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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Aspergers Children and Bad Language

Bad language (i.e., cursing, name-calling, rude statements like “I hate you,” etc.) and the Aspergers condition often go hand in hand.

Bad language displayed by a youngster with Aspergers or High-Functioning Autism (HFA) can follow him into adulthood if he isn’t shown the proper way to respond to situations.

Here are some very simple – yet very effective – tips to prevent bad language in Aspergers and HFA children:

1. Keep control yourself. If you, the parent, over-react to something, then your youngster is going to see justification in the way he behaves. Therefore, you too must limit your use of curse words, as well as “near-curse words” (e.g., freakin, crap, bull, etc.).

2. Positive reinforcement focuses on rewarding your Aspergers youngster for good behavior. In this way, the parent does not have to wait for bad behavior to take place before the youngster is recognized. With positive reinforcement, you may reward the youngster for going an entire day without using a curse word. Negative reinforcement can be used in conjunction with positive reinforcement, or they can each be used alone.

3. Establish a “Cursing Jar”. If your child curses, he has to put a quarter into the jar. If money isn’t readily available, a note with your child’s name on it can go into the jar, and every note might equal 10 minutes of an extra task or chore. NOTE: Doing his regular chores shouldn’t be a consequence; you should give your child extra things to do. If you make your child do the dishes because he cursed, and then you ask him to do them again on Thursday night as a regular chore, he’s going to ask, “Why? I didn’t do anything wrong.” He’ll feel like he’s being punished, when all you want is for him to do his normal chores around the house. So it’s an extra chore you want to add on. Also, the sooner you issue the consequence after the cursing – the better!

4. Negative reinforcement can be useful for controlling bad language. An Aspie usually has obsessions. Thus, if you take away time from his obsessive activity, it can reinforce that when he uses bad language, he loses the privileges to do his favorite things. Have a visual schedule for your youngster. Then, when he says a bad word, demonstrate that this behavior is not acceptable by marking off an hour of his time that would be devoted to doing his favorite thing (e.g., playing video games, watching TV, reading a book). Even if his favorite activity is a rather “productive” way for him to spend time, withhold the privilege for a period of time (anywhere from one hour to one day works best).

5. Some Aspergers children will swear passive-aggressively, under their breath. But let’s face it, even if it’s under their breath, it’s the same thing, and you should give your child consequences for it. They may say, “I didn’t say anything. That’s not fair!” You can come back with, “I’m sorry, but that’s what I heard you say. In the future, speak more loudly, or there will be consequences.” In other words, don’t let muttering curse words under his breath become a way for him to manipulate so that he doesn’t have to develop self-control.

6. Role-playing can be a useful technique in controlling bad language in Aspergers kids; however, most Aspies do not empathize with the feelings of others since they don’t understand them. Therefore, role-playing is helpful. Find books (online, bookstore, library) that demonstrate how people in similar situations use appropriate actions and how they feel.

7. Discuss with your Aspergers child that you do not find cursing acceptable. Help him to find other, more appropriate words – and ways – to express himself.

8. Set household rules against cursing. Establish consequences that will be used if the cursing rule is broken.

9. Do not be a pushover. If you let your Aspie break the rules without following through with a consequence, he will continually break the rules in the future.

10. Know that most kids with Aspergers do not respond well to being “punished.” However, “discipline” can be quite effective. Discipline teaches the Aspergers youngster how to act. Discipline should make sense to him, and should have something to do with what he has done wrong. Discipline helps a child feel good about himself, and gives him the chance to correct his mistakes. It puts him in charge of his actions. On the other hand, punishment only tells a child that he is bad. It does not tell a child what he should do instead. So punishment may not make sense to the Aspie. Punishment usually has nothing to do with what he did wrong.

Below are some examples of what your Aspie can do wrong. Some types of punishment and discipline are given. Can you see how they are different?

Example 1: In a tantrum, your four-year-old Aspie throws his crayons all over the floor.
Punishment: You say, “That’s a bad boy” and slap his hand.
Discipline: You say, “You can choose to pick up your crayons within the next five minutes, or you can choose to lose coloring privileges for the rest of day …what do you want to do?”

Example 2: Your seven-year-old Aspie refuses to do his chores.
Punishment: You spank him and send him to his room.
Discipline: You say, “You can do your chores and then play your favorite video game, or you can go to your room without any privileges …which one would you like to do?”


My Aspergers Child: Preventing Meltdowns

An Official Diagnosis: How Important Is It?

Question

I suspect that my 20-year-old son (still living at home) may have Aspergers. Should he get an official diagnosis – or is it better to not know so he doesn’t get labeled?

Answer

A lot will depend on how well your son is functioning in daily life. If he is not experiencing any major problems in relationships or employment, it may not be important to get an actual diagnosis of Aspergers (high functioning autism). However, an official diagnosis is necessary if he needs to apply for social benefits at some point (e.g., Social Security Disability, Vocational Rehabilitation). Note that the diagnosis of Aspergers alone will not qualify him for services. He will also need to be diagnosed with some disabling co-morbid condition that affects his ability to function in the work or home environment.

Despite the fact that functioning in a “normal” world can be very difficult for Aspies, a diagnosis of Aspergers does not mean the individual is unable to learn to function, especially if he is fortunate enough to have people in his life that provide the support he needs.

Getting an official diagnosis can be useful if your son needs accommodations in order to perform tasks, or deal with the environment, in an employment situation. Such accommodations may include alternative ways of communicating, a more isolated space, breaks, etc.

On the other hand, if your son is having considerable difficulty with relationships, especially with regards to understanding other’s perspectives, then investigating whether or not he has Aspergers may be important. He may need to (a) explore what it is he expects and needs from relationships and (b) learn how to advocate for what he wants in a non-demanding manner. If he decides to seek help in this regard, he should be sure that the diagnostician has experience with -- and is accepting of -- Aspergers differences.

Who should you contact?

Psychologists or neuropsychologists will arrive at a diagnosis through testing. This can be helpful if your son is looking for more information on areas of learning strength and differences. A neuropsychologist looks at neurological and psychological issues. This type of assessment can provide helpful information, but only if the psychologist or neuropsychologist is familiar with neurological differences associated with Aspergers. Otherwise, the report is not likely to provide an accurate picture of your son that he can relate to and use.

A psychiatrist will often diagnose the client after getting a history and talking with you and your son (or others who know your son). A psychiatrist is a medical doctor who can prescribe medication that may be helpful in dealing with comorbid conditions (e.g., anxiety, depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, etc.).

The choice should always be left up to your son as to whether or not he wants to try medication. Medication can have side effects he will need to be aware of. Be aware that psychotropic medications (e.g., antidepressants) ) must never be stopped suddenly, and long-term use can sometimes result in a form of tics. Your son always has the choice of trying natural supplements that have a similar influence on brain chemistry. Unfortunately the manufacturers of supplements are unregulated, so his doctor probably won’t support their use, and his insurance is not going to cover their cost.

