Social Skills and Friendships

“My child doesn’t have any friends,” is something we hear a lot at AANE. This is not surprising as having an Asperger profile is characterized by difficulties in social-emotional reciprocity, nonverbal communication, and maintenance of relationships. While many of these behaviors are instinctual to people who are neurotypical these are skills that must be explicitly taught to children with Asperger profiles. We have a number of resources to help parents understand these needs and meet them.

Essential Resources:

Parent Coaching
Support Groups
Parenting Toolbox
Behavior
Education

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Tips on What to Do if You Believe You Have Been a Victim of Campus…

Article
**This article  is the second in a series of articles that are designed to provide students with a diagnosis of Asperger's or autism with tips regarding the sexual misconduct policies and procedures at our nation's colleges.**  The first article, Tips for Preventing A Violation of College Sexual Misconduct Policies, discussed best practices that... more

Tips for Preventing A Violation of College Sexual Misconduct Policies

Article
** The following is the first in a series of articles that are designed to provide students with a diagnosis of Asperger’s or autism with tips regarding the sexual misconduct policies and procedures at our nation’s colleges. **If you are presently a student at a college or university, it is likely that you have heard discussions about... more

Good Connections: The AS Student’s Guide to the College Social Scene

Article
Dorms, parties, cute girls, hot guys, roommates, new friends—let’s face it, college life is, in large part, about the social scene.Finally, you’ll be able to come and go as you please. Your parents won’t be there reminding you to study, brush your teeth, eat your vegetables, etc. And you won’t have a curfew. Moreover, college is... more

Social Skills and Behavior in Children with Asperger Syndrome: An Educational Perspective

Article
Children who experience social success are those who are able to accurately assess a situation, recognize what is expected and appropriate, and act in a way that “goes with the flow” of what is going on. Some children seem to be able to do this almost magically. As social dynamics shift subtly from one situation to the next, these children... more

It’s A Two-Way Street Helping the World Communicate with People with Asperger Syndrome

Webinar
Kai Long, a speech language pathologist, discusses communication challenges and strategies that... more

Playdate Basics

Webinar
Practical tips to help you manage playdates with your... more

Social Thinking and Social Issues: Support for Middle and High School Students with AS

Webinar
Robin Lurie-Meyerkopf  shares effective strategies for helping middle and high school students with Asperger profiles build their social thinking... more

Parenting without Panic with Brenda Dater

Webinar
Brenda Dater, author of Parenting without Panic, shares practical guidance for parents of children and teens on the autism spectrum; helping all parents feel less... more

Welcome to the Teen Years

Webinar
In this webinar, Erika Drezner helps parents distinguish between behaviors that are related to an Asperger profile, and typical teen behaviors. She gives information on how Asperger’s impacts the adolescent mind, and how to handle the demands of parenting this kind of... more

Transition to Middle School: the Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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The Hidden Curriculum: Practical Solutions for Understanding Unstated Rules in Social Situations

Recommended Reading
A few years ago, I was speaking with a friend who is on the spectrum when he noted that life would be much easier if someone would just show me the rules. With the publication of The Hidden Curriculum, Myles, Trautman, and Schelvan have done just that. Utilizing concrete examples of hidden... more

Preparing For Life: The Complete Guide for Transitioning to Adulthood for Those with Autism and…

Recommended Reading
Far too often, students with Asperger profiles graduate from high school graduates unprepared for the transition to an independent adult life. Early, ongoing training in the social skills crucial to establishing successful adult relationships—in college, vocational school, residential living, or... more

The Incredible 5-Point Scale: Assessing Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders In Understanding Social Interactions and…

Recommended Reading
Kari Dunn Buron and Mitzi Curtis have created a tool that helps students with Asperger profiles become aware of their feelings and emotional reactions, and communicate about them with others. This must-have resource shows how the use of a simple 5-point visual scale can help students understand and... more

Middle School – The Stuff Nobody Tells You About: A Teenage Girl with ASD Shares…

Recommended Reading
The transition to middle school is daunting to most, but for students with autism spectrum disorders, it can be a veritable mine field of hidden curriculum rules, social misunderstanding, cliques, etc. And that's even before cracking open a book! Based on her own experiences, Haley Moss, a teenager... more

