HELP FOR PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH ASPERGER'S & HIGH-FUNCTIONING AUTISM

Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders

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Aspergers and Medication

"Are there any medications on the market to treat a child Asperger's Syndrome? If so, which ones have had the greatest benefit to those with the disorder?"

Because there is no identifiable biochemical problem in Aspergers Syndrome or High-Functioning Autism, and because many researchers believe the syndrome is a result of fundamental changes in the brain structure, medications will probably never treat or cure it. On the other hand, there are several medications that have been found to control some of the symptoms of Aspergers Syndrome or the comorbidities found with the condition.

A medication called atomoxetine has been found to improve some of the aspects of Aspergers Syndrome that mimic those of attention deficit disorder. Several studies have used the drug to reduce symptoms of irritability, social withdrawal and repetitive speech seen in this disorder.

Medications normally directed toward treating obsessive compulsive disorder have been tried in children with Aspergers Syndrome who have shown obsessive and compulsive tendencies. While the medication doesn’t treat some of the core symptoms of Aspergers Syndrome, it has been shown to improve OCD symptoms.

Antidepressants can be attempted in those Aspergers individuals who suffer from secondary depression. The depression isn’t generally a part of the Aspergers Syndrome itself, but is found as a result of some of the distressing life circumstances often found in Aspergers Syndrome. Many of these children and teens know that they do not fit in with others, and while some prefer social isolation, others lament their lack of ability to get comfortable dealing with others. This and other issues of self-esteem, etc., can lead to depression, which is often manageable with antidepressant medication.

Finally, people with Aspergers Syndrome often suffer from debilitating insomnia. While it’s best to use non-drug ways of controlling the symptoms, some people can make use of sleeping medication that doesn’t have to be addicting. Sometimes a short course of sleeping medication can get the individual back into a regular sleeping pattern.

Medications directed at anxiety may be necessary when the person with Aspergers suffers from nervousness or irritability surrounding their life situations. "Aspies" can become quite distressed by things not being the same or as expected, and anti-anxiety medication can help with this.

In truth, there is no single medication or class of medications that works to treat many of the core symptoms of Aspergers Syndrome. Some of the secondary or related symptoms can be effectively managed, however, with certain psychotropic medications.



Best comment:

Medication will help in very specific ways. Medication helps in reducing panic attacks, anxiety and aggression and explosive behavior. AS kids have restricted interests by definition of the disorder. They focus in on details on whatever it is they are talking about. Even with medication. But it helps to have the medication reduce some the stress. A good book to refer to for doses for AS kids is "Clinical Treatment of Autism" by Dr. Eric Hollander (From Mt. Sinai Autism Center) For example, AS kids start at low doses of Zoloft (25mg up to 50mg) or Prozac (10mg up to 20mg).

What else is needed is a different approach. Many activities need to be rehearsed in very small steps over years of exposures. And with a positive reinforcement plan. I have found Yale University Parent and Child Conduct Clinic very helpful. I have been trained by them on the phone over the last two years.

Here are some strategies:

1) Avoid stores with him until you can work on a behavior plan with him on this. When you have time, he needs to be taught to shop from a list, stick to a budget, ignore items he sees that are not on the list and that shopping is a reward to be earned by doing both. Tagging along with parents shopping is going to be irritating to him for a long time in the future.

2) Only pair him up with kids that are younger or not challenging personalities. Make the social activity predictable (movie, with defined snacks), or (park and a drink and chips we bring with) or (bowling 2 games and a snack and drink). Rehearse the social activity. And praise all positive behavior. Often as they get older, they will start to be able to be more flexible with peers.

3) Practice talking at meals about pleasant things that others are interested in. Don't allow dinners to be all special interests all the time. Practice at some meals taking an interest in the parent’s interests or other members of the family. This is a skill that takes time to develop. If he was shut out of conversation all day at school, then dinner may be his time to talk about his interests. It may have to wait until a less stressful time of the year to practice this skill.

3) Church is going to be difficult. All those people and the noise from all directions. It is an irritating place for many AS kids. My daughter goes to Sunday school (and I have taught the class for 8 years) not church services (except for Christmas and Easter when there is lots of music and we attend the children's mass).

I think parent's need support from a behaviorist. Parents of typical kids and teachers will not understand that these kids need very small steps and exposures to life in general.

Teachers and school staff will push too hard, it is only a certified behaviorist of autistic kids that understand behavior shaping is a slow process of gradual change with positive supports.

A better day for your son would be:

1) Lunch at his favorite place with you only. Agree on your limits ahead of time. The less limits the less irritated he will be. So pick an affordable place with food choices that you approve of.

Practice menu choices. Without a fight. Practice budget. When he can go to the lunch place without a meltdown over menu choices he is ready for your boyfriend to be there and then his son.

The goal of this exercise is to have a positive social experience. Don't expect to go to a busy noisy rushed place at lunch on Saturday with a group of people and expect him to be well behaved. It all has to be rehearsed and practiced.

2) Find him a church setting where there is very small Sunday school groups for kids his age. Let the teacher know he needs support and understanding.

3) Melatonin tablets are very helpful for relaxing AS kids at bedtime. This really works. The Mayo Clinic recommends them an hour before bedtime. I forgot the dose I use for my daughter, look at the Mayo Clinic web site on Asperger kids and medications. It has made a huge difference for my daughter. She use to get very anxious and had a busy mind at bedtime. Now she is asleep within an hour.

