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How can I teach empathy to my child with Aspergers?

One of the most common areas of weakness mentioned to me by moms and dads is empathy. Aspergers causes an individual to lack empathy. Showing emotions and acknowledging another person's feelings are very important skills. Without empathy, a person is seen as cold and unfeeling, therefore making it difficult to develop personal relationships with others.

If you were to complete an Internet search on empathy and Aspergers, you would find a topic that is very well covered. This weakness is quite well-known. The problem lies within the inability to determine another individual's feelings, more so than an actual inability to feel. Once your child becomes aware of another person's feelings, he is likely quite capable in showing empathy of a variety of emotions. The key to teaching empathy is helping him learn to understand and recognize other people's true feelings and emotions.

As a parent, you should definitely teach empathy. Aspergers doesn't eliminate the desire to learn, even though it can make it a bit difficult. Here are some ideas you can use to help your child develop a healthier emotional outlook.

• Social stories can be used to teach a variety of skills. You can purchase books of social stories or create your own personal versions. Feel free to make some of them silly and fun, while others are more sad and serious.

• Occupational and Speech/language therapy practice at home is important to your child's development. Make sure you are meeting with his therapists regularly and working on the goals that help with empathy: sensory issues, social cues and language, and pretend-play, to name a few.

• Social skills groups/classes can be found through your child's school, doctor's office, or your local Autism support group. Good social skills will automatically enhance your child's empathy. If you cannot find a social skills group for your child, speak with the special education department at his school for tips you can use at home. Better yet, convince them of the need to start a social skills group at school, complete with peer buddies. (Peer buddies are neuro-typical classmates who have a desire to help with the challenges some of the special needs students face at school.)

• Video, peer, and self-modeling are all good ways to teach empathy. Using videos, your child can learn to connect feelings by watching facial expressions while listening to the conversations that take place. Once a video has been implemented, bringing in a peer to help re-create the video will bring about a new dimension. Likewise, have your child use a mirror to see different facial expressions while talking about their meanings. Seeing, hearing, and doing will help your child make important connections that will stick with him.

While planning to assist a youngster by teaching empathy, Aspergers specialists and moms and dads must also balance the need for good communication skills. Social cues and gestures are an important part of emotional connection. A good speech/language therapist can help your child learn better social skills and empathy by improving his verbal and nonverbal language skills.

My Aspergers Child: Preventing Meltdowns

Aspergers Children: Emotions and Being Silly

It can be very difficult for a youngster with Aspergers to control his impulses and regulate his emotions. Hyperactivity, dulled responses, anxiety, and sensory meltdowns are all common occurrences and can seriously interfere with the ability to stay on task.

The symptoms and characteristics of Aspergers vary widely from person to person. Self-regulation may always be an issue with which your child struggles. However, as he continues to grow and learn, his responses may improve dramatically. Here are some things you can do now to help him find a balance and that will allow him to better self-regulate his emotions.

The first step to learning self regulation is to know what triggers certain negative responses. For instance, if play time with loud music and bright lights brings on unmanageable hyperactivity, this could mean that there is a sensory overload happening. By simply changing play time to a calmer, quieter atmosphere, you can change the behavior, which will improve attitudes for the activities that come after play time. This is not to say that loud music and bright lights should always be eliminated. It just means that the situation that follows the loud music and bright lights needs to be assessed to avoid these emotional difficulties. Dealing with sensory overload while taking a test, for example, is very unpleasant.

Here are some additional ideas that can help your child learn to self regulate:
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Medications may be needed in some cases. Anti-anxiety drugs, mood stabilizers, and ADHD drugs are commonly used in various combinations to help kids with Aspergers find balance and calmness.
  • Occupational therapy can help your child (and you) learn tips and techniques that will help relieve sensory overload. Something as simple as joint compressions and get your child back on task quickly and quietly.

If your child has great difficulty regulating his emotions and actions, it is a good idea to begin with medical and psychological examinations. Your child's medical team can then come up with a medical plan and therapies suited specifically for his needs.

My Aspergers Child: Preventing Meltdowns

Can my son with Aspergers truly understand love?

Many emotional concepts are difficult for kids with Aspergers. Love is probably one of the most complicated emotions of all. The lack of empathy and inflexibility that many kids with Aspergers live with will definitely make understanding the concept of love difficult – difficult, but not impossible.

It is sometimes hard to separate the idea of a person with Aspergers loving someone from the true source of difficulty, which is the concept of theory of mind. People with Aspergers feel a full range of emotions: anger, sadness, joy, and yes, love. However, the problem lies in connecting these feelings to the feelings of others. Theory of mind is understanding that another person's thoughts and feelings are their own and how they can coincide with ours, even though they are not reliant on what we are feeling.

The possibilities are there for your son with Aspergers. Love is an emotion that he can come to understand. Here are some things you can do to make sure that happens:
  1. If your son is still young, behavioral therapists can use play therapy to enhance your son's theory of mind. Pretend play can be difficult for kids with Aspergers due to the close connection with understanding another's feelings. Play skills are important for developing relationships on many levels.
  2. If your son is older, social skills therapy can help him work on social cues, facial expressions, and basic communication, which in turn, will enhance his theory of mind abilities.
  3. Practice facial expression and recognition with pictures in books or family photographs. Explain the emotion and the cause. Using the ‘say, see, hear' approach to enhance his understanding.
  4. Social stories and comic strips can also be used to show situations that cause different emotional responses. Use these to explain why other people may react in various situations.

The process of developing theory of mind is ongoing in kids with Aspergers. Love is only a small part of this very complex equation. While love may be a tricky emotional concept for kids with Aspergers, the basic idea of love is very real. Balancing the feelings of love within a relationship is what will bring on a variety of experiences, both positive and negative. With straight forward discussion about feelings and emotions, your son should be able to understand love, and be successful at it.

My Aspergers Child: Preventing Meltdowns

Meltdowns and Punishment

One of the most important things to realize is that meltdowns are part of the Aspergers (high functioning autism) condition. Children on the autism spectrum can't avoid them. The best parents can do is try to reduce the damage.

==> Here's how...

Shutdowns: A Specific Type of Meltdown

"Are shutdowns actually avoidance behavior, in other words, the child is simply trying to get out of doing something uncomfortable? And how is it different than a meltdown? I'm not sure exactly where to draw the line between intentional and involuntary acts with my 10 y.o. (high-functioning)." 

Click here for the answer...

How do I bond with my 8yr old son that has Aspergers?


How do I bond with my 8yr old son that has Aspergers? It's very hard for me …I need help.


Just like with any relationship, building a positive relationship between the parent and the Aspergers (high functioning autistic) child is one that requires work and effort to make it strong and successful. Parenting an Aspergers child is a tough job, and maintaining close relationships and open communications helps to ensure parents and their children stay connected through all ages of their upbringing.

Here are 10 simple tips for enhancing the bond between parent and the Aspergers youngster:

1. Develop and Maintain a Special Bedtime Ritual—For younger kids, reading a favorite bedtime book or telling stories is a ritual that will be remembered most likely throughout their life. Older kids should not be neglected either. Once kids start reading, have them read a page, chapter, or short book to you. Even most teenagers still enjoy the ritual of being told goodnight in a special way by a parent--even if they don't act like it!

2. Eat Meals as a Family—You've heard this before, and it really is important! Eating together sets the stage for conversation and sharing. Turn the TV off, and don't rush through a meal. When schedules permit, really talk and enjoy one another. It can become a quality time most remembered by young and old alike.

3. Establish a Special Name or Code Word—Create a special name for your Aspergers youngster that is positive and special or a secret code word that you can use between each other. Use the name as a simple reinforcement of your love. The code word can be established to have special meaning between your Aspergers youngster and you that only you two understand. This code word can even be used to extract a child from an uncomfortable situation (such as a sleepover that is not going well) without causing undue embarrassment to the child.

4. Let Your Kids Help You—Moms and dads sometimes inadvertently miss out on opportunities to forge closer relationships by not allowing their Aspergers youngster to help them with various tasks and chores. Unloading groceries after going to the store is a good example of something that kids of most ages can and should assist with. Choosing which shoes look better with your dress lets a child know you value her opinion. Of course, if you ask, be prepared to accept and live with the choice made!

5. Make Them a Priority in Your Life—Your kids need to know that you believe they are a priority in your life. Kids can observe excessive stress and notice when they feel you are not paying them attention. Sometimes, part of being a parent is not worrying about the small stuff and enjoying your kids. They grow up so fast, and every day is special. Take advantage of your precious time together while you have it!

6. Play With Your Kids—The key is to really play with your kids. Play with dolls, ball, make believe, checkers, sing songs, or whatever is fun and interesting. It doesn't matter what you play, just enjoy each other! Let kids see your silly side. Older kids enjoy cards, chess, computer games, while younger ones will have fun playing about long as it involves you!

7. Respect Their Choices—You don't have to like their mismatched shirt and shorts or love how a child has placed pictures in his room. However, it is important to respect those choices. Kids reach out for independence at a young age, and moms and dads can help to foster those decision-making skills by being supportive and even looking the other way on occasion. After all, it really is okay if a child goes to daycare with a striped green shirt and pink shorts.

8. Say I Love You—Tell your Aspergers youngster you love him every day -- no matter his age. Even on trying days or after a parent-child disagreement, when you don't exactly "like your child" at that moment, it is more important than ever to express your love. A simple "I love you" goes a long way toward developing and then strengthening a relationship.

9. Seek Out One-On-One Opportunities Often—Some moms and dads have special nights or "standing dates" with their kids to create that one-on-one opportunity. Whether it is a walk around the neighborhood, a special trip to a playground, or just a movie night with just the two of you, it is important to celebrate each Aspergers youngster individually. Although it is more of a challenge the more kids in a family, it is really achievable! Think creatively and the opportunities created will be ones that you remember in the future.

10. Teach Your Faith—Teach your Aspergers youngster about your faith and beliefs. Tell him what you believe and why. Allow time for your child to ask questions and answer them honestly. Reinforce those teachings often.

My Aspergers Child: Preventing Meltdowns

"He has had numerous meltdowns..."

Parent's Name = Ramona
Aspergers-related Comments/Questions/Story =

I really like the section on meltdowns and temper tantrums. We are going through the process of getting our son in inclusion classes at school.It has been a long, hard struggle because he makes good grades and we were told he didn't qualify for assistance. He has had numerous meltdowns and the teacher and principal told us that this was all our son's fault. They have put him in ISS and even laughed at him and told him that he acts like a 2 year old. Hopefully, we are going to have some success at getting help because we went to the Board of Education and one of the psychologist's told the assistant director of special ed that he does qualify under the ASD group. I am going to tell them about this website and hope that they will look at it so no other child has to go through the stress and anxiety that my son has the last two and a half years.

