Wednesday, November 14, 2012

What to Do if your Child with Autism / Asperger's is Not Focusing in School by Jack Ori

On Wednesday, November 14th at 1 p.m. PST, Autism Empowerment Radio welcomes back Autism & Asperger's Life Coach, Jack Ori to talk about What to Do if your Child with ASD is not focusing in school.
We wanted to share the blog which inspired this particular show. This is a guest blog at Autism Empowerment written by Jack Ori of SJA Advocacy. This comes directly from his blog, The SJA Advocate and his reprinted with his permission.
** Please note that Jack's blog refers to "Children with Aspergers" because this is his area of specialty, however his strategies below will also work with many children on the autism spectrum. As each child with autism is different, realize that not every accommodation will work with every child. We will be discussing additional accommodations and broaden the show so that it is focused more broadly across the entire autism spectrum. **

The choice to medicate should be made only by you and your doctor
Many people with Aspergers have difficulty with focusing and concentration for a variety of reasons. Children with Aspergers may experience sensory overstimulation, become overwhelmed or frustrated with schoolwork or not be engaged enough with the material to want to focus on it. Often, parents of such children wonder whether medication would help their children focus.

The decision whether to medicate or not is a personal decision that should be made by parents with the help of their pediatrician and any specialists they see who have expertise in autistic spectrum differences. Here are some of the accommodations that may help children with Aspergers focus, with or without medication:

  • Moving the child to a quieter area of the classroom. If the child has sensory issues that are distracting him or her, a quiet corner that has less distractions can often aid in focus. Children with Aspergers may also benefit from wearing earplugs or headphones while working to block out other sounds.
  • Giving the child modified worksheets and assignments that have fewer problems or questions per page and larger type to get his or her attention.
  • Playing into the child’s obsessive interests whenever possible. For example, if a child with Aspergers is obsessed with baseball, parents or teachers can use baseball scores to teach math, read books about baseball to practice reading and look on the map to see where favorite teams are playing to practice U.S. geography. This keeps the child interested, making it more likely that he or she will focus.
  • Using a rewards chart and rewarding the child for remaining in his or her seat, focusing on work for a certain period of time or completing assignments.
  • Using a timer with large numbers to help the child know how much longer her or she is expected to focus for.
  • Working with the child one-on-one.

This is only a partial list of accommodations. Not all accommodations work with every child, but with some creativity and resourcefulness, you can figure out methods that work well with your child.

What to Do If A Teacher Recommends Medication
Unfortunately, many mainstream classrooms are overcrowded, making it difficult for teachers to give your child the one-on-one help or other accommodations he or she needs. As a result, teachers may sometimes recommend you take your child to the doctor and look into medication without considering other accommodations.

Keep in mind that most teachers are not doctors–only your pediatrician and/or autism specialist can decide whether medication is a viable option for your child. In addition, your child has the right to accommodations if he or she needs them in order to learn successfully.

If a teacher is concerned about your child’s ability to focus and suggests medication, the best thing to do is ask to observe the classroom. That way, you can see exactly what your child is doing that concerns the teacher and what the teacher is doing to try to help.

Remember that the purpose of observation is not to “catch” the teacher doing something you don’t like. Teachers and parents can and should be on the same side: helping your child succeed academically and socially. So when you observe, your goals should be to see what your child’s behaviors of concern are and to work with the teacher to improve the situation.

Be as unobtrusive as possible when you observe. Sit in the back of the room or another location that is not near your child. You want to do your best not to influence your child’s behavior. Take notes but don’t interact directly with your child or the teacher during instructional time.

After you have observed, make an appointment to talk with the teacher about what you noticed. Solicit the teacher’s opinions about what was going on in the classroom and then share your thoughts. Try to brainstorm solutions together.

It may also be a good idea to ask for an IEP meeting after you finish your observations. That way, you can discuss your thoughts with the teacher, administrators and other professionals that work with your child. You can get the accommodations you think are best put directly into the IEP and can also create a behavioral intervention plan–a part of the IEP that explains how to address problematic behaviors and what behavioral goals you hope to help your child reach.

