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

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The Female Version of High-Functioning Autism

“What are some of the traits of high functioning autism that are unique to girls with the disorder?”

High-Functioning Autism (HFA) and Asperger’s affect behavior, personality, and the way the child interacts with others. The symptoms of HFA in females are usually displayed in a more subtle manner, which often results in missed or incorrect professional diagnoses, a lack of access to special education services and provisions in school, and a greater chance of social and emotional problems in adulthood.

Several distinct differences exist in regard to the ways that females with HFA behave as compared to their male counterparts, for example:
  • “non-autistic” females will play with dolls by pretending that they are interacting socially, but HFA females may collect dolls and not use them to engage socially with their peers
  • a girl with HFA is more likely to have interests that are common to “typical” females, whereas an HFA male is more likely to have an unusual interest (e.g., a girl may be obsessed with horses, while a boy may be obsessed with AAA batteries)
  • acceptance from peers can sometimes mask the issues that these girls have so that they are not recognized by educators and parents, and as a result, they are less likely to suggest psychological and social evaluations for them
  • they are highly intelligent, but like their autistic counterparts, possess poor language skills 
  • they are not often aggressive when they get frustrated; instead, they tend to be withdrawn and can easily "fly under the radar" in classrooms and other social environments
  • fascination with certain subjects can lead to them lagging behind their peers in terms of maturity and age-appropriate behavior (e.g., a 13-year-old girl with HFA may be fascinated with stuffed animals or cartoons long after other peers her age have outgrown these things
  • females with HFA may be more likely to internalize their emotions and experience inward or passive signs of aggression, whereas males often express their feelings and frustrations through emotional outbursts (these gender-related behaviors may be part of the reason that fewer females are diagnosed)
  • females with the disorder often display obsessive tendencies in regard to animals, dolls, and other female-oriented interests
  • girls on the autism spectrum are often less talkative than other females their age 
  • they are often protected and nurtured by their “non-autistic” friends who help them cope with difficult social situations
  • girls with the disorder may be mistakenly assumed to have a personality disorder because they mimic typical kids, but use phrases inappropriately
  • they are intrigued with fantasies that include magical kingdoms, princesses, and other fairy tale elements 
  • their behaviors are more passive than those typical of males with HFA
  • girls on the spectrum often attempt to mimic the interests, behavior, and body language of others in an attempt to "fit in" – in fact, they become quite adept at this mimicking, causing them to elude diagnosis and treatment throughout life in many cases
  • they are more able to express their emotions in a calmer way than their male counterparts
  • they tend to be bored with others their age and have difficulty empathizing with peers

As females on the spectrum become adults, they may feel isolated because they react differently to certain "stressful" situations. Their comments can seem insensitive and uncaring, when in reality, they simply may not fully understand the concept of empathy. These young ladies often look for companionship with other adult females who have similar behavior patterns and outlook.


==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism

Signs That a Toddler May Have High-Functioning Autism


“I read the article ‘Can Parents Detect High-Functioning Autism In Their Infant?’ And I was wondering if I could get the answer to the same question – except for toddlers rather than infants? What are some of the symptoms of high functioning autism at that age approx.?”

While symptoms of High-Functioning Autism (HFA) or Asperger’s are sometimes noticeable as early as infancy, many moms and dads sense something different about their undiagnosed youngster by his or her 3rd birthday. In some cases, early language skills are retained, but the lag in motor development may be the first sign that something is different than "typical" 3-year-old behavior.

Toddlers (approximately ages 1 to 4), may not show specific symptoms of HFA or Asperger’s, but certain behavioral oddities may be noticed by parents as follows:
  • Actions (e.g., waving or giving a toy when asked) seem like simple tasks. However, to a youngster with HFA, these simple gestures may not occur "on schedule" and may instead be delayed. This is because such gestures involve interaction between the youngster and another individual, which are difficult for kids on the autism spectrum.
  • Anomalies in nonverbal communication are often apparent in these young people. A lack of eye contact may occur accompanied by limited facial expressions which correspond with words the toddler is speaking. The youngster may also exhibit unusual body movements and gestures. These anomalies become more apparent by the age of 3.
  • Joint attention is the concept that two individuals (e.g., child and parent) can be focused on the same thing (e.g., looking at a picture in a book together). A toddler with HFA may have a hard time getting this concept.
  • Most HFA toddlers need to establish rigid repetition and routine in their daily activities in order to minimize “meltdowns,” sensory overload, anxiety, etc.
  • A toddler with HFA may also show symptoms of ADHD. 
  • One of the developmental milestones of the first year of life is to be able to point to a desired object. By one year of age, a youngster will probably be pointing to objects that interest him or her. However, a toddler with HFA may not reach this milestone until later.
  • One of the most apparent symptoms of HFA in toddlers is their intense interest in a single topic (e.g., fans, trains or maps). They often want to know - and spend a lot of time trying to learn - about their hobby or interest, and they may use an advanced vocabulary and exhibit a high level of expertise on the subject.
  • Problems with motor skills are a common symptom. Delayed learning is usually noticeable in kids on the autism spectrum by the age of 3 (e.g., playing catch, potty training, learning to ride a bike, walking on tip toes, etc.). Their movement may be described as clumsy or uncoordinated. 
  • Repetitive interests and behaviors are defining components of the diagnosis of HFA. However, repetitive interests are essentially very normal in toddlers. While it is very difficult to determine with such young kids, some signs that behaviors and interests have crossed the line from, for example, "a normal toddler who loves planes" to "an obsessed toddler who seems too wrapped up in planes" may be noticed by parents. These include a very specific interest (e.g., not just "planes" but "the wings of planes") – an interest that is unusual compared to the HFA child’s peers (e.g., a 3-year-old who intensely focuses on AAA batteries). The child may also find it difficult to shift focus from the area of interest to other things.
  • Some toddlers on the autism spectrum will have an unusual sensitivity to loud sounds or lights. They may also be bothered by other physical stimuli (e.g., sensitivity to the way certain clothing or material feels, the need to have their socks to be on their feet in a particular way, etc.).
  • The interests of a toddler with HFA tend to be very limited, causing the youngster to have a very narrow focus of activities and interests.
  • The child may seem to have one-sided social interaction and limited ability to form friendships.
  • He or she may often talk incessantly about one subject, without acknowledging the listener.
  • Toddler’s with HFA usually have difficulty in social situations (e.g., imaginative play with other kids).
  • They are often not diagnosed until later in childhood as they sometimes learn to read very early. The perceived advancement overshadows the fact that the youngster with HFA often can’t comprehend the words he or she is reading.
  • Unlike toddlers with autism, a toddler with HFA generally does not experience difficulties in language development and speech. Vocabulary is often advanced with HFA, though as language develops, the parent may notice that the youngster has difficulty properly using his or her vocabulary.