Launching Adult Children With Aspergers: How To Promote Self-Reliance

 
COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said... Defo best for a diagnosis my son is 14,& only got a diagnosis this yr it makes a huge difference opens doors for then & gives them lots of support iv learnt that it can be a lonely life for them out with the family without the help & support xx
•    Anonymous said... Get a diagnosis so he can deal with it in adult life.
•    Anonymous said... He could apply for an rdsp if he has a diagnosis. The savings of that could help him later in life if he needs it.
Knowing might make him more open to meeting other like him, and take workshops and join groups.
•    Anonymous said... I dont know what to do. My 7 year old was diagnosed with aspergers in january of this year. He is a holy terror, disrespectful, a bully, its never his fault we have tried talking to him, explaining things to him, grounding him, nothing works. I dont know where to turn. He is destroying his life, his brothers and our whole family. It breaks my heart to see him struggling so much. Help please
•    Anonymous said... My daughter was a lot younger (11) when she was diagnosed, but it was such a relief for her. Kids with Asperger's know they are different. I think it helps to know why and that there are many others out there who are like them. My daughter considers Asperger's a special club to which only unique individuals belong and even goes to a social group with other autistic teens (most of whom are high functioning like her).
•    Anonymous said... NEED HELP! I have a 25 yr. old aspie daughter who lives with me at home, does not have a job, has a driver's license but is afraid to go out on the highway, gets social security disability but doesn't give me any money for room and board, now has a drinking problem. Its 11 am on a Saturday morning and she is already drunk. She is spiteful. I have a full time job and work all day M-F and when I get home she has helped herself to my personal belongings in my bedroom. We have tried counseling but that never works. I am a single mom. Her dad can't handle her. I can't handle her. I don't know what else to do besides get a restraining order and have her removed from my home.
•    Anonymous said... Since he is an adult I would yalk to him about it. Since our son's diagnosis, my son is more confident and understands why he's a little different and can make adjustments. He also has gifts he understands better.
*    Anonymous said... I lived with aspergers for 47 yrs. There have been so many things I could have understood better and adapted my life better after had I known from the start. I didn't get my diagnosis until 3 yrs ago. There have been much pain that could have been avoided. Getting answers to all the "why's" are so important, and there are many.
*    Anonymous said... My son is almost 20. He was diagnosed earlier this year and refuses to accept it. I am very supportive but its draining. He was misdiagnosed 10yrs ago. Didn't get the right help...medicated when he shouldn't have been. He's happier off them...but he was failed by the doctors in many ways...didn't get support at school and didnt finish. Now he sits in his room and plays Xbox...has friends online and one from school he sees 2 to 3 times a year. All I want is for him to try and accept it and others to understand and not be so judgemental!

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How Aspergers is Diagnosed?

Question

How can professionals tell if someone has Aspergers …and is it possible to have something in addition to Aspergers?

Answer

Aspergers (high functioning autism) is usually diagnosed when all other disorders have been ruled out. Individuals who have, or suspect they have, Aspergers may have been previously diagnosed with:

• Attention Deficit Disorder
• Autistic Disorder, High Functioning
• Developmental Coordination Disorder
• Nonverbal Learning Disorder
• Pervasive Developmental Disorder, Not Otherwise Specified
• Right Hemisphere Learning Disorder
• Schizoid Personality Disorder
• Semantic Pragmatic Language Disorder
• Traumatic Brain Injury (if one has a medical history that includes a past head injury)

There are several disorders that are frequently co-morbid with Aspergers (i.e., occurs along with Aspergers). These include:

• Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder
• Depressive Disorder
• Dysthymia Disorder
• Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
• Seizure Disorder/Epilepsy
• Sensory Integration Dysfunction
• Tourette’s Syndrome

The diagnosis of Aspergers is usually the result of a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation by a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist. In most cases, the evaluation will involve the following components:
  • communication and psychiatric assessments
  • history
  • parental conferences
  • psychological assessment
  • recommendations
  • further consultation if needed

Aspergers involves delays and deviant patterns of behavior in multiple areas of functioning that often require the input of therapists with different areas of expertise, especially overall developmental functioning, neuropsychological features, and behavioral status. Thus, the clinical assessment of people with Aspergers should be conducted by an experienced interdisciplinary team.

It is very important that parents participate in the psychiatric evaluation. Evaluation findings should be translated into a single coherent view of the child. Recommendations should be easily understood, detailed, concrete, and realistic. When writing reports, therapists should express the implications of their findings to the client’s day-to-day adaptation, learning, and vocational training.

As Aspergers (high functioning autism) becomes a more well-known diagnostic label, it is possible that it is becoming a trendy concept used in a needless manner by therapists who intend to convey only that their patient is currently experiencing difficulties in social interaction and in peer relationships. The label “Aspergers” is meant as a serious and debilitating developmental disorder impairing the individual’s capacity for socialization – not a temporary or mild condition. Thus, moms and dads should be briefed about the current knowledge-base of Aspergers and the common confusions around this disorder that currently exist in the mental health field. Clinicians should clarify any misconceptions and establish a consensus about the client’s abilities and disabilities, which should not be simply assumed under the use of the diagnostic label.

Specific areas of evaluation include the following:

1. A careful history should be obtained, including information related to pregnancy and neonatal period, early development and characteristics of development, and medical and family history.

2. A review of previous records including previous evaluations should be performed and the information incorporated and results compared in order to obtain a sense of course of development.

3. Several other specific areas should be directly examined (e.g., a careful history of onset/recognition of the problems, development of motor skills, language patterns, and areas of special interest).

4. Particular emphasis should be placed on social development, including past and present problems in social interaction, patterns of attachment of family members, development of friendships, self-concept, emotional development, and mood presentation.

5. Other specific areas should be examined and measured including:
  • academic achievement (i.e., performance in school-like subjects)
  • adaptive functioning (i.e., degree of self-sufficiency in real-life situations)
  • neuropsychological functioning (i.e., motor and psychomotor skills, memory, executive functions, problem-solving, concept formation, visual-perceptual skills)
  • personality assessment (i.e., common preoccupations, compensatory strategies of adaptation, mood presentation)

6. A fairly comprehensive neuropsychological assessment should be conducted, including:
  • concept formation (both verbal and nonverbal)
  • executive functions
  • facial recognition
  • gestalt perception
  • measures of motor skills (i.e., coordination of the large muscles as well as manipulative skills and visual-motor coordination, visual-perceptual skills)
  • parts-whole relationships
  • spatial orientation
  • visual memory

7. Particular attention should be given to demonstrated or potential compensatory strategies (e.g., individuals with significant visual-spatial deficits may translate the task or mediate their responses by means of verbal strategies or verbal guidance). Such strategies may be important for educational programming.

8. A communication assessment to obtain both quantitative and qualitative information regarding the various aspects of the client’s communication skills should be performed. The assessment should examine:
  • content, coherence, and contingency of conversation
  • non-literal language (e.g., metaphor, irony, absurdities, and humor)
  • nonverbal forms of communication (e.g., gaze, gestures)
  • pragmatics (e.g., turn-taking, sensitivity to cues provided by the interlocutor, adherence to typical rules of conversation)
  • prosody of speech (melody, volume, stress and pitch)

This assessment should go beyond the testing of speech and formal language (e.g., articulation, vocabulary, sentence construction and comprehension), which are often areas of strength.

9. Lastly, the psychiatric evaluation should include observations of the client during more and less structured periods (e.g., while interacting with parents and while engaged in assessment by members of the assessment team). Specific areas for observation and inquiry should include:
  • ability to infer other’s intentions and beliefs
  • ability to intuit other’s feelings
  • ability to understand ambiguous non-literal communications (e.g., teasing and sarcasm)
  • anxiety
  • capacities for self-awareness
  • coherence of thought
  • depression
  • development of peer relationships and friendships
  • level of insight into social and behavioral problems
  • panic attacks
  • perspective-taking
  • problem behaviors that are likely to interfere with treatment should be noted (e.g., aggression).
  • quality of attachment to family members
  • social and affective presentation
  • the client’s patterns of special interest and leisure time
  • the presence of obsessions or compulsions
  • typical reactions in novel situations

It is possible for some individuals to have some Asperger tendencies, but not have full-blown Aspergers per say. A diagnosis of Aspergers simply reflects the severity of the differences between those with the diagnosis and those without. Current research suggests that there are 10-15 genes related to Aspergers. The severity of differences may relate to how many genes are affected and/or other inherited traits, environmental exposures, and life experiences.

