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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Creating Effective Behavior Plans for Kids on the Spectrum: Pointers for Parents

Inappropriate behavior is common among many children with Aspergers and High Functioning Autism, especially when comorbid conditions exist as well (e.g., ADHD, OCD, anxiety). Knowing how to create and utilize behavior plans improves the home environment on multiple levels. The behavior plan is a great management tool for children engaging in unwanted behavior. It serves to teach and reinforce positive behaviors in the “special needs” child – and is a helpful way of documenting the success of the plan.

Common behavioral techniques for parents of kids on the spectrum include:
  • Contingency Management: A child receives a positive outcome or reward if certain conditions are met.
  • Modeling: The special needs child observes siblings receiving rewards for appropriate behavior.
  • Planned Ignoring: The parent ignores the problem behavior to reduce negative attention-seeking behaviors.
  • Proximity Control: This technique involves placing the child closer to the parent (e.g., at the dinner table), or when the parent comes closer to a child who is at risk of engaging in unwanted behavior.
  • Signal Interference: This involves having a planned signal with the child as a reminder to redirect inappropriate behavior.
  • Social Reinforcement: This is the effective use of parent-attention and praise to promote appropriate behavior (i.e., catch the child in the act of doing things right).
  • Token Reinforcement: The child receives a “token” when a clearly defined target behavior is performed. Tokens can be exchanged for a wide variety of reinforcers (e.g., special privileges). It is easily administered with checkmarks or stickers. Tokens should be given immediately after target behavior is performed.

Creating effective behavior plans for kids on the spectrum:
  1. Describe the targeted misbehavior (be specific)
  2. Obtain a baseline measure of misbehavior (i.e., frequency or duration of misbehavior)
  3. Determine what causes the behavior
  4. Determine what is reinforcing to a child
  5. Consider additional supports that might be needed
  6. Define roles of those involved in the intervention
  7. Document everything
  8. Use positive recognition and incentives
  9. Clear and consistent house-rules and consequences are important and can improve situations and prevent many problems

Motivating the special needs child:

Successful behavior plans require the child to become motivated. A parent must first determine what motivates the child by interviewing him or her. Create a menu of potential reinforcers that you are willing to give, and allow the child to choose from the menu.

All parents want their children to be intrinsically motivated (i.e., reinforcement directly from performing a task). Unfortunately, some special needs children are not intrinsically motivated for a variety of reasons. Extrinsic motivators (i.e., reinforcement from outside the performance of a task) are often used to motivate a child to engage in a more appropriate behavior.

Some parents believe that children should not be rewarded for something they should be doing already. But, extrinsic motivators should be temporary. The goal is to motivate the child extrinsically until he or she begins to feel success, and then use intrinsic motivation when the behavior is changed. Extrinsic motivators should be phased out over time to best allow intrinsic reinforcement to provide the motivation.

An example of extrinsic-intrinsic motivation used properly:


A behavior plan is created for a special needs child who usually completes her school assignments – but consistently fails to turn them in to the teacher for credit. The child is initially rewarded with extra computer time each day she turns in her assignments (as reported by the teacher). After a few weeks of success, she receives a weekly reward for weeks that all assignments are handed in. She turned in assignments for the reward initially, but grades came up. Mom and dad were excited and stopped complaining, they gave praise, and as a result the child began to feel proud of herself. She became intrinsically motivated and no longer needed an extrinsic motivator to be successful with turning in assignments.

Evaluating the behavior plan:

After creating a behavior plan, it is important to evaluate the outcomes. With good baseline data, it will be fairly easy to measure the behavior again and compare. If the plan is working like it should, gradually encourage more independence from your child. If it is not working like expected, determine what is at fault, and revise and monitor closely. Behavior plans that are implemented inconsistently usually fail.

Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management


 COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said... Having the same struggle at home and at school with 11 yr old son. Might have to try some if the suggestions
•    Anonymous said... I also homeschool and use gametime as incentive and reward for full day of school or whatever is required.
•    Anonymous said... I feel for you Tonya as we've had similar situations in our home with our 9 1/2 year old daughter. I've learned that work first before any video games or Ipod is the best result for us. We use that as a reward system instead of an entitlement and so far so good! Good luck!
•    Anonymous said... My son is 13 and he just acts like theres no one else that matters but him. He makes up reasons why he cant help us do anything..and just sits in his room playing his video games. If we do ask him to do something anything, he freaks out and yells at us. My husband is his step dad and thinks i should just spank him but i no that isnt going to work. Help how do i handle this.

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Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism in Females

The most recent research suggests that there may be as many females with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism as there are males... 



COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said... I agree. Our daughter has it clear as day. Many doctors have diagnosed it. Her school says she doesn't have it being she isn't destructive or play with trains. Ridiculous. It can be different for girls.
•    Anonymous said... I feel the same way, same boat for sure
•    Anonymous said... I think there is an educational issue with some so called specialists in these types of area. We see a lot of lower lever non graduate college taught specialists and some degree areas who are taught by other so called specialists, who were taught by specialists and so on. But subjects like this struggle to have a set of physical rules like maths and sciences, historically they have some rules and other assumptions based on instinct, but if a tutor gets that instinct wrong, and teaches that we tend to end up with a group of so called professionals often in a geographical area all taught and believing and preaching that same misconception. Over recent years it seems problems like this are starting to get written rules agreed throughout the world which appear to show conclusive proof whether someone is or is not a sufferer which helps tremedously, but we are still stuck with so called specialists taugfht from the paste who refuse to relearn teh principals of the vague areas of tehir trade.
•    Anonymous said... Kelly Fay - I am there with you. Finding my son's Aspergers, has given me many answers as well. Comfort and self acceptance
•    Anonymous said... Since learning about our sons HFA, I realise I am on that spectrum too and can clearly see why childhood was so hard. I have a wonderful understanding husband who just accepts my quirks and ocd
•    Anonymous said... We had an "expert" tell us "it couldn't possibly be Aspergers !! She's a girl !!" Then told us she has sensory issues, lacked social skills, has motor skill difficulties, obsessive interests, lacks empathy and has an anxiety disorder, but she clearly couldn't have Aspergers

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Launching Adult Children with Asperger's: The "Emotional Immaturity" Factor

Description of "emotional age" versus "chronological age" in young adults with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism who have failed to "leave the nest" - and what parents can do about it:



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

Going To Bat For Your Asperger's Child: Getting The School To Take You Seriously

Your Asperger's child continues to protest that his teachers are being unfair. He also reports being bullied almost on a weekly basis. And to make matter worse, he's making poor grades and often complains that he doesn't understand his homework. Finally, a red flag pops into your head. You feel angry and start to wonder what in the heck the school is doing to your child. What's next? Go to the teacher and make a scene, thus burning a bridge with school staff ...or become an "effective" advocate for your child?

Moms and dads of children with Asperger’s (AS) and High-Functioning Autism (HFA) must learn to effectively navigate the abundance of public misinformation and prejudice that surrounds autism spectrum disorders –  and go to bat for their “special needs” children. In a nutshell, this means they must learn to be advocates.

Advocating for your AS or HFA youngster is one of your most important jobs as a parent. It is your sacred duty to protect your child from harm, humiliation, and an unsupportive educational environment. You simply can’t stand by and watch your son or daughter suffer. It can feel overwhelming and intimidating to get into the “advocating business,” but when you remember that YOU know your youngster and his or her needs better than anyone else, it gets easier to fight the good fight.

Here are 21 crucial tips for the parent-advocate:

1. When you meet with school officials to discuss changes that you would like to see (e.g., more tolerance from teachers regarding your child’s need to have time-outs in a resource room in order to avoid meltdown), always have evidence and data to support your suggestions.

2. Become like a reporter whenever you are trying to effect school policy changes. Ask questions like, "who, what, where, when, why and when" and then listen carefully to the answers you receive. Research relevant questions, and then document responses instead of simply relying on your memory. Learn how to best ask questions, and don't come across as hostile or defensive to get the best open and honest replies from school staff.

3. An adversarial relationship between a parent and teacher is typically never in the best interest of your youngster. It's sometimes easy to fall in the trap of blaming school staff – or even pointing the finger at bureaucracy – for disappointments or a particular issue. However, blame doesn't typically result in anything more than bad feelings and an ill-willed outcome. Instead of blaming teachers or other school staff, try the opposite approach: keep calm, know the facts, and advocate about meeting your kid's unique needs.

4. Don’t be a problem-maker. Working together to solve problems with your youngster's teachers typically nets better results than becoming a problem-maker. Propose solutions or create a possible plan that works best for your child, the teacher, and you. Be open-minded and hear proposed solutions from the educational side as well.

5. Be an active, contributing member of the school community. Volunteer for committees and assist with school functions and events.

6. Be prepared for contradictions and objections when discussing important issues with staff. Think of issues or concerns that school staff might raise and prepare effective responses.

7. Be viewed by your youngster’s teachers and other school staff as a parent who wants to help initiate positive change for ALL students, not just your child.

8. Be willing to be agreeable – even if you don't agree! Say, "I can see your point, but if we make a few compromises and adjustments, we can make this work."

9. Become a "pseudo-lawyer" in special education law. Moms and dads of special education children don't truly need to become lawyers; however, it is good to become extremely knowledgeable about special education law. Learn the details behind the federal law that effectively created special education (now known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act).

10. Become a master planner. Moms and dads typically have goals for their children, and families of special needs children in particular should establish goals along with a strategy to obtain them.

11. Deal with conflict effectively. Recognize that, in the overwhelming majority of conflicts, no party is all wrong or all right. Try to see all sides of an issue. Walk in the teacher's shoes. Parent-teacher conflicts tend to eventually negatively impact the youngster.

12. Give compliments and praise willingly and often when working with school staff.

13. If you feel as though school staff is not listening or willing to help you, ask them to consider your recommendations and agree to continue the discussion at a later time. If you insist on an "immediate answer," they may feel intimidated or defensive. If this happens, you’ve just made your job as an advocate much harder.

14. Learn all you can about your youngster's special needs. Information is power, and moms and dads need to start with the facts about their youngster's special needs. Try and keep emotion out of it. Have fact-based knowledge from your youngster's doctor, therapist, special education experts, and anyone else who can provide information.

15. Provide school officials with suggestions and solutions that are pragmatic and workable. Consider their time and energy constraints. Don’t expect to move mountains (at least not initially anyway).

16. Don't assume that your youngster’s teachers don't want to meet his or her unique needs. Most do! However, a wide range of need combined with limited resources often create the potential for conflict between what reasonably can be provided versus moms and dads wanting what they believe is "best" for their AS or HFA children. Parents should do everything possible to establish a positive, partnership-based approach and team together with staff.

17. Show school staff the benefits of your ideas. When possible, demonstrate how your son or daughter, the school – and the teacher herself – will benefit. Think win-win!

18. Moms and dads not only have the responsibility of planning their youngster's education and requirements today – they are also faced with the difficult task of thinking long-term. In other words, parents must be active futurists in setting up their youngster's successful academic achievement down the road.

19. Understand that the school’s Principal is a key player. You must have the loyalty, support, faith, and cooperation of the principal in order to advocate effectively.

20. Remind school staff that:
  • Each youngster is an individual and must be viewed as such. There is no one, solitary program or approach that works effectively with ALL children – even if they have the same diagnosis. If your youngster can't learn the way teachers instruct, then teachers need to instruct the way your youngster learns.
  • Effective Special Education services do not exist in a vacuum. Neither do they exist detached from the general program. They must be an integral and important part of the school-wide culture.
  • Special Education is not a place or a program. Rather, it is a flexible set of services and supports.
  • Under legislative guidelines, the “special needs” child is entitled to services. Staff is not "doing you a favor" by creating and implementing responsive programs. They are just doing their job.

21. Remember that: 
  • Change generally occurs from the top down.
  • Change is a process, not an event.
  • Change requires intense preparation.
  • Change will be effective only if accompanied by support.
  • In order for schools to change, individuals must change.
  • Mandates do not make effective “change” happen. Only a sound, supportive process makes effective “change” happen.

