The Autistic Mind: Different in Function and Anatomy

“The Autistic Mind: Different in Function and Anatomy”

Understanding the function of the Autistic Brain may help you understand, or explain, the different behaviors exhibited by someone with Aspergers Syndrome. This episode of Top of the Spectrum News features doctors revealing studies that prove the importance of therapy. They explain that the Autistic brain is different in both function and anatomy from a neuro-typical brain. In other words. . . it’s not bad behavior! Aspies are coming from a place of being neurologically different.

You may purchase the entire DVD “Coping to to Excelling: Solutions for School-Age Children Diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism or Asperger Syndrome” HERE 

Succeeding in Life on the Spectrum the “I’mpossible Dream”

Autistically Speaking with Alex Hale

Autism is real and like many others with the diagnosis, my son, Alex Hale, is succeeding in life on the Spectrum. His two songs “Into the Light” and “Walk a Mile” share his thoughts and emotions on the journey of an Autistic Individual, and assert that there is light at the end of the tunnel. It has been a long journey since his official diagnosis at the age of 6 years old.

There were signs of awkward behaviors, however his pediatrician initially suggested that we didn’t look for “trouble”. Once diagnosed we were in a state of awe rather than shock. We had assumed he would be diagnosed with ADHD or something of that nature. Immediately Alex’s dad and I started asking questions, reading up on Autism/Aspergers and looking for answers and methods to keep Alex mainstream.

Alex is high – functioning and as he says in his advocacy speaking engagements, you may not guess by looking at him, or meeting him initially, but spend a little bit of time with him and you will see that his social skills are a little different.

Manners are a must for developing social skills

Manners

Guest(s): Dr. Temple Grandin

In this video Dr. Temple Grandin explains that the development of social skills for those on the spectrum  often comes through learning good manners.

He is My Teacher

Yesterday was the kind of day that had brought so much emotion. Maybe it had more to do with the series of events leading up to it, but either way, that is where I had arrived. It was time for our night time routine and my son had earned a sleepover with me since he had enough stickers. Now, don’t judge: I am desperately trying out new things to encourage positive behaviors. This is our new method. Negative reinforcement just gets lost, there have been way too many treats given out, and this is what I have left. Anyway, after spending over an hour trying to convince him to clean up all the money from Monopoly that covered my kitchen floor, it was  most definitely time for bed.   

Silhouette of child on the beach, holding his hands up, towards the sun 
Every night I do our usual prayer and sayings, but last night was so different. I try to mix them up for a reason, but trust me, this does not ever go unnoticed when I do so. After we went through the whole routine I decided to just lay with him until he fell asleep. 

It’s not that I don’t or haven’t had concern that my son has been diagnosed with ASD, it’s that some days it just hits all over again.

How to Recognize Emotions Through Body Language: Fascination

Reading Emotions

Heather smiles gently as she watches the video about a celebration in Africa. To be fascinated by something means that it captures your imagination and you want to give it your full attention. Heather leans forward (always a sign of interest) towards the TV screen.

She stares intently at the screen, following the action with her eyes. Active thinking is a central part of fascination. We can see thinking going on in the way she strokes her lip with her little finger. We get the sense that she is ‘in the moment’, giving her complete attention to the screen.

In a split second when she’s intensely interested her eyes close a little and then widen. If you look carefully you will also see an intake of breath.

Signs to note

  • gaze follows the action on the screen
  • she leans forwards
  • strokes her lip with her finger
  • a widening smile with closed lips

To see stills on this emotion visit our website:

http://www.momentumresearch.co.uk/emotions-a-to-z.html

By Dr. John Habershon

Neuroscience Imaging the Asperger Brain

Guest(s): Dr. Janessa Manning, Dr. Chris Plauche

The Asperger brain is different in both its function and anatomy as shown in MRI brain scans. This medical study explains why people diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism or Aspergers Syndrome cannot read social cues, thus ‘acting’ differently. It is not bad behavior, it comes from a brain that is different!

Interview with the Mother and Filmmaker of a Mini-Documentary on a Larger than Life Girl with Autism

James Cox wanted to raise awareness for the special needs community by creating a mini documentary. His subject of choice was a thoughtful one: Lizzie has a heart of gold and the story of her and the amazing relationship with her warrior-for-a-cause Mom will both enlighten and uplift.

Following this mini-documentary, Aspergers101 spoke with both the filmmaker and mother about the film, its meaning, and the amazing story of Lizzie.  

Learning How to Read Emotions for People with ASD: The Emotion of Displeasure

Heather is not pleased with the TV ad she’s watching and we can tell this by the combination of two subtle signs. First, there is a slight lowering of her brow. We tend to associate this with being puzzled, but it’s also a general negative sign. When the brow is lowered the eyes become more narrow. When we narrow our eyes we are going into a defensive mode. The opposite of this would be when we are relaxed and the eyes open wide to the world around us.

Reading Emotions: Discomfort

How to read the feeling of discomfort in facial expressions and body language

In the last blog we looked at more than one emotion on the face (Disbelief/Irritation). This week one overwhelming and strong emotion is showing through: discomfort.

Benjamin is watching a somewhat controversial TV ad and although he sits quite still we can see several signs which point to his discomfort.

He takes a deep breath and quickly shifts the direction of his gaze, attempting not to focus too sharply on what he’s been asked to watch. He breathes out and closes his eyes for a second (too long to be a blink) in an effort to shut out the scene on the TV.

When we look at something which we find disturbing (or even think of something we find uncomfortable) we often close our eyes, as if that will give us a moment of respite.

Benjamin continues watching, but with a blank stare, his mouth tightly closed.

Signs to note

  • an unfocused gaze
  • a deep intake of breath
  • he blinks with discomfort
  • closes his eyes
  • continues watching with a blank look

By John Habershon

An instructional video on how to recognize the emotion, contempt

Reading Emotions: Contempt

The dictionary defines contempt as a feeling that someone or something is worthless. Here Patrick is talking about his experience of really poor customer service.

He felt he was treated badly, and we can see he is agitated by the quick nodding and shaking of his head as he recalls the experience.

The key sign of contempt is the curl of the upper lip. Also we see he is wrinkling both nostrils, as if there is a bad smell.

Anger makes him look away briefly as he struggles to contain his emotion. His lip curls again as he raises his eyebrows to emphasis his point.

Signs to note

  • nods quickly
  • looks away briefly
  • curls his upper lip
  • wrinkles his nose
  • shakes his head
  • raises eyebrows rapidly

By John Habershon