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

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Aspergers Children and Split Personality

"Is it common for a child with Asperger’s to have a split personality? My daughter is a really good kid at school, but then a complete monster at home. Is this normal?"

Aspergers (high functioning autism) is known to manifest itself differently with different children. Also, children with Aspergers  may react differently to various situations depending on their individual personalities. Your child may feel more comfortable with the familiar surroundings at home, and feel freer to act out more at home than in public, where she is surrounded by strangers and in a less familiar environment.

The stress of school may be relieved by a “meltdown” or other difficult behavior at home. This is a common occurrence. Quite a few kids with Aspergers are saints at school, but they soak up the anguish and then squeeze it out on their family members when they get home.

Aspergers is treated in two ways, and both of them help manage the anxiety that accompanies this disorder. The first is cognitive psychology, and the second is prescription medication. The first thing you need to do in order to help your daughter is to find a psychiatrist or psychologist who specializes in Aspergers. This specialist will be able to help you and your daughter discover the reasons behind her behavioral changes.

In addition, a specialist will help you do two things:
  1. Modify the situation or the environment in which your daughter lives in order to reduce difficult behavior.
  2. Create interventions for handling her anxiety.

Please don’t be intimidated. Changes don’t have to be complex or unmanageable. The changes you need to make might just involve changing lighting to a lower level, adjusting sound levels in your home, or creating a new schedule.

If initial interventions do not help, a psychiatrist can prescribe medications which will provide your daughter with the help she needs. It’s important to note that psychotropic (mood-altering) drugs like Zoloft or Prozac can help children, but they can also cause serious problems for children. If the psychiatrist prescribes medication, ask about dosage levels and, more importantly, side effects.

Just about all drugs have side effects, and it’s important for you to know about them so you know what to expect. You know your child better than anyone else; ask yourself if she can handle side effects like nausea, hypersensitivity, or prolonged sleepiness. These are all possible, depending on the medication prescribed.

More information about Aspergers children doing well at school - but poorly at home - can be found here: Behavior Problems At Home - But Not At School 

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook 


COMMENTS:

Anonymous said...
My oldest son is like this. I say he assimulates (sp) at school then when he hits the door at home all bets are off and he's able to breathe. Which sadly for us means it's on and it's ugly somedays!

Anonymous said...
School is structured... maybe he can cut loose at home..

Anonymous said...
Maybe he is intimidated by bigger kids at school and he is reacting at home where everything is safe and friendly. Try and get to the bottom of his school troubles as a means to calm him down.

Anonymous said...
my daughter was like that, she had to be "normal" while at school which caused her to stress out & once she was home she was able to be herself & release the stress. In her words " Mommy, you love me no matter what even if I break something"

Anonymous said...
He's also probably over-stimulated and all the tension from being so good all day is really stressing him out so he's acting out in his safe place. My son was the same way, so we send him to school in the mornings and homeschool him in the afternoons to give him more down time. It's a good balance for us but doesn't work for everyone of course.

Anonymous said...
My son has always been this way. They work so hard to hold it all together at school by the time they get home in their 'safe haven' they melt down. I'd rather it be at home than at school or elsewhere though. However, it does wear you down after awhile. I dread 3:30pm in the afternoon on school days! Hang in there.

Anonymous said...
Im havin the same trouble as soon as he leaves school it starts but they wont diagones him cus he ok in school 4 2hrs even thow his behaviour so extreme at ome we got a surport worker health vistor social worker but im gettin no were

Anonymous said...
We have similar. Oldest has diagnosis already. Middle child we are almost certain is an aspie too. But school not interested as he is a high achiever so not having detramental effect on his school work. Has recent family suituation which ment change in routine he "kicked off " worse than the oldest. Going again to gp as want referal for him. Hope they listen this time.

Anonymous said...
Its drivin me mad my son is a very high achiever 4 a 3 year old so im not gettin much luck i havnt been to gp iv gone threw health visitor do u think i sud go to gp wud i get any further?

Anonymous said...
My son as passive aspergers he's really good in school when he gets home meltdown the problem when they r good at school aspergers never picked up by the teachers my sons wasn't it was a very good freind who noticed my sons traits

Anonymous said...
ask ur gp for a common assessment framework also a ref to camhs

Anonymous said...
have u read tony attwood aspergers my consultant told me to read it

Anonymous said...
i really feel 4 u. my son is now 8 but was only diagnosed a yr ago. took me yrs of fighting, lots of exclusions from school, evn on a half day programme. they blamed my parenting!! we had all the services wiv no help 2. he used 2 c an...See More

Anonymous said...
ask the school to ref ur son to autisum team they need to know how he is at home he may be passive like my son the school never picked it up now he's 11 he's showing all the signs the signs in adam can't mix has to have rotine noise has an imaginary freind

Anonymous said...
they can't be bothered go to ur dr ask to be ref to aut consultant keep a diary over the next few months

