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

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Outcome Research in Aspergers

Outcome studies in Asperger Syndrome (AS), although limited in number, can be far-reaching in impact. Results yielded from this kind of investigation hold value for all of those involved with the youngster with ASPERGERS, whether in the role of mother/father, clinician, or researcher. When the core features have been recognized and an appropriate diagnosis of ASPERGERS has been made by the clinician, moms and dads may receive this information with a mixture of relief (this classification closely captures many aspects of their experience of their youngster) and distress (clearly this is a fairly severe disorder). More than this however, they are burdened with a singular question, often stated: “We recognize that each youngster is different, but what can we expect for our son's future?”

Adding to the clinician's own experience, outcome studies may provide useful findings with regard to positive prognosticators and long-term adaptation to everyday life. This information may assist the family in forming realistic expectations and setting meaningful goals, and also in planning for the future. From a broader research perspective, the contribution is less immediate but of equal importance. There is continued debate whether ASPERGERS and high functioning autism (HFA) represent distinct disorders, which increases the need to better understand the developmental trajectory and outcome of both disorders. Differences in outcome may provide one of the soundest justifications for a differentiation between ASPERGERS and autism.

There are few studies to examine outcome in ASPERGERS specifically. This may not be surprising in light of the relative newness of this diagnostic entity and the ongoing uncertainty of its nosologic status. The discussion is broadened when consideration is given to the research on HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM. In this article, findings from the outcome literature in autism, ASPERGERS, and related disorders are presented. The discussion of outcome principally focuses on life adaptation, but also considers outcome in ASPERGERS in relationship to other diagnostic groups and across time. The current research in this area is neither substantial nor systematic. Thus, in this examination of the literature, the goal is to highlight salient findings, but also to put forward questions that might direct meaningful research in this area for the future, and to consider implications for treatment.

Methodologic issues—

It is instructive first to consider the methodologic issues that affect any interpretation of the results from this literature. The number of studies is limited and sample sizes are often small; in addition, the subject population is heterogeneous and outcome measures are variable. There are differences in the way subjects are selected (e.g., clinic-referred samples who were identified retrospectively versus those who presented at enrollment and clinic- versus population-based samples). Further, differences may exist across studies with regard to accessible supports (e.g., relative to socioeconomic status or geographic location).

An especially important caveat when comparing studies involving high functioning people concerns the diagnostic criteria used, particularly with regard to ASPERGERS. Researchers use varied criteria for ASPERGERS, and before ICD-10 and DSM-IV, high functioning samples likely included HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM and ASPERGERS subjects. Current samples of adults with ASPERGERS may not be representative of the larger group, and when identified retrospectively, may be influenced by earlier diagnostic uncertainty. That is, it can be expected that some adults in the current psychiatric population are not appropriately identified with ASPERGERS, particularly if diagnosed as kids. Tantam reports that of the adolescents and adults referred to him for evaluation of ASPERGERS, 9% held a previous diagnosis of schizophrenia and 14% had been diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Representing a more general problem in outcome research is the lack of measures appropriate for use in a longitudinal study. Different measures often need to be used at different points in time; that is, initial measures may not be usable at follow-up because they do not extend to an older age group. There are few measures that cross the life span, and this is particularly relevant when very young kids are initially assessed. Although the same behavior may be of interest over time, it is likely to increase in complexity and require a measure that can accommodate a broader range of related skills. Age at initial assessment, developmental level, and measure selected have been associated with the stability and predictability of intelligence scores in young autistic people. Finally, outcome studies are ideally designed to be prospective, longitudinal, and population-based. In the current literature, most studies are longitudinal in nature and retrospective in design; few are population-based.

The methodologic differences between the studies in the autism and ASPERGERS outcome literature are wide-ranging and affect the comparability and the measure of generalization of the findings. However, the data are important to consider, given their clinical usefulness, viewing these as beginning findings, and research consequence, revealing needed directions for future investigations.

Outcome in autism—

Reports on the long-term outcome of autism emerged as early as the 1950s and 1960s, and were marked by many of the methodologic vulnerabilities described earlier [6]. Two particular findings documented in early studies [7], [8], [9], [10], [11], however, have proved to be fundamental and enduring: (1) Most people with autism remain autistic as adolescents or adults; diagnosis is generally stable, whereas outcome is more varied. A poor or very poor outcome is observed in three quarters of autistic people, but a fair to good outcome (e.g., acceptable functioning in social, work, or school arenas) is noted in at least one quarter [12], [13], and (2) IQ and language development, specifically the presence of meaningful speech before 6 years of age, are the strongest predictors of outcome in autism [7], [13], [14], [15].

Later studies have increasingly focused on people with autism who are high-functioning [16], [17], [18], [19], [20]; they also yield accounts of successful and limited outcomes. Identifying the factors that influence long-term functioning in HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM is of central importance as it is especially challenging to reliably predict outcome in those people with higher IQs [5]. Although it can be reasonably expected that a person with autism who is severely mentally retarded will not be capable of functioning independently, the range of outcomes is wider for the one quarter of people with autism who have normal or near normal intelligence.

In the next section, results from four follow-up studies are summarized with reference to outcome variables, such as occupational status, level of independence, and social functioning. Each of the studies used clinic-based samples but varied on other dimensions. Rumsey et al [20] reported on the progress of 14 men with autism, 7 of whom had been diagnosed by Kanner and 9 of whom were high functioning (VIQ: 82–117 and PIQ: 81–126). The subjects ranged in age from 18–39 years. The study conducted by Szatmari et al [19] identified retrospectively and followed 45 kids functioning in the normal range of intelligence, who were seen before 5 years of age. Initial diagnoses included autism, childhood psychosis, or schizophrenia. Of this group, 16 were willing to participate and at follow-up had a mean age of 26 years and average IQ greater than 90.

Venter, Lord, and Schopler [18] examined predictors of outcome for high functioning kids with autism. The sample was large (n=58), with a higher than usual proportion of females (23/58). The kids were followed for an average of 8 years, with a mean age at follow-up of approximately 15 years (age range: 10–37 years) and mean FSIQ score close to 80. Most recently, Mawhood, Howlin, and Rutter [16], [17] conducted a comparative study of adult outcome in a group of young men with autism and a group with developmental receptive language disorders (n=19 for both groups). The people were first assessed at 7–8 years of age and matched on nonverbal IQ and expressive ability. At follow-up, the mean age of the group was 23–24 years, and the mean IQ scores for the autism group were approximately 73 for VIQ and 82 for PIQ.

School placement—

Most people with HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM in these studies completed high school, receiving some assistance, and a minority went on to higher levels of education. Of the nine HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM men in the Rumsey et al study, eight completed high school and two went on to complete one year or more of junior college. One half of the group followed by Szatmari et al received special education and the remaining half attended college or university, with 6 of 16 people obtaining a degree or equivalent qualification. In Mawhood and Howlin's sample, five kids had at some time participated in a home-based program, one half of the group were placed in special classrooms for kids with autism, two were in mainstream classrooms through to secondary school, and the remaining seven kids were placed in settings for kids with severe learning disabilities. Of note, placement did not seem to be directly related to IQ; the most cognitively able kids were represented in all three settings.

The sample described in the Venter et al study was young and most kids were still enrolled in school. For adult subjects who were not in school at follow-up, placement was identified in terms of their last year of fulltime schooling. Approximately one half of this HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM sample (28/58) were placed in special education classrooms, 17 were enrolled in technical or vocational schools or were placed in regular classrooms with a fulltime teaching assistant, and the remaining 13 were in a mainstream classroom and receiving little or no help. The kids who were fully mainstreamed were more likely to have higher verbal IQ and other language scores than the kids in self-contained special education classrooms. School placement was also influenced by geography; this sample of kids came from two distinct geographic locations (North Carolina and Alberta). Although most self-contained classrooms were from North Carolina, the regular classrooms with fulltime aides came from Alberta. In light of the latter finding and differences in the predictive value of IQ in the two studies, it is noted that Mawhood and Howlin's sample represents kids from the United Kingdom.

Employment—

The rates of gainful employment are lower than might be predicted for people functioning within the normal range of intelligence. Typically, half of the sample had been employed at some time, with the exception of the sample described by Mawhood, Howlin, and Rutter [16], [17]. Most (14/19) of these subjects had never been engaged in paid employment; one person had a paid job as a laboratory technician, two worked in a voluntary capacity or on a job program, and two people were enrolled in fulltime education.

Four of the nine men in Rumsey’s study were competitively employed (janitor, key punch operator, library assistant, and cab driver); these jobs were described to be routine and involve limited decision making or social interaction (with the exception of the cab driver). One person was unemployed and the remaining men were participating in training programs. Inappropriate behaviors were described to influence job tenure, and moms and dads and agencies were seen to play a major role in job attainment.

Of the 16 people followed by Szatmari et al [19], only two were unemployed, six were in regular fulltime employment, and one worked in a family business; four were in sheltered workshop schemes and three were still in school. The jobs included librarian, physics tutor, salesmen, factory worker, and library technician. There seemed to be a positive relationship between IQ and gainful employment.

A similar distribution of employment outcome was observed in the study conducted by Venter et al. Six people were competitively employed and two more had been employed for at least 6 months; 13 were in sheltered or supervised employment settings or in special school programs, and three people were unemployed and not in school. Most HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM adults were in low-level jobs in service industries, with the exception of the one university graduate who had been employed in his chosen profession but was currently working as a bartender. All of the subjects who were in paid jobs were male; in addition, measures of verbal skills and achievement, particularly verbal IQ and reading comprehension above the median, distinguished this group, but not nonverbal IQ, severity of social deviance as measured by the ADI, or Vineland scores. Less than half of the successfully employed group obtained a Vineland adaptive behavior composite score that was above the median.

Living arrangements—

Few people were described to be living independently in these studies. Among the high functioning subjects identified by Rumsey et al, six of the nine men resided at home and three men were living in an apartment setting, with two receiving some minimal supervision. Two of the 22 adults in Venter's study lived independently, and four resided in apartments with minimal supervision. Most subjects in the study conducted by Mawhood and Howlin showed low levels of independent functioning and self care skills, which was reflected in their living situation. Six people lived with their moms and dads, nine were placed in a residential facility, and only three were living independently or semi-independently. In contrast, the outcome was more positive in the Szatmari et al study. Ten of 16 people were living with their moms and dads, but 3 were described to be functioning on their own. One subject lived in a group home and the remaining five lived independently.

Relationships—

With the exception of one case [19], none of the autistic people in any of these studies was married. The men described by Rumsey et al continued to show significant social impairments, including aloof and odd or inappropriate behaviors, and only one man reported a current friendship. Several people interacted socially in the context of school clubs, religious groups, or community events, but these relationships were maintained only within the structures of these organizations. Similarly, one third of the subjects in Mawhood and Howlin's study were noted to have acquaintances in arranged social groups who were not met otherwise, on the subject's own initiative. Three people were described to have one or more friends their own age, and nine had no particular friends with whom activities or interests were shared. Only one subject had a serious relationship with a member of the opposite sex, whereas approximately one quarter of the people in the Szatmari study were reported to have dated or had long-term relationships.

Predictors of outcome—

One study in particular was designed to examine predictors of outcome in HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM [18]. Early and current predictor variables included standard verbal and nonverbal measures and ADI scores; academic achievement and social adaptive behavior were selected as outcome variables. Overall, measures of language ability were the most powerful predictors of achievement and adaptive functioning. In particular, the presence of communicative speech before 5 years of age, speech, and current verbal IQ were the most consistent variables in predicting outcome. Although 80% of the variance for the aggregate achievement scores was accounted for by current predictors, only half of the variance of the Vineland adaptive behavior scores was predicted. Story comprehension was one of the strongest current predictors of adaptive functioning. Nonverbal measures were not useful current predictors, although early nonverbal IQ scores showed a consistent and unique relationship with the outcome measures.

Howlin et al [17] also found that early language skills were significantly related to social competence; further, a strong positive association between current verbal IQ and friendship and social ratings was identified in the adult autism group. This pattern of associations was not observed in the language group, however, despite many qualitative similarities in the social and adaptive outcomes of the two groups in this study.

Summary—

The outcome for people with HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM is varied but generally much lower than would be expected on the basis of intellectual functioning. Most even cognitively able adult persons with autism live at home or in a supervised facility and occupy lower level jobs or are unable to gain competitive employment. They may engage socially in a structured context but do not establish person friendships and do not marry. This discrepancy between cognitive ability and social adaptive functioning is at the heart of autism and is forcefully reflected in quantitative discrepancies in IQ and the Vineland composite. Vineland scores for the HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM subjects in the current studies were typically low, and at least one full standard deviation, and often more than two, below IQ levels. The sample described by Szatmari was unique in this regard; several subjects performed above expectations on the Vineland. This sample also showed a level of adaptation with regard to employment, relationships, and independent living, however, that was elevated relative to the other studies.

Factors influencing these results include differences in subject ascertainment, including higher socioeconomic status (SES) and greater access to resources. In each study, at least 15%–25% of the sample showed a fair or even good outcome. When comparisons are made with earlier studies (e.g., pre- versus post-1980s), there is also evidence of improvement in the prospects for people with autism [2]. Higher achievement scores in recent samples [18] versus those from 2 decades before [7] may signify progress from the availability of continuous structured educational programs [18]. Finally, although the diagnosis of autism typically remains stable, people can be expected to show some age-related gains in cognitive, language, and social functioning.

Outcome in Aspergers—

Asperger depicted a positive outcome in his initial accounts of his patients, particularly for those who were able to use their special talents or interests to gain employment and integrate socially [21]. In the years to follow, Asperger saw as many as 200 patients with the syndrome and his views were more tempered. The clinical picture was described to be stable, although improvements in functioning occurred through maturational processes. Asperger believed that people with this syndrome were highly intelligent and gave accounts of those who were successful in their achievements in later life, holding high-ranking positions or professions (e.g., professor of astronomy, chemist, and mathematician). A more positive outcome for his group was viewed to be an important distinction between this disorder and Kanner's autism. Anecdotal reports and research offer some support for these views.

In Wing's report [22], 34 cases were examined, and of these, 19 showed a clinical presentation similar to Aspergers account and 15 showed a consistent current presentation but did not have all of the characteristics of onset pattern and early history. Wing noted that the degree of adjustment in this group seemed to be related to skill set and temperament, particularly a special ability that is relevant to paid employment, good self care skills, and a placid nature. Approximately one half of Wing's sample was over 16 years of age; among these older people, 9 had left school or further education, of whom 3 were employed, 3 had been previously employed but had lost their jobs, and 3 had not obtained work. Most people (13/18) in this older group presented with a psychiatric illness, including affective disorders and psychotic or bizarre behavior that was not readily classified. Two had attempted suicide and an additional person showed suicidal ideation. Comorbid conditions were high in this group and should be viewed in the context of subject ascertainment, as most of these cases were clinic referred. In addition, adolescence is identified as an especially difficult time for persons with Aspergers, marked by increasing self-awareness and social isolation. Anxiety and depression seem to be particularly strong in these years and into early adulthood.

In the next section, consideration is given to three recent studies specifically examining outcome in ASPERGERS. The first of these studies followed the progress of a clinic-referred sample of 46 kids with autism and 20 kids with ASPERGERS 2 years after initial assessment and diagnosis [23]. The results provide information about the course and continuity of symptoms in ASPERGERS and HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM, and the authors comment on the developmental trajectory of these two disorders. The other two reports describe the social and adaptive functioning of 20 male adolescents with ASPERGERS and compare the outcome in this group with the outcome of adolescents and young adults with HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM and conduct disorder (CD) [24], [25].

Follow-up study—

In the study conducted by Szatmari et al [23], kids with autism and Aspergers were first assessed and identified at 4–6 years of age and were included if they had either a Leiter IQ greater than 68 or Standard-Binet IQ greater than 70. The criteria used for a diagnosis of ASPERGERS were consistent with but not identical to those of DSM-IV and ICD-10: diagnosis of ASPERGERS was given precedence over a diagnosis of autism, and five of the kids did not meet ADI cutoff for autism in the domain of impairments in social reciprocity. The primary outcome variables were social competence, as measured by the Vineland Socialization domain, and number of autistic features, obtained from the Autism Behavior Checklist (ABC). A secondary set of variables consisted of standardized measures of language, visual spatial, and motor skills.

The results of this study support the notion that kids with ASPERGERS, although impaired, are less severely affected than even higher functioning people with autism in core domains. At follow-up, the kids with ASPERGERS obtained a mean score on the Vineland Socialization scale that was almost one standard deviation higher than the score obtained by the kids with autism. For both groups, however, performance was well below the national mean (close to two standard deviations for the ASPERGERS group). On the Autism Behavior Checklist, kids with ASPERGERS showed fewer total autistic symptoms and also outperformed kids with autism on the Communication scale of the Vineland and formal language measures. No differences were obtained on the measures of visual motor and visual spatial skills.

The differences between the two groups in this study were meaningful and stable. Differences in adaptive and behavioral functioning at follow-up were a reflection of initial variation at baseline and outcome scores were predicted by diagnosis, even when controlling for differences in performance on IQ and language measures. The two groups seemed to exhibit a parallel developmental trajectory on these measures.

Follow-up scores on the language measures, however, were better predicted by initial verbal abilities than by clinical distinction. As part of an exploratory analysis, kids with autism were divided into two language groups, fluent and non-fluent, according to whether they had attained the same level of measured language fluency at follow-up as shown by kids with ASPERGERS at the beginning of the study. On comparison, the outcome of the fluent autistic group was indistinct from the initial ASPERGERS group on ABC and Vineland Socialization scale scores. These preliminary results were interpreted to suggest that both groups follow similar developmental pathways and that position along this pathway is determined by language fluency. This proposal will need to be tested further, as systematic research is needed to obtain more data on the complex set of relationships between language, behavioral, and social functioning in ASPERGERS and autism.

Comparative outcome—

The relative outcome of a group of adolescents with ASPERGERS (n=20) and CD (n=20) were compared in a study conducted by Green et al [25]. Evaluations were made using standardized interviewer rated assessments of functioning (Social and Emotional functioning interview), based on mother/father and self report. The ASPERGERS group was most strongly differentiated from the CD adolescents in two domains, their capacity for independent functioning and capacity for forming relationships. Only 50% of the ASPERGERS group was independent in basic self care skills (versus all but one person in the CD group) and only one ASPERGERS subject was able to fully organize his daily routine. Independence skills were not correlated with IQ, but did show an association with age in the ASPERGERS group; a positive aspect of their outcome was that skills continued to be gained through adolescence.

Although most moms and dads of kids in both groups indicated the presence of significant social difficulties, only the ASPERGERS group showed a profound lack of ability to establish and maintain friendships. No subject in the ASPERGERS group was judged to have ever had a friendship of normal quality (e.g., sharing of activities and feelings) and none had a girlfriend. Complete lack of friendship was rarely identified in the CD group; most of these adolescents also had a girlfriend at one time and reported some experiences of intimacy (e.g., kissing or hugging). The groups did not differ in their conceptual understanding of friendship, loneliness, or marriage, nor did they differ in reported feelings of love or sexual feelings; however, the ASPERGERS group disproportionately showed deficits in their practical functioning and day-to-day behavior.

Special education services were used at some time by most people in both groups, but a larger percentage of the adolescents with ASPERGERS were in a mainstream classroom at present (50% compared with 15%). One of the people with ASPERGERS was in college. All of the young men either were living at home or in a residential facility. None among the ASPERGERS group had ever held a part-time or casual job, whereas 11 of the CD adolescents had done so. Both groups showed a strong need for mental health services and the level of psychiatric comorbidity was high in the ASPERGERS group, including generalized anxiety disorder, dysthymia, and OCD.

The ASPERGERS group also showed a higher number of inpatient stays (40% versus 15%), but a larger number of CD adolescents had a forensic history (65% versus 10%). Although there are some reports of an association with violence or criminal behavior in ASPERGERS [3], [26], [27], a systematic review of the literature did not find support for increased behaviors of this nature in ASPERGERS [28]. Taken along with the current results, there is more evidence to suggest that kids with ASPERGERS occupy the role of victim rather than victimizer [1], [29].

In a second report, these same adolescents with ASPERGERS and CD were compared to a group of adolescents and young adults with HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM (n=13) [24]. The HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM group was significantly older and lower in full scale IQ than the other two groups; there were no differences in age or IQ between the ASPERGERS and CD groups. Subjects with ASPERGERS met ICD-10 clinical criteria for the disorder; the main criterion differentiating the ASPERGERS and HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM groups was the presence of phrase speech by the age of 3 years. The groups were compared on social competence, communication, and behavioral functioning, based on past and current report using the ADI and current observation using the ADOS.

The three groups in this study showed significantly different patterns of early impairment in core domains. The HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM group obtained the highest total severity scores in each of the ADI domains, the CD group obtained the lowest total scores, and the ASPERGERS group was intermediate in social competence, communication, and behavioral functioning. The pattern of current impairments on the ADI was somewhat different; the CD group still obtained the lowest total scores in each domain, but the differences between the HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM and ASPERGERS group were insignificant. Observed impairments on the ADOS also revealed similar levels of severity for the HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM and ASPERGERS groups in each domain, and significantly greater abnormality relative to the CD adolescents. An analysis of individual items also yielded few differences.

On the ADI, adolescents with ASPERGERS were less likely to have reduced social talk and to display rocking behaviors, and more likely to show abnormalities in gross motor coordination compared with those with HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM. Observations based on the ADOS indicated that the ASPERGERS group had better conversation skills but more inattentive behaviors.

Despite similar levels of severity of impairment in later outcome between the HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM and ASPERGERS groups, early access to services was likely to be unequal. People with ASPERGERS were diagnosed later in development, always after 5 years of age, and at least 40% were identified at 10 years of age or later. Most of the ASPERGERS group were in mainstream classrooms and had had multiple professional contacts and a variety of diagnoses before ASPERGERS. These findings raise concerns about expectations for people with ASPERGERS and appropriate management and support for this group.

Based on their findings in a younger group of HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM and ASPERGERS subjects, Szatmari et al [19] suggested that differences in ASPERGERS and HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM may represent largely a matter of timing. Initially, the two groups follow separate but parallel developmental trajectories; later some kids with autism may join the trajectory of kids with ASPERGERS, once a certain level of fluent language is developed. The results of the current study offer some support for this idea. Despite significant differences in level of impairment during early development, current reports and observations of social, communicative, and behavioral impairment yielded similar levels of functioning in the HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM and ASPERGERS groups. Early differences in functioning were not accounted for by differences in IQ and pattern of outcome was different for the two groups.

Although the HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM group showed less reported abnormality on current presentation than during early development, and thus was more similar to the ASPERGERS group, levels of functioning did not change for the ASPERGERS group and problems experienced in adolescence may even have been viewed as more severe by moms and dads. Both groups were clearly distinguished from the CD adolescents, who showed little impairment on these measures and for whom early social abnormality was associated with over-activity in a way that was not true of either ASPERGERS or HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM.

It is notable that similar developments have been reported when people with autism and language disorders are followed over time [16], [17]. In these studies, the two groups of young men, one group with autism and one with receptive language disorders, were initially assessed at 7–8 years of age and matched on nonverbal IQ and expressive ability at that time. At follow-up they were 23–24 years of age, and were compared on language and social and behavioral outcome measures. The autism group was significantly more impaired in almost every area of language assessed initially, but made more significant progress over time. PPVT and Verbal IQ scores rose significantly in the autism group as a whole, whereas the language group showed lower standard scores on the PPVT at follow-up, and verbal IQ scores remained the same. More generally, the two groups moved closer in terms of language functioning as adults and although the language group was less severely impaired on social and behavioral measures, most showed problems in these domains also. The boundaries between these two groups seemed to blur and the diagnostic picture became more complex over time. The predictive value of early developmental variables for later outcome, however, was distinct in the two groups.

Although early language ability seemed to be related to outcome in autism, there was little association between early measures and outcome in the language disorder group. Along similar lines, good verbal skills are consistently linked to outcome in autism, but normal age of onset of speech and good verbal skills in ASPERGERS does not necessarily lead to better functioning in this group as adolescents [24].

Taken together, the results of these studies suggest that differences between related diagnostic groups (e.g., HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM, ASPERGERS, language disordered) on measures of social, communicative, and behavioral functioning are obscured over time, particularly when the groups are compared in adolescence and adulthood. Data obtained early in development show distinctly different levels of impairment, despite achieving similar outcomes in many areas. This finding underscores the importance of obtaining a complete developmental history in the older patient. In addition, prospective longitudinal research is needed to identify potential differences in the factors that drive expression in these disorders; distinct early vulnerabilities may become similarly expressed as behavioral demands become increasingly complex. In addition, formal assessment instruments may not capture relevant qualitative differences between people with ASPERGERS and HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM, pointing to a need for more robust experimental measures.

Factors relating to outcome—

Ongoing research is needed to further document the long-term outcome of people with ASPERGERS. As part of this endeavor, it will also be important to examine factors that may influence adjustment in the various facets of adult life in ASPERGERS, identifying those that are predictive of outcome. Basic variables such as sex, SES, geography, perinatal complications, and medical conditions need to be identified. In lower functioning people with autism, for example, seizure disorder is common and risk is highest during early childhood and again during puberty [30]. Changes in medical status can be expected to influence functioning more generally. Factors such as age, SES, and geographic location may influence the quantity and quality of services delivered.

Additionally, features of ASPERGERS that may lead to misdiagnosis and misinterpretation of behaviors are relevant to a discussion of outcome in this disorder. Moms and dads of kids with ASPERGERS experience greater frustration in obtaining a diagnosis for their youngster, even when problems are noted early on [24], [31]. On average, kids with ASPERGERS receive a diagnosis and receive help much later in their development than do kids with autism [25], [31], [32]. ASPERGERS is typically identified in the school age youngster; as such, it would be instructive to examine how late detection affects outcome in ASPERGERS and the factors that contribute to later diagnosis. ASPERGERS is generally considered to be a less severe disorder than autism, but later diagnosis also may reflect the absence of well-established signifiers or poorly understood features. Deficits in the early stages of development in the youngster with ASPERGERS may seem subtle; as demands increase for more complex behaviors in a wider range of arenas, deficits may become more obvious.

Similarly, behaviors that are tolerable in the young youngster (and may even be described as “cute”) often are conspicuous in the older youngster. Anecdotal reports offer accounts of kids with ASPERGERS who are placed in inappropriate classroom environments because their behavior is misjudged to be defiant, willful, or even psychotic, rather than to be a manifestation of a significant developmental disability. The reverse scenario is also encountered; the cognitive strengths and verbal abilities of kids with ASPERGERS may mask the degree of difficulty they are experiencing. It is particularly important in the case of ASPERGERS that potential or actual difficulties are not underestimated.

Conclusions drawn from outcome research are informative about ASPERGERS as a group; assessments of individual functioning are important to appreciate the unique strengths and weaknesses of the youngster that may affect outcome and treatment approach. There is limited research on the relationship between neuropsychologic variables and social, adaptive, and behavioral functioning. A particular neuropsychologic profile, nonverbal learning disability [33], may serve as a model for ASPERGERS [1], [34] and may differentiate outcome for those who do and do not show profile. Another line of investigation that holds promise is the relationship between specific cognitive variables and outcome variables. For example, cognitive performance was found to be a significant predictor of job tenure but not job attainment in a sample of persons with schizophrenia [35].

Psychiatric comorbidity is an especially salient variable in ASPERGERS and likely to account for differences in outcome. Further research is needed to examine the extent and manner in which comorbid conditions or symptomatology influence the course and outcome of ASPERGERS, and evaluate differences between them. From a clinical perspective, the presence of associated conditions may confuse diagnosis and delay identification of ASPERGERS.

On the flipside, a person with ASPERGERS may present with symptoms that are not easily recognized to be a part of the disorder versus a comorbid condition (e.g., disorganized thought process that reflects psychosis versus an atypical communication style characteristic of ASPERGERS). Recognizing and treating comorbid conditions is seen to improve outcome, including decreasing problematic behaviors in the youngster and disruption in the family [36]. Anxiety and affective disorders seem to be the most common comorbid conditions in autism and ASPERGERS [2], [25], and if present need to be addressed as part of the treatment plan. Minimizing secondary problems in ASPERGERS can positively effect change, increasing the youngster's ability to develop existing skills to the fullest.

It also remains to be seen whether and to what extent the presence of these comorbid conditions in ASPERGERS may be explained by neurobiologic or family genetic factors. More commonly, an association is posited between increasingly negative experiences in adolescence and feelings of depression. The clinical features of ASPERGERS are inherently double edged; on the one hand, kids with ASPERGERS are described to show a desire for friendships and to be fairly sociable; they are verbally adept and may be able to poignantly articulate some aspects of their experience [3], [37]. On the other hand, these kids are characterized by a lack of social and common sense, tending to be na─▒̈ve and vulnerable to exploitation. This discrepancy is not overlooked in practice. One of the key characteristics that influences clinician diagnosis of ASPERGERS over HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM is desire for social interaction, whereas both groups are considered to be equally poor at attaining and keeping friends [31].

In ASPERGERS, the desire for social interaction is frustrated by a fundamental inability to adequately navigate the social world, and may be met with repeated failures. Further, rates of peer isolation and victimization are high for the school aged youngster with ASPERGERS [3], [29]. It may not be surprising then that varying degrees of depression are found as age and social pressures increase. Outcome research also needs to account for the experiences of the person with ASPERGERS and the role of positive social contact and peer groups in improving adjustment [3].

The person with ASPERGERS faces unique challenges, but it is also important to consider how the family copes with their youngster's condition. Although it is now clear that family dynamics or personal features do not cause autism, it can be expected that a youngster with autism or ASPERGERS will affect family functioning. The coping and outcome of the youngster may be related to the coping resources of the family, or may be affected by other family stressors (e.g., death or divorce).

A review of the literature of the past 10 years investigating family factors in the onset and outcome of medical and psychiatric childhood disorders points to some general findings that also may have implications for research and intervention in ASPERGERS [38]:

(1) Shared environmental factors play less of a role in internalizing disorders; rather, family processes (particularly criticism and emotional over-involvement) differentially focused on one youngster affects the risk for depression. Criticism also is associated with poor outcome for many medical and psychiatric disorders.

(2) Family processes may be a problem area, but also the added stress of an affected youngster can lead to changes in family functioning. Helping the family to cope has been shown to improve the medical outcome of kids; reducing the burden on families affected by autism or ASPERGERS also may help to mitigate secondary behavioral problems in the youngster.

(3) Family variables are especially relevant to the onset and course of externalizing disorders; interventions directed at changing the family environment or mother/fathering style can mitigate the expression of externalizing symptoms.

Implications for intervention—

People with ASPERGERS show several assets, including good cognitive ability, well developed language skills, and areas of special interest through which they may forge friendships and find satisfying jobs. The indication from descriptive reports, clinical experience, and outcome research, however, is that persons with ASPERGERS may be less impaired than those with HIGH FUNCTIONING AUTISM, but still endure a severe developmental disability. A minority of people achieves some independence in self-care and gainful employment, but most tend to live at home, hold no job, and have few or no friends. The research on long-term adjustment and comparative outcome in ASPERGERS and autism highlights the importance of some basic though often neglected components of intervention:

• Although sometimes proffered, there is no “cure” for autism or ASPERGERS at present. As such, the therapeutic process needs to be seen as continuous. Impairments in the youngster with ASPERGERS linger and core deficits are likely to manifest in different ways at different developmental stages. This should not diminish the effect of important developmental gains, nor obscure the next required step.

• Appropriate educational opportunities and support services need to be secured early, even in the face of more subtle deficits. Although people with ASPERGERS display cognitive and academic strengths, their capacity for independent functioning and forming relationships is persistently impaired. Intervention needs to focus on enhancing social communication and competence, and adaptive functioning.

• Gaps in awareness and services need to be addressed, including producing a greater research-based body of knowledge on outcome and effective interventions in ASPERGERS, and augmenting community and employment resources, recognizing that the affected youngster or adolescent will become an adult with ASPERGERS.

• In addition to support for the youngster or adolescent with ASPERGERS, there needs to be effective support for families. This may include mother/father guidance aimed at increasing understanding, helping with difficulties responding to behaviors, or effecting change in negative patterns of interaction; management issues, such as interactions with school authorities, organizing time, and planning for the future; and enhancing coping resources, providing moms and dads and siblings with an opportunity to verbalize their thoughts and feelings.

• Peer isolation and victimization are a frequent problem and may increase risk for depression; a learning environment that fosters a climate of acceptance in which the youngster with ASPERGERS feels secure and supported is vital. In addition, opportunities for social interaction and facilitation of social relationships in fairly structured and supervised activities are suggested. The make-up of these groups should be carefully selected in terms of not including peers who, despite having a good understanding of social rules, might violate the rules or would be likely to tease the youngster.

• Transition planning is of paramount importance. The learning curriculum from the start should be based on long-term goals, including autonomy, employment, and fulfillment. One strategy is to capitalize on relative strengths and foster talents and interests in a systematic fashion. There also needs to be specific training that focuses on the skills needed for self sufficiency (e.g., self-care, shopping, and transportation use) and skills needed for college or employment.

Living With Aspergers: Help for Couples



References—
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[3]. [3] Tantam D. Adolescence and adulthood of individuals with Asperger syndrome. In: Klin A, Volkmar FR, Sparrow SS editor. Asperger syndrome. New York: Guildford Press; 2000;p. 367–399.
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[13]. [13] Gillberg C, Steffenburg S. Outcome and prognostic factors in infantile autism and similar conditions: a population-based study of 46 cases followed through puberty. J Autism Dev Disord. 1987;17:272–288.
[14]. [14] Lincoln AJ, Courchesne E, Kilman BA, Elmasian R, Allen M. A study of intellectual abilities in high-functioning people with autism. J Autism Dev Disord. 1988;18:505–524. MEDLINE | CrossRef
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[16]. [16] Mawhood L, Howlin P, Rutter M. Autism and developmental receptive language disorder – a comparative follow-up in early adult life. I. Cognitive and language outcomes. J Child Psychol Psychiatr Allied Disciplines. 2000;41:547–559.
[17]. [17] Howlin P, Mawhood L, Rutter M. Autism and developmental receptive language disorder – a follow-up comparison in early adult life. II. Social, behavioral, and psychiatric outcomes. J Child Psychol Psychiatry Allied Disciplines. 2000;41:561–578.
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[31]. [31] Eisenmajer R, Prior M, Leekam S, Wing L, Gould J, Welham M, et al. Comparison of clinical symptoms in autism and Asperger's disorder. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 1996;35(11):1523–1531. Abstract | Full-Text PDF (786 KB) | CrossRef
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Ways to Stop Aggressive Behavior in Aspergers Children

Question

Is there a way to stop aggressive behavior when a young child with Aspergers is in the middle of a meltdown?

Answer

It is not uncommon for kids with Aspergers (high-functioning autism) to become aggressive. Aspergers causes a youngster to struggle to understand how their behaviors affect other kids. The many symptoms and characteristics of the disorder can cause extreme frustration. This frustration can lead to anxiety, depression, anger, and aggressive behavior. 

Here are a few specific reasons for aggressive meltdowns:
  • Change of routine: Inability to handle unexpected changes in the daily schedule, such as a substitute teacher or a cancelled class period
  • Communication problems: Inability to recognize humor, sarcasm, or slang during conversations with peers
  • Sensory issues: Inability to handle the discomfort in the environment due to sights, sounds, smells, or other sensory dysfunction
  • Social struggles: Inability to understand social cues and gestures or to make and keep friends

Aspergers calls for a direct approach. Therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, social skills training, and occupational therapy will help with levels of frustration and also touch on self-control, a necessary skill for all of us. However, there are several things parents can do at home to lessen the impact of aggressive meltdowns.

Here are a few tips:

  • Redirection can sometimes be used during the beginning stages of a meltdown to reduce the escalation.
  • Removal from the situation is necessary once a meltdown has developed.
  • Role-play appropriate responses to tricky situations with your youngster. Role-playing is an excellent option for teaching all types of social skills to kids with Asperger’s.
  • Social stories are excellent for teaching young kids about problem behaviors. These should be used during quiet moments and not during any stage of aggressiveness or frustration.
  • Teach youngster to recognize red light/green light behaviors, red being a poor choice and green being a good choice.

My Aspergers Child: Preventing Aggressive Behavior in Aspergers Children

How can I deal with transition between schools for my son with Asperger Syndrome?

Question

How can I deal with transition between schools for my son with Asperger Syndrome?

Answer

For kids with Aspergers (high-functioning autism), transition between schools will evoke a wide range of negative emotions. Change is difficult for these kids, and when a new school year rolls around, everything changes. New classmates, new teachers, and new schedules can cause major anxiety, which can spiral to depression.

Dealing with the Aspergers transition problems can also affect your youngster’s home life. Anxiety brought about at school will carry over at home causing disruption. Anger and frustration can escalate, triggering meltdowns. While the transition at school cannot be avoided, there are things a parent can do to lessen the effects of all the change that comes with moving to a new school. 

 Here are some tips to help you deal with this unstable period in your youngster’s life:

Plan ahead—

Begin planning for the Aspergers transition phase well in advance. Make a checklist of people to speak with and places to visit. Your list may look like this:
  • Create a visual calendar that shows when the change will occur.
  • Meet with the special education coordinator at the new school to discuss my youngster and ways this person can help with the transition.
  • Schedule doctor’s appointments and therapy appointments to discuss counseling, medication, and any other available forms of help for my youngster’s transition.
  • Talk to my youngster about the changes that are coming.
  • Visit current teachers and therapists and request their help.
  • Visit the new school for a tour and then plan a visit with my youngster.

Prepare your youngster—

Moms and dads must prepare their youngster for the Aspergers transition period. Talk with your youngster about the change that is coming long before it actually happens. For example, near the end of this school year you can mention during your drives to school how your morning drive will be different next year. This will most likely bring protests, and this will give you a chance to talk positively about the new school. Keep it light and without pressure.

Prime the school staff—

The teachers and therapists at your youngster’s new school should know all about your youngster with Aspergers. Transition will be less difficult if the new school staff has a plan in place specifically for your youngster.

Put together a support program—

A complete and dedicated team should be in place for your youngster with Aspergers. Transition team members may include the pediatrician, neurologist, psychologist, school counselor, teacher, and most importantly, the moms and dads. While the medical community may rely on medical tests, medications, and therapies, the moms and dads can offer support at home. Moms and dads can find resources like books and videos to help them encourage their youngster.

My Aspergers Child: Preventing Meltdowns in Aspergers Children

TEACHING SOCIAL SKILLS TO KIDS WITH ASPERGERS

KEY CONCEPTS:

1. Aspergers kids and teens are often described by their parents as being bright but clueless.

2. Kids with Aspergers often score well within the normal range on standardized tests typically used by schools to evaluate students. These tests usually do not test for social skills.

3. It is often helpful for parents to think of themselves as coaches for their kids.

4. Children/teens with Aspergers can have wide ranges of strengths and weaknesses which can puzzle and frustrate parents and educators. For example, since he can program a computer, why can’t he write a book report?

5. Persons with social-cognitive deficits still desire successful social relationships and companionship. Do not assume that they don’t want to have friends.

6. Poor parenting or role modeling does not cause Aspergers.


INTERVENTIONS:

1. An activity notebook: These can be used to document all the activities in a given day. Then parents and youngster together can plan for minor changes in routines to help decrease time spent in repetitive stereotypes movements such as rubbing or twirling, or spending all one’s time on a single interest.

2. Discussions on specific topics such as how to greet others, how to wait your turn, how to ask for something, what to do when you don’t get your own way, and how to tell someone you like them. Use pictures, role model actual situations, or write in a journal.

3. Emotion Flash Cards or vocabulary cards: These are cards that describe in pictures various emotions.

4. How to give and receive compliments. What types of compliments are appropriate in a given situation?

5. How to help others. Teach the youngster or teen specific tools to use to understand situations in which it is or isn’t appropriate to help others.

6. How to understand and use skills such as using a friendly and respectful tone of voice, or waiting for pauses in conversation.

7. Learning to recognize early signs of stress and anxiety, to avoid going into the anxiety-anger cycle.

8. Roll-play various stressful and/or emotional situations.

9. Strategies to teach how to recognize and cope with one’s emotions. These include the use of an anger thermometer, lists of things that might make one horrified, bored, confused, overjoyed, or mad; or emotion scales which assign a number score to the intensity of a given emotion.

10. Teach commonsense rules for starting conversations. For example, one system is the PATHS method. This stands for Prepare ahead, Ask yourself what you are going to talk about, Time it right, say Hello, and watch for nonverbal Signals.

11. Teach how to notice and use nonverbal skills. For example, the SENSE method. This stands for Space (maintain the proper physical space between others), Eye Contact, Nodding (To show agreement or disagreement), Statements of Encouragement (such as uh-uh), and Expressions (face).

12. Teach the difference between public and private. Be very specific. Make lists or draw pictures of private activities and public activities. Make lists of examples of private places and public places.

13. Teach vocal cues. One such cue is proper use of tone of voice. Ask teen or youngster to try to guess what people are thinking based on inflection in speech patterns or tone of voice.

14. The “I Laugh” Approach: These are a series of specific exercises to teach communication skills and problem solving. “I Laugh” stands for: Initiating new activities, Listen effectively, Abstracting and inference, Understanding perspective, Gestalt, the big picture, and Humor.

Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management

The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide

A Simple Guide To Helping Your Youngster With Asperger’s Syndrome In Almost Any Situation, Including…

• How to help your youngster cope in social gatherings (either at school or work)
• How to help your youngster create and enjoy long-lasting friendships
• How to encourage your youngster to form loving relationships with your family, friends and romantic partners
• Four Bonus Gifts (Worth: $76.00)
• And much, much more…

This Is Your Invitation To “Test-Drive” A Life-Changing Aspergers Guide, Which Has Already Helped 1,674 People Worldwide….

And The Best Part? You Can Try It For Yourself For 56 Days – Risk-Free… Please Read Below To Find Out More…


Dear Friend,

If you’re the parent or relative of a youngster with Asperger’s Syndrome, you know it can make life an agonizing struggle.

The obsessive routines. The preoccupation with one subject of interest (to the exclusion of most everything else). The problems they face understanding different social situations. The oversensitivity to sounds, tastes, smells and sights. Their feelings of being overwhelmed by even the smallest of changes…

Then there are the pressures YOU face: the inability to communicate with your youngster, the awkwardness you feel in social situations, the pressure it puts on your relationships with your partner and other kids, and the desperate desire to try anything – in amongst a sea of physical and emotional exhaustion - to ensure your youngster is able to enjoy the best that life can offer – even if it’s on their terms.

It can be VERY frustrating having a youngster with Asperger’s Syndrome. The hardest part is you feel like you’ll never actually get to know your youngster and how they see the world in the same way other moms and dads do. But how can you do that?

As a quick test, please ask yourself the following questions (and answer them honestly):

1. Do you ever feel tired, frustrated or overwhelmed as the parent of a youngster with Asperger’s Syndrome?
2. Do you feel as if you’re on a constant 24-hours-a-day knife’s edge, waiting for the next ‘crisis’ to explode?
3. Have you ever been so angry at your youngster that, even for a split second you actually HATED them?
4. Has your youngster ever done anything so strange or dangerous that you’ve been FRIGHTENED of what they may be capable of?

If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, and you’re looking for answers to your Asperger’s Syndrome questions, then this could be the most important letter you ever read…

Here’s Why I’m Writing To You…

My name is Dave Angel. I‘m a social worker working with families just like yours, and earned a Masters Degree in Applied Social Studies. In spite of all this, Asperger’s Syndrome was not something that I knew much about Until One Day Several Years Ago When I Visited A Family With An Unusual Youngster…

You never forget the first time you meet a youngster with Asperger’s Syndrome.

You see, I had a call from work to make a daytime visit to a family I’d never met before. The reason for going was to assess a young person who was struggling with school. He was feeling very low, was in a near-permanent depressed mood, and was also highly aggressive towards his older brother.

But that was only half the story, as I also remember the state of mind of the moms and dads of this boy.

The mother of this youngster was so upset and frustrated that she didn’t know where to turn, and was so overwhelmed by it all that she was in tears and at the end of her tether.

The mother and father of this boy had split up, a common occurrence for moms and dads of kids with Asperger’s Syndrome, with a staggering 75% of such moms and dads eventually splitting up, due in large part to the stresses and strains of coping with a youngster with Asperger’s Syndrome.

The inability to communicate on the one hand, and the malicious gossiping of other moms and dads in the schoolyard (who see your youngster as “strange” or “different”, oftentimes entirely without justification), all contribute to tear at the fabric of even the strongest relationships.

What’s more, each of them lived in different homes. This resulted in their son having two houses to get used to (when he spent time with each parent), which meant different routines, a lack of stability, and increased anxiety for all concerned.

So after my assessment, I felt extremely frustrated as I wasn’t able to offer any practical help.

I wanted to do what I could to assist this family, but I couldn’t, and that gnawed at me.

Meeting this family (and seeing their suffering and pain) sparked my desire to find out more, and I made it my mission to find out as much as I could about Asperger’s Syndrome.

And That’s When I Made A Shocking Discovery…

The strange thing was, there was no shortage of information on Asperger’s Syndrome. But it fell squarely into one of two categories:

1) Either it was written by Academics in a very “dry”, difficult to understand manner
2) Or the information was presented by well-meaning charitable organizations, with poorly put together websites (where it is hard to find the right information relevant to you and your youngster’s needs).

In short, there was no one resource for ordinary moms and dads, friends and relatives of people with Asperger’s Syndrome. A resource written in simple to understand, non-academic language where they could share their experiences and help each other to help themselves – and their youngster with Asperger’s Syndrome – to enjoy less stressful and more happy and productive lives…

Which Is Why I’ve Written A Guide To Fill This ‘Knowledge Gap’

But before I tell you more about my new guide, and how it can help your youngster (and your other family members) lead a happy, productive and loving life, I want to give you the facts on Asperger’s Syndrome. So with this mind, it’s high time I answered that all-important question…

What Is Asperger’s Syndrome And How Does It Affect Your Kids (And You)?

In layman’s terms, Asperger’s Syndrome is a developmental disability which affects the way your youngster develops and understands the world around them, and directly linked to their senses and sensory processing. This means they often use these behaviors to block out their emotions or response to pain.

Although they may vary slightly from person to person, kids with Asperger’s Syndrome tend to have similar symptoms, the main ones being:

• Difficulties with social functioning, particularly in the rough and tumble of a school environment
• Sensory issues, where they are oversensitive to bright light, loud sounds and unpleasant smells
• Obsessive interests, with a focus on one subject to the exclusion of all others
• Social isolation and struggles to make friends due to a lack of empathy, and an inability to pick up on or understand social graces and cues (such as stopping talking and allowing others to speak)
• A rigid Insistence on routine (where any change can cause an emotional and physiological meltdown)
• A need to know when everything is happening in order not to feel completely overwhelmed

How I Can Help You Find The Answers To Your Questions About Asperger’s Syndrome…

Since 2006, I’ve worked with hundreds of families all around the world who have Asperger’s Syndrome.

Over these years I’ve been disturbed and saddened by the amount of pain and heartache that having a youngster with Asperger’s Syndrome can bring to some families, even though I’ve noticed that for other families it’s a joyous gift that they nurture and treasure.

The funny thing is that even though people who are moms and dads of kids with Asperger’s Syndrome may be from different parts of the world, they are often experiencing the same kinds of problems......

I decided that I wanted to find out more so that I could help the families that were suffering the most, and interviewed 107 families to find out what their biggest problems were and found that the main problem areas for families were.......

• Coping with their youngster's difficult and aggressive behaviors.....
• Understanding what is really going on inside their youngster's head....
• How to help their youngster to cope better in the community and at school.....
• How to keep the peace at home with the rest of the family.....
• Understanding the real meaning and causes of Asperger’s Syndrome.

So I figured that what moms and dads were looking for was a complete and comprehensive guide packed with practical tips and explanations all about their Asperger’s Syndrome youngster….

But not just some stuffy, old academic text book filled with long fancy sounding words that no-one actually understands or uses in the real world. A practical support guide, based on proven strategies used worldwide by the moms and dads and families of people with Asperger’s Syndrome.

And this is your invitation to try it, risk-free, for the next 56 days…

ANNOUNCING: The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide Your Practical Toolkit For Raising A Happy And Successful Youngster With Asperger’s Syndrome

1. The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide is a simple guide which gives you the parent the simple yet highly effective tips, strategies and techniques to help you cope with and manage your youngster’s behavioral and emotional needs.

2. Based on tried and trusted methods that have worked with Asperger’s Syndrome kids all over the world, the guide will give you greater control and stability in both your youngster’s and your family’s lives, and empower you to manage your youngster with Aspergers’ symptoms in a simple and less painful way.

3. My objective in offering this resource is simple: I want to take all of the experience, expert information and great ideas from both me and my colleagues and give them to you. That way you have a hugely valuable resource packed solid with advice, fresh ideas and solutions to the problems you face on a day-to-day basis.

4. You can have it with you all of the time and can use it to overcome the day-to-day problems in parenting a youngster with Asperger’s Syndrome. The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide will be like having your own expert Asperger’s Syndrome team in a small corner of your living room gently supporting and advising you to make the right decisions for you and your youngster every second of the day.


“This past week I printed pages 116 through 119 of your book to aid an IEP in the works for our Alex, age 10. Your book is an excellent informational resource, so easy to read and understand. I know I will reference it more in the future and also mention it at the next Collaborative Autism Intervention Project (CAIP) workshop I attend. Thank you so much." Melinda Boren - Parent of an Asperger's Youngster, Missouri, USA


I’ve put together a team of experts who have helped to develop the solutions to the many problems that you will face as a parent with an Asperger’s Syndrome youngster.

This expert team is made up of many different experts such as Social Workers, Moms and dads, Clinical Psychologists, Educational Psychologists, Speech-Language Pathologists, Autism Specialists and Special Needs Teachers, and they come from all over the world including Europe, North America and Australia.

• In particular I have a U.K. Chartered Educational Psychologist (who received her Masters in Psychology at the University of East London) and who has more than 20 years experience as both a Special Needs Teacher and Educational Psychologist. She is working with me on behavioral and psychological issues for Asperger’s Syndrome kids and their family.

• I also have a medical doctor, Christine Traxler, from the USA (who received her Medical Doctorate from the University of Minnesota) who has more than 15 years experience in medicine and who works with me on the medical side of Asperger’s Syndrome.

Between them my team have many years experience of working with thousands of families with Asperger’s Syndrome kids.

With this wide range of experience and understanding, you can be sure that you will get solutions to your problems that will be both thorough and proven to work in real life.

But Before I Continue, Let Me Make One Thing Clear…

The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide is NOT offering a “cure” for Asperger’s Syndrome. Nor would I claim that every single thing you need to help your youngster is in this ebook.

But if you’re looking for rock solid, proven and practical answers to your most important questions about your Asperger’s Syndrome youngster, then I am confident you will benefit from this guide.