The inability to clearly define the difference between Autism and Aspergers is why researchers consider both to be part of an “Autism Spectrum” (Aspergers representing the higher-functioning of the spectrum). Those with Aspergers have normal to above normal intelligence and fewer limitations in their use of speech and ability to communicate than those diagnosed with Autism. Significant delays in the development of speech and communication, beyond the age of 2 years, are considered characteristic of Autism.

People that do develop speech but continue to have difficulties in communication and/or performing daily living activities are often classified as having “high functioning autism.” This is a description that many grown-ups on the Autism Spectrum dislike because it suggests that people with more severe difficulties in communicating and performing daily living activities are “low functioning.” The false assumption is that Autistics are mentally retarded, and as a result, they are not given the mental and academic stimulation they need to achieve their full potential. Yet many “low functioning” Autistic people are very intelligent once the environmental and/or biochemical stresses interfering with their ability to communicate or perform daily living activities are lessened.

Because of high verbal skills, the expectations are often just the opposite for Aspies. The assumption is that Aspies are intelligent enough to do more than they demonstrate and are just not trying hard enough. But the truth is that they are “passing” for close to “normal” only because they are trying so hard, and in most cases, can’t function better than they do. Therefore, it is important for the Aspie to develop some “self-advocacy skills” to clearly communicate to others just what he/she can and cannot do.

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook

30 "Key" Aspergers Traits

Question

I think my child has Aspergers. I know this disorder has a strong genetic factor, and my husband has been diagnosed with it. Now my son is starting to have some of the same Aspergers-like traits. Is there a test or set of criteria that will help me know if I need to have my son tested for Aspergers?


Answer

Aspergers is a neurobiological collection of behavioral differences (called a syndrome). It is classified in the the DSM-IV as a Pervasive Developmental Disorder, alongside Autistic Disorder. This is why some consider Aspergers as part of an Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD). There is no known cause (although genetic and environmental factors are involved). It continues throughout the lifespan, but it is not a “mental illness” per say.

Here are the diagnostic criteria for Aspergers...

A. Qualitative impairment in social interaction, as manifested by at least two of the following:
  1. marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction
  2. failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level
  3. a lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests or achievements with other people (e.g. by a lack of showing, bringing, or pointing out objects of interest to other people)
  4. lack of social or emotional reciprocity
B. Restricted repetitive and stereotyped patterns of behavior, interests and activities, as manifested by at least one of the following:
  1. encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus
  2. apparently inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals
  3. stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms (e.g. hand or finger flapping or twisting, or complex whole-body movements)
  4. persistent preoccupation with parts or objects
C. The disturbance causes clinically significant impairment in social, occupation, or other important areas of functioning

D. There is no clinically significant general delay in language (e.g. single words used by age 2 years, communicative phrases used by age 2 years)

E. There is no clinically significant delay in cognitive development or in the development of age-appropriate self-help skills, adaptive behavior (other than in social interaction), and curiosity about the environment in childhood

F. Criteria are not met for another specific Pervasive Developmental Disorder or Schizophrenia

These definitions were developed to determine the degree to which a youngster is “disabled” and therefore eligible to receive services; however, they may not be of much help to parents who suspect that they have an Aspergers child.

Aspergers represents a mild to significant difference in how “Aspies” process sensory input, communicate, and generally perceive social experiences from those with “neurologically typical” nervous systems. Like “neurotypicals,” Aspies have their own strengths and limitations. Unfortunately, the fact that they are “different” often makes them appear more limited and their strengths harder to perceive.

Most Aspies have one very strong learning style and may pick up very little information from other senses or teaching styles. Some may be very strong visual thinkers, very strong auditory thinkers, very strong mathematical thinkers, or very strong in their language skills.

One study found that some 70% of Aspies also met the criteria for nonverbal learning disorder. The vast majority of them have what “neurotypicals” consider weak social skills, primarily because they don’t pick up the unspoken social cues the way that “normal” people do. This difference can contribute to failures in relationships and employment, and may also lead to a high co-morbidity of depressive disorder.

Most people with Aspergers have some degree of sensory-processing dysfunction (i.e., various senses like sight, hearing, smell, touch, taste, proprioception, and vestibular may be over-or-under sensitive to stimuli in comparison to those without Aspergers). Synaesthesia (i.e., mixing of sensory information like smelling sounds) may also be present.

What some view as “limitations” can also be viewed as strengths.

Below is a fairly comprehensive list of Aspergers traits. If most of these seem to fit your son, then it might be helpful to get a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation from a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist who specializes in Aspergers:

1. a determination to seek the truth
2. ability to pursue personal theory or perspective despite conflicting evidence
3. ability to regard others at “face value”
4. acute sensitivity to specific sensory experiences and stimuli (e.g., hearing touch, vision and/or smell)
5. advanced use of pictorial metaphor
6. advanced vocabulary and interest in words
7. avid perseverance in gathering and cataloging information on a topic of interest
8. clarity of values/decision making unaltered by political or financial factors
9. conversation free of hidden meaning or agenda
10. encyclopedic or “CD-ROM” knowledge of one or more topics
11. exceptional memory and/or recall of details often forgotten or disregarded by others (e.g., names, dates schedules, routines)
12. fascination with word-based humor (e.g., puns)
13. free of sexist, “age-ist”, or cultural-ist biases
14. frequent victim of social weaknesses of others
15. increased probability over general population of attending university after high school
16. interested primarily in significant contributions to conversation
17. knowledge of routines and a focused desire to maintain order and accuracy
18. listening without continual judgment or assumption
19. often takes care of others outside the range of typical development
20. original/unique perspective in problem solving
21. peer relationships characterized by genuine loyalty and dependability
22. persistence of thought
23. prefers to avoid “small talk” or socially trivial statements and superficial conversation
24. seeking an audience or friends capable of enthusiasm for unique interests and topics, consideration of details, spending time discussing a topic that may not be of primary interest
25. seeking sincere, positive, genuine friends with an unassuming sense of humor
26. “social unsung hero” with trusting optimism
27. speaking one’s mind irrespective of social context or adherence to personal beliefs
28. steadfast in the belief of the possibility of genuine friendship
29. strength in individual sports or games, particularly those involving endurance or visual accuracy (e.g., rowing, swimming, bowling, chess)
30. strong preference for detail versus the “big picture”

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook

Aspies in the Workplace: 25 Tips for Employers

Aspergers awareness has made employers more sensitive to the needs of Aspies. More employers know how to approach an interview with an Aspie as well as how to create a workplace environment for them. As awareness increases, more employers recognize the value of Aspergers employees, and some even offer special job training to help these employees adjust to the workplace.

The social and communication problems inherent in people with Aspergers create challenges in job-hunting and in sustaining long-term employment. Common social and communication problems that can affect a job include:

• Sensory processing issues (e.g., responds in an unusual manner to certain sights, sounds, smells or tastes)
• Repetitive and obsessive behavior (e.g., rocking back and forth, skin picking or hand flapping)
• Problems understanding the emotions of others, and as a result, may react inappropriately
• Needs a structured routine and may get extremely upset by routine changes
• May not work well with others
• Inability to understand verbal instructions
• Difficulty maintaining a two-way conversation

Some of these symptoms may create misunderstandings with co-workers and make it difficult for Aspergers employees to fit into the workplace environment. Here are 25 tips for employers who are considering hiring – or have already hired – an individual with Aspergers:

1. Adjust your evaluation process. During the interview, be aware that the positive “body language” and “non-verbal cues” you might expect to see may not be forthcoming from someone with Aspergers.

2. Allowances should be made for the Aspie’s idiosyncrasies (e.g., giving “progress updates” may not be seen as particularly important by the Aspie, so managers may need to ask for them as a matter of course).

3. Aspies can handle jobs that deal with facts or logic (e.g., computer science, software design, engineering, research, and math). So if there is a particular job task that deals with some of these areas directly or indirectly, it might be a good fit for the Aspie.

