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

Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders

High-Functioning Autistic Kids Who Hate To Be Hugged

“I have two sons. The older son (age 9) is very loving and always has been. Lots of hugs and snuggles. Very verbal and social. Well here comes son #2 (age 4) who has high functioning autism. Not a word. He doesn't like hugs or kisses. Anytime I ask for one, he runs away. Anytime I give him a hug, he struggles to get loose. His main method of communication is an irritating SCREAM. He does have his moments of being affectionate, but they are few and far between (usually when he is not feeling well). Of course I love both of my kids, but it saddens me that son #2 just doesn't seem to reciprocate most of the time. Anyone else have a fiercely independent child that you just have to learn to love.... differently?”

First of all, you’re not alone. This is a common issue. Most youngsters with High-Functioning Autism (HFA) and Asperger’s have a lot of difficulty learning to engage in the give-and-take of everyday human interaction. Even in the first few months of life, many do not interact or make eye contact. They seem indifferent to others, and often prefer being alone. They may even resist parental attention, hugs and cuddling – and seldom seek comfort or respond to a parent’s displays of affection.

Even though a youngster with HFA is attached to his mom and dad, his expression of this attachment is unusual and difficult to “read.” To caretakers, it may seem as if their youngster is not attached at all. A mother or father who has looked forward to the joys of cuddling and playing with their youngster may feel disappointed by this lack of the expected and typical attachment behavior.

Youngsters with HFA also are slower in learning to interpret what others are thinking and feeling. Subtle social cues (e.g., a smile, wink, or grimace) may have little meaning. For example, to the youngster who misses these cues, “come here” always means the same thing, whether the parent is smiling and extending her arms for a hug, or frowning and planting her fists on her hips.

Without the ability to interpret gestures and facial expressions, the social world is confusing. To make a bad problem worse, the HFA child has difficulty seeing things from another person's perspective. “Typical” kids understand that other people have different thoughts, feelings, and goals than they have. However, the HFA child lacks such understanding. This inability leaves him unable to predict or understand other people’s actions.

Although not universal, it is common for children on the autism spectrum to have difficulty regulating their feelings. This can take the form of “immature” behavior (e.g., verbal outbursts that seem inappropriate to those around them). These kids may also be disorderly and physically aggressive at times, making social relationships even more problematic. They have a tendency to “lose control,” particularly when they're in a strange or overwhelming environment, or when angry and frustrated. They may at times break things, attack others, or hurt themselves (e.g., bang their heads, pull their hair, bite their arms, etc.).

Consistency and repetition are crucial to kids on the autism spectrum, and this applies to the “lack of displayed affection” issue as well. Trying to figure out a puzzling disorder like autism can be a lifelong challenge. For many moms and dads, the affection issue may be the biggest obstacle to overcome. But, with patience and learning to go by your youngster’s cues and not your own, you will be able to connect with your son in a deep and meaningful way.

More information on the puzzling behavior associated with High-Functioning Autism can be found here:

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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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