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What are some other conditions that Aspergers children may have?

Most Aspergers (high functioning autistic) children and teens have at least one comorbid (i.e., co-existing) condition in addition to their autism diagnosis as listed below:

1. Co-occurring mental disorders— Kids with Aspergers can develop mental disorders (e.g., anxiety disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), depression, etc.). Research shows that children and teens with Aspergers are at higher risk for some mental disorders than those without Aspergers. Managing these co-occurring conditions with medications or behavioral therapy, which teaches kids how to control their behavior, can reduce symptoms that appear to worsen a youngster's Aspergers symptoms. Controlling these conditions will allow kids with Aspergers to focus more on managing their disorder.

2. Fragile X syndrome— Fragile X syndrome is a genetic disorder and is the most common form of inherited intellectual disability, causing symptoms similar to Aspergers. The name refers to one part of the X chromosome that has a defective piece that appears pinched and fragile when viewed with a microscope. Fragile X syndrome results from a change, called a mutation, on a single gene. This mutation, in effect, turns off the gene. Some children may have only a small mutation and not show any symptoms, while others have a larger mutation and more severe symptoms. Around 1 in 3 kids who have Fragile X syndrome also meet the diagnostic criteria for Aspergers, and about 1 in 25 kids diagnosed with Aspergers have the mutation that causes Fragile X syndrome. Because this disorder is inherited, kids with Aspergers should be checked for Fragile X, especially if the moms and dads want to have more kids. Other family members who are planning to have kids may also want to be checked for Fragile X syndrome.

3. Gastrointestinal problems— Some moms and dads of Aspergers kids report that their youngster has frequent gastrointestinal (GI) or digestion problems (e.g., stomach pain, diarrhea, constipation, acid reflux, vomiting, bloating, etc.). Food allergies may also cause problems for kids with Aspergers. It's unclear whether these kids are more likely to have GI problems than neurotypical kids. If your youngster has GI problems, a doctor who specializes in GI problems, called a gastroenterologist, can help find the cause and suggest appropriate treatment. Some studies have reported that kids with Aspergers seem to have more GI symptoms, but these findings may not apply to all Aspergers kids. For example, a recent study found that kids with Aspergers in Minnesota were more likely to have physical and behavioral difficulties related to diet (e.g., lactose intolerance or insisting on certain foods), as well as constipation, than kids without Aspergers. The researchers suggested that kids with Aspergers may not have underlying GI problems, but that their behavior may create GI symptoms (e.g., a youngster who insists on eating only certain foods may not get enough fiber or fluids in his or her diet, which leads to constipation). Some moms and dads may try to put their youngster on a special diet to try to control Aspergers or GI symptoms. While some kids may benefit from limiting certain foods, there is no strong evidence that these special diets reduce Aspergers symptoms. If you want to try a special diet, first talk with a doctor or a nutrition expert to make sure your youngster's nutritional needs are being met.

4. Intellectual disability— Many kids with Aspergers have some degree of intellectual disability. When tested, some areas of ability may be normal, while others—especially cognitive (thinking) and language abilities—may be relatively weak. For example, a youngster with Aspergers may do well on tasks related to sight (e.g., putting a puzzle together) but may not do as well on language-based problem-solving tasks. Kids with Aspergers often have average or above-average language skills and do not show delays in cognitive ability or speech.

5. Seizures— One in four kids with Aspergers has seizures, often starting either in early childhood or during the teen years. Seizures, caused by abnormal electrical activity in the brain, can result in: (a) staring spells, (b) convulsions (i.e., uncontrollable shaking of the whole body) or unusual movements, and (c) a short-term loss of consciousness or a blackout. Sometimes lack of sleep or a high fever can trigger a seizure. An electroencephalogram (EEG), a nonsurgical test that records electrical activity in the brain, can help confirm whether a youngster is having seizures. However, some kids with Aspergers have abnormal EEGs even if they are not having seizures. Seizures can be treated with medicines called anticonvulsants. Some seizure medicines affect behavior; changes in behavior should be closely watched in kids with Aspergers. In most cases, a doctor will use the lowest dose of medicine that works for the youngster. Anticonvulsants usually reduce the number of seizures but may not prevent all of them.

6. Sensory problems— Many kids with an autism spectrum disorder either over-react or under-react to certain sights, sounds, smells, textures, and tastes. For example, some may: (a) have no reaction to intense cold or pain, (b) experience pain from certain sounds – and sometimes cover their ears and scream (e.g., vacuum cleaner, a ringing telephone, a sudden storm, etc.), and (c) dislike or show discomfort from a light touch or the feel of clothes on their skin. Researchers are trying to determine if these unusual reactions are related to differences in integrating multiple types of information from the senses.

