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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Is Aspergers really a "disorder" -- or just a different cognitive style?

Some researchers have argued that Aspergers can be viewed as a different cognitive style, not a disorder or a disability, and that it should be removed from the standard Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (much as homosexuality was removed).

Why? The debate seems to revolve around the concept of "central coherence."

“Central coherence” (CC) is receiving increased attention across a variety of clinical neuroscience disorders. Essentially, CC describes a style of thinking on a continuum. On one end of the continuum, you have people who tend to think globally or use a gestalt perspective (i.e., the big picture is seen rather than paying attention to details). The other end of continuum includes people who are detail-oriented (i.e., they focus on details). Being on either extreme of the continuum can produce problems. Very high CC can lead to problems with missing important details that need attention or action. Those with very low or weak CC can be detail-bound, losing sight of important global interpretations of the situation or environment.

Aspies appear to have low CC and are overly-focused on details to the expense of a global perspective. This could explain typical Aspergers behaviors (e.g., valuing sameness, attending to parts of objects, persistence in behaviors related to details, etc.). With the concept of central coherence in mind, having a propensity for details suggests a “cognitive style” located on – or near – one end of a continuum, not a “disorder” per say.

Aspies have advocated a shift in perception of Aspergers as a complex syndrome  (i.e., a characteristic combination of opinions, emotions, or behavior) rather than a disease that must be cured. Proponents of this view (a) reject the notion that there is an "ideal" brain configuration and that any deviation from the norm is pathological, and (b) promote tolerance for what they call neuro-diversity. These views are the basis for the autistic rights and autistic pride movements.

The Internet has allowed Aspies to communicate and celebrate diversity with each other in a way that was not previously possible (due to their rarity and geographic dispersal). A subculture of people with Aspergers has indeed formed. For example, Internet sites like www.AspergersTeenChat.com have made it easier for Aspie teens to connect.

There is a contrast between the attitudes of grown-ups with self-identified Aspergers (who typically do not want to be "fixed" and are proud of their identity) and mothers/fathers of Aspergers kids, who typically seek assistance and a "cure" for their youngster.

Baron-Cohen wrote of those with Aspergers, "In the social world there is no great benefit to a precise eye for detail, but in the worlds of math, computing, cataloguing, music, linguistics, engineering, and science, such an eye for detail can lead to success rather than failure." Also, Baron-Cohen cited two reasons why it might still be useful to consider Aspergers a disability: (1) to ensure provision for legally required special support, and (2) to recognize emotional difficulties from reduced empathy.

It has been argued that the genes for Aspergers combination of abilities have operated throughout recent human evolution and have made remarkable contributions to human history. Here are just a few of the “abilities” associated with the Aspergers condition (i.e., a low central coherence cognitive style):
  1. Attention to detail – sometimes with painstaking perfection
  2. Higher IQ – some experts say that those with Aspergers often have a higher than average general IQ
  3. Focus and diligence – the Aspie’s ability to focus on tasks for a long period of time without needing supervision or incentive
  4. Higher fluid intelligence – scientists in Japan discovered that Aspergers kids have a higher “fluid intelligence” (i.e., the ability to (a) find meaning in confusion and solve new problems, and (b) draw inferences and understand the relationships of various concepts, independent of acquired knowledge) than non-autistic kids
  5. Honesty – the value of being able to say “the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes”
  6. 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
  7. Internal motivation – as opposed to being motivated by praise, money, bills or acceptance – which ensures a job done with conscience, with personal pride
  8. 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 –and they can be very logical in their approach to problem-solving
  9. Visual, three-dimensional thinking – some with Aspergers are very visual in their thought processes, which lends itself to countless useful and creative applications