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook


COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said... Been there started early for us in Kindergarten and it was really sad what an impact the teacher and students had on my daughter. She was very good and an over achiever until the bullying and hitting started. They she didnt eant to work anymore and just wanted friends even though she was punched, kicked and threatened. She even left the school premises, they couldnt find her and told me if I cried or made a scene they wouldnt appreciate it because nobody needed to know. took 20 mins to find her. Worst 20 mins of my life!! So much has happened in one school year. When my husband and I finally decided to have a conference with the principal, I was told that the teacher confessed to the principal on the things she has done and said but never apologized to our child or to us!!! Ive never seen my child so miserable. We were even told that it doesnt matter if she has a diagnosis, stomach problems or a 504, it was up to the teacher to accomodate if she "wanted" to. This is the result of us advocating for our child in a public school. Zero.Thats when we decided to finish the year and not enroll her for next year. No one in our county has programs, time or patience so we decided to virtual school her at home. Best decision EVER!!! I will teach my child wher she is loved, understood and can be herself 2 years so far and going GREAT. I wish many parents out there had this option for their kids good luck to all!
•    Anonymous said... Dealing with this with my 8 year old son. As a former teacher, I have been both sides. We go to a school with tons of funding, staff, and are applying tons of resources for him. I am always telling them if they would throw in competition and structure my son would excel. Behavior class and aides don't motivate him. However, schools have feminized, making it difficult any competative student to excel. As I head into his IEP, I am going ask what competitive motivators they have. When a child is off task and wondering the class, I blame the staff. Moving the goal post with chances because special Ed doesn't help. I know they are trying, but hard when you know what your son needs, and you want to go in the classroom to implement it yourself.
•    Anonymous said... I also needed this info. Getting ready to go back for a reevaluation of my sons 504. Each year brings anxiety and intimidation. These are very good notes.
•    Anonymous said... Sooo sounds like my son... only it is daily for us.. not weekly
•    Anonymous said... This article has been very helpful because we now have been dealing with a few teachers that my son is having issues with and this teacher are special education teachers. I feel that if a parent does nothing, nothing will ever get done. So I encourage parents no matter what disabilty your son/daughter has be their advocate at all times.
•    Anonymous said... This came out on a day I needed it. My son has one teacher who we are having difficulty with who I have talked to many times regarding what he needs and we are still having problems. She feels all the kids need to be independent to get their work done. His other teachers have been working with us so it is so frustrating. I will keep the suggestions in mind today when I call to talk to her. Thanks!
•    Anonymous said... Wow, this is the story of our life. 
*   Anonymous said... Mark, I am having so many troubles with his school. I hope this helps me. You have helped me so much already. I feel as if I am crazy at times between the doctors and school. My son is one of four and marches to the beat of a different drum. He is 13 now and yes I am his only advocate. Some days are easier then others. Thank you so much for all you do. You have been a blessing in my life.

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Advocating for Children on the Autism Spectrum: Frequently Asked Questions about Section 504 and the Education of “Special Needs” Kids

Section 504 is a federal law designed to protect the rights of students with disabilities in programs and activities that receive federal funds from the U.S. Department of Education (ED). Section 504 provides: "No otherwise qualified individual with a disability in the United States … shall solely by reason of her or his disability, be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance…"

Section 504 covers qualified children with disabilities who attend schools receiving Federal financial assistance. To be protected under Section 504, a child must be determined to: 1) have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; 2) have a record of such an impairment, or 3) be regarded as having such an impairment. Section 504 requires that school districts provide a free and appropriate public education (FAPE) to qualified children in their jurisdictions who have a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities.

At the elementary and secondary school level, determining whether a youngster is a qualified disabled child under Section 504 begins with the evaluation process. Section 504 requires the use of evaluation procedures that ensure that kids are not misclassified, unnecessarily labeled as having a disability, or incorrectly placed, based on inappropriate selection, administration, or interpretation of evaluation materials.

Once a child is identified as being eligible for regular or special education and related aids or services, a decision must be made regarding the type of services the student needs.

Public elementary and secondary schools must employ procedural safeguards regarding the identification, evaluation, or educational placement of persons who, because of disability, need or are believed to need special instruction or related services.

The Section 504 regulation requires a school district to provide a "free appropriate public education" (FAPE) to each qualified child with a disability who is in the school district's jurisdiction, regardless of the nature or severity of the disability. FAPE consists of the provision of regular or special education and related aids and services designed to meet the child's individual needs.

This article explains pertinent requirements of Section 504 and responds to specific questions raised by moms and dads of children with an Autism Spectrum Disorder:

1.    A child has a disability referenced in the IDEA, but does not require special education services. Is such a student eligible for services under Section 504? The child may be eligible for services under Section 504. The school district must determine whether the child has an impairment which substantially limits her or his ability to learn or other major life activities and, if so, make an individualized determination of the youngster's educational needs for regular or special education or related aids or services. For example, such a child may receive adjustments in the regular classroom.

2.    A student is receiving services that the school district maintains are necessary under Section 504 in order to provide the child with an appropriate education. The student's parent no longer wants the child to receive those services. If the mother or father wishes to withdraw the student from a Section 504 plan, what can the school district do to ensure continuation of services? The school district may initiate a Section 504 due process hearing to resolve the dispute if the district believes the child needs the services in order to receive an appropriate education.

3.    Are current illegal users of drugs excluded from protection under Section 504? Generally, yes. Section 504 excludes from the definition of a child with a disability, and from 504 protection, any child or teen who is currently engaged in the illegal use of drugs (with exceptions for persons in rehabilitation programs).

4.    Are current users of alcohol excluded from protection under Section 504? No. Section 504's definition of a child with a disability does not exclude users of alcohol. However, Section 504 allows schools to take disciplinary action against children or teens with disabilities using drugs or alcohol to the same extent as those without disabilities.

5.    Are there any impairments which automatically qualify a child for protection under Section 504? No. An impairment in and of itself does not qualify a student for protection under Section 504. The impairment must substantially limit one or more major life activities in order to qualify a child for protection under Section 504.

6.    Can a medical diagnosis suffice as an evaluation for the purpose of providing FAPE? No. A doctor's medical diagnosis may be considered among other sources in evaluating a child with a disability or believed to have a disability which substantially limits a major life activity. Other sources to be considered, along with the medical diagnosis, include aptitude and achievement tests, teacher recommendations, physical condition, social and cultural background, and adaptive behavior.

7.    Does a medical diagnosis of an illness automatically qualify a child for services under Section 504? No. A medical diagnosis of an illness does not automatically qualify a child for services under Section 504. The illness must cause a substantial limitation on the child's ability to learn or other major life activities. For example, a child who has a physical or mental impairment would not be considered a child in need of services under Section 504 if the impairment does not in any way limit the student's ability to learn or other major life activity, or only results in some minor limitation in that regard.

8.    Does Office for Civil Rights endorse a single formula or scale that measures substantial limitation? No. The determination of substantial limitation must be made on a case-by-case basis with respect to each individual child. The Section 504 regulation, at 34 C.F.R. 104.35 (c), requires that a group of knowledgeable persons draw upon information from a variety of sources in making this determination.

9.    Does Office for Civil Rights examine individual placement or other educational decisions for children with disabilities? Except in extraordinary circumstances, Office for Civil Rights does not review the result of individual placement or other educational decisions so long as the school district complies with the procedural requirements of Section 504 relating to identification and location of children with disabilities, evaluation of such children, and due process. Accordingly, Office for Civil Rights generally will not evaluate the content of a Section 504 plan or of an individualized education program (IEP); rather, any disagreement can be resolved through a due process hearing. The hearing would be conducted under Section 504 or the IDEA, whichever is applicable. Office for Civil Rights will examine procedures by which school districts identify and evaluate children with disabilities and the procedural safeguards which those school districts provide children. Office for Civil Rights will also examine incidents in which children with disabilities are allegedly subjected to treatment which is different from the treatment to which similarly situated children without disabilities are subjected. Such incidents may involve the unwarranted exclusion of disabled children from educational programs and services.

10.    Does Office for Civil Rights mediate complaints? Office for Civil Rights does not engage in formal mediation. However, Office for Civil Rights may offer to facilitate mediation, referred to as "Resolution between the Parties," to resolve a complaint filed under Section 504. This approach brings the parties together so that they may discuss possible resolution of the complaint immediately. If both parties are willing to utilize this approach, Office for Civil Rights will work with the parties to facilitate resolution by providing each an understanding of pertinent legal standards and possible remedies. An agreement reached between the parties is not monitored by Office for Civil Rights.

11.    Does the meaning of the phrase "qualified student with a disability" differ on the basis of a student's educational level, i.e., elementary and secondary versus postsecondary? Yes. At the elementary and secondary educational level, a "qualified student with a disability" is a child with a disability who is: of an age at which children without disabilities are provided elementary and secondary educational services; of an age at which it is mandatory under state law to provide elementary and secondary educational services to children with disabilities; or a child to whom a state is required to provide a free appropriate public education under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). At the postsecondary educational level, a qualified youngster with a disability is a student with a disability who meets the academic and technical standards requisite for admission or participation in the institution's educational program or activity.

12.    Does the nature of services to which a student is entitled under Section 504 differ by educational level? Yes. Elementary and secondary recipients are required to provide a free, appropriate public education to qualified children with disabilities. Such an education consists of regular or special education and related aids and services designed to meet the individual educational needs of children with disabilities as adequately as the needs of children without disabilities are met. At the postsecondary level, the recipient is required to provide children with appropriate academic adjustments and auxiliary aids and services that are necessary to afford an individual with a disability an equal opportunity to participate in a school's program. Recipients are not required to make adjustments or provide aids or services that would result in a fundamental alteration of a recipient's program or impose an undue burden.

13.    How does Office for Civil Rights get involved in disability issues within a school district? Office for Civil Rights receives complaints from moms and dads, children or advocates; 2) Office for Civil Rights provides technical assistance to school districts, moms and dads or advocates; and 3) Office for Civil Rights initiates reviews or specific partnership initiatives with school districts to address disability issues.

14.    How much is enough information to document that a child has a disability? The amount of information required is determined by the multi-disciplinary committee gathered to evaluate the child. The committee should include persons knowledgeable about the child, the meaning of the evaluation data, and the placement options. The committee members must determine if they have enough information to make a knowledgeable decision as to whether or not the child has a disability. The Section 504 regulation, at 34 C.F.R. 104.35(c), requires that school districts draw from a variety of sources in the evaluation process so that the possibility of error is minimized. The information obtained from all such sources must be documented and all significant factors related to the child's learning process must be considered. These sources and factors may include aptitude and achievement tests, teacher recommendations, physical condition, social and cultural background, and adaptive behavior. In evaluating a child suspected of having a disability, it is unacceptable to rely on presumptions and stereotypes regarding persons with disabilities or classes of such persons. Compliance with the IDEA regarding the group of persons present when an evaluation or placement decision is made is satisfactory under Section 504.

15.    How should a recipient school district handle an outside independent evaluation? Do all data brought to a multi-disciplinary committee need to be considered and given equal weight? The results of an outside independent evaluation may be one of many sources to consider. Multi-disciplinary committees must draw from a variety of sources in the evaluation process so that the possibility of error is minimized. All significant factors related to the subject child's learning process must be considered. These sources and factors include aptitude and achievement tests, teacher recommendations, physical condition, social and cultural background, and adaptive behavior, among others. Information from all sources must be documented and considered by knowledgeable committee members. The weight of the information is determined by the committee given the child's individual circumstances.

16.    How should a recipient school district regard a temporary impairment? A temporary impairment does not constitute a disability for purposes of Section 504 unless its severity is such that it results in a substantial limitation of one or more major life activities for an extended period of time. The issue of whether a temporary impairment is substantial enough to be a disability must be resolved on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration both the duration (or expected duration) of the impairment and the extent to which it actually limits a major life activity of the affected individual.

17.    If a student qualifies for services under both the IDEA and Section 504, must a school district develop both an individualized education program (IEP) under the IDEA and a Section 504 plan under Section 504? No. If a child is eligible under IDEA, she or he must have an IEP. Under the Section 504 regulations, one way to meet Section 504 requirements is to comply with IDEA.

18.    Is a Section 504 re-evaluation similar to an IDEA re-evaluation? How often should it be done? Yes. Section 504 specifies that re-evaluations in accordance with the IDEA comply with Section 504. The Section 504 regulation requires that re-evaluations be conducted periodically. Section 504 also requires a school district to conduct a re-evaluation prior to a significant change of placement. Office for Civil Rights considers an exclusion from the educational program of more than 10 school days a significant change of placement. Office for Civil Rights would also consider transferring a child from one type of program to another or terminating or significantly reducing a related service a significant change in placement.

19.    Is there a mediation requirement under Section 504? No.

20.    Must a recipient school district obtain parental consent prior to initiating a Section 504 evaluation? Yes. Office for Civil Rights has interpreted Section 504 to require districts to obtain parental permission for initial evaluations. If a district suspects a child needs or is believed to need special instruction or related services and parental consent is withheld, districts may use due process hearing procedures to override the moms and dads' denial of consent for an initial evaluation. Section 504 is silent on the form of parental consent required. Office for Civil Rights has accepted written consent as compliance. IDEA as well as many state laws also require written consent prior to initiating an evaluation.

