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

Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders

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Parenting Young Adults with Aspergers

"My 20 year old Asperger’s son (unemployed) is staying out all night and not telling us where he has been. I am worried as he is not really ‘street wise’ and probably at big risk."

You have good cause to be concerned about this. Young people with Aspergers and High Functioning Autism have a lot of difficulty recognizing when someone is lying to them, using them for their own purposes, or befriending them in order to get them involved in inappropriate activities. Many “Aspies” are surprised that someone would even try to take advantage of them. While they understand if something is true or false, they can’t understand why someone would use the truth to create lies, say one thing but mean something else, or believe something that is not true.

The slow or confused processing of emotions many people with Aspergers experience can impede awareness of dangerous situations and stop rational thought. The emotional warning signs that are meant to protect them from difficult or harmful situations may malfunction, or work so slowly that they lose effectiveness. This means that these individuals are less prepared to defend themselves verbally or physically in an argument or conflict or say “no” to inappropriate activities. Consequently, your adult child may fall victim to exploitation or worse through no fault of his own.

Even though he is a grown-up, you must still try to protect your (socially naïve) child as he is not ready for the same amount of freedom as other grown-ups. Does he have a trustworthy friend or relative who could be a mentor and help him by going out with him and keeping him out of trouble? This mentor can try to help your son understand that many people act friendly, but may want to get him involved in foolish or dangerous activities. Also, the mentor could help him get involved in clubs or groups in which he will meet responsible friends.

Therapy is definitely called for in this situation. You and a therapist may be able to convince your adult child to tell you what is going on when he is outside the home. Also, he needs to tell you when “friends” want him to do something wrong or dangerous. Convince him that by doing so, he is doing the right thing, obeying the law, and keeping himself and others safe.

Sit down with your adult child and have a long talk about what he shouldn’t do when he is with friends, including inappropriate sexual activity, criminal activity, take drugs, drinking, driving after drinking, and so on. Make it very clear to him the negative consequences of doing each of these things in very specific terms. Make it clear that he must not engage in these activities – even to gain the friendship of others.

One of the good things about young adults with Aspergers in this situation is that they can be very “black and white” in sticking to rules. So, if you can emphasize some of the laws around certain behaviors (e.g., petty crime, certain sexual behaviors, use of alcohol/drugs, etc.), you have a much better chance of compliance. In such situations, quite rigid thinking can be a good thing if it helps to keep your adult child on the “straight and narrow.”

Also, consider the possibility of a temporary group home or an assisted living situation for your son to help him learn to become independent and act responsibly, thus preparing him for living on his own some day. In addition, it's probably a good idea to put your name on all his bank accounts so that both of you must agree before he can access his money.

Launching Adult Children With Aspergers: How To Promote Self-Reliance

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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.”

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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. The hardest part is you feel like you’ll never actually get to know your child and how he/she views the world.

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