My Aspergers Child: Preventing Meltdowns

Is it true that you shouldn't push someone who has Aspergers to be more independent?


My brother has Aspergers and dyspraxia. I can’t help but feeling that my Dad is halting his independence. My brother has traveled to London with my dad on average every month to spend the weekend with our mum since he was 6 my mum met them in London as the half way point and took him to her home on the Isle of Wight. Since my brother was fifteen he has traveled to the Isle of Wight from London alone (thanks to my mum encouraging his independence) this involves a coach and then getting onto a cat across to the island. He is now 20 and my dad still say's that he is not ready to travel to London alone (1 train, no changes, no underground) "London is a scary place" he said. I think my brother is capable of doing this alone easily. I asked my dad when was the last time he asked my brother if he thought he could do it alone and he replied the last time they went my brother said he preferred to have dad with him. My dad said he doesn't want to push him to do something that he's not comfortable with. I replied that sometimes everyone needs to be pushed a little, he replied "EVERYONE DOESN'T HAVE ASPERGERS". My brother was pushed slightly to do the second part of the journey alone and is fine with it. Is it true that you shouldn't push someone who has Aspergers to be more independent?


To your dad:

The balance between holding-on and letting-go is one of the most difficult things that moms and dads have to face with their Aspergers (high-functioning autistic) teens. At this time in your Aspie’s life, it may be appropriate to take more of a back seat in many instances.  While others may want you to back away, you can still keep the lines of communication open with your teen and help him do what it is he is trying to do.

For all adolescents, we are expected to be in their lives and out of their faces at the same time. Your Aspergers teen may have many good opportunities to reach out to peers if he is interested. If he doesn’t know how to, while it is now inappropriate for you to set up ‘play dates’ or constantly organize his social groups, you can offer occasional suggestions and coach your teen from the sidelines.

Keep in mind that some Aspergers adolescents do not want more interaction even though their moms and dads may feel it is important for them to have it. It is important to be sure that the social goals you set up for your teen include what he wants now and not just what you think he should have or be doing. He may never be the life of the party and may always be a little on the periphery, but for him this could be a comfortable place - and one that he is used to. It could provide social interaction and friendships, and yet offer a comfortable distance and not a lot of pressure. If he wants more, you can help him learn to move in and reach out for more at his own pace.

When to hold on, when to let go, when to push, and when to pull ...these are some of the themes that every parent struggles with (both with “typical” and “special” teens). The outcomes for kids and adolescents are best when moms and dads and professionals work as partners with mutual respect and shared decision-making power. Moms and dads, by virtue of their bond with their youngster, are true authorities in their own right, with information to contribute that no one else has access to. Professionals, on the other hand, through training and experience, can offer expertise and a broad perspective that moms and dads alone don’t have. Each has only partial knowledge, with complete expertise possible through team work (often with some trial and error however).

Letting go may sound too drastic, and perhaps so. Maybe a more realistic way to look at this dilemma is to just loosen your grip and see what happens. If your Aspergers teen seems to slip backwards, this may convince others that he needs more support than they thought. If he is somehow able to meet that challenge, you may be pleasantly surprised. There are inevitable and unavoidable road bumps and pot holes in this process. We cannot control that, but we can control how we respond to them.

Your Aspergers teen will need continuing support and guidance, some of it from experienced professionals to continue his social development. While this may pose a financial strain, the long term benefits usually outweigh the cost of not getting him this support.

It’s a long and winding road to launch an Aspergers teen out into the real world. It’s hard to know at any given moment what to accept and what to work on. A parent’s job never ends—it just changes. Give yourself a well-deserved pat on the back for getting this far. Take good care of yourself as well.

Discipline for Defiant Aspergers Teens

I want to help my son with Aspergers to get employment...


I want to help my son with Aspergers to get employment in the field that he does well at, but there is no one out there who will give him a chance-Help!


The job market can seem like a cold, cruel place. So many people are competing for a hand full of jobs, hoping to break into their field of interest. It truly is a rat race. There are things you can do to help your son find his place in the battlefield of employment.

You’ve already given him a good start by encouraging him to find a career that is focused on one of his interests. People with Asperger’s Syndrome (high-functioning autism) can have very strong obsessions. The amount of attention your son places on his obsessions guarantee that he will be extremely knowledgeable in that area. Not only that, the personal involvement makes him intensely happy.

An internship is a good way to get a foot in the door of a possible employer. Many companies that are under hiring freeze still have work that another person could be doing. By offering time as an intern, your son could receive valuable on-the-job training in his field of interest. It’s true that he wouldn’t be a paid employee, but once that hiring freeze is lifted, he’ll be first in line for the job.

Volunteering is another option. Although not as structured, volunteering is similar to an internship, meaning no pay. Volunteer opportunities can be found in every community. They may not be directly related to his field of interest, but he could learn how to be a good employee in many different situations. Not to mention, the volunteer hours will look really good on his resume.