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==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

==> Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

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Can Parents Detect High-Functioning Autism In Their Infant?

“Are there some symptoms of high functioning autism that can be observed in infants? My daughter has a son, 7 months old, and she is worried that he may have this condition. Is it too early to tell?”

High-Functioning Autism (and Asperger’s) consists of problems with socializing and communication with others. While the average age of diagnosis of is around age 7 to 9, recent research regarding early warnings signs may enable clinicians to diagnosis prior to 12 months.

Many infants and toddlers exhibit signs or symptoms of HFA from time to time; however, this may reflect normal child behavior. Failure to meet expected developmental milestones doesn’t necessarily reflect a symptom of the disorder.

With these facts in mind, some symptoms of HFA may be detected in infancy:
  • Some kids with HFA fail to attain certain “expected” milestones within the first year (e.g., unassisted standing, crawling, simple gestures including waving, etc.).
  • An infant with HFA may fail to interact appropriately with his or her environment (e.g., avoid eye contact and interactions, prefer solitude, avoid attention or affection, etc.).
  • Later in infancy, some may show problems reacting with activities and objects (e.g., over react - or fail to react at all). 
  • Initial signs of repetitive behaviors may emerge at this time (e.g., rocking).
  • Babies with HFA can exhibit abnormal methods of non-verbal communication (e.g., failure to look another person in the eye and have appropriate facial expressions, failure to exhibit predictable body postures or gestures). 
  • They may not exhibit a social smile until much later on in life. 
  • Infants no the autism spectrum may totally ignore the voices of the parents or strangers, or conversely cry and become irritable when confronted with any form of social contact. 
  • The child’s first words are often unusual. For example, more complex words, such as "mountain" or "sheetrock" may emerge before simpler words, such as "Mama" or "Dada."
  • They may become obsessed with complex topics (e.g., intricate patterns or music).
  • These kids may be unable to focus on any other aspect of the environment once they notice the object of their obsession. 
  • Uncoordinated movements are a common symptom in HFA. Kids with the disorder may be seen moving clumsily and be unable to coordinate movements of the hands or feet. They may exhibit an odd posture or have a stiff, rigid gait. In addition, they may show a delay in learning how to crawl or walk, and can exhibit a delay in fine motor movements (e.g., grasping an object).
  • Infants with HFA appear to demonstrate abnormal reflexes versus “normal” kids. They tend to exhibit a persistence of the asymmetrical tonic neck reflex beyond their fourth month of life (when the reflex generally disappears). When infants 4 months and older without HFA roll over, they turn in the same direction that their head is facing. Asymmetrical tonic neck reflex is the opposite of this (i.e., the infant turns over in the opposite direction to where the head is facing). 
  • They may lack reflexes that should develop by a certain age, such as the head-verticalization reflex at 6 to 8 months. An infant who has developed this reflex will maintain his head in a vertical position when his body is tilted. Infants with HFA show delays in this reflex (i.e., their heads will tilt along with their bodies).

Detecting HFA and Asperger’s is crucial in improving the long-term outcomes for these kids. Prevention of later life problems may be avoided with early intervention. Therefore, knowledge of early symptoms of the disorder in infants remains paramount in mitigating outcomes.


Tips for Teachers: Strengths-Based Education for Kids on the Spectrum




==> Struggling with your "special needs" student? Click here for highly effective teaching strategies specific to the Aspergers and HFA condition.

Best Books for Parents of Kids on the Autism Spectrum

Here are our top 10 book picks for parents of children with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:
























"Learned Helplessness" in People on the Autism Spectrum

Tips for Parents of Kids on the Autism Spectrum Who Don't Respond Well to Discipline

Question

My 10-year-old son has been getting into trouble on multiple levels lately. He’s had two referrals at school within the last week, and his behavior at home is totally unacceptable. We've tried about everything we know to do at this point. How do you effectively discipline an obstinate child with autism (high functioning)?

Answer

Disciplining kids and teens with a developmental disorder like High-Functioning Autism (HFA) and Asperger's (AS) can be extremely difficult, so don't feel like you're the only parent who's ever had a problem with it. Obviously, your son does have to learn some things, and like all children, discipline will need to come into play.

Here are 21 critical disciplinary tips for parents of kids on the autism spectrum:

1. A common complaint of moms and dads with HFA and AS kids is the almost obsessive nature that the disorder can have with a certain object or action. Repeated words, a fixation on a collection, or the obsession with a character or television show is an indicator of HFA/AS, and as a parent, you have the power to limit the interest so that your youngster can experience other things. Make time each day for your youngster to indulge in his interest, but introduce other things to him as well.

2. As a parent, you may find yourself constantly explaining the condition to other moms and dads, teachers and friends. It is your duty to clear the path for your youngster's interactions by letting others know about the disorder and explaining how it might affect their relationship with your youngster. Creating awareness makes it easier for your youngster to interact with others who understand why he is different and don't take offense to the things he says and does.

3. Kids with an autism spectrum disorder thrive on clear rules, therefore posting a list of unacceptable behaviors and their consequences can be immensely helpful. For younger kids who cannot read yet, the rules should be reviewed periodically, and the list could also have visual illustrations to demonstrate the bad behaviors and punishments associated.

4. Kids with HFA and AS often have trouble both understanding communication and comprehending tone of voice. Sometimes a visual instruction is more effective than a verbal one, since your youngster can review the action as often as needed. Visuals can be used to suggest schedules, chores and even processes like the correct way to use the bathroom. Use pictures, photographs and cartoons to help your son understand what is expected.

5. Cognitive-behavioral therapies are often used to help a child on the autism spectrum unlearn his undesirable behaviors and replace them with more positive behaviors. Through this therapeutic technique, the child will learn to recognize the behaviors that need to be discontinued and come up with strategies to change his behaviors in the moment, until the change becomes permanent.

