Showing posts from April, 2011

The Misunderstood Child on the Autism Spectrum

Students with High-Functioning Autism (HFA) and Asperger's (AS) often display advanced abilities for their age in language, reading, mathematics, spatial skills, and music – sometimes into the "gifted" range. But this may be offset by significant delays in other developmental areas. This combination of characteristics can lead to problems with educators and other authority-figures. Misunderstanding #1— HFA and AS students are often regarded by educators as a "problem child" or a "poor performer." The student’s low tolerance for what he perceives to be boring and mundane tasks (e.g., typical homework assignments) can easily become frustrating for the child, resulting in his refusal to complete certain tasks. Consequently, a teacher may well consider the  student on the autism spectrum to be arrogant, spiteful, and insubordinate. This “misunderstanding” often results in a “power-struggle” between teacher and student, and in combination with t

Autism Spectrum Disorders - The Critical Facts

Important facts that all parents with ASD children should know:

Adult Aspergers and Lack of Empathy

Question I would really like to encourage you to keep writing for adults... I bet there are a ton of us out there, not diagnosed but living a hellish life trying to fit in... Having someone who understands me is refreshing to say the least... I used to be a Pastor but I gave it up because I had no empathy for people... No feelings of sympathy or love... I have no feelings of love at all, so if you were to ask me if I love God, or love my mom, or my wife... I have no feeling so I would manufacture a response, so I have felt like a fraud and very uncaring and ashamed... I have admitted this to my wife, which had to be recanted because of her shock and pain: "You mean you don't love me??" And my response is: "Oh, no, I did not mean that... of course I have feelings of love for you!" It’s a real problem because, how can I be truthful and at the same time not offend... Love is somewhat of a decision, not a feeling, for me... I no longer go to

Help for Men with Aspergers: 90 Tips for Husbands

Question You talked in your ebook about behavior modification... I need some tips on how to connect with my wife’s emotions... That is her big complaint... As you know I do not understand them, I don't recognize them when they arise in their many subtleties... She will usually begin an emotional outburst by accusing me of a generalization like: "You NEVER take me out anymore!" I get defensive cause in my mind. I took her out last year, and as you aptly pointed out in your book, my main emotion is: ANGER. The fight then escalates to me leaving and not talking to her for a day or more... Answer Males and females approach problems with similar goals but with different considerations. While males and females can solve problems equally well, their approach and their process are often quite different. For most females, sharing and discussing a problem presents an opportunity to explore, deepen or strengthen the relationship with the person they are talking wi

When You Get Non-Stop Questions from Your AS or HFA Child

Question My 5 year old son with autism (high functioning)  has just started asking non-stop questions. I know that questions are a normal part of development, especially at this age, but his are EXTREME (one after another, questions upon questions, questions about the answers.... it is exhausting). By the end of the day, my head is just pounding from attempting to answer his questions, and if I don't answer them, it escalates into a meltdown. I don't know what to do and I feel like we are both losing our minds, and losing control of the situation. Any advice? Answer This is a common occurrence among children with High-Functioning Autism (HFA) and Asperger's (AS). Here's an idea that has worked for other parents. Give it a try: Set up a “question-and-answer time” (e.g., after dinner). This is a time where you’re going to sit down with your son for 5 to 15 minutes – and that’s his time to ask questions. You may even instruct him to keep a journal so he can

The Aspergers Questionnaire

The following questionnaire is designed to identify behaviors and abilities indicative of Aspergers (high functioning autism) during the child’s primary school years. This is the age at which the unusual pattern of behavior and abilities is most conspicuous.  Answer the following with ‘yes’ or ‘no’: 1. Does the youngster appear unaware of social conventions or codes of conduct and make inappropriate actions and comments (e.g., making a personal comment to someone but the youngster seems unaware of how the comment could offend)? 2. Does the youngster become unduly upset by changes in routine or expectation (e.g., is distressed by going to school by a different route)? 3. Does the youngster develop elaborate routines or rituals that must be completed (e.g., lining up toys before going to bed)? 4. Does the youngster have a lack of sensitivity to low levels of pain? 5. Does the youngster have a tendency to flap or rock when excited or distressed? 6. Does the