Do not discredit the idea of your son accepting a job unrelated to his area of interest. Sometimes you have to work up a little bit to that preferred position. A company that does business in his area of interest may have openings in another department. Lateral moves happen all the time. And if it doesn’t, he will have solid work experience to add to his resume when he’s ready to make the jump into his desired field.

Finding employment based on your son’s interest will assure a successful and enjoyable career. These tips and suggestions should get you started building your son’s resume and enabling him to secure the job of his dreams. 

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

Motivating Teens with Asperger's Syndrome


I need to put drive in my 15 yr old son with Aspergers. When I discipline him with taking things away ... nothing seems to work unless I TOTALLY get frustrated ... then he reacts. I would like him to CARE.


Most teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism struggle with social skills, communication, and a limited diet. The causes of these struggles (e.g., social, communication and behavioral problems, sensory issues, etc.) can create the desire for isolation and a lack of motivation. Teens with Aspergers easily drop into a lonely state of depression, making the original problems that much worse.

Behavior modification is the most popular area of concentration when treating teens with Aspergers. Social skills therapy and living skills therapy are widely available and do bring about effective progress in most cases. However, you are looking for something new to try.

Motivation is the key to improving your teenager’s circumstances. Actually, motivation is a factor anytime you are seeking to modify any teenager’s unwanted behaviors. Now motivation in itself is definitely an old concept, but using motivation in a new way will create the wanted result for your teenager.

Old Motivation—

As moms and dads, we often use set motivators to achieve the behavior we feel is appropriate. The concentration has been placed on the behavior, which sets a negative tone to the process of change. You can’t blame a teenager for reacting negatively to a negative tone.

• Rewards or bribery- “If you do ______ today, I’ll buy you a ______.” We’re guilty of this one, too. This probably creates more confusion and greed than motivation over time.

• Punishment- “If you don’t do ______, then you will get ______!” We all use this at one time or another and over the course of time, it has proven to be an ineffective motivator.

New Motivation—

Motivators should be positive. It feels good to see your teenager happily learning or cooperating in desired behaviors. Motivators that appeal to the individual teenager should be used for maximum results. Motivation is definitely personal. What motivates one teenager will not work for every teenager.

• Routines- Keeping your teenager’s routines constant will improve his outlook. He’ll know what to expect at any given time, lessening the stress he feels.

• Special Interests- Using your teenager’s special interests both at home and at school can generate positive responses in all situations. For example, your 13-year-old's  love of trains can be used to encourage eating at home. Train themed dinnerware or even themed foods may be used to entice the reluctant eater.


Keeping in touch with my grown child with Aspergers now that he has left...


I am worried about the future and keeping in touch with my grown child with Aspergers now that he has left. Any advice?


Individuals with Aspergers (high functioning autism) usually have problems building and maintaining solid, long-lasting relationships. However, they can and do form bonds with a select few. Their moms and dads are likely to make the list of permanent contacts. Your child may be grown and out of the house, but you weigh heavily on his mind. You were there for every special occasion, creating memories that burn brightly in his highly intelligent mind.

The point that bothers you is probably his inconsistent contact. Isolation is a common issue in people with Aspergers. Your child’s core nature is to be alone. He is more comfortable living among his things and obsessions than he is with people, even his own moms and dads. It’s not intentional. This is one of those areas in which you will have to take control.

Be honest with your child. Tell him that, unlike him, you do not have Aspergers. You need the conversation and company that he is so willing to avoid. As his parent you have to maintain contact. It’s your job to think about him and worry about him, no matter how old he is.

Perhaps you could make a calendar schedule for him. On the calendar, you could fill in the dates that you’d like to hear from him by telephone and dates for actual face-to-face visits. With the calendar, your child will have a visual timetable in which to refer. Make sure you give him a little space; he is an adult. As his parent, a daily visit or phone call would be perfect. As the adult child, he’s probably thinking a couple of calls a week and maybe a visit.

Make plans to visit his home regularly. Not daily, maybe bi-weekly, but definite monthly visits should be tolerable. You’ll need to assure yourself that he is taking care of his household chores, his body, his health and wellness, his bills, and any other areas of his life.

Letting go of control is difficult for most moms and dads. Your child’s needs make it that much harder for you. You can take comfort in the fact that you have raised your child to be the best he can be. Try not to worry; concentrate on his happiness and success. He may not say it, but he’ll be thankful for your involvement in his own way.

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

The schools do not understand the characteristics of Asperger's...


My 8-year-old grandson has Asperger's and ADHD. The schools do not understand the characteristics of Asperger's -- let alone recognize it. What do parents do to get the schools to help these kids; they do have rights!


You, the parent, need to educate your child's teacher. Use the following information as a start:

Tips for teachers re: "understanding Aspergers characteristics":

Teaching a youngster with Aspergers (high-functioning autism) can seem daunting, especially if you are unfamiliar with the disorder. But it doesn’t have to be. If you are about to teach a student with Aspergers, understanding the syndrome is your best preparation.

Kids with Aspergers tend to have normal or above-normal intelligence and high verbal skills, though they may have a hard time expressing their thoughts. As younger kids, they may show the ability to focus on one task for a long period of time, but they typically do not understand sarcasm, innuendo, or double meaning and have a hard time reading body language and social clues. Teachers are more likely to see boys rather than girls with Aspergers.

