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

Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders

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What is important to know before my Aspergers teenage son turns 18?

Question

What is important to know before my Aspergers teenage son turns 18?

Answer

Stepping into adulthood can be a confusing and difficult time for the Aspergers (high functioning autistic) teen. However, it does not have to be. Many teens with Aspergers are fairly well adjusted after years of living with the associated symptoms and adapting to better fit into their environment.

Here are a few areas that can cause problems for the teenager with Aspergers:
  • Employment
  • Independent living skills
  • Post secondary education
  • Relationships and social skills
  • Self-care issues

Moms and dads can help their Aspergers teen prepare for life as an adult by making sure he has the right amount of support. Support can come from many sources. Parents, teachers, school advisors or counselors, medical professionals, therapists, friends, and support group members cover most, if not all, of the basic areas of life.

Some geographical areas offer support for the Aspergers teen through government agencies. With a qualifying diagnosis, your teenager may be able to receive health insurance coverage, housing assistance, various therapies, vocational training, and career counseling, just to name a few possibilities. Check with your local government or disability services office to learn more about availability in your area.

It might help if you make a list of the skills you would like to see developing in your Aspergers teen. By making this list, you will be able to see his strengths and weakness and help determine a plan for his immediate future.

Here is a sample list:
  • Social skills and relationships-- Does he have the ability to relate to others and communicate, verbally and non-verbally? Should he continue with social skills classes or perhaps find a home program?
  • Self-care-- Does he have good personal hygiene? Does he understand the importance of regular medical care and keeping track of his medications?
  • Coping skills-- Can he handle the anxiety, emotions, and frustration often brought on by change? Should he begin cognitive therapy to help with his emotions?
  • Career and college choices-- Has he chosen a path based on his special interests and talents? What colleges are grabbing his interests? Do these schools offer disability support services?
  • Basic living skills-- Does he understand the importance of housekeeping, budgeting, and grocery shopping?

Moving into adulthood does not have to be daunting for your teenager with Aspergers. Teens can develop the necessary skills for college, career, and independent living with the right support.

Discipline for Defiant Aspergers Teens

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My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the Aspergers child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually. Thus, the best treatment for Aspergers children and teens is, without a doubt, “social skills training.”

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How to Prevent Meltdowns in Aspergers Children

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and the Asperger’s child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

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Parenting Defiant Aspergers Teens

Although Aspergers is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager with Aspergers are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the Aspergers teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

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Aspergers Children “Block-Out” Their Emotions

Parenting children with Aspergers and HFA can be a daunting task. In layman’s terms, Aspergers is a developmental disability that affects the way children develop and understand the world around them, and is directly linked to their senses and sensory processing. This means they often use certain behaviors to block out their emotions or response to pain.

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Older Teens and Young Adult Children With Aspergers Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with Aspergers face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

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Living with an Aspergers Spouse/Partner

Research reveals that the divorce rate for people with Aspergers is around 80%. Why so high!? The answer may be found in how the symptoms of Aspergers affect intimate relationships. People with Aspergers often find it difficult to understand others and express themselves. They may seem to lose interest in people over time, appear aloof, and are often mistaken as self-centered, vain individuals.

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Online Parent Coaching for Parents of Asperger's Children

If you’re the parent of a child with Aspergers or High-Functioning Autism, you know it can be a struggle from time to time. Your child may be experiencing: obsessive routines; problems coping in social situations; intense tantrums and meltdowns; over-sensitivity to sounds, tastes, smells and sights; preoccupation with one subject of interest; and being overwhelmed by even the smallest of changes. The hardest part is you feel like you’ll never actually get to know your child and how he/she views the world.

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