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Psychotherapy versus Pharmacotherapy in Treating Asperger's and HFA

“What are your thoughts on psychotherapy versus pharmacotherapy for children with Asperger syndrome?”

Focused and structured psychotherapy can be very helpful in treating children with Asperger’s and High-Functioning Autism (HFA), particularly in the context of the following:
  • anxiety
  • family functioning
  • frustration in regard to education and vocational goals 
  • meltdowns
  • negativism
  • overwhelming experiences of sadness
  • social adjustment

Although little information about pharmacological interventions for children with Asperger’s and HFA is available, a conservative approach based on the evidence from autism should probably be adopted. In general, pharmacological interventions for kids on the spectrum are probably best avoided. Specific medication might be indicated if Asperger’s or HFA is accompanied by a thought disorder, severe obsessions and compulsions, or debilitating depressive symptoms.

It is important for moms and dads to know that medications are prescribed for the treatment of specific symptoms associated with Asperger’s and HFA, and not to treat the disorder in-and-of itself.


•    Anonymous said... "Specific medication might be indicated if Asperger’s or HFA is accompanied by a thought disorder, severe obsessions and compulsions, or debilitating depressive symptoms"  ...Depression and anxiety can be because of they way neuro typicals treat aspergers people.
•    Anonymous said... Finding s good therapist that really gets Asperger's is easier said than done. I often feel like I sm telling the therapists what to look for.
•    Anonymous said... I feel like that with every professional and support person we deal with.

Please post your comment below…


Frank Pryor, Illustrator said...

We are the proud grandparents of an 11 year-old with Aspergers. She and her mother have lived with us for several years and we are all very close. Thank you for the information you provide,it is helpful. She was diagnosed when she was about three and since then we have been on a 'roller-coaster' emotionally as you can appreciate. I have many questions, but the first is why, after so many years dealing with Aspergers nationally and the increasing numbers of children diagnosed, is there no real definitive information about the effects of drugs? They have been diagnosing adult pharmaceuticals for her since her diagnosis. They have been guessing about the doses and types of products all of this time, only changing after adverse results. As you know these drugs have long-lasting effects (esp. excessive weight-gain.) Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. -F.Pryor, Denver

Bruehaha Bandit said...

I agree with several of the comments here. 1st that it is difficult to find qualified therapists that actually have experience with Aspergers or HFA. And now that Aspergers is no longer in the DSM V that may be more difficult since schools won't teach it. 2nd I agree that medications can only treat symptoms and not the condition. Because of that, my wife and I have always felt that therapy is a better option. We've only recently and reluctantly started using medications for some of the symptoms so that our child could have every chance to be successful in academic situations.

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.

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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."

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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.

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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...