6. Create a list of behaviors and actions your youngster can't control due to the his diagnosis. These may include repetitive behaviors such as spinning or hand flapping, along with poor peer relations and easy distractablity. Your youngster may require help and guidance to overcome these issues. However, he should not be disciplined for behaviors related directly to the disorder.

7. Determine preventative instructions to help your youngster learn the appropriate way to handle difficult situations. Through role play, discussion and stories, you can provide your youngster with alternatives to hitting, yelling and throwing. Social stories, developed to help HFA and AS kids understand difficult situations, may be particularly helpful for teaching about appropriate and inappropriate behaviors. Because kids with the disorder often process information slowly, repeat your preventative instructions numerous times.

8. Develop an appropriate format for instructing your youngster about behaviors that are unacceptable and that will result in a negative consequence. Because the symptoms often include difficulty processing information, the list may need to be verbalized, written down and displayed in picture format. Copying the list and placing it throughout the house may also be helpful.

9. Establish a clear list of unacceptable behaviors for your youngster. Include insights and feedback from your spouse, your child’s doctor, babysitters, teachers and others who regularly interact with your youngster. These inappropriate behaviors include things like aggression, rude language, defiance and non compliance.

10. Implement a consequence plan. For each negative behavior you have identified as inappropriate from your youngster, decide the consequence. Discipline needs to be clear, concise, consistent and calm. If your youngster misbehaves, tell him in a few words what he did wrong and tell him the consequence (e.g., "Hitting your brother is inappropriate. Go sit in the timeout chair for 5 minutes").

11. Trouble can arise from friends who take advantage of an HFA or AS youngster. While your son may enjoy friendships, his unique situation may become a cause for concern when he is not able to properly communicate with friends or allows friends to take advantage of him. Only allow your son to spend time with other kids that you know and trust, under a parent's supervision. Once you become more comfortable with friends and social situations, you can slowly allow your son more freedom.

12. Children on the spectrum tend to enjoy being isolated because it is less stressful for them and they do not have to socialize with others. For these kids, time-outs can actually be a positive experience unless modified slightly. Removing kids from something fun might be a better alternative. For example, if a youngster loves to play with blocks, perhaps the blocks should go in the time-out area. A timer can be used, and this will help parents be more consistent when applying time-outs. Kids prone to destructive tantrums may be placed in a room that contains no breakable items or one that has pillows children can use to get out their frustrations.

13. Moms and dads need time-outs. If one parent is home with the "special needs" child all day long, that parent may need a break later. Moms and dads should pay attention to one another and give each other time to decompress when necessary. Develop a hand signal or other visual clue that lets the other know when these moments arise.

14. Moms and dads need to be in agreement when applying discipline to any youngster, but especially for kids with an autism spectrum disorder. If one parent thinks spanking is the appropriate punishment while the other feels that time-outs will be more effective, this will be confusing for the youngster. Time-outs, loss of privileges such as video games, TV, or weekly allowances, a fair fining structure (as in police ticketing) with a cost associated with each offending behavior or additional chores can all be used effectively.

15. Moms and dads should list the behaviors that they feel are most deserving of attention. This is an important step because some behaviors may need intervention or therapy in order to be eliminated rather than simple disciplinary tactics. For example, running in circles or humming may be habits that the youngster is using to self-soothe, even though these behaviors might drive moms and dads crazy. Odd self-soothing behaviors are common in kids on the autism spectrum with sensory processing (integration) issues, and they can be easily replaced with more appropriate ones (such as swinging on a swing or chewing on a healthy snack).

16. Review your discipline plan regularly. Consider your consistency regarding implementation of the plan. Evaluate your youngster's behavior and determine if the plan needs revisions based on her age, development or behavioral changes.

17. Social skills and the ability to communicate are often lost when a child has to deal with the HFA/AS condition. These children may have trouble observing the way others behave. In addition, a child with the disorder will have trouble reading and reacting correctly to another person's emotions, which could lead to a lack of relationship success. Despite this, the child can be taught social skills and effective communication techniques. These children can learn how to read nonverbal communication techniques and properly socialize if his learning occurs in an explicit and rote manner through social skills training.

18. Stickers, tokens and other incentives are effective ways of motivating your child. Also, whenever a problem behavior is identified, early interventions and tactics should be applied. These include replacing unacceptable self-soothing behaviors, relaxation techniques, floor time play therapy, music therapy, and auditory therapies, which help a youngster focus and listen better.

19. Whenever a bad behavior occurs, natural consequences will result. Sometimes, moms and dads must apply these consequences when kids are young. For example, if a youngster isn't sharing with another, that other youngster should be asked to leave. This will simulate the most likely scenario that will occur in a playground.

20. Your son likely has triggers that can cause him to become distraught or upset. Watch carefully for these triggers and distract your youngster when you sense a loss of temper or an outburst. For example, if your youngster thrives on a schedule and you need to change it for some reason, let your youngster know carefully and watch for signs of a meltdown during the change. You can then bring along a favorite item to distract your youngster from becoming upset.

21. Make sure your son “understands” what he is doing wrong! For example, do you talk back to him? Why, then, is it inappropriate for him to talk back to you? Maybe he has an issue with the other person's mind. This lack of “other awareness” or “Theory of Mind” is common in AS and HFA. Maybe he said something that was insulting, but didn't realize it. At that point, try and explain why it is that he said something wrong. Make sure you have explained to him what it is that he did, and why you are angry. It's not always easy, but sometimes reasoning it out in a logical way will help you vocalize what's wrong and will help him realize what “the rule” is and what he has to do to follow it.




