Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders


Pursuing a Formal Diagnosis

Because the symptoms of Aspergers can be subtle, moms and dads may not recognize any differences in their youngster until he is age three or older. Pursuing a formal diagnosis is a family's individual decision to make. There is no “correct” time to form this decision, although many moms and dads agree that they wish to know their youngster's diagnosis definitively and as early in their youngster's development as possible.

If you are discovering that the criteria for Aspergers might have application for your youngster, then you are faced with a decision about seeking a diagnosis. You may not wish to pursue a formal diagnosis at this time for one or more of the following reasons:

• You are scared or in denial of the situation
• You are worried that your youngster will be stigmatized or singled out
• You don't believe in labeling people's diversity
• You don't feel that your youngster's differences are causing detriments in his life significant enough to obtain a diagnosis
• You'd rather wait to see if anything changes as your youngster continues developing

The benefits of obtaining a diagnosis may be:

• Accessing a system of services and supports designed to give your youngster a head start in life as early as possible
• Being able to educate family, friends, and neighbors about your youngster's unique way of being when appropriate
• Being able to educate your youngster in order to promote self-awareness and self-advocacy, as needed
• Being able to put a name and a framework to a collection of symptoms and traits instead of perceiving it all as your youngster's “bad behavior” or somehow your fault
• Understanding and appreciating sooner your youngster's lifelong unique qualities, personal needs, and talents

Grown-ups with Aspergers who were never diagnosed as kids often ask, “Would it have been helpful to have had the diagnosis at an early age?” We are still a long way from effectively understanding Aspergers in a global sense, but having this knowledge early on in the lives of many grown-ups might have aided them to:

• Avoid struggles with mental health issues, or be better prepared to care for one's mental health
• Be better able to initiate and sustain relationships
• Be better equipped to locate viable employment opportunities that best match skills and talents
• Be better prepared for higher education, or trade school
• Be better prepared to avoid situations in which one may be unwittingly exploited
• Experience greater success in school

A group of children with Aspergers was asked a question: “Is it helpful to know you have Aspergers?” They were unanimous in explaining that it was helpful and cleared up a lot of misperceptions and misinterpretations people had about why they do what they do.

If you determine that Aspergers best describes your youngster's way of being and are interested in pursuing a diagnosis, your first course of action is to seek a referral to the appropriate clinician most qualified to make the diagnosis.

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook


Anonymous said...

Sarah Shepherd Yes and its equally important to know when you reach adulthood too!!!
4 hours ago · Like
Helen Whelan definately made a differance telling our 12 year old son, he was able to answer so many questions in his head he just couldnt understand
about an hour ago · Like
Gina Sanchez I think this is vital. It has helped my 5 year old and his brother that he is not " bad". It allows us all to understand that we cannot address him as a " typical" 5 year old. So, in order for him to operate in the mainstream, we have to tweak our approach in order for him to be as successful as any other child.
37 minutes ago · Like

Elizabeth said...

I've found that most doctors avoid diagnosing Asperger's early on. My daughter is 4 and numerous therapists have mentioned that she has several symptoms of Asperger's. I also feel this is accurate. However, when the evaluation comes around, they tell me they don't like to do that until around first grade. Why is this? Is this something I should keep pushing for? As of right now, they are sticking with a PDD-NOS diagnosis for my 4 year old. However, they have told me that they are in no way ruling out Asperger's. Anyone else have this problem. It is so frustrating!

Anonymous said...

Kym-Marie Coghill
Hello, I am not sure wether my son has Aspergers but he is seeing a pediatrition at the hospital on thursday. I have had a few doctors and his kindy teachers tell me that there is something just not right with him, I am so confused as my husband keeps telling me he is just a boy. How did you first find something wasn't quiet right

Anonymous said...

Trina Prickett
I have just learned my 5 year old son may be we are doing test to confirm it. My son had problems in school got kicked out of every daycare. I just chalked his behavior to reaction from the divorce. This week we saw a pshychiatrist twice after several hours of questions and play therapy she told me this. I am new to it and have been overwhelmed his primary care drvsaidvhe was adhd the school diagnosticians that tested him said nothing was wrong with him...i had felt like a failure forva long time because i coukdnt get him to act right. I learned that i can not say maybe in a little while it has to be explaine in a more logical way. No grat area. I had told my son we may get cinnamon rolls for breakfast this week and i didnt he got so mad and saying over and over but u said and ran to his room screaming. I wish u luck and i am glad there is support groups for this.

Alicia Harrison
My son was only 10 months when we knew he wasn't like the rest of the kiddies his age. He would scream and have meltdowns over the most unusual things. He was talking fluently by 14 months so we just put his frustrations down to him being so smart yet not able bodied to do what he wanted. We then went to our GP as his meltdowns were extreme and controlling his (and our) lives. She reffered us to an OT. He was diagnosed with a sensory disorder. We've been seeing the OT for 2 years now. His problems seemed to get worse and there seemed to be even more unusual things he did. I decided one day to write down everything unusual he did. My goodness, i typed up 4 pages worth of unusual (both good and bad) traits that he had. I took these to his OT who refered us to the pediatritian. They both said he has Aspergers. We were then refered to the psychologist and psychatrist and the ASD network in our state. If it wasn't for our list then it would have taken a lot longer to get him properly diagnosed. I suggest writing everything down before you go to the pediatrition on Thursday. It will give them a greater understanding of your son and also make things clearer for yourself (and save a lot of time), i also find that when i go to the pediatritian i always forget to say things when im there.
Good luck!

