Interventions for Children and Adults with Aspergers

Interventions for Children with Aspergers (High-Functioning Autism) —

All people in the Aspergers youngster’s life need to accept the diagnosis of Aspergers and understand its impact. Interventions are driven by each youngster’s age and individual needs and will vary, however, listed below are commonly needed interventions for kids in all environments:

1. Advocate for your youngster to have the school program that they need.

2. Be patient with your youngster and yourself and prioritize what to focus on first. Just focusing on today builds a better tomorrow.

3. Be prepared with your response to a difficult behavior or cycle that will calm the situation so you can react from your plan and not from your emotions.

4. Determine what a tolerable social and physical environment is for the youngster and provide it.

5. Don’t forget to nurture your spiritual side.

6. Educate yourself about Aspergers.

7. Learn how and when to talk to others for help, both professionals and other moms and dads or friends.

8. Learn what your youngster needs—become an expert of your youngster.

9. Model and teach your youngster how to do tasks or how to understand social and physical cues in the home environment.

10. Moms and dads must remember to nurture themselves and seek a balance between helping their Aspergers youngster and remembering the needs of the rest of the family.

11. Provide and teach the youngster to use visual organizational supports for all weak areas.

12. Provide direct instruction for all areas of need, especially social behavior and communication skills.

13. Provide your youngster with more support (often visual charts, photos, examples) to help the youngster learn to do organizational tasks (e.g., clean room, pack backpack, get ready to leave the house).

14. Pull together a team of professional supports (therapist, psychopharmacologist, OT, S&L, sensory specialist or others) as needed.

15. Remember that the key is pacing yourself, prioritizing the most penalizing behaviors currently impacting your youngster, and starting with them. Over time and with the right team, the initial concerns will become less, and your attention can shift to other areas to capitalize on or to minimize.

16. Set up structures and supports so home can be predictable and comfortable. Then teach a procedure for tolerating a change in the day.

17. Talk less, slower, calmer and in clear language that the youngster can understand.

18. Teach emotional regulation with visual systems and feedback to the youngster and provide breaks from social situations as needed.

19. Teach new concepts by using their special interests.

20. Teach the youngster to know what they need and the language to ask for it.

21. Teach them to understand themselves and appreciate who they are.

22. Use “thinking out loud” as your method of teaching your youngster to problem solve.

23. Use kindness and humor for mistakes and enjoy the youngster’s strengths.

24. Use routines, minimize change and prepare for all types of transitions.

25. Use visuals to teach the youngster a problem-solving method for when they are stuck.

Interventions for Adults with Aspergers (High-Functioning Autism) —

Everyone with Aspergers is unique, so interventions need to be individualized. Grown-ups come to this awareness at different ages and stages of their lives, which can influence the approaches they choose. Be creative in the combination of interventions you use. Simplify your life. Here are some general ideas regarding interventions for grown-ups with Aspergers:

1. A Cognitive-Behavioral approach to therapy is strongly indicated.

2. A therapist with an awareness of Aspergers or interest in learning about it with you is essential.

3. A variety of therapies can be helpful to grown-ups with Aspergers, depending on the person.

4. Advocate for environmental changes at work or home; if you are more comfortable, the people around you will be as well.

5. Attend a group where social skills are explicitly taught (often by a speech language pathologist).

6. Build on your strengths.

7. Contact the vocational rehabilitation agency in your state; with an official diagnosis of Aspergers, you are entitled to service.

8. Decrease “isolation-time” (i.e., do not stay home - all day - by yourself everyday).

9. Disclose strategically – only share the information that is required for that time and place. Consult with a trusted person to determine what to disclose if unsure.

10. Downtime is required. Sensory and social demands of daily life make more downtime essential for grown-ups with Aspergers. Communicate with those around you about your need for this, but do not use it as an excuse to avoid participation in family or other activities.

11. Educating others in your family, workplaces and communities about Aspergers.

12. Heightened sensory sensitivities may make particular environments unpleasant or intolerable. Thus, change lighting, decrease noise, wear comfortable clothing, etc.