More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

==> Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism


COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said... I am reading Tony Attwoods book and am waiting for the rest. It is very upsetting thinking about all the time I have lost and realising I must have this problem and no on noticed or did anything. I had the wrong type of counselling from someone who didn't know about AS. Isn't that really damaging ? SHe didn't get me at all. I felt I couldn't say what I wanted to. I felt inhibited and silly. I was worried about the reaction I would get. This is no good if you are having counselling. I read his book and see loads of parallels in my own past. The past which have tried to forget because it is painful and full of conflict. What I need is to compare real life scenarios with other people's experiences. That would really help. It would repair the past and improve my self-esteem. I would see myself in a new light. That's why I am hoping I can put stuff on here and you lot will say yes I did that I know what you mean, ~I am the same.
•    Anonymous said... We always explain it as my husband's brain is wired differently, or he runs a different Operating System - he's running on Linux while us neuro-typicals are running on Windows. It's not just thinking differently; there's more to it than that. But it does have to do with the brain.
•    Anonymous said... I suspect that there is more to all of the Asperger's/Autism/HFA connections than have currently been discovered by science. Generally speaking, I think Asperger's is being more frequently diagnosed because it is no longer culturally acceptable to be emotionally detached. When I read the descriptions of Asperger's symtoms, primarily the stoic expressions, lack of empathy, and perfectionism, I can list off about 50 people of older generations that I've known that would meet those requirements for diagnosis, but would have been considered completely normal until about 30 years ago. In addition, there is still a cultural stigma against any form of mental disability, a stigma that was worse in the past. I think it is entirely possible that we are seeing an increase in diagnosis because more people are seeking diagnosis, not necessarily because there is an increase in the condtion. As far as if HFA and Asperger's is a disbabilty or differenct cognitive style, I tend to think that in some ways it doesn't make a difference. Generally speaking, our society is based around certain rules of conduct and behavior, that have been established by the majority. It isn't good or bad, it just is. That doesn't mean that aspies can't participate, but we do have to understand that we are on the outside adapting to another culture. I tend to think of it as if I moved to a foreign country. I can't expect everyone to change their language and culture to match mine, I have to learn to mesh with theirs. I think it is important to accept both sides, that it is a different way of thinking, but it is also a SOCIAL diability that affects communication, and its the communication side of things that has to be worked on in order to mesh with society.
•    Anonymous said... From my experience (and just my opinion), it is a different cognitive style!

Please post your comment below…

What the Future Holds for Your Child on the Autism Spectrum

There is some evidence that kids with Asperger's may see a lessening of symptoms as they mature. Up to 20% of kids may no longer meet the diagnostic criteria as grown-ups, although social and communication difficulties may persist. Although social impairment is life-long, the outcome is generally more positive than for people with lower functioning autism spectrum disorders.

Click here for the full article...


==> How to Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums in Children with Aspergers and HFA

Air Travel with Children on the Autism Spectrum: 25 Tips for Parents

Flying may be the fastest way to reach your destination, but it isn’t always the least stressful if you have an Aspergers or high-functioning autistic (HFA) youngster.

Though flying with kids on the spectrum adds a layer of complexity to your trip, you can avoid potential problems by thoroughly planning and preparing for the trip before you arrive at the airport.

Air Travel with Aspergers and HFA Children: 25 Tips for Parents—

1. All major airlines offer complimentary in-flight magazines providing detailed layouts that map the air terminals of major travel hubs. During the flight, “assign” your youngster to look up this information and share it with you.

2. Arrive at the airport early. Sprints down an endless terminal are difficult enough, but they are nearly impossible when holding your child’s hand.

3. As a diversion, your youngster may feel tempted to press the flight attendant call button more often than what is considered appropriate. Even though he may believe he has legitimate needs (or is perhaps just being a typical rascally kid), discuss this nuance of air travel with your youngster in advance of your travel arrangements, and set reasonable limits as you would for any youngster.

4. As with the any initial steps in vacation planning, your youngster can be helpful in locating and pricing air travel to and from your destination, including connecting flights and layovers.

5. Ask your youngster to develop a list of questions about flying for you to answer. If you are unable to respond to all the questions, find out who can (even if it must wait until you arrive at the airport). Your youngster may be able to address his questions by directing them to a ticket agent, security personnel, or flight-crew member.

6. Aspergers and HFA kids young enough to require car seats may be more comfortable using these seats while on the plane. A car seat or harness restraint is the safest place for kids during an emergency or turbulence. Parents using a car seat or harness must book a seat for the youngster. The number of car seats that can be used per row may be limited, depending on the type of the aircraft.

7. Consider making shorter trips (e.g., instead of flying to the Cancun, maybe a trip to Florida would provide as much “beach-fun” without all the extra travel time and customs issues).

