Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders


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The "Out-of-Control" Child on the Autism Spectrum

Moms and dads often ask how to deal with and help the Aspergers or high functioning autistic (HFA) youngster that seems to be out of control. How do you control or manage the youngster that intimidates, hits, punches and seems to enjoy torturing their siblings? What do you do with the youngster that argues, is defiant, and refuses to participate or follow directions can be difficult to live with and can create disharmony within the household?

Some moms and dads are at a loss as to what to do and where to go for help. They watch as their family life falls apart around them. They feel helpless as the defiant youngster controls the household. Moms and dads argue with each other about what to do. Some moms and dads may be afraid to go for help. They might feel that poor parenting skills have caused the problems or that they have failed as parents. Often one parent will blame the other for being too easy and letting the youngster get away with poor behavior and the other parent will feel as if the other is too harsh. It is possible for moms and dads to take control of the situation and help their youngster and their family. But it is hard work and many times a long road.

Believe In Yourself. Moms and dads know their children better than anyone. They see their potential, they see their strengths and they see their weaknesses. A teacher sees your youngster every day, but only in a certain location. They do not share the same history as a parent and an Aspergers or HFA youngster. You may become frustrated watching your youngster misbehave, but you have also seen your youngster sit quietly next to you on the couch and read a book. You see both the good and the bad in your youngster, and sometimes it can be confusing. Believe in your assessment of the situation. If you see something wrong, and you feel as if there is some unknown cause behind the bad behavior, seek help. Believe in yourself as a parent.

Disengage Yourself From Power Struggles At Home. This is probably the most difficult to accomplish. With kids that are defiant, it is common for the youngster and parent to become involved in power struggles. Finding ways to eliminate this can help both of you to cope better with your family and home situation.

Find A Support Group. Most Aspergers and HFA kids can be a handful from time to time, however, raising a challenging youngster can make moms and dads feel isolated and alone. They may avoid social situations, not sure how their youngster will react. When friends get together and talk about their kids, and their successes, moms and dads raising a challenging youngster may feel out of place and alone. Not wanting to always have to report the terrible thing your youngster did yesterday, you might stop contacting family. There are other moms and dads going through the same situation. Support groups around the country and on the internet can provide an outlet for moms and dads to share experiences and talk with one another. They can create a group to help one another through the rough days and feel accepted. They can create a ring of moms and dads that can listen, understand and accept you and your youngster can do wonders in helping you to cope better at home.

Get A Complete and Accurate Diagnosis. Aspergers often comes along with co-existing conditions. To receive the best possible treatment, it is important to have an accurate diagnosis. Some of the common conditions would be: Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, Depression, Learning Disabilities, Conduct Disorder, and Oppositional Defiant Disorder. If your family physician diagnosed an autism spectrum disorder, ask for a referral to a mental health professional in your area that specializes in working with kids. You will want to have a complete evaluation done to determine an accurate diagnosis. Once this is completed, you can work with the doctors, or team of professionals, to create a specific treatment plan for your youngster. This may include counseling or therapy, medication, educational interventions and monitoring by a psychiatrist. Don’t stop until you are satisfied with the diagnosis.

Research the Diagnosis. After you are satisfied that you have received an accurate diagnosis, spend time researching and finding out as much as you can about the disorder. Use the support group you found to talk with other moms and dads. Talk to the psychologist/psychiatrist about treatment options. Don’t accept the advice of one practitioner or one other parent. Read everything you can find and determine what treatment would work best for your youngster and your family. Each youngster on the spectrum is unique in their display of symptoms and intensity of symptoms. Use this knowledge to work with the doctor to develop a treatment plan that is specific to your youngster’s needs.

Rule Out Physical Causes. Talk with your physician about exactly what is going on and have a complete physical for your youngster. Rule out any physical causes.

Seek A Tutor/Special Education/IEP or Section504. Aspergers and HFA kids with behavioral problems often struggle in school. Some may have specific learning disabilities. Even without a learning disability, school may be difficult because of other symptoms such as distractibility. Request an educational evaluation to determine accommodations or modifications your youngster may be eligible for. Work closely with teachers and other school personnel to help your youngster succeed in school.

Teaching self-control skills is one of the most important things that moms and dads can do for their youngsters because these are some of the most important skills for success later in life.

Helping HFA Youngsters Learn Self-Control—

By learning self-control, youngsters can make appropriate decisions and respond to stressful situations in ways that can yield positive outcomes.

For example, if you say that you're not serving ice cream until after dinner, your youngster may cry, plead, or even scream in the hopes that you will give in. But with self-control, your youngster can understand that a temper tantrum means you'll take away the ice cream for good and that it's wiser to wait patiently.

Here are a few suggestions on how to help youngsters learn to control their behavior:

Up to Age 2—

Aspergers infants and toddlers get frustrated by the large gap between the things they want to do and what they're able to do. They often respond with temper tantrums. Try to prevent outbursts by distracting your little one with toys or other activities. For youngsters reaching the 2-year-old mark, try a brief timeout in a designated area — like a kitchen chair or bottom stair — to show the consequences for outbursts and teach that it's better to take some time alone instead of throwing a tantrum.

Ages 3 to 5—

You can continue to use timeouts, but rather than enforcing a specific time limit, end timeouts once your HFA youngster has calmed down. This helps youngsters improve their sense of self-control. And praise your youngster for not losing control in frustrating or difficult situations.

Ages 6 to 9—

As Aspergers or HFA youngsters enter school, they're better able to understand the idea of consequences and that they can choose good or bad behavior. It may help your youngster to imagine a stop sign that must be obeyed and think about a situation before responding. Encourage your youngster to walk away from a frustrating situation for a few minutes to cool off instead of having an outburst.

