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Aspergers Children and School Phobia

Most Aspergers (high functioning autism) children at some time in their school career are challenged by anxiety. School phobia (known to professionals as school refusal), a complex and extreme form of anxiety about going to school (but not of the school itself as the name suggests), can have many causes and can include related anxiety disorders such as agoraphobia and selective mutism.

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Anonymous said...

Sadly for my 2 Aspergers children the worst bullies were the teachers - who, in their ignorance of aspergers, punished and humiliated my children daily.

A lack of training and professional arrogance can be a very dangerous combination.

These days we are happily homeschooling


Anonymous said...

My son has been crying tonight about starting school in two days time. Tomorrow is his birthday
( he will be nine) and yet everything we do is over shadowed by his 'horror' of school. What are schools doing to our children? I am a teacher and yet I despair about the lack of warmth, ubderstanding, kindness and knowledge within my profession. I would do anything to protect my son from having to endure such anxiety, although home schooling does not sit cmfortably with me because I just want to love him and be his mum not his teacher.
Thankyou for newsletter it really helps but the magic wand to mAke this all go away is all I really want.


Anonymous said...

My daughter with Aspergers started middle school last year ( 6th grade). It turned her into an emotional and anxiety ridden mess. There were other factors in the mix, but she ended up having to be tutored the second half of the year. She's come a long way this summer with her anxiety until a week ago. She is just going to enrichment classes, and Homeschool classes and she couldnt even make it to the enrichment classes orientation. Its scary and frustrating. We will see what we can get her to do this year.

Anonymous said...

Im very lucky my son's school has programs for Aspergers and other illnesses so all the teachers are fantastic with him. My problem is, even with all the helpfull advise above being done, he still hates going to school and at times life itself. Hopefully over time this will improve.


judy said...

We have a 12 year old boy with Aspergers. He was bullied by kids and teachers from preschool till 6th grade. His dad was also killed in an accident in august of 2008. We found a private school in brentwood tennesse, named Currey Ingram Accadamy that is wonderful. All children are iep kids. Aspergers or on the spectrum or dyslexia. The tuition is 30,000 a year. Nathan attended the 6th grade and is now in the 7th. We are running through ins. and his grandmoters retirement. If you can find a way it is life changing and what the doctor ordered. If anyone knows of where there is a schlorship for a 7th grader please let us know. We need help to stay there. Thanks Judy

Anonymous said...

Our daughter (11) suffers from severe anxiety about getting the stomach flu. This carries over to anxiety about going to school or church because that is where you can pick up germs. She also gets very nervous about speaking in front of people (like introducing herself to the class, a presentation, or even just answering a question). We started bringing her to a counselor last spring. Things have gotten a bit better. I am able to help her recognize the words she tells herself in her head are often not true and we talk about what is the truth. We still can't really refute germs and illness, but more than anything, I try to reassure her that no matter what happens, she will not be alone, she will not be a failure, and she CAN face any challenge and meet it. Another thing the counselor recommended as okay is just plain distraction. When she is really obsessing over a fear, we simply change what we are doing (if possible) and I will let her stay up a bit late if she needs to read her favorite book for a bit to help her stop worrying about whether or not she is going to throw-up in the middle of the night.

It's a continual battle, but she has made some positive baby steps over the past few months. While she cried herself to sleep over worry about the first day of school, she has actually had a fantastic year so far. Not anxiety-free, but manageable.

KJ said...

Oh wow, when it says "teaching them relaxation techniques can actually make them more anxious" I could have cried !

I am an Aspie and I have a nine year old Aspie son. I was diagnosed with School refusal at age 12 and I never went to high school. I was enrolled 15 separate times at different schools but never attended(I went back to study as a n adult). I was only diagnosed with Aspergers after my son was.

I went through the relaxation technique rubbish as both a child and an adult. The last time was with a so called Aspergers expert psychologist who as soon as I told her it was the one thing I would not do, made me ! I went home and had a mega-meltdown that landed me in the psych ward of the local hospital.

It is amazing to see a "professional" who gets it !
Thank you :)

Tisha said...

Homeschool!!! Our son was in public school until 3rd grade. He had an emotionally abusive teacher and we had no support from the administration or special ed team to help him. He was wetting the bed and having night terrors. Every day was a new phone call. He was humiliated in front of his class and the teacher encouraged the students to mock his meltdowns. Finally, he was physically restrained on the floor of the class for trying to follow his IEP and we weren't notified. That was the last straw. We took him out that day and haven't looked back.

It has made a world of difference for our son. He is calmer, happier, has friends, and is learning, which is the ultimate goal.

There is no need to force children into emotionally damaging situations every day.

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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