13. Hire people to do the things you’re not good at (e.g., money management, housework, organization and bookkeeping).

14. Join a group where you can meet other adults with Aspergers.

15. Know that a slower-paced environment will likely be more tolerable and allow for a greater sense of comfort and competence.

16. Know what Aspergers is in general and how it affects you specifically.

17. Know your areas of difficulty.

18. Know your strengths.

19. Listen to trusted family or friends.

20. Medication can be helpful in decreasing symptoms of depression and anxiety that often accompany Aspergers.

21. People with Aspergers tend to connect most comfortably around shared interests.

22. Physical and emotional comfort is essential to adults with Aspergers.

23. Psychodynamic psychotherapy is generally less helpful.

24. Read about Aspergers from a variety of perspectives.

25. Stop the blame. Blaming yourself or others is common and not helpful.

26. Strategic disclosure can provide relief for an adult with Aspergers and promote greater understanding.

27. Strengthen your areas of difficulty or minimize their presence.

28. Treat yourself like you would a trusted/valued friend!

29. Utilize career one-stop centers (i.e., federally funded centers designed to help people learn new, marketable skills, identify jobs and prepare for interviewing).

30. Work with a Life Coach. He or she will work with you on multiple levels (e.g., concrete skills-building and goal direction, independent living skills, employment related skills, social skills, understanding your traits and symptoms, etc.).

The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook


Anonymous said...

Holy Crap! I was reading another support group that I'm in for SPD that Singulair isn't a nice med. Well, then people were talking about asthma meds and then allergy meds. They said that all these things can make a child depressed, out of control, have tantrums, anger outbursts, aggression, etc., etc... My son has been on allergy meds for years! And when we think back we can't quite remember when he started taking them but now we're wondering if it was around the time he started acting out!

Have we been making our son have this aggression!?!? Have we been making him worse and worse for years and didn't know it?!? I am so freaked out!! I looked online and found some other places that are saying the same thing!

We are going to a chiropractor that we think may be able to answer some of these questions today (Friday). This is someone new that we have never seen, but my hubby got a referral from someone at work that swears by these docs. I'll let you know what happens.


Anonymous said...

What sort of allergies does your son have? (Pollen, dust)
What is his allergy reaction? (Itchy watery eyes, runny nose, wheezing does he also have asthma? Was your son prescribed Singulair by a pediatrician or an allergist? Singulair is primarily an asthma maintenance drug for people with chronic asthma or COPD. All asthma medications that I have ever used cause some degree of "behavioral" issue. They can be quite agitating and disorienting even for an adult.

I would seriously question any doctor who would prescribe Singulair alone for seasonal or indoor allergies without trying Flonase or Claritin, or Allegra first, especially since the only symptom Singulair takes care of is bronchial constriction/wheezing.
I myself have had asthma for 20 years, and my husband has worked in the drug industry as a COPD expert for nearly as long, if you have questions, please feel free to contact me offline.

Anonymous said...

