HELP FOR PARENTS OF CHILDREN WITH ASPERGER'S & HIGH-FUNCTIONING AUTISM

Education and Counseling for Individuals Affected by Autism Spectrum Disorders

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Academic Traits of Students on the Autism Spectrum: What Teachers Need to Know

“Would my child (6 years old) with high-functioning autism be better served by an alternative or private school? Is it possible for him to succeed in regular public school? Are there special issues his teacher should be made aware of?”

Most kids with High-Functioning Autism (HFA) and Asperger’s (AS) receive their education in general education classrooms, albeit frequently with the support of Special Education teachers. Most of these young people are well equipped to benefit from general classroom experiences. They typically have average intellectual abilities, are motivated to be with their peers, and have good rote memory skills and other assets that bode well for their academic success.

However, some kids with HFA and AS do have several problems in academic performance, largely due to social and communication deficits connected to the disorder. Also, some of them have a learning disability. 

Other concerns that make it difficult for some children on the autism spectrum to benefit from general education curricula without support and accommodations include:
  • concrete and literal thinking styles
  • difficulty attending to salient curricular cues
  • difficulty in discerning relevant from irrelevant stimuli
  • inflexibility
  • difficulty understanding inferentially-based materials
  • obsessive and narrowly defined interests
  • poor organizational skills
  • relative weakness in comprehending verbally presented information
  • poor problem-solving skills
  • trouble generalizing knowledge and skills
  • difficulty in comprehending abstract materials (e.g., metaphors and idioms)

Strengths of young people with HFA and AS tend to be in comprehension of factual material. They are also very good in the areas of oral expression and reading recognition. With appropriate support, most kids on the spectrum can be successful in public school, and many are able to attend college or technical school - and enjoy a variety of successful careers.

Many teachers fail to recognize the unique academic needs of students on the autism spectrum, because they often give the impression that they understand more than they do. Their pedantic style, seemingly advanced vocabulary, parrot-like responses, and ability to word-call (without having the higher-order thinking and comprehension skills to understand what they read) may actually mask many of the deficits these students struggle with.


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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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