Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders

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How To Be Your Aspergers Child's Greatest Advocate

"We just got a diagnosis of Asperger's (high-functioning) for our 6-year-old son. My husband and I are having two very different reactions to this recent news. I'm rather relieved to know that our son doesn't have a more serious problem (relative to other disorders like bipolar, which is what we suspected originally), but my husband views our son's behavior as "rebellion" and "laziness." How can we support our son, but not let his "disorder" be an excuse for behavior problems or lack of effort?"

There is a series of stages that parents go through when they learn that their child has Aspergers (High-Functioning Autism). Often there is an expected confusion when the child doesn’t seem to conform to “normal” childhood standards. When the diagnosis is made, a sense of grief can occur with the loss of the anticipated “normal child.” Some parents remain in that stage and can't see the positive aspects their child brings to the family and the world in general. Other parents are relieved to know that there is a name (i.e., Aspergers) for the "difference" in their child and that this "disorder" has nothing to do with "bad parenting."

Those parents that choose to see what their child can bring to the world will begin to be an advocate for him or her with those who understand less about the condition than they do. When parents become their child's greatest advocate, others can interact with the child in a more informed way -- and the child him/herself will experience life in a positive dimension

The road to becoming an Aspergers child’s greatest advocate begins by being as informed as possible about the condition. There are dozens of books, some more scholarly than others, that parents can read to help themselves understand that this disorder was not their fault and to learn patterns of behavior they have come to see in their child but didn’t know what they meant.

The second part about being an advocate for the Aspergers child is to pay careful attention to him or her. Learn his/her idiosyncrasies and pay attention to the things that work with the child, along with the things that don’t work. If the child has certain obsessions or compulsions, understand what they are and find out ways to get around them, if needed and if possible.

The most important people to be your child’s advocate with are your family, including your extended family, daycare providers and teachers. They need to be as comfortable with dealing with your child as possible. Teachers and even daycare providers need to know how best to teach the child and how to handle tantrums or behaviors that can be hard to control. When these types of people understand the child, it often makes the difference between a good education and a poor one for a child that most likely has the potential to do just as well -- or even better -- than his/her peers. 


•    Anonymous said... it took me a long time to come around to the realization that my son had aspergers. I thought he was just stubborn and wasn't getting the best people around him. My husband was more concerned that he was autistic than I was. I didn't really know what Aspergers/HFA was. Now that we are on the same page, everything is going along ok. Still dealing with son's behavioral issues but it helps to be on the same page.
•    Anonymous said... It will take time research research research my daughters psychologist encouraged me to do my own and continue to I read up on it daily it is hard I struggle she was diagnosed at 10 it makes it challenging when they are going through puberty.I can see where you would have thought bipolar I initially thought the same thing they react on impulses their is no future in their mind so threatening to take something away diesnt work everything is in the now.One has to emotionally remove themselves from the situation and focus on positive reinforcements instead its not easy but with a good support system psychologists, psychiatrists, family friends support groups their are ways they can learn to cope with their behaviors related to Aspergers
•    Anonymous said... my advice......get counciling for the two of need to be on the same parenting page with this
•    Anonymous said... My daughter was also diagnosed at 6 and I see it as a gift. She is so special and not generic like the other kids at school. I have great support at her school and they also wouldn't change her for the world. Since finding out I truly understand her and we don't call it a disability it's her special gift. She is very artistic and loves to paint and create so we do a lot of that and it helps her in other aspects of life. What does your son love to do?
•    Anonymous said... My son's doctor gave me the best advice- he said: "You have to wrap your mind around his, don't try to get his mind wrapped around yours."
•    Anonymous said... not easy... though some people say they manage it...
•    Anonymous said... Oh my goodness ... my son was diagnosed at 6 as well. I too was relieved to receive the diagnosis - it was so hard not knowing what was going on in my little man's head. Maybe just remind your husband that your son see's the world so differently from you and he doesn't process emotions the same. You are going to learn so many amazing things from your son ... I promise you ... I feel so blessed to get to see things through my son's eyes each day. Good luck to you all
•    Anonymous said... Once my son was old enough to really understand Aspergers and do some of his own research, I explained it all to him. And I made it very clear this was NEVER to be an excuse to not excel in life. He's 15 and doing great. The issues are there, but we all manage and understand them better and he is treated no different than any of the kids (he is the oldest of 4 boys), with the exception if things like clothes and specific pencils he must use, etc. He is expected to get decent grades, have chores, be responsible. He has his driving permit now and shows more and more awareness with each drive. You will see many changes over the years...just treat him equally with the minor changes he requires to fit HIS world.
•    Anonymous said... Strongly recommend a parenting support group for both of you! Hearing my son's diagnosis (also HFA) was terrifying for me. Hearing other's stories was VERY helpful.
•    Anonymous said... This is very common, my suggestion is that you and your husband will need to learn how to communicate to each other. You will both need to learn how to be very honest and open with feelings, emotions and parenting ideas. You will need to find a parenting style that you both like that suits the child as they need different parenting skills to a normal child. They need better explanations on what and why they were naughty. Look up social stories, they help autistic children to learn most situations.

*  Anonymous said... We're just starting down this road too. We're doing the 'research, research, research' that someone mentioned above, but we're trying to do it together, for example one of us does the dishes while the other one reads out loud from whatever book we're currently working through. That way we can talk about it as we're coming across things that are new to us, like the idea that meltdowns can't be 'disciplined' in the same way that rebellion or disobedience should be. We're in the process of working out what the triggers are for our daughter's meltdowns so that we can be more aware of how she's likely to react to things and therefore try to minimise her reaction, but also so that we can talk to her about the way she felt (after she's calmed down) and begin to give her other more acceptable ways of dealing with sensory and communication problems. I think the key ingredient is going to be time and perseverance, and an openness on our part as parents to see the world from our child's perspective rather than our own. All the best.

