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 Teens & Aggression

“My teenage son is very aggressive and lacks any type of impulse control. He cannot be left alone with his siblings. Does you have any recommendations? I know he does not want to do these things, because when we talk about it, he says he loves his sister, etc., but he hurts her all the time. My poor daughter has to put up with his aggressions on a daily basis. I can't watch him every second he's awake. I also can't put either child in a protective bubble or send my son to his room and leave him there all day. I really don't know what to do with him and I'm not a big advocate of drug therapy.

He's starting to internalize his behavior, and now said to me this morning that he's a bad boy even though no one tells him that, not us, or his teacher. I worry about his self-esteem as he grows older. We praise him when he's good, but he gets a ton of negative feedback: “Don't do this… don't do that, etc… you need to go to your room for hitting your sister"… I constantly feel like I have to micromanage him. But he knows he's in time-out or in his room a lot, and I do that so he can calm down or to protect his siblings. Any advice would be helpful.”


Unfortunately, for some teens on the autism spectrum, aggression may become quite common when reaching adolescence, and this may be clearly influenced by the parenting styles of the teen's mother and father. In fact, one of the key factors in determining an AS or HFA youngster's tendency to develop aggression later in life may involve the presence of a maternally sensitive woman who can also balance the discipline and aggression in life.

In many of today's American families, it is not uncommon to find that both the mother and father are relatively absent from the youngster's life (e.g., due to work-related issues). Because a youngster's mental health is often greatly influenced by (a) the presence of maternal nurturing and (b) the balance of a father's discipline, when either of these are absent in the life of an AS or HFA youngster, confusion abounds and aggression usually develops. If you are the parent of a teenager on the autism spectrum, it is important to provide this balance to your child-rearing efforts.

If you are a single mother, and your child's father is not present, you can expect your youngster's aggression will undoubtedly be present as you provide the maternal sensitivity your youngster needs while also attempting to be the disciplinarian. Because Asperger's kids have trouble differentiating social cues, and are confused by discipline when expressed by their mother, the authoritarian type of parenting is often met with aggression. For this reason, having a male role model (e.g., uncle, grandfather) who can provide that discipline while you provide the maternal sensitivity will go a long way in your youngster's long-term development.

Conversely, if you are a father who is raising an AS or HFA child alone, you will want to be sure that you find ways to be sensitive and nurturing to your youngster's needs. Because fathers are more likely to be the authoritarian, a woman's sensitivity will be important in your youngster's mental health. Often, this role can be filled by a woman who is an aunt or grandmother, and does not necessarily mean that a step-mother has to be in the picture.

Asperger’s is a developmental disorder that affects many kids by resulting in abnormal social development. For parents, offsetting the risk for development of aggression is most likely achieved by first identifying your parenting style - as either disciplinarian or nurturing - and then finding someone who can fulfill the role as the opposite parenting style. Trying to manage both the motherly role and the fatherly role often leads to confusion in the Asperger’s youngster, which may exacerbate Asperger’s-related complications in adolescence. Of course, it is not always possible to find a co-parent, but the ideal scenario would involve such an individual.

Discipline for Defiant Aspergers Teens

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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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