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The Challenges of Puberty in Aspergers Children

"We seem to be having ever increasing difficulty with our 13-year-old Aspergers daughter. We began to notice a change for the worse around the time she reached puberty. Her anger and anxiety have reached a new level. She also seems depressed much of the time. Is this normal for an Apsie? What can we do to slow down what I see as a train wreck in the making?"

Puberty brings with it challenges for all children, however, children with Aspergers and High Functioning Autism face increased challenges through puberty. The behavior issues of impulsivity can increase in both frequency and intensity. Aspies who experienced bullying in elementary school -- and now continue to experience bullying during their middle school years -- may become increasingly aggressive. 

Adolescence can become a very difficult time for a child with Aspergers as peers may no longer be willing to tolerate someone who seems different. Moodiness, depression and anxiety can also develop in adolescence due to hormonal imbalances, resulting in increased separation of the Aspie from his/her peers.

Adolescence is a time when social demands become more complex, and it becomes increasingly important to be able to understand social cues. Children with Aspergers can be more vulnerable to (a) manipulation by others and (b) peer pressure. They are likely to experience more rejection among their peers. With young people who have Aspergers, interaction with peers usually creates more anxiety than interaction with younger or older people.

Many emotional and behavioral issues associated with the onset of puberty can be avoided if the Aspergers child is kept on a consistent schedule. A daily routine produces behavioral stability and psychological comfort for these kids. It also lessens their need to make demands since they can anticipate that their needs will be met.

When parents establish a daily routine, they eliminate some of the situations in which their child's behavior becomes problematic. Also, by building in a regular time to give him/her positive attention, he/she may have less of a need for "acting-out" behaviors. 

 

Discipline for Defiant Aspergers Teens


COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said... Alpha-Stim AID for anxiety. And, it gets better once adult.
•    Anonymous said... Encouraging articles.
•    Anonymous said... I'm having the same problem with my son. He is on a low dose antidepressant and it made such a difference. My happy boy is back.
•    Anonymous said... I've been going through that with my 13 y/o Aspie, too. Wicked anxiety and depression. It really started at about 10 or 11 and peaked for us this year. Luckily, between therapy and regular talks, we're in a better place now. I try not to rush her or stress her out. Her daily routines help calm her so we do our best not to interfere with them.
•    Anonymous said... Jed Baker gave the best explanation of one of the reasons why this happens, they become aware of all the drs, meds, therapies, spec schools etc, that they feel they are broken and unfixable. This happened to my son too. Meds and therapy helped, but Jed Baker also adds that we must increase our praise to help them during these years. I can honestly say doing this has helped our son. Good Luck!
•    Anonymous said... Medication. Risperdal and depakote work great but cause weight gain.
•    Anonymous said... My daughter too is in a major depression, she is on depokote and it is not working, neither did Prozac and another anxiety medicine. Feeling hopeless/helpless over here
•    Anonymous said... my son is 16 and is a nightmare with moods, temper, despite what we do as parents its not enough. he wont chat.!
•    Anonymous said... Totally! Normal! My guys meltdowns increased & aggression. I stuck to my guns with him and haven't used Meds. I've used humour, timeouts & rewards. It's hard but he's trying very hard!
•    Anonymous said... We are in the SAME boat over here!!!
•    Anonymous said... Yes yes yes!!! Totally normal...unfortunately! We got my daughter back into counseling and had a medication change also. Good luck

Please post your comment below...

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

She's probably having trouble making/keeping friends and is likely being bullied. This is the age where they become acutely aware that they are different from others. Does she have any hobbies? I would strongly suggest getting her involved with a group of kids with similar interests, social skills groups, etc.

Anonymous said...

My daughter is only 10, going through puberty and anxiety is at an all time high!

Anonymous said...

My daughter is 6 (almost 7) and is showing physical signs of puberty (breast development and armpit hair - along with the odor). She has become increasingly non-compliant in school and becoming more aggressive towards her teachers... At home she's almost a perfect little angel. Of course we have a very strict schedule/routine at home and any change in it has to be explained thoroughly before we get compliance.

Anonymous said...

my son has autism and i know is similar to aspergers. He is 17 now and I wish all the parents out there with teenage children with aspergers all the luck in the world through this difficult stage in both yours and their lives xxxx
13 hours ago · Like

Ryan Taylor said...

I'm 26 and autistic and still can't deal with puberty. It's extremely hard to explain. I just can't accept the physical change in myself or friends I knew before/during it. It's just too different seeing them with facial hair etc. I find it very crippling that my mind makes these natural things so hard to deal with even when they've happened a long time ago.

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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