Anonymous said...
Thank u so much 4 ur help im in a hole an cant seem to get out il get to gp monday thank u its so frustratin 4 me i need help

Anonymous said...
Iv kept a diary over 2 months they sent me on parentin courses which did not help at all they tell things to do wid him but makin is behaviour worse an he cant cope wid it bless

Anonymous said...
Thats exactly wot i had 2 do, i was fightin the system 4 4yrs, evn believd it was my 'parenting' at 1 point but my son is now in yr 3 at school n this has been his 1st full yr being full time in mainstream wivout a single exclusion!! its not jus about the diagnosis n puttin a label on your child but gettin them and u the help an support that u so need an deserve!! shudnt hav 2 b a fight :-( xx

Anonymous said...
No it sudnt b a fight im fed up of tryin to prove it as if i wantd this 4 my son i just want him to b happy an settled

Anonymous said...
Thats wot any good parent wants 4 their child n u wil get their in the end, i did and it was worth it. just dont giv in and keep going. if u need sum1 2 talk 2 then feel free 2 add me as a friend on fb, know how tough it is n 2 hav a friendly ear who knows wot u r goin thru makes al the diffrnce :-) xx

Anonymous said...
Maybe at school there's a routine, predictability & structure and maybe there's less of that at home? It was like that for us, but once we established routines for at home and stuck to them, he was better. Stay positive and good luck!

Anonymous said...
My son is 7, and for the whole of his short life I have had a huge gut feeling telling me my son is not like his siblings or other kids. I've known in my heart he has something different. He is great at school but look out at the end of the day, worst is if there was a issue. I'm now on the road to getting answers for him as he knows he is different too :-( it is hard work and I will keep fighting for him as I'm his voice. Just hard when he is not tricking all the boxes when he has assessments and is ok at school.

Anonymous said...
My grandson who is 9 is the opposite. He acts up at school and isn't to bad at home. Structure is the key, I have found. It's a never ending battle. Now that school is out, he is acting up at home again.

Anonymous said...
My son is 11 and i have only just found out that he has Aspergers, i have always known he was a bit different and have been struggling with his bad moods and difficultness at home. I also hate it how some family members think it is your parenting that causes it! It breaks my heart, as all you want is for them to be happy and settled. I am glad i found this site.

Anonymous said...
I think a lot of times our kids work so hard to hold it all together when they are out and about, and then let loose at home where they feel more safe. All the anxiety and frustration tends to get bottled up and then let out again at home.

Anonymous said...
yes. very normal. 



Most recent comments:

