Comprehensive Family Resource Guide to Asperger's Syndrome
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Asperger's Syndrome Characteristics
Social interactions are impaired, including:
Behaviors, interests, and activities that are insistent and continuous, including:
Lack of Eye Contact
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Excessive, Extremely Focused Patterns of Interest
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Impairments with Facial Expressions
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Requires Adherence to Routines/Schedules
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Trouble With Peer Relationships
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Repetitive Motor Mannerisms




Links/Sources

Summary

Disability Specific Information

American Psychiatric Assosciation (DSM IV)
Asperger's Syndrome (AS) is one of five subdivisions under the larger umbrella of Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASDs). Like classic autism children diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome display a particular set of characteristics which affect an individual's ability to socialize, regulate emotions, communicate and behave in a way that is deemed socially acceptable. However, unlike classic autism, children with AS will often exhibit average to above average intelligence and may show a greater interest in making personal connections despite the challenges they face.
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Attwood, T. (2007). The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome. Philadelphia, PA: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
This resource is a handbook for anyone affected by Asperger's syndrome (AS). It brings together information on all aspects of the syndrome for children through to adults. It draws on case studies and personal accounts from Attwood's extensive clinical experience and from his correspondence with individuals with AS. The chapters examine causes and indications of the syndrome; the diagnosis and its effect on the individual; theory of mind; the perception of emotions in self and others; social interaction, including friendships; long-term relationships; teasing, bullying and mental health issues; the effect of AS on language and cognitive abilities, sensory sensitivity, movement and co-ordination skills; and career development.
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Hardman, M.L., Drew, C.J. & Egan M.W. (2008). Human exceptionality: school, community and family. (P. 349-356). Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin Company .
The first six chapters of this text detail the foundations of human exceptionalities. The next twelve chapters focus on definitions, classifications, prevalence, causation and characteristics of all the major categories of exceptionality. Each chapter also includes practical material on the educational, medical and social services aspects of working with exceptional persons.
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Boyd, B. (2003). Parenting a Child With Asperger Syndrome: 200 Tips and Strategies. New York, NY: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
This book was written by a woman whose teenage son was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. Here she has gathered together the parenting ideas and tips that have had a positive effect on her son's life. She discusses parents' reaction to their child's AS and gives advice on how better to understand 'Planet Asperger'. This book helps parents to respond positively to the challenge of AS and find the 'treasure' in their child's way of being.
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Welton, J. (2004). Can I Tell You About Asperger Syndrome?: A Guide for Friends and Family. New York, NY: Jessica Kingsley Publishers.
This book is told from the point of view of a child with Asperger's Syndrome. Not only does this book provide good facts and descriptions about Asperger's Syndrome, but it also explains why people with Asperger's Syndrome act and feel a certain way (their motives behind their actions). This book is made for a variety of audiences and purposes: parents to better understand their child, peers to better understand their friend with Asperger's Syndrome, teachers, and even children with Asperger's Syndrome to better understand themselves.
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Notbohm, E. & Zysk, V. (2010). 1001 Great Ideas for Teaching and Raising Children with Autism or Asperger's. Arlington, TX: The Donohue Group, Inc.
This book provides a great variety of practical ideas that parents and teachers can utilize to teach or raise a child with Asperger's Syndrome. It is written in a friendly, easy-to-read manner that avoids ideas that could be too technical and focuses on ideas that are easily implemented. The information is quick and easy to access so that it can be a fast-grab resource for day-to-day issues.
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Ashley, S. (2007) Asperger's Answer Book: The Top 275 Questions Parents Ask. Naperville, IL: SourceBooks, Inc.
A variety of topics are encountered and discussed in this book concerning Asperger's Syndrome. Many resources available concerning Asperger's Syndrome can be conflicting or confusing, but this book provides clear, easy to understand answers to the top questions that parents of children with Asperger's Syndrome seem to ask. The author provides specific examples of what to say when encountering an issue with a child, rather than broad confusing intervention ideas.

Education and Services

First 100 Days Kit
This kit is ideal for parents of children who been diagnosed with autism within the past 100 days. It provides parents with information about autism, the diagnosis of autism, the effect of this diagnosis on their family, and many other facts, tips, and information that they will need to know.

ChildNett.TV
The Interactive Autism Network is an informational website centered around Autism Spectrum Disorders. This website provides an opportunity for people who are interested in learning more about research concerning ASD by making available up-to-date research findings as well as news and events.

IAN Community
Parents and educators can use this website to determine appropriate therapies and treatments and to address research concerning challenging behaviors that are encountered with children with Aspergers or ASD. The most imperative piece of this website is that it is not just a provider of information, it is a website that users can interact with in order to gain as much as possible. This website not only provides information about research, but it also assists research programs by allowing “willing individuals and families” to be matched with “appropriate local and national research projects” in order to provide research projects with a sufficient amount of participants. This prevents many research studies from being uncompleted due to a lack of participating research subjects. Website interactions are also made available through discussions, polls, and other forms of relations.

Kennedy Krieger Institute
Kennedy Krieger implements the evaluation and treatment of children with disabilities (developmental and/or of the brain) while providing educational services. Their educational services cover students from kindergarten through high school and are located throughout Maryland in a variety of districts. Their goal in education is to provide individualized education with emphasis on supporting inclusion of students with special needs.
Read about Kevin Sargeant, a student who was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome at age 11. He attended a Kennedy Krieger school. This article describes the extremely helpful education that Kevin received through his time at Kennedy Krieger:
http://www.kennedykrieger.org/potential-online/potential-summer-2011/evolution-kevin-sargeant

College Living Experience
The amount of educational support for children with special needs seems to decrease after high school graduation, but this program ensures that post-secondary students are provided with the opportunity of an independent adult life. A variety of special needs are addressed, including Asperger's Syndrome. College Living Experience is essentially a college program appropriate for students with special needs so that they can involve themselves in the college life while receiving instruction in areas necessary for their needs. These areas include "independent living skills, academic skills, career development and social skills." This post-secondary program is ideal for students who need assistance in the transition into an independent adulthood. The program is located in a variety of places throughout America, but it's local district is Washington D.C.

Local Support Groups and Educational Conferences

Autism Society of America Baltimore/Chesapeake Chapter
The Baltimore-Chesapeake Chapter of the Autism Society of America is a support group that meets every month at Mt. Washington Pediatric Hospital.

Autism-Asperger Association of Calvert County, Inc.
This local, non profit organization is a great support group for families of children with an ASD, including Asperger's Syndrome. The support groups meet once a month and cover various topics of interest for these families. Each meeting has planned, professional speakers who provide information on the topics covered in that specific meeting.

Asperger Association of Maryland
The Asperger Association of Maryland has monthly meetings in which members meet monthly to discuss their children and support eachother. Signing up for membership is required to attend these meetings, which ensures the comfort that those who attend are there for the right reasons.

Parenting Asperger's Community
This is a web-based support group created for parents of children with Asperger's Syndrome. This page contains a variety of information to provide assistance and tips for parents. This website also includes a discussion forum where parents can share and communicate their experiences with their child with Asperger's Syndrome, and support each other along the way.

Anne Arundel County Asperger Support Group
Yet another local support group, the Anne Arundel County Asperger Support Group holds monthly meetings. They also provide families with research opportunities.

Autism-Asperger Association of Calvert County, Inc.
The Autism-Asperger Association of Calvert County, Inc. is a non-profit organization and support group. This group meets monthly during the school year in order to provide support and information on a variety of autism-aspergers related topics such as “educational strategies, speech and language therapy, recreational opportunities” and more.

Recreational and Community-based Resources

Montgomery County Respite Care, Child Care, Recreational Programs and Camps
This is a resource for a variety of respite care programs, child care programs, recreational programs, and camps for children with ASD, including Asperger’s Syndrome. It includes the Respite House which provides services for adults and children with disabilities. It also includes the Montgomery County Recreation Department for Therapeutic Recreation. This is an option that provides many different recreational activities in small groups with appropriate staff-to-participant ratios in order to ensure the safety and enjoyment of children involved. Another recreational program it introduces is K.E.E.N (Kids Enjoy Exercise Now) which provides recreational activities for children with mental and physical disabilities. This is perfect for children who do not work well in a group but still need recreational activities because it provides free one-on-one opportunities.

Maryland Therapeutic Riding
This is a local therapeutic recreational program that is actually a widely accepted treatment for rehabilitating various disabilities, including ASD/Asperger’s Syndrome. Adapted horse riding skills are taught to the child by NARHA certified instructors. Physical, cognitive, and emotional therapy are all encompassed in this recreational program.

Easter Seals Respite and Recreation
Easter Seals is a disability service that combines the help from therapists, specialists, parents, and more to provide children and adults with disabilities with fun activities and services. It provides “occupational therapy, physical therapy, speech/language therapy, and specialize instruction” as well as different community based activities for the children to participate in. For example, the group recently took participating children to spend a fun day at the Air and Space Museum in DC.

Camp Akeela
The days of this camp are structured so that they have a predictability which is comforting to children with Asperger's Syndrome. The majority of their camper's are diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome so it is created around those disability specific needs. It is a fun camp that includes outdoor activities that will keep the children active, as well as indoor activities such as art, cooking, dance, etc.It offers a winter camp in PA for children with special needs, usually Asperger's Syndrome.

Camp Koski
This is a camp for children with autism and related disorders located in Baltimore County. Camp days are 5 hours long and are coordinated with Baltimore County Public School’s extended school year hours so that students who need to can attend both. Each child has their own, trained “buddy” for the entire week. The camp has fun activities for the children to do and promotes social relationships. The camp has a crew of specialists for a variety of needs. They also have a “Sensory Barn” which contains a variety of sensory activities (like therapy swings) for the children to interact with, which is great for children with ASD.

Funding/Legal Advocay

National Education Association
The National Education Association website provides information on legal issues concerning special education. It describes various bills and laws objectively, as well as provides their own separate subjective view. For each legal issue they also provide a section describing what other comments are being made concerning that specific issue, news concerning the issue, and a "Take Action" section. The "Take Action" sections give readers an opportunity to be a legal advocate and do something in order to promote a positive change to that legal issue.

Autism Social Security Benefits
This website describes and explains the benefits that can be given to people with autism. There are Federal programs providing monetary assistance to those who need it, including people with disabilities. Two of these programs are the The Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) disability programs. This website defines these programs and explains the criteria necessary to receive the monthly checks that these programs provide. It also explains how to apply for these programs.

Maryland Disability Law Center
This center ensures that the rights of people with disabilities are always adhered to and respected. Their website provides information on legal services and rights for people with disabilities as well as ways that the community can help be advocates as well.

Aspires
This provides a list of Asperger's Syndrome Advocates as well as legal counselors for people in need of legal assistance considering funding for their child with disabilities or other legal issues concerning Asperger's Syndrome.

Writghs Law
Along with information about Asperger's Syndrome, this website provides explanations of laws concerning or affecting children with Asperger's Syndrome. It provides links to the actual laws as well as brief descriptions of what the legal decision has to do with children with Asperger's Syndrome/how it impacts them.
Watch Dean's progression as he grows with Asperger's Syndrome: