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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Making Your Aspergers Child's Bedroom More Conducive To Sleep

“Our 5 y.o. boy has been diagnosed with Aspergers (high functioning). Any suggestions on how to make his bedroom more favorable for sleeping? We have been told by the therapist that he may be over-stimulated by the digital gadgets, toys, games, etc., in his room – and that these items are distracting him from falling asleep. This is a plausible theory, because he will get out of bed late into the night to play around. Also, he is easily aroused by the slightest noises through the night.”

It is important that the bed and the bedroom are associated with sleep and are not associated with activity. When young people with High-Functioning Autism or Asperger’s have sleep problems, it is highly recommended that their bed and bedroom activity be limited to sleep only. It is important to make sure that extreme changes in temperature are avoided during the night. Increasing light is associated with decreases in the release of the neuro-chemical melatonin which triggers sleep onset. Thus, it is important to get the sunlight flowing in the child’s room as soon as possible in the morning. Conversely, darkening the room at night is critical. When a child’s fear of the dark is an issue, behavioral psychotherapy may be necessary. I also recommend moving the clock so that the child is not watching the time while lying in bed.

Here are a few additional suggestions that will help facilitate a good night’s rest:
  • Cool colors (those from the left side of the color wheel) are thought to provide a sense of calm. Choose one of these for your child’s bedroom, and avoid bright, loud colors that are more exciting than soothing.
  • If your child needs a little light to sleep comfortably, consider adding a couple of nightlights or a dimmer switch rather than having him sleep with a lamp on all the time.
  • Loud pipes might be keeping your child awake when one person makes a bathroom visit in the middle of the night. Look for the cause of any clanging and banging, particularly in a bathroom that may be adjacent to his bedroom.
  • Make sure doors and windows are solid and secure, with no drafts or rattles. 
  • Make sure that rooms adjacent to your child’s bedroom are not home to stereos, televisions or other noisy electronics. Most modern homes don't have completely soundproofed walls, and the bleed-through noise may be keeping him awake.
  • Organize closets and keep your child’s clothing and other personal items in their places. A chaotic, messy room is stressful to the mind. 
  • Select light-blocking window treatments. Even though the sun isn't out, plenty of light can sneak into the bedroom from outside, disrupting your child’s sleep patterns. 
  • Use an air purifier or humidifier to keep air quality at its best. Allergens and excessively dry air can interrupt a child’s sleep and make waking up unpleasant, too. Also, many machines create a white noise that drowns out other distracting sounds, which is often very appealing to children on the autism spectrum.


The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook

1 comment:

Angela Clifton said...

We also used either a sound machine (played nature sounds) or a cd with relaxing instrumental music to help our son get to sleep or stay asleep. That seemed to help reduce waking up from other people moving around after he went to bed.

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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