4) Follow this plan: One outing a day, one place, and allow 1 hour or more. Don't rush him to leave. Give him a warning. Offer a small reward if he leaves calmly when it is time.

There is so much to share about parenting an AS child. This is a rushed summary, and I am rushing through the details. But it is meant to give you an idea of the strategies that work. You will find a behaviorist very helpful. Yale was affordable for me. $75 for 45 min and I did get some money from insurance back. 


 More comments:

•    Anonymous said...  1. It's not a 'disorder' 2. No there is no suitable medication 3. Start finding ways to ease the anxieties, not turn children into Zombies with drugs. Rant over
•    Anonymous said...  Allison, My almost 12yr old grandson has been on Risperdol since he was 3. He has had no side effects other than weight gain which is under control with diet. His parents did take him off one summer & everyone, including our Aspie, was miserable due to daily meltdowns. Monitor closely but don't let peers pressure you to DC meds for no good reason.
•    Anonymous said...  Catapres nightly to assist sleep (age 7)
•    Anonymous said...  Dietary changes, ABA & OT therapy, and counseling have all been beneficial for our son/family. Our son no longer does OT, counseling is on an as needed basis and he'll most likely be done with ABA therapy too. As for the diet, that is a lifestyle change. We've also found great support through our church family & getting him involved with youth group & more structured type activities that he enjoys.
•    Anonymous said...  Everyone is entitled to their opinion, so this is mine. Why do people get so tetchy over words? Who cares what it is called as long as no offensive words are used. Why are people so against medication? Surely it is up to the individual parent. I know for sure I would much rather my daughter be stable than having her slit her wrists all the time because her mother didn't think she was worth enough to help her with medication. Many other therapies have been tried but failed because of her lack of communication ability be it verbal or otherwise. I would not deny my daughter calpol if she had a headache and would not wish for her to suffer the pain instead so who am I to deny her a chance of an anxiety free life just because of my belief against medication! Rant over!!
•    Anonymous said...  Go to the Amen clinic. They are wonderful!
•    Anonymous said...  I always caution, when considering medication for children, people to make sure they clearly weigh the pros and cons. Some medications for social issues (depression/anxiety) end up seeming to work and then backfire with symptoms that are even more aggravating including suicidal tendencies or violent outbursts. For so many medication works for many things, but since, as the article says, autism has not been found to be any particular imbalance that can be corrected, it may well be the best option is for us to make our environments more aspie/autism friendly than to try to force change at a medicinal level in them.
•    Anonymous said...  I would suggest starting with therapy, and see what direction that sends you in. There are so many medications you can put them on but lots of them have many cons.
•    Anonymous said...  I would suggest therapy also. Our son is not on any meds, but has been seeing a therapist for 2 years, and it has made a world of difference in his behavior. Medication may help some, but for us, we want that to be the very last option we choose.
•    Anonymous said...  My boy uses meds to help with his focus at school. I have had to educate our school a lot about reinforcing bad behavior. Education is the key. I would probably use meds even if we homeschooled. He tells me it is liked having steering and breaks. He feels more in control.
•    Anonymous said...  My daughter was on Risperdol and went off the deep end. She hasn't been on any meds (except melatonin) since age 7. Now shes in full blown puberty and NEEDS anti anxiety meds. No amount of therapy has helped, and she could hurt herself or someone else if she can't calm down.
•    Anonymous said...  My son began taking medication for anxiety when he was a teen. It has helped a ton. He still gets anxious, but it is not completely debilitating anymore. The medication side effects are very minimal as he takes a low dose.
•    Anonymous said...  My son is an aspie that also has adhd. He's six and takes vyvanse and tenex. I hated putting him on meds but sometimes you just have to.
•    Anonymous said...  Risperdol has been a life saver for my 14 year old son with Asperger's. His aggression has reached scary proportions and this med has helped with his anger and meltdowns. He also takes Lexapro for his high anxiety. I agree that it's the parent's choice...we all want the best for our children medicine or not. I honestly do not think my son could live with our family if he wasn't on medication.
•    Anonymous said...  risperdol has been a life saver for us as well, though with my son only being 5 years old I'm not sure how long I'll be willing to keep him on it, at least not for long term, we're thinking to just use it for the months he's in school. He also takes Fluvox for his OCD which has really helped him as well.
•    Anonymous said...  There is no medication for Asperger's. There are, however, medications for comorbid diagnoses such as OCD or ADHD. For Asperger's in and of itself, there is none.

More comments below...

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

My husband and I have been struggling with our sons bad behaviour for too long now. He is 7 and has aspergers syndrome. We have 2 younger children than him age 3 and 1 and have another child due in April. We are concerned because our son is always hitting, scratching and annoying his siblings.
He is anxious and stressed about the smallest things from going out in the car to having to share a toy or the tv. He constantly worries about stuff when we tell him everything is okay. We are so over it and were wondering what kinds of meds are out there for kids with anxiety that have aspergers?????
He does get social skills classes but this doesn't seem to be helping enough.

Anonymous said...