Ages 10 to 12—

Older youngsters on the spectrum usually better understand their feelings. Encourage them to think about what's causing them to lose control and then analyze it. Explain that sometimes the situations that are upsetting at first don't end up being so awful. Urge youngsters to take time to think before responding to a situation.

Ages 13 to 17—

By now  teens on the spectrum should be able to control most of their actions. But remind teens to think about long-term consequences. Urge them to pause to evaluate upsetting situations before responding and talk through problems rather than losing control, slamming doors, or yelling. If necessary, discipline your teen by taking away certain privileges to reinforce the message that self-control is an important skill.

When Youngsters On the Spectrum Are Out of Control—

As difficult as it may be, resist the urge to yell when you're disciplining your youngsters. Instead, be firm and matter of fact. During a youngster's meltdown, stay calm and explain that yelling, throwing a tantrum, and slamming doors are unacceptable behaviors that have consequences — and say what those consequences are.

Your actions will show that tantrums won't get youngsters the upper hand. For example, if your youngster gets upset in the grocery store after you've explained why you won't buy candy, don't give in — thus demonstrating that the tantrum was both unacceptable and ineffective.

Also, consider speaking to your youngster's teachers about classroom settings and appropriate behavioral expectations. Ask if problem solving is taught or demonstrated in school.

And model good self-control yourself. If you're in an irritating situation and your youngsters are present, tell them why you're frustrated and then discuss the potential solutions to the problem. For example, if you've misplaced your keys, instead of getting upset, tell your youngsters the keys are missing and then search for them together. If they don't turn up, take the next constructive step (like retracing your steps when you last had the keys in-hand). Show that good emotional control and problem solving are the ways to deal with a difficult situation.

How do you handle your kids's misbehavior? After all, we all go though times when we begin to wonder, "What's going on here? My youngsters seem to be totally out of control."

Often times, poor behavior can be our youngsters' way of telling us that something feels out of control for them; so the next time you're caught off guard by repeated misbehavior, take a few moments to ask yourself the following questions:

Am I Taking Care of Myself?

This is absolutely critical. When we're not taking care of ourselves, we unwittingly send a message to our youngsters that we're not worthy of their respect. In addition, there is a direct correlation between self-care and the amount of energy and patience we have at our disposal. As a result, when we don't take care of ourselves, we can easily become "snappy" with our youngsters, and this ends up being reflected back to us through their behaviors and choices.
  • After the youngsters are in bed, make yourself a cup of tea and do nothing for awhile.
  • Give yourself a break. Hire a babysitter and get out for a few hours.
  • Take a long walk.

Are the Youngsters Reacting to Any Recent Changes in Their Lives?

Of course you already know that your kids are incredibly perceptive. And as a single parent, you also realize that, unfortunately, the changes your youngsters have to go through - such as sudden changes in their visitation schedule with the other parent - aren't always within your control. However, it's important for you to be aware that creating a positive home environment is one of your most valuable assets in encouraging your youngsters' positive behavior and choices. Think about how you can be a consistent presence in your youngsters' lives, emotionally as well as physically.
  • Acknowledge that this is difficult for your youngsters and make an effort to be gentle with them.
  • Be extra generous with your hugs and affection.
  • Do what you can to create consistency in the areas you can control.

Am I Spending Enough One-On-One Time With My Child?

O.K. Let's take a moment for a reality check. As a single parent, you may not be able to dedicate one-on-one time with your child on a regular basis. However, when you find yourself dealing with repeated behavior issues, try to incorporate some creative ways to build in even small chunks of "Mommy Time" or "Daddy Time" with your youngster. You'd be surprised how much even older kids crave this! It definitely requires a sacrifice of your time and attention, but it can pay huge dividends in your youngster's sense of well-being and positive decision making.
  • Develop a bedtime routine that includes talking and reading together each night.
  • Play a board game and have some fun together.
  • Turn off the TV and spend some time talking and enjoying one another.

Am I Being Consistent in My Expectations and My Reactions?

As much as you can, try to be consistent with your child's schedules and routines. Simply knowing what to expect will help him behave well. In addition, try to be consistent in your reactions to your child's behaviors. When our reactions depend on our mood, we teach our youngsters that we're unpredictable. This can add stress to your youngster and make it more difficult to exhibit self-control. In addition, your effort to be consistent shows respect and honors your relationship.
  • Develop a consistent evening routine that includes time for completing and reviewing homework.
  • Develop consistent expectations regarding time with friends and extra-curricular activities.
  • Serve dinner at roughly the same time each night.

Am I Including the Child?

When you can, try to include your child in your decision-making. So much of his life is pre-determined, particularly for kids who are in school all day. When you can, try to give your kids opportunities to make their own choices. This might be regarding what clothes they wear, to the food they eat. Having this opportunity to make a choice - even one that might seem insignificant to us - empowers your youngster to make appropriate choices. With older kids, look for opportunities to compromise when you can, realizing that there will be some non-negotiable issues.
  • Ask your youngsters for ideas about what they'd like to do together when you have time for a special outing.
  • Give your youngsters choices whenever you can.
  • Let your youngsters participate in making decisions about meals by planning and preparing dinners together.

==> Help for Parents with "Out-of-Control" Children on the Autism Spectrum

Aspergers and HFA Children with Anger Problems

Many moms and dads recognize that their Aspergers or high functioning autistic (HFA) child has a problem with anger management. They feel their child needs to develop anger management skills, or needs to find some kind of anger management counseling that will help them get along better in life -- in school, at work, with a parent, with siblings, and others. In some cases, professionals may have diagnosed the Aspergers or HFA child with a “conduct disorder”, or “oppositional defiant disorder”.

Types of Anger—

The natural response to fear is to fight it or avoid it. When confronted with fear, animals and humans both go into “fight or flight”, “violence or silence”, or “gun or run”. They engage in the conflict, or they withdraw. Though many moms and dads may equate “child anger management” with the “fight-violence-gun,” uncontrollable rage, parents must also recognize that anger may be “turned inwards” in the “flight-silence-run” mode, which can often times be as dangerous, if not more so, than expressed anger.

