Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders

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Aspergers Syndrome and Conduct Disorder

"My 12 year old son is diagnosed with asperger syndrome (high functioning) and conduct disorder (also the suspicion of ADHD). Any other parents out there with this combination in their child? Any advice for us? This has been a very difficult road - with no end in sight. My husband and I are feeling both the physical and mental effects of the stress we have to endure on a daily basis. We are desperate at this point."

Although several studies have suggested an association between violent crime and Aspergers (high functioning autism), few have examined the underlying reasons. All kids display oppositional or aggressive behavior from time to time, especially when they are upset, tired, or hungry. Oppositional behavior, such as arguing, lying, and disobeying, is a normal part of development for kids and early teenagers. When this behavior is frequent or excessive, affects the youngster’s home or school life, or violates the rights of others, a conduct disorder may be present.

Conduct disorder (CD) is the most severe psychiatric disorder in childhood, and occurs more frequently in boys than in girls. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the disorder affects an estimated 1-4 percent of teenagers between the ages of 9 and 17 years. Aspergers kids with this disorder repeatedly violate the rights of others, and display aggressive, destructive, and deceitful behavior. Identifying the signs and symptoms of CD, and beginning treatment as early in life as possible, is essential in order to prevent the disorder and prognosis from worsening.

What is conduct disorder?

Aspergers kids with CD repeatedly violate the personal or property rights of others and the basic expectations of society. A diagnosis of CD is likely when symptoms continue for 6 months or longer. CD is known as a "disruptive behavior disorder" because of its impact on kids and their families, neighbors, and schools.

Another disruptive behavior disorder, called oppositional defiant disorder, may be a precursor of CD. A youngster is diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder when he or she shows signs of being hostile and defiant for at least 6 months. Oppositional defiant disorder may start as early as the preschool years, while CD generally appears when kids are older. Oppositional defiant disorder and CD are not co-occurring conditions.

What are the signs of conduct disorder?

Symptoms of conduct disorder include:
  • Aggressive behavior that harms or threatens other people or animals
  • Destructive behavior that damages or destroys property
  • Early tobacco, alcohol, and substance use and abuse
  • Lying or theft
  • Precocious sexual activity
  • Truancy or other serious violations of rules

Aspergers kids with CD or oppositional defiant disorder also may experience:
  • Academic difficulties
  • Difficulty staying in adoptive, foster, or group homes
  • Higher rates of depression, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, and suicide
  • Higher rates of injuries, school expulsions, and problems with the law
  • Poor relationships with peers or adults
  • Sexually transmitted diseases

How common is conduct disorder?

Conduct disorder affects 1 to 4 percent of 9- to 17-year-olds, depending on exactly how the disorder is defined (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 1999). The disorder appears to be more common in boys than in girls and more common in cities than in rural areas.

Who is at risk for conduct disorder?

Research shows that some cases of CD begin in early childhood, often by the preschool years. In fact, some infants who are especially "fussy" appear to be at risk for developing CD. Other factors that may make a youngster more likely to develop CD include:
  • Abuse or violence
  • Crowding
  • Early institutionalization
  • Early maternal rejection
  • Family neglect
  • Large family size
  • Parental marital discord
  • Parental mental illness
  • Poverty
  • Separation from parents, without an adequate alternative caregiver

What help is available for families?

Although CD is one of the most difficult behavior disorders to treat, young people often benefit from a range of services that include:
  • Community-based services that focus on the young person within the context of family and community influence
  • Family therapy
  • Training for parents on how to handle youngster or teenager behavior
  • Training in problem solving skills for Aspergers kids or teenagers

What can parents do?

Some child and teenager behaviors are hard to change after they have become ingrained. Therefore, the earlier the CD is identified and treated, the better the chance for success. Most Aspergers kids or teenagers with CD are probably reacting to events and situations in their lives. Some recent studies have focused on promising ways to prevent CD among at-risk Aspergers kids and teenagers. In addition, more research is needed to determine if biology is a factor in CD.