After doing all this work, you should be in a better position to decide whether you need to pursue medication for your child to help him or her succeed. Regardless of what you decide, you’ll know exactly what your child is doing and what you want to help him or her do so that you can discuss medication more realistically with your doctor.

copyright 2012 Jack Ori - used with permission of author. Original article at:

Friday, November 2, 2012

What to Do if your Child with Asperger Syndrome is Being Bullied

On Wednesday, November 7th at Noon PST, Autism Empowerment Radio welcomes back Autism & Asperger's Life Coach, Jack Ori to talk about What to Do if your Child with Asperger Syndrome is being bullied.

You can call into the show at (602) 753-1530, listen to it live at or
We wanted to share the blog which inspired this particular show. This is a guest blog at Autism Empowerment written by Jack Ori of SJA Advocacy. This comes directly from his blog, The SJA Advocate and his reprinted with his permission.

Bullying is a widespread problem among all children. Children who are perceived as “different” such as those with Aspergers syndrome are particularly vulnerable to bullying because their differences are noticeable and they might not know the correct way to handle it. As a parent, you want to encourage as much independence as your child is capable of, but you also may need to advocate for him or her in order to put a stop to bullying.
Teach Your Child What Bullying Looks Like
One of the challenges that children with Aspergers sometimes face is that they may not know the difference between someone who is really their friend and someone who is pretending to be their friend in order to bully them. Last season an episode of Parenthood demonstrated this via a storyline where Max, who has Aspergers, was unaware that some of his classmates asked him the answers to math problems in order to laugh at him and not because they liked him. Children with Aspergers may also do things like trade dollars for coins that are worth less because they think the people asking them to do so are their friends. They may also break rules and get themselves in trouble because a bully told them to and they think that person is their friend.
The best way to handle this problem is to teach your child what bullying looks like so that he or she can more easily avoid bullies. You want to protect your child from being taken advantage of or influenced negatively. Depending on your child, you might want to role play different scenarios, read stories together or watch scenarios on television. Discuss each scenario you play, read or watch with your child. Ask your child if the bully in the scenario was the other child’s friend so that you can discuss what makes someone your friend or not.
You should also give your child some general rules to follow so that they can tell the difference between bullying behavior and friendly behavior. Many children with Aspergers have a finely tuned sense of right and wrong. Teach your child that if another child tells them to do something that they think is wrong, they shouldn’t listen. Explain that  friends don’t expect them to do things that they think are wrong or that make them feel bad.
Meet With Your Child’s Teacher
If you believe another child is bullying your child, the next line of defense after talking to your child about what to do is to meet with the child’s teacher to explain your concerns. Children with Aspergers sometimes have a hard time communicating if they are being bullied. In addition, teachers may sometimes think your child just needs to stop reacting to bullies or stop behaving in ways that attract bullying.
For all these reasons, it’s important to talk with the teacher if you have any concerns regarding bullying. Approach the conversation from the perspective that you’re concerned about the issue and want the teacher’s help rather than wanting the teacher to do something specific to resolve the problem. This leaves space for you and the teacher to come up with solutions together to help your child. If you enlist the teacher as an ally, you may be able to find a way to resolve the problem that doesn’t require a lot of parental involvement. This is important for fostering independence and avoiding the appearance that your child is a “baby” who always runs to their parent, which can lead to more bullying.
Put Things In Perspective
All bullying is wrong. There are too many stories of children who commit suicide or who lash out violently at classmates because they have been bullied. So you certainly don’t want to ignore it if your child is being bullied. At the same time, you don’t want to react to every incident the same way. Save your energy for the bigger battles–if a child is continually bullying your child after you’ve taught your child to recognize bullies and walk away, if your child is unhappy or angry because of being bullied or if another child physically attacks your child.
It’s hard to find a balance between protecting your child and letting him or her solve problems themselves. This is challenging for all parents, but it’s especially challenging for parents of children with Aspergers because sometimes it’s hard to tell whether your child fully understands what’s going on.
The best thing to do is keep lines of communication open with both your child and the school. Talk to your child about what he or she experiences in school. Encourage your child to talk about what’s happening socially as well as what’s happening in class–some children with Aspergers don’t consider social interactions important enough to tell you about. You should also check in regularly with your child’s teacher to see how things are going in general and to create a relationship with that person so that you can find out about and handle problems.
Parenting a child with Aspergers is challenging in many respects, and dealing with bullies is one of the harder ones because you want to protect your child from harm. If you practice communication with both your child and the school, it will help you resolve problems before they get out of control.
Thank you so much to our guest blogger, Jack Ori!  
Jack Ori has earned a living as a freelance author since 2009 and has written over 5,000 articles on financial, legal and self-help topics. He has a Bachelor's in Psychology from Pitzer College and a Masters in Creative Writing from USC. He draws upon personal experience as a person with autism to inspire others who are facing significant obstacles to a fulfilling life to find ways to succeed. He now also works as a Communications Coach for teenagers and families with Asperger's.
Jack is available for consultation at:

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Conflict Resolution for People with Asperger Syndrome - Jack Ori

On Thursday, September 27th at Noon PST, Autism Empowerment Radio welcomes back Jack Ori to talk about Conflict Resolution for People with Asperger Syndrome.  You can call into the show at (602) 753-1530, listen to it live at or
We wanted to share the blog which inspired this particular show. This is a guest blog at Autism Empowerment written by Jack Ori of SJA Advocacy. This comes directly from his blog, The SJA Advocate and his reprinted with his permission.
Very few people enjoy conflict, and many people aren’t really sure how to handle it appropriately. Often, we have a hard time standing up for ourselves and saying what we really feel because we don’t want other people to be angry with us, and some of us may have a hard time trusting that we can control our own anger. For those of us on the spectrum, conflict resolution is sometimes challenging because we aren’t sure what is and isn’t an appropriate thing to say or feel or don’t know how to balance our need to be honest with our need to be accepted by the people we are talking to.
As scary as conflict often is, however, it’s unavoidable sometimes. Most people–not just Aspies–have things that are very important to them, feelings that overwhelm them and beliefs they are passionate about. People are all different, and sometimes your needs and wants are going to clash with somebody else’s. If you are unable to speak up, other people may never be aware that their needs conflict with yours or that their behavior is bothering you. For this reason, it’s important to learn how to handle conflicts.

Read on for some tips about handling conflict.

Tip #1: Remember that all feelings are okay to have.
People with Aspergers and autism often get caught up in wondering if their feelings are “okay.” You may worry that you’re getting angry over something that doesn’t bother neurotypical people or that your emotional response is inappropriate. While it’s often helpful to look at the thoughts behind your emotions, all emotional states are legitimate. It doesn’t matter whether anyone else would feel angry about a situation–the fact that you do is important, and you need to honour that.
Emotions are not mandates to act in any particular manner, however. This is where it’s easy to get tripped up. Many people think that if they’re angry and feel like yelling, screaming, or shoving someone, that somehow makes it okay to do these things. It doesn’t. Allow yourself to feel angry or sad about someone else’s  behavior and then decide how you want to handle it.
Tip #2: Separate your feelings about what someone is doing from your feelings about the person.
The Aspie brain often sees things in black and white. This can make it difficult to judge situations or to navigate relationships. Many people with Aspergers or autism think that if they’re angry or disappointed with someone, they can no longer love that person. They seek to suppress feelings of anger because they think that if they become angry at someone, they can no longer have a relationship with them. Similarly, they may be afraid that if someone is angry with them, the relationship is over.
It does not have to be this way. Instead of idolizing some people and demonizing others, try your best to look at people just as people. Everybody has some qualities you like and some you don’t. If, on balance, you like more of someone’s qualities than you don’t, that person is someone you want to keep in your life.

Tip #3: Stretch your empathy muscles before you begin to approach a conflict.
It’s easy to take everything personally, especially because looking at things from other people’s perspectives may not be natural for you. Once you’ve acknowledged your feelings to yourself and processed them a little, the next step is to try to see the situation from the other person’s point of view. This is important for a couple of reasons.

  • Sometimes empathy helps turn down the intensity of your feelings. You may be furious at someone’s behavior and not be able to think clearly, but if you can see it from the other person’s perspective, it may help tone down your anger. For example, if you are furious that someone didn’t return your phone call, using your empathy muscles may help you see that the other person is especially busy or stressed right now. You still may be angry, but you won’t be so angry that you can’t deal with the problem.
  • Empathy can help the other person hear you once you address the conflict. Nobody likes to hear that they are all wrong or that they need to change. Those kinds of attitudes put people on the defensive. If you can come from a place of understanding the other person’s point of view, it makes it easier for him or her to hear what you have to say.
  • Empathy can stop you from making assumptions. Very often, we assume that people are doing thingsto us or to bother us when in reality the other person wasn’t thinking about us at all! If we can look empathetically at someone else’s behavior, we can see that the behavior might not be about us at all and are less likely to accuse the person of something or act as if he or she is attacking us personally.