Kids with Aspergers may have a very specific and even obsessive interest, such as baseball statistics, trains, or dinosaurs. If a youngster in your class is interested in a particular subject, incorporating it into your teaching, when appropriate, can help keep him focused on the lesson.

Following the "Rules"—

Because many kids with Aspergers have difficulty with social interaction, they sometimes appear to be misbehaving when they don’t mean to be. Some kids do not realize that classroom rules apply to them. They may develop their own ‘rules’ and have a high demand to be perfect.

While some students with Aspergers can focus on one subject, you might find they have trouble concentrating in other areas. A visual cue, such as a yellow warning card placed on the desk for distracting behavior or personalized instructions for what to do during downtime can help keep a youngster focused.

As students grow older and school routines change, different tactics might help. One school used a peer educator to help the student with Aspergers. The peer educator would meet him at his locker in the morning, because he wouldn’t remember which book to bring. It helped cue him about what he needed to get together. Sitting the student next to compassionate students or kids with similar interests, such as baseball, improved the atmosphere.

Enlisting Peers—

Teaching your students about Aspergers can help them handle with maturity and compassion the challenges classmates with Aspergers can present. While many students may not grasp the concept of the autistic spectrum, they can understand that certain kids are more sensitive and need a bit of extra help. Some parents may choose to come have a discussion about Aspergers, while others may leave talking about people’s individual differences to the teachers. One class had a discussion about differences and bullying, led by student council leaders, that helped include his student with Aspergers.

Kids at that age don’t understand disabilities unless they’re explained. It isn’t that he’s trying to be this way, it’s just the way he was born. They can relate in that way. I’m not even sure I used the word Aspergers.

Helping your students understand Aspergers, or at least recognize some of its traits, will help them cope when they experience a meltdown. One teacher would often ask her student’s peer educator to help him calm down by walking with him. He just needed time to have a quieter environment where he could settle down and talk about what he’s upset about. It wasn’t easy for him to brush things off, but he could get control, come back, and be part of the group again.

Giving a youngster time to recompose—by sitting in a special “study desk” or talking to a counselor or teacher in the hall—can help get things back to normal. Ask what caused the meltdown: for a younger kid, it might be the texture of a pencil; an older kid may have felt flustered when the room got too chaotic. But be warned: Sometimes they may not be able to express what happened without a little digging on your part.

A tiny shift in environment can make a huge difference for kids with Aspergers. If you’re not sure just what tiny shift your environment needs, experts recommend talking to the parents, who will most likely know their youngster better than anyone else.

Keeping Good Communication—

Meeting with parents and kids separately before school starts, if possible, is one good way to transition into a new year. One teacher also shows the kids their desks, lockers, and the restroom. Expect that things might be a bit rough for a few weeks. Just like you’re getting to know your new students, they are trying to figure you out, too—while adjusting to a new schedule and new surroundings as well. Woods says that a positive change in the demeanor of a youngster with Aspergers typically happens after a few weeks, once they feel more comfortable in their setting.

Keeping the line of communication with parents open, be it through e-mail or notes sent home, can help them work together to provide a positive learning environment. The goal is to help kids with Aspergers learn and be able to adapt socially, and teachers need to consider every way of reaching them.

Think outside the box and try different things. Find out what makes them tick.

Best Comment:

I feel like the worse parent in the world,  I have a 14 year old who was just recently diagnosed with Asperger's. I have just started reading your blogs and I find them very informative.   I knew all along that it was Asperger's but every professional I went to just added another label.  It started with ADHD and sensory in kindergarten, then OCD, ODD (grade 1), Tourettes(grade 3), over anxious disorder, non verbal learning disorder, executive dysfunction Grade 7, and finally Asperger's in Grade 9.

Anyways a big problem for my son is anxiety.  I recognized this at a very early age, my son was a bed wetter up until the age of 8 and he would hide it from his father for fear that his father would be mad.  In Kindergarten and Grade 1 if my son had a bad day at school he was punished at home.  His father would take everything away.  A problem arose at school where my son would freak out afraid that the staff would tell his father.  The anxiety over getting in trouble was bigger than the actual behaviors.

When his father became physically abusive in Grade 3 I left.  I have been doing it on my own ever since.  I have lost my career as a teacher because I have had to miss so much time to attend to my son.  He always had a severe dislike of school.  In Grade 1 he would either run or fight.  If a staff member cornered him when he was upset he would physically lash out.  My son was restrained, locked in rubber rooms and more often sent home.

I would physically have to carry my son to school on several occasions but he quickly became too big.  The last time I forced him to go to school 3 years ago he jumped out of a moving car.  Now my days exist of pleading, bribing, reasoning, begging etc just to get him to school.  Some days he out right refuses to go , other days I get him to the parking lot and he cries hysterically.

On the days I get him to school he quite often is sent home, for refusing to do his work or for crying.  Other days he says he simply cannot handle it and leaves.

I have been fighting the school to get supports for my son.  Currently he is in a segregated classroom for 2 1/2 hours a day.  I don't think the lack of structure in this classroom is working,  there are always different people in and out.  I want an aid for my son to accompany him to the regular classroom. 

I have wrote a letter of appeal to the School board and the department of education as follows:


I am writing today to express a grievance which I have with Menihek High School. I have contacted Lester Simmons and he has not responded to my email. I am an extremely frustrated parent of a 14 year old boy who is being denied of an education because the school is refusing to meet his needs. My son is diagnosed with Asperger's as well as a long list of co morbid disorders.