21.    Must a school district develop a Section 504 plan for a child who either "has a record of disability" or is "regarded as disabled"? No. In elementary and secondary schools, unless a child actually has a disabling condition that substantially limits a major life activity, the mere fact that a child has a "record of" or is "regarded as" disabled is insufficient, in itself, to trigger those Section 504 protections that require the provision of a free and appropriate public education (FAPE). The phrases "has a record of disability" and "is regarded as disabled" are meant to reach the situation in which a child either does not currently have or never had a disability, but is treated by others as such.

22.    Must school districts consider "mitigating measures" used by a student in determining whether the child has a disability under Section 504? Yes. A school district must consider a student's use of mitigating measures in determining whether the child is substantially limited in a major life activity. "Mitigating measures" are devices or practices that a person uses to correct for or reduce the effects of that person's mental or physical impairment. Examples include corrective eyeglasses and medications. A person who experiences no substantial limitation in any major life activity when using a mitigating measure does not meet the definition of a person with a disability and would not be entitled to FAPE under Section 504.

23.    Once a child is identified as eligible for services under Section 504, is that child always entitled to such services? No. The protections of Section 504 extend only to individuals who meet the regulatory definition of a person with a disability. If a recipient school district re-evaluates a child in accordance with the Section 504 regulation at 34 C.F.R. 104.35 and determines that the child's mental or physical impairment no longer substantially limits his/her ability to learn or any other major life activity, the child is no longer eligible for services under Section 504.

24.    Once a student is identified as eligible for services under Section 504, is there an annual or triennial review requirement? If so, what is the appropriate process to be used? Or is it appropriate to keep the same Section 504 plan in place indefinitely after a child has been identified? Periodic re-evaluation is required. This may be conducted in accordance with the IDEA regulation, which requires re-evaluation at three-year intervals or more frequently if conditions warrant, or if the youngster's mother or father or teacher requests a re-evaluation.

25.    What are the appeal rights with Office for Civil Rights? Office for Civil Rights is committed to ensuring that every complaint is appropriately resolved. If a complainant has questions or concerns about an Office for Civil Rights determination, she or he may contact the Office for Civil Rights staff person whose name appears in the complaint resolution letter. The complainant should address her or his concerns with as much specificity as possible, focusing on factual or legal questions that would change the resolution of the case. Should a complainant continue to have questions or concerns, she or he is advised to contact the Director of the responsible Office for Civil Rights field office. The Director will review the appropriateness of the complaint resolution. If the complainant remains dissatisfied, she or he may appeal to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Enforcement.

26.    What can a recipient school district do if a parent withholds consent for a child to secure services under Section 504 after a child is determined eligible for services? Section 504 neither prohibits nor requires a school district to initiate a due process hearing to override a parental refusal to consent with respect to the initial provision of special education and related services. Nonetheless, school districts should consider that IDEA no longer permits school districts to initiate a due process hearing to override a parental refusal to consent to the initial provision of services.

27.    What does noncompliance with Section 504 mean? A school district is out of compliance when it is violating any provision of the Section 504 statute or regulations.

28.    What is a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity? The determination of whether a child has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity must be made on the basis of an individual inquiry. The Section 504 regulation, at 34 C.F.R. 104.3(j)(2)(i), defines a physical or mental impairment as any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; respiratory, including speech organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genito-urinary; hemic and lymphatic; skin; and endOffice for Civil Rightsine; or any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities. The regulation does not set forth an exhaustive list of specific diseases and conditions that may constitute physical or mental impairments because of the difficulty of ensuring the comprehensiveness of such a list. Major life activities, as defined in the Section 504 regulation at 34 C.F.R. 104.3(j)(2)(ii), include functions such as caring for one's self, performing manual tasks, walking, seeing, hearing, speaking, breathing, learning, and working. This list is not exhaustive. Other functions can be major life activities for purposes of Section 504.

29.    What is a recipient school district's responsibility under Section 504 to provide information to moms and dads and children about its evaluation and placement process? Section 504 requires districts to provide notice to moms and dads explaining any evaluation and placement decisions affecting their kids and explaining the moms and dads' right to review educational records and appeal any decision regarding evaluation and placement through an impartial hearing.

30.    What is an appropriate evaluation under Section 504? Recipient school districts must establish standards and procedures for initial evaluations and periodic re-evaluations of children who need or are believed to need special education and/or related services because of disability. The Section 504 regulation, at 34 C.F.R. 104.35(b), requires school districts to individually evaluate a child before classifying the child as having a disability or providing the child with special education. Tests used for this purpose must be selected and administered so as best to ensure that the test results accurately reflect the child's aptitude or achievement or other factor being measured rather than reflect the child's disability, except where those are the factors being measured. Section 504 also requires that tests and other evaluation materials include those tailored to evaluate the specific areas of educational need and not merely those designed to provide a single intelligence quotient. The tests and other evaluation materials must be validated for the specific purpose for which they are used and appropriately administered by trained personnel.

31.    What is reasonable justification for referring a child for evaluation for services under Section 504? School districts may always use regular education intervention strategies to assist children with difficulties in school. Section 504 requires recipient school districts to refer a child for an evaluation for possible special education or modification to regular education if the child, because of disability, needs or is believed to need such services.

32.    What is the difference between a regular education intervention plan and a Section 504 plan? A regular education intervention plan is appropriate for a child who does not have a disability or is not suspected of having a disability but may be facing challenges in school. School districts vary in how they address performance problems of regular education students. Some districts employ teams at individual schools, commonly referred to as "building teams." These teams are designed to provide regular education classroom teachers with instructional support and strategies for helping children in need of assistance. These teams are typically composed of regular and special education teachers who provide ideas to classroom educators on methods for helping children experiencing academic or behavioral problems. The team usually records its ideas in a written regular education intervention plan. The team meets with an affected child's classroom teacher(s) and recommends strategies to address the child's problems within the regular education environment. The team then follows the responsible teacher(s) to determine whether the child's performance or behavior has improved. In addition to building teams, districts may utilize other regular education intervention methods, including before-school and after-school programs, tutoring programs, and mentoring programs.

33.    What is the jurisdiction of the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) and state departments of education/instruction regarding educational services to students with disabilities? Office for Civil Rights, a component of the U.S. Department of Education, enforces Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, (Section 504) a civil rights statute which prohibits discrimination against students with disabilities. Office for Civil Rights also enforces Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), which extends this prohibition against discrimination to the full range of state or local government services (including public schools), programs, or activities regardless of whether they receive any federal funding. The standards adopted by the ADA were designed not to restrict the rights or remedies available under Section 504. The Title II regulations applicable to free and appropriate public education issues do not provide greater protection than applicable Section 504 regulations. This guidance focuses on Section 504. The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), also a component of the U.S. Department of Education, administers the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a statute which funds special education programs. Each state educational agency is responsible for administering IDEA within the state and distributing the funds for special education programs. Section 504 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Education. The ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by state and local governments. IDEA is a grant statute and attaches many specific conditions to the receipt of Federal IDEA funds. Section 504 and the ADA are antidiscrimination laws and do not provide any type of funding.

34.    What is the receiving school district's responsibility under Section 504 toward a child with a Section 504 plan who transfers from another district? If a child with a disability transfers to a district from another school district with a Section 504 plan, the receiving district should review the plan and supporting documentation. If a group of persons at the receiving school district, including persons knowledgeable about the meaning of the evaluation data and knowledgeable about the placement options determines the plan is appropriate, the district is required to implement the plan. If the district determines that the plan is inappropriate, the district is to evaluate the child consistent with the Section 504 procedures at 34 C.F.R. 104.35 and determine which educational program is appropriate for the child.

35.    What are the responsibilities of regular education teachers with respect to implementation of Section 504 plans? What are the consequences if the district fails to implement the plans? Regular education teachers must implement the provisions of Section 504 plans when those plans govern the educators' treatment of children for whom they are responsible. If the educators fail to implement the plans, such failure can cause the school district to be in noncompliance with Section 504.

36.    What procedural safeguards are required under Section 504? Recipient school districts are required to establish and implement procedural safeguards that include notice, an opportunity for moms and dads to review relevant records, an impartial hearing with opportunity for participation by the child's moms and dads or guardian, representation by counsel and a review procedure.

37.    What process should a school district use to identify children eligible for services under Section 504? Is it the same process as that employed in identifying students eligible for services under the IDEA? School districts may use the same process initially to evaluate the needs of children under Section 504 as they use to evaluate the needs of children under the IDEA. If school districts choose to adopt a separate process for evaluating the needs of children under Section 504, they must follow the requirements for evaluation specified in the Section 504 regulation at 34 C.F.R. 104.35.

38.    What protections does Office for Civil Rights provide against retaliation? A recipient is prohibited from intimidating, threatening, coercing, or discriminating against any student for the purpose of interfering with any right or privilege secured by Section 504.

39.    What sanctions can Office for Civil Rights impose on a school district that is out of compliance? Office for Civil Rights initially attempts to bring the school district into voluntary compliance through negotiation of a corrective action agreement. If Office for Civil Rights is unable to achieve voluntary compliance, Office for Civil Rights will initiate enforcement action. Office for Civil Rights may: (1) initiate administrative proceedings to terminate Department of Education financial assistance to the recipient; or (2) refer the case to the Department of Justice for judicial proceedings.

40.    What services are available for students who qualify under Section 504? Section 504 requires recipients to provide to children with disabilities appropriate educational services designed to meet the individual needs of such children to the same extent as the needs of children without disabilities are met. An appropriate education for a child with a disability under the Section 504 regulations could consist of education in regular classrooms, education in regular classes with supplementary services, and/or special education and related services.

41.    What should a recipient school district do if a mother or father refuses to consent to a case study evaluation under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), but demands a Section 504 plan for a child without further evaluation? Section 504 requires informed parental permission for initial evaluations. If a mother or father refuses consent for an initial evaluation and a recipient school district suspects a child has a disability, the IDEA and Section 504 provide that school districts may use due process hearing procedures to override the moms and dads' denial of consent.

42.    Where can a school district, parent, or student get information on Section 504? Office for Civil Rights provides technical assistance to school districts, moms and dads, and children upon request.

43.    Who has ultimate authority to enforce Section 504? In the educational context, Office for Civil Rights has been given administrative authority to enforce Section 504. Section 504 is a Federal statute that may be enforced through the Department's administrative process or through the Federal court system. In addition, a person may at any time file a private lawsuit against a school district.

44.    Who in the evaluation process makes the ultimate decision regarding a child's eligibility for services under Section 504? The Section 504 regulation at 34 C.F.R. 104.35 (c) (3) requires that school districts ensure that the determination that a child is eligible for special education and/or related aids and services be made by a group of persons, including persons knowledgeable about the meaning of the evaluation data and knowledgeable about the placement options. If a mother or father disagrees with the determination, she or he may request a due process hearing.

Promoting Generalization of Social Skills: Help for Kids on the Spectrum

Children with Asperger’s (AS) and High-Functioning Autism (HFA) are likely to have difficulties with social skills. In fact, about 75% of these children exhibit social skills deficits. Also, about 29% of teens with AS and HFA required social skills training beyond high school.

The importance of developing social competence can’t be overestimated since it is associated with academic achievement, peer acceptance, and employment success. Regrettably, the lack of social competence during early childhood is the single best predictor of mental health problems later in adulthood. Even more shocking is that experiencing significant difficulties with social skills becomes more unbearable over time, underscoring the crucial need for early social skills training.

Parents and educators can successfully teach social skills to AS and HFA children. But, the true challenge lies in ensuring that these children get the necessary social skills “where and when they count.” Most parents and educators have been relatively unsuccessful in promoting “generalization” of newly acquired social skills to natural settings (i.e., teaching social skills in a way that enables the child to apply his or her knowledge to varied situations and environments). Thus, the need to adopt intervention strategies that promote social skills generalization is critical.

Here are some ways that parents, educators, and even therapists (i.e., “instructors”) can promote generalization of social skills across situations, settings, and other people:

1. Kids with AS and HFA often need direct instruction in recognizing and labeling the emotions of themselves and others. Parents and teachers need to verbally label feelings to provide these kids with the “language of emotions.” Often times, “instructors” fail to realize that AS and HFA kids confuse emotions. Helping them to use the appropriate language and place a label on a feeling makes that feeling less scary and underscores the fact that others experience similar emotions. Kids can learn to recognize and use “para-language” (i.e., information that communicates emotion with or without words), for example, attitudes, facial expressions, gestures, interpersonal space, posture, and speech patterns.

2. Parents and teachers can capitalize on "teachable moments," which promote social skills generalization. However, some “instructors” need to learn how to incidentally teach. “Incidental teaching” involves the spontaneous teaching of skills during “naturally occurring” situations and encouraging kids to use skills at appropriate times.