My almost 11yo DS was diagnosed w/ Asperger's at age 8. It was a long process where we went through agony w/ the school system, struggled with different therapies, etc. He is now in 5th grade and in a special classroom. At the beginning of the year, he was excellent. The teacher was so surprised at the positive change in his behavior. But, in the past couple of months, his behavior has once again regressed. Last week, he missed 2.5 days of school because of 2 separate incidents. We are at our wits-end, since he will be leaving behind his special class next year when he goes to Middle School (which doesn't have special programs).

The school has been pressuring us for years to get our son medicated, and I have pushed back every step, since medication and it's long-term side-effects terrify me. However, I am starting to worry that the side-effects may be less harmful than if he continues as is. I also worry that he is starting to go through puberty, which makes him even more unpredictable.

Anonymous said...

My son is 9 years old and has had a diagnosis of Aspergers for a little over a year now. He was diagnosed ADHD/Sensory Integration Disorder at age 5 and eventually properly diagnosed at age 8. Everything was going well for him until the begining of this school year (4th grade). He began to regress. Last Thursday I had the worst day of my life....I had to hospitalize him when he completely quit sleeping and went into what they are describing as a manic episode. He is still there (a psychiatric childrens hospital). I have been told this is common for Aspy kids but was NEVER prepared for it. They took him off the Vyvanse and put him on Abilify.....he is still there and will probably spend a total of 12 days. The change is incredible. I tell you all this to prepare you because I was not. Get your kids help now of you are dealing with agression, regression, and defiance. I have done everything by the book....therapy, meds, etc. I know the frustration, but take a deep breath, hug your child (if he will let you!) and call a psychiatrist. GP's are great but not really on the same page in my opinion. Good luck....

Anonymous said...

My son has always had problems since he was a baby. Finally when he was in fourth grade the doctor began to believe me and put him on strattera (he was diagnosed with ADHD with inability to focus - he is not hyperactive) and an anxiety disorder. He had a grand mal seizure (supposedly due to the strattera - per the ER).

He is now in the sixth grade, has been getting in trouble every day and his grades are steadily dropping. I have gotten him with a therapist and she says he is a child with aspergers.

I am trying to get him in with a medical doctor who specializes with aspergers but until then my son has two symptoms that I need to be able to find a way to help him with until he sees the doctor. One symptom is that his hands shake (sometimes you can visually see and sometimes you cannot). This of course causes handwriting problems. The other symptom is stomach issues. He either has stomach pains that are pretty troublesome in that they wake him up or he has to come home from school or he has diarrhea that gets him in trouble for having to go to the bathroom quite frequently.

Is there anything I can do until he gets in with the specialist??? Help!!

Oddny said...

This has been amazing to read. My daughter has Aspergers and ADHD. She was on Abilify for a while but she got quite overwheight on it, AND although it worked wonderfully in the beginning, it made her more defiant, angry and violent in the long run.

She's now on Lamotrigin, an anti-convulsant normally given epileptic people and it workes wonderfully. She even has times when she's easy going! She also takes a small dose of anti depressants. As a scientist myself, I feel I can safely say that medications can help our Aspies, even though they do not work on the syndrome itself.

Anonymous said...

At 6, we put our son on Strattera, AWFUL, he had the worst episode of behavior we have ever seen....it is also supposed to be very dangerous for boys physically. Our son has been on abilify for the past 5 years...it has helped, but we think he needs something different. I would love to know more about Lamotrigin and how the switch went and why you chose it...

Anonymous said...

My 13 yo son had been incorrectly diagnosed as bipolar and was put on Lamotrigine a few years back. We noticed a vast improvement about 2 weeks in. Once he received the Asperger's diagnosis his medication counselor talked about titrating down his dose to eventually get off it. We went to a lower dose and it only took about a week to realize how much he benefits from Lamotragine. He takes 1/3 of the total dosage before school and 2/3 at night. I find he is less defiant and more in control and family and extended family noticed the difference. He also takes Zoloft for depression and a very small dose of natural melatonin to help him get to sleep at night. As my son has gotten older and has started puberty dosing for some of the meds has changed.

Anonymous said...

I went back and forth with whether or not to try meds for my daughter. I finally thought, ok we will start it and not tell the school and see if anyone notices a difference in her behavior. After about a week, a lunch supervisor at the school saw me and told me, to my dismay " Wow, what are you doing different, you daughter is a different kid." I didn't tell her( advice from my dr- "it's none of their business. If she has bad behavior they will be asking whether or not she got her medication.") After that, how could we not continue to give it to her. It was a hard decision but the best. Risperdal- the miracle drug for us.

The-Allen-Family said...

Our daughter is almost 5 and has been through SO much. She has been diagnosed with Sensory Processing Disorder, ADHD, Oppositional Defiance Disorder, Mood Disregulation and possibly Aspergers. However, they tell me she is too young to be diagnosed with AS. After much deliberating we decided to try medication. They started with Intiniv but she had so much anger and aggression 'and extreme heightened emotions. We than switched to Abilify and this was Aweful!!! Same response but times 10. We currently have her on Respridol and it is wwonderful so far, she is calmer and is actually sleeping. She still has her personality but seems to have more control. She still struggles with some defiance and impulses but it is an improvement. We understand their is no "cure" for all of her special needs but the medication has definitely helped us have a little room to catch our breath and survive.

Does anyone have any information as to wether a 4 year old can be diagnosed with AS this early? Also have any of you heard of an MRI being helpful in seeing how their brain is responding and getting a more clear Dx?
Thanks and God Bless to all you strong families with Special ones!