Generally, anger falls into three main categories: 1) Fight, 2) Flight, or 3) Pretend to be “Flighting”, while finding indirect ways to Fight. Most children on the autism spectrum who have anger management problems will go to either extreme of fight or flight. They tend to become aggressive, mean, and hostile, or they withdraw into themselves and become extremely silent, silently stubborn, and depressed.

“The Fighters”: Child Anger Turned to Aggression—

“The fighters” are pretty simple to recognize. They are aggressive. Many times, the characteristics of Aspergers and HFA children with anger management problems are included in the professional diagnosis for “Conduct Disorder” or an “Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)”. Some of the warning signs in the following list are taken from the criteria for professional diagnosis. Others are additional common signs of anger management problems for children that are “fighters”.
  • Destroys property
  • Difficulty accepting a “No” answer
  • Does not follow rules
  • Frequently vocalizes anger
  • Furious temper
  • Has left holes in walls and doors from violent outbursts
  • Initiates fights with others
  • Loud and yelling
  • Makes threats
  • Often demeans or swears directly to parent or others in authority positions
  • Often feels rules are “stupid”, or don’t apply
  • Openly and often defiant of requests
  • Physically cruel to animals
  • Physically cruel to people
  • Seems to have “emotional diarrhea”, and “lets it all out, all the time”
  • Seriously violates rules (at home, in school, or society in general)
  • Uncontrollable fits of rage (usually these “temper tantrums” are used as threats to get their way)

This list does not list every possible warning sign for the “fighters”. The child “Fighters” have anger management problems when the problems are creating an unsafe situation for themselves, for others, or for property around them. If animals and/or people are the focus of the anger and aggression, the problem is extremely critical to address. Aspergers and HFA teenagers who have abused animals or people as kids are at a higher risk of becoming a threat to society than those who have not. Where these warning signs seem to be a part of daily life, intervention is strongly suggested. Intervention can be through anger management counseling, an anger management program, or a program dedicated and experienced in working with special needs children with anger management problems.

“The Flighters”: Child Anger Turned to Passive Responses—

The “Flighters” can also be fairly simple to recognize. They are passive. They do not fight back when confronted. Many of their characteristics may coincide with the diagnosis of depression. Some of these warning signs are taken from the professional diagnosis for depression, and others are taken from learning, observations and experience.
  • Deals with difficult emotions by “cutting” the emotions off
  • Does not engage in much conversation
  • Extremely passive, to the point of getting “walked over” by others
  • Has difficulty expressing emotions
  • Holds anger in, then “blows up” suddenly and violently
  • May blame self unnecessarily
  • May have few friends
  • May punch holes in walls or kick doors, when “the last straw drops”
  • May be seen as a “loner”
  • May simply “go along” with whatever, even when it is a poor decision
  • Physical problems may include upset stomach, muscle aches, backaches, frequent headaches, or other physical symptoms from “holding it in”.
  • Seems “emotionally constipated”
  • Seems depressed
  • Seems to have very little emotion
  • Seems to hold anger in
  • Seems withdrawn
  • Tends to spend a lot of time alone
The “flighters” are in danger of destroying themselves emotionally from within. The “flighters” are like a balloon being constantly blown into, with no release valve. When they explode, their anger may be violent, and may lead to harming themselves, harming others, or destroying property. Internalized anger is potentially as destructive to a child as aggressive anger.

“The Pretenders”: Child Anger Silently Planning Revenge—

Perhaps the most difficult to detect, the “Pretenders” follow an anger style that seems to be calm on the surface, but is raging, scheming, and planning underneath. They are passive-aggressive. These children do not directly confront the anger as a “Fighter” would do. They will be passive and appear to accept what is said, and then will disregard what is said to do their own thing. They are sneaky. Often, they may be unnoticed. While they are giving a person a hug, they are also stabbing them in the back (so to speak). They lack the courage to be direct, and perfect the skills to be deceitful. They know where the “back door” to revenge is, and will use it often.

They will give the appearance of a “Flighter”. The list of “flighter” characteristics also applies to them. Additional items to look for with “Pretenders” are on the following list.
  • Inconsistency between what is said and what is done
  • May be very good at blaming others
  • May not admit mistakes
  • Often gets caught in lies
  • Sneaky behaviors
  • Tends to avoid direct conflict, while creating problems in other areas
  • Tends to sabotage

These warning signs are a few to look for the “Pretenders”. Aspergers and HFA children who try to manage their anger through the “Pretender” style are as potentially dangerous to others and themselves as the other style. Moms and dads cannot underestimate the “Pretender” style because the danger does not seem to be that of the aggressive “Fighter”.

As has been shown, anger comes in three main styles -- Fighter, Flighter, and Pretender -- and each style has the potential to create big problems for the Aspergers or HFA child, families, and society in general. This post has offered specific warning signs that may indicate if a child on the spectrum has an anger management problem more significant than what is to normally be expected. When necessary, professional and competent intervention is recommended.

More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

==> Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism


Do you need the advice of a professional who specializes in parenting children and teens with Autism Spectrum Disorders?  Sign-up for Online Parent Coaching today.


Aspergers Children Who Are Physically Abused


My asperger son is almost 16. He doesn't live with me. He's told me on numerous occasions that he's being physically abused. When I've reported it, they either accuse me of coaching him, or accuse him of lying, or of not being able to get him to focus enough to report the abuse. Years ago I did get one report of abuse substantiated, (because of bruises) however, nothing was done about it, and my son is still ignored. If someone could please help me to get help for my son, or just help my son, I would greatly appreciated it. I love him, and I want him to be safe and happy. He doesn't deserve abuse just because he isn't like other kids.