Behavior Modification Plan for Your Aspergers or HFA Child

A short-term behavior modification plan can break through a cycle of bad behavior in your Aspergers (AS) or High-Functioning Autistic (HFA) youngster. Think of it as a learning tool to help him move forward to a new level of social development. Four to six weeks on the plan is usually enough to change one or two specific behavior problems. At the very least, your youngster will have a clear understanding of your expectations for his behavior, even if he is not yet able to consistently maintain the desirable behavior. Click here for full article...

Aspergers and HFA Children Who Refuse To Go To School

Question "My son J___ has been "playing hooky" since he suddenly became afraid of going to school. Before then he attended grammar school (pre-university). He was very young when he went there (11, skipped one class) and failed the 1st year, passed the next 1st year and then failed the 2nd year. He had to leave school. The next 2 efforts at other (lower level) schools failed miserably. I think his self-confidence was shot. We also experienced an extremely turbulent family life. All sorts of governmental institutions became involved, and after oodles of interviews and tests they concluded that a) I'm a threat to my son, b) he has to be placed outside the home and c) he has to go back to school at all costs. This also included reporting him for a court appearance. J___ has indicated he only feels safe at home and has recently been diagnosed with Asperger/PDD-NOS. He has, in any case, trouble with adhering to the rules of society. I'm afraid I might be

Educational Strategies for the Aspergers Student

Children with Aspergers (high functioning autism) can have difficulty in the classroom often because they fit in so well. Many may miss the fact that they have a diagnosis. When these kids display symptoms of their condition, they may be seen as defiant or disruptive. Learning about Aspergers in general and about the specific characteristics of your "Aspie" student will help you effectively manage his or her behavior in the classroom. Below are some helpful hints that can guide everyday school life for students with Aspergers. They can be applied to children with Aspergers across the school years and are applicable to almost all environments: 1. A buddy system can be helpful to Aspergers students. In social situations, the buddy can help the Aspie handle these situations. 2. Any changes―unexpected changes, in particular―can increase anxiety in a child with Aspergers; even changes considered to be minor can cause significant stress. Whenever possible, provide

Aspergers Adults and Relationship Difficulties

Question My son and my husband both have an Aspergers diagnosis. My husband and I no longer live together, and the diagnosis came a year after we separated, following my son’s. My husband no longer wants to work at the relationship and has given up (in my opinion). The divorce paperwork has been initiated. 1) How do you handle a spouse who refuses to accept the diagnosis and its impact on the marriage? 2) How do you handle extended family that refuse to accept the diagnoses (of your child/your spouse) - and continue to blame and lash out at the partner for all problems. 3) What do you do in the case of tactile sensitivities and no interest in sex? How can a spouse handle this? Answer Re: How do you handle an Aspergers spouse who refuses to accept the diagnosis/ and its impact on the marriage? Accepting the diagnosis is not all that important really. What is important is that he understands that he has some areas of weakness (as we all do) on his end – regardle

Helping Aspergers and HFA Teens Cope With Life

The teenage years are the most difficult time for young people with Aspergers (AS) and High-Functioning Autism (HFA). Most experts do a great job of presenting the problems these teens face, but they offer few solutions. Below are 50 tips for parents who want to help their "special needs" teenager survive and thrive during the tough adolescent years: 1. A regular bed time at a reasonable hour is more important than ever, if you can put/keep it in place. Regular routines of all kinds—familiar foods, rituals, vacations—are reassuring when the adolescent’s body, biochemistry, and social scene are changing so fast. 2. A regular bed time for the adolescent gives you time you can count on each evening for yourself and/or your spouse. If you can build in regular respite—such as a night your adolescent spends with a grandparent once a month—go for it, and plan ahead for some relaxation, fun, or culture. (Divorced moms and dads may be able to count on a little time al