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Sessions starting with 2010_10 are divided in parts. Links directly to the videos are only in the summary, but the index now contains a link to the respective forum thread of the session (for convenience for those that don't like the summary).
2009_02 (first session):
Special edition on group homes
2009_09 Special edition, Girls with Asperger's
2010_07 Special Edition
10 minutes with Dr. Tony interview
2010_10 (in person)
2011_10 (in person)
2009_02 (first session):
"Convincing 18-year old to move forward (from playing video games)" - understand that he feels safe at home, etc.
"Any successful group homes (details, checklist of what to do)" – note that each AS is individual, AS are a bit intellectually arrogant.
"No more research on psychedelic drugs, should they be investigated?" - AS can be sensitive or react different to chemicals.
"Is it harder for AS to learn foreign language?" - AS tend to be extremes, either very good or very bad and in this as well, advises "pruning curriculum".
"Named some medicines, should we continue" - These are over-the-counter so low toxicity etc. maybe no harm, you can try a "drug vacation" testing removing them.
"5-year old is non-verbal and agressive, we don't even like this kid anymore." - maybe not aggression, but anxiety. Show what is going to happen with pictures etc.
"17 year old son considering college, better away or close to home, how to approach issue" - stay at home if you can (and attend from there) and more info on subject.
"4 kids, 2 on spectrum - pregnant, likelihood for 5th?" - about 50%, tends to be stronger for older parents (and boys more likely). Info on signs to know early.
"Depressed married wife, husband possibly AS but denies. What to do?" - lengthy info on the situation, should be useful for couples.
"An aspie kid has a tight bond with an NT school friend, school is worried about dependency situation." - Dr. T. says this is excellent and school must not meddle!
Special edition on group homes
"2 kids on the spectrum, younger 3rd kid should I vaccinate" - Yes of course (addresses the question strictly from an immunology point of view).
"Dated vaccines and possible link to autism" - Not an expert, no comment.
"Kid on the spectrum, difficulties with mainstream education - home-schooling, keeping kid back a year?" - involve child in decision, more info on both options.
"Aspie teen, susceptible to harassment and sexual assault" - NT peer can help with evaluating, stay in public. Some info on what to do after being assaulted.
2009_09 Special edition, Girls with Asperger's
"Co-occurrence of ASD along with bipolar illness?" - existing research (parents of ASD individuals have higher % of mood disorders), lengthy info on ASD emotions.
"Evaluation (of kid) for ASD requires removal of meds, is it worth the untreated period?" - probably yes, involve the individual in decision.
"Removal of the term Asperger, is it wise?" - The main concern is with using term "mild autism" instead, but other issues discussed.
"Ability to talk shuts down, frustration as self-inflicting... What to do?" - stop hitting yourself, must calm down (strategies discussed).
"Kid with violent meltdowns and communication difficulties... What to do?" - Parent must remain calm, focus on calming him down (strategies discussed).
"Special needs teacher asks about room used by AS students, concerned that school will limit access" - agrees with keeping room (and explains why it is good).
"Parents arrange to go mostly everywhere with son. Is this detrimental to his development?" - Ask son if he wants them there, do what he wants but gradually pulling back.
"How to educate educators that autism can not be removed from the fabric of a child?" - Some get it, some don't, a few strategies.
"Will mainstream schools ever work for our special kids?" - yes it can work, but depends on the individual etc. and can also be a disaster.
2010_07 Special Edition:
"Discuss your reactions on the loss of term Asperger and compare with HFA" - more a difference in early childhood. Consistent with 2010_01 but worth watching both.
"Effectiveness of Gluten Free, Casein Free?" - It may be that it makes a significant difference for a few individuals, only way to really know is try.
"Co-morbidity of other issues with AS?" - great answer discussing many aspects, never saw AS benefiting from psych. hospital, and that medication alone is not enough.
2010_10 (in person):
Also includes 10 minutes with Dr. Tony interview
"Dr. Grandin sees details but has trouble with faces?" - not difficulty in detail but in knowing which combinations of details are important and the interpretation.
