BAAGS - about us AND ABOUT ASPERGER SYNDROME

 

You can read below to find out all about BAAGS, or you could just download this PowerPoint presentation made in October 2014 which answers all the questions we are asked quite frequently !

 

About Us

Borders Asperger & Autism Group, commonly known as BAAGS, was first established in 1998, but re-formed and upgraded to its current status in 2004. The Group is a Scottish Registered Charity with a membership of over 75 families. The contact database for companies and persons wishing to be kept informed of the Groups’ activities is over 550.

The Group is parent-led, voluntary and highly respected and supported across the Scottish Borders geographical area, though also supports families and individuals in the Dumfries and Northumberland areas which sit on either side of the border. BAAGS is an independent charity which is recognised by the regional and national charities but not affiliated to them.

The committee of 5 have over 130 years’ experience and knowledge about Autism, Caring and the difficulties often endured by the family when living with Autism.

The aims of the Group is to offer guidance, acceptance, advocacy, information, support, friendship, training & respite to those persons involved in supporting, caring and governing a person throughout their lifetime as they learn to cope and accept living with Autism.

Who funds us ?

Our main source of funding is through memberships and donations. Scottish Borders businesses have been a great support to us by donating their services, premises and at times, monies. Membership cost is £5 per year per family/individual/professional.

The general public have proven to be extremely supportive, for example, by making donations at our store collections, by attending our concerts/shows and training vents, and organising their own fundraising events in our honour. To everyone who has donated, supported and advised - THANK YOU, we are indebted to you all.

 

What do we spend the money on ?

People with Asperger Syndrome, Austism or ASD behaviours, their families and carers.

We use money to stock our “RESOURCE LIBRARY” which consists of books, videos & DVD’s.

We also have weighted blankets, puzzle blocks, ‘bear hugs’, tactile cushions, tactile sole sensation, lap pad set, sensory toys, etc.

Our ‘Resource Library’ is updated and added to as frequently as funds allow. Members are encouraged to suggest/recommend other products which they feel could benefit the autistic person and their family/carer.

Members are able to have use of any item for and agreed period of time allowing them the opportunity to ‘try-before-you-buy’, to see if it is suitable for their needs, and to allow them time to apply for funds to purchase their own.

Specialist toys and equipment can be very expensive, often hundreds of pounds per item.

We run autism specific training workshops, seminars and conferences. Keynote speakers are people with and intensive knowledge and vast experience of living life with an ASD.

We also have expenses such as on-going publicity and promotional items i.e. brochures and booklets, basic running costs i.e. postage, stationery, ink.

ALL DONATIONS GRATEFULLY RECEIVED

 

Who needs us ?

We aim to support everyone in the Scottish Borders area, including Dumfries and Berwick-upon-Tweed, who has an interest in Asperger syndrome, Autism, and Autistic Spectrum Conditions (ASC). That may be an individual who has any of the conditions on the ‘Spectrum’, their partners, their parents, their family, friends, employers, neighbours…ANYONE and EVERYONE.

A lack of social skills means that there is high expectations from society to behave “normally” in a social setting and to be able to understand metaphors. Because people with autism/asperger syndrome/ASC can look and behave as others, (most have learned to imitate the speech and behaviour of their peers), they are expected to be in full control of their actions and understand the implications and consequences of their behaviours.

Asperger’s and Autism are life-long and cover a broad spectrum of abilities.

Misunderstandings by society can make parents feel they have ‘problem’ children as they often behave differently from others. This can result in the families feeling ostracised by their communities, which in turn can cause feelings of rejections and loneliness. BAAGS aims to offer support, friendship, advocacy and a listening ear to anyone who feels in need.

The distance involved for people to share their worries over a coffee can pose a problem. Have a child/person with Asperger syndrome/autism is a very isolating feeling, but to also live in almost isolation, for example a farmhouse with no neighbours, can be soul destroying, and the family can feel that they have no-one to turn to. BAAGS provide support for those families, people on the spectrum and anyone else with an interest in the disorder.

 

Who do I tell ?

Someone YOU trust
Partner/parents
Whoever YOU feel needs to know

 

What can you do to make me accepted ?

Recognise that I have ASPERGER SYNDROME
Read about the condition
Learn about the condition
Help with study skills (if in education)
Tolerate me and my behaviour
Give me time to adjust to what you are saying and what you are meaning
Let me control MY life.

 

What is the triad ?

Triad 1= Interaction

Might not pay attention to others.
Might appear aloof or uninterested.
Possibly have difficulty in making and keeping friendships.

Triad 2 = Communication

Not always fully understanding facial expressions or tones of voice.
Confusion over the use of ‘I’ and ‘YOU’.
Sometimes using the wrong tone of voice for the occasion.

Triad 3 = Imagination

Might not recognize how others are feeling.
Misunderstanding literal sayings such as ‘pull your socks up’.
Confusion around predicting something about to happen.

 

What are 'typical' signs ? Simplified translations.

