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Asperger's: Daily Stresses and Others' Reactions

There is yet another aspect to the diagnosis of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) that further complicates the task most families face. This aspect is that the day to day, hour by hour, moment by moment experience of life with a youngster on the spectrum may be profoundly affected in very difficult and disconcerting ways.

Unquestionably, there is tremendous variance here. Some ASD kids are relatively quiet and docile and in this respect, easier to live with. Others are quite unpredictable, even volatile, and extremely hard to manage. The most simple, mundane things most people take for granted – the natural, unquestioning way people get through the day - moms & dads of ASD kids may be unable to do. For example, some kids perseverate in ways that turn family life upside down and some become profoundly upset by the way they think things are supposed to be. Some are terrible sleepers and some may be difficult to bring out in public because of behavioral outbursts.

While the moms & dads of ASD kids desperately need time away from them, this issue, too, tends to be more complicated than in families with typical kids. Babysitters for such kids tend to be quite difficult to find. Many teenaged babysitters are unable and unwilling to deal with the challenges such kids provide and many moms & dads feel uneasy leaving their youngster in this situation. Similarly, it is often impossible to impose on one’s neighbors, friends, or even family the way many moms & dads do; one cannot simply ask to drop the youngster by while one goes to the store.

Others' Reactions—

The reaction of others often complicates the difficulties moms & dads face. One of the most painful aspects of raising a youngster on the autism spectrum can be the stares, disapproving looks, and critical remarks from passersby. This issue is often particularly problematic in families in which the kids look outwardly normal (and most of them do).

Because they look normal and are usually quite bright, kids (and adults for that matter) with Aspergers are are especially likely to be misperceived as willfully defiant. Many times their “defiant” behavior is due to misreading a situation or being incapable of effectively dealing with frustration. Sometimes moms & dads themselves do not realize their kids are not intentionally thwarting authority. Unfortunate confrontations in schools are often due to teachers and school administrators misunderstanding the disorder.

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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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