"Parent with autism asks for advice (5 sub-topics)?" - Interesting for relationships in general! Covers: explaining to kids, lack of confidence with interpersonal skills, encouraging others to be verbal, exact and direct, normal is a statistical concept that doesn't exist, age that others understand HFA and such (typically around 8 years).
"Problems with medical system being ignorant of AS and ignoring reported physical symptoms" - sadly often a problem, mentions link with auto-immune diseases, issues of pain perception.
"Kid on Abilify doesn't want to stop eating and reacts badly when told to stop" - many meds used for emotional management affect appetite, binge eating is serious issue.
"20-year old self-diagnosis, advantage or disadvantage to get diagnosis?" - invariably people say worth it (most positives mentioned are related to knowledge and understanding rather than having the diagnosis itself, but some advantages of official diagnosis related to being in college). Getting official diagnosis may require expert on AS in females (mentions Dr. Hénault in Montreal and Dr. Gray in Portland, Oregon).
For more on the topic of diagnosis usefulness for those already well informed about AS, see interview by TheAnmish on youtube.
"Rage attacks and self-inflicted harm" - talk to someone, ask someone to be with you without being intrusive. May be sadness instead of anger. Have a plan.
"5 year old misinterprets of motives and assumes people are being mean when asked to do homework etc." - for the age involved recommends "comic strip social stories".
"Limited access to trained professionals, do programs ourselves?" - brilliant, do it and mentions a study revealed parents were as effective as psychologists in a given case.
"PTSD, depression, may be bipolar or borderline on top of AS?" - borderline can occur with AS (particularly in women). Discusses emotional regulation. Dr. T. mentions that some AS individuals have some special awareness of sensing emotional atmospheres (possibly through some channel that does not involve facial expressions).
"3 AS kids, all with bed-wetting" - common issue. Probably anxiety issues, also can be lack of certain sensory sensitivities. Discusses sleep profiles and cycles.
"Eating disorders and AS" - common issue. Sensory sensitivities usually, restrictive diet (same food). An example of "faulty logic" that lead to eating disorder. Food can also become Special Interest.
"Teaching as a profession for AS, advice on school age" - Aspies can be very kind and determined to help others. Warning about teenagers and going for students that want to be there.
"Aspie was discriminated and has anxiety and trouble with the legal system" - some Aspies have a double difficulty in adapting to the legal system (a different culture). Also refers that Aspies can be very determined.
"Anxiety with doctors lead to self-esteem issue. PTSD?" - Common in AS (particularly in women) selective mutism. Anxiety, not stupidity, a bit like PTSD. Maybe audio record the appointment (my personal suggestion that Dr. T. didn't refer for a case like this: take a written cue sheet to help you communicate).
"How to motivate AS to complete work and improve focus" - common issue. Dedicated to interests, non-interests boring. Some strategies. On focus, some strategies (more next time*)
*This seems to be forgotten, but as it is such an important issue maybe it can be asked again to get more strategies to help improve focus.
"Sensory issues with clearing throat and coughing, hit people doing it" - some strategies.
"Sensory issues with high-pitched sounds and laughing, desensitize?" - with laughter it can also be psychological element to being ridiculed in past. AS typically do not habituate (so desensitize won't work), try physical barriers (such as earplugs).
"Sensory issues with salads" - some possibilities, AS tend towards liking blandness.
"Routine changes, dealing with stress" - change is major cause of issues (particularly people). For AS a new person is much more an entirely new person. Suggestion of "dictionaries" on reading the AS.
"Difficulty fitting in, refuses to deal with other AS?" - "2nd rate NT vs 1st rate Aspie" and associated issues. Look at qualities. "Aspie heroes" concept mentioned.
"Big teen stims a lot when gets home" - Dr. T. comments on the word "stims" (e.g. may be Tourette's tics instead), probably sign as high anxiety suggest possibility to replace with another ritual or routine and strategies.
"Is hoarding common to AS? Separate issue?" - in AS it is probably a different type of hoarding, goes into details. Throwing out stuff can be like amputating part of the person or throwing out their old photos. Some examples.
