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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Does My Preschool Daughter Have High-Functioning Autism?

"How can a parent tell whether or not her preschool daughter has high functioning autism? I’m beginning to have my suspicions!"

There is no single, uniform presenting picture of High-Functioning Autism (HFA) in the first 3-4 years of life. The early picture may be difficult to distinguish from typical autism, suggesting that when evaluating any young girl with autism with apparently normal intelligence, the possibility should be entertained that she may eventually have a picture more compatible with an HFA diagnosis. Other girls may have early language delays with rapid "catch-up" between the ages of 3 and 5 years. Some of these young people (especially the brightest ones) may have no evidence of early developmental delay (with the possible exception of motor clumsiness).

In most cases, if you look closely at the girl between the age of about 3 and 5, clues to the disorder can be found, and in most cases a comprehensive evaluation at that age can at least point to a diagnosis somewhere along the spectrum. Although these young people may seem to relate quite normally within the family setting, problems are often seen when they enter a preschool setting. For example:
  • appearing to be "in one's own little world"
  • difficulty regulating social/emotional responses with anger, aggression, or excessive anxiety
  • difficulty with transitions
  • having a preference for a set routine
  • having odd verbal responses
  • hyperactivity
  • problems sustaining simple conversations
  • tendency to avoid spontaneous social interactions
  • tendency to be perseverative or repetitive when conversing
  • tendency to over-focus on particular objects or subjects
  • tendency to show very weak skills in interactions

In reality, this list is much like the early symptoms of autism. But, compared to the autistic child, a girl with HFA is more likely to show some social interest in others, will have less abnormal language and conversational speech, and may not be as obviously "different" from her peers. Also, areas of particularly strong skills may be present (e.g., letter or number recognition, rote memorization of various facts, etc.).

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My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the Aspergers child tends to internalize how others treat him, rejection damages self-esteem and often causes anxiety and depression. As the child feels worse about himself and becomes more anxious and depressed – he performs worse, socially and intellectually. Thus, the best treatment for Aspergers children and teens is, without a doubt, “social skills training.”

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How to Prevent Meltdowns in Aspergers Children

Meltdowns are not a pretty sight. They are somewhat like overblown temper tantrums, but unlike tantrums, meltdowns can last anywhere from ten minutes to over an hour. When it starts, the Asperger's child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and the Asperger’s child are totally exhausted. But... don’t breathe a sigh of relief yet. At the least provocation, for the remainder of that day -- and sometimes into the next - the meltdown can return in full force.

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Parenting Defiant Aspergers Teens

Although Aspergers is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager with Aspergers are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the Aspergers teen is at risk for even greater difficulties on multiple levels – unless the parents’ disciplinary techniques are tailored to their child's special needs.

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Aspergers Children “Block-Out” Their Emotions

Parenting children with Aspergers and HFA can be a daunting task. In layman’s terms, Aspergers is a developmental disability that affects the way children develop and understand the world around them, and is directly linked to their senses and sensory processing. This means they often use certain behaviors to block out their emotions or response to pain.

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Older Teens and Young Adult Children With Aspergers Still Living At Home

Your older teenager or young “adult child” isn’t sure what to do, and he is asking you for money every few days. How do you cut the purse strings and teach him to be independent? Parents of teens with Aspergers face many problems that other parents do not. Time is running out for teaching their adolescent how to become an independent adult. As one mother put it, "There's so little time, yet so much left to do."

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Living with an Aspergers Spouse/Partner

Research reveals that the divorce rate for people with Aspergers is around 80%. Why so high!? The answer may be found in how the symptoms of Aspergers affect intimate relationships. People with Aspergers often find it difficult to understand others and express themselves. They may seem to lose interest in people over time, appear aloof, and are often mistaken as self-centered, vain individuals.

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Online Parent Coaching for Parents of Asperger's Children

If you’re the parent of a child with Aspergers or High-Functioning Autism, you know it can be a struggle from time to time. Your child may be experiencing: obsessive routines; problems coping in social situations; intense tantrums and meltdowns; over-sensitivity to sounds, tastes, smells and sights; preoccupation with one subject of interest; and being overwhelmed by even the smallest of changes. The hardest part is you feel like you’ll never actually get to know your child and how he/she views the world.

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