Parents' Comments:

*   Anonymous said... My opinion is to talk with the school and people who understand his functioning level and have them support you with ideas to help the home life. Spanking is not going to work on any child, I get the old school, I was born in the 70's but in today's day there is just no research that shows spanking helps at all especially l for a child that is different and not understanding. Honestly the spanking help the adult feel superior and there are other ways to gain his respect. So what I would do is figure out what he understands and there has to be something, computer, videos, activity that he loves. Make a chart for the wall that he can visible see. Once he get's through the day following the rules, let him have his preferred time with a reward, keep that up daily, if he does not, then he gets no reward. Continue doing this and spread out the time to a good week, a good month, etc....allow for mistakes and be forgiving. I hoep some of this helps, but without knowing your child, its hard for me to say. Please speake with school teachers, therapists etc....
•    Anonymous said… Every child will be different, esp aspie kids. Know what your child's currency is(interests, what they love to do) and use that to create a balance. They need extra steps taken and consistency is the key. If they 'get it' after the 20th try, don't be discouraged when they forget it on the 25th try. Set clear boundaries for them and reward for good behavior hold the reward for bad behavior. I have my daughter repeat back to me what was wrong and what we should have done. Don't give up. You are your child's best advocate. It's hard, very hard. But your child is worth it. Once you pick your battle too, don't give in. Change strategies if you need to, but don't give in. I recently learned how much my daughter was 'getting it'. More than I expected. She has problems with 'expressive' language . Just don't give up
They are amazing kids!!.
•    Anonymous said… Huge problem! Even when I slightly raise my voice is like I'm screaming at her. She has trouble self calming and haven't been able to send her to her room for many years as she would either hurt herself, break something or just become an emotional wreck. She's now 12 and started high school and it seems to be getting worse. However she is getting better at coming back and apologising
•    Anonymous said… My son is 10yr, we have been dealing with it almost 2 yrs.? I have found no answers to your question. It is a daily battle.
•    Anonymous said… Our son is HFA too. We tell him what is expected, what the reward is and what the consequence is/are. We always follow through. My husband and I are on the same page so he knows there is no "weaker" parent. Our son works towards earning his Friday McDonalds, watching Clone Wars and Legos, which are his favorite things. We use these as "carrots" for preferred behavior. We tell him what he has to do to earn them by listing them out in simple terms. We tell him that if he does a, b, or c (bad behavior) that he will not get the above. For example, if he gets a warning at school then no tv that day (as an immediate consequence) and he also loses out at the end of the week rewards. Our son has great difficulty reading facial expressions so we have to be direct and to the point. He sometimes says he forgives us after he gets into trouble and disciplined. We let him know that he was the one in the wrong and why, again and again if needed. Don't give up, they do get it.
•    Anonymous said… social stories....teaching outside of the situation is almost a "have to" I have found. Spanking and raising a voice has other adverse effects way more than a typical child and that connection is definitely not there between misbehavior and consequence because what they did "wrong" wasn't wrong in their sight. I HAVE found with our kiddo, and everyone is different, is that he CAN learn what mom/dad thinks is right or wrong by repetition. He still might not "get it" deep down but he is still learning what is socially acceptable through my repeated reactions/expectations.
•    Anonymous said… Yet another gem! Keep them coming!! It is nice to find info. on lots of issues on THE ONE PAGE!! Thank you for your concise and valuable information!
*   Anonymous said... My son is 10 and his meltdowns are quite serious, I am a single mother and trying my hardest to deal with this aspect of his behavior.His teacher who thinks that my child is just being lazy says he is capable of more and will push him until he loses it then he will just shut down completely, sadly he doesn't seem to have one positive thing to say about my son who really does try his best but "struggles" with understanding the work.


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Why Kids on the Autism Spectrum Prefer Things Over People




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==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

==> Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

____________________

Do you need the advice of a professional who specializes in parenting children and teens with Autism Spectrum Disorders?  Sign-up for Online Parent Coaching today.

____________________

Tips for Young People on the Autism Spectrum Who Are Considering Attending College

Question

My 'high functioning autistic' son needs help finding a job? He is really interested in art and is an excellent artist - a God-given talent. He has never gone to school and he is awesome. But I wanted him to go into that field and he is a little scared, he says that college is too hard. He doesn't really understand what I am trying to explain to him about taking just a few classes. I really think that he should pursue a career in that area. Any suggestions on how I can get him to follow that gift?

Answer

Most people who find actual work in the field of art have had some type of formal training (although this is not always the case). The occupations listed below represent some of the diverse career opportunities available to art majors. Some require additional education.

• Advertising Artist
• Animator
• Art Acquisition Specialist
• Art Agent
• Art Instructor
• Art Specialist
• Audiovisual Specialist
• Billboard Artist
• Book Designer
• Book Jacket Designer
• CAD Designer
• Cartoonist
• CD/Record Cover Designer
• Children's Book Illustrator
• Collection Manager
• Comic Strip Artist
• Corporate Designer
• Crafts-person
• Custom Decorator
• Desktop Publishing Artist
• Exhibit Designer
• Fashion Designer
• Flatware Designer
• Floral Designer
• Freelance Artist
• Furniture Designer
• Gallery Director
• Graphic Designer
• Greeting Card Artist
• Illustrator
• Interior Designer
• Jewelry Designer
• Journalistic Artist
• Letterer
• Magazine Designer
• Manager (Museum/Gallery)
• Medical Illustrator
• Museum Curator
• Package Designer
• Photographer
• Picture Framer
• Portrait Artist
• Potter
• Press Operator
• Printing Craftsman
• Production Artist
• Production Potter
• Production Coordinator
• Professor of Art/Art History
• Set Designer
• Stylist
• Tattoo Artist
• Technical Illustrator
• Textile Designer
• TV Graphic Designer
• Web Designer

Deciding to go to school/college – part-time or full-time – is a major decision for anyone. High-Functioning Autism (HFA) and Asperger's can bring additional considerations into the decision. Some may do best in a structured program for people with special needs, or even in a non-degree program that prepares them for living independently, either as an intermediate step before going on to college, or in place of an associate's or bachelor's degree. Others can thrive in more traditional college campus settings with less support.

All schools in the U.S. are required by law to make "reasonable accommodations" for people with documented disabilities. Young people on the autism spectrum should not be discouraged from applying to any school just because they are on the Autistic Spectrum. The fact that a school has not yet worked with these individuals does not mean that it would not be a good match for any given individual, or that it should be automatically ruled out.

However, if a school ends up failing to provide appropriate accommodations (or if they make a sincere effort, but lack the experience to make it work) the person with HFA is the one who will suffer the most. That is why a school's experience with autism spectrum disorders, and the services they currently offer, may need to be taken into account. Supports to insure the inclusion, retention, and success of people with HFA and Asperger's can - and should - be implemented at every college.

Here are some tips for young people with HFA and Asperger's who are considering attending college:

1. A tutor may be helpful, especially for the more challenging courses and for courses that require students to write papers and do independently structured projects. Tutorial services are often available. The program that provides disabilities services will be able to provide information about what is available and how to access these services.

