Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders


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Social-Skills Training and Joint-Attention Training for Kids on the Autism Spectrum

“Can social skills training really help children with high functioning autism? What should a good training program consist of?”

There is some objective evidence to support traditional and newer naturalistic behavioral techniques and other approaches to teaching social skills. Joint attention training may be especially helpful in young, pre-verbal kids on the autism spectrum (e.g., Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism), because joint attention behaviors precede and predict social language development.

A randomized, controlled trial demonstrated that joint attention and symbolic play skills can be taught, and that these skills generalize to different settings and people. Parents can facilitate joint attention and other reciprocal social interaction experiences throughout the day in the youngster's regular activities.

A social skills curriculum should target the following:
  • initiating social behavior
  • minimizing stereotyped perseverative behavior while using a flexible and varied repertoire of responses
  • responding to the social overtures of other kids and grown-ups
  • self-managing new and established skills

The following are supported primarily by descriptive and anecdotal literature, but the quantity and quality of research is increasing: 
  • peer-mediated techniques
  • play and leisure curricula 
  • scripts
  • social games
  • social skills groups
  • social stories
  • video modeling
  • visual cueing

A number of social skills curricula and guidelines are available for use in school programs and at home.

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My child has been rejected by his peers, ridiculed and bullied !!!

Social rejection has devastating effects in many areas of functioning. Because the Aspergers 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.

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How to Prevent Meltdowns in Aspergers Children

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 child is totally out-of-control. When it ends, both you and the Asperger’s 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.

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Parenting Defiant Aspergers Teens

Although Aspergers is at the milder end of the autism spectrum, the challenges parents face when disciplining a teenager with Aspergers are more difficult than they would be with an average teen. Complicated by defiant behavior, the Aspergers 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 Aspergers 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 Aspergers 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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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.

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My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content