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

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Are there any medications or techniques to address the zoning out??

Question

I have a 9 year old son who was mildly diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome when he was in second grade. He is very social, likes to tell jokes, is involved in a swimming team at the YMCA and has lots of play dates. His main problem is in school and doing homework... he tends to be in this "low arousal state" where he appears to be "zoning out". He has a para which basically helps him to stay focused. He is about 5 reading levels behind grade level. He has trouble with inference and thinking outside the box. Math word problems are difficult. He doesn't exhibit any depression, hyperactivity, temper tantrums, or stemming. He is very pleasant to people and makes eye contact. Are there any medications or techniques to address the zoning out?? I know he's paying attention since when presented with a question, he usually answers correctly. Again, this only occurs during school and homework. He also has been heavily stuttering out of nowhere for over a year. He receives speech 3x's to 2x's and adaptive phy.ed. Any information would be great.

Answer

One of the unusual abilities that Aspergers (high-functioning autistic) kids have is “hyper-focus”. Like all Aspergers traits, hyper-focus is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, when combined with the special interest and Aspergers long-term memory, it is responsible for the genius label as it applies to Aspergers children. On the other, it's responsible for many learning and obedience issues.

Hyper-focus is commonly found in Aspergers kids who also have the ADD/ADHD. In recent years, the definitions of ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder) and ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) have merged in the medical sense under the banner of ADHD. Personally, I'm not keen on this merging of diagnosis because while the two share similar definitions, there are some fundamental differences between them. While both ADHD and ADD kids have, by definition, attention issues, the hyperactive youngster is more likely to have attention problems due to hyperactivity itself while the ADD youngster is more likely to have a hyper-focus problem.

Consider the differences between the two:

1. A youngster who does not respond when his name is called because he is distracted or is shouting and jumping from chair to chair.

2. A youngster who is intently starring at a spinning wheel, or playing with some lego bricks and does not respond when his name is repeatedly called.

Hyper-focus is possibly the cause of the problem only in the second case.

One of the basic tenants of positive parenting and positive schooling is that the obedient youngster should be rewarded. In school for example, a youngster who is obviously paying attention will receive a reward while one who is not may be rebuked or simply ignored. This technique is generally quite effective with "typical" kids.

Unfortunately, this technique does not work with hyper-focused kids who go into daydream state - or "zone out" - automatically. Zoning out is not disobedience. This youngster is not trying to be naughty - they just happen to go into that state automatically.

The best remedy for these kids is for the teacher to work more closely with them and for more one-on-one time to be allocated. In schools, this isn't always practical and hyper-focused kids can often miss out on necessary attention and can fall behind. Often, such kids are labeled "slow" and are put into remedial classes simply because they lack the ability to remain "on-task".

Hyper-focus has a lot of advantages. It allows one to think more abstractly and with greater complexity. It is a particularly useful skill to have when you need to be able to model complex systems or think in an extremely logical manner (for computer programming). In the adult world, hyper-focus allows Aspergers people to deal with excessive levels of detail while still retaining a top-down approach.

Aspergers kids tend to hyper-focus mainly on their special interests and they are able to take in and process large amounts of related information as a result.

The best way to make use of hyper-focus in primary school kids is to attempt to line their work up with their special interests whenever possible.

For example, if your youngster's special interest is trains, then giving them sentences to write about trains or mathematics problems regarding carriages, train sizes or weights, or giving them scientific projects on the use of electricity or steam in trains will allow the youngster to use their special interest to further their normal learning.

My Aspergers Child: Preventing Meltdowns

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

My son was just diagnosed at the end of last school year. He does have auditory processing issues, impulsivity, is gifted in math, reading, spelling. I always just thought he was ADHD but the social aspect and the lasck of eye contact are a give away. We tried Vyvanse and it apparently helped with the impulsivity and fidgiting. We are not currently giving it to him. The neurologist told us he was not confident with the intuniv and did not think it would work for our son. Let us kow how and if that works. My son rushes through things, has horrible handwriting when he rushes and will miss problems because he is rushing.
We go back and forth with wether we should put him back on the meds or not. He was taking 10 mg but that was too much. We can dose it down to 5.0 or 7.5 so that is a good option. I read that Aspergers kids are more sensitive to meds than other children so sometimes less is better! We are working with is teacher and giving him incentives at home for good handwriting and behavior. Things seem to be working out so far. Crossing fingers. It is heartbreaking to find out something has gone wrong neurologically but without out OUR kids, this world would be WAY behind!!! look at all thos geniuses who have brought so much to the world. Most of them were/are on the spectrum and yipppee for that!!

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.

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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.

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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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