4. Be very precise in the job description. A prospective applicant with Aspergers is likely to take words and phrases literally.

5. Many Aspies have a desire to help people – but they also lack social skills. Thus, a task where the Aspie can assist others “indirectly” (i.e., not face-to-face) may be a good fit (e.g., delivering supplies).

6. Because of their interest in fairness and justice, job tasks that require honesty and trustworthiness are good (e.g., depositing money, writing company checks).

7. Don't force Aspergers employees into social gatherings or events without full consent.

8. Don't force employees with Aspergers to take part in unnecessary team-working processes that add nothing to how well something gets done.

9. Draw on shared experience. Take advice from support groups and listen to all parties during recruitment and beyond, including care-givers and the employee him/herself.

10. Ensure that the Aspergers employee has an advocate. A line-manager is probably not the best person because his/her management role may conflict with a supporting and caring role.

11. For multi-step plans, give your Aspergers employee a clear written list of steps to follow …or, if he has trouble seeing how all the steps relate to each other, then treat each one as a separate task.

12. Individuals with Aspergers don't always do well with open-ended questions. So instead of saying, “What job task would you like to do today?” …say "We have these three tasks that need to be done (then specify what they are), which would you like to do?"

13. It can take time for an Aspergers employee to settle into the workplace, so whether it's a job in a high-powered professional environment or at a more administrative or vocational level, initial reactions from co-workers and managers will greatly influence whether or not it works out. Thus, one role of the mentor can be to explain the Aspie’s shyness and/or hesitancy in social contact to others.

14. It is beneficial for the person with Aspergers to have someone to go to for advice and answers if he/she thinks something at work does not seem right.

15. Know that hypothetical scenarios, much used by interviewers as a way to test a candidate's problem-solving skills, are unlikely to draw the best from an Aspie, because most are not very good at projecting themselves into imaginary situations.

16. Know that most Aspergers employees tend to work better alone. Thus, if there is a job assignment that does not require a group effort per say, it might be best suited for the Aspie. Consider tasks where the Aspie can work individually, rather than on a team.

17. Make reasonable adjustments. If the Aspie is over-sensitive to bright office lights, background chatter, or prefers to work at home – do what you can.

18. Make regular performance checks. Even if things are going well, review the Aspie’s progress regularly. This is crucial if the Aspergers employee's behavior changes. If so, find out why the behavior change is occurring, and consider what can be done to help.

19. Most Aspergers employees are less likely to get bored with repetition since they tend to find comfort in routines, so they can be better able to handle repetitive jobs that require attention to detail.

20. People with Aspergers are more likely to be bullied or taken advantage of in the workplace. For example, some assume that whatever the supervisor tells them is true, so they do not question it, which makes it very easy for a supervisor to abuse them. Thus, it may be beneficial for the Aspie to know the basics of employment law, so that if a supervisor tells him something different, he knows better.

21. Telephone order taking or survey taking can work for some Aspies because they have scripts and do not require face-to-face interaction. If something like this is available – consider it.

22. The Aspergers employee should be assigned a mentor, and there should be training for staff who will be working with the Aspie. If managed well, the highly developed analytical skills exhibited by people with Aspergers can give companies a valuable competitive edge.

23. Think about the recruitment policy. Standard job ads and selection processes are unlikely to encourage someone with Aspergers to apply for posts they may be qualified for. For example, look at the emphasis placed on communication skills. Does the role really need those skills?

24. Understand that some Aspies are very set in their own ways of doing things, and as a result, they may question everything the supervisor says.

25. Perhaps most importantly, remember that each individual with Aspergers is different, so there aren't any “one-size-fits-all” tips. Every person with Aspergers is an individual, and some will manage well in the workplace with small interventions. Companies need a better awareness of the condition, because there's a lot they can do quite easily that will help.

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook

Aspies Get a Bad Rap!

In working with Aspergers (high functioning autism) children and teens – as well as their parents – I can say categorically that it’s not uncommon for individuals with Aspergers to get a “bad rap.” It’s not fair – it’s not right – but it’s reality. Aspies are generally seen as a little strange (or extremely strange). As a result, they often get ostracized, ridiculed, and bullied.

Many Aspies are disrespected in elementary and middle school, ostracized in high school, rejected in the workplace, and rendered as the “odd Aspie out.” Why? Because different equals bad …different equals dorky …different equals derision …and different equals social rejection.

Aspergers is often called the “Geek Syndrome” because Aspies act so different from the social norm and have excessive knowledge and obsession with different things. For example, they may obsess about things like Robin Hood, the Peanuts gang, maps, trains, baseball cards, and Civil War history. This is not seen as normal to many people, and these obsessions help contribute to the ostracism and rejection.

Here are a few more reasons why Aspies do not get the acceptance they deserve:

1. Most Aspergers children and teens are smart, they study hard, and they respect authority – but this isn’t cool. What’s cool is using school-time as an opportunity to socialize, disrespecting authority, and getting into trouble.

2. Most Aspies are gentle and somewhat passive. NOT COOL! However, it is cool to be tough or "hard" and to fight.

3. Most Aspies are talented – but being a clarinet player in the school band is viewed as dorky. To be in sports is cool though (even though you don’t use your brain much).

4. Most Aspies have a child-like innocence (a bad trait to have if you don’t want to get your head knocked off). This is not cool. To be cool, you act older than your age and go around playing tricks on, and making jokes about, other people.

5. Most Aspies can make amazingly loyal friends – but how goofy is that?! The cool thing to do is to have a bunch of peers to hang-out with and to take advantage of as many of them as possible.

You want some more examples of ‘GEEK’ behavior? O.K. Here they are...

Most Aspies:
  • adhere unvaryingly to routines
  • are able forgive others
  • are accepting of others
  • are honest
  • are not bullies, con artists, or social manipulators
  • are not inclined to steal
  • are perfectly capable of entertaining themselves
  • don’t discriminate against anyone based on race, gender, age, etc.
  • don’t launch unprovoked attacks, verbal or otherwise
  • don’t play head games
  • don’t take advantage of other’s weaknesses
  • enjoy their own company and can spend time alone
  • have exceptional memories
  • have no interest in harming others
  • notice fine details that others miss
  • prefer talking about significant things that will enhance their knowledge-base rather than “shooting the bullshit”
  • will not go along with the crowd if they know that something is wrong

Too often, the Aspie is told, “Something is wrong with you.” And sooner than later, he/she unconsciously absorbs this negative statement and begins to believe it. It has been well documented that those with Aspergers are vulnerable people who will face certain difficulties. These are often highlighted by individuals who see only the negatives rather than the positives such differences could represent. This lack of positive awareness, combined with an inconsistency of knowledge, can lead to inaccurate stereotyping and resultant interventions that are far more harmful than helpful.

We hear so many negative things about children and teens with Aspergers – and so much about what can NOT be helped. Maybe we need to take another look and see what kind of positive traits are found. I believe there are a lot of traits in the Aspergers personality that the non-Aspergers person can afford to implement into his/her own life.

Like everyone on the face of the earth, we are people, with a mix of strengths and weaknesses. Aspies are different – but they are not defective. The world needs all different kinds of minds – including the Aspergers minds. The way Aspies think should be regarded as a positive attribute, which the rest of society can learn from. When their differences are embraced, the positives definitely outweigh the negatives.

What's your opinion?  If you have one, feel free to express it.  Click on the comment button below.

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook

How Parents Can Educate Teachers About Aspergers


Please copy and paste the following letter and hand-deliver it to your Aspergers child’s teachers (edit according to your specific situation):





Dear Mrs __________,

As you may know, my son has Aspergers (also called high functioning autism). I took the liberty of providing this tip sheet so that you may consider factoring-in some of his special educational needs. Thank you for taking time to look it over.