•    Anonymous said… article is good but this is not split personality which is a completely different diagnosis. this describes the results/effects of their situational environment
•    Anonymous said… Aspies can hold it together the whole day but then we're exhausted and need to let loose when we get home.
•    Anonymous said… Deal with this everyday , I truly think bc she tries to hold it together at school then when she comes home she relaxes in her comfort zone .
•    Anonymous said… Does anyone have a child like this who still get services in school? I really believe in OT break during the day would alleviate alot of the meltdowns we are having immediately after school and all night - but since she is doing well there they don't really want to do anything.
•    Anonymous said… Google Pathological Demand Avoidance.
•    Anonymous said… Hell ye i relate an i cant get a diagnosise cus of this so frustrating
•    Anonymous said… I am so glad I am not the only one with this problem. My son is the perfect angel at school apparently and he comes home and completely melts down over the smallest things. I too have a hard time getting his teacher to take me seriously when he acts so well behavior wise in school and academically he's ahead of his class. Only thing we get is a little bit of OT and even thats not much.
•    Anonymous said… I have the same issue with my daughter. It is not split personality. It is the fact that she comes home to decompress. She has to release the pent up frustrations of the day. We, her family, are the lucky ones that get to deal with her decompression. I am so glad that my friend Alex pointed this out to me. It made such huge sense when he did.
•    Anonymous said… I know my son does not have a split personality but this is exactly what we go through.
•    Anonymous said… I think most of us Aspie mothers go through the same thing
•    Anonymous said… I'm grateful to have her behave at school, actually. I've also tried to think of her after school meltdowns as a compliment that she's comfortable. Sounds crazy, but it's kept me from coming unhinged on several occasions. I also try to have some sort of snack or drink ready for when she gets in the car. We go home and decompress for a little while, may watch a few of HER shows. Seems to work MOST of the time.
•    Anonymous said… It's actually normal, my son has learnt that school is important and he puts so much energy and focus into school that as soon as he walks out of the classroom its on like donkey kong, I accept most of the behaviour and dont put too much pressure on him to behave at home after school he's exhausted, but I find he is better on weekends. He will eventually find a happy medium
•    Anonymous said… It's not a split personality. They just use up every speck of self-control, self-soothing, and focus at school so have none left once they get home. We dealt with this for 2 years when my aspie was in public school - since homeschooling it is no longer an issue.
•    Anonymous said… I've been dealing with the exact things Ginger and Amy described. It's hard to get services for a child who behaves well and doesn't have academic problems, even when it's obvious that her social skills make interacting with peers difficult. Just yesterday, we attended a meeting at which I was told her day services will probably be cut because she's not currently an academic or disapline problem, but oh, come back if things get worse. It's a catch-22 for parents b/c if the child does well in some areas, the problem areas won't be taken seriously!
•    Anonymous said… Keep in mind how hard it is for an Aspie to keep their behaviour "normal" in school. They are exhausted when they come home. My daughter has the same, and I always keep in mind how hard the poor thing is working on behaving like the others at school. Everyone has to be able to behave without filters or so much effort somewhere.
•    Anonymous said… Make the teachers aware that the anxiety spills over at home in the form of outbursts or meltdowns, chewing minty gum helps me daughter to keep it together at school. This is in her IEP ... Ask the doctor who diagnosed to write something to school about how your child is affected by her anxiety. Also try teaching deep breathing and when they get home just let them check out and decompress for an hour or two. They need and deserve this time to just do whatever they need to do in order to calm down... Read watch tv, play computer games, play with pets, maybe go outside and swing or spin. My daughter used to spin on swing while singing and sometimes yelling or shreiking. We all know water is often very calming for these kids, so maybe painting with watercolors or playing in the bath tub will help. And my daughter likes hugs so that pressure of a big hug can be calming as well. I know how you feel because my daughter used to come home everyday and just lose it. It's a long learning process. Stay strong. Special children are given to special parents.��
•    Anonymous said… My now adult daughter, never formally diagnosed with Aspergers,  has all these –“split personality, fussy eater”. I was always facing the good student, and well-behaved child to my being the overbearing personality and neurotic mother diagnosis.
•    Anonymous said… My son behaves so well at school that the teachers and staff have a hard time understanding what we deal with at home. I'm glad he is well behaved at school, though. That does help... It's always comforting to hear that we are not alone
•    Anonymous said… No, its not a 'split personality.' It is merely a function of how hard she works at school, academically and socially, and has to 'release' in a safe place. She only has so much energy to deal...
•    Anonymous said… SO much so that the school thinks I'm NUTS for asking for an IEP!!!!
•    Anonymous said… This is exactly how my daughter is. Ugh... Sometimes I think the teachers at school think we are crazy!
•    Anonymous said… we experience this too and am grateful most of the time it's not the other way around
•    Anonymous said… We have sensory breaks in our Iep. But our schools just don't do them. The classroom can also do the sensory break. It's benefits everyone. I'm thinking of homeschooling. I'm tired of fighting for the simplest requests for my child. Makes me sad.
•    Mark Hutten said… Think of it as split "comfort levels" rather than "split personality" ...make sense?

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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.”

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.

If your child suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome, expect him to experience both minor and major meltdowns over incidents that are part of daily life. He may have a major meltdown over a very small incident, or may experience a minor meltdown over something that is major. There is no way of telling how he is going to react about certain situations. However, there are many ways to help your child learn to control his emotions.

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.

The standard disciplinary techniques that are recommended for “typical” teenagers do not take into account the many issues facing a child with a neurological disorder. Violent rages, self-injury, isolation-seeking tendencies and communication problems that arise due to auditory and sensory issues are just some of the behaviors that parents of teens with Aspergers will have to learn to control.

Parents need to come up with a consistent disciplinary plan ahead of time, and then present a united front and continually review their strategies for potential changes and improvements as the Aspergers teen develops and matures.

Click here to read the full article…

Aspergers Children “Block-Out” Their Emotions

Parenting children with Aspergers 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.

Although they may vary slightly from person to person, children with Aspergers tend to have similar symptoms, the main ones being:

=> A need to know when everything is happening in order not to feel completely overwhelmed
=> A rigid insistence on routine (where any change can cause an emotional and physiological meltdown)
=> Difficulties with social functioning, particularly in the rough and tumble of a school environment
=> Obsessive interests, with a focus on one subject to the exclusion of all others
=> Sensory issues, where they are oversensitive to bright light, loud sounds and unpleasant smells
=> Social isolation and struggles to make friends due to a lack of empathy, and an inability to pick up on or understand social graces and cues (such as stopping talking and allowing others to speak)

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."

Parents face issues such as college preparation, vocational training, teaching independent living, and providing lifetime financial support for their child, if necessary. Meanwhile, their immature Aspergers teenager is often indifferent – and even hostile – to these concerns.

As you were raising your child, you imagined how he would be when he grew up. Maybe you envisioned him going to college, learning a skilled traded, getting a good job, or beginning his own family. But now that (once clear) vision may be dashed. You may be grieving the loss of the child you wish you had.

If you have an older teenager with Aspergers who has no clue where he is going in life, or if you have an “adult-child” with Aspergers still living at home (in his early 20s or beyond), here are the steps you will need to take in order to foster the development of self-reliance in this child.

Click here to read the full article…

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