two main problems:
- perception of society
- Psychosomatics – diseases that autistic people get because of stress
Treatment for society
To solve the first problem needed
- talk about it as much as possible
- Writing and translating books, especially fiction (books make you understand better and faster)
- Teaching teachers, educators, psychologists and social workers how to communicate with people with autism
- do not isolate autistic people
- participate in support groups
- read books with successful autistic characters and stories of known successful autistic people
- accept yourself as you are. An attempt to transform oneself usually ends in failure
- see a good behavioral psychologist to address the previous point.
In society there is always a group of people who are irritable from autistic to intolerance. They are even sometimes honest in their hatred: it seems to them that the autistic person is pretending. Often these are children who strive for leadership, speak well, easily invent stories. Those loved by teachers and easily used by people. For them, an autistic person is an anti-stress ball and material for practicing personnel management.
Nothing can be done about this group except teaching the child to recognize and avoid such people.
Another, larger group are those who remain silent so as not to become an anti-stress ball themselves. We can reach them if we don’t hide autistic people in special schools and hide their problems.
Unfortunately, those who have real and not outward empathy, who are able to stand up for others, understand, become a friend, are much less common than autistic people.
Treating the diseases that autistic people get because of stress
Diseases are caused by environmental stress (usually at younger ages) and social safari (at school age). In adulthood, stress decreases as the autistic person gains a significant amount of experience, learns many social protocols, and most importantly, has a choice. But they come out of school with a number of illnesses.
As with any other stress, the nervous system and psyche suffer, resulting in:
- stomach problems
- skin diseases
- sleep disturbance
- obsessive compulsive disorder
All of these are already treated as separate diseases. Sleep problems are solved with sleep hormone tablets. For teenagers, this can be of great help.
Doctors also offer pills to improve concentration. They don’t help everyone. Part of the drug treatment has already proven to be ineffective. So before you settle for pills, study the actual results.
In secondary schools, many autistic people hardly eat at school. Mensa rarely has suitable dishes (everything mixed, eternal sauces that autistic people often don’t like) and they don’t have time to go home. This can lead to gastritis in youth.
Aspies in Germany – School, Diagnosis
When it comes to diagnostics and options for autistic people, German society is somewhere in the middle between developed countries and societies that are not tolerant of minorities – i.e. in the middle between “recognize and help” and “sick perverts, avoid and isolate”.
Information is disseminated by hospital specialists. Specialists at the local level (social teachers, pediatricians, teachers and so on) do not yet recognize autistic people and do not even send obvious cases for diagnosis. Usually, parents either find a diagnosis on the internet or on the advice of friends, or something happens and a diagnosis is made.
Schools have so far “heard something but don’t know what to do with it”. Because there is a strict bureaucracy in schools that governs many procedures, and autistics do not feature in these procedures, what matters in the end is whether the teacher can understand the child or not.
Society is still not ready for autistics and views them with caution, seeing them as somewhere between a Rainman and a sociopath. As the catastrophic lack of information shows well, autistic people are extremely rarely rainman or perpetrators and more often ordinary people and victims. This state of society is well illustrated by sexual minorities. If that’s more often the norm in America, only recently in Germany a large group of well-known personalities dared to take the risk of openly identifying themselves as sexual minorities.
Diagnosis in Germany
If you want a diagnosis, first contact the autism association in your county / city. They will tell you where to go.
Specialized centers and psychiatric clinics already have modern ideas about autistics, but not all ordinary psychologists or psychiatrists are yet aware that the perception of autistics has changed significantly since the time of Asperger’s. An insufficiently qualified specialist can make a completely different diagnosis.
You can wait more than a year for an appointment. Many practices and clinics are closed to the new patients. They fix the number of children for a year and only open the list once a year, e.g. in mid-July. Then you have to call or write as early as possible on that day. If you don’t need quick help, you’ll get a later appointment. Those who already have serious problems get appointments faster.
Kindergartens in Germany are very different. It can be a kindergarten where you don’t even realize your child has autism, or a kindergarten where a screaming child is taken into the hallway and left there alone on the floor. I know such cases.
When choosing a kindergarten, give preference to those where there is a higher-level leadership (not a Erzieherin, but an Frühförderlehrerin). Select the kindergartens where you see a higher level of education of the staff (well, as far as this can be judged from a short acquaintance). Specialization in Montessori, small groups are an advantage.
Either I was so lucky, or is it really like that, but primary schools in Germany are good: high level of psychological knowledge (at least among the older generation of teachers), willingness to help.
Of course, a lot depends on the teachers. A good teacher can be unaware of the diagnosis and get the child through elementary school without real problems. No knowledge of the diagnosis helps the bad.
If you have conflicts with the school, you can contact the Autismusbeauftragte. But for that you need to have a diagnosis.
Secondary school varies greatly from Bundesland to Bundesland. Sorting of children is largely preserved.
Autistic people with a less distinctive syndrome fall through the grid in this system: On the one hand, they are not “special” enough to go to a special school, on the other hand, they are special enough to have significant problems in Gymnasium. The outdated education of the Gymnasium, which does not take into account the individual characteristics of children, is too harsh for autistic people, and the Realschule is too primitive for their intellect.
For those who are considering where to send their autistic child:
- Look at the Gesamtschule, there are smaller classes and more teachers, which means that it is easier to solve individual problems and more sensitive to the children’s personal characteristics.
- if your child has a special intelligence, a class for the gifted (Hochbegabte) makes sense. Usually there is at least one person with autism and they already have experience with them.
- If there are no other options, it makes sense to see the private schools.
- If you have a diagnosis, consult with the association or Autismusbeauftragte
In general, I advise against going to a regular Gymnasium with autism without the recommendation of other parents of special children, especially not if the elementary school teacher does not recommend it.
How the school can help
if the school is willing to compromise, you can ask to:
- permission to use headphones for tests (rather for elementary school students, then it becomes too embarrassing),
- permission to go to a quiet room (by holding up a special card),
- agree with the teacher that the child will sit alone,
- that there will be only one task on the sheet and not many,
- and there will really be a lot of free space for all tasks.
- that all conflicts are discussed with the child separately from the others
It is better to look for a future profession in which the child will be able to work more or less independently. There is a possibility that it will become too difficult for him to endure the competitive environment at work.
Many (I would say all, but there is always hope for random exceptions) larger employers in Germany are guided by the “vitamin B” principle (B – Beziehung, relationship, this means that they try to take people by acquaintance). In addition, soft skills are now extremely important and not what you know and can do in your job. People who can lie flat out about their performances are valued far more than those who actually work. For example, a young group leader who underestimates meaningly many times over the cost of the project and its deadlines will receive a promotion and further funding, and a person who really understands the workload and estimates the costs correctly will be fired for “low performance”. In this world of bogus work based on personal relationships, autistic people who speak poorly and cannot lie have no place. The only way out is to work independently or in a small company.
The most important task of parents and those who are not indifferent to the fate of such children is to give them courage that they can do everything just like “normal” people. Very often, after the school nightmare, autistic people lose confidence in themselves and withdraw into themselves. The task of adults is to help in time to get used to the adult world, to show that there is a choice.
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