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

Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders

Search MyAspergersChild.com

Being Your Aspergers Child's Advocate

"The psychiatrist has told us that our son Travis has Asperger's Syndrome (high functioning). Should my husband and I tell other people, for example teachers, that he has this disorder? I'm not sure if making others aware of this will make it better or worse for Travis."

The short answer is 'yes'. Most (but not necessarily all) of the people in your child's life should know of his condition. And since you are the expert on your son, you should be the one to explain it. Your job is to advocate for your child, and you can't do this if you keep everyone in the dark about what is going on.

As a parent, you’re the one who has spent the most time with your child and, with or without a formal education in Autism Spectrum Disorders, you have already figured out what works and what doesn’t (or are coming close to figuring it out).

As an expert on your child, you may find yourself being his advocate all the time. Much of this advocacy happens in the classroom. You’ll need to tell your child’s teacher what techniques work best, what triggers him, and what calms him down.

If you find that the school system is just dragging your son along without actually educating him, you’ll need to advocate by talking to the the principal, superintendent, or even a lawyer. It may take all of these people to get the school system to take your child’s education seriously.

You may choose to spend a little time observing or volunteering in your child’s classroom. This can help you see what’s going on, and can provide you with the information you need to be the best advocate you can be.

You may also need to be your son’s advocate with your child’s doctor(s). Too often, they spend just a few minutes with a child, thus they may need to hear from you the reality of what’s going on in your household on a daily basis. Prepare yourself with a list of questions and comments to share with the doctor when you meet with him/her.

You may also need to advocate for your child with the public that still doesn’t completely understand Autism Spectrum Disorders. If, for example, you want your Aspergers child to join the Boy Scouts or take piano lessons, you’ll need to explain to people about his condition and tell them what they can expect when working with him.

Some people, including teachers, can be afraid of Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism, and as a result, they may shy away from dealing with children who suffer from it. With your honest and forthright advocacy, you can teach others about this disorder -- and specifically about your son so that he gets the best care and education possible.

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook

 
COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said...  When they know It gives everyone a better understanding. My daughter is going into 3rd grade and both her and i could not have done it without the teachers support.
•    Anonymous said... Absolutely! but be sure to tell them this is the reason he behaves the way he does but it's not an excuse for any bad behavior. He will obviously need more structured and repetitive reinforcement of what the correct way to behave is but at no time should you ever say..oh he only does that because he has Aspergers.. The more information you can get and give, the easier it will be for you and everyone involved in your sons life to understand him better
•    Anonymous said... Absolutely! Yes! It'll get him the help he needs in school.
•    Anonymous said... Absolutely!! Your son needs special support in class and at home. My daughter has Aspergers and ADHD. She had a very hard time in school last year, but with the help of her teacher, guidance counselor, school psychologist and special needs services, she made wonderful progress. Social skills groups are also really helpful.
Good luck!!
•    Anonymous said... Absolutely. I have grandchildren who have been diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome. Two have along with it. And the oldest has Tourettes along with his. The first and foremost thing that needs to occur is to teach him and yourselves everything you can find out about his special circumstance. So that all of you can grow with his needs. Then teach him never to never to be ashamed of who he is. His confidence will help him through challenge he may face. Embrace him for who he is and assist him by never letting him feel like he needs to hide who he really is as a person. Blessings to you and your child on your journey.
•    Anonymous said... better ...socially it explains a lot -my son got kicked out of 1st grade ...doing much better now that he & his teaches have a plan & extra help when necessary...
•    Anonymous said... Definitely! He needs an IEP (individualized education plan) and hopefully an understanding teacher and other faculty members. He will have special needs to get the education he deserves and being silent won't help him get those. Speak up on his behalf and best wishes.
•    Anonymous said... Definitely! People can't be understanding & supportive if they don't know. If he struggles at school at all you'll want an IEP to set up support for him.
•    Anonymous said... For those who asked, in Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a student qualifies for a 504 plan if he or she has a diagnosis (physical or mental) that substantially limits major life activities (such as learning). In my daughter's case, she already had a gifted EP. We did not want to drop that for an IEP (you can't have both). Her diagnosis of Aspergers, anxiety and Irlen Syndrome (a type of visual stress) qualified her for a 504. We asked for a meeting with all of her teachers and her guidance counselor. They approved accommodations for extra time on tests & assignments, testing In an alternate location if needed, use of a colored overlay for reducing visual stress and preferential seating in class depending on her needs. Also, since the teachers are aware of this, they tend to pay more attention to her and let me know when she's not having a good day. Also, it does not have to be reviewed every year, only if there are changes. I hope this is helpful, it has been invaluable for us!
•    Anonymous said... I find it helps people see my son w/ understanding rather than judgement.
•    Anonymous said... I talk to his teachers at the start of every year. It is nothing to be ashamed of so why hide it? He is also not allowed to use it as an excuse for his behavior though. They can support him best when they know his diagnosis. I also want them to know he is on meds for his ADHD in case something happens and they need to call the ambulance. He is pretty clumsy.
•    Anonymous said... I tell everyone that way they understand and help my 9 year old son in saying that his school has a seu on site as well
•    Anonymous said... I'm curious to a lot of things here, like, how old is your child? Has he struggled in school in the past? Does he have great difficulty with his peers, teachers, etc?
•    Anonymous said... It would be difficult for teaches to work with your son if they do not understand his unique ways. My school, teacher, Vice principal work with me & my sin.
•    Anonymous said... Speaking as a parent who only recently had our son 'diagnosed' with Aspergers, I would advocate telling all involved with these unique children. Our son is 14 , and we have experienced years of phone calls from school re 'meltdowns' and other behavior issues as we were ignorant to his unique 'wiring' and while parental instinct helps to negotiate how best to help your children, the teachers and 'bullies' didn't have the same understanding.Now the school is aware, wow! The change in attitude and teaching styles have been extraordinary- much more understanding and positive - We need to advocate and destigmatise - with understanding comes empathy- You wouldn't hide information about a child with Diabetes or Anaphylaxis!
•    Anonymous said... Tell them. Communication is key. And get an IEP-it offers built in protections as well as services. More schools are doing education training on autism, so if the school personnel know you will have a lot less headaches in the future. Trust me--I am a parent of an Aspie and a teacher!
•    Anonymous said... Yes yes!! Please share with the teachers it will only help with understanding and get him the help he deserves!! My son has Aspergers and sensory issues. He has an IEP and he is mainstreamed and doing great!! I agree with all the other comments as well!
•    Anonymous said... Yes! My son has an iep and it works great for him. The teachers understand and are trained to deal with them better and it runs alot smoother. The teacher my son had. Keep in contact with me during the day via text. If she noticed something she would text me. And i would give her different options on how to do things. It went easier during the day.
•    Anonymous said... Yes!!! If you don't have an IEP, you need to have a 504 asap. It has been absolutely essential for my daughter (high functioning Aspie and gifted student). It allows her extra time on tests/assignments and she gets preferential seating (away from noise or disruptive students, etc).
•    Anonymous said... Yes, people are more understanding when they know and he can get the support he needs. I know it has benefitted my son and he has gotten the extra help in school he needs
•    Anonymous said... Yes, tell them. Nowadays, it is looked upon in a positive light. My son was having issues with his teeth, but he did not want to go to the dentist. But, when we explained it to his awesome dentist he immediately said so many complimentary things about Aspergers. That made him want to go back for every appt. Thankfully, now his teeth are beautiful! People aren't as closed minded about it.
•    Anonymous said... Absolutely tell them - tell his teachers, his childcare providers, any summer camp counselors, sports coaches, et al. It gives them a window into his world and that's a good thing. And just know that this doesn't make Travis anything other than an amazing and wonderful child who just happens to have some extra "add-on features". My son, Carson, used to ask me, "Mom, am I weird? Cuz kids think I'm weird." I would say to him, "Yay! Yay for being weird! Yay for being different! You will help make the world so very, very interesting! Don't you ever think for a moment that there's anything wrong with being different." Now he tells people quite readily that he has Aspergers! When they ask him what that means, he says, "Oh, it just means that my brain works differently than yours."
•    Anonymous said... I think one of the key things is to discuss it with him. Ensure he understands what ASD means for him and that he has strengths and difficulties. Ask him if he wants others to know and explain who and your reasons why. The staff at my sons school know but he has chosen for his friends not to know - I imagine a couple of them do as their parents know. He should be consulted though as it's all about him.
•    Anonymous said... I would make them aware hunni, then they are equipped to deal with any extra support he may need x
•    Anonymous said... It protects him if he has anger outbursts... Better to protect him than let him be considered the anti social angry kid
•    Anonymous said... They do need to be aware, sometime you might need an IEP for him
•    Anonymous said... they need to know so he can get the best care & tell them about any little "quirks" so they can't be misinterpreted as him being badly behaved, not listening, etc.
•    Anonymous said... We have had nothing but support. It's not something to feel ashamed about. It's a gift. I know it's hard to see that now but it is. Kids like this see the world differently then others. The things my son comes up with just make me laugh. We have our bad days but we are starting have a lot more great days. Try ability th ey have found it helps. My son has the anger and aggression type of aspergers. Just keep researching and talking about it. It will all be okay
•    Anonymous said... yes, tell them, otherwise you may run the risk of people jjust thinking he's a 'bad' or 'naughty' or 'disruptive' child


Please post your comment below…

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

I think telling teachers and others at your child's school is imperative to them knowing why certain behaviors exist. It is a tool to help them know how to better teach your child and perhaps provide services.

Anonymous said...

As a teacher, I agree 100%

Anonymous said...

YOu need to educate yourself as much as you can about everything ASD and Aspergers in particular. The processes in which you will be going through with the schools and teachers. You need to do this now before school starts good luck

Anonymous said...

Yes, tell the teachers. They will be able to help your child much better if they know about their specific needs. Ask the school to have a 504 meeting to discuss it.

