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

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“Aspergers” or “High-Functioning Autism” – What Should We Call It?

According to a panel of researchers assembled by the American Psychiatric Association, Aspergers is really just a form of autism and does not merit a separate diagnosis. Even though many researchers already refer to Aspergers as “high-functioning autism,” it hasn't been listed under the autism category in the official diagnostic guide of mental disorders (i.e., Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, or DSM). The DSM serves as a guide for mental health professionals and government agencies.

But a new draft fifth edition moves Aspergers officially into the autism category, provoking a wide range of responses among individuals with Aspergers — some of whom say they do not want to be labeled as autistic. Instead of including a diagnostic category for Aspergers, the DSM 5 draft includes traits associated with Aspergers (e.g., difficulty with social interactions, limited/repetitive behaviors) in a broad category called autism spectrum disorder.

The intent is to try to make the diagnosis of autism clearer and to better reflect the science. But the change is going to be hard for some “Aspies” who are probably going to have a very hard time calling themselves autistic.

Many people with Aspergers take pride in a diagnosis that probably describes some major historical figures (e.g., Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison). Under the new system, those individuals would represent just one extreme of a spectrum. On the other extreme is somebody who might have to wear adult diapers and maybe a head-restraining device. This may be very hard for some Aspies to swallow.

Currently, the diagnosis of Aspergers often hinges on a child's language skills. But that's pretty subjective and can change as a child grows up. The categories are just not used by clinicians in a reliable fashion, according to the research panel. A single category for autism spectrum disorder will let clinicians stop agonizing over which diagnostic category to put someone in and focus on his/her specific difficulties with communication, social interaction, or information processing.

The change makes a lot of sense to some people. As one parent stated, “As somebody who has a child with a diagnosis of autism, I want to be able to turn to the official criteria and see a description that sounds like my child. Right now my child sounds like three or four different disorders.”

Eliminating the "Aspergers" diagnosis won't mean that individuals in that category will lose access to services, though. That's because almost anybody with an Aspergers diagnosis also could qualify for what is called autistic disorder. The change could make it easier for some mothers/fathers to get help for a youngster with Aspergers.

Currently, states including California provide services to kids with autism – but not those with Aspergers. So removing Aspergers really removes what is a false barrier to a parent getting care for his/her child.

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook

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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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