Tip #4: Walk away if you need to calm down.
For many of us on the spectrum, the uncertainty of an unresolved conflict provokes extreme anxiety and even panic. We want to work through conflicts immediately so that we know where we stand with people. However, this approach often doesn’t work. If your emotions are too high or too intense, you won’t be able to take all the steps you need to take in order to successfully resolve the conflict.
Don’t be afraid to walk away. Walking away doesn’t mean that you are giving up on the relationship with the person or giving in. It means you are taking the time necessary to come to a successful resolution. If you are worried that someone else’s feelings may be hurt by your desire to walk away, you can let him or her know that you’re doing this to help the relationship. For example, you might say, “I’m getting really wound up. I don’t want to attack you with my words. I’m going to go calm down and we can talk about this later.”

Tip #5: Remember to listen, not just talk.
Listening fully to the other person is important to all types of communication. It’s especially important in conflict resolution because emotions run high and both people have a need to be heard in order to be able to resolve the conflict. So when the other person is talking about his or her emotions, it’s important to:

  1. Make eye contact for 2-3 seconds at a time so that the other person knows you are interested and listening.
  2. Nod or say “okay” or “mm hmm” after the person makes a point to show you have heard.
  3. Summarize what the other person has said when he or she finishes speaking.
Doing these things shows you are listening. In addition, you should pay attention to what the other person says. Do not focus on what you are going to say next while the other person is talking. When the other person is finished and you have summarized what he or she said, then wait a second to see if the person is going to say something else. If the other person is finished speaking, then you can begin to say what you want to say.

Tip #6: Try to see the other person as on the same “side.”
Many people–both those with Aspergers/autism and those without–see conflict as a competition where one person wins. This attitude is counter-productive because it keeps you and the other person fighting. Instead, look at the conflict as a challenge to overcome. You and the other person have needs, feelings or desires that conflict. The challenge is to find a solution that benefits both of you.
Using your listening skills helps dissipate this competitive attitude because when you listen to the other person, you give up being “right” in favour of understanding what the other person’s needs are.
Once you both have communicated your side of the conflict, it’s time to work on finding a solution. It’s helpful to use a dry erase board or a pad of paper and brainstorm solutions. During the brainstorming process, don’t reject any idea as “wrong.” Write down all ideas and the use your listening skills as well as your speaking skills to determine what solution might work best for both of you.
Conflict is hard for everybody. There’s no exact formula for resolving conflicts like there might be for math or science problems. However, if you follow the advice above, you have a much better chance of resolving conflicts in a way that boosts everybody’s self-esteem. Don’t expect yourself to be perfect at this, especially when you’re first beginning; just do the best you can to approach conflicts in a mature, open-minded manner and you will find that you get more of what you want and have less stress when conflicts occur.
Thank you so much to our guest blogger, Jack Ori!  
Jack Ori has earned a living as a freelance author since 2009 and has written over 5,000 articles on financial, legal and self-help topics. He has a Bachelor's in Psychology from Pitzer College and a Masters in Creative Writing from USC. He draws upon personal experience as a person with autism to inspire others who are facing significant obstacles to a fulfilling life to find ways to succeed.
Jack is available for consultation at:

Friday, September 14, 2012

Autism Empowerment Radio's 1st 15 shows!

Hello Autism Empowerment Radio fans! 

We are excited to say that ball is really starting to roll with Autism Empowerment Radio. We just completed our 15th show earlier today and have really had a wide variety of fascinating, brilliant and charming guests.

Colin Brennan and Justin Hines - Listen to Colin perform on our 9/14/12 show!

In case you missed any of our first 15 shows, all of the shows we broadcast are available to listen to in archive at any time for FREE. This provides a great opportunity for you to share favorite broadcasts with friends, family and your social network.

You can also find all Autism Empowerment Radio and Autism and Scouting Radio shows at iTunes. Subscribe for FREE, download for FREE and please spread the word so we can attract more listeners and provide more great content.

