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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Asperger's Syndrome: Different Pathways to Diagnosis

There are several different pathways to the diagnosis of Aspergers. Some kids receive the diagnosis fairly early in life, while some individuals are not diagnosed until well into adulthood. In some cases, kids are inaccurately diagnosed with another disorder, (e.g., a language disorder, depression, schizoid personality), and are only later correctly diagnosed with Aspergers. Some kids are considered autistic early in life, but progress well enough to ultimately be diagnosed with Aspergers.

The impact of the diagnosis of Aspergers on a family is no doubt partly related to the manner in which the individual was diagnosed. Families who recognize early on that there is something seriously wrong with their youngster and are given a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder (and only later learn their youngster has Aspergers) will experience many of the reactions families with autistic kids have. These reactions are described below. Many families, whose kids progress far enough to no longer warrant an autism diagnosis, experience considerable relief and pride in their and their kid’s accomplishments. At the same time, they still struggle with complex feelings related to their youngster's Aspergers diagnosis. If the diagnosis is made in a parent or other relative when a youngster in the family receives the diagnosis, a different constellation of feelings is often set into motion. In these families, the adult must grapple not only with the diagnosis of a disability in the youngster, but with coming to terms with his own disability as well.

Because many kids with Aspergers were originally felt to have an autism diagnosis, the following remarks address the social and emotional issues for the families of kids diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder (ASD). These remarks generally refer to adult family members, primarily moms & dads and sometimes grandmoms & dads:

It is hard to overestimate the impact the diagnosis of ASD has on a family. For many moms & dads, this pain is so searing that even years later, the memory automatically causes tears. All moms & dads wish for healthy kids and this diagnosis shatters that hope irrevocably; never mind the fantasy of "perfect" kids, it shatters the premise that one has a normal youngster.

There is generally a kind of anxiety surrounding the birth of a baby that the youngster be healthy and many of these kids early on seemed to be fine. To learn that one does not have the normal little girl or boy one thought one had is an especially painful blow.

Compounding the impact of the diagnosis of ASD is the fact that it, unlike some other handicaps, affects multiple and diverse aspects of functioning. There may be impairments of cognition, motor skills, language, behavior, and certainly social and emotional interaction. ASD affects the way in which kids respond to and relate to their moms & dads. This is most dramatic in those autistic kids who act as if people do not exist. There is nothing more chilling than the gaze of a youngster who appears not to see. Such difficulties tend to make moms & dads feel helpless and as if they don’t matter. Most families become preoccupied with ASD and see it as the central feature of their lives. According to one father, "There isn't an hour that goes by that I don't think about it." Another parent said, "Will I ever be happy again?"

The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide: A Complete Resource Guide For Parents Who Have Children Diagnosed With Aspergers Syndrome

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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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