3. Parents and teachers should identify social skills that are of crucial importance at both home and school (e.g., accepting criticism, controlling anger, following directions, giving and receiving compliments, listening, sharing, taking turns during conversations, understanding others' feelings, etc.). After the parent and teacher identify the social skill together, they can identify situations in which to teach it (e.g., times to share might be when peers play together, when a neighborhood youngster comes to visit, or when the family plays a board game together).

4. Parents and teachers should think in terms of "zones of behavior” when setting boundaries with AS and HFA children. For example, a green zone can include desired behavior, a yellow zone can include behavior that is tolerated in order to give these kids learning opportunities or to indulge them during a particularly difficult or stressful time, and a red zone can include behavior that isn’t tolerated under any circumstances (e.g., the behavior is too dangerous to the youngster or others, is immoral, is unethical, is illegal, is socially unacceptable, etc.).

5. Recognize an emotion as a teaching opportunity. Recognizing uncomfortable emotions as opportunities for teaching and intimacy (rather than as reasons to criticize, reprimand, or punish the AS/HFA youngster for experiencing these feelings) is an important piece to social skills training.

6. Teach AS and HFA children social skills in settings where the skills will be used. If teaching skills in a natural setting isn’t possible, parents and teachers can use role-playing to reflect a variety of settings or teach these kids to self-monitor their use of skills across settings. “Instructors” can also recruit other adults who play a role in the child’s life to prompt, teach, and reinforce use of appropriate social skills.

7. Make use of “cognitive mediators.” One method that enables AS and HFA children to generalize social skills is the use of cognitive mediators (e.g., positive self-talk, self-monitoring, self-recording, and self-reinforcement).

8.  Teach skills that are valued in the natural setting. Selecting social skills valued by peers, educators, and moms and dads increases the odds that “skill use” will be reinforced. Real-life reinforcement is essential if social skills training efforts are to continue over time.

9. Some instructors (whether a parent, teacher, or therapist) “overly-control” the instructional presentation to help AS and HFA children acquire new social skills. In other words, they adopt standardized presentation procedures, present information in a prescribed order, and require mastery before moving on to the next skill. Although these methods promote “skill acquisition,” they usually work against “skill generalization.” Thus, social skills instructors can encourage AS and HFA children to generalize by employing a variety of models and role-playing actors, reinforcing social skills across settings and situations, teaching several skills several times a day, and using natural language.

10. The importance of reinforcing or praising AS and HFA kids for using appropriate social skills (or “attempting” to use them) cannot be stressed enough.

11. Use reinforcement sparingly. After social skills are acquired, parents and educators should adopt schedules of reinforcement similar to those in natural settings. Usually, reinforcement occurs less frequently in natural settings than in instructional settings, requiring that parents and educators gradually reduce the frequency and amount of reinforcement. In some cases, AS and HFA children may need to be taught to recruit reinforcement and to self-reinforce so that they will continue to use social skills in environments lacking in external reinforcement.

12. Validate emotions by listen empathetically. Validation of an emotion does not necessarily mean “approval.” However, sometimes it’s important to just listen rather than advise the AS/HFA youngster or to impose logic on the situation.

13. Teach AS and HFA children how to problem-solve. Parents and teachers can teach these kids to more effectively solve social problems. Here’s a useful problem-solving sequence:
  • Define the problem
  • Identify potential solutions
  • Consider the outcomes of each solution
  • Implement a solution
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of the solution

Summary—

Although many parents and teachers have been successful in teaching social skills to AS and HFA children, they have been far less successful in making sure these skills are used when and where they count. If “generalization” of social skills is to occur, “instructors” must adopt techniques that actively promote use of social skills across settings, situations, and other people.

TEACHING SOCIAL SKILLS AND EMOTION MANAGEMENT

Parent-Teacher Collaboration: Help for Aspergers Students

Collaboration between parent and teacher facilitates successful education for ALL children. But for young people with Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism, it’s especially important to have effective communication, consistency on goals and rewards across settings, teamwork planning, and monitoring of interventions. The parent-teacher relationship is ongoing, reciprocal, respectful, and child-centered.

This post offers important tips for facilitating effective parent-teacher teamwork:

1. A message notebook may be used so that the educator can communicate what is going on at school – and the mother or father can communicate what is happening at home. Notebook comments from the educator may discuss a youngster's progress, his behavior, attitude, the rate at which he completes class work, and so on. A message notebook also provides an opportunity for the mother or father to ask questions she or he may have for the educator or provide information about the youngster to the educator.

2. Brainstorming requires both creativity and patience. Parents need to allow the teacher to share suggestions with them, even though they might not necessarily make sense to parents at first. The best solutions are not always the most obvious ones. Parents should be flexible in their thinking and open to the teacher’s suggestions – and listen to the reasons behind the suggestions (e.g., the educator may suggest a particular approach because that intervention has been effective with other Asperger’s children in the past).

3. Children with Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism often have difficulty planning ahead for longer assignments or class projects. To assist with lengthy assignments, these kids benefit from having a contract for the assignment so they are aware of their timelines and responsibilities.

4. E-mail has become a very common and convenient method of communication. If moms and dads and educators both have an e-mail address, e-mail may be a convenient way for them to communicate.

5. Homework is frequently an area of difficulty for children with Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism – and may be the subject of the majority of parent-teacher trouble-shooting. Parents and teachers often report that Asperger’s children are not aware of assignments, have left books or homework at school, or have completed work - but have not returned or submitted it for grading. It’s important that all parties understand homework policies and their individual roles and responsibilities (e.g., How often will homework be given? How much time will be required to complete assignments? What is the parent’s role?).

It’s equally important for educators to obtain information from the mother or father about their schedules, the parents’ other children, and household routines. Many moms and dads find that assisting their Asperger’s youngster with homework requires time, organization, and patience, which can be challenging for them to muster after a day with job and family responsibilities. When educators and parents communicate their expectations and situations, they can develop and monitor successful homework plans.

6. For children with Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism, managing homework assignments may require assistance from an advocate or "coach." The coach is often a special education teacher who meets daily during "homeroom" or "study skills" class with children to build organizational, study, time-management, and self-advocacy skills. The special education teacher mentors and supports the child and communicates with teachers at weekly team meetings to discuss and monitor the child’s assignments and projects. The special education teacher serves as a contact person for parents and educators and provides consistent communication and teamwork between home and school for academic and behavioral growth. 

7. In order to come up with the best solutions to a youngster's problems, moms and dads and educators need to discuss the problems in detail. Although such discussions may be difficult, they are necessary in order to develop interventions that can be implemented consistently at school and at home. With the right interventions, most Asperger’s kids will improve, although it may take a while. Stay positive, work collaboratively, and think about how all of this time and effort will ultimately benefit the youngster.

8. Lack of motivation by children with Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism is often a factor in starting and completing school assignments. When educators offer children multiple ways of demonstrating their learning, they can explore their interests and creative talents, thus increasing their motivation and effort.

9. Make use of a student planner, which is a notebook that is used to help kids keep track of their daily homework assignments. While many educators can write the assignments that are due in the planner, some kids may be required to do this task themselves in order to increase their independence and responsibility. When kids are responsible for writing their assignments in the planner, the educator can check their notebook to see whether they completed the task accurately. Moms and dads and educators can communicate daily through a youngster's planner.

10. Medications are often an integral part of treating comorbid conditions associated with Asperger’s (e.g., ADHD, anxiety, depression, OCD, etc.). Medication can be a beneficial component of a treatment plan for some of these “special needs” children, and educators are in an excellent position to judge effectiveness of medications on behavior and learning. Therefore, moms and dads and educators will want to provide teamwork feedback to doctors regarding these kid’s behavior and performance when on medication. Information about performance before - and when receiving medication - is critical for determining the overall effectiveness of medication, its dosage and timing, and side effects. Some of the side effects that parents and educators can observe and note are nausea, loss of appetite, headaches, stomachaches, lethargy, moodiness, and irritability.

Behavioral, learning, and other side effects noted by educators are best reported to parents, who in turn, will present this information to the doctor. Parent permission is required for any direct communication between educators and doctors. Parent-teacher communication regarding medication monitoring may take the form of phone calls, notes, or forms. For working parents, it’s important to let them know that frequent communication is very useful when Asperger’s children first begin medication or adjustments are made. When medications are given at school, the school nurse should maintain a medication log and administer medications per doctor’s orders. Also, the school nurse should be included in the parent-teacher team when monitoring medication.

11. Moms and dads should attend each open house that their youngster's school holds. This is an excellent opportunity for parents to meet their youngster's educators face-to-face and get to know who they are.

12. Parental involvement should be included in all stages of assessment, identification, and the development of behavior plans. While moms and dads have always been included as participants on their youngster's Individualized Education Program (IEP) team, they should also have input during pre-referral and eligibility meetings and help plan positive behavioral interventions.

13. Parents can be a volunteer. While some principals will not assign moms and dads to their youngster's classroom, being a “room mother” or “room father” is a possibility in many districts. Volunteering in another class can still provide many insights into what goes on in the school (e.g., what happens daily or how the educator manages the classroom).

14. Phone conversations can be a good way to communicate, because each party can ask more detailed questions. Phone conversations often do not provide the ongoing dialogue that corresponding through a message notebook does. However, for complex issues, a phone call may be the better choice.

15. Some districts use a homework hot line that allows educators to communicate homework information to moms and dads and children. Parents can call a certain number in order to hear the day's homework assignments for their youngster.

16. The school should develop communication folders and homework plans that foster parent-teacher teamwork. Though these specific folders and plans may vary by grade with homework requirements increasing each year, the principles and policies should be consistent across the grade levels. All “special needs” children should have a communication folder that goes back and forth from school to home each day. Announcements, notes, weekly school newsletters, and weekly homework packets should be put in this folder. The front cover of the homework packet should have a weekly class schedule, list of upcoming school events, and a list of spelling/writing words. Also in the packet, there should be a “homework schedule” with suggested assignments for each day. Moms and dads should communicate with the teacher by signing and returning the bottom half of the weekly schedule along with any comments. The folder needs to be given to the Asperger’s child on Friday and needs to be returned to the teacher the following Friday.

Keeping the homework packet in the communication folder is particularly helpful when the Asperger’s child participates in after-school study or childcare programs or has homework assistance from others. For some children on the autism spectrum, educators can make accommodations by varying the homework that is included in the packet, particularly if their achievement levels are substantially below that required of the homework. While it’s important for ALL children to practice skills and do work that is at their independent or instructional levels, this is particularly true for kids with Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism, for whom focusing on “too challenging” academic work after a day at school can be particularly difficult.

17. Utilize a web-based homework list, which is a list that provides a directory of reading and homework assignments for the night. The website may also include links to relevant Internet resources. A homework list is often offered as part of a program that allows moms and dads to log in and access their youngster's grades. This feature allows parents to continually monitor their youngster's progress, which is particularly important if they are concerned that their youngster's grades may be slipping because of extracurricular activities or after school employment.

18. It’s is helpful to provide Asperger’s children with a sequence of steps for complex or multistep assignments and a checklist to monitor their completion of the steps. This list can be created by the teacher - or by the teacher and child - as they think through the steps in the process. 

19. Moms and dads have a lot to offer, whether it’s information about the youngster's medical, developmental and educational history, ratings for behavior and attention levels, or information about interests. When a problem arises, using an effective problem-solving plan that incorporates parent-teacher teamwork can be helpful for both parties. The following 10-step plan for the problem-solving process addresses specific concerns, incorporates a positive plan of action, and offers specific means for follow-up communication:
  1. Teacher writes one sentence describing the problem.
  2. Why is it an issue?
  3. Give a brief history.
  4. Whose responsibility is it (teacher, parent, or child)?
  5. What has already been tried to handle the problem?
  6. Is the problem similar at home and school?
  7. Teacher and parent generate, write, and clarify possible solutions.
  8. Teacher and parent select preferred solution(s).
  9. Teacher and parent select specific way(s) to implement the preferred solutions.
  10. Teacher and parents specify times for follow-up and teamwork.

Below is an example of the 10-step plan for problem-solving:

Child: Michael Jameson
Grade: Second
Teacher: Mrs. Smith
Date: March 2, 2013
Parent: Sara Jameson

1. Teacher writes one sentence describing the problem: Michael does not stay in his seat and complete his work.

2. Why is it an issue? Moving around the classroom distracts Michael’s fellow students.

3. Give a brief history: Michael stays in his seat for about 3 minutes when doing classwork. He misses instructions, walks around the classroom, gets a drink, talks to peers, etc. At home when doing homework, he stays in his seat for 5 minutes, then gets up and plays with his dog.