Here’s What You’ll Discover In Your Copy Of The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide…

• The impact of having a youngster with Asperger’s Syndrome (and the importance of having the right information to manage the situation, and avoid a great deal of suffering and pain for you, your family and friends) pages 7-8

• Why having a youngster with Asperger’s Syndrome can be and is a joyful gift to your family (and the ONE thing you need to make this a reality in your life) pages 8-9

• How my guide can help you deal with the situations arising from your youngster’s Asperger’s Syndrome (and why I decided to do this NOW) pages 10-12

• Are the problems moms and dads of Asperger’s Syndrome kids face different from country to country? (The answers on pages 13-14 may surprise you…)

• The SIX main ‘need to know’ Asperger’s Syndrome topics you’ll find out about in my guide (and why they’re so important for the long-term welfare of you youngster – pages 15-16)

• The most difficult area for moms and dads of kids with Asperger’s Syndrome to deal with, and where most help is needed (INCLUDES: details of what it is, why it’s such a big issue, and how to develop response mechanisms to cope with it – pages 17-19)

• How to deal with your youngster’s obsessive-compulsive behaviors (especially if they occur in public places or school) pages 20-23

• What you must do if your youngster displays inappropriate sexual behavior in public (INCLUDES: the right – and wrong – responses for when your youngster starts stripping and/or stares at others) pages 27-30

• Why Asperger’s Syndrome kids can overreact during car or plane journeys (and what you should do to manage these issues) pages 31-33

• TEMPER TANTRUMS: all kids have them from time to time, but what if it happens almost ALL the time? (Turn to pages 33-36 to discover my 3-Step Program to help your youngster manage their anger more effectively…)

• How to help your youngster with Asperger’s Syndrome follow routine (without it becoming a problem or an obsession…) pages 36-39

• The concrete ways you can help your youngster deal with emotions (and the best option to show them to make it a simpler learning process for them – and you…) pages 40-42

• The FOUR major reasons why your youngster with Asperger’s Syndrome behaves in the way they do (and how to construct a monitoring system to give your youngster the loving support they need to manage whatever life throws their way) pages 43-46

• The 4-step method you can use to deal with your youngster with Asperger’s Syndrome’ defiant actions (PLUS: should MEDICATION only ever be used as a last resort? Or should it be given more frequently? Our conclusions on pages 47-50)

• The siblings of kids with Asperger’s Syndrome – how to help them cope with their brother or sister’s condition (they may not be directly affected by Asperger’s Syndrome themselves, but their brother or sister’s disability WILL have profound consequences on their lives and sense of well-being. Find out how to lessen this impact on pages 51-54)

• Should you let your youngster with Asperger’s Syndrome HIT you (and “let it all out”?) Or should you manage their anger so they stop doing it? Two of my most effective coping strategies revealed on page 60…

• How to explain Asperger’s Syndrome to siblings (whether they’re very young or teenagers) in terms they’ll understand – [PLUS: the simple way to explain the 3 main problem areas kids with Asperger’s Syndrome face on a day-to-day basis…] pages 61-73


"Hi, Dave Angel, I don’t know if this email will ever reach you, but I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your Asperger's mini-course. It has been tremendously helpful. I cannot begin to thank you enough.......Thank you for the article on changes in adolescence, too.... Thank you very much for your help via your excellent articles and the mini-course. I'll always be grateful to you. Best always, Betsy." Betsy Johnson - Parent of a Youngster with Asperger’s Syndrome, Chapel Hill, North Carolina, USA


• The best books for siblings of kids with Asperger’s Syndrome… pages 75-78

• Should you PUNISH your youngster with Asperger’s Syndrome bad behavior? Or will this do more harm than good when it comes to teaching the difference between right and wrong? Our advice to this potential ‘emotional minefield’ on pages 83-87

• How to help a youngster with Asperger’s Syndrome deal with the world, when YOU have Asperger’s Syndrome (and are still trying to find your way around) pages 93-97

• The problems you and your youngster with Asperger’s Syndrome may face when dealing with the general public… pages 103-111

• EDUCATION: It’s one of the most asked-for areas of support, but how can you ensure your youngster with Asperger’s Syndrome copes at School, in an ever-changing social and learning environment? (Turn to pages 113-120 to find out how to create strongly united teams of professionals working together for your youngster’s best interests)


"You have no clue how much I appreciate all the information. We really had a bad year in school, not because of grades (he's in gifted classes) but your general Asperger socially pervasive disorder. I really appreciate you taking the time to keep me posted. Thanks again. Dee." Dee McCullar - Parent of a Youngster with Asperger’s Syndrome, Mount Olive, Alabama, USA


• Five simple ways to create an optimum learning environment for your youngster (both in AND out of the classroom… ) pages 116-117

• How to persuade teachers and educators to develop an Individual Education Plan for your youngster with Asperger’s Syndrome (even if they’re opposed to the idea) pages 120-121

• How to help your adolescent youngster develop their physical and social skills especially in sports. (Although Asperger’s Syndrome kids can lack coordination, their talents and abilities can be unlocked, by using our 8-step program – check it out on pages 126-128…)

• The three vital questions you must ask when your youngster with Asperger’s Syndrome changes school, and why they’re so important for their future development (pages 131-132)

• The pros – and cons – of HOME SCHOOLING: is it the best choice for your youngster with Asperger’s Syndrome? (See my conclusions – and resources guide – to help you make the best, most informed decision – on pages 133-136)

• The difference between ASPERGER’S SYNDROME and AUTISM (to many people, Asperger’s Syndrome and Autism are one and the same thing. But the differences – although subtle – ARE there. See what they are, and the impact they have on your youngster and family, on pages 141-145, and pages 148)

• Can Asperger’s Syndrome cause childhood DEPRESSION? (My thoughts on this sensitive issue on pages 146-147…)

• Is Asperger’s Syndrome a mental health issue, or a neurological issue? Pages 151-156

• The alternative treatments which may help people with Asperger’s Syndrome

(IMPORTANT: these are in NO way a “cure” for Asperger’s Syndrome – or anything like it – no such thing exists. However, this section Includes details on):

o The alternative treatments available for your youngster (are they suitable?)
o The quick guide to ‘Summer Camp Survival’ for your youngster with Asperger’s Syndrome [pages 158-160]
o Is there a link between Asperger’s Syndrome and Lyme Disease? (My conclusions on pages 162-164)
o How to use DIET as a technique for helping people with Asperger’s Syndrome [INCLUDES: the five ‘trigger’ conditions to avoid to ensure your youngster gets a healthy and balanced diet - pages 165-170]
o Can HOMEOPATHIC and/or NATURAL Remedies manage the symptoms of, and even CURE, Asperger’s Syndrome? Pages 171-172
o FIVE valuable websites to help your youngster with Asperger’s Syndrome integrate into the community, find a job, and find their place in the world… page 174

• How to contact me (and ask me any questions you want answers to – my PRIVATE email address – only available to readers of this guide – on page 182)

• And much, much more…

But Don’t Just Take My Word For It…

Here’s What Some More Of The Happy Moms and dads Who Are Using My Asperger’s Syndrome Resources Have To Say....


"Dear Dave Angel, I just want to sincerely thank you for all your efforts and dedication with this website and articles which have all been so incredibly helpful to me...It's like a virtual support group. My little boy was just diagnosed with ASD at 3.25 years old, and I was devastated. But your informative articles have been incredibly insightful and I don't feel alone because of you! Keep up the great work!!! We need you!" Joan Brand, Long Island, New York, U.S.A.


"Your articles help me a great deal in trying to understand my son and find ways of helping him. Keep up the good work, in my mind you truly are an angel." Suzanne Byrne, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada


"Hello Dave, I just wanted to say a HUGE thank you from the sunny Gold Coast in Queensland for all the information you send me. I am so grateful and am constantly referring people on to your site. The new system will be a great help. I am mum to 3 kids ages 17, 14 and 7.5. It is my 17 year old daughter Elizabeth who has Asperger’s Syndrome. I really appreciate all the tips and encouragement that I receive and I just wanted to say thank you. You do a wonderful job and it is such a blessing for me." Heather Clark, Queensland, Australia


"Dear Dave, Thank you for your work in creating your wonderful newsletters. They are so informative and helpful. I look forward to receiving them and they have been a great help in matters relating to my 13 year old who has Asperger’s Syndrome." Janey Grainger, Bromley, Kent, U.K.


"Dave, Just wanted to THANK YOU for all your help and wisdom with ASD and for sharing that with us! I've learned so very much about my grandson's world, since meeting you and being on your mailing list. What a true blessing!" Lynn Wiley. Hinseville, Georgia, USA


“Wow! I am only halfway through your book, but I love it! I am learning a lot from the question/answer dialogue, and most certainly appreciate the time and effort you put into this work. Thank you so much for this information.” Judith (Surname anonyomised on request) - Parent of an Asperger's Youngster. Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA.