I made the decision to move back to Labrador City last year after contacting the school and assessing what resources would be available for my son. I was very clear as to my expectations and I wanted my son in a regular Grade 8 classroom with an aid. I was told he met the criteria for an aid because he was a runner and had a history of violent out bursts. He was put in the regular classroom with no support. This was disastrous and he was quickly moved to a special ed classroom. His day was then shortened to 2 1/2 hours. There has been no plan that I am aware of to increase his days other than asking him if he would like to stay longer. 

This year he started Grade 9 eagerly, His teacher told him he had to go to a regular classroom for homeroom period, he freaked, he was terrified so the teacher told me I had to bring him in 20 minutes later at 8:20 because there was no one available to watch him during this time. 

His teacher has constantly set him up for failure. If he cries he is sent home. If he refuses to do his work he is sent home. It seems that he is constantly being set up for failure so he will go home. 

I have provided the school with a list of suggestions that have been successful and they are not trying. In the past Zachary has had the most success in the regular classroom with the services of an aid. He needs sensory breaks, he needs a safe place to go when he is upset, not the bench in the hallway. I believe Zach needs structure and routine and this is not the case in the special education class.

Currently he is involved in a power struggle with his teacher, Almost three weeks ago she presented him with questions in Science that are different from what he has been doing all year and he refused to do them. He was given the choice, do them or go home. He came home in tears. It took me week to get him back to school and he was only there 10 minutes when I was called to go get him because he was refusing to do the questions, he was crying in the background saying that he didn't want to go home. Today 9 days after the last attempt I bought him to school and was called 45 minutes later over the same questions. I am a teacher, fully aware that differentiated instruction is available and not every approach will work for every child. Most of Zach's work in the special ed classroom has been independently working at the computer. When he was presented with different style questions he freaked. 

My son has a severe anxiety towards school, many days he is stomach sick and it is a big struggle just to get him there. 

I am involved with Association for Community Living and they have advised me that it is time to take further action. I decided to hold off for a bit hoping that the school would make school more accessible to my son. I know my son's legal rights and I have the support I require to take this to the next level should I need to.  


I just had a team meeting last week and His Dr., the school and his councilor turned everything around on me.   They say the reason my son runs from school is because I make home to attractive to him.   They even say it may be a matter for protective services because the law says that he has to be in school!  They accused me of letting him on the computer all the time... I'll admit he does spend too much time on the computer, about 3 hours a day but that use is contingent on his going to school, if he doesn't go and stay he does not get the computer.  What am I supposed to do lock him in a dungeon?   

I was told that if my son had a diagnosis of Asperger's there would be more resources available, I am not seeing any yet.   The Dr that diagnosed my son has only seen him over the last year via teleconference and never even asked about his past behaviors. 