4. Whose responsibility is it (teacher, parent, or child)? This is Michael’s responsibility.

5. What has already been tried to handle the problem? Verbal reprimands have been tried.

6. Is the problem similar at home and school? Not completing assigned work happens both at school and home.

7. Teacher and parent generate, write, and clarify possible solutions:
  • Schedule appointment for physical with Michael’s doctor
  • Give Michael stickers or extra playtime for staying in area and completing work
  • Set up a behavior monitoring plan for staying in seat, listening to directions, and doing work
  • Have the school counselor talk with Michael weekly about importance of staying in his seat/desk area and completing work
  • Use masking tape on floor to outline Michael's desk area

8. and 9. Teacher and parent select preferred solution(s) and select specific way(s) to implement the preferred solutions.
  • Parent and teacher set up a behavior monitoring plan for listening to directions, staying in seat/area, and doing work at school during morning classwork and at home during homework. With his mother or teacher, Michael monitors his own behavior. Each day that he receives an "X" (hit the target) for all target behaviors, he will receive a "target sticker.” If he receives stickers 3 out of 5 days at school, he gets a "special treat" at home. If he receives stickers 3 out of 5 days at home, he gets 15 minutes of free time at school on Friday. Checklist goes back and forth from home to school in Michael’s folder.

10. Teacher and parents specify times for follow-up and teamwork: Mrs. Smith telephones Michael’s mother on Friday to check on how it’s going. Then Mrs. Smith calls Michael’s mother on March 10, 17, and 24th …and then weekly for a month. Number of days needed to get stickers will increase as Michael is successful.
  • Mrs. Smith and Michael’s mother were consistently communicating and had similar expectations.
  • Michael was actively involved in self-monitoring using a parent-teacher behavior checklist that was titled "Hit the Target".
  • When Michael received his reward for schoolwork at home and vice versa, Michael got a "double dose" of praise and, when needed, additional support.

Parent-teacher teamwork is an important key for the success of children with Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism. Communication fosters common language and consistent expectation and engages all parties involved. Teamwork is particularly crucial for input during assessments, when developing behavior plans, when monitoring medication, and in coordinating homework.

The consistent use of parent-teacher notes is an important part of the communication system. Parent-teacher notes promote consistency in expectations and help everyone develop a common language. These notes may be simple check sheets or lists for reporting child behavior or academic work.

Using daily or weekly journals is helpful when more elaborated information is important. Educators and parents also have opportunities to regularly communicate through formal and information meetings and phone calls. 

Teaching Students with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

COMMENTS & QUESTIONS [for 3/13]

Mark,

I just wanted to say THANK YOU for your help with tips and other vital information.  It has really helped me and my daughter in so many ways!!

Lisa

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Mr. Hutten:  You have been an invaluable resource for me and my family--your newsletters about teens and those about AS have helped us navigate adolescence with our 14 year-old daughter with AS (and ADHD and anxiety).  Your newsletter today addressed restrictive eating disorders in teens.  May I suggest a future newsletter about binge eating disorder?  My daughter with AS has bouts of nocturnal eating--we (and her counselor) have been unable to figure out if it is AS "stimming" or a true eating disorder.  I just wondered if this binge-eating behavior is common in teens with AS.  Thanks again for sharing your knowledge in your wonderful newsletters.  Nancy

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Dear Dr. Mark Hutten:

thank you for sharing this topic.  This is obviously a very complex and personal issue in our family.  Praise be to God, my sister just celebrated her 44th birthday.  she finally began her healing process when she was 31 yrs. old.  I thank God for our pastor spending hundreds of hours counseling and praying with her.  She has shared her story of pain and heartache with me and nobody else.  She wants to keep it private.  She is gifted in writing about God's Grace in the form of poetry.  She still struggles with her health, but emotionally and spiritually she has a close relationship with God and with me.  I would like to encourage anyone who is struggling with an eating disorder to contact me.  Perhaps my sister could help "rescue" someone who feels like life is not worth living.  There is hope!!  I believe in miracles when I can hug my sister!!  It has not been an easy road, but I believe God has a purpose, even in the difficult trials that come into our lives.

Nola

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I am an 8th grade math teacher. One of my students has Asperger’s, OCD, emotional support and is my regular Pre Algebra classroom with 23 other students. This student has been aggressive verbally and once threw an object at me….he has stated to me that he will tolerate my class because he must. He is starting to communicate more appropriately but does want what he wants when he wants it. If he does not get my attention when he wants it he will walk out of class and return generally within 10 minutes (this is part of his IEP). I am trying to model and I am redirecting what I think would be the best way for him to communicate…. keeping a calm voice and helping him use “nice” words when talking to myself, the paraprofessional or his peers. The mother of this student is very hands off and really doesn’t want to hear from me. Today he was in tears because of his frustration with his peers in class.

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I am so thankful to have found you. You are amazing. My son is 13 and you are able to put into words everything I have lived and am living currently. What a blessing to have found you. I cannot thank you enough. Lisa

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My daughter 9 has Aspergers and Epilepsy.  Unfortunately her first six years in life were very traumatic with a abuse father, who Kate has not seen now for over twelve months but still has phone contact with him once a week.  All conversations end up horrible.  We keep the phone contact up as we are in breach of court orders where Kate is suppose to stay with her father alternate weekends.  He dose not really want her around but with the calls feels he can still control us and keeps him happy which keeps us out of court.

Kate is still sleeping in my bed.  We see a phycologist fortnightly.  we dropped out of school and are now doing distance ed from home which is better for Kate. We have hit the early stages of puberty and Kate's meltdowns have become more regular and violent.  She is nearly as tall as I am and pysically stronger.  I have a non violence house yet the other day I hit her back when been attacked for four hours non stop.  Kate has terrible anixety and will not leave my side always frightened that something will happen to me.  Unfortunately her earlier years with her father around have not helped with him threatning  to kill me and breaking into our house and letting go her pet birds.  He has not been anywhere near us now for twelve months thank goodness.

So Kate has realisitic fears however with her aspie these thoughts are always going over and over internally.  I am begining to become frightened of her in meltdown mode, which always follows with depression.  We are off to the Doctors later today to seek some form of medication to help for the short term until we can find better ways of dealing with this.

I admit I am tense and she can see it with me waiting for the next unexpected snap.
Really looking forward to you book and starting to change our situation.  I can no longer leave Kate with my only back up person as she has attacked her as well. When Kate is not angry or meltdown like other children she is beautiful tall little girl.

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My grandson is 18 and a junior in a small private school. He is functioning quite well in this environment; however, he will graduate In a year as a special needs child.  He is extremely intelligent and is probably passive.  He loves to talk with adults but has no peer relationships. His home has been very dysfunctional so unfortunately he has never been able to have the kind of help he has needed. My husband and I will be having him move in with us for a time.

My question is that he has a job interview in a week and is so excited. Is it proper for us to go ahead and give them a heads up about his condition or allow him to go through the process without any intervention. He is really a great worker when he is shown what to do. I have hired him to help me at certain times and he works very hard. Do you have any suggestions?

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Hello Mark,

Today Im crying because finally Im understanding that the problems my 13 years daughter has been having all these years hasnt been because my inability as a parent ..but because she probly has aspergers...Ive worked with children for over 20 years and have in my work met many boys with aspergers so it never occured to me that my own daughter had it .. I just pressumed i was an over indulgent mother,or maybe my parenting skills were not as they should be ...so ive spent years trying to improve my self,even isolated my self to devote all my time to my daughter.. Ive tried so many different styles of parenting to try and motivate her to do things spent hours in shouting matches trying to get her to do the simpliest of things,homework etc . Called her stupid,lazy and of coarse made her feel terrible just because my idea of aspergers was boys running around be disruptive ...Ive since she was in kindergarden thought something wasnt right,her social skills were minimal,she never copied over kids,she never had friends ..but the teacher there reassured me that she would outgrow it... At school when it sit trying to make her understand maths for maybe 5 hours i just presumed that she couldent grasp it .. When still at 9 years old she couldnt cycle that she was being lazy.. When she is bluntly honest and it hurts to hear what comes out her mouth ive classed her as arrogant,unfeeling and cold ... The list goes on and on Reading now how girls are harder to diagnose because unlike the boys they can become mute and withdrawn..saddens me so much all these years ive struggled for someone to listen understand me that my daughter was struggling not because i was an over -protective mum but because there was something more..

So today Im crying because finally I can sink my shoulders and perhaps get her the help she needs and my parenting a special child can begin ...My daughter is a wonderful girl and being her parent is a fantastic journey ..
I would be very apprecitive if you could send me information in regards to the difference between boys and girls when diagnozing . Cause now that i have a better idea i need to research EVERYTHING ...it makes so much sense now.

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Question: What would you suggest in my situation where my Aspie husband has cast himself in the hero position of providing for myself & our Aspie son, hence meeting his "obligations" - his words, while allowing himself to have an emotional affair with the woman he travels with every week.  This keeps his business that he has worked hard to build from the destruction of divorce & also allows him to do as he pleases while on the road as his priority is meeting his obligations.  They stay in the same suite together & as he has told me (I'm not in love with her - I don't open up to you, her, or anyone else)!  Do I address this, or just keep working on rebuilding trust & respect between he & I and see what doors God opens?


Answer: "Hero position" sounds a bit sarcastic. At least he's doing something right by "providing." I don't think you've worked through your resentment just yet (on that note, did you listen to the audio files on your download page?). How do you know he's having an emotional affair? Is this an assumption? You asked, and I'm sure you want an honest assessment: I think the first course of action is to work on resentment. All else will fall short until you can forgive.

Mark

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Question:
I am a grandmother with a degree in counseling.  I retired from teaching after 37 years in education.  My granddaughter has aspergers syndrome and was diagnosed early in elementary school.  She graduated from high school with a 3.0 last June (with IEPs all along the way).  She is now attending Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia (3 hours from home in Springboro, Ohio).  Marshall has a special Autism Center with graduate assistants assigned to each student in the program and five adults who operate the program.  My granddaughter was accepted into the program as one of only two girls.  She went to summer school there between her junior and senior year of high school and earned 3 college credits, lived in the dorm, and adjusted well to independent living.  She began her freshman year this last fall and completed the first semester with a 2.5.  She was doing well until the only person she considered a friend died in November.  It also destroyed her and her some of her success the first semester, but with a lot of team work, she made it through.

The second semester is another story, she has totally fallen apart.  It is hard to decide what happened because there are multiple causes (too many to list here including a messed up home life with her parents).  I don't think she is going to make it this semester unless something changes soon.  She is so filled with frustration, depression, and especially anger.   She is home for spring break this week and has already had two meltdowns with her mother in just 48 hours.

My question is, what specifically would a life coach do?  I have spent at least three evenings a week with cell phone conversations since January when the second semester started trying to listen and then encourage her.  I send funny cards once a week with her laundry money, and my husband and I have spent some weekends with her taking her out to eat and shopping. I just wondered what a life coach would do and how that would be implemented.

Answer:
Life Coaching is a profession that is profoundly different from consulting, mentoring, advice, therapy, or counseling. The coaching process addresses specific personal projects, business successes, general conditions and transitions in the client's personal life, relationships or profession by examining what is going on right now, discovering what your obstacles or challenges might be, and choosing a course of action to make your life be what you want it to be.


The Life Coaching Format:
  • Complimentary Coaching Consultation
  • 60 to 90 minute "Design the Alliance" first session
  • One 30 to 90 minute phone call per week (session length depends on which coach and which program)
  • Unlimited Email support
  • Occasional brief check-in calls
Life Coaching is a designed alliance between coach and client where the coaching relationship continually gives all the power back to the client. The clients usually know the answers to every question or challenge they may have in their life, even if those answers appear to be obscured, concealed or hidden inside. 


Response from questioner:

I have three more audio portions to listen to, and I already see the road map.  Our family has a two-layer problem.  My husband and I created an over indulged only daughter that we adopted who is still dependent and angry at 42.  Now we have a 19 year old aspergers granddaughter who has been subjected to the same pattern.  We have two other granddaughters who need work as well.  We have a lot to work on.  I think it starts with us, the grandparents, first.  I will let you know how it goes in a few weeks.  We should be able to do much of this on our own, but it is going to take time since we created the two layers.  When we are ready for more coaching, I will email you to ask for help.  I am so glad I found your program on line.

