Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders

Search This Site

High-Functioning Autistic Kids and Choosing to Be a "Loner"

"Is it common for children with high-functioning autism to have problems relating to their friends and classmates - and be somewhat of a ‘loner’?"

Although the social criteria for High-Functioning Autism (HFA) and classic autism are somewhat similar, the former disorder involves fewer symptoms and has a different presentation than does the latter.

Kids with HFA are often socially isolated, but are aware of the presence of others, even though their approaches may be inappropriate and odd (e.g., they may engage the listener in one-sided conversation using long-winded, pedantic speech about a favorite and narrow topic).

Although some kids with HFA are often self-described "loners," they often express an interest in making friends. These wishes are often hindered by their strange approaches and insensitivity to the other person's feelings, intentions, and nonliteral and implied communications (e.g., need for privacy, signs of boredom, desire to leave, etc.).

Chronically frustrated by their repeated failures to engage others and make friends, some of these children develop symptoms of depression and/or anxiety, which then can escalate into the desire to simply “stay to oneself.”

Regarding the emotional aspects of social interactions, kids on the autism spectrum may fail to interpret the context of the affective interaction, often demonstrating a sense of insensitivity, formality, or disregard to others’ emotional expressions.

Nonetheless, they may be able to describe correctly, in a cognitive and often formalistic manner, others’ emotions, expected intentions and social conventions, but are unable to act on this awareness in an intuitive and spontaneous manner, thus losing the tempo of the social exchange.

Such poor intuition and lack of spontaneity are often accompanied by a strong reliance on rigid social conventions and formalistic rules of behavior, which is mostly responsible for the impression of social naivete and behavioral rigidity that is so vigorously conveyed by these young people.

While children with classic autism are withdrawn and may seem to be unaware of - and disinterested in – others, children with HFA are often highly interested (sometimes painfully so) to relate to others, but may lack the skills to successfully engage them.

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management


Paul Simkins said...

This is spot on! I have a 19 YO son with HFA and he wants - absolutely desires - to have close friends. Yet people keep him at a distance and sometimes reject him outright because of his "peculiar" behavior.

Unknown said...

I have 3 boys with HFA and I didn't see them really make friends until they started attending schools/classes for HFA. Being around others like themselves seemed to make them more comfortable with approaching others. It has also given them a chance to work on social skills they normally would shy away from with guidance from school staff.

dsnyredhead said...

This sounds so much like my 14 year old. He also seems to have no ability to understand how his appearance may affect things. He has refused haircuts now for a year and with high school orientation this week, he still refuses. He will be going to a new school (for him) with all new kids, and he refuses to get his hair cut..or shave to make his appearance better. He says "it's my hair!". Ugh.

dsnyredhead said...

A whole year later. Nothing has changed. He starts 10th grade this week. He did shave a few times early last year. That's it. Now a pretty full beard and long hair. Fortunately, it's a quirky arts type charter so he fits in there. Still no friendships that I know of.

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.

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.

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."

Click here to read the full article…

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.

Click here
to read the full article...

Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and HFA

Become an expert in helping your child cope with his or her “out-of-control” emotions, inability to make and keep friends, stress, anger, thinking errors, and resistance to change.

Click here for the full article...

My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content