In the USA, an estimated 906,000 kids are victims of abuse & neglect every year, making abuse as common as it is shocking. Whether the abuse is physical, emotional, sexual, or neglect, the scars can be deep and long-lasting, often leading to future abuse. You can learn the signs and symptoms of abuse and help break the cycle, finding out where to get help for the kids and their caregivers.

Facts about abuse and neglect—

How could anyone abuse a defenseless child? Most of us can’t imagine what would make an adult abuse a child. The worse the behavior is, the more unimaginable it seems. Yet sadly, abuse is much more common than you might think. Abuse cuts across social classes and all ethnicities. And the abuse overwhelmingly is at the hands of those who are supposed to be protecting the child- the parents.

What is abuse?

Abuse happens in many different ways, but the result is the same- serious physical or emotional harm. Physical or sexual abuse may be the most striking types of abuse, since they often unfortunately leave physical evidence behind. However, emotional abuse and neglect are serious types of abuse that are often more subtle and difficult to spot. Child neglect is the most common type of abuse.

How can abuse happen?

There are many complicated factors that lead to abuse. Risk factors for abuse include:
  • Alcohol or drug abuse. Alcohol and drug abuse lead to serious lapses in judgment. They can interfere with impulse control making emotional and physical abuse more likely. Due to impairment caused by being intoxicated, alcohol and drug abuse frequently lead to child neglect.
  • Domestic violence. Witnessing domestic violence in the home, as well as the chaos and instability that is the result, is emotional abuse to a child. Frequently domestic violence will escalate to physical violence against the child as well.
  • History of abuse. Unfortunately, the patterns we learn in childhood are often what we use as parents. Without treatment and insight, sadly, the cycle of abuse often continues.
  • Stress and lack of support. Parenting can be a very time intensive, difficult job. Moms and dads caring for kids without support from family, friends or the community can be under a lot of stress. Teen parents often struggle with the maturity and patience needed to be a parent. Caring for a child with a disability, special needs or difficult behaviors is also a challenge. Caregivers who are under financial or relationship stress are at risk as well.

The lasting effects of abuse—

All types of abuse and neglect leave lasting scars. Some of these scars might be physical, but emotional scarring has long lasting effects throughout life, damaging a child’s sense of self and ability to have healthy relationships.

You can make a difference—

One of the most painful effects of abuse is its tendency to repeat itself. One of every three abused or neglected kids will grow up to become an abusive parent. You may be reluctant to interfere in someone’s family, but you can make a huge difference in a child’s life if you do. The earlier abused kids get help, the greater chance they have to heal from their abuse and not perpetuate the cycle.

Physical abuse: Warning signs and how to help—

Many physically abusive parents and caregivers insist that their actions are simply forms of discipline, ways to make kids learn to behave. But there’s a big difference between giving an unmanageable youngster a swat on the backside and twisting the child’s arm until it breaks. Physical abuse can include striking a youngster with the hand, fist, or foot or with an object, burning, shaking, pushing, or throwing a child; pinching or biting the child, pulling a youngster by the hair or cutting off a child’s air. Another form of abuse involving babies is shaken baby syndrome, in which a frustrated caregiver shakes a baby roughly to make the baby stop crying, causing brain damage that often leads to severe neurological problems and even death.

Warning signs of physical abuse—
  • Behavioral signs. Other times, signs of physical abuse may be more subtle. The youngster may be fearful, shy away from touch or appear to be afraid to go home. A child’s clothing may be inappropriate for the weather, such as heavy, long sleeved pants and shirts on hot days.
  • Caregiver signs. Physically abusive caregivers may display anger management issues and excessive need for control. Their explanation of the injury might not ring true, or may be different from an older child’s description of the injury.
  • Physical signs. Sometimes physical abuse has clear warning signs, such as unexplained bruises, welts, or cuts. While all kids will take a tumble now and then, look for age-inappropriate injuries, injuries that appear to have a pattern such as marks from a hand or belt, or a pattern of severe injuries.

Is physical punishment the same as physical abuse?

Physical punishment, the use of physical force with the intent of inflicting bodily pain, but not injury, for the purpose of correction or control, used to be a very common form of discipline. Most of us know it as spanking or paddling. Many of us may feel we were spanked as kids without damage to body or psyche. The widespread use of physical punishment, however, doesn’t necessarily make it a good idea. The level of force used by an angry or frustrated parent can easily get out of hand and lead to injury. Even if it doesn’t, what a youngster learns from being hit as punishment is less about why conduct is right or wrong than about behaving well — or hiding bad behavior — out of fear of being hit.

Emotional abuse—

“Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me”. This old saying could not be farther from the truth. Emotional abuse may seem invisible. However, because emotional abuse involves behavior that interferes with a child’s mental health or social development, the effects can be extremely damaging and may even leave deeper lifelong psychological scars than physical abuse.

Emotional abuse takes many forms, in words and in actions.

Words. Examples of how words can hurt include constant belittling, shaming, and humiliating a child, calling names and making negative comparisons to others, or constantly telling a youngster he or she is “no good," "worthless," "bad," or "a mistake." How the words are spoken can be terrifying to a youngster as well, such as yelling, threatening, or bullying.

Actions. Basic food and shelter may be provided, but withholding love and affection can have devastating effects on a child. Examples include ignoring or rejecting a child, giving him or her the silent treatment. Another strong component of emotional abuse is exposing the youngster to inappropriate situations or behavior. Especially damaging is witnessing acts that cause a feeling of helplessness and horror, such as in domestic violence or watching another sibling or pet be abused.

Signs of emotional abuse—

Behavioral signs. Since emotional abuse does not leave concrete marks, the effects may be harder to detect. Is the youngster excessively shy, fearful or afraid of doing something wrong? Behavioral extremes may also be a clue. A youngster may be constantly trying to parent other kids for example, or on the opposite side exhibit antisocial behavior such as uncontrolled aggression. Look for inappropriate age behaviors as well, such as an older youngster exhibiting behaviors more commonly found in younger kids.

