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

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Helping Your Aspergers Child Survive the Holidays

This is an article designed to help parents of children who have Aspergers through the holiday seasons... 

We all have fond memories of our own childhood, when we looked forward to putting up the decorations, eating mouth watering meals and receiving all those longed for presents at Halloween, Thanksgiving or Christmas.

As parents we naturally want our children to enjoy it all and have as much fun as we did so we talk, anticipate and prepare with mounting excitement as the celebrations draw nearer. However for those families who are raising a child with Aspergers, it may all add up to an almighty headache! Children with Aspergers have a real hard time coping with all of these celebrations, and if they have their birthday on top of that… well you may as well pack up and go away until Spring!

Anticipation for a child with Aspergers leads to increased levels of anxiety which they cannot control. They become overloaded, and then you have a massive meltdown at the time when you are all supposed to be enjoying and celebrating the season of peace and goodwill! The party may be ruined and everybody upset, especially your child who is trying so hard to fit in and be like everybody else. 

So how can you achieve the impossible and enjoy the holiday season while at the same time keeping your Aspergers child calm and behaving appropriately?

The first simple step to take is to simply reduce the time talking about the festive occasion. Remember he can't easily control his emotions, and to chatter constantly about the event will simply lead to stress and anxiety. It is useful to enlist the help of others in your home in this and keep any conversations to a minimum while your Aspergers child is around.

Another great strategy to help is to keep any physical changes to your home to the minimum, so by all means decorate, put up cards and a tree, but just don’t make a big fuss about it all. A good tip is to not put out any presents until the day they are to be opened as your Aspergers child will have a hard time keeping their hands off and will became anxious and potentially oppositional.

Although it’s important not to overload your child, it is equally important to explain any changes to her routines. So prepare your child for any changes by calmly telling her the day before what will be happening. Visual supports always work well, so use photos or simple pictures to explain what will be happening. It is also important to explain to your child what is expected of her (e.g., to say "hello how are you" to guests and sit at the table to share the meal).

Your child will also need to be given permission to leave the festivities, and you can rehearse this together with some simple role-play. This is really important as it gives your child an exit strategy and also allows her to get through the celebrations without going into meltdown. Additionally if you see that he is becoming distressed, you can also activate an exit cue so your child gets out before the situation deteriorates. 

Following these simple steps should lead to a much more positive experience for everyone, and will provide your Aspergers child with the love, support, reassurance - and above all confidence - to participate fully in these wonderful occasions.

So to summarize briefly, it is important to keep preparations and discussions around the holidays to a minimum when the child with Aspergers is around. Preparing her as to what will be expected of her at this time, as well as incorporating an exit strategy, will help further. Good luck!
 


Comment:

I want to thank you for this. Holidays....all holidays...are very hard for my boy and the family, and its good to know im not alone or imagining this.

No comments:

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.

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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)

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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."

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.

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