Interventions for Children with Aspergers (High-Functioning Autism) —
All people in the Aspergers youngster’s life need to accept the diagnosis of Aspergers and understand its impact. Interventions are driven by each youngster’s age and individual needs and will vary, however, listed below are commonly needed interventions for kids in all environments:
1. Advocate for your youngster to have the school program that they need.
2. Be patient with your youngster and yourself and prioritize what to focus on first. Just focusing on today builds a better tomorrow.
3. Be prepared with your response to a difficult behavior or cycle that will calm the situation so you can react from your plan and not from your emotions.
4. Determine what a tolerable social and physical environment is for the youngster and provide it.
5. Don’t forget to nurture your spiritual side.
6. Educate yourself about Aspergers.
7. Learn how and when to talk to others for help, both professionals and other moms and dads or friends.
8. Learn what your youngster needs—become an expert of your youngster.
9. Model and teach your youngster how to do tasks or how to understand social and physical cues in the home environment.
10. Moms and dads must remember to nurture themselves and seek a balance between helping their Aspergers youngster and remembering the needs of the rest of the family.
11. Provide and teach the youngster to use visual organizational supports for all weak areas.
12. Provide direct instruction for all areas of need, especially social behavior and communication skills.
13. Provide your youngster with more support (often visual charts, photos, examples) to help the youngster learn to do organizational tasks (e.g., clean room, pack backpack, get ready to leave the house).
14. Pull together a team of professional supports (therapist, psychopharmacologist, OT, S&L, sensory specialist or others) as needed.
15. Remember that the key is pacing yourself, prioritizing the most penalizing behaviors currently impacting your youngster, and starting with them. Over time and with the right team, the initial concerns will become less, and your attention can shift to other areas to capitalize on or to minimize.
16. Set up structures and supports so home can be predictable and comfortable. Then teach a procedure for tolerating a change in the day.
17. Talk less, slower, calmer and in clear language that the youngster can understand.
18. Teach emotional regulation with visual systems and feedback to the youngster and provide breaks from social situations as needed.
19. Teach new concepts by using their special interests.
20. Teach the youngster to know what they need and the language to ask for it.
21. Teach them to understand themselves and appreciate who they are.
22. Use “thinking out loud” as your method of teaching your youngster to problem solve.
23. Use kindness and humor for mistakes and enjoy the youngster’s strengths.
24. Use routines, minimize change and prepare for all types of transitions.
25. Use visuals to teach the youngster a problem-solving method for when they are stuck.
Interventions for Adults with Aspergers (High-Functioning Autism) —
Everyone with Aspergers is unique, so interventions need to be individualized. Grown-ups come to this awareness at different ages and stages of their lives, which can influence the approaches they choose. Be creative in the combination of interventions you use. Simplify your life. Here are some general ideas regarding interventions for grown-ups with Aspergers:
1. A Cognitive-Behavioral approach to therapy is strongly indicated.
2. A therapist with an awareness of Aspergers or interest in learning about it with you is essential.
3. A variety of therapies can be helpful to grown-ups with Aspergers, depending on the person.
4. Advocate for environmental changes at work or home; if you are more comfortable, the people around you will be as well.
5. Attend a group where social skills are explicitly taught (often by a speech language pathologist).
6. Build on your strengths.
7. Contact the vocational rehabilitation agency in your state; with an official diagnosis of Aspergers, you are entitled to service.
8. Decrease “isolation-time” (i.e., do not stay home - all day - by yourself everyday).
9. Disclose strategically – only share the information that is required for that time and place. Consult with a trusted person to determine what to disclose if unsure.
10. Downtime is required. Sensory and social demands of daily life make more downtime essential for grown-ups with Aspergers. Communicate with those around you about your need for this, but do not use it as an excuse to avoid participation in family or other activities.
11. Educating others in your family, workplaces and communities about Aspergers.
12. Heightened sensory sensitivities may make particular environments unpleasant or intolerable. Thus, change lighting, decrease noise, wear comfortable clothing, etc.
13. Hire people to do the things you’re not good at (e.g., money management, housework, organization and bookkeeping).
14. Join a group where you can meet other adults with Aspergers.
15. Know that a slower-paced environment will likely be more tolerable and allow for a greater sense of comfort and competence.
16. Know what Aspergers is in general and how it affects you specifically.
17. Know your areas of difficulty.
18. Know your strengths.
19. Listen to trusted family or friends.
20. Medication can be helpful in decreasing symptoms of depression and anxiety that often accompany Aspergers.
21. People with Aspergers tend to connect most comfortably around shared interests.
22. Physical and emotional comfort is essential to adults with Aspergers.
23. Psychodynamic psychotherapy is generally less helpful.
24. Read about Aspergers from a variety of perspectives.
25. Stop the blame. Blaming yourself or others is common and not helpful.
26. Strategic disclosure can provide relief for an adult with Aspergers and promote greater understanding.
27. Strengthen your areas of difficulty or minimize their presence.
28. Treat yourself like you would a trusted/valued friend!
29. Utilize career one-stop centers (i.e., federally funded centers designed to help people learn new, marketable skills, identify jobs and prepare for interviewing).
30. Work with a Life Coach. He or she will work with you on multiple levels (e.g., concrete skills-building and goal direction, independent living skills, employment related skills, social skills, understanding your traits and symptoms, etc.).
The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook