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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Communication Difficulties in Children with Asperger's and HFA

“What are some of the common communication difficulties that children with Asperger syndrome have?”

The youngster with Asperger’s or High-Functioning Autism (HFA) usually begins to speak at the age expected in “typical” kids (however, walking may be delayed). A full command of grammar is sooner or later acquired, but there may be difficulty in using pronouns correctly (with the substitution of the second or third for the first person forms). The content of speech is often abnormal (tending to be pedantic and often consisting of lengthy discussions on favorite subjects). Sometimes a word or phrase is repeated over and over again in a stereotyped fashion. The youngster may invent some words. Also, subtle verbal jokes are not understood, though simple verbal humor may be appreciated.

Non-verbal aspects of communication are also affected. There may be little facial expression except with strong emotions (e.g., anger, irritation). Vocal intonation tends to be monotonous and droning, or exaggerated. Gestures are limited, or else large and clumsy and inappropriate for the accompanying speech. Comprehension of other people's expressions and gestures is poor, and the youngster may misinterpret or ignore such non-verbal signs. At times he or she may earnestly gaze into another person's face, searching for the meaning that eludes him or her.

The most obvious trait in children with Asperger’s and HFA is impairment of two-way social communication. This is NOT due to a desire to withdraw from social contact, rather the problem arises from a lack of ability to understand and use the rules governing social behavior. These rules are unwritten and unstated, complex, and constantly changing. These hidden rules affect speech, movement, eye contact, choice of clothing, gesture, posture, proximity to others, and many other aspects of behavior.

The degree of skill in the area of communication varies among “typical” children, but those with Asperger’s and HFA are outside the normal range. For example:
  • A small minority have a history of rather bizarre antisocial acts, possibly due to their lack of empathy
  • Some are overly-sensitive to criticism and suspicious of others
  • Their social behavior is often naive and peculiar
  • They do not have the intuitive knowledge of how to adapt their approaches and responses to fit-in with the needs and personalities of peers
  • They may be aware of their difficulties and even strive to overcome them, but in inappropriate ways

Relations with the opposite sex provide a good example of the more general social ineptitude. One of my Asperger’s clients (male, age 25) observed that many of his peers had girlfriends – and some eventually married and had kids. He wanted to be “normal” in this respect, but had no idea how to indicate his interest and attract a female in a socially acceptable way. He often asked others for a “list of rules for talking to girls,” or tried to find “the secret” in books. If he had a strong sex drive, he would approach and touch or kiss a stranger, or someone much older or younger than himself. As a consequence, he found himself in trouble with the police on a few occasions, or he tried to solve the problem by becoming solitary and withdrawn.

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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.

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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.

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Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

Parents, teachers, and the general public have a lot of misconceptions of Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism. Many myths abound, and the lack of knowledge is both disturbing and harmful to kids and teens who struggle with the disorder.

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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.

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