Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Asperger Sydrome and Bullying

I just finished reading the book Asperger syndrome and Bullying by Nick Dubin. It was recommended by some people in the parent's of young adult's with Asperger's support group I belong to. This book really brought back bad memories (of when my son was in middle school) not so much of bullying but because the social and academic demands were so high. I think my son was fortunately seldom a target of bullies because he is very tall and bullies couuld sense that he was not sensitive about what others thought about him. But he was sad about not having friends.

The great thing about this book is how the author explains why children with asperger's are targets. Then there are chapters on how to empower victims, bystanders, schools, parents, understanding bullies and changing the culture where bullying is accepted.
Dubin emphasizes how important it is for children and adults with aspegers to find the activities and settings where they can be with people with the same interests. My son best socializes with others while using his hands. Right now he is taking a glass blowing class and happy to be in the same room with others working away. The therapeutic riding or hippotherapy setting is also great for teen or older volunteers who will benefit from the mutual love of horses and all the sensory stimulation of being around them. I see many young children with autism aspergers who has good speech but poor abilities to perceive social cues. They need to follow my directions and stop talking long enough to focus on the immediate needs of the horse-i.e. stop, go, steer etc. Seeing their improved self-esteem is very rewarding.

Barbara Smith, M.S., OTR/L author of, The Recycling Occupational Therapist

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