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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Skills and Deficits Associated with HFA Students

“I am an elementary school teacher. I have a student diagnosed with high functioning autism this year (5th grade). What are some of the positive attributes associated with this disorder that I can capitalize on? And what are some of the autism-related challenges that I will need to be aware of? Thank you in advance!”

Children with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism (HFA) definitely have certain skills, for example:
  • Many have exceptional musical ability
  • They tend to have excellent rote memories
  • They often become “experts” in one or two subjects (e.g., prehistoric monsters, history of steam trains, geology, genealogy of royalty, characters in a television serial, bus time-tables, astronomy, etc.)
  • They often excel at board games needing a good rote memory (e.g., chess)
  • They usually absorb every available fact concerning their chosen interest and can talk about it at length

HFA children also have a few deficits that teachers will need to consider, for example:
  • Some have specific learning problems (e.g., affecting arithmetical skills, reading or writing)
  • They can become hyper-focused on a particular topic – to the exclusion of all else (it’s this exclusionary component that often causes academic problems)
  • They may talk about their special interests at length, whether or not the listener is interested, but have little grasp of the meaning of the facts they learn
  • Many have difficulty with communication skills, especially as it relates to reading non-verbal cues
  • Most have a significant degree of social skills deficits

This combination of social skills deficits, communication problems, and certain special skills gives an impression of marked eccentricity. These young people may be mercilessly bullied at school, and as a result become anxious and fearful. Those who are more fortunate in the schools they attend may be accepted as “little professors” and respected for their unusual abilities.

Unfortunately, HFA sometimes describes these children as unsatisfactory students, because they follow their own interests regardless of the teacher's instructions and the activities of the rest of the class. However, teachers can capitalize on this trait and use it as a teaching tool (click here for more information).

Many of these students eventually become aware that they are different from their peers, especially as they approach the teenage years. As a result, they may become overly-sensitive to criticism. Also, they often give the impression of fragile vulnerability along with a heart-rending childishness (in other words, their emotional age often does not match their chronological age).

Teaching Students with Aspergers and HFA


COMMENTS:

Anonymous said... intelligence, ability to grasp linear problems and challenges, ability to notice patterns, negatives, well it depends on the individual, my hfa gets so frustrated that his peers are so 'stupid' and tend to get aggressive, the major challenge for me and his teachers has been to try to teach him patience and from my point of view, trying to teach him to make calculations about how others are feeling, because he doesn't have an intrinsic knowledge of facial and vocal cues

Anonymous said... 5th grade was a tough year for my son. I really appreciate and admire your willingness to embrace him as a student. My son had a problem with the increased social dynamics and he does not do well in groups. Same things as Ruby Slippers. I think working with his parents if possible to recognize your student's triggers and individual strengths would help.

Anonymous said... I wish more teacher were just like this woman. My son wasnt diagnosed until 5th grade and sometimes i feel like a broken record talking to all of his teachers every year since. Sometimes i feel like I'm their only source of info on the topic. Surely they can take a moment to educate themselves a little too! Lol

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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.”

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.

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."

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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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