"Very, Very Good: The personal parental problems are very helpful. I found reading about kids in my son's age group most interesting of course. Like you say what is a normal parent and what is a normal person anyway?" Donald Hughes - Parent of a Young Adult with Asperger's West Penwith, Cornwall UK


Hi, I thought the book was great. Thanks for looking at the problems with a different view point." Sharon Hills – Parent of an Asperger's Youngster, South Wales, UK


"Thank you for your book. I have an 11 year old boy (with ASP) and it is good to know more about it. It is very interesting and well written." Pia Contaldi - Parent of An Asperger's Youngster, Cape Town, South Africa


"Hi. I have found your book really useful. I'm not sure whether my son has Asperger's and I was worried which is why I ended up on your site. I am very grateful for the book so thank you." Jax Fleming - Parent of an Undiagnosed Asperger's Youngster, Essex, UK


"I am a sufferer of AS and its always great to see when someone is helping people understand Asperger’s Syndrome." Steve Fritz - Adult with Asperger's Sheffield, UK


"It has been very enlightening - thank you so much. My son has not been diagnosed yet but his case is in front of the panel and we are waiting." Daniella Slaney - Parent of an Undiagnosed Asperger's Youngster, Solihull, UK


“I found the book really interesting and informative. I am giving copies to friends who are already dying to read it, more so because you explain everything in plain English, which is a refreshing change." Cheryl Waldron - Parent of an Asperger's Youngster, Havant, Hampshire, U.K.


Just imagine for a moment how The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide could help you and your family: being able to cope with most situations that arise with your Asperger’s Syndrome youngster any time, any place, any where.

How amazing will it feel knowing that you can do this and also live a happier life with a renewed confidence in your ability as a parent?

But Wait… There’s More…

When You Order The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide
You’ll Also Receive The Following Four Bonus Gifts…

BONUS GIFT #1: Interview With Internationally Acclaimed
Aspergers Author Tony Attwood (A $25.00 value)

Chances are that if you’re looking for information about Asperger’s Syndrome then you will have come across Tony Attwood. He works with adults and kids with Asperger’s Syndrome as a psychologist, and is an extremely well read author and sought after speaker on the subject.

I grilled Tony in a 30 minute interview that I have had transcribed for you to read and enjoy.

In this interview Tony reveals tips on working with certain behaviors, techniques for families and siblings of Asperger’s Syndrome kids, his own personal favorite Asperger’s Syndrome experts and what he sees as some of the major issues ahead for people with Asperger’s Syndrome.

And it’s yours as my gift when you order The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide

BONUS GIFT #2: My Personal Rolodex of Asperger’s Syndrome Internet Resources (A $23.00 value)

Knowing you need to find out certain Asperger’s Syndrome information is one thing: FINDING the RIGHT information when you need it most is quite another.

That’s why, as an extra Bonus Gift, I’ve decided to share with you my own personal rolodex of internet resources. Packed full of information, strategies and advice, plus my favourite resources (built up over my 11-years plus in the field)

Theses links to discussion forums, chat rooms, sites with great freebies (like free books and communication aids), website directories (the internet equivalent of the yellow pages for all things Asperger’s Syndrome), and websites of individuals with Asperger’s Syndrome, are the perfect complement to your Asperger’s Syndrome knowledge and action base, and are yours with my compliments…

BONUS GIFT #3: ”Getting Started: Introducing Your Youngster To His Or Her Diagnosis Of Autism Or Aspergers Syndrome” a special report by Renowned Asperger’s Syndrome Expert Marci Wheeler (An $11.00 value)

This special report is a practical guide which helps moms and dads in the tricky area of explaining to their youngster about their Asperger’s Syndrome diagnosis.

Marci Wheeler has compiled a report on the “who, what, when, where and how” of telling your youngster about Asperger’s Syndrome, how it impacts on their lives (and the lives of those around them), and how to ensure they lead happy, productive lives working with Asperger’s Syndrome.

Written in a down-to-earth, easy-to-read style, “Getting Started” will help you discover and understand the main issues you need to know, to help you and your youngster with Asperger’s Syndrome lead happier and less stressful lives .

Marci is a social worker who has over 20 years experience working at the Indiana Resource Center for Autism. I recently interviewed her and I have to say that she is an amazingly helpful lady with a great knowledge of Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome.

BONUS GIFT #4: The full transcript of my Interview with Pam Wright. (A $27.00 Value)

A single mother of three kids, the youngest of whom has Asperger’s Syndrome, Pam is also a qualified social worker who works with kids with Asperger’s Syndrome and their families, and as such her knowledge of Asperger’s Syndrome is second to none. In the transcript of our interview (which is the final section of The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide, you’ll discover…

o The SIX biggest challenges facing moms and dads of kids with Asperger’s Syndrome (and how to develop practical coping mechanisms to overcome them, based on her own experiences of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion, shared with graphic honesty) pages 186-191 and pages 193-195
o What you should do when you find out your youngster has Asperger’s Syndrome (and what Pam would do differently – in managing her son’s Asperger’s Syndrome - if she could start over again…) pages 192-193
o The information and resources Pam uses to keep up to date with all the changes in the Asperger’s Syndrome field (and how she applies them to improve her son’s life) pages 196-198
o How to prevent behavior meltdowns (before AND whilst they occur)
pages 199-204
o Pam’s first-hand advice to SIBLINGS of kids with Asperger’s Syndrome (It’s not just the moms and dads who deal with the effects of raising a youngster with Asperger’s Syndrome. Brothers and sisters can feel neglected – and resentful – at the extra attention lavished on their ‘different’ sibling, even though they too have emotional and developmental needs which need nourishing. Find out Pam’s no-nonsense views on how to avoid this resentful turning into hatred and outright rejection on pages 205-208
o The truth on how the Educational System treats kids with Asperger’s Syndrome
(and it doesn’t make for pretty reading…) pages 209-211
o The ONE thing Pam suggests you do to enhance your life as a parent of a youngster with Asperger’s Syndrome (The best part? It won’t cost you a single penny) pages 212-213
o And much, much more…

But There’s Just One Catch…

This offer is going to be time-limited as we are expecting an avalanche of orders.

So if you want to take advantage of these unique bonuses, you need to act fast and reserve your copy of The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide. I’m not sure how much longer I’ll be able to offer them to you, and we may have to stop it at any time…

==> Click here to reserve your copy of The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide

If you've ever tried looking for similar materials on Asperger’s Syndrome, you know it costs a great deal in time and money. To do all the research contained in this guide yourself would cost you a small fortune, and enormous amounts of time and effort, with no guarantee of finding the right answers.

In fact, let’s do a quick comparison. If you went to see each of these specialists individually you could expect to pay:

-Psychologist $200.00 per 1 hour session
-Speech-Language Pathologist $100.00 per 1 hour session
-Autism Specialist $150.00 per 1 hour session
-Private Special Needs Teacher $ 70.00 per 1 hour session
-Social Worker $100.00 per 1 hour session
==> Total $620.00

Yes, your youngster’s health and happiness is priceless, but that’s still a lot of money. Money you may be struggling to find…

But by using what you’ll discover in The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide you’ll have all the facts at your fingertips. Facts presented to you in an easy to follow format. Facts proven to work in the real world, helping kids with Asperger’s Syndrome all over the world.

Then there’s the extended network of fellow families across the globe who also have kids with Asperger’s Syndrome. Their support and advice alone could be of enormous value to you and your family…

Your investment to receive the The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide is a one-time $47.

Which works out at only 13 cents a day, spread over a year. Not much when you look at it that way, is it? Especially when you consider the potential value of the information you’re investing in.

In return, you’ll enjoy full access to a proven and practical guide which gives you the facts you need to know, to make the best and safest decisions for you and your family and friends.

Try The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide Risk-Free

Examine this ebook for the next 56 days. If for any reason, or for no reason at all, you don’t believe the The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide will help you, your family and friends, and your youngster with Asperger’s Syndrome, simply write to me to let me know, and I’ll send you a full refund of your money. No questions asked.


"The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide is an excellent resource that I would recommend to any parent who has a youngster with Aspergers Syndrome. It is full of really practical and easy-to-use information to help moms and dads with their Aspergers youngster and also the rest of the family. As a journalist I know a thing or two about writing - and this is definitely put together and written very professionally." Ian Cook, Journalist and Former BBC Producer, Birmingham, U.K.


The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide is not available in bookshops, Amazon or eBay. You can only get it here.

Yours sincerely,

Dave Angel
Editor The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide

P.S. Remember. You’re fully covered by our Risk-Free Trial Offer. Try The Parenting Aspergers Resource Guide for the next 56 days. If, at any time during these 56 days you decide you don’t want to keep it, simply return it to us in any condition, and you owe us nothing. The Bonus Gifts (worth a total of $196) are yours to keep regardless of whether or not you decide to pay for the guide, as a “thank you” for trying us out.

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.

Click here for the full article...

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.

Click here to read the full article…

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.

Click here to read the full article…

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."

Click here to read the full article…

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.

Click here to read the full article…

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.

Click here to read the full article...

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.

Click here to read the full article...

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.

Click here
to read the full article...

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