Sincerely,

Mr __________


Kids with Aspergers have a variety of classroom challenges. Because these kids tend to be high-functioning, many are placed in general education classrooms in order to receive the best education possible. Educators working with Aspergers children may or may not be aware of how to provide the best learning environment.

In a classroom setting, Aspergers may manifest in behaviors which include, but are not limited to:
  • Average to excellent memorization skills
  • Clumsy walk
  • Conversations and activities only center around themselves
  • Inability to usually socially appropriate tone and/or volume of speech
  • Lack of common sense or "street smarts"
  • Lack of empathy for others
  • Lack of facial expressions
  • May be teased, bullied or isolated by peers
  • May excel in areas such as math or spelling
  • Often very verbal
  • Poor eye contact
  • Talking about only one subject and missing the non-verbal cues that others are bored with that subject

The following are techniques that can be incorporated to help Aspergers students adjust and become successful in the classroom:

1. A buddy system can be helpful to Aspergers students. In social situations, the buddy can help the Aspergers child handle these situations.

2. A daily routine is critical. The Aspergers students should know what to expect of the routine as this would help them to function properly and concentrate on the tasks at hand.

3. Allow the Aspergers youngster to earn "free time" in his chosen area of interest (e.g., art or computers) for completing work. Kids with Aspergers tend to have an area of intense interest that can consume their conversations and activities. Using this interest to motivate the youngster can help him learn to be productive in his work while still having time to concentrate on his area of interest.

4. Ask questions to check the Aspergers youngster's understanding of the instructions you have just given, or ask him to verbalize the instructions back to you to clarify understanding. Kids with Aspergers appear as though they fully comprehend what is being asked of them or what they have read because of their "professor-like" responses to questions; however, these may mask the fact that their comprehension is truly lacking. By probing further, you can ask more pointed questions or have the youngster verbalize in his own words, not repeating your exact phrases, what is expected.

5. Be very patient and ready to teach both academic and social skills over and over again. Kids with Aspergers need an educator who will remain calm when the situation escalates. When the educator begins to get frustrated and tense, the same feelings will tend to heighten in the youngster. However, dealing calmly with the situation will allow the youngster to calm down more quickly. In addition, being aware that the youngster with Aspergers will need a great deal of practice and repetition of newly taught skills in order to be successful will help you better prepare for what you will need to do to help that youngster be successful.

6. Begin discussing with the Aspergers youngster how others view his acting-out. Kids with Aspergers have difficulty understanding how to initiate or maintain social interactions. They do not realize what effect their acting out has on those around them. You should therefore begin discussing these issues with the kids early in order to facilitate a better understanding of the social consequences of their behaviors.

7. Establish a schedule early on, and be consistent with it. Kids with Aspergers find comfort in knowing exactly what will happen next. By providing these children with a very consistent schedule that has little variance, you increase their sense of security, making them better able to function appropriately in the classroom and feel successful about their work.

8. For physical coordination problems, ensure an Aspergers child with physical limitations is in an adaptive educational program rather than a general PE class.

9. Have the Aspergers youngster complete this same activity with his own behavior. After the youngster has been exposed to the method previously described, he can then begin doing it himself with or without prompting. Writing the message to himself and posting it in his notebook or on his desk may help him internalize and remember the expected behavior.

10. It would be helpful to always enforce bullying rules and minimize teasing.

11. Model and role-play social situations incorporating appropriate behaviors. Continually working on general socially accepted behavior helps Aspergers kids begin to internalize the behaviors that are expected of them in society. By watching both good and bad examples of behaviors that occur in various social situations, these kids can learn to make better choices in their behavior.

12. Please ensure the environment is safe and as predictable as possible.

13. Please keep transitions the same for as many activities as possible.

14. Please teach the Aspergers student about social cues and help him to make friends. Most children with Aspergers do want to have friends …they just do not know how to make them. Teachers can help by teaching the student what social cues mean.

15. Provide a safe place in which the Aspergers youngster can retreat when he becomes over-stimulated or has difficulty adjusting to a new activity or environment. This base could occupy a corner of class where the youngster can be in a dark, quiet place with little or no stimulation in order to calm down. Once the youngster feels secure and in control of her body, he can join the class again.

16. Provide a social skills notebook with stories of correct and incorrect social behaviors that the Aspergers youngster can use as a guide and reference. This notebook can be used to prompt the youngster as to what behaviors are considered appropriate or not appropriate in various social situations. Providing weekly opportunities to read through the stories in a notebook, continuing to stress socially appropriate behaviors, and practicing how to use them in real-life situations will enhance the child's social success.

17. Provide a visual representation of the daily schedule. Posting a chart in class that displays the schedule and routines for the day only adds to this security by allowing the Aspergers youngster to determine what will occur next so that he has a better transition to the next activity.

18. Provide social skills practice and role-playing for any upcoming social events. Children with Aspergers need to have opportunities to act out certain situations so they can prepare for them socially. Because kids with Aspergers have poor social judgment, repetitive practice prior to the event will provide them with the knowledge they need to respond appropriately. However, because transfer to different situations may be difficult to achieve, these kids must have several opportunities to practice these socially appropriate behaviors in a variety of contexts.

19. Provide verbal and written instructions for the Aspergers youngster. When giving the class instructions or directions for an assignment or activity, provide written instructions that coincide with your verbal instructions for the youngster with Aspergers. The instructions can be in picture form as well as in words to further aid in comprehension and success.

20. Provide visual cue cards of expected social behaviors, and place them in areas where those behaviors are expected. Visual cue cards can be used as prompts of expected behaviors of the youngster in various settings. Through role-playing and modeling, children are first introduced to the behaviors. By including visual cue cards in this role-playing, you help the youngster with Aspergers learn to use those visual cues to help him remember what behavior he should exhibit in the classroom and school environments. However, kids must be taught how to use these cards. They cannot simply be posted in the room in hopes that the youngster will understand what their purpose is. They must be shown how to use them and be allowed time to practice using them.

21. Provide visual cue cards to use during instruction and teaching. Due to the difficulty kids with Aspergers have in processing auditory input, visual cues of what is being taught could help them be more successful in taking in the new information and remembering it. They may still require more time to process all the information; however, by providing instruction both verbally and visually, you offer children with Aspergers a better opportunity to learn the material.

22. Set clear expectations and boundaries, and post them on the wall. Providing a visual representation of what is expected so that the Aspergers youngster can refer to it as needed provides security and increased opportunities for comprehension of the material, both of which will increase productivity in class.

23. Simplified lessons may be required. Please ensure the Aspergers student understands what is being said to him. It is common for the child to simply repeat what is being taught without understanding the concept.

24. Some peers can be educated about Aspergers and talk to understand what to expect from their fellow student.

25. Teach specific socially appropriate phrases to use in certain situations. By providing a written script that the Aspergers youngster can use in various situations and allowing him to practice his reactions in role-playing activities, you make it more likely for the youngster to be successful socially. During such social events where the youngster is expected to act as taught, prompting may be necessary to remind him how to act until he has had ample opportunities to practice the skill in a real-life situation.

26. Teach the other kids how to interact appropriately with the Asperger student in both academic and social settings. Kids can be very supportive and accepting of people with disabilities and differences when they are taught to have such compassion and are shown how to work and play with those individuals. In order for the youngster with Aspergers to be fully accepted in the class, the other kids in the class have to be taught how to interact and accept her. Through role-playing, modeling, and discussions, successful friendships and interactions can take place and even add to successful inclusion.

27. Try to seat the Aspergers student at the front of the class so the teacher can instruct him directly and regularly. Since concentration is often a problem, please develop a system of non-verbally reminding him to pay attention, such as a pat on the shoulder.

