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How To Parent An Aspergers Child: From Childhood To Adulthood

What works for your Aspergers (high functioning autistic) child at the age of 3 may not work for him/her at the age of 13. Here are some important tips for parenting children on the spectrum  across the lifespan:


After your youngster is diagnosed with Aspergers, you may feel unprepared or unable to provide him/her with the necessary care and education. Know that there are many treatment options, social services and programs, and other resources that can help.

Some tips that can help you and your Aspergers youngster are:

• Contact your local health department or autism advocacy groups to learn about the special programs available in your state and local community.

• Keep a record of conversations, meetings with health care providers and educators, and other sources of information. This will help you remember the different treatment options and decide which would help your youngster most.

• Keep a record of the doctors' reports and your youngster's evaluation. This information may help your youngster qualify for special programs.

• Talk with your youngster's doctor, school system, or autism support groups to find an autism expert in your area who can help you develop an intervention plan and find other local resources.


The adolescent years can be a time of stress and confusion for any growing youngster, including adolescents with an autism spectrum disorder. During adolescence, teens become more aware of other people and their relationships with them. While most adolescents are concerned with acne, popularity, grades, and dates, adolescents with Aspergers may become painfully aware that they are different from their peers. For some, this awareness may encourage them to learn new behaviors and try to improve their social skills. For others, hurt feelings and problems connecting with others may lead to depression, anxiety, or other mental disorders.

One way that some Aspergers adolescents express the tension and confusion that can occur during adolescence is through increased aggressive behavior. Teens with Aspergers will also need support to help them understand the physical changes and sexual maturation they experience during adolescence.

If your adolescent seems to have trouble coping, talk with his or her doctor about possible co-occurring mental disorders and what you can do. Behavioral therapies and medications often help.

Transition to Adulthood—

The public schools' responsibility for providing services ends when a youngster with Aspergers reaches the age of 22. At that time, some families may struggle to find jobs to match their adult child’s needs. If your family cannot continue caring for an adult child at home, you may need to look for other living arrangements.

Long before your youngster finishes school, you should search for the best programs and facilities for young adults with Aspergers. If you know other moms and dads of Aspergers adults, ask them about the services available in your community. Local support and advocacy groups may be able to help you find programs and services that your youngster is eligible to receive as a grown-up.

Another important part of this transition is teaching young people with Aspergers to self-advocate (i.e., take on more responsibility for their education, employment, health care, living arrangements, etc.). Grown-ups with Aspergers must self-advocate for their rights under the Americans with Disabilities Act at work, in higher education, in the community, and elsewhere.

There are many options for grown-ups living with Aspergers. Helping your adult child choose the right one will largely depend on what is available in your state and local community, as well as your youngster's skills and symptoms.

Below are some examples of living arrangements you may want to consider:

Independent living. Most grown-ups with Aspergers are able to live on their own. Others can live in their own home or apartment if they get help dealing with major issues (e.g., managing personal finances, obtaining necessary health care, interacting with government or social service agencies, etc.). Family members, professional agencies, or other types of providers can offer this assistance.

Living at home. Government funds are available for families who choose to have their adult child with Aspergers live at home. These programs include Supplemental Security Income, Social Security Disability Insurance, and Medicaid waivers. Information about these programs and others is available from the Social Security Administration (SSA). Make an appointment with your local SSA office to find out which programs would be right for your adult youngster.

Long-term care facilities. This alternative is available for those with Aspergers who need intensive, constant supervision.

Other home alternatives. Some families open their homes to provide long-term care to grown-ups with disabilities who are not related to them. If the home teaches self-care and housekeeping skills and arranges leisure activities, it is called a "skill-development" home.

Supervised group living. People with disabilities often live in group homes or apartments staffed by professionals who help with basic needs. These needs often include meal preparation, housekeeping, and personal care. People who are more independent may be able to live in a home or apartment where staff only visits a few times a week. Such residents generally prepare their own meals, go to work, and conduct other daily activities on their own.

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

==> Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism


Anonymous said...

Our Aspy son is 19 and completing his first semester of basic courses at a Comm Clg and lives at home. We have raised him to be self-sufficient and to become independent. As you know, he is a 16 year old maturity-wise in a 19 yr old body.

