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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How can I teach empathy to my child with Aspergers?

One of the most common areas of weakness mentioned to me by moms and dads is empathy. Aspergers causes an individual to lack empathy. Showing emotions and acknowledging another person's feelings are very important skills. Without empathy, a person is seen as cold and unfeeling, therefore making it difficult to develop personal relationships with others.

If you were to complete an Internet search on empathy and Aspergers, you would find a topic that is very well covered. This weakness is quite well-known. The problem lies within the inability to determine another individual's feelings, more so than an actual inability to feel. Once your child becomes aware of another person's feelings, he is likely quite capable in showing empathy of a variety of emotions. The key to teaching empathy is helping him learn to understand and recognize other people's true feelings and emotions.

As a parent, you should definitely teach empathy. Aspergers doesn't eliminate the desire to learn, even though it can make it a bit difficult. Here are some ideas you can use to help your child develop a healthier emotional outlook.

• Social stories can be used to teach a variety of skills. You can purchase books of social stories or create your own personal versions. Feel free to make some of them silly and fun, while others are more sad and serious.

• Occupational and Speech/language therapy practice at home is important to your child's development. Make sure you are meeting with his therapists regularly and working on the goals that help with empathy: sensory issues, social cues and language, and pretend-play, to name a few.

• Social skills groups/classes can be found through your child's school, doctor's office, or your local Autism support group. Good social skills will automatically enhance your child's empathy. If you cannot find a social skills group for your child, speak with the special education department at his school for tips you can use at home. Better yet, convince them of the need to start a social skills group at school, complete with peer buddies. (Peer buddies are neuro-typical classmates who have a desire to help with the challenges some of the special needs students face at school.)

• Video, peer, and self-modeling are all good ways to teach empathy. Using videos, your child can learn to connect feelings by watching facial expressions while listening to the conversations that take place. Once a video has been implemented, bringing in a peer to help re-create the video will bring about a new dimension. Likewise, have your child use a mirror to see different facial expressions while talking about their meanings. Seeing, hearing, and doing will help your child make important connections that will stick with him.

While planning to assist a youngster by teaching empathy, Aspergers specialists and moms and dads must also balance the need for good communication skills. Social cues and gestures are an important part of emotional connection. A good speech/language therapist can help your child learn better social skills and empathy by improving his verbal and nonverbal language skills.

My Aspergers Child: Preventing Meltdowns

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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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