Anonymous said...

4 is not too young to be diagnosed with AS. Our son is 7 and it took us until he was 5 to get the diagnosis that we already knew (I'm a Licensed Clinical Social Worker). We recently started him in Celexa for his anxiety, he has both seperation and generalized anxiety. We should be able to tell soon if it is helping. We had concerns about side affects with Risperdol (weight gain, tremors...) any feed back?

EllyP. said...

Feeling emotional over finding this site and reading all the posts,.. I am a mother of 4 children,.. three of which are special needs and my eldest having just been diagnosed as having Aspergers (Others: Spectrum autism,.. and MR). Her behavior over the past 11 years has gotten increasingly more difficult and have finally decided,.. that whether I like them or not; right now may be a good time to start her on medication. Tried them on her when she was much younger and the results scared me away for years (this of course before this diagnosis). (Classic social disorders, OCD, insomnia, lack of empathy and hyperactivity being within her diagnosis.) After reading your many posts, I do in fact feel much more relieved and confident in my decision to begin her on them. Thank you all,.. even though am new here just hearing all your insights has helped me tremendously with a severe internal struggle. Keep up the wonderful work,.. both at home and here,.. E.

4athomej said...

My now 12 year old son was diagnosed 2 years ago now...it took us 2 years of testing to get him diagnosed but that's a whole different story...lol

Anyway...his Psychiatrist asked if we wanted to try meds. At this point we really had no choice as he wasn't functioning at all. Home was awful...don't even talk to me about school. Anyway she put him on Risperdal the M-tabs so his weight gain wouldn't be as bad since that is a side effect.

He was a totally different kid within 2 weeks. We were awe struck and still are. We have 4 kids and he is by far the most polite, sweetest, generous and thoughtful of them all:)

mikeys mom said...

this has been helpful mau 14 year old aspie hit puberty and we are looking into meds. Thanks

Anonymous said...

please HELP!! My son is now 18 ..I have been trying to get proper dianosis since he was 6...thats anouther LONG story. How ever he was diagnosed "borderline" aspergers(???) three years ago. He has a BIG issue with types of foods he will eat, he has Never had red meat in his life will only eat breads, only one type of mac and cheese, chicken in nugget form only and one certain brand name peanut butter, green beans,and very few other foods. I am at my witts end I give him vitamins but I think it is still damaging his body and health. He was taken to the er yesterday from school he had face numbness and paralisis and stiff and cramped and screaming in pain from his elbows down..no help from er dr's it went away in about an hour and he was sent home with a follow up to his dr. I think its due to nutrition . Has anyone else had eatiing issues and is there a medication for it !! ???

Anonymous said...

Yes she is 13 now. She eats only certain kind of foods. I can count on my hand the vegetables she eats. No foods that are mixed like a taco. A taco shell only has cheese in it. She is a meat eater. But no salads,tomato, or stuff like that. I was told to prepare food for the family but to always have something she will eat. Can't get her to try any different foods. She takes a multi-vitimin. I've learned to accept her the way she is. I don't fuss about it. She one kind of turkey chili and one type of can soup. She learns differently,processes differently, and eats differently. Don't we all.

Anonymous said...

My son is on Abilify, Concerta, and Lamictal. The Abilify and Concerta help him a lot – abilify with his oppositional behavior and the Concerta with attentional deficits. I’m not sure if Lamictal is doing anything – he has only been on it for a couple months. What are the meds that your son is on?

Anonymous said...

Very recently, our son asked us about getting on an anti-depressant. I need some guidance about meds.

Our 18 year old with very high functioning aspergers is in his senior year at a school for kids with learning differences. He's doing fine academically but continues to struggle with anxiety and depression...it's hard to know which comes first or if they are separate issues. He doesn't cope well with stress/anxiety...I see a pattern of withdrawing from situations that appear to be going very well for him from our persepctive, but which present too much anxiety for HIMSELF. For example, he will just quit an activity that he has loved for a long time and in which he has done very well when it comes time for him to assume or continue in some leadership role. This happened in sports (very gifted baseball player), ROTC type program, and an Explorer type program. Additionally, he is a very rigid thinker and rule follower which I'm sure complicates his anxiety level around some of the structured activities he enjoys when things haven't gone the way they "should" or when other kids aren't following the rules. He can be very stubborn too...after making a decision that he won't do something anymore, it's almost impossible to get him to change his mind through reason. We believe that his anxiety anticipating things is very high...for example, on the day of the test last year he refused to take the ACT. Similarly, he has driven fine for the past 2 years with his permit, but he just will not go and take the test to get a real drivers license when we suggest taking him.

He has also done some cutting, and this has been situational rather than continuous behavior (for example, after a breakup with a girl). As parents, we see anxiety more of the issue than depression since he's upbeat/content during the summer and vacations. He has also successfully held a very part time retail job during Christmas and summer breaks that requires dealing with the public and other employees, but no stressful responsibilities. The feedback we get from his coworkers is incredible. But even in that, we usually have to push him to go back "I won't know the answers to customer questions", he says, because stock changes so much between the times he works.