8. Don't forget that being up so high in the air may be a very novel experience for your youngster. Make use of this unusual perspective to talk about what you both see when looking out the windows (e.g., cloud formations, the tiny appearance of cars and people on the ground, the winding course of rivers and streams, the checkered patterns of farmers' fields, etc.).

9. Don't forget to talk with your youngster about the trip, explaining each stage of the boarding process and the flight. Make sure he realizes that the bumpiness and engine noises are normal and not a signal of an impending crash. You may even want to visit the airport ahead of time.

10. Dress for comfort. Put the good-for-grandma clothes in a carry-on and let your child change into these after your arrival. On board, let your child wear comfortable play clothes, and don't forget to pack an extra set of clothes in your carry-on, especially when traveling with little ones. Since airplanes tend to be cold, make sure your child has an extra sweater or jacket at his seat. Don't forget to grab blankets and pillows as you board; there won't be any left later on when your child wants them.

11. During the flight, your youngster may become bored, impatient, or stressed. Ensure that he has plenty to keep him occupied (e.g., favorite books, drawing paper, interactive games, conversations that you've reserved for the trip, etc.).

12. Having headphones or ear-buds along to listen to pleasing music will greatly help to block out external noise that can consume your youngster and heighten his nervousness.

13. If traveling abroad, you can use flight-time to discuss and review the language and culture differences of the area to be visited.

14. If your youngster has never flown before, he will take his cues from you. If you make it sound exciting, adventurous, and interesting, your youngster will likely reflect your attitude. If you have a fear of flying but acquiesce out of cost efficiency or convenience, your youngster will quickly tap into your anxieties and internalize them as his own.

15. Know that the air pressure changes during takeoff and landing can cause ear pain in children who are sensitive to sound. Swallowing will help ears adjust to air pressure changes. Sucking on lollipops, chewing gum, or eating crackers can encourage your child to swallow.

16. Large airports can be overwhelming with their bombardment of sensory stimuli. Your youngster may enjoy taking in all the sights, sounds, and smells, or he may be unable to tolerate the combined convergence of the environment with its crowds of rushing people, perpetual PA system announcements, and other disorienting noises and visuals. Wearing an iPod or MP3 player may be necessary during this time, or asking your youngster to check the monitors to confirm arrival or departure information could prove helpful for him.

17. Prepare your child for security protocol. All children must undergo security screening. Younger kids must be removed from strollers or infant carriers before passing through the walk-through metal detector at the security checkpoint. Folded strollers and other equipment small enough to pass through the X-ray machine must be placed on the belt. Kids who are old enough to walk should walk through the metal detector, rather than be carried.

18. Some airlines offer passengers the option of either paying a fee to book a seat at the time the flight is booked or waiting until check-in to select seats. Consider reserving seats in advance to ensure that the entire family can sit together. Though waiting to select seats at check-in might be a good cost-cutting idea for grown-ups traveling alone, it can be a risky strategy for parents traveling with kids on the autism spectrum.

19. Take advantage of shortcuts to waiting in line at ticket counters, including curbside checking of luggage and free-standing e-ticket kiosks that automatically issue boarding passes with proper photo ID.

20. To build on the excitement of the journey, create a countdown calendar and put it on the refrigerator.

21. Waiting in line is an exercise in patience for most individuals, including kids on the spectrum. Recent trends in heightened airport security have made such lengthy delays standard. Request that your youngster learn about airport safety procedures in order to feel prepared in advance of flying.

22. When the call for boarding is made, it may be a good idea to take advantage of pre-boarding opportunities that usually include moms and dads traveling with kids or those needing extra time or assistance. This will give your youngster the chance to take a few minutes to acclimate to the look, feel, and sound of the aircraft before it fills with people.

23. When traveling to another country, are there guessing games to be played in which you and your youngster quiz one another about customs, geography, foods, or words indigenous to the country to which you are traveling?

24. Whenever possible, book a nonstop flight. This streamlines your trip and prevents change-of-flight problems. Traveling at non-peak times (e.g., late at night, midday and Mondays to Wednesdays) gives you a good chance of getting on less-crowded flights. On these take-offs you're more likely to find room for your child to stretch out and sleep.