We provide links below for each broadcast as well as details about that broadcast and a link to any blog posts we made about that broadcast. All programs are 30 minutes in length unless indicated otherwise.

Here are our first 15 shows from 
Autism Empowerment Radio 

June 14th, 2012 - Welcome to Autism Empowerment Radio 

June 30th, 2012 - Interview: Brian Tashima - Secret of the Songshell Author 
Featured Blog Interview with Brian Tashima

July 5th, 2012 - Autism Empowerment's Autism and Scouting Program overview 
July 6th, 2012 - Snippets from the Spectrum: This is What Autism Sounds Like 
July 19th, 2012 - Jennifer Cook O'Toole Interview: Aspie Mom, Asperkids Author
July 26th, 2012 - Jennifer Cook O'Toole: Special Interests, The Way In To Asperkids
August 2nd, 2012 - Jennifer Cook O'Toole: A Collection of Strategies for Asperkids
August 3rd, 2012 - Dr. Liane Holliday Willey - Safety Skills for Asperger Women - How To Save A Perfectly Good Female Life
August 7th, 2012 - Sequel Interview - Brian Tashima - Musican, Dad, Secret of the Songshell Author 
August 8th, 2012 - Michaelbrent Collings Interview - The Meridians Author (fiction thriller featuring a boy on the autism spectrum)
August 22nd, 2012 - Snippets from the Spectrum: TigerCub Ryan, his Carnival Cruise & Maps
August 23rd, 2012 - Jennifer Cook O'Toole - Back To School and Social Rules
August 24th, 2012 - Karen Krejcha hosts a special Autism Empowerment broadcasts, Ladies / Girls with Autism / Asperger Syndrome - You Are Not Alone
September 12th, 2012 - Jack Ori - Entrepreneurship, Freelancing and Employment for Individual with Autism / Asperger's
September 14th, 2012 - Colin Brennan - Autism & Music - Amazing 10 year old Autistic Singer (sings I'm Just Different from the musical, "Honk")

Our next show will be with Erika Schron on Tuesday, September 18th at 1 p.m. PST talking about Homeschooling for Children with Autism, Asperger Syndrome and other Special Needs.

Karen with Autism Empowerment Radio talks about Homeschooling Special Needs children with educator, scouter, entrepreneur and dedicated mom, Erika Schron. Erika has been homeschooling her 3 boys with special & gifted needs since 1997. 
During her family’s many years of homeschooling and their journey with multiple neuro-developmental difficulties, Erika enjoys sharing her experiences through many different educational methods, curricula, therapies and research.
In 1999, Erika began advocating, consulting, writing & speaking about Homeschooling Special Needs children with a focus on the Autistic Spectrum and Sensory Processing Disorder by starting Journey of Learning Academy.  Erika also breeds and trains Chiweenie service dogs and will be coming back on Tuesday, September 25th at 1 p.m. to talk about Service Dogs for Children with Autism / ASD

Thank you so much for tuning in!  We appreciate your support!

Karen at Autism Empowerment and Autism Empowerment Radio

Friday, August 24, 2012

Radio Show for Ladies & Girls with Autism or Asperger Syndrome

Ladies, listen in! 

Radio Host Karen with Autism Empowerment Radio shares about Autism Empowerment, the Autistic Sisterhood and one of her recent blog entries written specifically for females with autism and Asperger's and the loved ones who support them.

Karen doesn't want listeners to get hung up on labels or self-identification. So whether you consider yourself a gal with Asperger's or Autism, an Aspergirl, autistic, Aspie, autie or whatever term you find most applicable or personally appealing, be sure to tune in. If you're not on the spectrum yourself but are related to a woman or girl who is, listen in.  Even if you're a guy curious what Karen has to say, you're welcome too!

