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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Aspergers & Split Personality

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

Asperger’s Syndrome is known to manifest itself differently with different children. Also, children with Asperger’s Syndrome 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 he is surrounded by strangers and in a less familiar environment. The stress of school may be relieved by a “meltdown” or other difficult behaviour at home. This is a common occurrence.

Dr. Tony Attwood, a clinical psychologist, is a world renowned expert on Asperger’s Syndrome. Here is what he says about split personality and Asperger’s: “Quite a few children with Asperger’s Syndrome are Dr. Jeckylls and Mr. Hydes. They are saints at school, but they soak up the anguish, then squeeze it out on their brothers and sisters when they get home. We do not know why this happens…”

Asperger’s is treated in two ways, and both of them help manage the anxiety that accompanies this illness. The first is cognitive psychology, and the second is prescription medication. The first thing you need to do in order to help your son is to find a psychiatrist or psychologist who specializes in Asperger’s Syndrome. This specialist will be able to help your son. He or she will help you and your son discover the reasons behind his behavioral changes.

In addition, a specialist will help you do two things:
  1. Modify the situation or the environment in which he lives to reduce difficult behaviour;
  2. Create interventions for handling your son’s 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 son with the help he 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 son better than anyone else; ask yourself if he can handle side effects like nausea, hypersensitivity, or prolonged sleepiness. These are all possible, depending on the medication prescribed.

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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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