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

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Can Autism Spectrum Disorders Be Inherited?

"Can Aspergers and high functioning autism be inherited? Our son was recently diagnosed, and now I am wondering if my husband has it too ...their behaviors are very similar."

There is strong evidence that Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism (HFA) is, at least in part, an inherited condition. If one twin develops the disorder, there is a 60% likelihood that the other will develop it as well. Younger kids born into families with an older child on the autism spectrum have a 5-6% likelihood of also having the disorder.

Even though the incidence of Aspergers and HFA is higher among related family members, no specific gene has been linked to its development. Also, there is currently no way to test for the genetic predisposition towards the disorder.

Aspergers is a neurobiological disorder in which known areas of the brain are affected in ways scientists do not yet completely understand. The disorder is considered to be inherited in a complex fashion (e.g., more complicated than disorders such as color-blindness or Huntington’s disease).

Researchers are getting closer to finding a genetic basis behind autism spectrum disorders. Rett’s syndrome is an autistic disorder for which the exact genetic cause is believed to have been found. In Aspergers and HFA, studies suggest problems in several chromosomal (genetic) regions, including areas on the chromosomes 2q, 7q and 15q. While the 7q region is considered the most promising area of study, research studies involving this chromosome in the disorder have failed to observe its linkage to this region.

For reasons doctors do not completely understand, there are far more boys "diagnosed" than girls (although there may be as many girls with the disorder as boys, males get diagnosed with the disorder more often). Scientists have evaluated whether or not Aspergers and HFA represents an X-linked genetic disorder (i.e., one passed down generally from a mother to a son). Unfortunately, there have been cases of father to son transmission of the condition, which means that the disease can't be X-linked.

In at least one case, two parents with Aspergers had a child that also had Aspergers, but did not have a severe case of the disorder, nor did the child have autism. In another case, identical twins both had Aspergers, but this is not always the case.

While some scientists support the idea that at least a portion of the disorder isn’t genetic at all, there have been no specific findings associating it with any environmental conditions (e.g., pregnancy complications).


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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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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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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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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.

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