Scented Surroundings: Sensory Overload

You are shopping with a friend and have already visited several stores he/ she enjoys when you notice your favorite store.  You take a deep breath, already enjoying the scents, and start to head into the store.  You notice your friend has stopped and doesn’t want to go in. You may feel like your friend is acting selfish. You’ve already gone into the stores he/ she picked.  More likely, your friend is experiencing a sensory overload.  It may be extremely difficult for him/her to walk through that door, after all the scents are so strong they are even wafting out of the store.

Think of your reason for shopping with your friend.  Are you there to do errands? To check things off your list? Or, more likely, are you there to spend time with each other? Understand your friend’s difficulty with that store, and come back to it another time.

Rebecca J Weaver is a Certified Autism Specialist at Independent with Autism, working to empower individuals with ASD. Need help creating your success strategies? Check out IndependentwithAutism.com for more information.

This Year I Resolve To… Making Resolutions That Stick

It’s a New Year, and people like to make resolutions.  Many people fall short on their self promises.  How can you keep with your goals this year?

  1. Write your goal down somewhere where you can see it fairly frequently to remind yourself of whaat you are working on.
  2. Break your goal down into small steps. Make each step easily achievable.  As your success builds you can take bigger steps.  If you like technology, use it to set reminders of what you’re working towards and to track your progress.
  3. Plan a time frame for each step.  If you are changing a behavior, work on each small step at least 30 days before adding more change.  Once each new habit is firmly established, then go to the next step.
  4. Celebrate each success along the way.

Happy New Year’s!

Rebecca J Weaver is a Certified Autism Specialist at Independent with Autism, working to empower individuals with ASD. Need help setting achievable goals? Check out IndependentwithAutism.com for more information.

 Communication Quick Tip

If you are making a request of someone with ASD/ Asperger’s Syndrome, state it in the positive.  Say what you want rather than what you don’t want.  For example: “Please put your clothes in the hamper” instead of “Don’t leave your clothes on the floor.”

Rebecca J Weaver is a Certified Autism Specialist at Independent with Autism, working to empower individuals with ASD. Looking for better ways to communicate? Check out IndependentwithAutism.com for more information.

7 Reasons to Employ People with ASD

  1. Dedication: People with Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome tend to be dedicated to their jobs.  Low turnover is a perk of hiring people with ASD. They are less likely to be “sick” the day after the Super Bowl, the newest Star Wars release, or even a historic World Series.
  2. A Different Perspective: People that have ASD see the world differently. As a result, they find solutions where others don’t even think to look.
  3. Quality Control: People with ASD tend to be rule followers, and will enforce your standards emphatically.
  4. Safety First: Because of their strict rule following, people that have Autism and Asperger’s have good safety records, qualifying you for great worker’s comp insurance rates.
  5. Social Compassion: Employing individuals with Autism and Asperger’s gives you a unique position.  Patrons are likely to try your brand/ work with your company for the “feel good factor,” and then stay once they realize the quality of your service/ products.
  6. Increased Management Skills: Managers with people that have ASD on their team learn to view every person as an individual, enabling creativity and helping each member of their entire team to grow.
  7. Increased Inclusiveness:  The consideration for each individual demonstrated by the managers is adopted by the team, making your workplace a pleasant one.

Rebecca J Weaver is a Certified Autism Specialist at Independent with Autism, working to empower individuals with ASD. Looking to increase the productivity of your workplace? Check out IndependentwithAutism.com for more information.

Communication Breakdown

Situation: The Bill

You are enjoying lunch with a friend.  It’s time for the check, and your friend offers to pay for your meal.  You gladly accept.  The next time the two of you go out, your friend is surprised when you want to split the bill.  What happened?

Aspie and autistic friends:  The social expectation is that when someone pays for you, the next time you should be prepared to pay for them. So the next time you go out, offer to pay for your friend’s meal.

Neurotypical friends: Your Aspie/ autistic friend may have missed the cues that it is their turn to pick up the tab.  Explain why you are feeling surprised, and decide how you both want to handle these types of situations in the future.

Understanding the Challenges of Autism Spectrum Disorder: Part 3

Sensory processing can also be challenging for people with ASD.  Individuals on the spectrum can experience a hyper sensitive response, or an under sensitive response.  Sometimes they can have a hyper sensitive response in one area and an under sensitive response in another.   The expression of sensory processing is where we see the differences in each individual. 

Here’s what it might look like: 

Hyper sensitive responses

  • You/ your friend may dislike loud noises intensely, possibly causing fear or anxiety in returning to an area where there has been loud noise in the past. 
  • You/ your friend may react poorly to fluorescent lighting, seeking to turn it off, or avoiding areas with it.
  • You/ your friend may feel sick when someone with perfume walks by, or a certain food is cooked, again leading to avoidance of the person or area associated with the smell.
  • You/ your friend may have very specific tastes in food, gagging easily.
  • You/ your friend is very particular about the types of material clothes are made from, and reluctant to touch anything sticky.

Hypo sensitive responses

  • You/ your friend may speak loudly, and create lots of noise in quiet environments.   
  • You/ your friend may enjoy watching spinning objects or flickering lights.
  • You/ your friend may sniff papers, pencils, or any number of objects for comfort.
  • You/ your friend may eat very strongly flavored foods.
  • You/ your friend may crave working with messy materials like paint and clay.

At Independent with Autism, we work people that have ASD/ Asperger’s Syndrome to evaluate environments and create a friendly one, reducing awkward and possibly dangerous situations.  Please email rebecca@independentwithautism.com or call 847-275-9413 for more information.

Understanding the Challenges of Autism Spectrum Disorder: Part 2

Another similarity is difficulty with social interactions. People with ASD tend to have difficulties reading the nonverbal and even verbal cues of a situation, and communicating their own views and intents effectively.  Again, the expression of these challenges can be unique to each individual. 

Here’s what it might look like. 

  • You/ your friend may feel nervous or unsure in social situations. 
  • You/ your friend may act in a strange manner in social situations.
  • You/ your friend may be avoided by others.
  • You/ your friend may have difficulty expressing your views and feelings, possibly misunderstood by others and then left out. 

At Independent with Autism, we work people that have ASD/ Asperger’s Syndrome to improve social communication, reducing these awkward and possibly dangerous situations.