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

Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders

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How do you get the school system to pay attention to an Aspergers child when his academic functioning is normal to advanced?

When they look at disabilities, some schools expect the student to be in a wheelchair or intellectually disabled. They seem not to understand a student who is a wiz at math, computers, etc., but is socially somewhat “weird.” The first reaction is that it has something to do with the parents, and that they obviously haven't raised the youngster properly.

After an Aspergers (high functioning autism) child has been diagnosed at the clinic, I will go to the school and meet with school officials. I explain to the teachers (a) what Aspergers is, (b) how the student expresses the Aspergers symptoms, (c) their abilities, and (d) some of the do's and don'ts. For example:
  • He is very honest, and many of the children with Aspergers will tell you your mistakes. So when he stands up in front of the class and says, "You've missed a comma there," he's not being rude or disruptive.
  • Just because he's not looking, is not to say he's not listening.
  • Sarcasm isn't going to work.
  • When they do their homework, make sure they are on the right track.
  • You've got to make sure that the student understands the concepts talked about.

Not only do we have meetings with teachers for such children, we also have training programs for the teachers’ aides so that they can understand such children. We also now have a "good school guide," and some moms/dads will actually move so that their kids can attend certain schools that have a history of doing well with Aspergers students. And, we do training programs for moms and dads on how to relate to teachers. The schools now are less ignorant, less fearful of such students, and have better structure for helping them.

First, you have got to get the Education Department to understand Aspergers in its policy and it's training, but you've also got to work with many individual teachers to educate them on what to do exactly. Children with Aspergers either get on wonderfully - or terribly - with their educators. It's a disaster for both parties if you're not careful. You need to support the teacher, and help him/her understand the Aspergers condition. There are certain schools that have more than their fare share of Aspergers students, because moms/dads have voted with their feet and moved to those schools.

You are an expert on your youngster and on his personality and developmental history. Use your gut reaction to know whether that's an appropriate school. If your senses are uncomfortable, don't go! If you feel relaxed and comfortable, your Aspergers youngster will probably be relaxed and comfortable in that environment. Work with the teachers by educating them for future success – not by correcting them for past mistakes.

Here's a helpful guide for both parents and teachers: Teaching Students with Aspergers and HFA

30 comments:

Anonymous said...

This is quite appropriate for us, our son is very advanced educationally. They don't seem to be interested in helping him in any way as it isn't effecting his education.
It's very frustrating for him and us.

Anonymous said...

Great advice!! Going today to sign papers that my child with Aspergers and ADHD doesn't qualify for an I.E.P or a 504. Even with a diagones from an Autism clinic. They say it doesn't effect her in school. Our school system needs HELP!!!!

Anonymous said...

We have been going through this as well. Our son is 10 and has not been diagnosed. For years we have been asking for help from the school, but because his academics are not affected they will not even help with a diagnosis.

Anonymous said...

I am with the other Anonymous, my son does not qualify for an IEP with Aspergers and ADHD because he is not 'affected academically.' I was told, 'He's on the Honor Roll, what more could you want?' But socially, he is dying in the school. I get a call at least twice a week, vomiting, diarrhea, headache.... he can't take the chaos and noise in most of his classes. Tells me the other kids are rude (to the teachers, to him, to others). I finally pulled him when they suggested he attend an alternative school.... with those returning from the corrections facilities!! He was being tortured by other kids and they wanted to put him with worse!?!?! I had to do what was right for him. He's been home now for three weeks, no illness, and still on honor roll... whatever!

Anonymous said...

I am going thru the same ! Keep fighting ... All they kept saying was she gets a and b so we cant . Well she finally got the 504 now I am fighting for the IEP and refuse to give up. You just can't take no for an answer and keep pushing .
about an hour ago · Like · 3

Anonymous said...

We have the same issue with our daughter. We even moved and the new district still refuses. They tell us her grades aren't affected so they won't help. My point is, just because she gets A's and B's how does that mean she couldn't be doing better?!? Has anyone gone as far as a lawyer or at least the threat of one? My daughter is floundering socially and they don't seem to care.
about an hour ago · Like

Anonymous said...