Salads and vomit soup
"AS grandson won't even sit next to someone eating salad" - sensory sensitivity, this is a genuine problem for the kid so please accept it (he may grow out of it after a number of years).
"Son displays aggressive behaviour including tantrums, anti-seizure med. was prescribed?" - there is research that such anti-convulsive med. may help with the control of emotions.
"Daughter with limited communication, obsessed with schedule and often says wrong things on purpose, how to interpret?" - there can be a desire for predictable answer due to anxiety. Instead of worrying about answering bizarre question try to use them as a cue to reassure and de-stress daughter.
TMS and new medications
"Do you know of TMS working on AS" - I don't know enough, needs to be proven, may benefit some individuals but not others
"What about nasal sprays (oxytocyn, vasopressin) - advise caution, still experimental so don't know long-term effects and ASD often very prone to side-effects.
AS diets and digestion
"Do special diets help with behaviour?" - it may help the individual. I know cases where it worked and others where made no difference.
"AS son has strange issues with food and eating, should do endoscopy?" - these do occur on ASD but also on other development disorders. Check with a gastroenterologist to decide whether to do endoscopy on a case by case basis.
"About to sleep, hear an unexpected sound and that makes me see a flash. Synaesthesia?" - May be if it is a sensory experience creating an experience in different sensory system. Or just normal mioclonic seizures occurs in this state between awake and sleep that produce the flashes.
AS and death of a parent
"Helping teenage HFA son deal with death of father? Paces and asks rapid-fire questions unrelated with father" - son may increase autistic-like behaviours, pacing calms him down, questions keep mind busy to block negative emotions. May help to use "social story" to teach how to react to people's emotions related with the grieving.
AS and sexuality
"No understanding of some cues, have been taken sexually advantage of and now I excessively touch myself - is this normal for an Aspie and how do I learn the non-verbal sexual cues?" - Aspies not very good at character judgement, try to go with a NT friend / relative, go to public places. Excessively touching herself: can be a form of soothing, the issue is not to do it to excess. There are books about non-verbal communication.
AS and social perception
"How to understand that some people on the spectrum have an attuned instinct to who likes and understand them (despite difficulties in other situations)?" - it seems a bit mutually exclusive, may be using some different channel other than reading facial expressions etc. or from previous experiences of people.
AS and relationships (3 questions)
"My AS boyfriend met a girl with ADHD, goes every week running with her, they change in the same room. How not to get hurt?" - Aspie may not know boundaries / social conventions, and may not know how his actions affect feelings of others. Probably he is not concerned with the gender, and it is very likely platonic.
"Should special interests for a person be discouraged if that person is informed and does not mind? What if the Aspie's wife is upset that another female is a non-romantic special interest?". The interest can be a person, but usually at an intellectual, platonic level. The Aspie may not understand the partner's feelings or the concept of jealousy.
"My Aspie fiancée proposed to me and then ran away in panic - how to soothe him?". Try to ask what are he is scared about, what is he anxious about and then reassure him.
AS and mentorship program
"Have not found a mentor program. How to get involved / start one?"- find out what your skills and qualities are that you can bring to help, then contact local media and ask to be interviewed leaving contacts so that people that would like your help can reach you.
AS and Feelings
"Can not identify my emotional state. How to improve this?" - Very important question. Often individuals are the last to know that they are heading for a meltdown, have difficulty knowing how they are feeling. Can try monitoring heart-rate to help with this etc.
2011_10 (in person)
Sensory Issues / Special vs Intimate Friends and "Intellectual Orgasms"
"Traits typical of Aspies that run from one end to the other?" - this occurs on many dimensions and even on the same individual. E.g. sensory issues ranging from hypersensitivity to hyposensitivity, on social dimension ranging from some being very shy and others very intense etc. The Asperger population is very heterogeneous with many individuals at the extremes.
"I feel pressure changes strongly, making me cringe. Typical in Asperger?" - yes, this is a sensitivity to air pressure changes and can be painful and should be recognized as a genuine aversive experience.