Anonymous said...

My son is 11 years old and just had a formal diagnosis of Asperger's Syndrome. The therapist who diagnosed him has told my wife and I that he should have been evaluated years ago and started therapy for it because after the age of 10 the prognosis decreases considerably. Unfortunately, his mother will not get him care even though he has full health coverage under my insurance. What are your thoughts in this?

Anonymous said...

Karen Gomez
Hi I'm so glad and thankful for this page! My 12yr old boy just started going thru some testing and after many hrs and days and eventhough we are still not finish the neurologist and psychiatrist inform me that they think is aspergers. I'm having a hard time with the diagnosis and feel that the few people I've told do not understand me! The more I read about the diagnosis although conflicting at times it describes my son a lot. I feel alone, fustrated and angry. I'm also scared and nervous about school begining soon. There is so much more but I just don't the the time or energy to write. Thank you for this page again! Its a great support system for me!

Anonymous said...

Kristie Carr Nelson
Karen, Hang in there!! It can be so overwhelming when you first get the diagnosis. Well, it can be overwhelming even years later :) But fortunately there is so much more info available now then there was even 5 or 10 years ago, professionally, medicinally, and educationally. And thanks to the internet, there's more socal support available, too. The dianosis can be frightening when you don't know what exactly it will mean for your child. But there's no reason he can't or won't be a successful, contributing member of society. It is going to take a lot of work, though. But when you see that progress being made, there is such an overwhelming pride that puts all the work into perspective.
Saturday at 2:12pm · Like
Karen Gomez Thank you Kristie for your support and advice!
Saturday at 4:23pm · Like

Anonymous said...

My child was not diagnosed till she was 14. We always knew she was different and I was one of those Moms that wanted here to seek out friends.Only having one child and her not having siblings either pretty much made her grow up being without friends. But, what her psychiatrist said when we started seeing him when she was 14 is that it was a shame that it took so long for her to be diagnosed because he could have helped so much. What we didn't know is that she would always have done better with friends younger than her by like 2-4 yrs. When they try to make friends their own age they tend to compare themselves to those and realize just how different they are and it would have depressed her more. I am so glad I didn't push that issue. Today at 18 she is a junior in HS and she has friends. 2 yrs younger but, friends nevertheless.I would encourage you to try younger children with your daughter maybe that tip may help you where it was late in coming for mine.

Anonymous said...

My son, age 11, has been diagnosed with Asperger's. I have 3 other kids. While two of them seem to have only a couple of Asperger tendencies, one of them has a lot. She is 5 years old. She is doing good in kindergarten. My son was diagnosed a year ago, when he was suicidal because of bullying in the school system (he has since been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder because of the bullying). I do not want my daughter to go through what he did (she seems to hold her own with kids her age in the moment, but then obsesses about it later).

My daughter and son are alike in these ways: Sensitive to noise. Obsesses over any incident that doesn't go how she expects it to. Gets upset if routine is changed (this week she was refusing to go to school because there was going to be a substitute teacher). Cannot understand what emotion another person is feeling (asks others "are you happy or sad?). Poor handwriting. Has hard time being flexible with others. Does fixate on certain interests. Very hard on herself and has started saying negative things about herself, if she is unable to do something, or if someone doesn't play with her (family, mostly). Super sensitive and gets her feelings hurt very easily. Constantly making noises. Wrings her hands constantly. Obsesses over "boo boos".

Unlike my son, my daughter has temper tantrums to the extreme (not that long ago, she screamed, and thrashed around on the floor at a store for over 30 minutes). When she is having this kind of episode, I can not get her to focus on anything else. It is like she goes somewhere else for awhile. I find the best way to handle it is to remain calm and let the temper tantrum run its course, and then talk to her. But sometimes when I try to talk to her, the temper tantrum starts again. She usually does this if she thinks she is not being understood, or if someone is not following what she thinks that person should do. She, also unlike my son, gets angry very easily. Someone the other day commented (I wish she had kept her opinion to herself), "that is a child filled with anger". On the other hand, at school, she does not get in trouble for her behavior (not one single day out of the whole year) and has friends (my son did not have friends in school until recently and he is in 6th grade).

My question is do I need to take her to be evaluated and when (what age?) and to which doctor? My son first went to his pediatrician last year who referred us to a psychologist because he was suicidal and then she referred us to a child psychiatrist. My daughter is only 5 years old, so I am not sure if she is old enough for these kind of doctors. Also, my son is taking occupation therapy for fine motor skills and pragmatic speech. I would like to get an early start for my daughter on these therapies, so I can help my daughter avoid the trauma my son experienced.

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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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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My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content