2. Call and write home frequently for support and encouragement from parents.

3. Congratulate yourself for having the ambition to attend college and not letting yourself be limited by a limitation. If you’ve made it this far, there’s no telling what else you will do.

4. Consider taking a few classes online. People on the spectrum may be overwhelmed by the harsh lighting and noise from a classroom. You may want to check and see if a couple of your required classes may be taken online. However, be advised that taking classes online actually requires more self-discipline than in a traditional classroom.

5. Courses that require abstract verbal reasoning, flexible problem solving, extensive writing, or social reasoning are often challenging for people on the spectrum. Such courses may be valuable to take, but could require extra time and support. Taking courses in communication and psychology in order to improve social understanding and skills is advised.

6. Do your best! Instructors are usually very sensitive to people who have special needs. However, this also means they expect you to attend class unless you have medical documentation.

7. Due to difficulties in processing and screening sensory information, a distraction-free environment may be important for ongoing studying, and for taking tests.

8. Establish a medical care provider near your campus. This is extremely important because as a person with HFA, you have special medical conditions that many college people will not share. Do some research online or ask your hometown physician for a referral.

9. For many students with HFA, it is preferable to have a single room. This provides them with a sanctuary where they can control their environment, focus on their work and daily activities without distraction, and not be forced to engage in social interaction all the time. Having a roommate can be highly stressful. On the other hand, it is often helpful to have a mentor nearby.

10. For some students on the spectrum, a reduced course load can help keep the stress levels more manageable.

11. For many students with HFA and Asperger's, living on one’s own may be overwhelming at first. They often need more support than most college freshman for making social connections. All campuses have organized social groups and activities; most students on the spectrum will enjoy participating in some of these, but may need guidance in finding the right groups and getting introduced.

12. Have the number of a personal counselor nearby. You may have your good days and bad. Some issues can be especially daunting for a college student with HFA. There’s no shame in speaking with a counselor on campus that can help you work through those issues.

13. If you are planning on living in a dorm, you may want to let the administration know about your disorder or request a private room. If you are someone who is extremely sensitive to external stimuli (light, sound, etc.), you may want to be placed in a “study floor” instead of a “sorority wing.” Or, if possible, you may want to request a private room so that you have a little more control over your environment.

14. In lecture halls, seating can be important. Sitting at or close to the front, and sometimes in the center of the row, can make it easier to hear and understand a lecture. Some people on the spectrum find it easier to sit near the front but in an aisle seat, so that they have a bit more room to spread out and are less likely to be bumped.

15. In many colleges, the disabilities services program will write a letter to relevant professors, indicating that a person has a disability and may need accommodations. This letter might be the HFA student's responsibility to give to the teacher, or it might be sent out to each teacher. In either case, it is then likely to be the student's responsibility to follow up with the teacher and request specific accommodations (e.g., seating, time on tests).

16. It is important to be aware that most students with HFA and Asperger's need clear, systematic organizational strategies for academic work and probably for aspects of daily living. Calendars, checklists, and other visual strategies for organizing activities should be used by the special needs student.

17. Join an activity to meet people with similar interests to your own. Socializing is not something that always comes easily to people on the autism spectrum. Think of those activities you enjoy or in which you have succeeded. There are bound to be groups or clubs focusing on that activity.

18. Let your teachers know of your condition and what may be helpful to you. If possible, arrange a meeting with them before the beginning of the semester, but no later than the first week. They will probably respect your honesty and the initiative you are taking in your courses. Also, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Instructors are usually willing to help someone who asks for it.

19. Many people with HFA need a little longer to process information and organize responses. This can mean that they will take a little longer in responding to questions in class. It also means that he or she should receive the accommodation of extra time on tests.

20. Many students with HFA need extra time for thinking about problems and for completing work. This means that they may need longer than most students for reading and doing assignments. This should be taken into account in planning your course load so you will not be overwhelmed.

21. Many students on the spectrum will do best in courses that draw on factual memory and/or visual perceptual skills. A sensitive counselor or academic advisor can help guide him or her to a curriculum that will capitalize on his or her strengths and interests.

22. Obtain certification of your disorder from your medical professional. In order to obtain accommodations on a college campus (e.g., disability support services), you will probably be required to have documentation of HFA from a doctor, neurologist, or psychiatrist.

23. Seek career counseling as soon as possible. Finding a job after graduation is particularly challenging for people on the spectrum. Unfortunately, society tends to focus on the limitations that come with the word “autism” rather than the strengths. So you may want to write down some activities you really enjoy doing or perform particularly well. This can be very helpful for a career counselor who will work to provide you with some direction in terms of courses, volunteer, and internship opportunities.

24. Some classes include projects on which students work together in small groups. Sometimes talks must be given in front of the classes. Some professors include class participation as a component of the grade. These requirements can be challenging for students with difficulties in oral communication or in working as part of a group. When this is the case, you should be advised to talk to the professor about his or her disability early in the semester.

25. Some professors assign seating or have students remain in the same seat all semester. In this case, students may need to talk to the professor in order to arrange for seating needs. Sometimes seating is on a first-come, first-served basis all semester. In this case, you should get to the first class early.

26. Utilize your advisor. Take an active approach with your advisor. It can’t hurt to mention your disorder so you can work with your advisor to find a career that is compatible with your strengths. Share the results of any career testing with your advisor, so that you may receive more guidance.

27. When applying for college or a program, it is a good idea to indicate your disability. Of course, you are not required to do so. However, state institutions are not permitted to discriminate against someone due to a disability.

28. Without delay, locate the disability support services on campus. This is very important, as they will likely be the professionals who will arrange (or provide verification) for you to receive necessary accommodations to perform well in your courses.

29. Write down your strengths as well as your limitations. Society tends to focus on the limitations of autism spectrum disorders rather than the strengths. You need to advocate for yourself by writing down what you do well and those tasks in which you have succeeded.

