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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Will my Aspergers child’s symptoms get worse over time?

Question

Will my Aspergers child’s symptoms get worse over time?

Answer

It doesn't actually worsen, but when a child with Aspergers reaches puberty, he/she can come under tremendous pressure and stress. So even though there is no actual cure for Aspergers, it can be made less noticeable if the Aspie is taught the correct ways to behave. This can mean going to occupational therapists, speech therapists, or the like. The more positive work you put towards helping your child, the less noticeable his/her Aspergers traits will be.

Aspergers symptoms often become more noticeable at two critical points in the child’s development: (1) when he/she starts school and (2) during, and just before, the teen years.

There is no cure, no magic pill that will take the symptoms of Aspergers away. There are however interventions and treatments that can improve functioning and reduce the occurrence of undesirable behaviors in a child with Aspergers. The treatment may be a combination of education, behavior modification, speech or physical or occupational therapy, and different medications to treat associated conditions such as anxiety, depression, hyperactivity, and obsessive-compulsive behavior.

Because the symptoms vary as the child grows the treatment too will change over the years. A youngster may have difficulty picking up on social cues, may not know how to recognize personal space when in group situations and therefore preschool educators can help by establishing routines that teach how to interact with others and make a game about personal body space.

The elementary school aged youngster may have a large vocabulary but has difficulty with tone (monotone) and the speech pattern may seem rigid. The youngster may fixate on a topic and talk for a long time without being aware that others are bored. The school-aged youngster needs to have routines that are stable. The youngster with Aspergers will learn better if a subject is broken into steps instead of having the "big picture" presented at once.

The adolescent has a difficult time dealing with relationships, with communicating with others and with social situations where body language is used to express ideas. School counseling or private counseling may help the adolescent to express how he or she is feeling about body changes and peer-pressure. Speech therapy, physical therapy and occupational therapy can assist any age youngster including adolescents to be able to communicate better and to deal with social situations with better understanding. Adolescents can be helped to have a better chance at getting jobs when they are helped with interviewing skills and are taught how to behave in the work environment.

It is common for children and teens with Aspergers to have other associated conditions or disorders such as depression, anxiety disorders, and bipolar disorder, even attention deficit disorder. Medications for these conditions can be beneficial in helping kids and grown-ups to cope with a life in which being able to communicate means being able to belong or not, being able to participate in sports or not, being able to function well in a work environment or not, being able to form friendships, date, or get married and have a normal family life.

The treatment plan for Aspergers is individualized as symptoms can range from mild to severe. Medications may reduce anxiety, agitation, and idiosyncratic thinking and may help to improve someone who is depressed. Common medications are Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, and Risperidone.

Social skills training are typically part of the treatment plan. The child with Aspergers needs to learn how to make eye contact, learn proper personal space perimeters, be able to function in a group, and learn how to relate to another child and hold a conversation without monopolizing it.

Education interventions are common for school age and adolescents with Aspergers. Educators, and other staff should be educated in how to handle someone with this syndrome; this may include extra training for the teacher, or giving the youngster an instructional assistant.

Psychotherapy can help sort out the intense emotional feelings, and can help the child to learn concrete, behavioral techniques, including role-playing. Group therapy or support groups may be utilized to add to the network of support for the child. An adolescent needs someone such as an older adolescent to teach them how to dress, and use the current slang or the rules of cliques at school.

The ideal treatment for Aspergers coordinates therapies that address the three core symptoms of the disorder: poor communication skills, obsessive or repetitive routines, and physical clumsiness. There is no single best treatment package for all kids with Aspergers, but most professionals agree that the earlier the intervention, the better.

An effective treatment program builds on the youngster’s interests, offers a predictable schedule, teaches tasks as a series of simple steps, actively engages the youngster’s attention in highly structured activities, and provides regular reinforcement of behavior.

With effective treatment, kids and teens with Aspergers can learn to cope with their difficulties, but they may still find social situations and personal relationships challenging. Many grown-ups with Aspergers are able to work successfully in mainstream jobs, although they may continue to need encouragement and moral support to maintain an independent life.

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for what you do...This was particularly helpful for me today in dealing with 14yr old son with Aspergers/

Liz
Elizabeth

Anonymous said...

great advice-really hate the word 'aspie' though!

Anonymous said...

I noticed a big difference between boys and girls. It seems that when puberty start, the testosterone makes the boys more likely to act out when bullied or even become the bully. Here's a very good article to read. http://www.iancommunity.org/cs/articles/bullying

Anonymous said...

My Aspie (apologies to those who despise the term) has been having so much trouble lately. I can't seem to be able to help with anything right now. It is very frustrating. He is the only one of my kids that will not come to me with his problems. He is only 11, I want to find a solution before he gets much older. He feels so alienated and I feel like by not being able to help I am alienating him further.
I sometimes feel like I am leaving him in the dark all alone, while desperately searching for a light that won't come on, even when it is found. This makes me sad.

Nicole fabre said...

Just found out I am on the spectrum. My needs are so complex. But I'm scared of the emotional implications of a diagnosis. Nicole

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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