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

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Explaining "the Birds and the Bees" to Aspergers Teens

"My Asperger's son is 14. He knows he is different from other 'typical' teenagers, and he wants to know why. What do I say to him? Also, how would you start explaining sex and changes his body is going through?"

This is a tough question to answer, but at 14, your son is certainly ready for some explanation of his disorder. Here is a statement for you to follow when you answer your son’s question:

Lots of people have problems and challenges in life to deal with. Some of them can be seen and some can't. You have a condition known as Asperger’s. We don’t know why you have it. Sometimes it is inherited from other people in a family. Asperger’s has something to do with the genes that are in our bodies, and something may have happened to some of them before you were born. Children have Asperger’s from the time they are born, but some children are going to school before the doctors diagnose Asperger’s. More and more people are being diagnosed with this condition, but that’s probably because doctors and psychiatrists know more about it and what to look for than they did in the past. You are not the only teen with Asperger’s -- a lot of teenagers have it, so you are not alone.

Some kids and teenagers can be very critical of a peer who doesn’t act, talk or think like them. And a child with Asperger's or High-Functioning Autism can easily take this criticism as a sign that he or she isn't good enough or cool enough to be in the group. It is important for you to stress to your son that “different” does not mean inferior.

Re: explaining sex...

Sex education basics may be covered in health class, but your son might not hear or understand everything he needs to know. That's where the parent comes in. Sex education is a parent's responsibility. But if you wait for the perfect moment, you might miss the best opportunities. Instead, think of sex education as an ongoing discussion.

Here are some tips to help you get started and to keep the conversation going:

1. Clearly state your feelings about specific issues (e.g., oral sex, intercourse, etc.). Present the risks objectively, including emotional pain, sexually transmitted infections and unplanned pregnancy. Explain, for example, that oral sex isn't a risk-free alternative to intercourse.

2. If you're uncomfortable, say so — but explain that it's important to keep talking. If you don't know how to answer your son's questions, offer to find the answers or look them up together.

3. Don't lecture your son or rely on scare tactics to discourage sexual activity. Instead, listen carefully. Understand your son's pressures, challenges and concerns.

4. Let your son know that it's perfectly acceptable to talk with you about sex whenever he has questions or concerns. Reward questions by saying, "I'm glad you came to me."

5. Your son needs accurate information about sex — but it's just as important to talk about feelings, attitudes and values. Examine questions of ethics and responsibility in the context of your personal or religious beliefs.

6. When a television program or music video raises issues about responsible sexual behavior, use it as a springboard for conversation. Remember that everyday moments (e.g., riding in the car together, walking in the park, putting away groceries, etc.) may offer the best opportunities for discussing the topic.

With your support, your son can emerge into a sexually responsible grown-up. Be honest and speak from the heart. Don't be discouraged if your son doesn't seem interested in what you have to say. Say it anyway. Studies show that teenagers whose moms and dads talk openly about sex are more responsible in their sexual behavior.

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook


 COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said... He already knows he's Aspergers. We talk about the birds and bees stuff. He's more uncomfortable with it than I am. But I tell him. .you gotta know! He runs in his room, then I tell him some more another day. Its an ongoing process.
•    Anonymous said... He should know he has Aspergers. We told my nephew as soon as he could understand.
•    Anonymous said... I guess for me since I have a daughter was to be honest, brutally honest about all of it, because of the "woman" stuff she had to know a little sooner but being honest and open has its perks
•    Anonymous said... I think this woman's son knows he's Aspergers. I hope he does!
•    Anonymous said... I told my son at an early age, all in correct terms, he then had more education in school starting in the 4th grade. He still comes to me with any questions. I make the conversation matter of fact. My son was 11 and asked me if he had Asperger's while watching a news special during Autism awareness month. He has recently asked me when I knew he was different. (He is 15 this month) I asked if he remembered the first time he wanted a toy~ we literally threw him in the minivan and immediately drove to Toys RUS! It's really something seeing him mature. Good Luck1
•    Anonymous said... If he's super factual, maybe some medical/science-type books on reproductive development. My 6-year-old has been looking at my Netter's Anatomy books since he was like 3. He's obsessed with them.
•    Anonymous said... 'making sense of sex by' sarah attwood , written specifically for teens with AS. Has everything about growing up, bullying, crushes, hygiene etc....
•    Anonymous said... My son wasn't interested in books that were recommended to help him understand AS. I finally got the idea to give him the WebMD print out on it. Worked like a charm. He needed the facts, and only the facts. He knew he was different and needed to know why. And most importantly that he is not alone.
•    Anonymous said... Tony Attwood has done a lot of research and has information on this as well.

*   Anonymous said... My 5 YO HFA son is doing a sexual behavior which keep me worried about him. He always looks to my chest and start behaving very strange, open legs pushing his lower body forward. Could`nt get the  reason behind this behavior which scares me alot ...he is only 5!
 

Post your comment below…

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is very helpful information. Thank you for posting.

Anonymous said...

My daughter is 12 and wants to be "just like everyone else". We tell her that no one is exactly alike-we point out her strengths and tell her that she was "made special" because she is going to do special things with her life. We play upon the strengths and the "differences" we discuss how it makes her a stronger, better person who makes a huge difference and how those differences help her. I hope that makes sense.

Jokysu said...

We don't think of Asperger's as a disorder at our house. Our son is 13 and has known he has AS since 2nd grade. It is how is brain is built and it may be somewhat different than others - but it makes him who he is and we love all the parts of him. We explain how everyone has challenges in life and have to work through them regardless of what causes them. He is who he is - and if he didn't have Asperger's I cannot imagine what type of kid I would have. I love the boy I have as he is. As for the birds and the bees - We are open and honest - the only way to be - They can find information on their own if they just do a little searching on the internet - so you might as well be open and honest. Why hide it? It is a part of real life.

Anonymous said...

When my son was about 10 or 11 we were visiting a new therapist, and she asked him "have you ever heard of Aspergers?". I was so upset - we hadn't said anything to him because we didn't want him to feel labeled. But he surprised me by saying "Yes, and I think I might have it". He knew he was different, and had done some research. It's been a big relief to him to know there is a reason why he is the way he is.

Anonymous said...

My Aspergers son (now 13) was always questionning these things and I always gave him truthful, accurate answers - so much so that he actually ended up telling the other kids at school when they were all around 8 and no longer allowed to get changed for PE together, exactly why and what puberty was! His teacher says that he did it better than she could have. :) He knows all about it but cannot bear the thought of touching anyone that way - and kissing is disgusting as far as he concerns! He doesn't want to be like anyone else - he likes being him - he just wishes they would leave him alone.

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.

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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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to read the full article...

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