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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Educating Others About Your Aspergers Child

Question

My 8 year old son is going to begin testing in a few weeks. I'm not sure if he has Aspergers or not, but he sure has many of the behaviors and tendencies. He does have sensory issues and severe anxiety.

My question is about the constant judgment and ignorance of other parents and teachers. I do have plenty of supportive friends, but recently I've had some intense altercations with my son's teacher (saying he's only "oppositional" with me, he's fine at school and this is "something I need to work out in therapy"). Her comment was so ignorant - she knew nothing about his level of anxiety, his sensory issues or how he melts at the end of each day after just trying to hold it together.

I also had another mom leave our playdate the other day because of inappropriate behavior (slamming a door b/c of frustration). She couldn't believe I let that happen. Ugh!!

My parents and even husband have called me a pushover and too "soft" with my son. I feel like ALL of the blame is put on me!!

I look forward to getting some answers through testing so I can educate others about the extreme difficulty and unpredictable nature of parenting a child with these challenges. It has been a very lonely and deflating parenting experience. Does anyone else have this experience or advice? Thank You!


Answer

Here are some concrete tips to help others understand the Aspergers (high-functioning autism) condition:

1. Ask others how they would feel if they were stuck in a foreign country where they could not make anybody understand what they wanted. Point out that this is how your youngster feels.

2. Describe the kinds of social interactions Aspergers kids have problems with (e.g., it is difficult for them to understand how to reach out to adults and other children). It's not because of behavioral problems – it is how their brain works.

3. Educate people about the level of functioning Aspergers kids can have. Tell them about different skills they find challenging (e.g., making eye contact, accepting change, showing appropriate emotions, etc.).

4. Explain that Aspergers is a form of autism and that it is on a “spectrum” (i.e., there are different levels of severity). Not all sufferers act like the "Rain Man."

5. Explain that your youngster's inappropriate behavior comes from misunderstanding, not contrariness.

6. Explain to others that Aspergers is, in some instances, a part of your child’s personality and not simply just a physical disability.

7. Explain to others what Aspergers is and the different ways it can affect people. It may be hard for you to tell people about how Aspergers affects your child; however, there are situations where it is necessary.

8. Many people make the mistake of associating Aspergers with a sickness or a disease. Remind them that it is neither and that it is just something your child has to contend with having.

9. Soothe other people's discomfort about repetitive or strange actions by telling them that it has to do with how your child’s brain processes information. Assure them that your child cannot help his behavior.

10. Educate people about the nature of the disorder. It's neurological, not psychological or behavioral. It has an organic origin.

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook 


COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said…  I'm going to play devils advocate here, teachers are over worked with way too many students. I've worked in a school and with special needs and see how passionate the teachers are. Even if your child is main stream the teachers (most) do their best with the resources at their disposal and with the professional development offered. Most go above and beyond, and there are other children that need to learn also sorry to say but your child can't be their only priority.
•    Anonymous said… I have issues with my sons school too. Teachers are terrible ignorant and arrogant bullies. Ive called the minster of education in twice within the 2yrs hes attended. His anxiety of going to school is extreme now because of what the teachers have done to him.
•    Anonymous said… I have the issues with my daughters school x
•    Anonymous said… Most of my son's teachers have been great, but this year is not going very well. His teacher sent a very judgmental email yesterday and he reported she humiliated him in front of his classmates after sending the email. It is heartbreaking and brings out the mama bear in me.
•    Anonymous said… My child was always a hand full and difficult. With 20 to 25 other children to deal with on a daily basis the teacher doesn't have time to give the child individual time. If the child is a challenge at home, one can only image school. There is going to be some tension. That is reality. I'm thankful my teenager did not give his teacher a mental breakdown. Some child are a real challenge and some are not. Challenge at home and challenge at school.... I'm not going to trash the teacher. Teachers need to educate themselves on behaviour patterns, triggers, meltdowns, repetitive behaviors, and sensory. There are tools to help teachers have a much better day. Some teachers feel like it is not their job to go the extra mile. This is sad but true.
•    Anonymous said… My daughter is the same way thankfully her school is working with me and accommodating all of her needs. For those who are having school issues. Has your child been diagnosed!
•    Anonymous said… My son does have a diagnosis and most of his teachers have been eager to learn and work as a team to provide for his needs. This year he has a teacher who is nearing retirement and is very judgmental and ignorant. She believes his executive functioning deficit does not exist and he is merely lazy. Yesterday she sent an email, berating him and us, to his team of teachers and aides. We live in a very rural area and education is lacking on ASD, ADHD, and many learning disorders. Each year I enter the school armed to teach the teacher about his many diagnosis. Some years it is well received, other years I am talking to the wall. It sounds like your school is very supportive and that is awesome!
•    Anonymous said… We have my son in a very small private school. There are 6 in his class and he is doing very well so far. I agree with what some of the others have said... 20-25 kids in a class is overwhelming to the teacher as well as any student, but especially an Asperger's student.
•    Anonymous said… Well that is very unfortunate that she is that way. Maybe go to the school board or request a new teacher? Sorry just trying to give you ideas. Sounds like you are doing everything you can and that is awesome. Some people just don't get it. And no matter how much info you give or educate them they are just ignorant on the subject. I will pray for you and I hope things get better for you, my heart goes out to you!!

Post your comment below…

3 comments:

LornadEnt said...

Some parents do not want to have evaluations done because they would rather not have a diagnoses. However, as you point out,it would be comforting for you to have a diagnoses because then others will have to believe what you have been trying to tell them. Furthermore with a professional evaluation then it is much easier to have support and accommodations set up in school for your child.

Anonymous said...

My son is five years old. The testing came back pdd-nos however his dr. says he has aspergers from my reading i do agree. I have been told for years that i spoil my son. I don't feel that i spoiled him i was just trying to avoid the meltdown. I told a friend about his diagnoses. She said but he has feelings. How do I explain to people who really have no clue without getting upset. Maybe I said something about it to soon because I am still having trouble with it.

Anonymous said...

My 5 year old son has Asbergers. I noticed differences in him since he was very young. He practiced things forever over and over until he got it. He wakes up if you are not next to him. It takes hours to put him down. I am a single parent with no help from his father. He has a super high vocabulary and is very intelligent. He has been in daycare forever. I also put him in OT for sensory issues and into a social group. All have helped. His overly precise language drives me crazy. His tantrums are unbelievable and exhausting at times. I pick my battles with him. When he gets edgy and we have plans a few hours later, I push him tell he melts to avoid a melt down later. When his meltdown is beginning to come and we are in public I either leave or give in to avoid a melt down and when people give me a look in the store I say he is on the Autism Spectrum and walk away. No one knows what Asbergers is only Autism. I put him on sport teams that are fast paced. I found a coach with an Asbergers son. He will be on his team Forever. I talk to mothers who go through the same things as me. I educate those I can and IGNORE those I can't. I have chosen to let some friends go because I am tired of the judgments. Teaching Special Ed High School Kids I realize that his tantrums will become less frequent and long. I spend my time educating my family and my mom helps. It is tough, but you have to see your son's strengths build them and work on their weaknesses with Specialists. In fact I am beginning to take my son to a speech therapist for Communication Speech and to help him Generalize. Good luck

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.”

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.

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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.

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. The hardest part is you feel like you’ll never actually get to know your child and how he/she views the world.

Click here to read the full article...

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