Showing posts from May, 2013

Obsessions and the Autistic Mind: Help for People on the Autism Spectrum

Lecture by Mark Hutten, M.A. - Part 1 discusses obsessive thinking among individuals with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: More about intrusive thoughts in the autistic mind: Obsessive thinking is like a CD in a CD-player that’s stuck and keeps repeating the same lyrics. It’s replaying an argument with a friend in your mind. It’s retracing past mistakes. When people obsess, they over-think or ruminate about situations or life events (e.g., school, work, relationships). Research has shown that obsessive thinking is associated with a variety of negative consequences, including depression, anxiety, binge-drinking and binge-eating. For some people, drinking or binge-eating becomes a way to cope with life and drown out their obsessive thinking. When people obsess while they are in depressed mood, they remember more negative things that happened to them in the past, they interpret situations in their current lives more negatively, and they are more hopeles

Creating an Effective “Social Skills” Training Program for Kids on the Spectrum

Impairment in social functioning is a core feature of Aspergers (AS) and High Functioning Autism (HFA). Typical social skill problems include the following:  taking another person’s perspective sharing enjoyment responding to the initiations of others reading the non-verbal cues of others maintaining eye contact initiating interactions The cause of these social skill difficulties varies, ranging from neurological impairment to the lack of opportunity to acquire skills (e.g., social withdrawal). Most important, these skill problems make it difficult for the child to develop - and keep - fulfilling personal relationships. Although social skill problems are a core feature of AS and HFA, many of these kids do not receive adequate social skills training. This is a sad reality, especially considering that the presence of social deficits may lead to the development of more damaging outcomes (e.g., poor academic performance, social failure, peer rejection, anxiety, depression, etc

Tough Love for Adult Children Still Living with Their Parents

Is your adult child with Aspergers or high functioning autism still living with you and taking little responsibility for his or her life? Do you feel that change needs to happen? Segment from Mark Hutten's workshop on  Launching Adult Children with Aspergers and High Functioning Autism: Promoting Self-Reliance:

Teaching Children on the Autism Spectrum to Handle Teasing

"How can I help my son (high functioning autistic) to avoid over-reacting to 'teasing' from schoolmates? Some of them apparently pester him because they know they can get a 'rise' out of him, which results in my son being the one who gets in trouble." Too often, children with Asperger’s (AS) and High-Functioning Autism (HFA) get teased by their peers, but they may not fully understand why they are being targeted – or worse yet – when teasing crosses the line into bullying. Thus, it’s up to parents to educate their children about teasing (e.g., when it's innocent child’s play, when it has gone too far, how to respond, etc.). In selecting the appropriate strategies to deal with "the teaser,” parents will need to determine the specific strengths and weaknesses their child has socially. They can do this by observing their youngster interacting with peers and siblings. Next, parents should take time to think about their child's temperament.

Dining Out with Children on the Autism Spectrum: 20 Tips for Parents

"How can we keep our son from melting down every other time we attempt to eat out? We've had to leave in the middle of a meal numerous times of late (very embarrassing)." One of the biggest challenges for parents with an Aspergers (High-Functioning Autism) youngster is going out for dinner at a restaurant. Some children are disturbed by changes in their routine, others can be annoyed by noisy places, and some simply do not like to wait in line. So, a lot of moms and dads choose to avoid eating out at restaurants – including on their family vacation. However, there are a few tricks that you can use to making dining out with your “special needs” child more enjoyable. Tips for dining out with your Aspergers and HFA child: 1. Considering eating dinner a bit earlier (e.g., 4:30 pm) when the restaurant is not as crowded. 2. Demonstrate the whole dining out experience at home first. Practice reviewing a menu, ordering, coloring, etc. 3. Give the waiter y

Children on the Autism Spectrum with Oppositional Defiant Disorder: Dual Diagnosis

Important information for parents of kids with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism who are also diagnosed with ODD: 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 ==> Parenting System that Reduces Problematic Behavior in Children with Asperger's and Hig

Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism: Overcoming Social Skills Deficits

"How can I help my child to generalize from one social situation to another? In other words, how can he learn 'social themes' on his own? I would like for him to realize that any particular interaction is nearly identical to some others." Children with Asperger’s (AS) and High-Functioning Autism (HFA)  are hard to train in typical social behaviors, but they spontaneously learn things that neurotypical (non-autistic) children may consider difficult (e.g., memorizing license plate numbers of parked cars or home addresses in the neighborhood). The learning styles of AS/HFA children and neurotypical children are better suited to learn different tasks. AS and HFA children’s difficulty of learning social behavior is similar to neurotypical children’s difficulty of memorizing random factual details (e.g., phone numbers). Both arise from a mismatch between learning style and task. Intensive long-term training would surely make neurotypical kids remember a phonebook be


My son has a new diagnosis of Asperger's.  I saw your informative video on tantrums vs meltdowns recently and it really helped me understand what was going on with my 5 year old a couple weeks ago when he had a meltdown in Target over a toy he had decided he was not leaving the store without. I refused to buy it (was $50) so the meltdown began and rocked on in the store back and forth for about an hour. This child is so strong already. I could not physically remove him from the store. (Kicking and hitting me). Of course, I was at the store alone with him. I persevered though. He wore himself down enough to finally cooperate. I also see very specific instructions regarding meltdowns on the website, which I will soon memorize. My other big problem is he is very defiant at times and totally refuses to potty train. Is this typical of Asperger's children?  Can you recommend an approach. I have tried taking pullups away, making  him sit on the potty, the reward system is a joke to hi