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Pediatric Therapy Options for Asperger’s Syndrome  

Jul 05th, 2020 | by Geoffrey Chein, PT, DPT
Geoffrey Chein, PT, DPT

Geoffrey Chein, PT, DPT

July 05th, 2020

Therapy for Aspergers

What is Asperger syndrome (AS)? It’s a developmental disorder characterized by having more difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, along with repetitive and restricted patterns of behavior and interests. Nonverbal communication could be anything that is expressed through gestures, facial expressions, tone of voice, eye contact, body language, posture, and so on.

At a milder end of the autism spectrum disorder, individuals with Asperger syndrome have relatively normal language and intelligence. In some cases, physical clumsiness and unusual use of language could also be seen with Asperger syndrome. 

Social interaction skills are a big challenge for kids with Asperger syndrome. Listed below are some Asperger therapy options to help children overcome struggles they may face.

1. Developmental, Play & Relationship-Based Intervention 

The parent or caregiver plays a key role in this type of intervention. Positive engagement is highly recommended while facilitating positive playful interactions, which contributes to developing social and emotional growth.

2. Social Skills Training / Social Participation Interventions  

This type of training helps kids with Aspergers to establish positive peer relationships, promoting peer acceptance and friendship development, and hence facilitating successful interaction and adaptation within the social context.  

 

3. Mindfulness-Based Approaches  

Paying attention in a particular way: on purpose, in the present moment and non judgmentally such as mediation, breathing exercise, yoga, and progressive muscle relaxation can help reduce stress levels and regulate emotions.   

4. Cognitive-Behavioral Approaches  

The cognitive-behavioral approach focuses on changing underlying thoughts and/or feelings in order to change behavior. This approach encourages behavioral regulation and emotional regulation, which improves social skills. Some widely used techniques include:

  • Self-talk
  • Replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts
  • Rehashing further situations
  • Identifying current state of emotions using blue/yellow/green/red zone
  • Grading exposure to increasingly difficult situations.  

5. Exercise & Movement Interventions

Forming a small group with fun activities could help improve social skills. Focus on reciprocal play encourages initiation and creativity skills through exposure of different exercises. Some fun interactive exercises include:

  • Twister games
  • fitness decks
  • Catching balls 
  • Jumping jacks 

In addition to helping strengthen the body and improve coordination, these exercises also open up the bridge between the child and the outside world.

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About the Author

Geoffrey Chein grew up in Taiwan and always enjoyed working with kids. When he found out about NAPA Center, he immediately fell in love with the big NAPA family and was glad to find a “one stop shop” for all contemporary therapies. Outside of the clinic, he enjoys spending time with his dog and his husband, exploring different restaurants and will even travel out-of-state for a nice medium rare steak!

 

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