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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Part 3: Teaching Strategies for Students with Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism – The “Hidden Curriculum”

Curriculum education is not the only education an Asperger’s (AS) or High-Functioning Autistic ((HFA) student encounters in the public school system. Social behaviors are not only necessary for successful playground interaction, they are necessary for successful acquisition of educational curriculum.

The “hidden curriculum” consists of important social skills that everyone knows, but no one is taught. This includes assumed rules, student expectations, idioms and metaphors. Understanding the hidden curriculum is difficult for all kids, but it is especially so for young people with AS and HFA who have deficits in social interactions.

The following example illustrates the difficulty children on the autism spectrum have understanding the hidden curriculum:

Michael was a popular ninth-grader, despite his social awkwardness. His classmates accepted him and were understanding of his disorder. One day Michael was hanging out with his peers in the hallway before class when his friend Jamie began swearing in disappointment about his D in math. Michael picked up on the swearing and associated it with disappointment. The bell rang and Michael went on to his next class. As he sat down, Michael realized that he left his history book in his locker. His teacher, Mr. Williams, would not let him go back to his locker, and immediately Michael got mad and began using cuss words. Mr. Williams sent Michael to the dean’s office, leaving Michael mystified about what he did wrong. He thought it was acceptable to cuss when he was disappointed at school. Michael did not understand the hidden curriculum – swearing may be acceptable around peers, but you should never curse when a teacher is present.

The hidden curriculum suggests an aspect of learning that is not obvious to students with AS and HFA. This aspect of learning includes the basic how-to's of daily functioning. These are things that other students seem to just know. The social know-how that tells “typical” students what is inappropriate subject matter may be foreign to an AS or HFA student. Thus, teachers should instruct students struggling in this realm through the use of acting lessons, direct instruction, scope and sequence, self-esteem building, and social stories. Social stories and acting lessons give examples of proper behaviors in various public settings.

More information on creating social stories can be found here: How To Write Social Stories

Teaching Students with Aspergers and HFA

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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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