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Anonymous said...

It is difficult one my husband is an aspie too and we struggle at times .stay positive lots of support out there and on here too xxx

Anonymous said...

the same happened in my household. i told my s.o. to observe him intently, and pay attention to any obsessions he might have. I told him to keep track of everyhing he sees and do some research. It tpok him a while, but he eventually came to terms.

Anonymous said...

My son is given the same expectations as his siblings. He might have a different time frame to complete the task with check lists to help him complete them. but at 7 we got the same diagnosis and we determined then that it was the REASON he was acting the way he acted but that was not an EXCUSE for not doing..... fill in the blank. with structured guidlines and assistance with a TON of patience and he will make it through it. I also explained to my son I know you are different I know things are harder for you but it is NOT acceptable to react the way you do ( in certain situations) a large part of ASD is lack of social skills and not having the ability to react in what we see as a "normal" facet. Coaching answers and responses has helped. It's not perfect and every child is different but talking through it after he has had a melt down or did something social unacceptable we talk able what would be a better alternative response and we role play it out. Hope this helps!!

Anonymous said...

We learned to adapt. Before we knew he was Autistic his doc labeled him as "slow to change" He was a kid that needed closure to whatever he was doing before he could move on to something else. As soon as we learned to give him a count down to the changing of another task, his fustration of having to stop "playing" stopped. The older he gets the less problem he has with sudden change or change in routine, but routines and having time to finish things makes huge difference in his mood. Before being diagnosed aspergers he was diagnosed bi polar, the medication made a huge difference! He is up more than down and is more wanting to interact with other kids. We've learned to always talk to him with eye contact as sometimes these kids have trouble processing verbal communcation. He gets treated the same as his sister and brothers, the only difference is he may get a little more time to process what we are asking him to do or not do and we make sure he can tell us what he is in trouble for, so we know he's processed it. I consider myself lucky, a lot of kids with this have anger issues, my son is almost overly mellow and rarely gets into trouble.

Anonymous said...

Okay....Your husbamd needs to be educated about Aspergers...that's what where all of this comes from is ignorance 9pardon the expression) I had the EXACT same issue with my oon to be ex-husband that's how bad it became becaus ehe simply would NOT educate himself an we kept buttting heads for son is 11 now..

Anonymous said...

My son's dad is the same. We're divorced though and he thinks it's my parenting style not ASD. His doctors have tried to help him be more educated and he still fights it. I think he is also on the spectrum. Just keep working for your son and he'll see the improvements and eventually understand.

Anonymous said...

B4 my 10 yr old son was diagnosed i too thought my son was stubborn and rebelious. I was also very relieved when i found out his final diagnos. The best thing i have done for my son and i is educate us both. I have read probably at least 12 books and done lots of internet reading as well. All aspies are different and different books provide different information. U have to experiment and find what works best for your family. Try to remember that this is a neurológical thing and your son cant help the way his brain works. With a lot of patience and work he can learn better behavior
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Anonymous said...

‎"Eating an Artichoke" by Echo R. Fling was a lifesaver when my son was first diagnosed...he was 8...he turns 18 next week. What a roller coaster ride! I wouldn't have changed any of it! We love our son!

Anonymous said...

You son misbehaves because he lacks understanding on what is the alternative behavior. Children on the spectrum mist be intentionally instructed on how to behave in varying social settings they do not learn by imitation or intuition. Punishment while immediately gratifying to parent may not provide the information to the child on replacement behavior and why. The gravest mistake made with autism is not providing the child with necessary information. The next biggest mistake is assuming that intelligence will compensate and they will acquire social skills on there own.

Invest in educating your spouse if you do not the behavior will get worst. Their behavior os a by-product of a different way of thinking. Whatever behavior modification works for typical children will not work with autism save yourself the time and teach how they learn.

Anonymous said...

Some parents find it extremely hard to accept any diagnosis of their child, education about the diagnosis is the only way and this can only be done if the person wants to learn about it. Not all of the behaviour can be blamed on the diagnosis as they are children and test the boundaries. Two disciplinary programs I have learnt about which can be used with children who have special needs are Magic 123 developed by Dr Thomas Phelan and The Nurtured Heart developed by Howard Glasser. It is important through to to educate these children which behaviours they should use instead of the bad behaviours too.

Anonymous said...

I'm a HFA mum raising a HFA 7 year old. He is the most amazing child and being autistic myself we have a unique bond. The biggest thing I found was to pick your battles. I step back from every situation and analyze it. Im getting really good at picking the difference between his autism behavior and his 7 year old behavior. I can't stress enough how important It is to educate yourself. Engross yourself in his world and understand what life is like from his point of view. Once you can tell the difference you can pick your battles. I used to get punished for not looking at people when I spoke to them, and I hated people interrupting me whilst I was thinking. So I give the same considerations to my son, I don't get frustrated when I have to say his name 12 times to get his attention. Maybe get hubby some books, or onto a blog written by someone with HFA or similar, it may help him understand and take a different stance.

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.

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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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Online Parent Coaching for Parents of Asperger's Children

If you’re the parent of a child with Aspergers or High-Functioning Autism, you know it can be a struggle from time to time. Your child may be experiencing: obsessive routines; problems coping in social situations; intense tantrums and meltdowns; over-sensitivity to sounds, tastes, smells and sights; preoccupation with one subject of interest; and being overwhelmed by even the smallest of changes.

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Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

Parents, teachers, and the general public have a lot of misconceptions of Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism. Many myths abound, and the lack of knowledge is both disturbing and harmful to kids and teens who struggle with the disorder.

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Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

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Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and HFA

Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

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My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content