30. Try to think through various aspects of daily life on campus, to figure out the likely pitfalls, and provide written guidelines, checklists, or advance training/preparation, for example:
  • budget
  • building in time for physical exercise
  • campus maps
  • dorm rules
  • e-mail and instant messaging
  • finding rest rooms
  • first aid and how to take care of oneself during a minor illness
  • handling fire drills in the middle of the night
  • how lectures work
  • laundry
  • learning about and participating in dorm activities
  • library hours and how to get help from a librarian
  • meal plans and their rules
  • spending money
  • student health services and medical emergencies (and non-emergencies)
  • transportation
  • using a campus ID and charge card
  • using communal bathrooms
  • using the alarm clock
  • where to eat at non-meal times

==> Launching Adult Children With Aspergers: How To Promote Self-Reliance

How to Reduce Hostility in Kids on the Autism Spectrum

How To Lessen Power Struggles: Tips for Parents of Kids on the Autism Spectrum

“I have a 12 year old boy with high functioning autism …we just got the news 2 weeks ago after many years of …'oh it’s this', 'oh maybe this' …so now we're at autism. We are at our breaking point with him. So here goes... 

He is very defiant and out of control …he cusses a lot and does inappropriate things …like tonight he peed in a soda can and said his brother did it. When I cleaned his bathroom, he had written ‘f*** you’ on the wall. He has no respect for anything or anyone. He follows NO rules and we can’t get him to do anything. I don’t know what to do or where to go to get help! Where do we even start?”

Defiance is a strange animal for sure. What if I told you that your son isn’t trying to be a pain in the ass, but rather using some of these disturbing behaviors as a coping mechanism?

1- Your first step is to investigate and try to discover your son’s underlying insecurities and vulnerabilities. His oppositional behavior starts with feeling insecure. High-functioning autism comes with a host of symptoms, and often times a child’s only response in dealing with the associated challenges is to act-out. Why? It’s very likely that he feels he has little control over his circumstances in life. Defiance is a way for him to have at least some control over his environment.

2- The second step would be for you to regain your son’s trust and confidence, and somehow slip under his defiance so that you can offer him what he needs. His “misbehavior” is the result of an unmet need (usually the need to have some control). Investigate and try to figure out what he REALLY needs. No child finds joy in upsetting everyone in the house. He knows his behavior is causing conflict (and to be at odds with parents - day in and day out - is also a self-esteem breaker).

If you have had ongoing power struggles with him, he may be at a place where he does not trust you completely. He may not be sure whether your attempts to soothe will be comforting or upsetting. He may be used to getting yelled at. As a result, he can trust only himself. Convince your son that you have his best interest at heart and that you want to provide him with what he needs. This isn’t about punishment, it’s about meeting his needs. And yes, sometimes a parental correction for misbehavior or a consequence for a poor choice meets one of his needs.

3- Put yourself in your child’s shoes. The oppositional child, with his ongoing need to be the boss and his chronic power struggles with you, does indeed contribute to problems in the parent-child relationship. However, it’s crucial to understand that children on the autism spectrum are very prone to being overwhelmed and overloaded due to sensory sensitivities, executive function challenges, social skills deficits, and mind-blindness (just to name a few).

4- Your son likely uses bossiness and defiance as a coping strategy to feel secure. To protect himself, he shuts out part of the world, including you at times. Having said this, your next step would be to reframe your child’s defiance. In other words, instead of a viewing it as willful misconduct, begin to view it as a coping strategy to have some control in his life.

5- Lastly, you will need to set some firm limits. Being sympathetic doesn’t mean always giving your son what he wants or allowing him to be hurtful or rude to others. Gentle limits coupled with empathy and flexibility will gradually help your son be less critical of you and himself.




In a nutshell, one of his major needs is most likely the need to control. You want him to do one thing – he may want to do the exact opposite. Thus, your main mission should be to find ways that he can feel he has some control in his life without acting-out.

For starters, put him in charge of doing some things that would be age-appropriate (e.g., planning a meal, doing a particular chore, suggesting a different route to the Mall, what TV show the family will watch, what place the family will visit on the next family outing, etc.).

==> How to Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums in Children with Aspergers and HFA

How to Reduce School-Related Anxiety in Students on the Autism Spectrum

“My daughter with high functioning autism is always anxious in the mornings before school to the point where it has become quite a chore to get her out the door and on the bus (lots of weeping, complaining about her stomach hurting, talking about wanting to just stay home…). Would you have some ideas on how I can help her not be so stressed about going to school?”

Here are a few important tips that can help children with High-Functioning Autism (HFA) and Asperger’s (AS) to reduce their anxiety as it relates to school:

1.  Acknowledge your daughter’s fear. Hearing "it’ll be O.K." when you're anxious about something doesn’t usually help. It probably won’t comfort your daughter much, either. The most crucial thing you can do for a youngster dealing with school-related anxiety is to accept that her fears are real to her. If nothing else, you'll guarantee that she won't be scared to talk to you about them.

2.  Ask, "What three things are you most happy about?" Most kids can think of something positive, even if it's lunch or just going home after school. Chances are your daughter has things she enjoys about school that just get drowned out by all the spooky stuff. Bring those positive things out into the light.

3.  Also ask, "What three things are you most afraid of?" Making your request specific can help your daughter sort through a confusing array of emotions. If she can’t name the things that are most troublesome, have her tell you any three things (or the most recent three things).

4.  Remember that all kids feel some stress about school, even the ones who seem popular and happy-go-lucky. Knowing this won't alleviate your daughter's stress, but it may alleviate yours.

5.  Role-play. Once you have some specific examples of stress-provoking events, help your daughter discover an alternate way to cope with them. Discuss possible scenarios and play the part of your daughter in some role-playing exercises, letting her play the part of the difficult teacher or bullying peer. Model appropriate and realistic responses and coping strategies for her.

6.  Let your HFA child know that she can always talk to you, no matter what. It's not always required even to have solutions to her difficulties. Sometimes just talking about things out loud with a loving parent makes them seem less intimidating. If the situation does become too much for your daughter to handle, you want to be the first to know about it.

7.  Know when to get step in and assist. Most kids experience school-related stress to some degree, and some feel it more intensely. When does it become a big enough issue to require professional help? Some signs to look for are major changes in friends, sleeping and eating habits, and attitude and behavior. If you've developed a good rapport with your daughter and she suddenly doesn't want to talk about what’s going on at school, that's a red flag too.

8.  Don’t try to fix everything. There are some cases in which moms and dads do have to take action. For example, if your daughter is being bullied or is having trouble because an IEP isn't being followed, there are steps you should take. But you'll also want to teach your daughter that some things in life just have to be dealt with, even though they suck. Correct only what's really badly broken.

9.  Routines help alleviate stress. Creating a regular bedtime, wake-up time, and bath time is important at all ages. It’s also important that “special needs” kids learn to develop routines for themselves.

10.  Set a regular time and place for talking with your youngster (e.g., in the car, on a walk, during mealtimes, just before bed, etc.). Some kids on the autism spectrum will feel most comfortable in a comfy private space with the parent’s undivided attention, but others may welcome some sort of distraction to reduce the intensity of sharing their emotions.

11.  Understand the value of crying. It’s a great anxiety reliever and flushes out negative feelings. It's hard to see a child crying, and the parent’s first instinct may be to help her stop as soon as possible. But after the tears have all come out, your daughter may be in a particularly receptive mood for sharing what’s going on inside her. Offer a comforting and supportive presence, but let the tearfulness run its course.

12.    Family meetings are very important. Set a weekly time to regroup and to talk about what's going on and how it will work (e.g., who gets the shower first, what time to set the alarm clocks for, etc.). Also, give everyone a chance to have their input.  

Highly Acclaimed Parenting Programs Offered by Online Parent Support, LLC:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

==> Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

____________________

Do you need the advice of a professional who specializes in parenting children and teens with Autism Spectrum Disorders?  Sign-up for Online Parent Coaching today.

____________________

Sexual Curiosity in Kids on the Autism Spectrum

Question

At this moment in time, I feel like my heart is broken. A good friend of ours contacted my husband today and said that last week our son K___, 14, said sexual things and showed dirty pictures. We asked K___ and he said nothing was said or done. When our friend came over with his 10 year old son, we all sat down and K___ just sat there as the 10 year old told how K___ put on a DVD where there were women kissing and two people having sex though they didn’t see anything. Along with the 10 year old was his 7 year old sister. K___ has a human body book and he showed the 7 y/o where the penis goes into the vagina. K___ also asked the 10 y/o if he knew that a man’s penis can go into another’s bum and did he want him to try it out on him. Needless to say, I felt nauseous and in shock. Our son has sex and puberty books, and as a rule, asks if he wants to know anything. I am totally gob smacked. I have read discussions on other websites and I know we are not alone. Other parents have young teens with an autism spectrum disorder who are sexually obsessed and confused. I really don’t know what to do. Please have you any advice you could give us.

Answer

I understand your confusion and embarrassment over your child's behavior with his friend. Sexual acting out and behavior is almost always tough for moms and dads to deal with, even when they understand that, at least to some degree, it's "normal."

Kids who demonstrate an unusual interest in sexual matters often have been introduced to it by other grown-ups, kids, or by viewing sexual material. Kids rarely express their questions about these matters openly; they "know" that sexual stuff is taboo and sometimes makes grown-ups uncomfortable. It's also possible that having intercourse explained to him when he was young has created some confusion for your child that he is "acting out" in his behavior.

One mother reported that her child with high-functioning autism was inadvertently shown a sexually explicit cartoon when he was five, and he went through several months of heightened sexual interest and questions – which gradually disappeared when he realized that he wasn't shocking his mother and that she calmly answered any of his questions. Do some thinking about what you want your child to believe about sex and intimacy, and then find ways to calmly teach and share those concepts with him.

Your child needs teaching about appropriate boundaries and behavior, not punishment. By showing gentle curiosity and asking "what" and "how" questions, you can open the door to talking about sex, rather than having him act it out. You may want to get one of the many excellent books explaining sexuality for young kids and read it together, openly reminding him that this subject has come up before and you're wondering if he has questions.

The phrase, "I've noticed that. . ." is often a good beginning. You can let him know, without anger, that “showing dirty pictures” to other kids is not acceptable, but it is okay to have questions and be curious, and that he can ask you anything. Your own attitude (kind and firm) will let him know that you mean what you say. If you are calm, open, and approachable, he may be able to relax enough to explore the subject with you.

If your child continues to be intensely interested in sexual matters or behaves inappropriately, you may want to find a therapist who is skilled in working with kids on the autism spectrum to help you and your child work through these issues.

==> Discipline for Defiant Aspergers Teens

When Grades and Behavior Get Worse After Starting Middle School

“Our son (high functioning) did fairly well in elementary school, but things have taken a turn for the worse in a big way ever since he started middle school. This is his first year. Grades are worse, behavior problems are off the hook, he isolates in his room all evening, has no friends, seems depressed, and I could list several more issues here. Is this an age-related issue, a school-related issue, an aspect of having the disorder - what?!”

The answer is all three. Your son has hit (or is near hitting) puberty, and the transition to middle school is a tough one – especially for kids with special needs.

When you move on from the 6th grade, you must move to a new building, which takes some time to adjust to. You take a different bus, with different students. Furthermore, the friends you made in elementary school often end up going to different middle schools. As you probably know, kids with an autism spectrum disorder HATE change and a disruption to their routine.

A child with High-Functioning Autism or Asperger’s often experiences the following when the move on to middle school:
  • academic performance may continue strong, but usually only in those areas of particular interest
  • anxiety issues often become apparent
  • attentional and organizational difficulties may start to occur
  • because they are frequently managed in mainstream educational settings - and their specific developmental problems may be more easily overlooked, they are often misunderstood at this age by teachers and peers
  • learning difficulties may become frequent
  • pressure may build up in the child with little clue until he or she over-reacts in a dramatically inappropriate manner
  • problems related to socialization and behavioral adjustment
  • some degree of depression is not uncommon 
  • teachers often have less opportunity to get to know the child well, and as a result, problems with behavior or study habits may be attributed to emotional, motivational, or behavioral problems
  • the child may get into escalating conflicts or power struggles with teachers and other students who may not be familiar with his or her developmental style of interacting, which can lead to more serious behavioral issues
  • their behavior may become increasingly problematic in the form of noncooperation
  • there will be ongoing subtle tendencies to misinterpret information, particularly abstract or figurative/idiomatic language
  • they may be left out, misunderstood, teased and bullied because middle school comes with pressures for conformity - and intolerance for differences
  • they want to make friends and fit in, but unable to, they may withdraw even more

First and foremost, make sure your son has an effective 504 Plan or IEP in place. Also, encourage your son to join a club, sport, or activity that he has a high interest in. In this way, he will be associating with others who share his interest. It's a great way for him to get to know peers he doesn't know yet, will help him to feel more at home at his new school. By next year, he will be that cool older student who's helping out the new student.  


