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Aspergers and Genetics

If you have recently received a diagnosis of Aspergers (or high-functioning autism) for one of your children, you may be asking yourself, “How could this be?” You are probably experiencing a lot of emotions right now, but your brain has also kicked into high gear as you search for an explanation. You want to know “Why?” Where did it come from? Isn’t Aspergers an Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)? Is it genetic? Is it due to a poor diet or childhood immunizations? Could our toxic environment be a contributor?

While there are many contributing factors (e.g., environmental toxins, dietary sensitivities, etc.) and scientists are still uncovering the mystery of ASDs, one often overlooked factor is that one or both parents probably have an Autism Spectrum Disorder - or at least some of the traits. Since we did not start diagnosing Aspergers until 1994 here in the United States, there are many parents with the disorder who were not diagnosed as children. Now when one of their own children is diagnosed, and as the parents start learning more about the traits of autism, the dawning light of recognition begins. Many of the Asperger traits that they see in their children are very similar to the traits of the parents, grandparents and other family members. Undeniably there is a strong genetic component to Aspergers.

A diagnosis of Aspergers for your child is the beginning of a major transformation for a family. Now at least you have a direction to start exploring for some answers. Hopefully you will find a team of professionals to help you reconstruct a medical, psychological and educational plan for your child. But all of your hard work will go up in smoke if you do not come to terms with the fact that most likely one or both parents are on the Autism Spectrum too. How can you parent effectively if you have not resolved the confusion and misdirection from your own undiagnosed childhood? It’s true for all parents, not just Aspergers parents, that to be an effective and loving parent, you have to clean up your own bad habits and insecurities. If our goal as parents is to raise children with strong self-esteem, which leads to a “can-do” attitude in adult life, then we need to take stock of our own behaviors first.

Some research shows that there are strikingly similar features in first or second degree relatives on either side of the family, or the family history includes "eccentric" individuals who have a mild expression of Aspergers. There are also some families with a history of children with Aspergers and classic Autism. Should a relative have had similar characteristics when younger, they have a unique advantage in helping the child -- they know what the child is going through.

There is no formal identification of the precise means of transmission if the cause is genetic, but we do have some suggestions as to which chromosomes may be involved. As our knowledge of genetics improves, we may soon be able to predict the recurrence rate for individual families.

More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:

==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

==> Teaching Social Skills and Emotion Management to Children and Teens with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism

==> Parenting Children and Teens with High-Functioning Autism: Comprehensive Handbook

==> Unraveling The Mystery Behind Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Audio Book


Anonymous said...

Have explored it, don't think anyone would appreciate me saying it though. It is a tough pill for some people to swallow...

Anonymous said...

It is a very hard situation.. but at the end, with love& care it will be plain of satistactions.. belive we can do it is the secret!

Anonymous said...

The opposite happened for us two weeks ago we received a Diagnosis of Mental retardation, which for us was hard to swallow and after many years of research and reading i will always think Aspergers. Had we gotten the aspergers instead I think we would have felt like some one finally sees what we see and we would have been relieved

Anonymous said...

Looking at traits and behaviors that my husband, myself and a few extended family members have I can agree that Aspergers is more than likely genetic but I do not agree with the acrticle stating that one must fix themselves in order to help their child. Aspergers is not something that needs to be fixed but more understood. I've had other people say that because my family of four is quiet and shy that maybe we all should learn to be more outgoing, take classes, learn to be more social. Frankly I think there are enough loud and boisterous people in the world and being quiet, reserved and rule following citizens is nothing to be ashamed of.

Anonymous said...

We are still in the early months of diagnosis for my son and though in my research I have read a couple of articles about what may cause Aspergers. This has led me to the opinion that there is too many assumption to choose from .. we are not worried about what caused it just want to understand how it effects my son and how we can help him grow and enjoy life.. help him smile and love himself .. support him to accept himself as the most amazing person that he is :) .. sending too much time on "why" will lead you to missing out of valuable time and energy for your aspire child.

Anonymous said...

struggled for over 10yrs of one misdiagbosis after another until 11/2010 finally at 14 I now understand my son completely!

Anonymous said...

There is frustration amongst parents of children with Autism that once they have a diagnosis, there is no clear direction or support on what to do next. This is the most important and worrying time for the parents, and we need a plan in place by schools, Local Authorities, Local Council and Autism organisations to help everyone concerned. I will be bringing this issue up as an ambassador at my meeting with the Autistic Society tomorrow.

PridefulWiccan said...

I got diagnosed with AS when I was a kid but only truly knew what it was for the last 3-4 years. Before that I had no idea what AS really was. Now I've been identifying my habits and kinks and finding ways to fix them and adjust them. Weirdly enough though, I've always been hyper as well and very talkative. So that helped me as a kid and does now as an adult (I'm almost 22). For one reason or another today it hit me out of no where.... what if it's genetic? What if I give this to my children when I have them? It scares me. I had a hard childhood, I only ever had a few true friends. And because I was so weird and off I got bullied alot. I've looked at several sites and they all say that is believed it probably is genetic. Now I'm terrified because how am I going to protect my future children from everything I went through? How will I help them when all I know is how to help an AS adult not a child?

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."

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.

Click here
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...