28. Use a timer to limit perseveration/ echolalia/singing. Establish the routine that as soon as the timer goes off, the Aspergers youngster returns to the previous activity. Some Aspergers kids will begin to perseverate on objects or ideas or participate in other behaviors that can hinder academic development during the school day. Providing a time limit will help curb such behaviors so that academic progress can be made. You must establish the routine that as soon as the youngster begins to exhibit a certain inappropriate behavior, the timer is set for a certain amount of time. The youngster must then be taught that as soon as the timer rings, he must rejoin the rest of the class in the current activity. As time progresses, the time limit should be reduced so that less and less time is actually being spent on such behaviors.

29. Write down what behavior the Aspergers youngster is exhibiting and what behavior he should be exhibiting. For example, "You are drawing on your paper. A better choice would be to work on writing your story." Providing written responses instead of verbal ones may help the youngster with Aspergers better understand what is being asked of her. Connecting these messages to visual pictures may also be beneficial.

30. Write notes in advance for the Aspergers youngster if the schedule is going to change for a special event. Let the youngster know what the change will be and when it will occur because variation in the routine can lead to stress and anxiety, which can cause outbursts and tantrums. Providing advanced notice of alterations in the schedule allows the youngster time to transition and prepare himself for the change in schedule. In addition, because many Aspergers kids tend to process auditory information less efficiently, written notes allow the youngster another avenue to obtain and understand the message.

Teaching Students with Aspergers and HFA

Aspergers Temper Tantrums: 15 Tips for Parents

Does your Aspie have periodic tantrums. Here are some tips to tame tempers:

1. A tantrum can be a request for attention. Moms and dads have a natural tendency to run to their Aspergers kids when they are in distress. Unfortunately, these kids can learn to get attention just by screaming. It is important that you stop reinforcing the behavior by giving attention to your Aspie. Instead, give lots of positive attention during appropriate behaviors. For example, approach him when he is playing quietly and offer lots of hugs and kind words (or whatever works as positive reinforcement for the youngster).

2. As long as the Aspie is not tantrumming, give praise when the youngster uses his words. Also, make sure you listen, don't ignore good communication (get up and meet the need or request if it is appropriate - or explain why it is not appropriate). Often we moms and dads get busy and put the youngster off for too long once he has asked appropriately for something. Show your Aspie that appropriate communication is rewarded and honored.

3. Kids with Aspergers often communicate through their behavior. That may well be what is going on in a tantrum. You may acknowledge that you understand that the Aspie is trying to tell you something but "you must use your words" or communicate in some other way.

4. Do not talk to others in the room about the Aspie's tantrum. Talk to other adults about the news, sports, or weather. Focus on the other kids or people in the room and what they are doing right. Also, do not ignore good behavior when it occurs at other times. When you see your youngster behaving well, sitting quietly, tell him so: "I like how you are sitting so quietly!" This will let the Aspie know that you pay attention to good behavior, not bad.

5. Have someone else observe your ignoring to make sure you are not providing any inadvertent attention to your Aspie when he is having a tantrum. Stick to the planned ignoring for at least one month before thinking about changing tactics. Behaviors that have been around for a long time will take longer to extinguish. If the tantrum behavior occurs again after it has stopped, apply the planned ignoring all over again. Your Aspie must get the idea that tantrums do not help them or hurt them, they just get ignored!

6. If your Aspie begins to hurt himself, others, or property during a tantrum, you must intervene. If your youngster is trying to hurt others, remove the others from his reach and give the others your full attention. Do not talk to your Aspie while intervening. Continue to ignore the tantrum. If your youngster is hurting himself, remove any items that may harm your youngster or move your youngster to a safer place. Do not talk to your youngster and use only the amount of physical contact necessary to assure your youngster's safety. Make all your actions appear to be matter-of-fact. Treat the tantrum with as little attention as possible. Not unlike the way you deal with an unpleasant noise from outside over which you have no control.

7. If your Aspie was in the middle of completing a task for you when the tantrum began, ignore the tantrum but make sure the youngster completes the task, even if it means hand-over-hand help. For example, if you asked your youngster to pick up the toys and then the tantrum began, do not allow the tantrum to get the youngster out of the chore. Without talking to the youngster, help him pick up the toys and put them away. When the task is finished, walk away without praising your youngster, unless the tantrum stopped. You may also wait for the tantrum to stop and then have your youngster complete the task.

8. Never give attention to the problem behavior again. Time out or ignoring will work if the problem behavior is an attempt to gain attention. If the Aspie is using self-injurious or destructive behavior to gain attention, don't leave the youngster alone. Block the behavior and protect the youngster but do not say anything and do not provide any “soothing” touches.

9. Read a book, call a friend (this may be a good idea as long as the friend will support you in your new, tough-love stance with your Aspie - but do not call anyone who will convince you to give in), listen to music, watch television, sweep the floor, anything to distract you from paying attention to your youngster's tantrum.

10. Some kids do things in a tantrum that cause them self-harm (e.g., banging head, hitting self, etc.) and can lead to self-injurious behavior - sometimes this is a sensory issue also. Researchers believe some kids hurt themselves to release endorphins in the body that then provides them with a sensation they enjoy. If your Aspie is hurting himself, please contact a psychologist or psychiatrist or other medical professional for evaluation.

11. Some tantrums are related to sensory issues. A tantrum may occur due to your Aspie's hearing a noise, seeing something that they dislike or are afraid of, smelling something, etc. If you suspect this, look into the sensory issues and consult your youngster's occupational therapist for sensory integration ideas. Some kids enjoy tantrums because they lead to the parent holding the youngster. I know some therapists recommend holding a youngster to relieve the tantrum. Just my opinion: I think this gives too much attention and may actually reinforce the tantrum.

12. Talk with supportive people who understand what you are doing with your Aspie. Hopefully, you have a spouse, minister, friend, family member, and/or professional to share your progress with. This will help keep you on track and will help you deal with the strange looks you will get from people in the community who do not understand what you are doing to your Aspie.

13. When the tantrum stops (in the beginning, this may take a long time), wait a few moments, and then praise your Aspie for the next appropriate behavior. Do not discuss the tantrum and do not give your youngster the item or privilege he was tantrumming for until 30 minutes have passed. At that time it is appropriate to say: "Now ask me again for a cookie (or the item that set the tantrum off - if it is appropriate to have at that time)." Praise the youngster for appropriate asking and give the item, if appropriate. This positive reinforcement will encourage appropriate behavior.

14. Whenever and wherever a tantrum occurs, it must be completely ignored. This means no positive or negative attention. The tantrum should be treated as if it did not exist and that it will change nothing for the good or bad in your Aspie's life. Do not look at your youngster (except out of the corner of your eye to assure your youngster's safety). Do not talk to your youngster, correct your youngster, yell at your youngster, reason with your youngster, comment on the tantrum, or explain your actions to your youngster. Do not touch your youngster (except to protect him from harming himself, others, or property). Step over your youngster if you have to. No hugs, spankings, pats, squeezes, etc. Do not give your Aspie anything to distract him, especially the item he is tantrumming for.

15. Another strategy is to let the Aspergers child know that reinforcement is currently not available. It can be used when a child wants something that he can have, but not by throwing a tantrum:

• Parent: “No crying.” (Start counting as soon as the child takes a breath, but stop counting as soon as the crying begins again.)
• Parent: Repeat “No crying” (Resume counting each time the child stops crying.)
• (Child eventually stops crying for a full count of 10.) Parent: "What do you want?"

NOTE: The post above addresses temper tantrums -- not meltdownsA meltdown is a completely separate issue and will need to be handled differently. In a nutshell, tantrums and behavioral, whereas meltdowns are related to how the Aspie's brain is wired. For information regarding meltdowns, view the video below:



My Aspergers Child: Preventing Tantrums and Meltdowns

Misbehavior versus Aspergers-Related Behavior

Question

How can I tell the difference between “aspergers behavior” and pure “disobedience” …I’m not sure what should be punished – and what should not?

