HELP FOR PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH ASPERGER'S & HIGH-FUNCTIONING AUTISM

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The #1 Symptom Exhibited by Children with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

"In your practice, what would you say is the most common symptom shared by children with high functioning autism?"

I would say the most commonly observed symptom in High Functioning Autism involves preoccupation with restricted patterns of interest. Children with High Functioning Autism (HFA) and Asperger’s (AS) are not commonly reported to exhibit ALL of the typical symptoms associated with this disorder…

(e.g., encompassing preoccupation with one or more stereotyped and restricted patterns of interest that is abnormal either in intensity or focus; failure to develop peer relationships appropriate to developmental level; inflexible adherence to specific, nonfunctional routines or rituals; lack of social or emotional reciprocity; lack of spontaneous seeking to share enjoyment, interests, or achievements with other people; marked impairment in the use of multiple nonverbal behaviors such as eye-to-eye gaze, facial expression, body postures, and gestures to regulate social interaction; persistent preoccupation with parts of objects; stereotyped and repetitive motor mannerisms)

…with the exception of the all-absorbing preoccupation with an unusual and restricted topic, about which vast amounts of factual knowledge are acquired and all too readily demonstrated at the first opportunity in social interaction. Although the actual topic may change from time to time (e.g., every year or so), it may dominate the content of social interchange as well as the activities of HFA and AS children, often immersing the whole family in the subject for long periods of time.

Even though this symptom may not be easily recognized in childhood (because strong interests in dinosaurs or fashionable fictional characters are so common among young kids), it may become more noticeable later on as interests shift to unusual and narrow topics. This behavior is odd in the sense that extraordinary amounts of factual information are learned about very limited topics (e.g., dinosaurs, maps, names of stars, railway schedules, snakes, etc.).

The good news is that the HFA or AS child’s special interest can be used as both a learning and a social skills training tool. More on the topic of “special interests” can be found here: Aspergers Children and Their Special Interests: A Good or Bad Trait?

Online Parent Coaching by Mark Hutten, M.A.

1 comment:

Nancy Dynes said...

Your article is spot on with my 20 year old Aspergers son.
He has an eidetic memory for numbers and has been obsessed with math and physics for years, to the point that he taught himself all the college level math courses during high school.
He is now a graduate student in mathematics focusing on number theory, as well as majoring in computer engineering. He works as a TA. He spends the rest of his time studying or with his professors, who he idolizes. They seem to have filled the spot his family used to have in his life.
I feel as though I am losing touch with him. We were always very close when he was at home. We did everything together and enjoyed each others company.
Now he rarely calls. I am the one who initiates phone calls a couple of times a week, but he acts resentful as though I am a bother. He will tell me everything (in detail) about his studies, but never asks about other family members even though there have been a couple major life events. He never comes home unless it is a holiday when the dorms and dining halls will be closed. We have pre- arranged to visit him, making certain it iwas a good time for him, but it ended in disaster. He was sullen, angry, and non communicative the entire day.
I feel as though we are no longer relevant in his life. He seems to dread being home because we no longer have anything to offer him that he values. When he is here on break he often avoids us and refuses to communicate.
I am desperate for advice on how to maintain a good relationship with our son. I miss him and want to remain a part of his life.
Sorry if this is a repeat comment. It seemed like my first one didn't go through.
Nancy

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

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

Click here to read the full article…

How to Prevent Meltdowns in Aspergers Children

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

Click here for the full article...

Parenting Defiant Aspergers Teens

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

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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.

Click here to read the full article...

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