"Foster Son" moves in June 1st. He hoards clothes, office supplies, and trash. I have spent the last three weekends in my soon-to-be live-in Aspie's apartment (residential program for college students) cleaning out his apartment and packing. I am not exaggerating when I say that his bedroom floor (10 x 12) was wall to wall ankle deep in fast food wrappers, napkins, straws, soda bottles, dirty clothes, paper, tacks, coins, cookie crumbs, smashed candy, smashed cheetos, computer parts, random electronics, game pieces, CDs, sponges, toothbrushes, tissues, old calendars (unused), etc. There was not an inch of rug not covered in stuff/garbage. He had to tip toe (for months) through his room.
> I have NO IDEA why his room wasn't kept cleaner considering he has round-the-clock supervision. It literally looks like a tsunami swept in and placed the contents of a landfill on his bedroom floor.
> Now, this boy is a hoarder (he's almost 20, really). He lived in my house 1.5 years ago for six months and it was bad, but since he's lived away, it's become much worse. He has more clothing than 4 or 5 women combined! I have told him that he can only live in my house if he keeps his room, bathroom and our common areas clean- basically, he is no longer permitted to live in a trash heap.
> I purchased 10 huge storage bins. My plan is to convince him that less stuff in his room will mean it's all easier to keep organized and less dusty (he has allergies, I have an older house- and yes, we have air purifiers/HEPA). I want him to put 50% or 75% of his clothing into these bins and put them in the garage (he won't give them away no matter how stained, torn, ill-fitting, etc).
> Because he is a legal adult, he has rights as a consumer of housing services. Some of those rights include access to all his possessions so I can't just dump his crap. I want to use reason (although he's unreasonable about hoarding) to suggest we put at least 1/2 the clothes away and then swap them from dresser/closet to garage and back to dresser/closet then garage every 3 months so he has variety. Even with owning more clothes than all my women friends combined, this guy wears the same stuff day after day. What does he need 12 pairs of jeans for when he only wears his black dockers? But he won't let them go.
> He also has about 60 unmatched socks. He won't allow me to match them up (many don't have matches anymore). I have suggested buying all new socks and numbering them (in pairs) so he'll always have a match but he refuses to wear numbers on his socks. He will wear ankle socks with knee highs! He just graps the first two he finds no matter how different they are in size/thickness/color/function. It's very silly.
> I am going to do a clothing purge myself when he moves in (I have very little to purge) so he can see what that looks like to sort-choose-keep or let go.
> I bought a storage cart with wheels/drawers for his office supplies- lots of drawers stacked and we will label them according to contents. When I did these 1.5 years ago, even this simple system was too much for him to keep clean but we will try again.
> Does anyone else have advice? If I don't put 1/2 his things in the garage, he will buried in trash within a week. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

This could be my husband!
Years ago, when we moved into our current house, one of the selling points (for him) was the huge bedroom closet, which I thought we'd share - not likely. He has no less than 8 ft of closet all to himself, and 3 bureaus. He has at least 50 dress shirts. Don't even get me started on the shoes.
My husband is not an Aspie, but my son is, and when it is time to give away those precious T-shirts & shoes I usually ask him to pick out which ones he thinks another kid could use. That usually meets with a lot of resistance, but I really work hard to describe the imaginary kid, and talk about all the reasons he needs the clothes, and by the end, my son is okay with it. He is definitely happier when everything fits into the drawers where they are "supposed" to go. We made labels for each drawer, so he knows when the drawer is full; he doesn't need more shirts/pants/sweaters, whatever.

Anonymous said...

I used to get something similar, but it was mostly with people who spent one-on-one time with him and weren't around a lot of other kids his age. To them, he might just be a little quirky. As he's aged, I don't have people acting surprised that much anymore. But frankly, I feel like for every person who objects and you have to explain, you're just teaching them a little more about Aspergers and that's only good, collectively, for all of our kids.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this. I am new to Aspergers and this site. I have experienced this exact thing when I tell people that my 7 year old son has Aspergers. My mother-in-law was the first to do it and I was so shocked I didn’t really know how to respond. “What? He does not. He is outgoing and friendly and does not have autism.” After 10 minutes of explaining to her the symptoms of Aspergers he does have, she finally stopped with the defensive comments. I have told a couple of people outside our families, and I have had the same reaction. I do not feel like I should have to defend or justify the news. So, I have stopped telling people. For now anyways. My 4 year old DD has severe food allergies and it is a cookie cutter diagnosis. Either you have it or you don’t. People express sympathy when I tell them and may ask a few questions, but that is it. Aspergers is not that simple. I am still trying to decide who I tell and when. So, again. Thank you for posting this. It is nice to know this isn’t just happening to me.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for bringing up this topic. My son, who I have homeschooled for the last two years, is reaching high school age and there is a lot of pressure to put him into a public school. He has school anxiety and I'm not sure that is best for him.

Way back in this group someone wrote about Temple Grandin recommending skipping high school and doing focused community college and internships instead.(I'll snippet that at the end).

One of my son's biggest concerns about going to public high school is that he won't have time to do those high focus projects he loves, and is so good at. I am concerned that if we pick and choose community college classes he won't be able to attend a 4-year institution if he decides he wants/needs to go.

Do the K12 or other online programs allow enough free time for personal project time? Has the community college/internship route worked?


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