Except for a brief crisis period when he was 15, he's not been on any meds as we tend to want to go "natural" after seeing some worrisome facial tic development during that brief time (all resolved once off meds). First, I see this as positive in that he is self advocating for himself. His current counselor is a P-LCSW who has had a lot of experience working with kids with aspergers. In private discussion with him, he is in agreement that a med might be helpful. But we want to maximize the chance that the first med he takes is the best choice. Since the issues with our kids on this Board are often very similar, I'm asking any of you that have young adult children for your feedback about meds that have helped in the areas I've described above. (or ones that have serious negative side affects too please). I know nothing about meds. I apologize to whomever this might offend, but I put more trust in the experience of the parents on this board than I do the suggestion of a new psychiatrist who isn't a specialist in aspergers.

Lynn said...

Re: Anonymous 11-30-11
Your son is asking for help. Please give it to him. Natural is good in it's place, but this isn't it. Antidepressants can help greatly. So can anti-anxiety meds. Every kid is different so it would be impossible to give you an exact recomendation. If you can choose a child psychiatrist. The cutting really concerns me. He's not just asking for help, he's begging.

Anonymous said...

My child has a high IQ, but his social skills,school work and his behavior was a challenge. I have been praying to the Lord Jesus Christ and with his help I found an ingrediant that is changing my sons life. It first helped him with his stomach, then ...well the list goes on. All this was because his stomach was not working well and his body was lacking protein. This shake will change your child's and your life for the better. Thank Jesus for this shake.

Give it to your child EVERY morning( at least M-F). Let him/her drink 1/2 to all of it. You will see some changes every 9 weeks. I call it the:

Saldiver-Keller Aspergers Shake:
3- small spoons lentils cooked**
2- organic eggs (white only)
3-4 - strawberries
few - blueberries
Mix these ingredients in a Magic Bullet or one similar.

Then add:
1- banana
fill- it with crushed ice (or whole)
some -milk for liquid
Mix it again until it is all mixed.

** heat water, then add lentils 1/2 a bag. Simmer for 30 mins. Put it in a tupperware for daily use.

Anonymous said...

I can empathize with you on this one. My daughter was hard too. She is not as bad now since she is a little older (14). Medications can help...a lot. My daughter started Abilify and it changed our lives for the better. I cried and told the Dr "Thanks for giving me my daughter back!" Her ADHD meds help a whole lot too. For us, meds are not a complete fix but it is better. We tried to go off the Abilify and that was just ugly. We have her on an allergen (wheat, egg, peanut, rye, buckwheat, pecan and cherry) free diet too. If she eats those things that she is hypersensitive to then her symptoms return with a vengeance.

Counseling has helped to a whole lot too. She sees a psychologist once every 1-2 weeks. She goes in alone and spends about an hour in there. I don't hound her about what they talk about. I just ask how it went and did you talk about anything interesting. The answer is always "fine" and "no" but at least she knows I'm interested. If we are having a problem at home, I'll discuss it with the psychologist before she goes in. She doesn't like that but it usually helps. Every once in a while I got into the appt with her if we need to talk about something together.

Strict rules and consequences/rewards have helped us too. We have to be strict with the rules. She does understand "just this once". It is either yes or no, on or off and never in between. Consequences and rewards have to be immediate with her and they can't be long term. One (maybe 2) days of no electronics is the usual consequence. She doesn't comprehend a week long punishment. Same thing with rewards. She can't do the 'if you do this for a month (or even a week), you'll get XYZ'. I usually try to set goals for anywhere from 3-5 days and I reminder her frequently without making it an actual reminder. She recently got to go paint pottery if she did her own self care (bath, brush teeth twice daily) without me reminding her every time. I would say something like 'I can't wait to go to As You Wish with you...I sure hope we get to go!'

It almost sound like he needs to spend more time with his dad. Does he get to spend time there and is dad making him follow the rules while he is there. Boys at that age really need their dads and if he is not getting the attention that he needs from his dad it will cause behavior problems.

Use the obsession to your advantage and see if you can broaden the obsession. Treat him to a trip to the mustang dealership to see other mustangs. Look up facts about the mustangs, get a model car to put together...

Things are better for us...meds, diet, therapy and age have helped us.

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous from 9/7/11 - Did they check your son to see if he had been hyperventilating? My 13 yr old AS son has been in the ER 3 times this fall with panic attacks where he hyperventilated and described the same thing, numb face, severe pain in his hands - running up his arms etc. They checked an arterial blood gas (not a fun blood draw) to figure it out.

We've done so many meds at this point and none have worked well. Going to try working with a new psychiatrist in a couple weeks. Hopefully this MD will have better ideas as to how to treat.

Good luck to all AS families to get through those daily challenges. Happy Holidays to all.

Anonymous said...

My son was put on zoloft 1/2 a 25 mg tab. He is 8 ysr old & 67 lbs. After all the other medication he was put on it made him worse. Now the 1/2 a zoloft tab is helping. My daughter has the brother she has always wanted. My son is happy once again. My problem is the dr. wants him to take a full pill. I can not understand why? If 1/2 works magic why change it untill he grows & puts on weight. Any input would be appreciated. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