I agree it is extremely difficult for these kids and their parents! My son was diagnosed with Aspergers, ADHD and anxiety in 3rd grade. He is now in 7th grade and we finally were able to get an IEP. I'm not sure of the law in other states, but in Minnesota, you have the right to submit a request in writing for your child to be evaluated and the school is then required to complete an evaluation. I agree with Jody H that you just can't give up! You are the best advocate for your child.

Anonymous said...

Fight, fight, fight!!!! Went to Due Process last year and won. My son is a child with a disability that affects him socially. Although he is doing amazing academically; social, behavioral and organizational are all part of the academic educational setting! I would never allow my son to have a 504 plan. He deserves his Special Education services. Yes, I am "that parent" and I know I can drive his teachers and area coordinators and directors crazy but if you stop fighting no one will fight for your child. Btw.... I work for the same school district I am constantly fighting with!

Anonymous said...

Find a educational advocate in your area! Usually you can find them trough organizations that deal with disabilities. Some are free and some you pay for but I will be the first to say.... I love my advocate! She is amazing. Fair and brutally honest. I learned so much from her last year. Knowing the law is so powerful when you can call it for what it is. I now can fight for my kids rights because I know what is right and wrong.

Anonymous said...

Grades/ academics are only PART of Academic accessibility. If repetitive behaviors, vocalizations, anxiety, stimms, etc effect the way your child learns/navigates his way through school, keep fighting for services. Our son is GT/aspegers. We have an IEP so that he can receive social skills (6times per six weeks) OT(6 times per six weeks) motor lab (20 min four days a week). He has various accommodations through 504 that are health related. Our district does an AMAZING job!

Anonymous said...

This article has great timing for me as I have an emergency staffing that I called together this week. There are issue's between my son and a teacher at the school which I'm hoping to resolve, I had thought we worked things out earlier this year, but guess I was mistaken. I also have other issue's with them, as he is on an IEP, but there really isn't any services they are offering him and the few "weekly" check in's with his sped counselor isn't happening. It's frustrating dealing with a group of people who feel that he's doing fine academically and doesn't need help because of that. Obviousily he does, or he wouldn't be having the problems he is having in one of his classes.

Anonymous said...

Its good to know we are not alone! Im super dissappointed with my sons district. they wont give an IEP or 504 ...just alot of LIP SERVICE and no follow through. Im pretty sure they will hate me sooner or later but its my sons life at stake and I REFUSE to go away! Keep fighting!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for all the info!!!

Anonymous said...

I am extremely lucky to have found my daughter a wonderful school 8 weeks ago she's very bright top of class academically but her social skills are very poor so school have her a mentor to be with her at all times I now see why the schools offsted is outstanding

Anonymous said...

It took us almost 3 years to finally get our son an IEP and a GIEP.....what was most helpful to us was taking our behavioral specialist to all IEP meetings and never gave up until we got the answer we wanted! We also were very patient and never went in "hot headed".

Machete said...

So where are the good understanding schools? WV schools are terrible

Machete said...

So where are the good understanding schools? WV schools are terrible

Anonymous said...

Do NOT sign anything that waives your child's rights to an individualized ed program. Especially if your child has not gone through puberty yet. The school system will make it impossible for you to get the help your child needs if your/her situation changes.
Social issues are also a very big part of school, and if she encounters difficulties or disciplinary problems in the future because of her condition the school will not take her Aspergers into consideration or ever offer the appropriate help in any area she may need.
Example; My son has difficulty working in groups. his teachers encourage him to do so which is fine, but if he ever becomes so stressed about it that he cannot perform, I have the ability to change their teaching method.
Without his IEP, he could/would be forced into confusing neurotypical teaching methods which could cause serious psychological problems. [Which has happened, and resulted in my son picking up numerous tics and obsessive behaviors that affected his everyday life.]
Wish you luck and all the best but please be wary of the educational system, they cannot be trusted to keep your child's mental health paramount in their program.
Do not take no for an answer. They will be forced to change their mind if you will not change yours.
about an hour ago · Like

Anonymous said...