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Dear Mark,
I have problems almost daily. My Aspie 10 years old often punches his younger brother 7 years old for no apparent reason. He also yells at our other son who is two, whenever he is near him. When questioned he says it is bc he is annoying or whines too much, then he blames me for not teaching him not to whine. Everyday I am verbally assaulted by my son, he says he hates me, I am a horrible mother, he cannot wait until the day I die, calls me retarded, tells me to shut up. He cannot take discipline or correction in any way shape or form, when I correct him he always says I am arguing with him and I never stop talking. He also says I ask too many questions. He never takes responsibility for his actions and always blames others.  All that I wanted was to be a good mother, but I find no joy in my relationship with him at all.  When he was younger at least I could enjoy him, now that is gone. He never says anything positive or shows any affection toward anyone.  All that I get is hate and anger, unless I am doing everything he demands exactly at the moment he demands it, and even then there is rarely a thank you. I bend over backwards to try to please him and all I get is mistreated.

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Hi Mark! I was very impressed with your videos and your website.
Obviously, it’s difficult to spend money on everything that impresses you.
My two teenage boys-18 and 17-suffer from ADHD. The older, 18 , with ADD, and
with a social disability that leaves him alone once he finishes school, and my 17 year old,
with ADHD impulsive , disorganized and socially alone almost to the same degree as his older
brother, are both somewhat defiant and  often angry. Neither is willing to go for counseling. Both
did, but it was very short-lived.
Any advice?
Thanks!

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 I just came across your support group today and was touched by your article, "Going to Bat for your Aspergers Child".  In August of 2012 Nathan was diagnosed with Aspergers Syndrome, ADHD, and Anxiety Disorder.  With the aid of a Psychiatrist we went through numerous medications for Apergers and ADHD finally ending with Depakote. He has also been receiving therapy as well as Neurofeedback therapy. His "symptoms' of Aspergers go along the norm with the addition of extreme auditory sensitivity, for which he received Astronaut Training. He has come home throughout the school year upset by bullying at school (that we know about: being punched in the face 2 times, being pushed and kicked on the playground numerous times, being 'dared' to drink toilet water, which he did, and being bitten) His Anxiety disorder began to spiral out of control upon the return to school in Jan from christmas break.  Notes from his teacher started pouring in about behaviours and school work. At home Nathan was constantly complaining about bullying and 'melting down' every afternoon.  In mid-February I called his psychiatrist for an emergency appt to discuss his medications, where we initiated the process for Adderall. 

ON February 26, 2013 Nathans teacher sent a note home " constantly putting fingers in mouth today. Put them so far back this morning he gagged on them... spoke with (principal) about his behaviour today"

ON March 1, 2013, "DR Suess DAY" Nathan decided to dress as Dr Suess rather than the Cat in the Hat. This decision led to being called names and teasing by his peers. I was called by the school counselor and informed that he had choked himself with his tie during class until he was red in the face. The school counselor informed me that the 'incident' had happened before lunch and recess, which Nathan DID attend before I was notified.   
I called his therapist who recommended I take him to the local mental health community services board (RASCB) for evaluation, picked Nathan up from school and took him to RASCB.  There it was recommended we seek hospitalization and were referred to Dominion Hospital in FallsChurch, VA. He was admitted that night.  The following Monday he attempted to choke himself with a chair, twice. He had a difficult time of it until we discussed our plans of removing him from his school setting a week into the hospitalization, he then participated in treatment and was released on March 13, 2013.  His releasing diagnosis paperwork states: Axis I Mood DONOS, ADHD overactive/inattentive, Aspergers DO.  Axis III good healthy, Axis IV: inappropriate classroom placement bullied by peers, Axis V: 40.  His medications upon release are Depakote ER 250mg, Depakote delayed release 125mg, Adderall XR 10mg, and Risperdal 0.5mg. 

This road has been a long, difficult one.  Here is a brief synopsis of our Hampton Oaks Elementary School (Stafford, VA) experience:

On Sept, 11, 2012 Student Support Team Meeting 
Attendees: myself, Asst. Principal, Educational Diagnostician, School Psychologist, Social Worker, Speech Therapist, 3rd Teacher, and Resource Teacher. 
Summary of meeting: I shared Nathans difficulties and concerns w school as well as his diagnosis and the symptoms there of.  His teacher had not observed any of these at this time.  
Summary of Team Roles: consult w/ DR, observations of Nathan in different settings. Nathan will eat in the Asst Principals office each day at lunch. 

On Nov. 5, 2012 SSTM
Attendees: myself, Asst. Principal, School Psychologist, 3rd grade Teacher, school social worker, reading specialist, Speech/Lang. Path. 
Summary of meeting: I shared Nathans melt downs after school,  difficulty w homework and my concerns w bullying. 
 "TEAM" observations held for 30 minutes on Halloween: "The speech therapist, school psychologist, and social worker reviews his classroom performance but his behavior was unusual as he had been absent for a few days recently, school had been canceled for the past 2 days due to weather, and it was also Halloween dressup day.  He was noted to get out of his seat 5 times and needed 10 redirections within 30 minutes, he was talking to peers, making faces and hitting his head with a book to make other students laugh.  The whole class was on the carpet listening to the teacher and at the end of the discussion he jumped up and ran to his sear and yelled,'I'm the first one to my seat!' He need a reminder to get the worksheet that was being handed out. His desk was also noted to be disorganized.  The TEAM shared that he has friends in the classroom he interacts appropriately with peers, it appears that he can regulate his behaviours and can 'read' the social cues and feelings of others." 
Summary of Team Roles: Teacher- organizational tool for desk, reflection journal to share about his day.  Social Worker- social stories/ friendship choice.  School- Drs reports.  

On Jan. 15, 2013 SSTM
Attendees: myself, Asst Principal, school social worker, 3rd grade teacher, school psychologist.
Summary of meeting: I shared Nathans therapies, medications.
Asst Principal reported that "she noticed that he uses many excuses throughout his day to avoid nonpreferred activites... He eats lunch with a group of 2 other boys and he plays and interacts appropriately with the others in the lunch group."  
Teacher reported that his work has declined rapidly and that he is no longer completing assignments and that he has had problems with peers.
Summary of Team Roles: School- use a timer, check his work, "if/then" routine w work completion, drawing tablet.  

The organizational tools, reflections journal, use of timer were not done at all.  The 'if/then' routine is questionable but I do know that he "drew in his workbooks".  

As a mother, I check my childs agenda daily (when he hasn't hidden due to referrals or notes from his teacher)  He has had repeated notes home due to behaviours such as inability to sit still, crying in class, flapping and waving of his arms, touching other students desk, taking things from other students and teacher, lying, extreme inability to focus, trouble with peers, and use of inappropriate language.  Referrals started on 2/22, 2/26 and 2/27.  His suicide attack occurred on March 1, 2013, at school.  There was a note in his agenda from his teacher informing me that she had decided to take all of Nate's books and folders out of his desk and keep them at her desk and give them to him when he needs each one.  There was NO mention of him choking himself.  

Our next meeting with the school is on March 26, 2013 at 11 am.

Any advice you might be able to give would be wonderful. He cannot remain in the public mainstream classroom and it has been recommended that we keep him home for therapy and recovery until proper school placement can be found.  The Stafford Academy (a first year school for Spectrum kiddos) would be wonderful if we could have him placed by the school as we simply cannot afford the tuition.  Please let me know if you need more detailed information. I have already started Tony Attwoods' Behavioural Therapies at home and he is continuing to receive therapy.

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I wonder about my 10 yr old son, however - he can seem so defiant and prone to arguing - he really does find the arguing stimulating , I think, and does not see it as disrespectful at all - but then, unlike some of the kids you mention, if he says something hurtful ,  he is SO sorry and full of regret after he calms down, which turns to despair and anger directed at himself - "why do I do this all the time? why am I so stupid? God made a mistake with me- I am broken" which is where the suicidal talk starts in . No action yet to hurt himself, but we all worry when he talks this way.

So how do I handle the arguing and defiance (and SIGNIFICANTdisrespect for any authority figures ) when I know how much he wants to be liked and how much he wants to be successful- is it maybe an impulsivity issue rather than a defiance issue? that he just can't think before he speaks? is there another way to teach respect for authority that an asperger brain might grasp better? So hard to give consequences when I know he is already so hard on himself for every slip-up.

We know that he is a sweet kid, except for the times he isn't, and all the adults in his life are struggling with how to help him be more successful , at school especially (his disrespect and arguing is much worse at school than at home- the social environment really ups his anxiety and makes his reactions SO much bigger ) -

thanks for any help - I am continuing to read and work with your information, and have already looked at my own expectations and revised them , based on your great reminder that their emotional/develomental age is usually lower than their actual age- intellectually he is so smart, but developmentally Ben is more like an 7 or 8 yr old than a 10 yr old, and I need to remember that when I expect things of him!

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I have recently been referred to the My Aspergers Child website.  A great resource.  My son is almost 15 and diagnosed a year ago.  His school had encouraged us.  There was hesitation on my husband’s part - as he believes our son is fine and just lacks maturity.  Any way, to be honest my son is a good kid and I believe if he had a friend no one would suggest Aspergers.  He is like Sheldon on the Big Bang - just needs some friends to accept who he is. I find it difficult that my son is diagnosed with Aspergers that is considered a disability but under any definition in order to get assistance he does not qualify as having a disability.

I do not have strategies in place.  As I said he is a good kid, I don’t have to tell him more than twice to do something.  I think he is a normal teenager except  he lacks socially and only likes certain foods and doesn’t like loud noises (school fire drills)  but other than that I treat him like I would treat my daughter (12) – but as I read the My Aspergers Child website it states he shouldn’t be treated like his other sibling.  I have spoken with other parents who have kids with Aspergers and find I have it so easy.   He had a hard time in grade school (being bullied) but now in high school an IEP is in place he is doing well,  even though no close friends, and is a B student (his level of courses will enable him to attend college - not university).  He has no problem going to school events (dances) by himself. He does not like learning social skills - he did go to a speech pathologist and it did help him with communication but we stopped because it stressed him out.

In any event, I saw your e-books Aspergers Handbook  and my Aspergers Teen and am wondering what would be the better resource.   A little background - he has chores (laundry - except folding, vacuuming, mowing lawn), gets up and goes to bed without being told, good hygiene, room clean, follows rules, hugs us and close family and friends, sometimes rocks when watching TV - only fidgeting habit and when he was younger no unusual tantrums, will speak on the phone but will not call others and has no interest in social media (Facebook), he spends most of his time watching TV, playing video games and listening to music, however in warmer months will go outside and shoot pucks, ride his bike, etc, when he has an interest he will tend to talk about it over and over but have found he does realize when we are not interested – picks up on body language and we have no disciplinary problems with him - as I stated earlier - a good kid.  So I guess that is why we never thought anything was wrong with him.

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 I've contacted you to out the years and I am at the end of my rope. The district took it upon themselves to mandate an IEP that I rejected. They delivered it to his new school that I'm having to pay for now as they have done so many violations this year to my child that it's unbelievable I've done everything in my power to find an advocate defined an attorney to find support that my efforts keep coming back as nothing Christopher was hospitalized his bed and beat three times the principle of para teachers have been removed from the school if backdated they live even the superintendent has his attorney answer the phone for him when I call they enrolled my other son in on the same day he had I Christopher had a different IEP and wrote up my five year old born on October 29, 2007 every day distressed me out even more I'm exhausted frazzled stressed and I really don't know what else to do as I have done everything I can I have ADHD and dyslexia myself so that prohibits me from writing correctly and providing documents needed at the time I filed with OCR Department of Justice the advocacy families helping families capital city area you name it however somehow the parish the district the superintendent has blocked me or confused me in many many many ways. I feel like I've reached that and of the fight because of my health my family my job and my life I can't believe that people are put impositions to take care children and what day do is on believable I'm conceivable that happens thank you for all the letters the time you spent helping people and it's much Appreciated it seems everybody can write a letter and email but that's about it I've been unable to find anyone to do any action for me our help me in anyway.

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Hi Mark,
I found your radio show on youtube.
My 21 year old son was recently diagnosed with asperber's. Prior to that he was treated for ADHD and mild OCD. He's been a happy kid and went to a Christian school most of his life. Since graduating high school he's taken a turn for the worse. He was finishing up an Associate of Science at Portland Community College (Oregon) and is pursuing an engineering degree.
The problem is he has absolutely no motivation. He never really has, but it's gotten more aparent recently. He stopped going to school about three months ago. Very distressing to say the least. Since that time he has been seeing a wonderful Christian psychologist who has been working with him on social skills and relationships. He wouldn't get out of bed, unless I physically pulled him up. He's also seeing a psychiatrist who has him on prozac and wellbutrin. I think this is helping with his depression. His psychiatrist said he's stuck.
As a result of him not cooperating, I took away the one thing he loved, his lap top. He is fixated on it. He's very intelligent (147 IQ) and very creative. He uses his laptop for fantasy role playing. I'm disturbed that he is highly involved with Everfree Radio - "Bronies" - Boys who like My Little Pony (MLP.)  In addition to MLP he likes other video games that involve fantasy and role playing. He's found acceptance with his online "friends" - which have their own struggles (multiple-personality disorder, gay, transgender, etc.)  
My husband, his dad, has been diligently taking him to a college group at our church. He has not wanted to go. Yesterday he didn't want to go, but once he got there he called and said he wanted to go with the kids to Buffalo Wild Wings (chicken wings place.) That was a breakthrough.
We've been considering sending him to off to school so he'd have to be more independent. His therapist is for it. I'm concerned that he won't get out of bed, take his medication, and may find the wrong friends.
He's recently completed driver's education again. I was concerned that his inability to take in things around him might make him a hazardous driver, but so far he's done pretty well.

