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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Checklist of Asperger Traits

Personal/Physical—

• Being "in their own world"
• Can engage in tasks (sometimes mundane ones) for hours and hours
• Can spend hours in the library researching
• Clumsiness
• Collects things
• Difficulty reading body language, facial expression and tone
• Doesn't always recognize faces right away (even close loved ones)
• Early in life they often have a speech impediment
• Eccentric personality
• Excellent rote memory
• Flat, or blank expression much of the time
• Highly gifted in one or more areas (e.g., math, music)
• Idiosyncratic attachment to inanimate objects
• Intense focus on one or two subjects
• Likes and dislikes can be very rigid
• Limited interests
• Loves learning and information
• May frequently repeat what you've just said
• May have difficulty staying in college despite a high level of intelligence
• Non-verbal communication problems
• Preoccupied with their own agenda
• Repetitive routines or rituals
• Sensitivity to the texture of foods
• Single-mindedness
• Speech and language peculiarities / hyperlexia
• Strong sensitivity to sound, touch, taste, sight, and smell (e.g., fabrics, fluorescent lights)
• Uncoordinated motor movements
• Unusual preoccupations
• Word repetition

Social Interactions—

• Can obsess about having friends to prove they’re “normal”
• Desire for friendships and social contact but difficulty acquiring and maintaining them
• Difficulty understanding others’ feelings
• Great difficulty with small-talk and chatter
• Has an urge to inform that can result in being blunt / insulting
• Lack of empathy at times
• Lack of interest in other people
• May avoid social gatherings
• Preoccupied with their own agenda
• Rigid social behavior due to an inability to spontaneously adapt to variations in social situations
• Shuts down in social situations
• Social withdrawal

In Romantic Relationships—

• Attention is narrowly focused on his own interests
• Can be very critical and takes it personally if she won’t wear something he likes, or wears something he dislikes
• Can become quite defensive when she asks for clarification or a little sympathy
• Can often be distant physically and/or emotionally
• Can stop putting any effort into the relationship after a time, and doesn’t understand why she then stops giving too
• Defensiveness can turn into verbal abuse (usually not physical abuse though) as the man attempts to control the communication to suit his view of the world
• Has a hard time saying “I love you”
• Has a hard time showing affection, and as a result, it is difficult to find out if they do love you
• May not call, and you might not see them for days (that doesn't mean they don't care though)
• May often feel “smothered” in the relationship
• Often attracted to another purely because she is attracted to him
• Often feel as if their partner is being ungrateful or “bitchy” when she complains he is uncaring or never listens to her
• Sometimes will make no motions to keep a relationship going (be it friendship or something more)
• Will do what he thinks is best for the both of them, but seldom talks to her about her feelings or opinions

Positive Traits—

1. Attention to detail – sometimes with painstaking perfection.

2. Focus and diligence – the ability to focus on tasks for a long period of time without needing supervision or incentive is legendary with Aspies.

3. Higher fluid intelligence – scientists in Japan have recently discovered that Aspergers children have a higher fluid intelligence than non-autistic children. Fluid intelligence is the ability to find meaning in confusion and solve new problems. It is the ability to draw inferences and understand the relationships of various concepts, independent of acquired knowledge. Experts say that those with Aspergers often have a higher than average general IQ as well.

4. Honesty – the value of being able to say “the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes.”

5. Independent, unique thinking – people with Aspergers tend to spend a lot of time alone and will likely have developed their own unique thoughts as opposed to a ‘herd’ mentality.

6. Internal motivation – as opposed to being motivated by praise, money, bills or acceptance. This ensures a job done with conscience, with personal pride.

7. Logic over emotion – although people with Aspergers are very emotional at times, they spend so much time ‘computing’ in our minds that they get quite good at it. They can be very logical in their approach to problem-solving.

8. Visual, three-dimensional thinking – some with Aspergers are very visual in their thought processes, which lends itself to countless useful and creative applications.

NOTE:  No two people with Aspergers are the same -- they all just share some traits.

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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