Caregiver signs. Does a caregiver seem unusually harsh and critical of a child, belittling and shaming him or her in front of others? Has the caregiver shown anger or issues with control in other areas? A caregiver may also seem strangely unconcerned with a child’s welfare or performance. Keep in mind that there might not be immediate caregiver signs. Tragically, many emotionally abusive caregivers can present a kind outside face to the world, making the abuse of the youngster all the more confusing and scary.

Sexual abuse—

Sexual abuse, defined as any sexual act between an adult and a child, has components of both physical and emotional abuse. Sexual abuse can be physical, such as inappropriate fondling, touching and actual sexual penetration. It can also be emotionally abusive, as in cases where a youngster is forced to undress or exposing a youngster to adult sexuality. Aside from the physical damage that sexual abuse can cause, the emotional component is powerful and far reaching. The layer of shame that accompanies sexual abuse makes the behavior doubly traumatizing. While news stories of sexual predators are scary, what is even more frightening is that the adult who sexually abuses a youngster or adolescent is usually someone the youngster knows and is supposed to trust: a relative, childcare provider, family friend, neighbor, teacher, coach, or clergy member. Kids may worry that others won’t believe them and will be angry with them if they tell. They may believe that the abuse is their fault, and the shame is devastating and can cause lifelong effects.

Signs of sexual abuse—
  • Behavioral signs. Does the youngster display knowledge or interest in sexual acts inappropriate to his or her age, or even seductive behavior? A youngster might appear to avoid another person, or display unusual behavior- either being very aggressive or very passive. Older kids might resort to destructive behaviors to take away the pain, such as alcohol or drug abuse, self-mutilation, or suicide attempts.
  • Caregiver signs. The caregiver may seem to be unusually controlling and protective of the child, limiting contact with other kids and adults. Again, as with other types of abuse, sometimes the caregiver does not give outward signs of concern. This does not mean the youngster is lying or exaggerating.
  • Physical signs. A youngster may have trouble sitting or standing, or have stained, bloody or torn underclothes. Swelling, bruises, or bleeding in the genital area is a red flag. An STD or pregnancy, especially under the age of 14, is a strong cause of concern.

Sexual abuse: The online risk—

Kids who use the Internet are also vulnerable to Internet predators. Among the warning signs of online sexual abuse are these:
  • You find pornography on your child's computer.
  • Your youngster becomes withdrawn from the family.
  • Your youngster receives phone calls or mail from people you don't know, or makes calls to numbers that you don’t recognize.
  • Your youngster spends large amounts of time online, especially at night, and may turn the computer monitor off or quickly change the screen on the monitor when you come into the room.

Child neglect—

Child neglect is the most frequent form of abuse. Neglect is a pattern of failing to provide for a child's basic needs, endangering a child’s physical and psychological well-being. Child neglect is not always deliberate. Sometimes, a caregiver becomes physically or mentally unable to care for a child, such as in untreated depression or anxiety. Other times, alcohol or drug abuse may seriously impair judgment and the ability to keep a youngster safe. The end result, however, is a youngster who is not getting their physical and/or emotional needs met.

Warning signs of child neglect—
  • Behavioral signs. Does the youngster seem to be unsupervised? School kids may be frequently late or tardy. The youngster might show troublesome, disruptive behavior or be withdrawn and passive.
  • Caregiver signs. Does the caregiver have problems with drugs or alcohol? While most of us have a little clutter in the home, is the caregiver’s home filthy and unsanitary? Is there adequate food in the house? A caregiver might also show reckless disregard for the child’s safety, letting older kids play unsupervised or leaving a baby unattended. A caregiver might refuse or delay necessary health care for the child.
  • Physical signs. A youngster may consistently be dressed inappropriately for the weather, or have ill-fitting, dirty clothes and shoes. They might appear to have consistently bad hygiene, like appearing very dirty, matted and unwashed hair, or noticeable body odor. Another warning sign is untreated illnesses and physical injuries.

What to do if a youngster reports abuse—

You may feel overwhelmed and confused if a youngster begins talking to you about abuse. It is a difficult subject and hard to accept, and you might not know what to say. The best help you can provide is calm, unconditional support and reassurance. Let your actions speak for you if you are having trouble finding the words. Remember that it is a tremendous act of courage for kids to come forward about abuse. They might have been told specifically not to tell, and may even feel that the abuse is normal. They might feel they are to blame for the abuse. The youngster is looking to you to provide support and help- don’t let him or her down.

Avoid denial and remain calm. A common reaction to news as unpleasant and shocking as abuse is denial. However, if you display denial to a child, or show shock or disgust at what they are saying, the youngster may be afraid to continue and will shut down. As hard as it may be, remain as calm and reassuring as you can.

Don’t interrogate. Let the youngster explain to you in his/her own words what happened, but don’t interrogate the youngster or ask leading questions. This may confuse and fluster the youngster and make it harder for them to continue their story.

Reassure the youngster that they did nothing wrong. It takes a lot for a youngster to come forward about abuse. Reassure him or her that you take what is said seriously, and that it is not the child’s fault.

Reporting abuse and neglect—

Reporting abuse seems so official. Many people are reluctant to get involved in other families’ lives. However, by reporting, you can make a tremendous difference in the life of a youngster and the child’s family, especially if you help stop the abuse early. Early identification and treatment can help mitigate the long-term effects of abuse. If the abuse is stopped and the youngster receives competent treatment, the abused youngster can begin to regain a sense of self-confidence and trust. Some moms and dads may also benefit from support, parent training and anger management.