25. While waiting to depart at your gate, suggest that your youngster engage in a favored activity, or you can play a word or memory game based upon the surroundings. As with all children, this may also be a good time to get a snack.

==> Preventing Meltdowns and Tantrums in Kids on the Autism Spectrum

Aspergers Children and Amusement Parks: Avoiding Over-Stimulation

Your child may have enthusiastically anticipated the trip, but no youngster deliberately seeks the public embarrassment and humiliation of a meltdown near the exit to the roller-coaster ride because of improper planning or pacing. This “behavioral” communication is a last resort when all else has failed.

Click here for the full article...



==> Preventing Meltdowns and Tantrums in Kids on the Autism Spectrum

Going on Vacation: 20 Tips for Parents with Aspergers Children

 "We're planning a family vacation for the end of this month. Past vacations have been super stressful due to our child's  tantrums and meltdowns (he has high functioning autism). His behavior turns what would be a very relaxing time into ...honestly, pure hell. We're almost glad to get back home so our son can get back into his usual routine (i.e., comfort zone). Any tips on how to make this next trip less of a headache?"

Click here for my response...
 

Aspergers Children and Communication-Skills Training: 25 Tips for Parents

One of your Aspergers (high functioning autistic) youngster's greatest challenges is in the area of communication. As a parent, you will want to communicate in ways that will support your youngster's ease of understanding, and discover how best to assist your youngster in deciphering communication in everyday conversation.

Click here for the full article...

Disciplining the Aspergers Child: Special Considerations

"I hate Hate HATE that I run low on patience with my child (high functioning autistic)! I'm trying to be more patient every moment of every day. In my heart I wouldn't change a single thing about him. He didn't do anything to deserve having an autism spectrum disorder. Sometimes it just seems so unfair. In any event, how can I discipline him in a way that's effective such that (a) we don't have to keep trying to solve the same problem over and over again, and (b) I don't lose my patience with his slow progress? ~ Signed, bad dad :( "

Click here for my response...
 
 

Aspergers Children and Encopresis

Question

I have my 12 yr old Grandson living with my husband and I, It isn't easy because his mother had to leave him with us for awhile. We are implementing your assignments in your book, it hasn't been easy but we are making significant headway. One thing that bothers us more than his behavior is him soiling his pants. I don’t know why and I have tried asking him why he does but all he says is he doesn`t know. I know that maybe he doesn`t know why but it is hard for my husband to understand how he can let it sit in his pants without a care. When my husband addresses this with my grandson he is confronted with a complete shutdown, he won`t look at him, answer him. I understand why he does but when I approach him on it, I will ask if he soiled his pants his first reaction is to tell me no he did not do it. Then I ask to check his pants, when I do I can see it and at that point I calmly ask him to get some clean clothes go to the bathroom have a shower and I make him clean out his shorts. He does this almost every day and when we noticed he didn`t do it that one day we praise him to no end. I don`t know what I can do to help him stop or why it happens in the first place. I would appreciate any comments as to how I can help him get over this. My grandson isn`t the easiest to handle when he gets to upset he is 12 at 6` tall and 230lbs so having an easy approach would be greatly appreciated.


Click here for my response...

Pursuing a Formal Diagnosis of Asperger's or HFA

Pursuing a formal diagnosis is a family's individual decision to make. There is no "best" time to form this decision, although many moms and dads agree that they wish to know their child's diagnosis definitively - and as early in their youngster's development as possible.

Click here for the full article...

Aspergers Children and Poor Eating Habits

Question

My child with Aspergers loves pizza rolls. Problem is that's about all he eats (cheese only - doesn't like pepperoni or sausage). He would eat pizza rolls for breakfast, lunch and dinner if we let him. Is there any way to lure him into eating some fruits and/or vegetables?

Answer

Most Aspergers (high functioning autistic) children prefer just a few food items. And it can become quite a power struggle for parents when they attempt to get their child to try anything new. However, there are some ways that parents can "sneak" some healthy stuff into their child's belly. Here are a few tips that may work:

1. Don't get hung up on the time of day your Aspergers youngster eats – or how much he eats in one sitting. It is perfectly fine if your Aspie doesn't eat three square meals every day as long as over the course of a week or two he eats a few things from each food group.