Parents or other caregivers who notice signs of CD or oppositional defiant disorder in a youngster or teenager should:
  • Find family network organizations.
  • Get accurate information from libraries, hotlines, or other sources.
  • If necessary, talk with a mental health or social services professional, such as a teacher, counselor, psychiatrist, or psychologist specializing in childhood and teenager disorders.
  • Pay careful attention to the signs, try to understand the underlying reasons, and then try to improve the situation.
  • Talk to other families in their communities.

People who are not satisfied with the mental health services they receive should discuss their concerns with their provider, ask for more information, and/or seek help from other sources.

How to Identify Conduct Disorder in Aspergers Kids—

1. Step 1—Learn about the risk factors for developing CD, such as having a parent with a mood disorder, ADHD, substance abuse disorder, or CD. A history of abuse or neglect, exposure to violence, inconsistent or excessively harsh discipline, poverty, and overcrowded living conditions are other risk factors for CD.

2. Step 2—Take note of any aggressive behavior, such as bullying, threatening, or intimidating others. Aspergers kids with CD often initiate both verbal and physical fights, and have a history of violence and cruelty toward people and animals. More serious signs of aggressive behavior include the use of weapons and a history of sexual assault.

3. Step 3—Consider whether prior destructive acts were intentional or unintentional. While all Aspergers kids have the potential to damage property due to carelessness or reckless play, kids with CD deliberately cause damage to the property of others.

4. Step 4—Watch carefully for other signs of CD, such as lying, theft, truancy, substance abuse, serious rule violations, and precocious sexual activity. Aspergers kids with this disorder may also experience symptoms of depression, have poor relationships with family members and peers, and experience significant academic difficulties.

5. Step 5—Speak with your youngster’s teacher to get her opinion, and discuss your youngster’s symptoms with a mental health professional who specializes in disorders of childhood. Read all you can about the symptoms of CD so that you are better able to identify the symptoms in your youngster.