Highly Acclaimed Parenting Programs Offered by Online Parent Support, LLC:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

==> Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

____________________

Do you need the advice of a professional who specializes in parenting children and teens with Autism Spectrum Disorders?  Sign-up for Online Parent Coaching today.

____________________

One Little Trick to Help Kids on the Spectrum Sleep Longer & Deeper at Night & During Naps

As parents of kids on the autism spectrum, we've all heard about weighted blankets. But do they actually work. Listen to what this grandmother has to say about the Snuggle Pro weighted blanket:

"I bought this blanket for our 6 y.o. granddaughter (who is high functioning on the autism spectrum). After just one night, my daughter told me it really does the job. My little girl is absolutely in love with her new blanket, so much so that she tried to take it to school (LOL). She gave up her other worn out blanket without a tantrum. Super soft and hypoallergenic. Easy to clean since it's machine washable. Very thoughtful packaging. Comes with a free storage bag. Bamboo fabric too!!!

When she’s over to visit, it’s been hard to keep my granddaughter down for naps – until now! She recently said "Nonnie, that was THE BEST NAP EVER" :) ...and she woke up super relaxed (rather than her usual grouchy self). Not only does she sleep longer, but she also likes to have it nearby when she watches Sponge Bob (her favorite cartoon). She also loves that one side is cool and the other side is warm. Very satisfied Customer!! This is a “must-have” product if you have a preschooler with an autism spectrum disorder."


Snuggle Pro Weighted Blanket for Kids - 7 lbs Heavy Blanket, 41''x60'' - Set with Bamboo & Minky Reversible Duvet Cover - Natural Sleep Aid for Children, Adults - Calming Comfort Weighted Blanket


 COMMENTS:
  • Anonymous said... We tried one as it was recommended by a receptionist at the doctor's believe it or not! It was amazing! We were at our wits end and as soon as it arrived it was like a miracle!
  • Anonymous said... My son loves his.
  • Anonymous said... One more thing to add, my son wet the bed until he was almost five years old. We used a weighted blanket and he stopped within about two to three days!

What Parents of Teens on the Autism Spectrum Need to Know

Repetitive Thoughts in Children on the Autism Spectrum

Question

What about being sensitive to the tone of voice of people, and then having the conversations looping or repeating in my son's (high functioning autistic) head? He said they loop through his head for hours, and he has to keep going over that portion of the conversation where the tone was too loud.

Answer

A potential source of sensory overload for a youngster with High-Functioning Autism (HFA) or Asperger's is voice – especially tone of voice. The child may analyze voice-tone first, and then decode the words used by the speaker later. Any voice inflection by the speaker that remotely conveys a negative attitude (e.g., sarcasm, irritation, criticism, etc.) may be detected by the child - and taken personally.

A negative tone can be hurtful to an HFA or AS youngster, particularly if he or she is not sure why the speaker is employing a particular inflection (e.g., “Is she upset with me?” … “Did I do something wrong?” … “Why does she sound mad?”…etc.). A loop effect can occur in the child’s thinking process (i.e., mulls over the comment made by the speaker long after the conversation has ended). Anxiety, agitation and fear increase as the child attempts to analyze the motives of the speaker.

What we’re really referring to here is the child’s obsessive way of thinking. One of the most bothersome traits of the disorder may be the tendency toward repetitive thoughts (i.e., ruminations). While the ability toward extreme focus can be a strong point for many of these kids, it’s a problem when they can’t shift away from thinking about things that are not of their choosing. Often, the youngster gets caught up in worries, dwells on past slights from others, ponders their own mistakes, or has problems letting go of past hurts.

How to Deal with Ruminations: Tips for Your Child—

1. Don't put yourself down because you are thinking this way. Old habits are hard to break. You might find yourself making notes more than you would like, but keep doing it. If you have to replace a thousand negative thoughts with positive, just do it. Pretty soon that will become habit instead.

2. Identify your triggers. Determine the best possible reaction to them and keep this in mind. In addition, it may be necessary to remove the trigger from your life, if it is affecting your well-being and sanity.

3. It may be necessary for you to receive counseling from a trained professional to determine if there are some deep rooted issues causing your obsessive thinking patterns.

4. Keep an open mind about taking medication for your condition. There are many options available to help you get back on track.

5. Make mental notes of things that are being done as they are done. Write it down if necessary. While standing in front of the oven, turn it off, say to yourself "Now I am turning this oven off, I see myself doing it, I see that it is now off, I'm OK."

6. Maybe negative thinking has become an obsession for you and maybe you have thought negatively for as long as you can remember. If you find yourself thinking negatively stop and ask yourself "Is this really true what I'm thinking?"

7. Once you find yourself obsessing over a given issue, stop yourself immediately and begin to observe your thought process. You may find it necessary to record your thoughts on paper. You could become surprised at how often you are slipping into a bad thought process.

8. Realization is an important step in gaining control over obsessive thinking. One must be able to identify and realize when the thought process is getting out of hand.

9. Remember that most obsessive thinking also involves doubting. That is why OCD is also called "the doubting disease". When needing to check things over and over again, realize that you are doubting yourself; when you feel the need to recheck, doubt has crept in. By beginning to stop and take mental notes of what you have already done, you can begin to convince yourself not to recheck. Remember, checking and rechecking is a known symptom of OCD.

10. Think about what you know to be true and compare that to your negative thought. Immediately replace the negative thought with something positive.

[Please share the suggestions above with your child.]

There are two primary courses of treatment for obsessive thinking:

The first line of defense is behavioral therapy. This involves gradual conditioning of the person to tolerate anxiety and abstain from compulsive behavior. This is believed to be the most effective treatment for treating obsessive thinking and anxiety.

Medication includes selective serotinin reuptake inhibitors, benzodiazepines, serotonergic antidepressants, trycyclic antidepressants and natural drug treatment like St. John's Wort and so on. In severe cases, electro-convulsive therapy has been found to work effectively on obsessive thinking.


Highly Acclaimed Parenting Programs Offered by Online Parent Support, LLC:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book

==> Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

____________________

Do you need the advice of a professional who specializes in parenting children and teens with Autism Spectrum Disorders?  Sign-up for Online Parent Coaching today.

____________________

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