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

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Are there any articles for fathers that can’t cope with the fact their children have Asperger’s...

Question

I was wondering if there are any articles for fathers that can’t cope with the fact their children have Asperger’s. I realise that our 2 children are on the spectrum but for 5 years now I cannot get him to deal with it and it is going to break us up.

Answer

It can be difficult for a parent to accept a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome or a diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder or Autism. Parents, especially of young children, often do not want a diagnosis and they don’t want to acknowledge that certain behaviors are indicators that a child has Asperger’s. Parents often make excuses for their children and learn to work around their behaviors.

Coming to accept a diagnosis of Asperger’s Syndrome can be a long process. Many parents have trouble thinking of their children as different. Some parents are relieved to finally understand why their child acts or reacts the way he does. But for those parents who have trouble coping with the diagnosis, you need to be patient and persistent.

If you realize that your children are exhibiting behaviors on the autism spectrum, it is in their best interest, as well as yours, to get a diagnosis soon. This means you will need to take them and have them evaluated. Speak to your husband before you do this to see if he agrees with taking this step and wants to participate with you. Encourage him listen to the doctor’s evaluation of your children’s situation. You both may be surprised by what the doctor has to say. It may also be necessary to consider having the children evaluated on your own if your husband does not want to participate.

Once you receive a diagnosis, it would be wise to talk with a therapist or counsellor who is skilled in helping families adapt to new situations such as this. Talking things through with a neutral third party can be very helpful for both you and your husband. Hopefully, this will bring you together so that you can begin to parent your children from the same point of view.

If you can come together and start to work together with the children, getting further advice on how to parent a child with Asperger’s can be helpful. Jeffrey Cohen has written a book entitled, “The Asperger Parent: How to Raise a Child with Asperger Syndrome and Maintain Your Sense of Humor.”

Jeffrey Cohen is the father of a child with Asperger’s Syndrome and he talks about what it’s like to parent his son. This book is full of humor and is easy to read. It can help you develop insights into your own parenting. It provides great information as well as emotional support.

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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.

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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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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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Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

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Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and HFA

Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

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