By the way, because my son's school does not have a specific 'autism program' and he gets excellent grades, I had a choice to place him in behavioral support [disciplinary problem educational intervention] or learning support. I chose behavioral because he is intelligent and gets great grades and he is capable of performing academically. If I had opted for learning support he would have been among children with learning disabilities and would have been 'under-stimulated' academically.
However, being in behavioral support [even though he is not a disciplinary problem child] with an IEP tailors his education to fit his intelligence and also offers help with social skills.
The special ed director just recently adopted [immediately and without reservation] my recommendation that the school purchase the e-book on teaching children with Aspergers. Not only did she make it available to my son's elementary school and his teachers, she has made it available district wide, which includes the high school and all other elementary schools as well.
http://www.myoutofcontrolteen.com/TeachingAspergersStudents
about an hour ago · Like

Anonymous said...

These are the same issue we experienced in our situation. I decided, with the amount of work I was doing with K in school, I might as well make it less stressful for all involved to just pull him out and homeschool. There aren't any schools that I am aware of in this area that are willing to take the extra steps to learn about Aspergers. They are pretty set in what they already know, no matter how much you try to educate them. Ridgid school system. Focused on their own interests. HMMM makes you think some times.

Bonnie said...

Many states are adopting the common core standards. Look http://www.corestandards.org in the Speaking and Language sections for every grade level.
Your child is expected to be able to collaborate in groups and explain other peoples' points of view. Ask them to evaluate your child on those skills.

Leslie Todd said...

Our son didn't have a lot of problems until puberty. He had good grades up until then too. He was on 504 for dyslexia. High school was completely different. I WOULD NOT SIGN AWAY your child's rights to an IEP until you see how it's going in high school. Puberty is less than kind to our aspergers kiddos. I had to withdraw our son during 10th grade and homeschool. He was not actually diagnosed until a couple of months later. The social problems, problems with taking things very literally and not getting along with teachers because of it, etc. compounded by the harder course work (and having dyslexia) made things very difficult for him.

Anonymous said...

For those that are homeschooling,how are you doing it?My son was one of those that did well academically and exceeded every subject in his CRCT's but last school yr his ocd and anxiety related issues began to increase at home.And this yr when school started he was unable to hold it in and it all came undone.I was getting regular calls from the school and he was having to do alot his work in the school office.By December our lives were a nightmare,some days we had to hold him down to dress him for school.I was spending hours on the phone with our Cigna Autism team trying to find an(Asperger)therapist within a reasonable distance.Right b4 Christmas I was desperate enough to cancel plans wth my fam.& get him an appnt wth any child therapist.And the day of his appnt.Social Services knocked on our door stating that I had been "reported" on for not getting him an appt!(Police State anyone?)It could only have been someone from the school!Things did not improve and we had to pull him out in early Jan.I thot he would be so thankful to be home that he would be more co-operative.Any suggestions?

Anonymous said...

It's good to know that we are not alone..my son has been recently diagnosed with Aspergers and his school says he is doing just fine..but yet the teacher doesnt seem to understand why my son will not read infront of the class and that he doesn't like large groups he does better in smaller groups..they keep putting on his report card that he needs to work on that..REALLY?!?!?!

Anonymous said...

Wow! seems this article was written about my son! We are having so many issues with his school this year. They have a 45 min lunch break, with minimal supervision, and all years mixing together, and expect my son to be able to self-manage his social behaviour during this time... no suprise that he's being put on the board (and often for the NEXT DAY) for 'social issues' - we have confronted his school about it, about punishing a child with a social disablility for having soical issues, they say it's our responsibility to send things for him to play with at lunchtime.... cause that would solve everything apparently :( they have very limited understanding of Asperger's and as horrible as it sounds they would treat him a lot better if he was more sever.
3 hours ago · Like

Anonymous said...

It seems that I am very, very lucky when it comes to my daughter's school. They are SO supportive and do recognize that just because she is a straight-A student doesn't mean there are no issues. In fact, she now has two EAs who work with her (four hours per day), attends a social group with the resource teacher a few times a week and also meets with him every morning to 'check in' and go over her daily schedule with her, meets with the guidance counsellor once a week to talk about things like friendships and social situations and also to decompress (she uses a weighted blanket, which I am thinking of getting for her to use at home), and she has teachers who modify their lessons (just for her, not the other kids) to accommodate her 'sticky points'. They allow her to bring a stress ball to class, which she feels helps her a lot. Today, I met with the entire group as well as an autism specialist who observed my daughter and we discussed how she was doing in various areas and what strategies to employ at school and at home to help reduce her anxiety and help her cope with daily stressors. I am so very impressed with this school and happy she has another 2 years there! For those that are not that lucky, I would say to advocate as hard as you can on behalf of your child and get the resources she/he needs! Our kids *need* support and if you are not getting that at her/his school, go to the principal, go to the school board, go to the media if you have to...but don't just accept being told your child has no issues or minor issues or can learn to self-regulate...we all know that is BS. Keep fighting the good fight! :)
2 hours ago · Like

Anonymous said...