Life- Long
But can improve with the correct support

Restricted Interests
They may become obsessive about collections/routines

Egocentric
Commonly unaware of others’ feelings

Literal interpretations
For example ‘Pull your socks up’ = likely to do just that!

Lack social etiquette
Can often appear eccentric

Hypersensitivities
Possibly extra sensitive to sounds, sights, touch, smell & taste

Motivation impairment
Perhaps unwilling to attempt new activities, or enter unfamiliar places

ASD’s are complex conditions, which affects each character individually. Whilst there will be ‘typical’ behaviours, it is very difficult to set out one criteria which ‘fits all’.

Confusion around predicting something about to happen.

 

Is this me ?

Some of these may apply to you…

A bit passionate about collections.
Need my routine to stay the same.
Need plenty of time to prepare for any changes.
Extra alert to senses such as sound, touch, sight, smell & taste.
Repeated body movements…especially when stressed or in-secure.
Different sleep pattern than most people.

 

Factsheet

Definition of Asperger Syndrome

DEVELOPMENTAL – affecting social and communication.
LIFE-LONG
WIDE RANGING – Some people have learning difficulties while others are average or above intelligence.
CONCRETE MISINTERPRETATIONS – What does ‘pull your socks up’ mean?
RESTRICTED INTERESTS

Asperger Syndrom is NOT

A PSYCHIATRIC ILLNESS
SCHIZOPHRENIA
CLASS DISORDER
CAUSED BY BAD PARENTING
CURABLE

Diagnostic Criteria

SOCIALLY AND EMOTIONALLY INAPPORPRIATE BEHAVIOUR
LACK OF APPRECIATION OF SOCIAL CUES
INABILITY TO INTERACT WITH PEERS
NARROW INTERESTS
IMPOSITION OF ROUTINES AND INTERESTS
FALSE PERFECT CONVERSATION
FORMAL PEDANTIC LANGUAGE IMPAIRMENT OF COMPREHENSION – misinterpretations of literal/implied meanings
CLUMSY/GAUCHE BODY LANGUAGE
INAPPROPRIATE EXPRESSION
PECULIAR, STIFF GAZE

Helpful signs

ABNORMAL EYE CONTACT – either avoidance or prolongued intense gaze
VERY EGOCENTRIC
LITERAL INTERPRETATIONS
CONSISTENT UNAWARENESS OF NON-VERBAL FEEDBACK – including consequences of actions
POOR CAPACITY TO UNDERSTAND FACIAL EXPRESSION, GESTURE, TONE OR BODY LANGUAGE
INAPPROPRIATE LAUGHING OR GIGGLING

How to help

All people have their own personality, which affects their reactions to their disabilities.
Each person is and individual, and should be treated as such.
Communicate by using factual language and avoid abstract terms.
Support verbal information with visual information.
Give extra time to allow questions to be answered.
Be aware that eye contact is sometimes difficult.
Consult the parents’.
Listen to the paretnts’.
Intentions must be clear at all times.
Use the person’s name to gain attention.

Adolescence

This is the period which causes the most turmoil, bringing the development of sexual partnerships.
The transition from structured school to the much less structured world of higher education or work. All too often this is the point where things start to go wrong.

What can trigger agitated behaviour?

Any unexpected change to routine
Change of smell
Delay to normal daily events
Loud high pitched noises
Feeling threatened
Too much noise
Too much visual stimulation
Feeling confused in surroundings
Inability to explain exactly what he/she means

Responses and behaviours that is typical of persons with asperger syndrome which often result in very serious legal situations for them when the behaviours are not recognized in their full context.

An inordinate desire to please authority figure
The inability to abstract from concrete thought
Watching for clues from interrogators
An all too pleasant façade
Real memory gaps
Impaired judgement
An ability to understand rights, court proceedings or the punishment
Short attention span

Two particular difficulties which arise are friendships and work

In the work place the Asperger person can cope reasonable well with learning the skills and routines of the job.

Asperger people have a normal wish to make friends. Their problem in creating social relationships is the lack of ‘know-how’ of two-way social interaction.

What might prove to be a major problem is interpreting vague instructions, dealing with back chat, knowing who to confide in and how to handle leg-pulling.

 

Police encounters

We may not personally know every family in the neighbourhood but through daily observations, we know quite a surprising amount about our neighbours. General physical appearance, vehicles, clothes, work schedules, favourite sports teams, and many other facts become our common knowledge.

So, too, our behaviours and the behaviours of our loved ones become know to the neighbours around us! Interview/interrogation situations with persons with asperger syndrome have sometimes produced false confessions.

Persons with asperger syndrome can give statements which are based on how they saw events happening, not always as the events actually happened.

The behaviours and charactaristics of asperger syndrome when displayed have the potential to attract attention from the public.

Runners’ – people prone to run away whenever left briefly unattended. These people may run into traffic or through gardens.

Peeping Toms’ – people with an obsessions with animals, people or objects. While looking for their favoured objects will not obey social etiquette. Asperger people may approach or run from strangers. They may appear to be drug users due to their agitated movements.