Reporting abuse: Myths and Facts—
  • I don’t want to interfere in someone else’s family. The effects of abuse are life long, affecting future relationships, self esteem, and sadly putting even more kids at risk of abuse as the cycle continues. Help break the cycle of abuse.
  • It won’t make a difference what I have to say. If you have a gut feeling that something is wrong, it is better to be safe than sorry. Even if you don’t see the whole picture, others may have noticed as well, and a pattern can help identify abuse that might have otherwise slipped through the cracks.
  • They will know it was me who called. Reporting is anonymous. In most states, you do not have to give your name when you report abuse. The abuser cannot find out who made the report of abuse.
  • What if I break up someone’s home? The priority in youngster protective services is keeping kids in the home. A abuse report does not mean a youngster is automatically removed from the home - unless the youngster is clearly in danger. Support such as parenting classes, anger management or other resources may be offered first to parents if safe for the child.

Abuse Hotlines: Where to call to get help or report abuse—

If you suspect a youngster is in immediate danger contact law enforcement as soon as possible.
  • To get help in the U.S., call: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) – Childhelp National Abuse Hotline
  • To get help for child sexual abuse, call: 1-888-PREVENT (1-888-773-8368) – Stop It Now
  • 1-800-656-HOPE Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)

Abuse prevention—

Reducing the incidence of abuse is a matter of intervention and education.


In some cases, as in cases of extreme cruelty, sexual abuse, and severe alcohol and drug abuse, kids are safer away from the caregiver. Not all abusive moms and dads intend harm to their kids, however. Some moms and dads need help to realize that they are hurting their kids, and can work on their problems. Some examples include:
  • Alcohol and drug abuse. Alcohol and drug abusers may be so focused on their addiction that they are hurting their kids without realizing it. Getting appropriate help and support for alcohol and drug abuse can help moms and dads focus back on their kids.
  • Domestic violence. A mother might be trying to do her best to protect her kids from an abusive husband, not realizing that the kids are being emotionally abused even if they are not physically abused. Helping a mother leave an abusive relationship and getting supportive counseling can help stop these kids from being abused.
  • Untreated mental illness. A depressed mother might not be able to respond to her own needs much less her kid’s. A caregiver suffering from emotional trauma may be distant and withdrawn from her kids, or quick to anger without understanding why. Treatment for the caregiver means better care for the kids.

In some cases, you might be able to provide support for parents/caregivers who need help yourself. What if a parent or caregiver comes to you? The key is not to be self-righteous or judgmental, which can alienate caregivers, but offer support and concrete offers of help, such as helping them connect with community resources. If you feel that your safety or the safety of the youngster would be threatened if you try to intervene, leave it to the professionals. You may be able to provide more support later after the initial professional intervention.


Some caregivers have not learned the skills necessary for good parenting. Teen parents, for example, might have unrealistic expectations about how much care babies need or why toddlers can be so prone to tantrums. Other times, previous societal and cultural expectations of good child raising may not be considered so today. In previous generations and in many cultures, for example, strict physical discipline was considered to be essential in teaching a youngster to behave. Education can greatly help caregivers who need information on raising kids. Parenting classes can not only be effective for teen parents, but for parents who themselves were abused and need to learn new parenting patterns. Education on managing stress and building healthier relationships also helps caregivers.

Kids need education as well to help protect against abuse. They need to know that abuse is never their fault and is never “OK”. Teaching a youngster about inappropriate touch and that they should never keep secrets that make them uncomfortable can help prevent sexual abuse.

For caregivers—

Do you see yourself in some of these descriptions, painful as it may be? Do you feel angry and frustrated and don’t know where to turn? Caring for kids can be very difficult. Don’t go it alone. Ask for help if you need it. If you don’t have a friend or family to turn to, call the abuse hotline, 1-800-4-A-CHILD, yourself. The hotline is also designed to get you support and find resources in the community that can help you.

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook

Meltdowns in Students with Aspergers

Strategies for Teachers to Prevent Emotional Outbursts

Aspergers is a form of high functioning autism and can co-exist with other disorders such as ADHD, depression, and anxiety. But mostly, Aspergers affects a youngster’s ability to socialize. Aspergers children have difficulty recognizing facial expressions, sarcasm, and teasing, and struggle to adapt to unexpected changes in routine. Their interests tend to be very narrow, and this can limit their capacity to relate to others.

Due to these struggles, youngsters with Aspergers oftentimes experience anger, fear, sadness, and frustration. There are several effective interventions that can be employed in the classroom to help improve an Aspergers youngster’s learning experience. These can assist the child in feeling more comfortable and decrease anxiety, paving the way for academic achievement.

Make Classroom Rules Clear—

Children with Aspergers thrive on rules, but will often ignore them when they are vague or not meaningful. Educators should detail the most important classroom rules and why they exist. A written list prominently displayed, or a handout of the classroom rules can be very helpful.

Minimize Surprises in the Classroom—

Children on the autism spectrum need structured settings to succeed. They do not like surprises. Things like sudden seating changes or unexpected modifications to the routine could cause anxiety and even meltdowns. Educators should try to provide ample warnings if there is to be a change of plans. For instance, sending a note home to the parents if a seating change is imminent would be beneficial.

A back up plan can be presented to the class in anticipation of schedule changes. When the Friday schedule that usually includes watching an educational film in the afternoon changes if time is short, the teacher should inform the children ahead of time that they will work on free reading or journaling instead, as an example.

Provide Sensory Support—

Many youngsters with Aspergers also experience sensory processing issues. Sensitivity to light, sound, touch, taste, and smells can irritate the youngster, making him more likely to act out or withdraw. Consult the parents to determine what these sensitivities are. Minimizing classroom chaos, noise, and clutter will be a good start.

If possible, get help from an occupational therapist and try to work sensory breaks into the youngster’s school day. Chores such as returning a load of books to the library or even doing a few jumping jacks in the hallway can go a long way in helping the youngster realign and get back to learning.