He has gone from the major of Info Sys (computers) to Graphic Design, to Nursing to Psychology to a 2 yr assoc. just to do college but really wants to do Music Performance. This has happened since last May. The reality is, he did one “rap” in high school and then everyone said he was great. Those most of them were teasing, he believed them. He kept having fun rapping for the last two years and now he believes he can be one of the rappers that make it on a national stage. He cannot see any other career in his mind that he would enjoy except being a rap performer.

To his credit, he does write stories well and has put that to use in his raps. He has utilized the internet to collaborate with others to mix songs, but he believes “if I work hard enough I can make it.” We know he doesn’t realize that he has no stage presence. So here we are. It is the end of November, he doesn’t know a major to choose courses wisely and not waste money or go in to debt. He does have a 30 hr a week part-time job for the last 6 months. We have had him complete the Kuder test online and he tests out with Hospitality and Music for skills and interests but he is not interested in those jobs.

He wants to move out Jan. 1, 2012, live on $8 an hour, pull a full-time job and create his raps. His transportation is mountain bike. How do we get through to him to think about the future and the decision he is making. We have mentors all around him from scouting, church, family, etc. but he is 19 and won’t listen to wiser adults.

Anything you suggest for this situation? We are proud that he is not scared to move forward on his own and together we are doing the Dave Ramsey Financial Peace course. We can’t imagine that he will be safe in his decision making considering the friends he has allowed in his life during high school.

Anonymous said...

My son was diagnosed with Asperger's 2009 6 months after my husband died. I dealt with grief and trying to get my son back into special ed. He had been diagnosed with ADD and told at grade 5 he was "intelligent enough" to attend "Normal classrooms." The smaller groups helped with his self confidence things seems to be much better. When I decided to tell him of the diagnosis he was hurt and angry. He denied that he had a problem at all. For the most part life was simple considering all that was going on at the time.

Fast forward to now. Heading towards the 2 year mark of my husbands death in Dec. I steady myself for the holiday heartaches. I am better and it is at this time that my son begins to grieve the loss of his dad. Accept/ admit he has Aspergers and begin to ask questions. This with more teenage hormones makes for a rough ride for the both of us.

Him admitting that he has a problem is definitely a start. He gets along with the school psychologist and I am looking for one he could get along with and see outside of school. Also a behavioral specialist to help him learn acceptable behavior social skills etc. What I try to teach him is not enough nor do I have the knowledge to do so.

With all this going on I feel so isolated. I would like to go out and spend some time with an adult. Perhaps others with kids with Asperger's. I MISS hubby and it is so hard going this alone. Not really ready to date but needing ? something... Some one to spend time with outside of the stress of everyday life. Just to be able to laugh. Any suggestions?

P.S I plan on attending the Autism Society of Richmond meetings that are held once a month to know that I am not alone in my frustration.


Anonymous said...

Hello~ I am new to the group and this is my first time posting. Our 6 yr old son was diagnosed with Aspergers and Anxiety in October. It was not a shock at all, as I had "diagnosed" him myself many years before. We never officially had him diagnosed because he was progressing so well. Just in the last year he was starting to get in trouble at school for things that I knew he could not control, so that is why we finally had him evaluated.

The hardest part has been getting my husband on the same page. I believe he was in denial about our son for many years. I think he has come to terms with the diagnosis, but still tends to "blame" me for some of our sons issues. My husband seems to think I have coddled DS so that is why he is unable to do some things. He has read very little on the subject of Aspergers and has his own ideas on how to parent our son. I know if is very important for us to be on the same page. It is not that my husband doesn't want to help our son, he very much wants to. I think a support group would be the best thing for my husband to help him learn some parenting skills for our aspergers son, to come to terms completely with the diagnosis, to understand the diaganosis, and to realize it is nothing I have created.

The problem is I have tried and tried to find a support group in Kansas city, but have come up empty handed. I found only one and when we went, no one showed up (not even the moderator or any parents). It was disappointing.

Does anyone know of a support group in the Kansas City area? We really need to find something.

Anonymous said...

Very true - Every year is different. We adjust at our house every November - Jan. Almost like clockwork. :)

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...