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Helping Children on the Autism Spectrum to Be Calmer and More Collected

"I love both of my children equally, however the younger 'typical' child has a much better temperament than his autistic brother? Their personalities are as different as night and day! Any suggestions about how I can help my special needs child to be a bit more calm and collected?"

Children with ASD level 1, or High-Functioning Autism, often struggle to make sense of their surroundings and sense of their world. They exist in a body that does not always allow for accurate interpretation of their world, and they are unable to respond in a typical manner. The result of this can be challenging behavior.

For parents and professionals alike, interpreting this behavior can be difficult. Developing a plan to deal with the behavior is often even more challenging as it requires consistency and routine throughout the day and life of the autistic child.

Behavioral issues are often the result of a deficit in communication and sensory integration. Overload of the sensory system can result in a shutdown or a meltdown for the child. In order to change the behavioral challenges of the child, it is first necessary to understand exactly what is causing those behaviors. This will require focusing on the routine of the child, or lack thereof, and determining what happens immediately prior to the behavior, and what the end result is. This can take a great deal of time and effort, but well worth the end result.

A “functional analytic approach” to developing effective behavioral modification in ASD children and teens utilizes a process known as “functional behavioral assessment.” Functional behavioral assessment involves employing a variety of strategies (e.g., child-centered planning, treatment team meetings, systematic interviews, direct observations, etc.) to formulate hypotheses about why a child behaves the way he does. 

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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 ASD 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 Children on the Spectrum

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 or HFA child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and your 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 Teens on the Spectrum

Although Aspergers [high-functioning autism] is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager on the spectrum are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the 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 ASD 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 ASD 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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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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