Promote Supportive Friendships—

If it seems appropriate, educate the class about Aspergers. Develop empathy by making children aware of inappropriate words and bullying behaviors. Highlight the youngster’s strengths in classroom lessons to enable him to find friends with common interests.

If the child with Aspergers seems to be struggling with friendships, group him during classroom activities with those that are more kind and empathetic. At recess or lunch, try assigning a classroom buddy who will be supportive and guide the youngster through those more chaotic times.

Make a Plan for Emotional Outbursts—

Provide a quiet place for the child who has frequent meltdowns. This may be a trip to the bathroom with a classroom aide, or a visit to the school counselor. A written plan for coping in these periods of high stress is critical for an Aspergers child’s success.

Helping youngsters with Aspergers in the classroom is yet another challenge for today’s overburdened educators. However, with insightful monitoring, parental and professional guidance, and creative strategies, a love of school and learning can be fostered in youngsters with Aspergers.

My Aspergers Child: Preventing Emotional Outbursts in Aspergers Children

Aspergers Kids and Homework Challenges

Kids with Aspergers Need Routine and Clarity!

Aspergers (high functioning autism) disrupts a youngster’s ability to recognize social cues, thereby causing social awkwardness. Other characteristics of autism may also be present, such as a lowered tolerance for new situations or sudden transitions, lack of organizational skills, inconsistent energy levels, and high distractibility. All of these can present challenges when attempting to complete homework.

Luckily, there are some basic strategies that moms and dads can undertake to help prevent those dreaded evening meltdowns. The first step is to observe the youngster and see what hinders her from completing her work. This is paramount to planning homework sessions. During these observations, jot down answers to the following about the youngster:

1. Does she fatigue quickly?
2. Is she easily distracted by noise or activity?
3. What frustrates or upsets her?
4. What is her best time of day?

Establish Consistent Time and Place—

After observing the youngster for a few days, establish a consistent time for homework, preferably when she is well fed and at her best. The amount of time she spends on homework nightly will vary by grade level. When homework length begins to increase, she may stay more focused with short breaks. Incorporate these into the schedule and make sure she has enough time to complete assignments without rushing.

It is beneficial to have a special homework location away from the TV, radio, or other distractions. Kids with Aspergers can also be frustrated by clutter, so make sure that the workspace is organized and that all necessary materials for homework are available and easy to find.

Break Down Large Assignments—

Some homework assignments can be overwhelming for kids with Aspergers. Moms and dads will sometimes need to work closely with their youngster to help her get started. Providing one or two examples may be all that is required in some instances. For more complicated work, moms and dads may want to demonstrate how to break it down into smaller steps. This added attention may be needed for each unfamiliar assignment.

Eliminate Vagueness—

Sometimes assignments may be unclear, even to moms and dads. If this happens often, it would be best for moms and dads to communicate with the teacher about their youngster’s needs. Receiving more detailed instructions for upcoming assignments will go a long way to ensuring that homework gets done correctly and without tantrums. The key is to get the information ahead of time so that the youngster with Aspergers can be prepared, not surprised with an unknown.

Incorporate Interests—

A unique quality of kids with Aspergers is that they can develop abnormally intense interests in one or two subjects. Common ones may include weather, sports statistics, or computers. Using a little ingenuity, moms and dads can persuade the youngster to do seemingly unrelated work by integrating her interests.

Kids fascinated by computers may be encouraged to complete writing assignments using an online dictionary, for instance. Kids who have nightly reading requirements could be allowed to choose books that are related to weather, dinosaurs, or other science topics of interest. If the youngster seems to dislike math, create word problems for practicing addition, subtraction, and multiplication using subjects such as baseball or cars.

Kids with Aspergers possess unique skills and can grow to be highly productive, thriving members of society. But, like everyone, they face their own set of challenges along the way. Homework may be one of those challenges. With careful planning however, moms and dads can make this necessary and important chore less worrisome and help to pave their youngster’s way to success.

My Aspergers Child: How to Prevent Meltdowns in Aspergers Children

L-Carnosine: Nutritional Supplement for Aspergers Kids

Double-blind, placebo-controlled study of L-carnosine supplementation in kids with autistic spectrum disorders:

L-Carnosine, a dipeptide, can enhance frontal lobe function or be neuroprotective. It can also correlate with gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA)-homocarnosine interaction, with possible anticonvulsive effects.

We investigated 31 kids with autistic spectrum disorders in an 8-week, double-blinded study to determine if 800 mg L-carnosine daily would result in observable changes versus placebo. Outcome measures were the Childhood Autism Rating Scale, the Gilliam Autism Rating Scale, the Expressive and Receptive One-Word Picture Vocabulary tests, and Clinical Global Impressions of Change.

Kids on placebo did not show statistically significant changes. After 8 weeks on L-carnosine, kids showed statistically significant improvements on the Gilliam Autism Rating Scale (total score and the Behavior, Socialization, and Communication subscales) and the Receptive One-Word Picture Vocabulary test (all P < .05).

Improved trends were noted on other outcome measures. Although the mechanism of action of L-carnosine is not well understood, it may enhance neurologic function, perhaps in the enterorhinal or temporal cortex.

What is L-Carnosine?

L-Carnosine is a naturally occurring dipeptide that consists of alanine and histadine.

Where was L-Carnosine developed and how is it currently being used?

L-Carnosine was developed by a leading U.S. Pediatric Neurologist, and was first utilized in his practice. Found to be beneficial to kids diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders, Asperger's Syndrome, PDD, ADD, ADHD, Apraxia and Epilepsy, the use of L-Carnosine has steadily grown, and is now benefiting kids throughout the United States as well as other countries.

Is there clinical data indicating that L-Carnosine is effective?