7. Sleep problems— Kids with Aspergers tend to have problems falling asleep or staying asleep, or have other sleep problems. These problems make it harder for them to pay attention, reduce their ability to function, and lead to poor behavior. In addition, moms and dads of Aspergers kids with sleep problems tend to report greater family stress and poorer overall health among themselves. Fortunately, sleep problems can often be treated with changes in behavior (e.g., following a sleep schedule, creating a bedtime routine, etc.). Some kids may sleep better using medications such as melatonin, which is a hormone that helps regulate the body's sleep-wake cycle. Like any medication, melatonin can have unwanted side effects. Talk to your youngster's doctor about possible risks and benefits before giving your youngster melatonin. Treating sleep problems in kids with Aspergers may improve the youngster's overall behavior and functioning, as well as relieve family stress.

8. Tuberous sclerosis— Tuberous sclerosis is a rare genetic disorder that causes noncancerous tumors to grow in the brain and other vital organs. Tuberous sclerosis occurs in 1 to 4 percent of children with Aspergers. A genetic mutation causes the disorder, which has also been linked to mental retardation, epilepsy, and many other physical and mental health problems. There is no cure for tuberous sclerosis, but many symptoms can be treated.

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


Karen Denise said...

My four year old has been diagnosed with Aspergers along with Anxiety Disorder, Sleep Disorder, and ADHD.

Anonymous said...

my son also has ocd and adhd

Anonymous said...

My son also has OCD, Anxiety disorder and ADHD

Anonymous said...

My daughter also has ADD ADHD AD ODD AND OCD

Anonymous said...

I wanted to share a very odd experience I had with my daughter last night. It's been bothering ever since.

First off, our daughter is 9 and we believe she does have Asbergers, but she hasn't been diagnosed. She was tested at her school for ADHD and it appears they think she has it. She goes to her doctor soon, so we'll find about it then.

Last night, my husband hooked up the playstation for her. She hasn't played much and we thought it would be something fun for her to do. She was playing for HOURS. I went up to her room a couple of times and asked how she was liking it and she said she liked it and kept playing. Finally, I went up again and I went down on the floor to her and she was crying while playing. I asked her what was wrong and she said she had a bad headache (which she gets a lot). I asked her why she didn't stop playing and she said she wanted to keep playing. When she was answering me it was as if she was drugged up or something. I told her that she should stop playing if her head is hurting that she could get back to the game anytime she wanted. She still kept playing (while crying). I went and got my husband and he said (in a stern voice) just turn it off if you're head is hurting. She finally turned it off.

I sat down and asked her why in the world she would keep playing if her head was hurting. She said that her brain wouldn't let her stop. She's mentioned before that her brain tells her things. I said your brain wouldn't let you stop? what was it saying? she said it said "don't stop, keep playing". I asked her if she wanted to stop and she said yes. I asked her if she could just ignore what her brain was telling her and she said "no". I asked her why she was able to stop when daddy said to turn it off and she said it will listen to you, but not me.

She got up and said she wanted to go to bed. This was before 8 PM on a weekend.

It absolutely broke my heart. Anyone know what this is a sign of? or is it just part of the autism spectrum?

Anonymous said...

This week my husband and I got the results of my daughter's autisim testing. While my daughter's school (through thier testing) and my husband and I both thought she had aspergers. As I read through the many helpful e-mails left on this support group I really related and found some wonderful advice.

That being said the doctors at the Rady's Autism center feels she does not have asperbergers but is shizophrenic! Wow, that came out of left field! Although my 13 y.o. has so many of the asperger symtoms she also hears voices in her head, has conversation with her favorite famous singer, and had started cutting herself. I am still not 100% convinced she doesn't have asperger. My daughter has been scheduled for follow up testing at UCSD center for further psych evaluation. Has anyone else experienced this?

Anonymous said...

My mom made me read this I have 1,3,4,5,6,7
I find it's funny that a lot of these describe me perfectly

Unknown said...

Snap hun all of the above x except my son was five when diagnosed .

Natalie Euley said...

My siblings and I all have Asperger's and some of these associations are all over the place. Except for 2 and 8. We were all confirmed to have it by a licensed psychologist. But my sister and I have to see the neurologist and my sister and brother have to see an allergy doctor. Everyone in my family has weird allergies, except me, and my sister and I have epilepsy, my brother has an IEP... It goes on. Anyway, my point is that I think this is true. Asperger's is a weird thing because it is all over the place regardless of your parents. My brother, sister, and I are all really different, but we have the same disorder that presents itself in different ways. Regardless, I originally thought it was just behavioral- now I see it's deeper. I would like to get off my epilepsy medication to be as normal as possible- I haven't had a seizure in over ten years. But they tried taking my sister off and she had a seizure while driving, so my parents are rather reluctant and will not take me off without an EEG, which may not be covered by our insurance and would be really expensive otherwise- no room for unnecessary medical bills. Considering I'm 19, I am thinking about the future and having children after college- can't happen if I am on medication. I don't care if lamotrigine is supposedly safe, I'm not having kids if I'm on it. While this comment is really long and drawn out, I feel like few people really see how deep it goes- not just the behavioral issues, but the medical. Paying medical bills for three Asperger's kids is hard when two of them are in college and none can find jobs. :/

Unknown said...

I have aspergers and I have extreme sound sensitivities, sleep problems, ADD, OCD, and anxiety. But I'm used to it since I've lived my whole life with them.

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...