2. Concoct creative camouflages. There are all kinds of possible variations on the old standby "cheese in the trees" (cheese melted on steamed broccoli florets), or you can all enjoy the pleasure of veggies topped with peanut- butter sauce, a specialty of Asian cuisines.

3. Make veggie art. Create colorful faces with olive-slice eyes, tomato ears, mushroom noses, bell-pepper mustaches, and any other playful features you can think of. Zucchini pancakes, for example, make a terrific face to which you can add pea eyes, a carrot nose, and cheese hair.

4. Plant a garden with your Aspergers child. Let him help care for the plants, harvest the ripe vegetables, and wash and prepare them. He will probably be much more interested in eating what he has helped to grow.

5. Slip grated or diced vegetables into favorite foods. Try adding them to rice, cottage cheese, cream cheese, guacamole, or even macaroni and cheese.

6. Steam your greens. They are much more flavorful and usually sweeter than when raw.

7. Using a small cookie cutter, cut the vegetables into interesting shapes.

8. Give your youngster acknowledgement and praise, even if he takes only one bite of something new. For example: "It's great that you tried the green beans!"

9. Let go of the power struggle. You can't force your youngster to do anything, especially eat, so just stop trying. Simply offer him nutritious, varied foods – and eat them yourself. He can have his, or not, but you're showing him how. When moms and dads demand that their children eat certain foods, they're attaching negative connotations to it. Pretty soon, the struggle is worse. Put the food on his plate, but if it stays there, don't push him – and don't stress over it.

10. Offer alternatives if your youngster won't eat meat. The texture turns off many Aspergers kids, and that's fine. Your youngster can still get all the protein he needs from the following:
  • cheese or even meat-filled ravioli (the pasta exterior goes a long way for meat-haters)
  • hard-boiled eggs or any egg dish
  • his favorite crackers dipped in hummus or spread with peanut (or nut) butter
  • mini-tuna melts
  • nachos with beans and cheese
  • yogurt, cheese, or cottage cheese

11. Offer choices that don't matter. You may face stubborn insistence that toast have a corner unbuttered to avoid messy hands, or that cereal be served only in a square bowl, or that nothing gets touched by the preparer of the food. While this kind of behavior is seemingly ridiculous, it's typical of Aspergers kids. Offering your youngster a limited choice is often enough to end the power struggle. But make your rules clear: "At home, you can choose your plate, but when we're eating out, you have to use whatever plates they have."

12. You may have to stick with one basic food color. Aspergers children may like a lot of colors in their pictures, but not always on their plates. When he only wants white foods, for example, consider:
  • fruit smoothies (blend a banana with vanilla yogurt)
  • half white-/half whole-wheat (make toast and sandwiches in fun shapes using cookie cutters)
  • mac and cheese made with whole-wheat (or whole-wheat blend) macaroni
  • oven-baked fries (half regular and half sweet potato to ease your youngster into the idea of trying other spuds)

13. Be creative with the veggies. Hating vegetables is the most common picky-eater problems with Aspergers kids. To convince your child that eating vegetables is not poisonous, try one or more of the following:
  • carrot slices and baby corn are a good start toward more serious veggie consumption
  • lettuce wraps (use a filling he'll eat, like turkey or cream cheese, and wrap it in a romaine lettuce leaf)
  • put a plate of raw veggies next to a sure thing (e.g., grilled cheese sandwich) to lure your child into eating at least one bite
  • thinly sliced veggies stir-fried with teriyaki sauce with a little chicken and rice
  • try dressing (e.g., honey mustard, ranch, ketchup, melted butter) with veggies for dipping
  • veggie lasagna
  • water chestnuts have little taste and can be a good stepping-stone to serious veggies
  • zucchini muffins

14. Many Aspergers kids like to “nitpick” their way through food (i.e., a nibble here – a nibble there). Use an ice-cube tray, a muffin tin, or a compartmentalized dish, and put bite-size portions of colorful and nutritious foods in each section. Give these “finger foods” names in order to disguise how disgustingly healthy that may be, such as:
  • egg canoes (hard- boiled egg wedges)
  • cheese building blocks
  • carrot swords (cooked and thinly sliced)
  • broccoli trees (steamed broccoli florets)
  • banana wheels
  • avocado boats (a quarter of an avocado)
  • apple moons (thinly sliced)

Place the food on an easy-to-reach table. As your Aspie makes his rounds through the house, he can stop, sit down, nibble a bit, and, when he's done, continue on his way. These foods have a table-life of an hour or two.