"How to protect Asperger people in non-romantic "special interest" relationship from third parties thinking it is inappropriate?" - Those with Asperger may idolize intellect over physique. Others can assume they are sexually oriented but many people with Asperger are asexual (without sexual motives). Try to explain to others (NTs) that the interest is not sexual. The person that is the focus (the special interest) usually recognizes it isn't sexual interest.
Catastrophizing emotions / Discovering AS later in life
"8 year old son with ASD gets upset and says wants to be dead. What to do?" - he has a tendency to catastrophize with emotions, part of ASD. Emotions at maximum volume. When he says that it is a genuine reflection of the intensity of the emotion, but soon it may as if nothing had happened. Some coping strategies and how to try to attenuate the extreme reactions.
"After my diagnosis (at 43) my mom self-diagnosed at 83. How to help her be more aware without bombarding her with info?" - discover together the bits that explain this or that as personal exercise, doesn't need to be formally diagnosed at her age. May help repair bridges e.g. with other family members which can help them appreciate and understand her better.
Also, it is important to collect the wisdom of the experienced Aspies, what worked for them and what didn't work - particularly for others with Asperger that become depressed to prove it can get better.
Asperger faulty logic / Aspergian Masks
"Older brother (42) with ASD accused me of poisoning our late mother. How to deal with him?" - Accusation may be due to "Asperger's faulty logic". Try to trace back the origin of the thought as may be derived from some misunderstanding.
About the relationship: at 42 he is probably fairly rigid. In seeking compromises to avoid conflict, work logically, avoid accusations and emotionality. A neutral third party may be helpful.
"I'm good at pretending to be normal but I don't like being fake. How to live without using an Aspergian mask?" - It is a coping mechanism that starts when young. Faking is an intellectual, exhausting process. Also there is a feeling that can't show the real person, which can cause depression. Should "take the mask off", but with help and support. Have to start with accepting (and liking) who you are.
There is a good Youtube video about faking (here).
Liane's book also covers this and how not faking made her happier.
Marriage and genetics of ASD
"Info for Asperger / NT marriages?" - There are resources, some of the best are published by JKP. Most are about NT's coping strategies in the relationship. Not as much information for helping the ASD partner, which may be (blissfully) unaware they may not be fulfilling the needs of the NT partner; or may feel a terrible disappointment for not filling the needs and thinking they are a failure. If both partners are Aspies they might not need as much help as there is less likely a mismatch of needs.
"Is there a 90% chance of baby getting AS if one parent has it? I'm not sure I could deal with two Aspies at the same time." - Those statistics are wrong, much lower than 90%.
There is a genetic element, but 50% of the cases it is not even inherited. The recurrence rate if you have 1 child with ASD and have a second one that is a boy then there is a 25% chance.
If it is a case where it is inherited, from clinical experience suspect it may be a 50% chance when inherited from mother side (not confirmed by research).
Concerns of coping: can't know in advance, depends on child as it does with any child regardless of ASD. Also relevant is how the ASD partner copes with the parenting role. Finally, you would only know for sure if child has ASD at around 3 years old.
Emergency "I have autism" cards / Suicide is not an option
"Individuals with ASD can get into situations with authorities restraining them etc. How to cope, when others are not aware of ASD?" - In such situations clarity of thought and coherence of speech can be gone, so recommend a set of written cards explaining the condition and describing the individual, and giving a contact of someone that can give further information for authorities to contact. Cards should be personalized to the individual.
"How to tell ASD individuals that suicide is not an option?" - it would be such a waste of the talent that is a different way of thinking. There are painful parts of ASD that can lead to
depression, and it is natural for depression to appear given those. The individual typically absorbs criticism from childhood etc. and may takes a major paradigm shift. Support from other Aspies can be significant as it is credible: importance of advice "for Aspies by Aspies".
"Is there a bias against diagnosing Aspies that are doing well?" - Yes, clinicians only get people having problems which gives a biased view. Mentions of sub-clinical level, Aspies that attain it, and relevance of having those give advice.
"Should suspecting adults seek diagnosis? Can it be used against you applying for jobs?" - discusses reluctance of going to psychiatrist, stresses the importance of going to professionals with experience in the adult profile (and for women experience with diagnosing women). Clinical experience: asking recently diagnosed vast majority would have preferred to know as young as possible.
About applying for jobs, be careful of disclosing as it may be a disadvantage in selection. No job is off-limits to Aspies. Advice on disclosing in positive way.
"Can kids learn AS behaviour from parent(s)?" - Yes. It is "infectious" to some extent and kids can behave less AS outside the home environment in such cases (own example from childhood).
"Link between Münchhausen syndrome and ASD?" - No link. The Aspie may be different in reporting the symptoms, have more stress-related issues, and there is a link with auto-immune diseases which should be looked at. Try explaining to medical staff the difficulties in reporting the symptoms etc.
"AS dealing with grief?" - NT usual way is interpersonal way. AS tend to grieve very differently. AS usually do it internally, in solitude and can take a lot of time.
NOTE: AS and death of a parent may be of interest.
"Son can't stand hearing clearing their throat! Suggestions?" - No good strategies to avoid this auditory sensitivity, usually avoidance but you can't avoid people. Anyone else has ideas? (some posted here).
NOTE: see also this session.
"I had a harsh presentation of my condition by a teacher (at 13) and many years after I'm unable to overcome shame?" - Teacher acted wrongly. Disclosing up to teenage years or after to avoid complicating puberty is probably best. Aspie teens tend of keeping the 1st impression given to them by a figure of authority. Already proved the teacher wrong, well done!
"Can AS spouse adapt to relate to an NT?" - Yes, undoubtedly but can't guarantee it. Very important that AS spouse acknowledges issues. If the motivation is present, AS can do things with a lot of determination. Mentions "translation" (AS/NT) for communication to improve. Information is important, mentions books about topic.
"What happens when "Asperger" diagnosis goes away?" - Description will be absorbed into new system with a change of terminology. Discusses issues with using "mild autism". Aspies should give feedback about changes to APA at psych.org. Also discussion in the thread.
"What do you think of holistic allergy elimination for the treatment of autism" - latest research links autism with problems with immune system. Allergens cause problems regardless of autism so that is enough reason to treat. Recommends conventional medical services rather than entrepreneurs.
"How do people with ASD cope with events such as chronic diseases or grieving and can these increase social problems?" - yes, ASD characteristics increase with stress. More details (including differences in reporting pain and further discussion about grieving).
"How to find autism friendly schools?" - try to get an "unofficial" guide from other parents, for example on the internet.
"Do behaviours of Aspies intensify with age?" - can fluctuate through life. Characteristics can diminish over decades through effort. What tends to occur at later stages is that Aspies become less careful and more true to earlier childhood level.
"What are common reactions of an NT partner to finding out ASD." - Discusses several aspects, including difficulties if ASD partner disagrees and how to get appropriate support.
"An Aspie relative has bullied me this past year. Does individual personality count? Is ASD a valid excuse? What can I do for us, other than ignoring him?" - Very good questions. Personality is major component, each individual is unique. ASD to be taken into account but certainly not an excuse, they are responsible for their actions. In order to improve situation try to determine why there is antagonism and suggest that he can get what he wants (and more) by being nice instead.
"Aspie in co-dependent relationship with parents, what to do?" - due to problems, parents can just do things for the Aspie, but they got to back-off to remove dependency and for the Aspie to learn. A parent can enjoy this role and want to be needed. An objective third party should intervene.
"I know my friend is AS but he doesn't agree. He would benefit from AS resources. Advice?" - Possibly deep down he knows but doesn't want to admit. Also he is incorrectly assuming it is a negative. Can try exposing person to the information.
"I'm one of top salesman in my company but a new manager wants to sack me using obscure behavioural standards. Advice to explain myself to the team?" - Part of the definition is difficulty relating to peers. In this case good with customers but trouble with the team. Some advice on how to create a brief description to present.