•    Anonymous said… Evan gives me a hard time about going to school but once we're out of the house he seems fine. He's only been to one party this year and it was for one of Sam's friends. Good luck with the party! I hope he has a good time smile emoticon
•    Anonymous said… Get an advocate........I volunteer as one where I live......schools give parents a rough time.....when they bring in someone who knows special ed law for the state......there's a whole different attitude......advocates are volunteers so there's no an advocate and when my sons had meetings.....I took my own advocate..
•    Anonymous said… He actually does best with adults which is was one of the first red flags for his teacher. He for the most part is content to sit quietly by himself. His grades are excellent and he works ahead of most of his class. Anonymous said… I am another parent who eventually gave up on our public schools in 4th grade. We have a virtual charter school program, which is public, but all online at home. Now in 10th grade, headed to early college classes to finish high school. Brilliant techie! He will always be quirky, but not disabled in the way the schools tried to define him. Play to their strengths-- and always, always be on your child's side, you know them best
•    Anonymous said… I am reading some amazing books. A friend of mine also has me started with using essential oil blends, they do help. I just found a couple of these groups recently. But, knowing what I know now makes it a lot easier in communicating more effectively with him. I will definitely let you know if I find one locally.
•    Anonymous said… I am still all new to this thinking my son was only ADHD. I am awaiting confirmation from the doctor. But, everything I have read are characteristics of my sons behaviors. Still trying to find a support group.
•    Anonymous said… I am trying to find this puffy that you can make at home with Evan. I am going to try it tonight. It is supposed to be very good for sensory issues. But, it is something for everyone.
•    Anonymous said… I don't know how or what laws are in place in different states,but my son was in a charter school since kindergarten until the beginning of 4th grade I knew he had Aspergers very early but he didn't get fully diagnosed until last year .Then he finally received an IEP plan .The charter school wasn't equipped with people that were empathetic to my sons learning issues and it was too much of a lax environment.I moved to a different county and home schooled for a few months but he hated it,it wasn't structured enough for him.So his first time in public school was a few months ago and lucky he got into a school that deals with IEP's regularly so he loves school. You have to definitely advocate for your kid/s to get an IEP or 504 plan by law in CA the schools have to abide by it or find a school that will and provide transportation as well to and from the school willing to work with your child.It's a process but it's worth it in the end.It's ridiculous that there are teachers that treat kids like ours like they are bad or not willing to listen.SMH why teach? My son had an evil fourth grade teacher that would laugh at his nervous movements.I reported her but the charter school did nothing.Now his teacher is a straight gift from the teacher god's! Lol I just wish schools would be more empathetic towards our kids.
•    Anonymous said… I know exactly how you feel. No problem!
•    Anonymous said… I pulled my son out of public school. He was being bullied by the kids and the teachers. He is homeschooled now, and he loves it.
•    Anonymous said… It's been frustrating because we've been saying for 2 years that we thought Ev had Aspergers and no one would listen. His kindergarten teacher is AMAZING and she mentioned it to me after doing research on her own. She helped us get the ball rolling.
•    Anonymous said… I've been looking at psychologists for Ev to maybe get him help with socializing at school. That's where he has the most trouble
•    Anonymous said… Let me know how it turns out. I need to find stuff to keep them occupied next week. We're gonna take them to the Museum next week. They have a Lego exhibit and all 3 of them enjoy Legos
•    Anonymous said… My 10 year old sons school ( bardfield primary) didn't understand my sons needs and didn't want him there, wanted me to change he's school so took him out of school all together an home tutoring him now, best move I made
•    Anonymous said… oh dear my two boys have asd and i see its so common that some.of our kids dont manage to finish school frown emoticon xx
•    Anonymous said… Oh, I know... And the sooner it is caught the sooner intervention can start. Let me guess he gets along with kids either younger or older. But, just doesn't mesh with his peers. Easily frustrated switching tasks.
•    Anonymous said… Reading all these problems gob smack me .Its the same as our grandson .He told us that he lives in a different world to other people and if he could write it all down everything would be just fine .He likes one on one no interferance from any one .He wont go to school either and in NZ only one doctor who can access the mind of children with asperges and she has gone private .So the people who dont have the money get shoved at the back of the line.
•    Anonymous said… Same here we now home educated all four kids. My two boys with autism were 5 and 7 and I couldn't allow school to fail them further. I'd tried two schools with my 7 year old the first was appalling the second better but just not equipped to manage and I noticed they started to belittle them. I now have different boys they are so much happier. To be honest my 9 year old is much happier too and my youngest will never experience school. I wish I'd never but them in school.
•    Anonymous said… Sounds like Evan. Breaks my heart daily. I'll look them up. Thank you!
•    Anonymous said… They never understood mine? Don't believe me? Ask LISD from the 80s, 90s, and early 00s. Social Media had came back to haunt them in NTX area.
•    Anonymous said… Unfortunately the reason the schools are not recognising these conditions. Is that there is very little training for the teachers around this. Keep pushing the schools. I take information about Autism and Adhd and give it to the teacher's.
•    Anonymous said… Yep. Hopefully, you can get some things in place during the summer. The girls like my son but the boys tease him a lot. I am letting him go to a birthday party next Friday. I think he is excited because it is Jaks Warehouse.
•    Anonymous said… Yep. There is a new one at St. Margarets Dyer. Her name is Ashlyn and she is great!!! She is actually the only person that connected the dots for Riese. Just waiting for clinical diagnosis.

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How do I help my son with Aspergers to gain the appropriate life skills...?


How do I help my son with Aspergers to gain the appropriate life skills so that he will someday be able to support himself as independently as possible?


There is nothing quite like the joy felt as you watch your baby grow from a tiny, helpless infant to a big, strapping, independent man. Ah, success-you’ve accomplished the job set before you. Sometimes, however, the journey is difficult, filled with obstacles of all kinds. Asperger’s Syndrome can be an obstacle, but not one that is too big to manage.

You’ve been with him through the struggles of making friends, keeping friends, sensory issues, obsessions, and his reluctance to change. You’ve taught him ways to overcome the weaknesses on some level and enhance the positives as much as possible; there are positives to Asperger’s, as you well know. Over the years you’ve read and wrote social stories and scripts to help him work through situations like dating and sports. And when you couldn’t figure out a way to help him, you fought for support or therapy from the school system or the medical community.

The most important change you’ll have to make now is switching control over to him. It is time to allow him to become more involved in the process. Let him know that you will be available for him, but help him see that he will be capable of taking care of himself without your constant supervision. It’s time to form a plan.

Contact your local Autism support organization and ask for suggestions for life skills classes, social skills classes, and financial planning assistance. Some groups may call these services transitional skills. Your son can learn skills like managing housework, finding a job, learning to develop relationships with other adults in his situation, making and sticking to a budget, and paying his bills.

Many communities provide support for all citizens with disabilities. They offer career counseling and job placement services, among other advocacy assistance. They may also offer assisted living in your community. Sit down with your son and decide which services he needs, and then make plans to contact the appropriate offices.

You can do this! More importantly, your son can do this. He is well on his way to making this transition because of the support you’ve given him all along.

He has stopped going to school...


We are desperately trying to motivate our Aspergers teenager to graduate from high school. He is a senior who needs 20 more credits to graduate. He has stopped going to school. Any advice? HELP!!!


Every person is unique, but when you face a challenge like teenage dropouts, you are never alone. Countless individuals have faced the exact same situation and have survived and thrived. Teenage dropouts are all too common. Teenage dropouts occur for a variety of reasons, including bad parents, mental illness, gangs, drugs, indifferent teachers, and just generally bad choices. Dropping out of school seems like a good option for teens who are bored in school. But they often have a rude awakening once they drop out and have no place to turn.