15. A veggie pizza is one the most cleaver ways to disguise healthy foods. We tried a spinach-cheese pizza with our 5-year-old several years ago. We knew he probably wouldn’t even touch it – but guess what? It is his favorite food item now! Go figure :)

More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

==> Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

How To Improve Your Aspergers Child's Self-Image

 "Any tips on how to help my newly diagnosed daughter (high functioning autistic) to improve her self esteem. She thinks she's 'stupid' ...she thinks she's 'ugly' ...she thinks nobody likes her... I don't know where she's coming up with these negative evaluations of herself, but it breaks my heart. We are all a bit anxious since we got the news about this disorder. But how can I help my daughter have a better perspective of her true self and her strengths?"

Click here for the answer...



More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

The Difference Between Aspergers and PDD-NOS

Question

My 7-year-old son has been diagnosed with ADHD. The pediatrician also thinks that he may have Aspergers or Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified. After researching the two diagnoses, I see that they are very similar. What type of testing can I have done to determine what kind of help my son needs?

Answer

Like Autism and Aspergers, Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified (PDD-NOS) is one of the five subtypes of the Autism Spectrum Disorders. Children diagnosed with PDD-NOS will have less social impairment than a youngster with Autism or Aspergers.

The Autism Spectrum Disorders are:

1. Pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified
2. Autism
3. Asperger syndrome
4. Rett syndrome
5. Childhood disintegrative disorder

To confuse matters, there is a division among therapists on the use of the term Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD), which is the same thing as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Many use the term PDD as a short way of saying PDD-NOS. Others use the general category label of PDD because they are hesitant to diagnose very young kids with a specific type of PDD (e.g., Autism). Both approaches contribute to confusion about the term, because the term PDD actually refers to a category of disorders and is not a diagnostic label.

PDD is not itself a diagnosis, while PDD-NOS is. To further complicate the issue, PDD-NOS can also be referred to as “atypical personality development,” “atypical PDD,” or “atypical Autism.”

Some clinicians use PDD-NOS as a "temporary" diagnosis for youngsters under the age of 5, when for whatever reason there is a reluctance to diagnose Autism. There are several justifications for this. Very young kids have limited social interaction and communication skills to begin with, thus it can be tricky to diagnose milder cases of Autism in a toddler. The unspoken assumption is that by the age of 5, unusual behaviors will either resolve or develop into diagnosable Autism.

Because of the "NOS" (i.e., not otherwise specified), it is hard to describe what PDD-NOS is, other than its being an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Some children diagnosed with PDD-NOS are close to having Aspergers, but do not quite fit the profile. Others have near full-blown Autism, but without some of its symptoms. The field of psychology is considering creating several subclasses within PDD-NOS.

To confirm the diagnosis, continue to consult with your doctor and get a referral to either a neurologist or child and adolescent psychiatrist to figure out exactly what is going on with your child. Once you have a definitive answer, you can then check for resources in your local area. Each U.S. state has different resources tied-in with the local schools. Your doctor should be able to point you in the right direction. If not, the local school district should have some referrals for you.

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook

Children on the Autism Spectrum and Auditory Processing Disorder

Auditory Processing Disorder (APD) is an umbrella term for a variety of disorders that affect the way the brain processes auditory information. It is not a sensory or inner ear hearing impairment. Kids with APD usually have normal peripheral hearing ability. However, they cannot process the information they hear in the same way as others do, which leads to difficulties in recognizing and interpreting sounds, especially the sounds composing speech.

Click here for the full article...

Aspergers Teens and Driving a Car

"My daughter is 18 and has Aspergers. Hers is particularly with anti-social behavior and thoughts. My entire family is ridiculing me for not forcing her to get her drivers license, but she is scared and doesn't want to. Should I force her to? Am I wrong?" 

Click here for my response...

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.

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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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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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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Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and HFA

Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

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My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content