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Parenting Aspergers Children: How to Cope


It can be exhausting coping with my 9 year old. I often feel like a failure because I struggle to cope sometimes. Is that normal?


The diagnosis of a serious condition such as Aspergers brings many changes and demands to the family. It is not uncommon for family members to feel depressed and the NAS Autism Helpline receives thousands of calls a year from families who are under many pressures. So you are not alone!

Having a child with Aspergers has the potential to place a great deal of strain on families. Couples struggle with issues of blame, whose fault is it, and guilt. Daily routines are a constant challenge. A special needs child often comes with additional financial costs to the family.

Dealing with the school can seem like a full-time job. The time that it takes to care for a special needs child can leave other family relationships with no attention.

So in order to avoid burnout, parents must make time for themselves. Parents often respond to this suggestion by saying that they don't have any time to do that! However, what you need to keep in mind is that even a few minutes a day can make a difference. Some parents just do such simple things as apply hand lotion or cook their favorite dinners to make themselves feel better.

Parents, just like individuals with Aspergers need rewards in order to be motivated. Parents who have children with autism have even more of a need to reward themselves, because parenting their child is often frustrating and stressful.

In addition to rewarding themselves, family members need to reward one another. Spouses need to acknowledge the hard work that each is achieving. Also remember to thank siblings for watching or helping out their brothers and sisters.

It is also important that spouses try to spend some time alone. Again, the quantity of time is not as important as the quality. This may include watching television together when the children are asleep, going out to dinner, or meeting for lunch when the children are in school.

Families may also want to occasionally engage in activities without the individual with Aspergers. This may include mom, dad and the siblings attending an amusement park together. Often families feel guilty not including the individual with Aspergers, but everyone deserves to enjoy time together that is not threatened by the challenges of Aspergers.

Search your area for support groups or networks. It gives us comfort to know that we are not the only ones experiencing a particularly stressful situation. In addition, one can get the most useful advise from others struggling with the same challenges.

Support groups for parents, siblings and grandparents are available through educational programs, parent resource centers, autism societies and Developmental Disabilities Offices. In addition, there are now online supports available for family members.


Anonymous said...

I think it is normal, I often feel like I have failed my son, but I know that I have not, as I am the one who champions him so that he can succeed. I am the one who gave him life, and that is not failing. I am the one who researches every little thing about his condition... It is not failure, it is a bump in the road. Know that pages such as yours gives us all hope and a hug. xx

Anonymous said...

I know how you are feeling at the moment.... My son will be 9 in two weeks and I feel that I am really struggling.

Anonymous said...

I know this sounds very simple but... We are doing the best we know how. That is all we can do. We/YOU are not failing, but continuing to learn and grow along with our lil' aspie's from heaven : )
14 minutes ago · Like · 2 people

Oh my goodness, you couldn't of posted this on a more appropriate day! My 8 (nearly 9 year old) has been SO challenging today that this is exactly how I am feeling ! It feels like every bit of progress has just disappeared in the space of a few hours :s I think the school holidays don't help at all, roll on next week when the kids are back :) x

its normal. I always feel like im falling short somewhere. I felt it so much this week when my son was bullyed. He likes to play alone at school and this kinds makes him a target. To me, it feels like an everyday battle with schools and people to get them to understand our special gifts(our kids)

Of course its normal but all you can do is love them and be their for them. Children with asbergers syndrom can sometimes be tough and this is understandable but never give up because all you can do is love them and if you give your child love I'm sure he/she will end up living successful lives like many people with asbergers syndrome because they are very talented. I'm disgusted that many schools in this country are failing people with disibilities because the schools can do much more than what they are doing and the government is partly to blame. I'm sure your child is brilliant and there will be a light at the end of the tunnel just keep your head high. As a teenager with asbergers myself I have learned a lot about myself with the difficulties I have faced in society but if we bind together with all parents and children with disibilities together we can break through these barriers and fight for the rights as human beings. We can all climb to the top of the mountain because I have been there and the view is amazing. I don't know you but I'm proud of you for never giving up on your child and can I tell you something you haven't failed him/she at all. Sorry if I was a bit personal there
about a minute ago · Like

Anonymous said...

I hope so or I'm a big failure too!! It's extremely tough going so know how you and what you mean. My aapie is 8 and also has ADHD and I have two NT kids aswell (1 older n 1 younger) n let me tell you it doesn't get any easier :-( I've had a long old struggle with schooling and services too and don't get any help with him at home and being the smear hols and having a break from meds I am at breaking point LITERALLY!!! Sorry I can't offer any 'positive' advice but if you ever want to chat then please feel free to message me :-) take care xx
14 minutes ago · Like

My Aspie is 14 and it's hard for me everyday. We had him diagnosed just two years ago, and I know at times I'm still grieving. The teen years are hard too. I'm often on the verge of tears when I talk about him, so I know it's grief for how hard things are for him and us. I can only hope it will get easier!
11 minutes ago · Like

Anonymous said...

I think opposite day alot. I hate u means I love you. It doesn't bother me, it does. Understanding his lil brain is @ max capacity and the extra stuff tends to throw him out of balance. The repetitiveness of his ocd's can be grueling @ times. But it's his life and he seems to be ok. I do feel loved knowing that although he refuses to publically express himself he waits to share it with me :)

Anonymous said...

Amy Williams
My aspie son is almost 10. There's so many days I question my parenting. As parents we want to do what's best for our children and it takes so much patience on our part when an aspie child is involved. Some days a meltdown starts and I just...See More
5 hours ago · Like · 1 person
Sherry Barden Cumbie Yes! It's Normal! My aspie is 15 and has worked hard to get where he is now. He is now stating that aspergers doesn't control him, that he controls aspergers. Just hang in there, it does get better!
5 hours ago · Like
Faith Lee
My Aspie son is 15 now, he was diagnosed at age 13. When he was younger, I knew that something was different, he wasn't like the other kids and he wasn't like my younger daughters. Though, there are several things, like schedules, and routines and ect. that we both shared. (Turns out I am one too, lol). All I can....All we can do, is the best we can. We read, we research, we talk, we network and do everything in our power that we can for our children because we love them. There are a lot of days that I have to remind myself, it used to be worse then this...he's doing much better now, that he does love me and that I'm not failing him as a parent. We also need to remember that we need to take care of ourselves as well though. If we don't do that, then we are unable to be able to continue helping our children. This was a hard lesson to learn for me, I was usually last on my list of ppl to take care of, but with my disability, I've had to learn otherwise.The kids enjoy a break from us too occasionally :)
5 hours ago · Like
Brenda Garza Reach out for support from family and friends. We try to have "Derek free" weekends from time to time. I sometimes feel guilty needing time away, but he needs to get away too. When we get back together, it's like we rebooted.
4 hours ago · Like
Heather Beedles Kirkbride
My son is 14 and I am waiting for him to get formally diagnosed. School psychologist and consultant believe he has aspergers and so do I. As a full time worker and loan parent I feel guilty I don't do more although he gets most of my time when I am home. My daughter who is 15 struggles too and I have decided to join a zumba class with her to try and give her some quality time away from home and with my attention. My son has routines but sometimes I feel we get in a rut and i try and think of different things we can do at home to stimulate and broaden his horizons. I do worry i don't do enough but time is limited and I can't be everywhere. My main aim is that he gets to take part fully in life and accomplish everything he wants to do when he's older. Most of the time he's very happy though.
4 minutes ago · Like

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.

Click here to read the full article…

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.

Click here for the full article...

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.

Click here to read the full article…

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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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...