Asperger Syndrome Child's Emotional Wellbeing
Publicado por: Nelle Frances
If you're reading this article, chances are your child/student
has just been diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome (or there's a
possibility they will be!) and you're searching the internet for
any information that may help you make sense of the diagnosis.
I'm fairly certain that you left the Pediatrician's office with
just that one piece of information - "Your child has Asperger's
Syndrome". I'm confident you didn't receive an information kit
containing:  In depth explanation of the characteristics
of Asperger's Syndrome;  contact details for Asperger's
Syndrome Support groups;  claim forms for Disability
allowance/payment;  list of ASD Support Service
Providers e.g. Occupational Therapist;  contacts for
Respite Services;  written recommendation to your
child's school of minimum accommodations required by your child
with Asperger's Syndrome;  list of beneficial therapies
for Asperger's Syndrome;  dietary requirements of
Asperger's Syndrome;  list of proven strategies to
reduce meltdown/tantrums;  advice on what/how to tell
As parents/teachers of children with Asperger's Syndrome we are
expected to source all this information on our own. And so
begins the Asperger's Syndrome journey - endless hours spent
trawling the Internet; reading every book in your local library
and filing every piece of information relevant to Asperger's
Syndrome in your head for future reference. Only when you've
upskilled and become enormously knowledgeable about Asperger's
Syndrome can you finally match up the characteristics of AS with
how those characteristics present in your child/student. Once
the initial shock and disbelief settles, then you begin
negotiating with your child's school (or parents of the child)
over the best support strategies and accommodations to implement
to give the AS child the greatest chance of success. This
process usually takes somewhere between 10 and 18 months after
diagnosis to complete.
We're so busy upskilling ourselves as ourselves as
parents/teachers that we often overlook the emotional wellbeing
of the Asperger's Syndrome child themselves. How might that
child be feeling after diagnosis? Most children diagnosed with
Asperger's Syndrome suffer a range of emotions, but the stages
are very clear:-  Scared and confused e.g. "Am I sick?
Will I die?"  Isolated and alone e.g. "I'm the only
person in the world with Asperger's Syndrome - no-one
understands me."  Outraged and angry e.g. "Why me?"
 Relief e.g. "Now I have a reason why I feel like this.
I'm not naughty."  Denial e.g. "If I try harder I can be
just like everyone else."  AS knowledge e.g. learning
about AS characteristics.  Self-recognition e.g.
recognising their AS characteristics.  Self awareness
e.g. which characteristics present challenges to them. 
Self-acceptance e.g. learning to maximise strengths and minimize
It's usual for children with Asperger's Syndrome to take 3-5
years to process these emotions. Only when the child has reached
the last stage of 'awareness/acceptance of self' can they begin
to self-manage and self-advocate. That is, do whatever they have
to, and use every support they need, to achieve their fullest
potential academically, socially and career-wise.
So what can we, as parents and teachers, do to avoid abandoning
our children when they are feeling so emotionally fragile, while
we are scrambling about trying to upskill ourselves about
The Ben and His Helmet series of children's fiction books (for
5-12 yr olds) are written especially for children with
Asperger's Syndrome and are designed to help children connect to
their thoughts and feelings as they process their Asperger's
The Ben and His Helmet books are stories within a school setting
and provide relevant examples of issues that occur in the life
of a child with Asperger's Syndrome, including:- 
interpreting facial expression  sensory
sensitivity/overload  literal statements  social
skills  anxiety in social situations  difficulty
with change  difference in cognitive processing
Ben displays the characteristics of Asperger's Syndrome,
although the condition isn't stated anywhere in (or on) the
books. Asperger children quickly recognise the similarities of
the main character Ben and in making that connection they are no
longer alone - their thoughts and feelings are "just like
Ben's". The Ben and His Helmet stories are inter-woven with
problem-solving strategies and solutions within the layers of
their social stories. The AS reader makes a connection here
also...and BINGO...the first step towards self-management begins.
The Ben and His Helmet books also help to increase understanding
of Asperger's Syndrome and creates empathy in the non-AS reader.
The stories highlight what we parents/teachers have always known
- behavior choices for children with Asperger's Syndrome are
often made by their AS characteristics e.g. sensory sensitivity,
not because they are being "naughty".
So, if you've just left the pediatricians office and are feeling
dazed and inadequate, or if you're further along in your journey
but concerned with the emotional wellbeing of your child with
Asperger's Syndrome - the Ben and His Helmet stories are a
simple and effective remedy that will benefit them greatly!
About the author:
Nelle Frances is the mother of a 15 year old with Asperger's
Syndrome, a Special Needs Educator and Author of the Ben and His
Helmet series of books for Asperger children. She is also an
active member of 5 Asperger's Syndrome Support and Advocacy
Groups. For more information and Support Strategies visit
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