Between my scatter brain issues and the challenge of my son I started reading all sorts o books that seemed to fit the problems he had and a few I had. Dr. Amens 6 types of ADD and Hallowel's book and parts of the sensory integration book, and some books talking about difficult children, but finally the aspergers web sight that you referred me to finally seems to hit the mark and the article about teens abusing parents was right on- related issues? yes? . My son has had OCD and ODD and sensory issues and Dyslexia that Neuropsychologists called, decoding issues- I can't get IEP because he is quite smart and passes all of those tests. He had lamp throwing rages even at 5 years old but these explosive rages only happened once or twice a year ,so, not having a brother, I attributed them to being male and needing to get physical. Now that he is older, the problem has gotten worse- he is on the computer all day after school- because I'm too afraid to get him off- he is sweet as apple pie every day unless you threaten to take away computer or ask him to do homework. science and video games like Minecraft are his obsessions- He is almost failing seventh grade and i almost called the police on him the other day when he was throwing things at a tutor who would not back off. ( as the article about Aspergers seemed to suggest as the better way to handle these situations.) He is nice in school and teachers look at me like I am crazy when I tell them what he can be like, but that is partly due to the success of starting him on prozac 10 mgs in 4th grade for panic attacks and anxiety issues-needed to take hot tubs to calm himself down every day and told me the bad side of his brain was winning over his good side ending us up in the emergency room which was not helpful.

Anonymous said...

Just want to say I'm a teen with Asperger's and I've been taking fish oil pills. Nothing but fish oil in them, but I think they're helping. If u want a morenatural remedy, give it a try.

Anonymous said...

could u please list some of these medications .

Anonymous said...

We tried several....prozac, zoloft both for the ocd symptoms...neither helped much. Did a bunch of the adhd ones and all I can say is HELL!

Anonymous said...

We just started abilify (he's 8) and it has been our miracle! It would take forever to list everything it has helped with. His teacher noticed the difference and I didn't tell her about it. Our home is calmer and life with siblings is easier.

Anonymous said...

I use Risperidone and Concerta for my son. It really has worked great. If for some reason I needed to change the Risperidone I would try Lamictal for sure.

Anonymous said...

I have five children 2 with asbergers and my daughter suffers more from it , I tryed melatonen at night but she didn't want to take it , so I just learne to except and deal with each and every day as it comes.

Anonymous said...

we also removed ALL artificial dyes, flavors, and preservatives. we saw a big difference in behaviour and a decrease in migraines as well. it wasn't as hard as i thought it would be, nor as expensive with a fresh and easy nearby. its well worth a try for a month. i HAD to try it before i went back to meds. it just wasn't enough by itself, but it may be for someone else.

Anonymous said...

There is not necessarily a drug for Aspergers specifically, but my son was having violent outbursts at school. His Dr put him on Abilify as a "mood stabilizer" and its helped A LOT!!!

Anonymous said...

My son is on Dexedrine and Guanfacine for his ADHD and it seems to help with the constant chatter. No matter how many times you try to tell him that other people aren't as interested in certain things as he is, he just can't help himself. The meds cut back on how much he talks about his narrow interests and lets the other kids (and adults) get a word into a conversation.

Anonymous said...

My daughter takes respiradol .This drug is proven to help children with autism .She has made great improvements !

Anonymous said...

i would not trust any medications but if u can find a good homeopath, that will help your kids more than prescription drugs, homeopathy is an alternative medicine or even aromatherapy, my son takes homeopathy and he is doing fine

Anonymous said...

my son is also 7 and he is on Sertraline,Guanfacine, and dexmethylphenidate... All the lowest dose possible and he does so much better on them. We just added the dexmeth, because he was anxious and worried all the time. My son has a hard time with personal space as well, Some days better than others. What helps us is giving him his own space ie. Bed in his room. When he starts to feel anxious he goes to his room alone and will read or listen to music or play a game. Then when he has calmed down he rejoins us. I also have 3 other children the baby just 9 months and my son does VERY well with him, its the older ones he has trouble with... hope this helps

Anonymous said...

Giving my son melatonin at night has proven so helpful. Sleep and diet are two key areas. He also takes the lowest dosage of guanfacine, which helps his hyperactivity and improves some focus issues. We tried stimulants but it was bad, bad, bad for him. I hate giving him medication but have come to terms with it as I've tried everything else. AND when consulting with doctor, I always remind myself that no one knows my child as I do.

Anonymous said...

While I do agree, a lot of people look for the easy solution, but...Not all of us Americans choose drugs first! With my 14 yr old ADHD, it was a last resort. We tried diet, suppliments, routine...you name it. Medication works for him and we've come to accept it. Now my 11 yr old has been diagnosed with AS and ADHD and we're are going thru the same challenges. Trust me, I'm not looking for the "quick fix pill" but I'll do what ever it takes for the success and happiness of my children. Please don't try to make me, and all the other parents out there, feel guilty about medicating. Sometimes it comes down to a chemical imbalance and there is no other option!

Anonymous said...

Personally ,I say whatever works ,go with it!I have tried every type of pharmacy med for my son and they only created havoc on him and natural supplements have worked wonders.Although with that being said,if a particular med is working for your child and you feel things are going well then,I say parents know best for their own child.

Anonymous said...

Many of us have tried EVERYTHING!!! My son is nearly twelve and I couldn't ask for a more terrific blessing, he has made me a better wife, mother and human being! However, he struggles so very much and my love for him says fight for the true him! I have tried homeopathy and traditional medications. We are still seeking, as are many of these families.

Anonymous said...