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I have adamantly tried the 3-Day grounding on both my children, the 15 year old teenager and the 9 year old son. My son William has repeated breaking the house rules with out a second thought to the consequences and the 3 days have been continually repeated since March 14, 2013. I know you said it would get worse before it got easier. However after being kicked today which brought me to knees, this child just does not get it. There is not a care in the world that everything has been taken away, he still comes out asking for privileges as if he has forgotten what is posted on the wall. I gave him 5 chores which he gladly completes but when he has to go back in his room because of his consequences he gets mad, and either calls me stupid, idiot, says they are stupid rules or breaks something. He is always coming out of his room and trying to negotiate and my reply is "Your grounded, go to your room" and he will either go but normally he has to be followed back in his room. I am exhausted, tired and in pain from being kicked I want to know what changes you could recommend for a child with ADHD and Aspergers? The 3-Day grounding has been working remarkably on the 15 year old who now gets herself up for school, dressed and to school on time, does her chores and shows much more respect but her brother, whole different ball game.

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Question: I have read your book. It's seems to be pretty good and hopefully I can save myself from being frustrated all the time by my husband. I do have a question. I'm not fully understanding how to practice the "positive reframing" technique. Can you clarify?

Response: With reframing, you're simply putting a positive spin on things. For example, your husband is spending a lot of time on the computer this evening when the two of you had originally decided to watch a movie together. So, you need to go get him. But you don’t bust into the computer room and say, “I thought we were going to watch a movie. Are you going to be spending all night on the computer” (negative spin). Instead, say, “I see you are working diligently on the computer. But it’s time to quit so we can get started with the movie. I’ll start the movie in 5 minutes so you can wrap up.”

Follow-up response from questioner: Thank you responding so quickly. You have no idea of how mentally drained I am. I have read many books, watched many online segments, prayed etc. I wrote my husband an email this morning after reading your book. In hopes for him to "finally see" he needs to change it was a complete fail. I copied & pasted a few of your tips and added my own words of sarcasm and "I told you so's" and like always he filtered my words and missed my message. He replied back defensively and totally pissed off via text (I attached the picture in this email) I will try to get him to listen to the audio (which was awesome, thx!) He has already told me he don't want to listen to it he said "he's good" (Picture attached too). I pray he changes his mind. 

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My 10 year old has many signs of aspergers but a clear diagnosis wasn’t possible because he developed an interest in acting 3 years ago. This acting desire rules him out as an asperger child. They said asperger children don’t like to be in spotlight. I believe he likes acting because he has extreme difficulty making friends. He cant read facial expressions,gets upset because he thinks he is being teased affecting his classroom attitude. He is very intelligent,long memory,uses an adult vocabulary for several years. Yet simple instructions can be confusing as he takes everything literally.He also loves music reading and computer.He wants to dress weird a lot,and hates water. The last 2 years many meltdowns at school , almost predictible by  how much trouble he has getting ready for school. I phone school those mornings.Has thrown food and books and flipped desk over.He has Panhypopituitarism and there is a high rate of asperger with that,because it is in the brain.Also his eyes go to the side and up when conversing with him.His optomitrist said that is a sure sign of asperger.  Yet I cant get assistance for him because they wont verify it. I am a single disabled parent who needs to get my son diagnosed with whatever it is. It is amazing how him falling back on acting may be keeping him from treatment. 

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Question:

Hello Mark,

I have come a cross your website about  6 months ago now and bought various  e-books. I was excited when I read your profile to find out you are a Christian. I thought that this was the case when you talked about strategies of families staying together. From that I decided to join you on line using the e mail facility. The articles are a great resource. Blessings.

Let me introduce myself.
Originally I am from England.

I started teaching in mainstream high school.

From there I taught in a special school.

I was a Special Adviser Teacher with complex difficulties. Severe Learning Difficulties and also ASD.

My wife and I moved to New Zealand. Here I started work as a Special Education Adviser. I work with the top 1% of children and adolescents with learning difficulties. This can often encompass those with ASD including AS who may have difficulty accessing the school curriculum. I am working with school teachers, teacher aides, SENCO (special educational needs coordinators, principals and parents (specialist of their child) to see how they can be included.

My role is to that every child and young person will have access to learning opportunities that maximise their learning, promote social inclusion and facilitate smooth transition through to life-long learning. However I see my role about trying to remove the stigma that goes with autism and Asperger syndrome . Addressing reasons like “we do not  have the resources”, “our classes are open plan”, “we don’t have the staff”, “we had a teacher that could have worked with your child but they are not here now” “the school down the road will probably be able to meet your child’s need, and on and on and on. I thought I was escaping this thinking when I came to New Zealand but human nature is the same.

I working with people at church who are on the spectrum and now our home in the UK will potentially be used to support people with Aspergers / mental health.

Renting our UK house for a residential to support people with mental health and Aspergers

My wife and I are in a real predicament:

We have a house in the UK which we have been trying to sell but in the mean time we have been renting out our house. Recently we had a company that showed interest in renting our house. They are a housing association for young adults with mental health and Aspergers. Our home will be staffed 24 hours a days 7 days a week.

This has not gone down well with the neighbours. Initially they said that they will be a home for people who are paedophiles and drug addicts. My immediate neighbours think that they are unsafe and me being a Christian and a teacher “And you a teacher and a parent-how could, you do this!?”

At the moment they are speaking emotionally. I cant present an alternative view. Also they are spreading rumours that are not true and are not evidence based. I am excited by the prospect of the supported house organisation renting our house. I believe it is good for the clients, but can also be an asset to the community.

Our anxieties are running high even though we are half way around the world. Some of the neighbours have become very hostile; and are seeking legal action.

The director of the company is planning to arrange a meeting with some of the neighbours but with the clients have such a low self esteem and sensitive to not being accepted is going to make it difficult for them to develop greater independence.

I was concerned at the very beginning but we soon felt that it was going to be good. The more I read about the company I was impressed at what they do. I know that Aspergers and schizophrenia need a highly structured environment, which they can provide at  our home. We are within walking distance of the towns amenities e.g. shops, library, park, plus allsorts of events hosted in the this small town.

One of the accusations is that we are in it for the money, but the rent is no higher that for a family renting it as family home. The  money we get is for the rent and maintenance and for any big jobs we will have to dip into our savings.

The website of the home is: http://www.supportedhomes.com/

I have got your article on :
Aspergers Children & Mental Health Issues

Are there research papers to show the value of support in the community that is staffed 24/7  re mental health and Aspergers?

Are there any research papers /other evidence to show that the community is safe?

What can I say to my neighbours when I have the chance to put the case for supported housing in the community? I imagine the most vehemently opposed may agree it is what they need but not in my neighbourhood.


Answer: 

RE: Are there research papers to show the value of support in the community that is staffed 24/7  re mental health and Aspergers? Are there any research papers /other evidence to show that the community is safe?

Probably. I’ll check around for you.

RE: What can I say to my neighbours when I have the chance to put the case for supported housing in the community? 

The claim that groups homes, unlike other homes, cause surrounding property values to decline is false. Numerous studies investigating the impact of group homes on housing markets show that group homes have no significant effect on nearby housing prices. In fact, some studies have reported that property values of surrounding homes increase.

There is no evidence to support the claim that group homes harm the "character" of neighborhoods. Surveys show that group homes are maintained as well, if not better, than other neighborhood homes, and are unlikely to cause an increase in traffic or congestion.

Residents of group homes are no more likely than other people to be dangerous. Studies comparing rates of arrest of residents of group homes with the general population show that it is probably safer to live next door to a group home than a more typical family residence. Like the rest of us, persons with mental retardation spend their days working, and in their free time they, like us, go shopping, are active in church or civic groups, watch TV, eat out, go for walks, and visit friends.

Mark

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 "I was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome when I was 9, basically by info did not get passed on to high school. So, Alcohol was the best cover, rather that be associated with the word Autism , when one ever referred to me as strange, or the classic " whats wrong with that guy". Well, friends would say, he drinks to much. What a cover . During my 20's any concern for symptons or issues were forgot . It wasn't til I was 28 years of age, when I decided to get sober. It wasn't til 93 til I kicked the illegal stuff and stopped drinking that the old issues never really left, they were simply sedated . My Social life was simply a Social Navigational experience set in selective people contact, procrastinating who is going to be a problem and who I can feel safe in navigating a conversation with. It was a Psychiatrist who pulled my ancient school records and found the diagnosis in and confirmed that its been with me side by side in some sublime denial of sorts. After 96 I became a Catholic and work on my spiritual relationship with Christ and started to get involved in Community service. I joined (1999) the "Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War" in the Dept. of Calif. and Pacific. Educating the public in 19th Century history by deploying exhibit displays at Patriotic function and days. Today, I am the elected Commander of that department overseeing 15 chapters in California, Nevada and Hawaii for 2013. Still Asperger's has taken a lot, but it did not hinder of me achieving goals. I've become saturated with kind of the isolation living, but only to the point of everyday living, I do have a work life and friends whom I interact through community service. And as I approach the age of 50, there a few friend I grew up since early grade school. And thus life marches on. The emotions aspect is just a roller coaster I have to endure, especially the ones that are nearly impossible to express. Still I do not at all blame God in anyway, there are people with much worse stories than mine. And mine is not that bad. It is what I was destine to live with, DEUS VAULT ! so be it. How can you live in depression over it, when you have people suffering twice to 20 fold from diseases, mutilation, amputations , or have been cut off from simple joys of life , like running , walking, talking, seeing, hearing. Or having a full span of life cut short for any reason. Blame God, I don't think so, we live on a planet and existence that is shaped by the weight of circumstance and free will. I thank the Lord for the gift of life, and Mom and Dad to. "

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My husband and I have been together for 7 years. We are a remarried couple with kids on both sides. We both have grown kids and I have 2 still at home. Your video describing the dating/attraction part was right on. Unfortunately, your videos describing the grief cycle and the resentment are also right no. My husband was unofficially diagnosed 6 months ago by the third marriage counselor we attempted to see. I was shocked, then relieved, then understanding, and then angry again. We had moved away from his hometown a few months before the diagnosis, so he took the opportunity to flee back there while I was at work last month. I don't blame him, our home was not a haven nor a happy place to be. My family doesn't want him back now. His family has never liked me as he has shared how I'm always angry at him for no reason. He has barely spoken to my 15-year-old since the day we got married, so she doesn't want him back in the house. I'm sick to death of taking care of him and us. I'm tired of trying to have romantic feelings for somebody I've grown to see as a selfish, cold, handicapped adult child. 

On the other hand, I miss his quiet, gentle self. I miss how nice it can be to be on a date with him. I also don't want another divorce and neither does he. We have not hired attorneys, filed anything, or hurt each other's finances. We are in daily contact as needed and the venom on both sides has diminished. We are both active, committed Christians involved in a local church. Although, he is better connected back in his town, which is 4 hours away. I have no plans to return to his town as we moved here (TX) because he wanted me to finish college and begin a "real" career, which I did. I love it here and so do my kids. 

We do have access to a skilled, Christian therapist. He is skilled in working with LD people as well as marriages on the brink of divorce. His method is based on "homework" for each spouse combined with ind and joint sessions and accountability. 

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Dear Mark,
Your newsletters are a source of great information and hope..
I just wish I had known when my son was a kid that he had AS, it
would have helped so much..
As it is now, he has all the secondary emotional issues, low self-esteem,
and refuses to accept that he has AS!! It is also difficult to insist that he deal
with this right now, since he underwent some stresses ( one of them was that
he tried LSD to try and feel better about the world, he's not tried any drugs after
that). The LSD, given his sensory sensitivity, knocked the wind out of him and
disoriented him completely. After that, over a period of some months, he developed
mild symptoms of Bipolar Disorder, for which he is now on Lithium, olanzapine and
fluoxetine. He is much better, but there is a lot of amotivation, confused spirituality
issues and high anxiety.
In your experience, does this drug combination suit the Asperger individual? Are AS
prone to Bipolar Disorder? Given that he is just getting out of the depressive phase of
BPD, when do you think I should get him to look at the AS diagnosis and deal with it? 


