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Holiday Tips for Families With Asperger’s Syndrome Children

Brian Tashima, author of "Secret of the Songshell"--a finalist for a 2012 USA Best Books Award that features a Teen with Asperger’s Syndrome who has superpowers--offers tips for helping families support children with Asperger’s Syndrome.


Children and teens with Asperger’s Syndrome often face challenges during the busy holiday season because they grapple with social and sensory sensitivities. But if parents are aware of their children’s challenges, they can help ensure their children thrive over the holidays.
That’s the word from Brian Tashima, author of  “Secret of the Songshell” (, which recently was a finalist for the 2012 USA Best Books Award in the fantasy  category. Tashima wrote the book for his 14-year-old son, who has Asperger’s Syndrome.  He created an Asperger’s hero with superpowers to inspire other Asperger’s children and to educate the public about their positive qualities.
"The key for parents is that, despite all the distractions that the season can bring, they remain aware of their children’s social and sensory issues and make the extra effort to accommodate them when necessary,” says Tashima, who also is a musician who won Hawaii’s version of a Grammy award.
Children with Asperger’s syndrome, which is a form of autism, generally have social and communication deficits, according to the National Institute of Health. About 1 in 88 children at age 8 will have some form of autism spectrum disorder, NIH says. Boys are four times more likely to have Asperger’s syndrome, says NIH.
Tashima ( offers these tips to help families support children with Asperger’s Syndrome over the holidays:
·      Be sensitive to sensory issues. For some kids on the autism spectrum, the extra sensory input that comes with the holiday season can be overwhelming.
·      If you’re going to be in a new place (friends’ homes, for example), let your friends know ahead of time what to expect.  Tell them that your child may possibly show limited engagement and sensitivities to loud music and sounds. Ask if there’s a quiet place for your child if he or she becomes overwhelmed.
·      If you are in a location other than your home, bring something comforting for your child, like a favorite book or a computer with a favorite game.
·      Don’t pressure your child to interact with guests or relatives. Sometimes, during get-togethers, Tashima’s son will hide in a room and work on a computer game that he’s been designing. If your kids want to do something similar, allow them. Explain the situation to others so that they don’t think your child is being rude.
·      Announce plans well in advance so that your children know what to expect. Don’t spring last-minute surprises on them like “Okay, we’re going to your uncle’s house in fifteen minutes!” Once you make a plan, stick to it.
To learn more about Tashima and his book, visit



 Asperger’s Syndrome book
 Secret of the Songshell
 Brian Tashima
 Special Education
 Autism Spectrum book

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