I have triplets and one has aspergers along with a 6 yr old who has severe ADHD . (possibly some aspergers too not diagnosed though for sure). I hated the thoughts of meds but after while went for it to. He has similars symptoms of just agitating his brothers, ESP the one with aspergers. Without meds our whole family couldn't survive. Went to ADHD seminar, the dr said that those who aren't medicated as kids will grow up with severe problems, but those who could learn to control behaviors by the time they were teens could be weaned off there meds and could learn to cope.

Anonymous said...

My son takes Respirodone for aggression and focalin for adhd. Without the Rx, not sure where would be at this point. My son went from being in trouble at school, to this year ( he is 12), to being an office aide, in student advisory, and in all AP classes.

Anonymous said...

My son is 11 Hes on the lowest doses of abilify,intuniv & depakote.Hes doing ok . I dont like medication but when he gets violent i need some help! He doesnt like schools,always have had a probelm with that !!!

Anonymous said...

My son is 16 now, was diagnosed at 11 with Aspergers. We experienced the ups and downs with behaviors, lack of social skills, anger, etc. Once diagnosed, we took him to a Pediatric Physician who specilized in learning disabilities and autism. He started my son on Wellbutrin as he believed he was depressed. This helped tremendously. As we progressed, his lack of organizational skills never improved. The doctor suggested he may have ADHD tendencies, so started him on Vyvanse. The change was amazing. He focuses in school and manages to control his anger. He has learned the triggers and the school works with him in this area. We at home too have learned the triggers and try to avoid them. He thrives on routine, so always let him know ahead of time if any changes in his routine. He has recently obtained his drivers license and so far this school year has had no referrals to the office for behavior. I believe maturity has helped.
For everyone out there, it does get better! Each child is different and has different triggers.
I suggest keeping a "journal" and write down what is going on in your childs life when an episode occurs. This way you can try and see what triggers an episode and try to avoid it in the future.
My son has learned to tell when something is upsetting him and will remove himself from a situation until he calms down. At school he has a safe room he can go to and at home, his bedroom is his safe room. Last night during supper, we were having a discussion on something he had done without permission. He knew he was getting upset and stated I'm outta here. He recognized the signs and removed himself from the situation. As he's gotten older he's gotten better and better at this.
There are times he's a joy to be around and other times I want to strangle him. He has a dry sense of humor, sometimes not quite appropriate (we are working on this).
But then I remind myself he is a teenager and how is his behavior that different from any other teenager in society?
I wouldn't change my son for anything. Yes, he's quirky, but has alot of friends who "have his back". They say he's wierd, but he is ok with this. They all know he has Aspergers, he even has a decal on his truck to the fact. But he is OK with this and they are still his friends.
I guess I would say he has accepted himself as he is and is OK with it.
My suggestion, find a good doctor who has experience with Aspergers to take your child to. I understand not wanting to give a child medication, but I know my son was miserable without it. Follow that doctors recommendations and go from there. Good Luck!

Anonymous said...

My son is now 14 and I have just now taken the steps to have him properly assessed and diagnosed. He has Asperger's. I have always known that he is different from the time he was born, but I just attributed this to him being different because he is a genius. Now that he is in high school, he is having increased social problems with his peers which have led to depression. Additionally, he has oppositional defiance disorder which has made our home life very hard! Simple tasks, such as pick up the trash in his room, don't leave your hair on the shower wall, etc he says he will do but he will never do them. Even if it affects him, like, he needs to come out of his room and get his dinner...if I don't serve it to him, he will starve. Last summer, I tested this to see if he would get his own food, and for the three days that I didnt fix his food--he starved!! What finally pushed me to have him evaluated was his overblown tantrums with comments of suicide, resulting from my enforcing consequences (grounding him from his Xbox) for his failure to preform simple tasks that I have asked him to do for weeks, or that we're important things--such as text me when he gets into a building downtown so I know he made it inside safe, since he is OBLIVIOUS to his surroundings. Additionally, he refuses to go to church with us, even if it will result with us taking away his ONE love which is the xbox, then he flips out with a tantrum (it is scary!) when we enforce what we said we would do as a result of his inaction (which made it completely in his hands). But instead, he blames us for everything, and it is never his fault. Never. My friends don't believe me. No one else sees this, because he is always quiet and does not speak to others becauses he renders conversation as senseless and pointless unless it is about his interests. Everyone says, "I don't see it!" Which hurts me and makes me feel like they think I am exaggerating. However, he was not able to fool the professionals. His child psychologist AND psychiatrist have both said he meets all the criteria for Asperger's and ODD. This is upon them interviewing and assessing not only my subjective opinions, but HIM. It has been hard for me because my pastor saw this as a sin issue, and said he didn't see Asperger's in my son. Now I am struggling with wanting to return as no one seems to understand what we are going through at home. He started Zoloft 25mg four days ago. I pray that it will help to at least calm the storms inside of him when he suffers a consequence for his inactions. I do so much for him..yet it is always like I am walking on eggshells. Not knowing what will set him off. The smell of salsa sets him off, as does the light in his room being on, or my not being in the car before him in the mornings. Transitions are SO hard! It is inevitable that he is going to be mad when going from point a to point b, unless it is a transition that he has planned himself. He is extremely gifted and a member of MENSA. He loves learning, and very structured routine. He slept very little as a baby and read at 3 years of age. He spoke with very high vocabulary, and he is very confident in his speech and his speech always seems very thought out and organized. He is fearless, has little empathy, and is immature for his age. He cannot see things from another persons perspective and prefers to be alone--and he always has. Shopping with him is out- church with him is out- this really puts a strain on family activities (unless e room is quiet and item are playing a strategy game-which I always lose). But this is almost always impossible to do with my 4 year old, loud, and (to him) very annoying daughter. It's been a ride, but thankfully, we have sought help and I look forward to therapy! For him and me both! :-)

Shirley said...

