Name Changes – Autism & Aspergers What’s a Spectrum?

I recently connected with a couple of awesome FB groups for parents of kids with Asperger’s. I began to wonder about why Asperger’s was still being used in the online community (in 2017), since its removal from the DSM-5 in 2013? Here’s what I’ve discovered.

Many parents have heard the name “autism” before. But “spectrum” and “autism spectrum” may be unfamiliar. Specialists, doctors and teachers now use the term “autism spectrum disorder” when years ago we just used “autism”. By considering autism and its symptoms on a continuum from severe to mild, we recognize a wide range of abilities and disabilities. We see people who are severely affected by the disorder, others who have very mild symptoms, as well as those in-between. Classic autism (like the title character in the 1988 movie Rainman) has in the past been called Kanner’s autism. Milder forms of the disorder may be referred to as Asperger syndrome. Both names are from the doctors who first described these conditions. Autism spectrum now includes severe and mild forms and all those in-between. You may also hear specialists refer to children as being “on the spectrum”.

The term Aspergers was used from 1994 – 2013. It was removed with the publication of the DSM-5 in 2013 (the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual, a handbook used in the U.S. and worldwide, as the authoritative guide to the diagnosis of mental disorders). Those previously diagnosed with Aspergers could keep their diagnosis, and new diagnoses would have to be either “Autism Spectrum Disorder” or “Social Communication Disorder”. Autism got divided into:

Level 1 – Requiring Support

Level 2 – Requiring Substantial Support

Level 3 – Requiring Very Substantial Support

My son got an Aspergers diagnosis in 2006, in grade school, and he needed documentation in 2014, in college, so his doctor signed his paperwork “Autism Spectrum Disorder”. I assumed everyone made the same change. I was wrong.

While some parents had no trouble with the change, and used the term “autism spectrum”, many parents are still hanging on to the label “Aspergers”. There were a number of reasons for this. Some parents don’t use the autism label because others see how high-functioning their child is, and are skeptical and may argue about the diagnosis. Other parents felt the need to say “high-functioning” when they talk about their child’s diagnosis to differentiate it from classic autism. A number of parents said they felt the term Aspergers was understood better and more quickly. A few parents still call it Aspergers because their child never had speech or developmental delays. One parent noted she calls it autism and then “Aspergers type” because the general public does not know about the DSM-5 change.

The autism spectrum is so broad, ranging from non-verbal individuals, to folks like my son who pass for neurotypical. But more than that, there are other families like mine, still dealing with the trials and triumphs of Aspergers even though it’s not called that anymore.

I feel very much at home with these families!  Thank you all!


The Most Important Goals of Accent Neutralization

What are the most important goals for an accent neutralization program?

You might think the sounds of English are the most important goals to work on. But what many don’t realise is there are additional features of English that may be more helpful to focus on. These features include word stress and sentence stress, rhythm, intonation and linking words.

The wrong stress on a word may confuse your listener. Percent sounds like person with the stress on the wrong syllable.

Wrong sentence stress or wrong intonation can confuse your listener, and he may think you’re asking a question, or you’re not finished talking yet, if your intonation goes up instead of down.

Not linking sounds in words and between words. If you ask for a Die Et Coke, will they understand you want diet coke?  Learn to link inside and between words. (diyet coke)

Sounds of English are important to learn (bag and beg are not the same), and other features of english are valuable to learn too.

Having another person listen and point out your errors is a good first step to pronouncing English clearly. A teacher who provides feedback and sets goals for learning is the next best step. Be sure to learn these other features of English along with learning sounds.


Announcing my Kindle ebook “Raising an Amazing Child with Autism”

Raising an Amazing Child with Autism ebook coverI’m proud to announce the publishing of my ebook with Kindle Direct Publishing, on Amazon. I wrote this book to share my stories and advice on raising my son diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, a type of high-functioning autism. As the parent of a child with special needs, I laughed and cried and felt a kinship with parents who told their stories. Having a special-needs child is an emotional roller coaster. You must give up your pre-conceived dreams of who your child will be, and learn to set new goals for them, for yourself and for your family. You will experience great pride, and heart-felt devastation. You may feel alone, shunned by friends, and classroom parents who won’t understand. Your child may be bullied, and left out of play dates and playground games. But your journey can be exhilarating and satisfying too. If you’re lucky, you’ll find others who love and accept your child, and understand your experience. You may find your child has strengths and talents you never imagined. You life will be enriched by the experiences in store for you. I hope these stories and ideas encourage you when raising your amazing child with autism!

Raising an Amazing Child with Autism, Stories & Advice from an SLP Mom was published this week by Kindle for e-readers. Stop by the Kindle store and read a few free pages from the start of my book. You don’t need a Kindle device to read ebooks. Kindle has a free app download for your laptop computer, so you can read Kindle ebooks on any Mac, PC, Tablet or phone!

The collection of 39 stories of our son, and our family, focus on:

  • Therapy Tips & Ideas
  • Diagnosis
  • School & Advocacy
  • Family & Personal Life
  • Adolescence & Beyond

I’m hoping this ebook will make a difference for some families today in need of a trusted parent & friend’s advice on raising a child with autism. My Kindle ebook Raising an Amazing Child with Autism, Stories & Advice from an SLP Mom is $4.99 on Kindle.

All stories in my book were previously published on my blog.

Final Stops – Linking to fix the added Schwa Sound

Pronouncing Final Stops English ESL San Jose CAWhen we say these at the beginning of a word, we fully pronounce the stop sound with an explosion of air.

Think of the beginning sound for ten, beam or give.

But when a stop sound is at the end of a word, we reduce the sound.  The explosion of air is very quiet or absent.

When saying a stop sound at the end of a word, like the d in “good morning“, be sure to make the d reduced, and don’t make an explosion of air.  If you do, it will sound like “goodah morning”. (Do you hear that added Schwa sound?) Instead try to take the d off “good” and LINK it to “morning“.  Make it sound more like “goo  dmorning“.  Then you’ll be using American English pronunciation.

Here’s a free printable to practice final stop sounds correctly in phrases and sentences.

Reposted from  Original post was August 15, 2015.