This radio show episode is meant to be loving and inspirational and to let you know that you are not alone in navigating the road less traveled on the autism spectrum.
Karen is the Executive Director of Autism Empowerment, a 501(c)(3) non-profit. She is also an Aspie, a mom to two sons who have been diagnosed with autism and Asperger's respectively and she was recently honored in New York City in May with the 2012 GRASP (Global and Regional Asperger Syndrome Partnership) Distingued Spectrumite Medal.
Karen is a former touring professional bowler with the Ladies Pro Bowlers Tour, having been nominated for both the Robby Sportsmanship award as well as the Rookie of the Year Awards. She is also an online retail businesswoman with over 13 years experience in sales and marketing and an eBay PowerSeller with over 20,000 positive feedbacks.
She co-founded Autism Empowerment in June of 2011 with her husband John and shortly thereafter coined the four foundational pillars of the organization, Accept, Enrich, Inspire and Empower. 
She appreciates neurodiversity and believes in promoting Acceptance, Enrichment, Inspiration and Empowerment for all those within the Autism and Asperger communities. 

Listen to internet radio with Autism Empowerment Radio on Blog Talk Radio

Please let us know what you think!

Monday, August 6, 2012

2 Fiction Writers on Autism Empowerment Radio this week!

Hello Autism Empowerment Radio Fans,

We have two fantastic interviews for you this week.

Tuesday, August 7th from 8:00 - 8:30 p.m. PST. - Brian Tashima: Dad, Musician, Secret of the Songshell Author

Special guest Brian Tashima returns to Autism Empowerment Radio and shares what has been happening since the recent release of his YA Science Fiction / Fantasy book, Secret of the Songshell. We’ll explore Brian’s love for music (he sings and plays guitar in 3 bands), his passion for writing and his dedication to parenting.

We also talk more about Secret of the Songshell, a book written to provide kids on the autism spectrum with a fictional hero that they can call their own - a character that saves the day with his special qualities, not despite them.
Sure to be a great interview!

Wednesday, August 8th from 2:30 - 3:00 p.m. PST. - Interview with Michaelbrent Collings: Author of The Meridians

THRILLING interview alert! Karen with Autism Empowerment Radio will be chatting with Michaelbrent Collings, author of The Meridians, a horror / suspense novel featuring a young boy on the autism spectrum.
Michaelbrent Collings is a novelist and screenwriter. He has written numerous bestsellers, including Apparition, The Haunted, Rising Fears, and the #1 horror and sci-fi novel RUN. He also writes YA fiction, including the bestselling Billy: Messenger of Powers.
He hopes someday to develop superpowers, or, if that is out of the question, then at least to get a cool robot arm.
Michaelbrent has a wife and several kids, all of whom are much better looking than he is (though he admits that's a low bar to set), and also cooler than he is.
Michaelbrent also has a Facebook page at
MichaelbrentCollings and can be followed on twitter through his username @mbcollings. Follow him for cool news, updates, and advance notice of sales. You will also be kept safe when the Glorious Revolution begins! 

Upcoming Broadcasts for Autism and Scouting Radio:
Live Call-In: (347) 855-8132 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Jennifer Cook O'Toole - A Collection of Strategies for Asperkids

Hello Autism Empowerment Radio Friends!

I am thrilled to announce that we have another interview with Jennifer Cook O'Toole this week. She will be talking about a Collection of Strategies for Asperkids (& their parents & teachers).

The show will be on Thursday, August 2nd from 2:00 - 2:30 p.m. PST / 5:00 - 5:30 p.m. EST

Listen live online at the above link or call in by phone at (602) 753-1530. You can also listen On-Demand after the broadcast is complete.

If you have not had a chance yet to hear our two previous interviews with Jennifer (different topics), please check them out. Here are links to our other two recent Autism Empowerment Radio interviews with Jennifer. All our available to listen to on-demand and are 30 minutes each.

Jennifer O'Toole - Special Interests, The Way In To Asperkids 

Jennifer O'Toole Interview - Aspie Mom, Asperkids Author - 

Call in or tune in to learn strategies about how to effectively teach children and teens with Asperger Syndrome as Karen with Autism Empowerment Radio brings back recurring guest and award-winning teacher, parent, author, Aspie and Mom, Jennifer Cook O'Toole.  Jennifer will be talking about her different Asperkids series books and strategy tools.

Jennifer Cook O'Toole is the winner of the 2012 Temple Grandin Award, GRASP's 2012 DSM Medal, is an Expert Columnist for Modern Parent Magazine and was nominated for Disney's American Teacher of the Year. Asperkids, Jennifer's first book was recently named "One of the Top 12 Books to Read if a Loved One is Diagnosed with ASD" by Autism Asperger Digest.

Author. Advocate. Aspie. Mom.