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Dear Sir:

My daughter is a 17 yr old senior with great scholarship offers.  We are in trouble.

She has always been extremely independent and a bit defiant, along with being a great athlete and super bright child.  She chose to go away to school (the IL Math and Science Academy) her sophomore year. It was not a good fit.  She was challenged for the first time and did well academically; but at the cost of her emotional health.  The pressure was unending and there was no balance.  I made her stay the entire year and she has been engaging in risky behavior and blaming me ever since…

She has gone from the child with the brightest future to choosing a boyfriend that brings a lot of trouble.  He was a Child and Family Services ward who was kicked out of his placement, lives with pot dealers and has low life criminals for friends.  She has smoked pot.

Currently, she sees a counselor who is trying ti simultaneously deescalate the struggle between us and work with her.  I allowed the boyfriend into the home.  She wants him here all the time - I believe for her own comfort and to give him a safer place.  She seems to be more defiant when he is here.  Last night, we were arguing and she left with him and did not return.  I was trying to hold her accountable for the pot I discovered in her backpack.

I do not know how to proceed.  I am worried about her making it through the summer and off to college.  We tr to tell her that it is a harder road on her own.  We are not wanting to support her phone, car and college if she is goIng to smoke and make bad choices.  She still has her goals which include med school but is becoming more removed.

Her Dad lives in NC and has the power of the purse.  We divorced when she was in 2nd grade.  He sees the girls about once a year and both of them resent me for trying to involve him in current struggles because he has "never been here."  She is slowly but surely pulling away from everyone who questions her or does not agree with her choices.


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My oldest daughter used to interact more with her younger siblings but she was very controlling.  When the younger two children grew up enough to be assertive and not allow her to control them any more...she began to withdraw.  I should also say that we are a homeschooling family...so that makes our family relationships much more intense.  That intensity is hard for my oldest son and my daughter.  The pediatrican told us years ago the oldest son (age 23) might have some asperger's tendencies and he is a lot like my oldest daughter.

My oldest daughter went to public high school for her first two years and the first year went really well.  It seemed like she had a small group of friends, a few were also friends from our little church.  However she never wanted to invite anyone over.  Then the second year she started missing more and more assignments and it was clear we needed to bring her home again. Her teachers loved her because she was nice and always prompt to class and honest, but they were all very worried about her.  Despite all of these struggles, she received the RAM Pride award out of all of the sophomore girls.  But getting up early in the morning and never getting enough sleep was taking its toll on her.  Her basic grooming habits were terrible and she would come home and sleep each afternoon and not wake up until I went to bed, so I couldn't keep track of what schoolwork she needed to do and it just wasn't getting done.  So was totally in agreement that we homeschool her.  She looked forward to not having to get up so early in the morning and not having to drag her stuff all over the school.

We tried to encourage her to keep up with her friends from school, but she consistently wouldn't check her e-mail or facebook or other things.  I enrolled her in a home school teenage group and a drama group.  They don't really meet often enough, but she did make some new friends.  But again, she would not initiate any socializing.  There is even one homeschool girl whom she likes to talk with who lives around the corner from us, but she is as shy and withdrawn as my daughter is and neither of them will chose to get together.  

A girl across the street from us came over with her family at our New Year's party and then the two girls talked a lot, but again my daughter will not initiate and the other girl doesn't initiate either.  All of her friends at the high school are graduating this year, but we have had to finish her junior year so she will only be a senior next year.  She had a small group at church, but they changed the format, so now she is in a different small group (the church is huge)...so even though she likes the small group...they are all new girls..so continuity is missing.   We did continue to take her to all of the drama events at the public high school this past year and a half so that she could see her friends, and she says hello to her friends, but doesn't talk to them for very long.  She is pretty immature for her age, so doesn't really enjoy the same things that girls her age enjoy.

So, I guess avoidance is an issue, but not aggressive avoidance.  We had a long talk and she said she never knows what to say when she was around her friends.  She does wish she had more time to be with friends, but she doesn't want to invite anyone over.

She is not one to find a favorite topic and discuss it over and over again.  There is a lack of reciprocity in conversations with siblings in the family though.  She has a hard time letting anyone else have the last word and has a real need to constantly correct other's language.  Most of the time now though, so doesn't acknowledge other's presence and you always have to call her name many times before there is any kind of response.  It frustrates her siblings a lot, and they don't try as often to initiate conversations as it is too much work.

Sensory issues are something I may need to think more about.  I know that my older son has sensory issues and I am just now learning about what this is.  I have a friend who knows a lot about that, so I will try to discuss this with her as she knows my kids.  We do have a very large house and each child has their own room, so that helps to cut down on the intensity of relationships, but often we find now (we have been here 5 years in this big house) that each person retreats into their own room too much. (Except for my youngest daughter, who is a social butterfly and often found in her 14 year old brother's room.)  She used to be closer to my older daughter, but my older daughter has withdrawn even from her.

So, I guess she would be classified as social indifference that is a problem for her.  Of course the fact that we home school can be a problem in socializing with other teenagers...and my 22 year old son had some difficulties when he was a younger teen, only because we held to standards that others didn't have..but he has learned now to be comfortable with lots of folks who hold all kinds of viewpoints...in fact he actively seeks out friends who are different from him.  My youngest daughter is very outgoing and gregarious and has a great maturity in relationships...also has done marvelously in adapting to her sister's moods...maybe too much so.  My younger son, age 14, has also done well now in working with his older sister's moods.   He does fine in social situations, but he has had some learning to do.  He is very interested in learning how to relate though and is learning how to "not be so annoying" and how to learn when to talk and when not to talk...he has some ADHD too, but he is making great strides in his relationships in the family.   

At one time I thought my older daughter might have RAD as she had really rage outbursts, but now these outbursts are not as often because she chooses to withdraw so much.  She knows she overreacts to things and I know she has withdrawn because she is overwhelmed by her own reactions to people.

I am a bit overwhelmed as to where to begin...I guess he may have some form of asperger's and not just ADD.  She has read a lot about ADD and we tried ADD meds under supervision of the pediatrician, but they didn't help and she was losing too much weight so we quit.  Behavior mod doesn't work too well with her either as she doesn't have much motivation.   In fact other than her fantasies, I'm not sure what she really likes.  She likes the drama some, but not that much.  She wanted to do gymnastics and we let her do that, but she wasn't very good at it and we all decided she should quit that.  She was somewhat interested in the Physics course we did together last year, but she can't keep her mind on the math.  She is great at foreign language, but she doesn't like it any more.  She used to love learning spanish.  She loves to listen to music, but gets too frustrated when trying to learn how to play an instrument. I tried to teach her piano, but it was too frustrating.   She was really in to Harry Potter and was constantly living in a Harry Potter world for a while, but she finally decided that she shouldn't be reading all of this fantasy any more.  We had gone to a counselor who suggested that and at first she objected, but a few months later, she decided that she should not read any more fantasy. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Hi Mark,

I was delighted when I found your information on the Internet!  I've been working with adults who have aspergers, and their partners for about 5 years.  As far as I know, I am the only therapist in the Minneapolis area who deals specifically with this type of clientele. 

My husband was diagnosed with aspergers 7 years ago.  At that time we'd been married for 29 years. Our marriage was very rocky and we had been in and out therapy for 15 years.  When I discovered aspergers, my life and our marriage changed dramatically. I'm sure you've heard the same story many times.  My husband eventually embraced the diagnosis and now we are doing quite well.

I've watched several of your YouTube videos and listened to your radio web cast. I'm very impressed with the work you do. I would like to expand my practice to do some of the same things you're doing.  My schedule is very full and I can no longer take new clients.  There is such a need for professionals to work with adults on the spectrum as well as their partners. As you know, there are many individuals and couples out there struggling and don't know why. 

I'm writing to see if there is a possibility we could talk at some point. I'd be very interested in hearing how you came to be an aspergers expert.  I purchased your ebook, "Living with an Asperger Partner."  I found it very helpful and informative.  I shared some of it with my asperger couples group this week. I would love to hear more about your workshops.  I have been thinking for a very long time about doing a workshop for therapists on how to identify aspergers in couples counseling. 

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Hello Mr, Hutten,

In my desperate attempt to get information to guide me and my daughter through her teens I found your web site. I know you probably get a million emails every day so I will try to make this brief.

My daughter will be 15 on April 9th. Her maturity level is closer to 9. I have raised two "normal" children with little trouble. Tara is another story. She keeps to herself most of the time only going places when we "drag her kicking and screaming". I struggle with getting her to do everyday things, hygiene (she messed her pants till 5th grade), eating with the family, doing school work.

She cares very little about school even though she has a brilliant mind. She is artistic, writes poetry and loves music but her passion is video games, especially the dungeons and dragons type. That's all she wants to do. I feel I should take them away from her but this is literally her only connection with the outside world since she is homeschooled. I want to help her but I don't want to make her even more isolated. I always try to keep in mind that I am, in affect, dealing with a 9 yr old.

How do I motivate her to care about her grades and want to do her studies? How do I get her to want to leave her room for more than a half hour at a time? Thank you for any guidance you can give me.


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My daughter turned 17 at the end of February.  Within one week, she ran away and stopped attending the online schooling program.  She called the police on me trying to get me to give her her drivers license and social security card.  I told her and them she was welcome to return and enjoy the benefits of being at home (provided for, car to drive, phone, clothing, etc.) but if she chose to leave, then she would be doing it without my support or assistance.  Weeks went by without her contacting us.  Today she contacted me asking if she could buy her car from me by making monthly installments.  (I have already sold her car.)  I told her if she returned home, enrolled and completed school, lived by our rules, that I would help her get a car.  She said she wasn't returning home and asked for her ID and social security card.  Once again I said, I love you but I will not support your rebellion and that she would need to make it without my assistance.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thank you Mark for taking the time to e-mail me with this information. I want you to know that  I have read through parts of your e-Book and I am going to bed  happy tonight after a week of stress & concern about my son. I feel so relieved & so moved with the "what you think about expands" in the change your perspective section. I know that all my son needs will be placed in his path & that this will be such a beautiful journey for us both. You have brought this to my attention, information I always believed deep down but have lost my perspective.... and really needed to hear right now. You have renewed my spirit & I want to tell you a million thanks Mark. 

Blessing to you - (worth every cent of the cost of the e-book just for this section alone)
Dana

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Hi Mark,
We love listening to your show and reading your blog.
We have a son who is 7 and in first grade who was diagnosed with High Functioning Autism about 3 years ago.
I have been to multiple parent education courses and have learned who to manage a lot of the behavour that happens at home and/or time with our family (through ABA and rewards charts, different techniques for calming behaviour, certain plans with his teachers etc.).

My question for you is it seems like my son is starting to have a harder time socially as the school year progresses... My son is very smart and doing well academically, and is off the charts
with Math, but socially I feel like it's deteriorating. He didn't qualify for an IEP since he is fully capable academically, but as soon as recess comes, or social things happen in the classroom - he curls up in a ball and hides under his sweatshirt, or has arguments and fighting etc. He is also becoming defiant towards his teacher (who has her hands full since it's a public school situation..) We are noticing that there are more and more mis-understandings when we get together with other friends and their kids...and he seems to be getting more and more upset at people for things they say and do, and starting to get more explosive and/or angry.

I'm not sure what direction to go in right now - should I seek a more one-on-one therapist for him? Re-try for an IEP for added help at school?

I have some support at school in that we have a 504 plan (an outside source diagnosis, sort of a safety-net, and this allows him to qualify for twice a month visists with the care-counselor at school...) but I'm starting to think that this isn't enough. But, I'm not sure where to next seek out some help. He was diagnosed through the Lanterman center in LA, but never received any direct therapy through there.



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.

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…

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.

Click here to read the full article...

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.

Click here to read the full article...

Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Two traits often found in kids with High-Functioning Autism are “mind-blindness” (i.e., the inability to predict the beliefs and intentions of others) and “alexithymia” (i.e., the inability to identify and interpret emotional signals in others). These two traits reduce the youngster’s ability to empathize with peers. As a result, he or she may be perceived by adults and other children as selfish, insensitive and uncaring.

Click here
to read the full article...

Single Parent Discount On Our Ebooks

We've bundled four of our information products for one low price -- with struggling single moms and dads in mind. We know from first-hand experience that many single parents are struggling financially -- especially when they are raising a child with Asperger's or High-Functioning Autism.

Click here for your single parent discount ==> Parenting Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content