Answer

Many moms and dads have a difficult time distinguishing between “disobedience” and “misunderstanding” in their Aspergers youngster. Because he may not interpret social cues correctly, it may be difficult for an Aspergers youngster to understand what is expected of him, and he may not understand the impact his behavior has on other family members.

So, how can parents tell the difference between “Aspergers-behavior” versus “mis-behavior”?

Most Aspergers-related behavior (sometimes misinterpreted by parents as “misbehavior”) tends to revolve around the child’s resistance to any kind of change. An Aspergers child is resistant to change for the following reasons:

• Has anxiety about a current or upcoming event (e.g. the start of school)
• Does not understanding how the world works
• Does not understanding the actions of someone else
• Has other issues like Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) or Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
• Is reluctance to participate in an activity he cannot do perfectly or an activity that is difficult
• Parent or teacher changes a circumstance or rule that has been established
• Has the need for instant satisfaction and may not understand delayed gratification
• Has the need to control a situation
• Has the need to keep doing the activity that he likes (obsession or fantasy)
• Has difficulty transitioning to another activity (this is especially hard if the activity is not finished)

Any or all of these triggers can result in certain behavioral patterns that “look like” misbehavior (e.g., arguing, tantruming, refusing to listen, etc.). However, his responses to these triggers have more to do with anxiety and rigidity than his need to defy authority. He simply does not have the ability to understand the world like we do.

The Aspergers child:

• does not “take in” what is going on around him
• does not know how to “read between the lines”
• does not understand implied directions
• does not understand social cues
• needs explicit instructions
• will have difficulty understanding rules of society

Uncovering triggers for negative behavior is important. Keep a behavior diary, noting any events surrounding negative behaviors, the details of your youngster's responses, and any unintentional reinforcement your youngster receives that may be encouraging repeat behavior. The motivation behind negative behavior in Aspergers kids is often very different from other kids, which makes identifying the cause of those behaviors and developing a behavior treatment plan very difficult.

Many negative behaviors exhibited by Aspergers kids are a direct result of the condition. Parents, teachers, and professionals must consider this when developing behavior treatments.

Remember:

• Aspergers kids may be unable to resist giving in to their obsessions and compulsions, and this is not a sign of disobedience.

• Because Aspergers kids have difficulty interpreting social cues and tend to be egocentric, they cannot fully appreciate what impact their behaviors have on others.

• Due to trouble handling changes in routine, a simple variation in schedules may be enough to cause a meltdown.

• Odd behaviors are not reflective of defiance and are not meant to irritate or annoy.

• Aspergers kids may exhibit a lack of common sense.

Moms and dads with an Aspergers youngster should receive professional training so that they can continue working with their child at home. Behavioral techniques are best when adapted to suit the home environment, and they should focus on issues directly related to home life and self-help skills while continuing with the goals established in school.

So when is the Aspergers child actually “misbehaving”?

Children misbehave for the following reasons (you can be pretty sure that the behavior is not Aspergers-related here):

1. To get attention. It is frequently noticed that when children feel a lack of attention, they get themselves noticed by their parents by resorting to misbehavior.

2. When they are disappointed. Sometimes, children get irritated and frustrated when things do not happen as per their wish. It is during these times that they usually misbehave.

3. When they test their parent's discipline. To check that their parents truly mean what they say, sometimes children misbehave. They check to see if their parent's will really enforce a rule or not.

4. When they want to assert their independence. Almost all the children hate being called a 'child'. To assert their independence, they often end up misbehaving.

5. When they have been previously “rewarded” for their misbehavior. No parent would ever think of purposefully rewarding bad behavior, but it subtly happens quite often.

6. When they copy the actions of their parents. The best teacher of how to misbehave or act and speak inappropriately is by watching mom or dad misbehave or act and speak inappropriately. Remember, what children see and experience in the home is what their normal is. So, if they see mom and dad yelling, they will yell. If they get spanked, they will likely use hitting to express their anger or frustration. If they hear, “What?” instead of “Pardon?” that is what they will use.

My Aspergers Child: Preventing Tantrums and Meltdowns in Aspergers Children

Autism Spectrum Disorders: Online Resources for Parents

Autism Spectrum Disorder/Asperger Syndrome Information—

1.      Articles on Asperger Syndrome
http://www.specialed.us/autism/asper/asper11.html
2.      Asperger Syndrome Information for Teens
http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetails.aspx?p=243&np=293&id=2320
3.      Australian Autism Education & Training Consortium-Provides details about workshops and information sessions for parents/caregivers of school-aged children who have autism). www.autismtraining.com.au
4.      Autism Advisory and Support Service
http://www.aass.org.au/
5.      Autism Awareness
http://www.autismawareness.com.au
6.      Autism Help Info-Webpage to help professionals, teachers, to understand and support the inclusion of people with ASD. Website funded by The Department of Human Services in Geelong, Victoria, Australia (Barwon South Western region).
http://www.autismhelp.info/main.htm
7.      Autism Help-A wealth of information and on a range of topics relating to  autism and Asperger syndrome)
http://www.autism-help.org/
8.      Autism SA-Information sheets on topics such as challenging behaviors, communication skills, coping with change, strategies for supporting students with autism in the classroom) http://www.autismsa.org.au/html/strategies/infosheets.html
9.      Autism Speaks
http://www.autismspeaks.org/
11.  Carol Gray’s website-Founder of Social Stories and educator in ASD
http://www.thegraycenter.org/
12.  Children, Youth and Women’s Health Service, Parenting and Health, Child and Youth Health
http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetails.aspx?p=114&np=306&id=1944
13.  Information on Asperger Syndrome that is easier for kids to understand
http://www.cyh.com/HealthTopics/HealthTopicDetailsKids.aspx?p=335&np=287&id=2339
14.  Mark LeMessurier
http://www.marklemessurier.com.au/
15.  Monash University -Evidence-based research, as well as information sheets that provide strategies relating to various developmental areas, including communication, social skills and motor skills. http://www.med.monash.edu.au/spppm/research/devpsych/actnow/factsheet.html
16.  OASIS: Online Asperger Syndrome Information and Support
http://www.udel.edu/bkirby/asperger/
17.  Positive Partnerships: online education about ASD for parents
http://www.autismtraining.com.au/public/index.cfm?returnTo=%2Findex.cfm
18.  Printable handouts
http://www.superduperinc.com/Handouts/Handout.aspx?src=H# (great handouts that are easy for parents to read)
19.  Rainbowland Autism Services
http://www.rainbowlandautismservices.com/
20.  Raising Children Network-Specific support for parents raising a child with an Autism Spectrum Disorder
http://raisingchildren.net.au/children_with_autism/children_with_autism_landing.html
21.  Simon Baron-Cohen-Leading UK expert on Autism Spectrum Disorder
http://www.autismresearchcentre.com/arc/staff_member.asp?id=33
22.  Sue Larkey
http://www.suelarkey.com/
23.  The Disability Information Resource Centre
http://www.dircsa.org.au/
24.  Tony Attwood-Leading Australian expert in Asperger Syndrome
http://www.tonyattwood.com.au/

Counseling Services—

1.      Department of Education and Children’s Services Helpline
Ph:  1800 222 696 or Disability Services Level 6 Education Centre 31 Flinders Street, Adelaide SA 5000 Email: candice.hargrave@sa.gov.au Ph: (08) 8226 0546
2.      Kids Helpline
http://www.kidshelp.com.au/index.php
Ph: 1800 55 1800
3.      Lifeline
http://www.lifeline.org.au/
Ph: 131114
4.      Parent Helpline-A service of Children, Youth and Women’s Health Service, 24 hours a day, seven days a week providing telephone information, counselling and support. Available for parents of children and young people from birth to 25 years, also to those people working with children and young people.
http://www.parenting.sa.gov.au/helpline/
Ph: 1300 364 100
5.      The Second Story Youth Health Centers-Counseling and support available for Youth
http://www.cyh.com/SubContent.aspx?p=190
6.      Youth Healthline-The Youth Healthline is a 24-hour, 7-day telephone service for young people aged 12 to 25 years in South Australia
Ph: 1300 13 17 19
http://www.cyh.com/SubContent.aspx?p=187