Life, Animated

Recommended Reading
This is the real-life story of Owen Suskind, the son of the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind and his wife, Cornelia. An autistic boy who couldn't speak for years, Owen memorized dozens of Disney movies, turned them into a language to express love and loss, kinship, brotherhood.The... more

The Best Kind of Different: Our Family’s Journey with Asperger’s Syndrome

Recommended Reading
This personal memoir has touched many hearts, and helped many couples come together to co-parent their children with Asperger profiles.Learn More and... more

Take Charge of Treatment for Your Child With Asperger’s (ASD): Create a Personalized Guide to…

Recommended Reading
AANE parent Cornelia Pelzer Elwood has partnered with psychologist and long-time AANE board member Dr. Scott McLeod of MGH Aspire to write this comprehensive guide for parents. The book includes access to templates that parents can use to create a detailed picture of a child and the strategies that... more

Liam Says “Hi”: Learning to Greet a Friend

Recommended Reading
Jane Whelen Banks, an AANE parent, has written a series of picture books to help her son understand social situations and other challenges of early childhood. Other parents can read  these very accessible and charming books to their children, or follow Jane’s example to create books that address... more

Easy-To Implement Interventions for Children With Asperger Profiles

Article
“Hello, Mrs. Thompson, this is Ms. O’Conner, Jacob’s teacher. I’m calling today because there was another incident in class. Jacob is struggling with listening to directions. We were at morning meeting and, as always, he was jumping up and down and calling out. Another student asked him to sit and be quiet because he couldn’t hear. Jacob... more

Disclosure in College

Article
Scott was one of two student panelists at AANE's spring 2012 "Perspectives on College Life" program.My name is Scott Finkelstein and I just graduated from Brandeis University. I actually finished a semester early and am currently looking for a job (in case any of you are hiring…), but I will walk with the class of 2012 in the spring.One... more

Guidelines for Neuropsychological Evaluations for Children and Teens

Article
To most parents hearing it for the first time, the term “neuropsych eval” is mysterious, a phrase that never comes up in toddler music classes, playground chat, or the mainstream parenting manuals. Parents facing the possibility that their child has developmental problems, however, must quickly become accustomed to it, because the... more

Helping Students with Asperger Profiles Make Sense Of Recess

Article
When “typical” children are asked: “What’s your favorite class at school?” many will say “Recess!” Most children love recess. They are in charge. Freed from arbitrary adult rules, they get to play and run around, burn off energy etc.Children with Asperger Profiles, however, may have another perspective. For them, recess is... more

Connecting To Humans: Some Ideas for Parents, Family and Professionals

Article
My name is Jennifer, I’m 42 years old, and I have Asperger Syndrome (AS). Lately I’ve been frequently asked to talk or write about dating, friendship, and relationships. This may be partly because I’ve been happily married for 14 years (to a man who also has AS), and socialize reasonably well with the “neurotypical” (NT) population. I... more

Sensory Processing and the Sensory Budget

Article
How do we know anything at all about the world? Our sensory system is responsible for accurately taking in information so our brain can interpret this information and then do something with it. For everyone, this process happens instantaneously and continuously throughout the day: “I see red, I see round, I hear bouncing, I smell... more

Reflections About College

Article
Beginning college is a big step for most kids, and can be even tougher for young people with Asperger’s. If you choose to live on-campus, it means leaving your family and your home and moving into a dorm room with one or more total strangers. College students don’t have to take nearly as many classes as high school students, but the workload... more

Teaching Resilience to Children with Asperger Profiles

Article
Perhaps you, too, have had this experience. A child—let’s call him Joey—is in the middle of a meltdown, and a well-intentioned adult advises him to take some deep breaths. (Perhaps you have even been that adult.) There’s just one problem—the child has never had any prior instruction in deep breathing, or any opportunity to rehearse using... more

Asperger Profiles: What We Know

Article
Because of the ways in which they tend to differ from the norm, many people with an Asperger profile report having been bullied and/or excluded from groups, both as children and as adults. This history of rejection can impact Asperger individuals’ ability to trust others; they might be more cautious and emotionally guarded around certain people... more