Our school district made one of my son's IEP goals to be "self advocacy" I told them that was my life long goal for him, not something they could accomplish in a year's time *sigh* one of many issues... with public schools and their cookie cutter band-aides.

Julia Chidley said...

A letter to the school requesting an IEP or 504 is necessary in Cal. Problem is the school district and their cronies are the ones who evaluate the child and determine if they get the 504 or IEP. Ugh! My child in 2nd grade was refused an IEP because she was/is so intelligent but she couldn't write words or numbers for her life. No one mentioned a 504 or the OCR back then. Curious? They make you search and learn by trial and error. They are so dedicated to our children…NOT. In 5th grade she was diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome. She could also possibly be Gifted 2e (twice-exceptional) They look very much alike with high intelligence. I just don't see my district giving her a 504 when she isn't failing. Socially she has her few friends and is happy. But she could be doing much better academically. Her IQ is 147 on standard tests and probably higher. The school thus far is not impressed by her and fighting me to not put her in accelerated classes because she doesn't get straight A's. But she would be better off in Accl. with like minded children who are motivated to learn and behave better than mainstream classes. Frustrating!

Lees Hummel said...

I agree with Julia's comment. Our school district does the evaluation for 504 and IEP and did not consider my daughter with Aspergers and ADHD disabled enought to receive any of those accommodations. Her grades and standardized test scores were too high!! Meanwhile, she was continually bullied, depressed, and filled with anxiety. We finally have resorted to homeschooling. While if counselors, administrators, and educators would receive professional development training on Aspergers students, it would help, but if the school district only believes you are disabled if your grades and test scores are low, that doesn't really help the Asperger child.

Jamie Chaney said...

My son has autism. The public and private school system have both been ignorant with his needs. I was forced to leave my home state because he was neglected and endangered at school. One of the things that happened was he was found on the playground alone during school by another parent. He is a runner and this school is right in a busy street. After this happened we moved to Fl where he got accepted into a school for children with autism. They didn't have a nurse and he was having seizures at school and my son is high functioning. So, they had him leave and go into a public school. This school had no special needs services. That school took away some of the things in his IEP because they didn't have services. He was falling so we moved again to Ga. Here he was put into a public school. Again they had no services. I transferred him to another school with services but they fought me tooth and nail. I had to go to the board of education to even get them to listen. I ended up having to learn about laws and rights for special needs children. You know the little handbook they give you. Well, thanks to them giving me the book I challenged them. Then showed them in the book where it said he has the right to therapy in school or they have to pay for a transfer. So, I found a private school and he went there free. lol I since have moved to a different state because that private school started to take things out of his IEP but I am facing the same issues here now. Every school is given money for special education. They just choose not to use it for that. It's an ongoing battle to insure our kids get what they deserve.

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

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the Aspergers child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually.

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How to Prevent Meltdowns in Aspergers Children

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

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Parenting Defiant Aspergers Teens

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

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Aspergers Children “Block-Out” Their Emotions

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

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

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

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Living with an Aspergers Spouse/Partner

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

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Online Parent Coaching for Parents of Asperger's Children

If you’re the parent of a child with Aspergers or High-Functioning Autism, you know it can be a struggle from time to time. Your child may be experiencing: obsessive routines; problems coping in social situations; intense tantrums and meltdowns; over-sensitivity to sounds, tastes, smells and sights; preoccupation with one subject of interest; and being overwhelmed by even the smallest of changes.

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Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

Parents, teachers, and the general public have a lot of misconceptions of Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism. Many myths abound, and the lack of knowledge is both disturbing and harmful to kids and teens who struggle with the disorder.

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Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

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