Diagnosis and other Support Services—

1.      Autism SA
http://www.autismsa.org.au/html/about/services.html#diagnostic
Autism SA Info Line on 1300 288 476
Autism SA Info Line can also provide you a list of Private Practitioners.
Medicare rebates are available for diagnostic assessments of children under 13 years.  For more information contact the Autism SA Info Line on 1300 288 476 or Medicare 132 011.
2.      Flinders Medical Centre
Ph: 8204 4433
http://www.flinders.sa.gov.au/womenandchildren/pages/paeds/AAL_PDAz_A
3.      Inclusive Directions
http://www.directions.org.au/
4.      Lyell McEwin Health Service
Ph: 8182 9379
http://www.lmh.sa.gov.au/public/content/home.asp?xcid=1
5.      Women’s and Children’s Hospital
Ph: 8161 7287
http://www.wch.sa.gov.au/services/az/divisions/paedm/childdev/index.html
6.      Commonwealth Carelink Centers-Established to assist people with disabilities to navigate through the services that are out there, acting as a single point to obtain current information. Free of charge and confidential:

* North & West Country SA Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre
33 McKay Street
PORT AUGUSTA 5700

* South & East Metropolitan SA Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre
290 Glen Osmond Road
FULLARTON 5063

* North & West Metropolitan SA Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre
77 Gibson Street
BOWDEN 5007

* South East Country SA Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre
4 Third Street
MURRAY BRIDGE 5253

Education—


Educational Websites—

2.      http://do2learn.com/games/learningames.htm (for interactive games, including feelings game, sequencing activity, activity teaching parts of the body, road safety song, matching game, picking the odd one out)

Education/Classroom Strategies and Protocols—


General Disability Information and Education—

2.      Australian Association for Families
http://www.aafcd.org.au/

Government—

1.      A-Z of Disability SA Fact Sheets
http://www.sa.gov.au
2.      Helping Children with Autism Package-Federal funding and support packages available to children with Autism Spectrum Disorder
http://www.fahcsia.gov.au/sa/disability/progserv/people/HelpingChildrenWithAutism/Pages/default.aspx

Online Forums/Groups—


Parent Support Groups—

1.      The Flinders University Early Intervention Research Program
https://socsci.flinders.edu.au/psyc/research/autism/eirp.php
2.      Playgroups and services for younger  children and families with ASD http://www.playgroupaustralia.com.au/sa/go/playconnect-program
3.      My Time groups-A chance to meet and talk with other families of children with a disability and find support and understanding. My Time groups in SA-
http://www.mytime.net.au/index.php/groups/south-australia My Time information-
http://www.mytime.net.au/~mytime/images/stories/PublicDocuments/the%20right%20time.pdf
4.      List of Parent Groups from Parenting SA
http://www.parenting.sa.gov.au/parentgroups/search.asp
5.      Early Development Program at Autism SA-Provides support for young children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder up until the child commences school or 6 years of age and are registered for services with Autism SA.
For further information, contact the Coordinator Early Development Program at Autism SA.
Ph: 8379 6976
6.      A list of parent support groups can be located on the Austism SA Website
http://www.autismsa.org.au/

Recreation—

1.      YMCA of SA: Sharing the Fun-'Sharing the Fun' provides a non-threatening and welcoming environment for children with a disability, in which they can have fun and enjoyment. However, it is not only enjoyable but also beneficial for the children. Whilst having fun, they are also developing the necessary movement skills for successful involvement in integrated physical activities, sports or recreational opportunities. Children who have a disability and are aged between 5 and 13 years can have fun and build on existing skills in Sharing the Fun, which is a non-competitive, recreational after school program which provides a comfortable environment where participants may improve their social and physical skills. http://sa.ymca.org.au/index3.php?O=directory&SID=298&action=View
2.      SASRAPID-The South Australian Sport and Recreation Association for People with Integration Difficulties Incorporated (SASRAPID) is an organisation which assists people with integration difficulties to become involved in community activities. SASRAPID provides assistance and enables participation into valued community sport, recreation and leisure activities. All inclusion is based on the ability and individual choice of the person. http://www.sasrapid.com.au/
3.      Recreation Link-Up-Recreation Link-up is a free service that provides recreation planning, information, education and introductory assistance for people with a disability. Recreation link-up can make it easier for people to become involved in recreation and leisure activities in their local community. Help people to become involved in an activity of their own choice, by developing a plan of action and identifying what needs to be put into place to achieve ongoing involvement. http://reclinkup.ymca.org.au/
4.      Government of South Australia: Office for Recreation and Sport-Specific programs and support for people with disabilities
http://www.recsport.sa.gov.au/programs-services/people-with-disability.html

Respite—

3.      Careers SA
http://www.carersaustralia.com.au/
4.      Centacare
http://www.centacare.org.au/
5.      Commonwealth Respite and Carelink Centre
http://www9.health.gov.au/ccsd/
7.      Disability SA
http://www.sa.gov.au/subject/Community+Support/Disability/Corporate+and+business+information/
Disability+SA/Disability+SA+offices

For more information about who is eligible for respite through Disability SA, telephone 1300 786 117 (cost of a local call) or email disabilitysaintake@dfc.gov.sa.au
8.      Southern Country Commonwealth Career Respite Centre (SCCCRC)-Carers SA manages trhe Southern Country Commonwealth Carer Respite Centre; providing services to caregivers living in the Adelaide Hills, south and east of and including Mt Barker, Southern Fleurieu, Kangaroo Island, Riverland, Murray Mallee and the South East areas. Working in partnership with other services to provide carers with access to respite.
http://www.carers-sa.asn.au/respite.htm

Sex Education—


Siblings—

2.      Siblings Australia
http://www.siblingsaustralia.org.au/

Social Skills—

Triple A Social Development Group-Social development group focused on expressive arts and exploring social issues through theatre, music, writing, and other art forms. There will also be a social element to the sessions for those who wish to meet others and form friendships.
http://www.autismsa.org.au/pdf/TripleA/Expressions_of_interest_info_mail.pdf

Online Resources—

1.      http://www.region2library.org/SocialStories.htm (social story templates - check them out and see if you can modify some of the many social story templates for your own child. There are some that are PowerPoint files, which is a great idea, especially for children who are more motivated by activities and programs that are computer-based)http://pbskids.org/itsmylife/games/story_strips_flash.html
2.      http://www.polyxo.com/socialstories/ (sample social stories and general information about why and how to use social stories to teach specific social skills)

Strategies—


Bullying—


Clipart—

4.      www.dkimages.com 

Communication/language and play—


Feelings and emotions—

1.      http://www.do2learn.com/games/facialexpressions/face.htm  (This website is an interactive one, where the user can create and manipulate a vast range of potential expressions. Specific expressions of being afraid, interested, sad, ashamed, disgusted, surprised, happy and angry are preset on clicking buttons at the top of screen)

Friendship—


Mental Health/Social Anxiety/stress/depression—

1.      http://kidshealth.org/ (a great website, has sections for parents, children and adolescents)

Support Services—

2.      Community Support  Inc-In-home and Community Support
http://www.csisa.org.au/

Visuals—



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.”

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.

Click here to read the full article…

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.

Click here to read the full article…

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."

Click here to read the full article…

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.

Click here to read the full article…

My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content