Throw Away The Yardstick or The Blessing of the Diagnosis

Article
Many of us started this journey through the now famous metaphor of visiting Holland. If you haven’t read Emily Perl Kingsley’s brilliant essay on having a child with special needs, read it here. In it, she compares getting ready to have a baby to planning a trip to Italy—only expectant parents could think of parenting as a trip to one of... more

Asperger Syndrome and Young Children: Building Skills for the Real World

Recommended Reading
Teresa Bolick is an experienced and trusted child psychologist who has shared her wisdom with the AANE community at many of our conferences. In this book she offers parents a compassionate perspective and practical strategies for raising children with Asperger profiles.Learn More and... more

Dear Grandma and Grandpa, I’m Not a Bad Kid

Article
Dear Grandma and Grandpa,I know you think I'm rude sometimes. The last time you tried to take me to the movies I screamed and put my hands over my ears because it was too loud and you got mad at me and said I ruined the movie for my little sister. Afterwards, when I was pacing in the back of the restaurant, you told me I needed to sit down... more

Asperger Syndrome and Bullying: Strategies and Solutions

Recommended Reading
Bullying is a serious problem for people with Asperger profiles, both at school and in the workplace. Displaying "different" behavior, such as not understanding social rules or hand-flapping, exacerbates the risk of being victimized. Nick Dubin describes the bullying behavior he and others have... more

Asperger Syndrome and Adolescence: Helping Preteens and Teens Get Ready for the Real World

Recommended Reading
Teresa Bolick is an experienced and trusted child psychologist who has shared her wisdom with the AANE community at many of our conferences. In this book she presents strategies for helping the ten to eighteen­-year-­old achieve happiness and success by maximizing the benefits of Asperger... more

Aspergirls: Empowering Females with Asperger Syndrome

Recommended Reading
Girls with Asperger/Autism profiles are less frequently diagnosed than boys, and even once symptoms have been recognized, help is often not readily available. The image of coping well presented by AS females of any age can often mask difficulties, deficits, challenges, and loneliness. This is a... more

Parenting without Panic: A Pocket Support Group for Parents of Children and Teens on the…

Recommended Reading
Ever wish that parenting a child or teen on the autism spectrum came with instant access to a support group? Brenda Dater has provided parents with exactly that. In this book she draws on her extensive experience as a support group leader and parent of a child on the spectrum to offer trusted... more

Using Skill Cards to Generalize Skills

Article
Skill cards help educators focus on teaching one particular skill at a time. They clarify which skill you are teaching, where the skill is being practiced and how it will be generalized. These cards are shared with the team of teachers who are working with the child as well as the parent.Skill cards collect data to help you know if your... more

Using Visual Schedules on the Weekend

Article
Ever have the experience of waking up Saturday morning with a plan for how the day should proceed?  Guess what, your child on the autism spectrum does too! Often the parent and child perspectives differ concerning what should happen during the weekend. One strategy that can help address these differing expectations and clarify what will happen is... more

How to Choose a Social Skills Group for Your Child

Article
Who will be the most successful in school and life: students with high academic achievement— or students with good social skills? Ever since Daniel Goleman’s work on Emotional Intelligence hit the popular press, we have increasingly come to realize the critical importance in our society of good social skills. If we are parents of children with... more

Asperger Profiles: The Big Picture-Challenges

Article
While respecting the abilities and humanity of people with Asperger profiles, one should not underestimate their struggles and suffering they might endure. A society designed for and dominated by the neurotypical majority can feel uncongenial and even overwhelming for a person with an Asperger... more

Dear Parents of Typical Kids

Article
Dear parents of typical kids, I could have been labeled a helicopter parent for my oldest son, who was diagnosed with Asperger’s when he was 3 years old. When he started middle school 8 years ago, I tried to arrange for neighborhood kids to walk or bike to and from school together. I knew that other parents were not making plans for their kids.... more

Helping Students with Asperger’s Make Sense of Recess

Article
When “typical” children are asked: “What’s your favorite class at school?” many will say “Recess!” Most children love recess. They are in charge. Freed from arbitrary adult rules, they get to play and run around, burn off energy etc.Children with Asperger’s Syndrome (AS),... more