"How to handle inappropriate sexual touch done by Aspie 10 year old?" - don't panic! Many pre-puberty people will explore, the ASD difference is he does not know the conventions and reactions of others. Issue of ignorance, not perversion. Explain some things are not for kids, suggests "social stories". Suggests some books.
About Aspie mentors and preparation of book "Been there, done that. Try this!".
"How can I distinguish people treating me badly from my overreaction to their behaviour?" - 1. Aspies tend to personalize events 2. Aspies can be very sensitive to emotional atmospheres. Practice questions to get more information, and just ask them!
"Aspie psychologists and empathy?" - Good info on Aspies HAVING empathy, what they have trouble with is reading cues. May even be over-sensitive.
Encourages Aspies to pursue psychology. Book recommended.
"Autism and personality disorders, connections?" - historical aspect, but also related with coping mechanism. Arrogant-type may correlate with narcissistic personality, alternatively can also correlate with borderline personality disorder.
"Forgetting to swallow saliva? Thumb-sucking in Aspies?" - Aspies tend to have a one-track mind with hyper-focus, forget to multi-task. Aspies have high-level of anxiety, thumb-sucking is soothing. Can replace with putting a pencil in the mouth etc.
"Mild Aspie, how to tell a future wife, and what about kids?" - explain early on, focus on positives, explain difficulties. Discusses kids (with fun quote by Stephen Shore).
"Canadian woman, getting a diagnosis?" - difference in Aspie females makes it trickier, recommends Isabelle Hénault (Montreal).
"Friend with AS refuses to look at material that would help?" - have to be patient, it may happen in the future with relationship or work issues.
"Self-diagnosed, no Doctors or Aspie friends, how to get support and references in trouble with officials?" - professionals may be conservative in diagnosing, recommends trying experienced ones with over hundred cases that will better recognize variations. With officials need to get that official paper. May be worth travelling to an expert for it.
"Aspie coping, but at social interaction feels like starting from scratch each time?" - understanding NTs is like learning 2nd language, exceptions throw you off. And personalities come into it, making interaction with each individual a different game.
"Daughter was not diagnosed as could have learned from mother?" - If it was learned, should interact differently out of the household environment. Likely to be genuine, need to look at school setting as the real test.
"How to motivate Aspies to do things that do not interest the Aspie?" - Aspies tend to fear making mistakes and have a compulsion to completing what they are already doing. Also care less for external rewards. Some strategies.
"Aspie can not get a full night sleep! What to do?" - Book recommended. Aspies are notorious for poor sleep. Prescription medication gets sleep but without important component of emotional cleansing. There is ongoing research on the topic, worth trying to contact researchers at a local medical university.
"Aspie on a group home barely gets out of his room. What to do?" - being alone "cures" the social deficit. Probably also clinically depressed. Provide reasons to get out of the room, reassure that outdoor life will not be as traumatic as it has been previously.
"Medical staff disbelieves the AS diagnosis. What to do?" - Create a brochure with information with the expert that diagnosed, including the credentials to make it "legitimate". Several issues an Aspie can have in such a setting are discussed.
"In a support group, how to communicate with a non-verbal autistic?" - learn the mannerisms, parents may help create a "dictionary". Phrase questions carefully and use the mannerisms to know the answer.
"Aspie has difficulties making and keeping friends. What to do?" - discusses main ways Aspies deal with social confusion (e.g. shy and overeager types). Explain levels of friendship with concentric circles. Film a conversation and go over what went right and where cues were missed.
"Aspie has active imaginative play, gets distracted during tasks and doesn't socialize. What to do?" - Aspies are good at imagination, it is an escape mechanism. Adult can remind gently to get back to the task at hand. Worth investigating the need for the coping mechanism.
"Dealing with bullies (in the family)?" - good that Aspie does not retaliate. Tell Aspie that they don't understand ASD, so their comments don't count.
"Toileting regression, problems in school. What to do?" - May be pretending to be a dog. Finding kids that can "adopt her" in school. Strategies to try figure out what is in her mind.