Double-blind and Open-label studies have reported improvements in the following areas:

• Auditory processing
• EEG reports
• Fine motor skills
• Language skills
• Seizure frequency
• Socialization
• Speech production

What benefits should parents expect from L-CARNOSINE in autism spectrum disorders?

Although not a cure, L-CARNOSINE may improve receptive language, auditory processing, socialization, awareness of surroundings, and even help fine motor planning and expressive language when compared to placebo. Improvements are usually seen between 1-8 weeks of starting on L-Carnosine.

How can L-CARNOSINE help with epilepsy?

The exact mechanism is unknown, but in open label studies and clinical experiences, L-CARNOSINE has improved some EEG abnormalities and frequency of myoclonic and generalized seizures. L-CARNOSINE has also helped cognitive development in severe epileptics even when EEG or seizure frequency was unchanged. Remember that L-CARNOSINE is only a dietary supplement and not a drug used to treat epilepsy.

What if my youngster is Diabetic?

L-Carnosine is designed to be tolerated by Diabetics, and is compatible with the Ketogenic diet and gluten-casein free diets. It is recommended that you consult with your youngster's physician prior to administering L-Carnosine.

What if my youngster has allergies, sensitivities to certain foods or has been instructed by a physician to avoid specific ingredients?

L-Carnosine contains no yeast, wheat gluten, milk/dairy products, corn, sodium, sugar, starch, artificial coloring, preservatives, flavoring or carbohydrates.

Does L-Carnosine require a medical prescription?

L-Carnosine does not require a prescription; however, it is recommended that you consult with your youngster's physician prior to administering this or any dietary supplement.

What is the recommended dosage for the intake of L-Carnosine?

As a dietary supplement, take 1-2 capsules daily or as directed by a physician. Clinical research in autism spectrum disorders shows that 2 capsules twice daily is an effective dosage. Always consult a knowledgeable physician when using a dietary supplement.

Is L-Carnosine palatable for kids?

L-Carnosine is tasteless and odorless. If preferred, L-Carnosine capsules may be opened and their contents mixed directly into foods and beverages. However, do not mix into very high temperature foods. For example, you can mix the L-CARNOSINE into scrambled eggs once they have cooled off, but do not mix into the eggs while still cooking.

Does L-CARNOSINE have to be given with food?

L-CARNOSINE can be given with or without food.

What are the most common side effects of L-CARNOSINE?

No reports of harmful physical side effects from L-CARNOSINE have been received to date. Background research of prior animal and human experience, plus in over 1000 kids on L-Carnosine since June of 2001, have not shown any adverse liver, blood, kidney, or central nervous system side effects. Behaviorally, too high a dose may over stimulate some patients' frontal lobes which can cause increased irritability, hyperactivity, or insomnia. This has been noted in already manic or hyperactive autistic patients.

What about using L-CARNOSINE with other dietary supplements or drugs?

Supplements: To our knowledge, no other dietary supplements have been studied in a double-blind placebo-controlled manner. Fish Oil, High dose B6, Magnesium, or probiotic or mega vitamin therapies are all unproven. Some high dose vitamins may make kids hyperactive, which may confuse parents if L-CARNOSINE is added.

Drugs: L-CARNOSINE does not appear to alter valproic acid levels. We have not had reports of adverse effects with stimulants, anti-psychotic or SSRI medications. Acetyl-choline esterase inhibitors may over stimulate in combination with L-CARNOSINE, but no physically adverse interactions have been reported. Acetaminophen, Ibuprofen, and antibiotics are not contra indicated to the best of our knowledge.

Diets: L-CARNOSINE is designed to be tolerated by Diabetics, and is compatible with the ketogenic diet and gluten-casein free diets.

How long does L-CARNOSINE last?

No pharmacokinetic studies have been done to date to determine the half-life of L-Carnosine.

Should usage be interrupted or discontinued during school holidays, vacations, or periodically during the year?

No, it is not necessary nor do we recommend interrupting or discontinuing the usage of L-Carnosine during school vacations, holidays or periodically unless recommended by a physician.

Where can I find the right medication to help his Asperger’s, not cure it?


Where can I find the right medication to help his Asperger’s, not cure it?


Asperger’s Syndrome (high-functioning autism) is not something with a cure. There are no medications that can make Asperger’s go away. Many children with Asperger’s benefit from social skills training and cognitive behavioral therapy. In addition, many children can benefit from medications for symptoms related to the syndrome. Many children with Asperger’s suffer from anxiety or depression. Some suffer from hyper-activity or attention deficit disorder. Some children with Asperger’s suffer from obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Medications designed to alleviate those symptoms are available for children with Asperger’s. Working with your doctor to understand the symptoms your child suffers from is the first step. Once those symptoms are understood, it is important to then talk with your doctor about which medications might be available to treat those symptoms in your child.

A variety of medications are often available for some of the symptoms of Asperger’s syndrome. For example, many different drugs are available for ADD. If your child suffers from ADD, your doctor will decide which medication and what dose is right for your child. Your child will need to try the medication to see how it affects him. During that trial period, you’ll need to watch your child carefully to see how he reacts. If he reacts well and tolerates the medicine, and the medicine alleviates the symptoms, your child will continue on with the medication.

If your child tries a medicine and suffers from side affects or if the medicine doesn’t help alleviate the symptoms, you’ll need to consult the doctor about changing the medication. This process could be a long one. It is not unheard of to try three or four different medications and dosages to find the medication that is right for your child.

Be sure that you understand the benefits and the possible drawbacks and side affects of any medications you give your child. Also, try to understand how the medicine can work in concert with behavioral therapy in helping your child manage the symptoms of Asperger’s. Be sure to tell the doctor about any herbal medicines or other supplements your child might be taking. Supplements can often have harmful interactions with medicines, or they can render the medicines ineffective.

My Aspergers Child: How to Prevent Meltdowns

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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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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to read the full article...

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