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Adults on the Spectrum: What Other Family Members Need To Know

ASD level 1 (high functioning autism) is typically first diagnosed in children. In contrast to those with ASD level 3, people at level 1 acquire language skills normally, develop appropriately in cognitive abilities, and tend to have higher-than-average verbal skills. The most significant feature of ASD is the inability to interact appropriately on a social basis. If untreated, many difficulties continue into adulthood.

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9 comments:

Anonymous said...

My situation is that I am a social worker working with a family with a defiant Aspergers Teen (and the Aspergers is not officially diagnosed or accepted by the parents although the symptoms are pretty clear) and I’m looking for ways to help the parents who are walking on eggshells around this rather explosive kid to figure out how to regain their parental authority and control some negative choices.

Anonymous said...

Quickly, I am 64, divorced, two grown children, and six grandchildren. I am a CPA, but, more importantly, I have had 43 jobs since I graduated college 40 years ago. And I have moved more times than I have had jobs, something like 54 addresses.

When I learned my grandson had aspergers syndrone in October 2010, I did not know what it was. I knew Sam was different from his three brothers, but that was all.

Two weeks ago, while watching Hoarders on TV, the lady said: "Emotions? What emotions?" Something went off inside of me, and I hit the Internet. Searching about Aspergers, with no emotions.

I found "me".

First grade, elementary school, my teacher hit me for not doing what I was supposed to be doing. Fourth grade..........as I was horrible at sports, my teacher, a lady, took my bat, and said loud and clear, "let me show you how to do it." The laughing from the class almost killed me.

High School: Mr. Peculiar, had to drink beer to be able to talk, had to drink beer to be able to dance, then, only certain dances.

I attended East Carolina University from 1965-1969. I never met or made one single friend.

Marriage: arguments, arguments, then some more arguments. We divorced after 32 years in 1999.

My daughters, now 43 and 39, rarely speak, and when we do, it is all superficial....and very painful to me. Why the word painful? Well, over two weeks ago, it was. Now, I think it may be less. When you know you have something, you know the name, it makes a difference. Not knowing is the nightmare.

***********
Medical: In 1972, I had a nervous breakdown, was put on Tranxene. What brought it on was my working conditions. I was put into a huge room with nothing but women, in low cubicles. In other words, one could be seen.
The psychiatrist in 1972 said I had a "social disorder." In 1976, another breakdown.........brought on by being asked to do something I did not know how to do on the job.
In 1995, clinical depression hit. In Duke for three weeks, zoloft did its magic and got me out. But huge side effects sexually, as there was none with zoloft. In 2000, clinical depression arrived and stayed for 9 months. Electrical shock treatments finally broke it, and paxil.

Anonymous said...

My 22 yo daughter has recently been diagnosed and we're learning slowly. The red flag I see here is "self diagnosed". Your wife should be assessed by an MD/Psychiatrist. I am struggling to urge my daughter to accept help via medication, and I think that medication combined with therapy (maybe for both of you?) could be a big help.

Anonymous said...

My dad (78 years old)is moving in with my husband and I next month. He very recently diagnosed with Aspergers (imagine at his age) but as a teacher, I had strong suspicions. In recent years, I've rec'd a lot of training for working with my students, and so much works successful with them, but with dad, very little works. He is full of anxiety, some depression (mom died 3 years ago) and is OCD. We are moving him here because we worry about him but he says he only feels safe around us. He wants to come too, and is dealing pretty well with the preparations and the change-he wants to come NOW although we need a few more weeks to get his apt ready. We truly believe without his house worries and being alone (although we go there daily) will relieve a lot of anxiety, but I am getting so anxious. How do I cope with the repeated stories -over and over and over. I can deal with almost everything else, I can refocus him, calm him, feed him, etc., !
but after 10 times of the same story, especially when he interrupts everyone else to tell it again, I want to scream. He has become so childlike in things he does, that my 4 year old grandchild looks confused. I want him to feel safe and secure and well cared for, but I wonder how I will cope when I am trying to grade or work on intense lesson planning and he is still telling me the same story for the umpteenth time. I am so afraid that I will yell at him which will be horrible. We were packing some of his pictures yesterday and 6 times he interrupted to show my son (who is moving in his house) how to turn the shower on. Each time we stopped and my son went to look, but when he did it a 7th time, we said dad, we have to finish this and you already showed him. Dad cried and I am afraid that he will cry or get angry, and we did not even raise our voices. Any suggestions????