Anonymous said...

We didn't tell them last year to begin with and I think that was a mistake. I got called in after he said something strange, but once I told the teachers he has Asperger's then they understood that he was just frustrated. This year I will be telling them ASAP. They need to know that we don't want him using Asperger's as an excuse to say and do strange things, but he needs help learning what is appropriate. Hopefully if they know they can help him better. I also tell them that he is on ADHD meds every year in case he has a medicine reaction in their class.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything said above. A few resources for you - the 100 Day Kit from Autism Speaks (there's a version for Aspger's and it's an invaluable resource!)... it provides wonderful tools including outlining symptoms and what to expect as he gets older, how to talk to family and educators, how to find support groups, and then the basics of what to ask for at his school. I've been right where you are - I can tell you the first few months are the most challenging because there's a lot to learn. But you'll soon realize (if you haven't already) that his diagnosis isn't a curse! It's a blessing. It will provide you with a roadmap to understanding him better and being the very best parent you can for him.

Anonymous said...

We tell people up front because I don't want my son to think it's something to be ashamed of. We have told him, yes, he's different but there are pro's and con's to it just like there are for neurotypical kids. He has even bragged about to a few people LOL! He knows there are negatives to it but overall is proud of the fact he has aspergers. :)

Anonymous said...

We told our son that having Asperger's means he sees the world differently. He responded by saying "yeah, I see Big Bear Mountain everywhere I look".
I made a point of telling his teacher and principal last year. This year, due to difficulty on the playground, I'm going to get an IEP.

Anonymous said...

All Cat's have Asperger's is a great book for young ones.

Anonymous said...

My son told another child he was going to bring a knife to school and it was clearly out of frustration because he had something to say and the other child would not listen to him. Knowing he has Aspergers that makes sense that he would spout off out of frustration. In a case like that - knowing a child has Aspergers makes a huge difference. He could easily have been suspended over it.

Anonymous said...

So what about telling your child's peers and their parents. I'm talking elementary age. I'm afraid my child will get bullied.

Anonymous said...

I would definitely tell his teachers. This will help them understand that he just isn't "acting" out in certain situations. And, it will help him getting the services in school he will need. As for other parents, that's more a judgement call. Most parents will understand if you tell them what Asperger's entails, especially since more and more individuals are being diagnosed with this. In regards to bullies, they are always going to be out there. We've just put our teenaged daughter in a private school that helps those with Autism and those spectrum disorders because of the bullying she was enduring at her school. I suggest you let your child know that he can come to you with whatever is bothering him. This way you can determine if he's actually being bullied or if it may be anxiety he's feeling. And then you can look for ways that he can handle himself in these situations as well as you being able to go to the school/parents with your concerns as you hear them. One day at a time.....hard as that is :-)

Anonymous said...

Definitely tell them. Chances are he'd get bullied or ostracized if they didn't know/understand.

Anonymous said...

I have told my eight year old and since he has known been far better as he no longer feels like the naughty child. He as fascinated for a week. Now its never really mentioned. The school know but he has the book called all cats has aspergers which he uses to tell people if he wants to. With his peers really left to him to tell if he wishes which I feel gives him the control and it is very few children he tells which may change as he gets older.

Anonymous said...

I think that information is always good. I tell everyone who will be alone with my child...camps, babysitters etc. We homeschool so we no longer have the teacher category but everyone else....then they can be on the look out for signs BEFORE things blow up and can use techniques (that I also share with them) that work for my kids.

Anonymous said...

prep now cause bulling will happen & it only gets worse when they get older & my son came home asking if he waz dirt :-( it kills me that theres not more i can do i cant afford private school may end up doing home school but time will tell

Anonymous said...

Yes, tell everyone. Get support and understanding. Apply for school services, IEP and seek out support groups. You need others who have been there.
32 minutes ago via mobile · Like

Anonymous said...

It's important for teachers to know and you'll most likely still need to educate them re his specific profile as every ASD kid is different. It took me 18 months to start talking about it to other parents. I needed to process and understand it myself. We've been developing a profile book for our kids with challenges and strengths of ASD so that if kids start to question it we've got some answers. Also important to teach your child about ASD too so they have their own answers. I think you do have to be careful who you tell bc not everyone is going to be understanding.

Anonymous said...

I think you must talk with the teachers about AS. They can work with him better. Child WIth AS are very specyfic (need routine, dislike change). If your son is angry at school the reason of this can be AS. (Sorry for my English)

Anonymous said...

You can definitely get a 504 plan and IEP if you need it. The beauty in that is that you have legal protection. We have had the worst nightmare with school with our son. Finally having a 504 is nice to have legalities to threaten them with.

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.

Click here to read the full article…

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.

Click here for the full article...

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.

Click here to read the full article…

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.

Click here to read the full article…

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."

Click here to read the full article…

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.

Click here to read the full article…

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.

Click here to read the full article...

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.

Click here to read the full article...

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.

Click here
to read the full article...

My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content