My son has Asperger and he is also identify gifted. We refused to give him western med. or anything not natural. I have been using Homeopathic med. for about 6 mos. now. The teachers, school psychologist, our therapist and us all see the differences of improvement with Homeopathic med. It's not as fast as reg. med., but it works. The end of summer, when we had a family reunion vacation, which I forgot his med.for one week. About the 3rd day, I can see a big difference with and without his homeopathic medication. Even though is baby steps, I would not change for any conventional med. which made from artificial chemical.

Anonymous said...

Could anyone please tell me the homeopathic remedies that have helped their kids? And where to find them? As well as any natural remedies? I just want to try everything first before turning to meds for our 10 yr old with aspergers/gifted. Thanks

Susan Calistri Boesger said...

My son is 10 and has been diagnosed with PDD-NOS, ADHD and SPD, and is exceptionally gifted. He managed to remain in public school (in a general education/gifted education classroom, with an aide) until 4th grade, when he began to have significant difficulties with the increased responsibility of prep for middle school and standardized testing. We tried moving him to an Asperger's classroom but his behavior really nose-dived. We now homeschool (about a year) and while not every day is great, most days are good and quite a bit of pressure is off him. He attends classes at a homeschool co-op and is able to complete work a grade above his own. ADHD meds did not work for him and risperidone worked until this past year to calm him down and control the aggressive tendencies. He now takes Intunive to calm him down a bit, trazadone to help him sleep, and Abilify which helps with the aggression and with self-control. I appreciate the parents who don't want to medicate their children -- I really did not want to medicate mine -- but after seeing how successful he can be, and how much better his own self-image is after trying meds, I wouldn't change a thing.

Pixledusting said...

My son is 14, he was just recently diagnosed with Asperger's and ADD last yesr. After years of struggling and watching him struggle in school, despite the fact that he is extremely intelligent, I finally got him some help. He went through 3 therapists, before finding the right one (I strongly recommend an Autism specialist, but make sure your son/daughter actually approves of the person. He was not a fan of the last therapist).

After breaking down and finding him a psychiatrist, he first had him on Adderall for his ADD. Despite how intelligent my son is, last year he barely skated by and made it out of middle school with passing grades (by the skin of his teeth as he was failing so many classes). After starting the Adderall, his grades have all gone up to A's and B's. It was nothing short of a miracle. I agonized for years over putting him on medication. I was reading an article on treating AS symptoms with Strattera, and asked his doctor about it, he said that he would rather try Sertraline (Zoloft) first. After only a few days of taking Sertraline, it was like the fog had lifted. He seems much less anxious and has fewer tics (less hand flapping) . Prior to the Sertraline, he would rarely talk to me and used to go straight to his room after school and not come out. All he cared about was his games and watching game related YouTube videos and Anime. He was having a hard time making friends as well. Now he comes home and wants to talk to me for hours. He's been huggy-kissy and tells me that he loves me which is something that I've been missing for quite some time. Also, he's been telling me things he's been holding in for a long time and sharing things that he's interested in, which were top secret prior to the Sertraline. My son has made a couple new friends as well) and finally got together with one to go to an all day event. Before the medication I couldn't get him to leave his room, let alone the house. It's like night and day. My son is also slowly starting to expand his food repertoire, which as most parents of kids with AS know is a feat in itself.

One major symptom that has yet to be adressed is that he is still very very chatty and does not know when or how to stop talking at inappropriate times (i.e. movie theaters & watching TV with the family). This has been going on for years.

A bit of an issue with my son is that he has a hard time swallowing pills/capsules with water and is currently opening his Adderall XR capsule into chocolate pudding and taking it that way. The Sertraline is a liquid that he drops into OJ every night before bed. Does anyone have any suggestions on taking pills with water or anything that helps with the incessant chattiness? I used to feel horrible about medicating my son, but it has truly been a lifesaver for him and the family. I feel more guilt over waiting so long in getting him help.

My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the Aspergers child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually. Thus, the best treatment for Aspergers children and teens is, without a doubt, “social skills training.”

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How to Prevent Meltdowns in Aspergers Children

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and the Asperger’s child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

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Parenting Defiant Aspergers Teens

Although Aspergers is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager with Aspergers are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the Aspergers teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

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Aspergers Children “Block-Out” Their Emotions

Parenting children with Aspergers and HFA can be a daunting task. In layman’s terms, Aspergers is a developmental disability that affects the way children develop and understand the world around them, and is directly linked to their senses and sensory processing. This means they often use certain behaviors to block out their emotions or response to pain.

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Older Teens and Young Adult Children With Aspergers Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with Aspergers face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

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Living with an Aspergers Spouse/Partner

Research reveals that the divorce rate for people with Aspergers is around 80%. Why so high!? The answer may be found in how the symptoms of Aspergers affect intimate relationships. People with Aspergers often find it difficult to understand others and express themselves. They may seem to lose interest in people over time, appear aloof, and are often mistaken as self-centered, vain individuals.

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My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content