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Monday, 28 March 2016

Repetitive Behaviour

Again!!! Iman hurts himself 

A common criteria for ADHD children is to hurt themselves, just to seek for attention!!. This week Iman starts his new behavior by scratching his face until blood comes out. His keeps on doing this again and again.

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Autism and Theory of Mind

By: Emily Rastall PhD

We often hear or read that those with autism lack “Theory of Mind” (ToM). What exactly does this mean? For the answer we went to our own Dr. Emily Rastall. Here’s what she told us.

Theory of Mind (ToM) is defined as an understanding that others have minds that are different from our own. More specifically, it is the understanding that others have thoughts, feelings and perspectives that differ from ours. In short, ToM allows us to understand and predict the behaviors of others based on what we think they might be thinking. For example, though we may not be feeling sad ourselves, we can imagine another’s perspective and empathize with someone who might be having a hard day...Read More....

The classic Theory of Mind task (called the Sally-Anne task) exemplifies this understanding that others have minds that are different from our own. In the task a child must determine what another’s response would be based on false belief. In the task, the child observes two models (Sally and Anne). One of the models (Sally) places an object in a hiding spot and then leaves. The second model (Anne) moves the object to a new hiding spot.

When Sally returns, the child must indicate where she (Sally) will look for the object. In order to respond correctly, the child must be aware that Sally did not see the object being moved and therefore has the false belief that the object is where she originally placed it. Researchers have shown that prior to four years of age, children’s responses are inconsistent, with some children showing this ability while others do not. However, between the ages of 4 and 6 years, this ability emerges and becomes consistent in typically-developing children. This “mentalizing” ability appears to be impaired in individuals with autism.

Within the context of autism spectrum disorder (ASD), deficits in ToM may be at the core of many of the behaviors associated with the disorder. For example, ToM limitations may lead to misreading or failure to read emotions, intentions, or cues from others. In addition, ToM challenges may lead to limited expression of empathy toward others. ToM deficits may also result in one approaching a social situation with assumptions that may not be accurate. Finally, reciprocity (the give-and-take, mutual benefit of a relationship) may be impacted, as a result of having challenges picking up on cues from the social environment.

ToM may help parents and others to understand the often perplexing behavior of children with ASD such as:

  • ·     Inappropriate reaction to the emotional expression of others (i.e.: laughing or not “getting it” when someone is angry or sad)
  • ·         Difficulty understanding that their behavior has an effect on others
  • ·         Assuming that what they think and feel is what others think and feel
  • ·    Difficulty with taking turns in a conversation and asking questions about the other person or allowing him or her to share what their interests are
  • ·         Difficulty understanding characters in a book or movie or engaging in pretend play
  •      As such, it’s important for family members to remember that these perplexing behaviors are not willful or intentional, but the downstream effect of challenges with TOM

Friday, 4 March 2016

Iman’s Therapy (February 23rd 2016)

Today Tajul Iman is given an opportunity by his teachers to enjoy the horse riding. They said it’s a good therapy for a hyperactive student like him. So today the whole team of special education children and teachers of  Sekolah Menengah Sura, Dungun is spending their time at Terengganu Equestarian Resort in Kuala Terengganu. Iman became the first rider this morning. Surprisingly he enjoys riding very much even though he refused to get onto the horse initially. After enjoying the horse riding therapy, I bring all my three boys to the swimming pool. Iman can swim and he really enjoys swimming very much.  


Time is going so fast since my boy was diagnosed in 2005. That time he was just 2 years old. This year 2016, my son Iman is growing up to a handsome 13 year old boy, fair skin, with the same hair style. I keep it like that because he likes to cut his own hair. So keeping it to the shortest cut will help me to cope with his behavior. My life become more challenging now. Not just me but each and every one of  us in the family. My husband is still our best mentor. Thanks God for bringing such a good “Teacher” to our family. He’s still keeping up with his “istiqomah” in patience and “Redha”.  Telling us everyday, that God knows what’s the BEST for us. Thus he send Tajul Iman  and his youngest brother Muhammad Aidil Irfan (mild Autism) to our family. Two special boys are there for us, our “Ladang Pahala”.

Not just me and my family, Tajul Iman had become another challenge to his new teachers in school, Sek Men Kebangsaan Sura, Dungun. A two kilometers secondary school from our house. It is so convenient to me, as compared to his previous primary school which is located 20 kilometers away from home.
It took him around a month for my son to fine tune with his new school environment. With the friends and teachers around him. My son is still with his tantrums in school. He pass his urine deliberately to seek for the teachers’ attention. I got to explain to the teachers about Autism and ADHD and convinced them that Tajul Iman’s behavioral problem can be control by giving him some activities he likes very much like cooking and gardening. This is because some of the teachers are not used to his behavioral problem. Autism and ADHD is such a difference with other learning disability students in school. They have some students with Down Syndrome, hearing problems and other kind of disability, still, dealing with my severe Autism and ADHD boy might be such a big challenge to them. I play my part. As a mom, I tried to reduced their “burden” and challenge by just sending him 2 to 3 times a week to school. I hired a daily maid, Kak Mah, a tough and kind hearted woman from Che Lijah, to take care of him. So far so good, she still can cope with my boy’s behavioral problem after a year with us.

To cope with his behavior, on passing urine deliberately in school, I put on ladies pad instead of adults diapers. I found him not tolerable with the adult’s diapers, maybe because the size is bigger. He shows his dismay by tearing the adult’s diapers once I put it on! The teacher complaints that he disturbs the Teaching and Learning process in school when they got to bring him to the toilet so often!  He passes his urine to show his protest to some of the teacher’s instructions or to seek for the teacher’s attention.