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

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The Female Version of High-Functioning Autism

"Do girls experience high functioning autism (or aspergers) differently compared to boys?"

Yes, however far fewer females are diagnosed with High-Functioning Autism (HFA) than males. Earlier, the ratio was believed to be one girl to every ten boys was diagnosed with HFA. Currently however that ratio is believed to be more in the range of one girl to every four boys. As professionals become more familiar with the diagnostic criteria, more females appear to be receiving the HFA diagnosis.

Generally, it is believed that females experience a much milder form of the difficulties associated with HFA. American society emphasizes and pushes females to develop strong social skills at an early age. This may benefit females with HFA by helping them learn compensatory skills or address any deficits earlier in life. Alternatively, it has been suggested that females use different coping strategies when dealing with social situations. Females tend to hide in social situations, and remain on the periphery. This allows them to observe the behaviors of others, and once comfortable with the process, to mimic those behaviors (e.g., facial expressions, gestures, tone of voice).

Doll play allows younger females to re-experience social situations, replay them, alter them, and learn from them. Females also often have invisible friends (a safe tool to use when practicing social skills). Among females, HFA may express itself more through immaturity. Topics of special interest also may not be as intense as the interests exhibited by males. Areas of special interest for girls seem to be different from those of boys. Their preoccupations center more on animals and classical literature. The long-term prognosis for females with HFA also seems better than for males, largely because of their ability to hide their difficulties from others over time. 

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook

3 comments:

CrazyBeautifulLife said...

Thank you for this post. I completely agree with what you are saying. I may very well be a woman with HFA, and reading this was like looking back in time at my childhood. I didn't have an imaginary friend but I had a lot of animal friends and an extreme interest and preoccupation with people and why they acted as they did and what made them who they were. I spent years watching people closely and learning how to mimic their behaviors to fit in a little better. This article brings up some valid and important points. I hope lots of people will read and learn from it.

Lisa Lou said...

My daughter was recently diagnosed with Asperger's at 5 years old. I am a special eduction teacher and know what to look out for. The doctor that tested her for HFA shared girls who present like my daughter are typically diagnosed in high school when social situations become much more complicated. I am so pleased to be getting the additional support now because there are great resources like speech therapy, OT, and social skills groups. These professionals and programs are wonderful and have helped my daughter, my husband and myself become a much happier household!

Unknown said...

I have a lot of the symptoms and all medical issues minus seizures.

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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