Asperger Syndrome and the Development of Social Competence
S.E. Gutstein and T. Whitney, Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, Fall 2002, page 161 - 171.
The hallmark of Asperger Syndrome is a failure to develop social competence despite relatively normal language and cognitive development. Extensive research in this area points to a deficit in a key area of social development - experience-sharing relationships- as the primary factor in limiting the social development of individuals with Asperger's Syndrome. Experience sharing appears to develop in a manner different from attachment and instrumental interaction. The authors review the critical components of experience sharing, relate them to the specific social deficits found in children and adolescents with Asperger's Syndrome, then propose factors in developing a relationship intervention program that would incorporate these essential components.
Comorbidity and Asperger's Syndrome
T. Berney and P. Shannon, Inaugural Autism Conference, Melbourne, Australia, 10 - 14th November 2002, European Services for People with Autism (ESPA), Sunderland, UK.
ESPA has developed a specialist residential college from the Further Education of People with Asperger's Syndrome. It has been open for four years and this reviews the high level of comorbidity, particularly obsessive compulsive and affective disorders, and the relationship to the person's progress through the college. ESPA is a charity that has established a variety of community resources for adults with autism that include two Further Education colleges. One of these is for young people who are of normal IQ comprising the college itself (Tasker House) and a residential hall (Westfield Hall). It has been open for four years and 90 students have been to Tasker House of whom 55 have been residential.
Who does well?
- Those with a psychiatric disorder where there is acceptance and agreement to
- the diagnosis - openness - reports from all
- the plan of management - family support for the plan
- Those who are able to cope with the relative autonomy of a College placement
- Those who are confident of their future plan - i.e. the continued commitment of their community agencies
- Those who want to use the college as an educational placement and who want to be there
- Those who understand and accept the FE culture
a) attend college
b) move on after 2-3 years
Who don't do well
- Those with unidentified/ concealed problems ('a fresh start')
- Those with entrenched patterns of behaviour that require a high level of supervision and external control
b) Conduct disorders and personality disorders
- Those who do not want to use the college - who have been sent by others.
Impaired Mirror-Image Imitation in Asperger and High-Functioning Autistic Subjects
S. Avikainen, A. Wohlsclager, S. Liuhanen, R. Hanninen and R. Hari, Current Biology, Volume 13, February 2003, Pages 339 - 341.
Imitation is crucial for proper development of social and communicative skills. Here, we argue that, based on an error analysis of a behavioural imitation task, adult Asperger and high-functioning autistic subjects suffer from intriguing deficit of imitation: they lack the natural preference for imitation in a mirror-image fashion. The imitation task consisted of a simple movement sequence of putting a pen with the left or right hand into a green or blue using one of two possible grips. The subjects were asked to imitate the experimenter's hand movements either using the crossed hand (e.g. the subjects right hand corresponding to the experimenter's right hand) for imitation or to imitate as if looking in a mirror (e.g. the subjects left hand corresponding to the experimenter's right hand). When people normally view other people's face-to-face, they prefer to imitate as in a mirror and observation of mirror-image-like movements speeds up performance in nominated tasks. However, our autistic subjects, defective in social cognition, did not profit from mirror-image movements of others. These results provide a new insight into the difficulties that autistic subjects face in viewing and understanding actions of others.
The use of Social Stories as a preventative Behavioural Intervention in a home Setting with a Child with Autism
P. A. Lorimer, R. Simpson, B. Smith-Myles an Jennifer B. Ganz, Journal of Positive Behaviour Interventions, Winter 2002, Volume 4, Pages 53 - 60.
The purpose of this study was to determine the efficacy of a social story intervention implemented in a home setting to decrease precursors to tantrum behaviour in a 5-year-old boy with autism. Using an ABAB design, two social stories were presented and withdrawn while using an event recording procedure in which interrupting verbalisations, determined to be precursors to tantrum behaviour, were tallied. Data revealed a decrease in interrupting verbalisations and tantrums when the social stories were available and an increase in these behaviours when the social stories were withdrawn.