How you can help:
  • Make the curriculum more interesting.
  • Offer advice on other teenage dropouts.

What to say:
  • Tell them how much you care about them.
  • "What’s your plan?”
  • "How can I help?”

What not to say:
  • "Yeah, that’s a good idea."
  • "Don't do it."
  • "Don’t worry."

In many states, once a teen turns sixteen years old, he or she can drop out of school. Some school systems are now reporting an alarming increase in the amount of drop outs that occur yearly. What can moms and dads and educators do to keep these teens in school?

By the time a teen reaches the age of sixteen, half of the battle may already be lost. Moms and dads need to instill a love of learning when their kids are small. Moms and dads should begin reading to their kids when they are babies. As kids grow, moms and dads should encourage their kids to excel in school. High expectations should become evident even when kids are in preschool.

As kids move from elementary school into middle school, many kids are left behind academically. If a youngster falls behind in one subject, a parent should take action immediately. Both moms and dads and teachers should communicate in order to plan a successful course of action. A youngster may need extra tutoring, or if there are problems at home, counseling may be in order. If a parent questions their youngster’s ability, testing may need to be conducted to determine if that youngster has a learning disability. A learning disability, such as dyslexia, can inhibit a youngster’s progress in school, and this will leave the youngster feeling discouraged and inept, prompting even poorer academic performance.

It is also important to encourage your youngster to be involved in school related activities as much as possible. The more active your youngster becomes, the less time he’ll have to think about failure. Encourage him to go out for sports and academic teams, band or chorus, and drama. If he is not really the academic type, help him to find a niche that he really loves, such as welding, auto mechanics, carpentry, drafting, and graphic arts. The key to instilling a need and desire for success in your youngster is to help him find what he is successful at doing.

Sometimes there are extenuating circumstances which can lead to a drop in a youngster’s grades. These circumstances may include a youngster’s illness, a recent move, problems at home, such as a divorce or death, or unexplained emotional problems. It is extremely important that these problems be addressed promptly. If left unattended, the problems could escalate, and when a teen reaches the age that he can legally withdraw from school, he may simply give up.

If you are struggling with a teen that seems apathetic to his academic career, you need to discern what the root problem might be. If the youngster is struggling with a particular subject or subjects, he may need extra tutoring. As a parent, you can encourage your youngster by spending time working with him in the evening. If you don’t feel knowledgeable enough to tutor your youngster, you can arrange for help from someone else.

Many schools now have afternoon tutoring available to help students who are falling behind. Some schools also have “last chance” programs. These programs are typically given at night or on the weekends. They offer students a chance to take a subject or subjects that they have failed, so that they might still be able to graduate on time.

As a parent, you should realize that there may be more serious causes behind your teen’s lack of ambition. Drug abuse is a real problem among teens in today’s society. If you feel that your youngster is exhibiting signs of drug abuse, you should have him tested immediately. If he tests positive, you will need to decide on a direct course of action. It is also important to remember that even if you succeed in helping your youngster get off drugs, he will still be inundated with temptation if he is hanging with his same crowd of friends. You and your youngster may need to make some serious decisions regarding his every day environment.

Finally, never give up on your youngster. There may be times when both he and you are discouraged about his academic success. Try to hide your discouragement as much as possible, and, instead, let your youngster see that you believe in him and have high expectations that he will succeed.

==> Discipline for Defiant Aspergers Teens


•    Anonymous said… A senior who still has 20 credits to earn (half of the required number to graduate with a diploma, not a certificate) isn't interested in graduating high school. Home schooling won't change this. Alternate schooling won't change this. Only the Aspie's mindset will change this. If he cannot be motivated and he cannot motivate himself to buckle down to business and earn the outstanding credits, he will not graduate high school in the time allotted by the department or ministry of education in his state or province.
•    Anonymous said… Can't you look at things another way? What are his hopes and aspirations for his future. What work does he want to do? If it's something he needs exams and qualifications for (sorry, english so don't get your system) then point out that these boring credits he must earn are a step he must take to get there. If otherwise, investigate work experience and apprenticeships, things to look good on a CV and give hands on experience of employment. Ultimately we want our children supporting themselves independantly, and conventional routes may not always work, so find others. Good luck!
•    Anonymous said… Homeschool instead! Either with an online program through the school system or with something completely different of your/his choosing.
•    Anonymous said… I think this article overlooks the aspergers mind. Encouraging is often seen as nagging to them which leads to shut downs.
•    Anonymous said… I would love to homeschool my daughter but I am afraid she will use that online time for computer games or unrelated school things.
•    Anonymous said… No it's not. It's just a different way that they see the world. All they may hear is 'you're a failure' rather than 'you need to do xy and z to succeed' and that will just push them in a downward spiral.
•    Anonymous said… Same boat. My son is very close to high school exam and he does not have motivation to study. I am thinking of a new environment for him however Vietnam does not yet have homeschooling or online learning for high school. I dont know what to do. Pls advise! Thanks.
•    Anonymous said… Sometimes it's a matter of giving him the environment he needs. Does your state have online school? If he can do his studies in the comfort of his own home where you can easily review his progress , that might be a better way.
•    Anonymous said… That's justification for poor choices on the part of the Aspie.

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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.

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.

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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."

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.

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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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My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content