Anonymous said...

Hello Mr Hutten,

I came across your website during my research. My research is trying to measure the need of Independent Living communities for adults within the Asperger spectrum.

We started the process to open Shire House as an Independent Living Housing...we hope to open our first home by the end of the year.

I do know there is a need here in the San Fransisco Bay Area but am looking for concrete numbers here and nationwide. I'm also researching what is actually out there to fill this need and what their programs like like.

I found your website to be very helpful... wish I had heard about it sooner since most of my experience in helping/dealing with my 19 year old son came from the school, therapists and county mental health dept. Back in the early years we were all learning together.

Thank you for the wonderful service you provide and will direct young parents dealing with these issues to your site.

Sincerely, Elizabeth

Anonymous said...

Our problem is that in his quest to have friends he lets his self be used. Our son is now staying with a friend in his basement apartment. He has been there 5 weeks and has not even looked for a job. He shows back up to work with his dad or do yardwork enough to get gas and cigarette money. As soon as he gets a counselor who he is comfortable with they change jobs. He cant keep his appointments unless I remind him he forgets his meds. He basically sleeps all day and then plays guitar. We have tried everything to make him work. Taken his car. Turned off his phone. He now has learned to mooch off people the way they have mooched off him for his car. His car has 200000 miles and when it dies I told him we are not going to help him get another one. He does not use the car for a way to get back and forth to work. He has used it to sleep in at college and he uses it for a taxi for his so called friends. We are at the end of our rope. When he’s here we fight about him and when he’s gone we worry about him. We tried to send him to a vocational program thru DOORS and he wouldn’t go because he saw someone drooling. He became insulted and said “I’m not retarded and I’m not staying there”. Please let me know do I cut off all contact and make him tough it out or what ? Thanks confused mom

MinnesotaMother said...

I've desperately googled, and now stumbled upon your comment. May I ask.... how are you and your son now?? What did you decide and what were the consequences??? Please!

Unknown said...

I am 22 with aspeger syndrome and my anger and out breaks have become more terrifying to my mom...she doesn't know how to deal with it and then once it's over she'll come back two days later and rub it in my face and say things like do you remember this and how you acted and you could've just sacrificed things but i don't want to hear stuff like that cuz it gets me more angry... like what can she do as a mom who is new to this...

Unknown said...

I am in desperate need of some advice! My son is 21 years old and has Asperger's. His dad and I split when he was 10 and he went to live with him when he was 12, thinking the grass would be greener on the other side. He quickly realized that it wasn't, but things had happened with his younger brother that meant he couldn't come back to live with me, until about a year ago. He drove himself from Maine to Illinois to live with me, his step dad, and our three other kids looking to improve his life. Things were going pretty good for awhile. He joined the volunteer fire dept., went to school and earned his EMT license, and worked part time at a local grocery store. The only problem was he took up smoking Marijuana again, he did this before moving out here as well. One of the conditions of him moving out here was that he would no longer do this, especially in out house. More and More lately, he has developed this attitude that all the rules we have set down are unreasonable (and there aren't really that many), and he is going to do what he wants. He continues to smoke Pot and make poor decisions. Recently, he purchased a jeep that he knew the owner didn't have a title for. I'm not even sure it wasn't stolen before he purchased it. He is driving it with no insurance and plates that the previous owner gave him to use. I don't feel comfortable even having this parked in my driveway.
My other issue is the way he bullies his younger brother into doing whatever it is he wants him to do. He is 18 and trying very hard to figure out his own life. the problem is when his brother wants something, he gets very angry until he gets it. So he just winds up going along with whatever his older brother wants.
This is just a couple of the most important issues, but there are many. I am not sure how to handle this. I have been trying so hard to help him, but I feel like I am at a point that he needs to learn from natural consequences. That being said, Should I tell him it's time for him to find a place of his own to live? He recently got a factory job in town making decent money, so he could afford it if he stops blowing his money on Pot and other things that are not a priority. But I am honestly afraid that if I push him, it might lead to him going over the edge in some way.

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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My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content