My Aspergers Child: Parenting Aspergers Children with Conduct Problems


•    Anonymous said… 13 yr old with aspergers and adhd
•    Anonymous said… Having answers doesnt change your little fellows . He is the se boy . Find all the good traites to his syndrome and concentrate on intervention. I have a beautiful 8 yrs old boy and the stress i felt has lessoned as i can now get help . All the best 👪
•    Anonymous said… I feel your pain we have a 10 year old adopted daughter that we are lost with
•    Anonymous said… I'm there with you--my 10 year old son-who isn't CD but ADHD- is like a light switch--just a flip of the switch and he's like a different child--angry, 'mouthy', etc. But, like the light switch, can switch right back and be the calm, pleasant boy we know.
•    Anonymous said… It is a difficult road, but it will get better.
•    Anonymous said… It really does get better. Really, it does. I met my stepson 4 years ago and he has come such a long way. I went from having to pretty much follow him everywhere he went to make sure he was safe and not running away to now he can walk to school with the other kids. We still have our moments but they are so much easier to deal with. Consistancy is the key!
•    Anonymous said… Maturity does wonders, but we wouldn't have survived and made it in public school, until he was a junior, without medication. We treated the anxiety of Aspergers and later dealt with the ADD for school goals. He is a white food eater so any food approaches were not available to us. Early on we had many incidences of out of control emotion and frustration....Prozac and Abilify finally stabilized our son. Home school allowed us to remove the ADD meds...he works cooperatively at his pace. He is now 17....and has grown out of his control issues and reactive behavior.
•    Anonymous said… My 13 year old has Asperger's and ADHD, diagnosed when he was 10. Best advice I can give is keep a consistent schedule. Post checklists and schedules everywhere to keep everyone accountable. Limit computer/TV/game system time. We are also in weekly therapy for assistance with coping with anxiety, social groups, and on medication for the anxiety and ADHD, both at very low doses.
•    Anonymous said… My 7 year old daughter has just diagnoised with Adhd and aspergers. It is not easy we are still learning at this stage it is a hard journey and I am sure it is just the start. X
•    Anonymous said… My 8 year old son was diagnosed with ADHD and ODD at 5 years of age and has had a diagnosis of HFA. After working with Autism for 30 years. His diagnosis was no surprise. Unfortunately there is not a lot of support for our HFA kids. How ever sites like this makes you realise your not on your own. And you can pick up lots of information from parents in the same boat.
•    Anonymous said… My daughter turned 17 in sept, i also found out finally that she has ASD aswel xx we have our ups an downs, but I wouldn't changer her x
•    Anonymous said… My son 15 has exactly same condition. It's been few ups and down, but he is doing very well now. He is in mainstream high school. Message me in here, if you like to chat. It's helps to talk about it. We've been there. This journey will continue forever, however, not all bad
•    Anonymous said… My son has adhd asd language prossesing disorder.spd age 11
•    Anonymous said… My son has been dignosed with a regulatory disorder it where he acts out 7 different disorders which are aspergers adhd add and autism and sensory and other ones but the one he shows the most is aspergers and autism if anybody out there has any tips to get them to listen to you when needed I have tryed many different ways to get him to listen to me
•    Anonymous said… My son is 16. Undiagnosed as yet . Takes forever in UK. He probably has Asperger's. Is very bright. Model pupil at school. At home very uncommunicative. Doesn't eat with the family. Anything that upsets him leads to a retaliation. He has cut electric leads to my radio, thrown my clothes round my room, broken raw eggs including shells into cooked pasta, thrown an egg against granite splash back, poured a bottle of cooking oil down the sink. This morning went down to find he had thrown uncooked mince into the sink and broken off wooden trim in my kitchen. I have sought help by speaking to CAMHS , the mental health dept for kids, but he has refused to go to appointments and when someone came to the house he kicked off when they left. We are quite religious but never ask him to join us in prayer. We call him for meals and I try and make food he likes or stock up on pizza, quiche , cheese pasties....whatever. The trigger yesterday was that I forgot to get quiche. I have been told to talk to him that he has to learn to control his emotions. We all feel upset must learn not to act out our frustrations. My added problem is that my 2 year old has been diagnosed with a very rare muscle condition and needs a great deal of care equivalent to a baby of 6 months. I have 2 other kids aged 14 and 9 who are being squeezed out because of the needs of their siblings. So I try and make special time for them. Communication is the main problem with my eldest.
•    Anonymous said… My son is almost 12 so I've been there. It does get better. We used medication for about 2 years to help him clearly think. We used concerts because it had the least side effects and is out of the system in 12 hours. When we decided to homeschool we stopped the meds and started using essential oils. It is very important to have the same or close to the same routine every day. Don't surprise him with something last minute or it will cause a meltdown. We also did family therapy for a while to help him realize getting so angry was his choice not something we were doing to him. He still has some ego issues and if he feels he is right there is no telling him he is wrong. He totally compares with Sheldon off the big band theory. It does get better just keep you're head up and make sure you let him know when something isn't exceptable.
•    Anonymous said… Need more details! Do you mean following your instructions and directions? Or acknowledging your voice when you are simply trying to gain his focus? What does he do in those situations and what have you tried? Then I can share my insight with you, would love to help. Ty 😀
•    Anonymous said… Pathological demand avoidance , conduct disorder call it what you want .... Life is miserable and tense!
•    Anonymous said… Same. My son is 7, but I hope he doesn't get conduct disorder. He's got some pretty serious angry outbursts.
•    Anonymous said… There is a clear link between aspergers, add, and odd and allergies Still trying to work out what it is
•    Anonymous said… Yes 2 out of 3 of my sons have autism. My 12 yr old has autism, he is verbal and high function. My 11 yr old has Aspergers and ADHD. It also is a daily struggle, but it has been a long road to get to this point. They do talk therapy , IEP'S and medications for anxiety, depression, hyperactivity and inattention. Overall with these interventions, love and support they are progressing daily...but it can be a daily struggle. Feel free to private message me if you would like any advice. Best wishes.

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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.

Click here to read the full article…

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.

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Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

Parents, teachers, and the general public have a lot of misconceptions of Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism. Many myths abound, and the lack of knowledge is both disturbing and harmful to kids and teens who struggle with the disorder.

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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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My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content