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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What is Aspergers?

In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual IV (DSM IV) there is a category entitled “Pervasive Developmental Disorders.” Aspergers is one of the five diagnoses under this umbrella heading. Although not stated in the DSM IV, many clinicians use the term “Autism Spectrum Disorder” (ASD) to describe a continuum of related disorders, including autism, Pervasive Developmental Disorder Not Otherwise Specified (PDD NOS), and Aspergers. Most clinicians feel Aspergers is at the high end of a rather long continuum. It is important to bear in mind that while individuals on the spectrum share certain characteristics, they may look very different from one another. Therefore, the diagnosis of ASD is considered to be a heterogeneous one.

What difficulties do people with ASD share?

There are three main categories of difficulties people on the spectrum have in common. These difficulties are:
  1. Restricted and/or repetitive patterns of behavior, interests and activities
  2. Impairment is social interaction
  3. Impairment in communication

What is the difference between Aspergers and autism?

At this point in time, there does not seem to be a consensus regarding the distinction between Aspergers and autism. There does seem to be agreement that people with Aspergers, like those with autism, share difficulties in the three areas mentioned above. There is less agreement about what distinguishes one diagnosis from the other. According to the definition used in the DSM IV, in Aspergers, there can be no delay in the development of language. In other words, although language is disordered, words, phrases, and sentences came in at the expected time. However, research suggests almost 50 per cent of kids with Aspergers are late in their development of speech, but they are usually talking fluently by the age of five. The definition of Aspergers in the DSM IV does not cover enough people, since many, if not most of these kids had delays in language development.

Another distinction has to do with cognition. In autism, there is an enormous range of intellectual functioning. In Aspergers, cognition is normal and often gifted in certain areas.

Lastly, some clinicians believe that the difficulties with social relatedness are more severely impaired in autism than in Aspergers.

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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