Middle-Class Mother's Perceptions of Peer and Sibling Victimization among Children with Asperger's Syndrome and Non-Verbal Learning DisordersL, Little, Issues in Comprehensive Paediatric Nursing, 25: 43 - 57, 2002.
This article describes the yearly prevalence and frequency of peer and sibling victimisation as reported by a large national sample of middle-class mothers of children with Asperger's Syndrome and nonverbal learning disorders. An anonymous mailed survey was sent to families solicited from two national Internet sites for parents of children with Asperger's and nonverbal learning disorders using the Comprehensive Juvenile Victimisation scale and three questions designed to measure peer shunning. The overall prevalence rate reported by mothers of peer victimisation was 94%. Mothers reported that almost three quarters of their children had been hit by peers or siblings in the last year and 75% had been emotionally bullied. On the more severe end of peer victimisation, 10% of the children were attacked by a gang in the past year and 15% were victims of nonsexual assaults to the genitals. Peer shunning also was common. A third of the children had not been invited to a single birthday party in the past year, and many were eating alone at lunch or were picked last for teams. Peer shunning was significantly correlated with peer bullying and assault. The high rates of peer shunning and peer victimisation reported suggest that children with Asperger's and nonverbal learning disorders may require further scrutiny and attention concerning their victimisation experiences by peers and siblings. Implications for nursing professionals are reviewed.
The aim of this study were twofold: one was to explore and describe preliminary data on mother's perceptions of the prevalence and frequency of peer victimisation and peer shunning of their children with AS and NLD. Two, the study was to examine the relationship between such child characteristics as age, gender, and diagnosis with peer victimisation. Knowledge resulting from this study may help to expand professional understanding of the social and structural determinants of peer victimisation in children with AS and NLD. Family participation was obtained by posting a letter of invitation to parents on two international Internet web sites for parents and children with NLD and AS. Of the 728 surveys mailed out, 509 parents responded, yielding a 70% response rate. Among families who met the eligibility requirements, a total of 411 surveys were completed by mothers and used for this data analysis. A total of 411 youth between the ages of 4 and 17 were in the sample, with a mean age of 10.48 years (SD = 3.30). Peer and sibling victimisation were measured using a scale from the Juvenile Victimisation Questionnaire (JVQ) (Hamby & Finkelhor, 1999).
Peer victimisation was common. Fully 94% of the mothers reported that peers had victimised their child in some fashion within the past year. The most frequently reported method of peer victimisation was bullying by peers and siblings, reported by 75% of the respondents. This was followed by peer or sibling assaults (73%). The least reported type of victimisation, and the most severe, was peer gang attacks, where 10% of the parents reported that their child had been attacked by a gang of kids in the past year. The overall prevalence rates for peer shunning show that in the past year, 33% of the sample (35%) respondents reported that their child had not been invited to a friend's birthday part, 31% reported that their child was almost always picked last for teams, and 11% reported that their child sat alone at lunchtime everyday. When specific types of peer victimisation from this study were compared with rates from two national samples of children, the differences were notable. Peer and sibling assault was eight times higher for the sample of children with AS and NLD than for a national sample of youth in a large Internet safety study. They also were twice as high as a large representative sample of children in a National Youth Victimisation Project. The rate of gang attacks was five times higher for children with AS or NLD than the national Internet sample. Reported bullying rates for the children with AS and NLD were four times as high as those in the national Internet sample. Finally, nonsexual genital assaults also were higher for the children with AS and NLD. Data on age differences and peer victimisation suggest that junior high school and high school children with AS and NLD are at greater risk for peer shunning, bullying and gang attacks. This is a time when social skills are increasingly in demand and become more sophisticated.
- Peer Interaction and Loneliness in High-Functioning Children with Autism
- Use of a Social Story Intervention to Improve Mealtime Skills of an Adolescent with Asperger's Syndrome
- Can I join the club? A social integration scheme for adolescents with Asperger's Syndrome
- Social Stories, Written Text Cues, and Video Feedback: Effects on Social Communication of Children with Autism