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Parents with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism -- Part 2

In part 2 of this series, we will look at poor cognitive shifting in parents on the autism spectrum:

Research in the area of cognition reports that adults with Asperger's (AS) and High-Functioning Autism (HFA) have problems with updating the scope and focus of their attention. This attentional deficit may be due to an inability to reorient attention rapidly, which can be problematic when the mother or father has care and control of younger kids.  Moms and dads need to be able to reorient their attention frequently, and often need to be able to do so under pressure. 

Research also suggests that many people on the autism spectrum have a deficit in the shifting of attention (e.g., paying attention to what someone is saying while being distracted by sensory stimuli). This trait affects parenting as well. These deficits blend with other neurological differences of AS and HFA (e.g., sensory hypersensitivity and hyposensitivity), and together they affect the core tasks of parenting (e.g., the appearance of a sudden strong smell may prevent the parent from noticing what her youngster is doing). 

Related to attention problems are the deficits in the use of visual attention, problems in attending to both auditory and visual information, and problems in attending to many visual stimulus  simultaneously. For example, an autistic parent with three or more kids may struggle with information and sensory input at playgrounds and parks.  In this case, the parent may claim that she is over-stimulated and overwhelmed neurologically, or she may blame others around her for her misery. In this way, the parent is a lot like an autistic child who becomes frequently overwhelmed due to sensory sensitivities. 

In addition to sensory issues, moms and dads on the spectrum often state that they find it difficult to tolerate the normal mess, noise and chaos of their playful, inquisitive children  for any length of time. These parents cope with what are basically neurological insults in a variety of ways (e.g., shutting down, melting down, withdrawing from the unwanted stimuli, etc.). As a result, this may leave the kids to fend for themselves.

The Aspergers Handbook

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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 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.

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How to Prevent Meltdowns in Children on the Spectrum

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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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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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