Search This Site

When Grades and Behavior Get Worse After Starting Middle School

“Our son (high functioning) did fairly well in elementary school, but things have taken a turn for the worse in a big way ever since he started middle school. This is his first year. Grades are worse, behavior problems are off the hook, he isolates in his room all evening, has no friends, seems depressed, and I could list several more issues here. Is this an age-related issue, a school-related issue, an aspect of having the disorder - what?!”

The answer is all three. Your son has hit (or is near hitting) puberty, and the transition to middle school is a tough one – especially for kids with special needs.

When you move on from the 6th grade, you must move to a new building, which takes some time to adjust to. You take a different bus, with different students. Furthermore, the friends you made in elementary school often end up going to different middle schools. As you probably know, kids with an autism spectrum disorder HATE change and a disruption to their routine.

A child with High-Functioning Autism or Asperger’s often experiences the following when the move on to middle school:
  • academic performance may continue strong, but usually only in those areas of particular interest
  • anxiety issues often become apparent
  • attentional and organizational difficulties may start to occur
  • because they are frequently managed in mainstream educational settings - and their specific developmental problems may be more easily overlooked, they are often misunderstood at this age by teachers and peers
  • learning difficulties may become frequent
  • pressure may build up in the child with little clue until he or she over-reacts in a dramatically inappropriate manner
  • problems related to socialization and behavioral adjustment
  • some degree of depression is not uncommon 
  • teachers often have less opportunity to get to know the child well, and as a result, problems with behavior or study habits may be attributed to emotional, motivational, or behavioral problems
  • the child may get into escalating conflicts or power struggles with teachers and other students who may not be familiar with his or her developmental style of interacting, which can lead to more serious behavioral issues
  • their behavior may become increasingly problematic in the form of noncooperation
  • there will be ongoing subtle tendencies to misinterpret information, particularly abstract or figurative/idiomatic language
  • they may be left out, misunderstood, teased and bullied because middle school comes with pressures for conformity - and intolerance for differences
  • they want to make friends and fit in, but unable to, they may withdraw even more

First and foremost, make sure your son has an effective 504 Plan or IEP in place. Also, encourage your son to join a club, sport, or activity that he has a high interest in. In this way, he will be associating with others who share his interest. It's a great way for him to get to know peers he doesn't know yet, will help him to feel more at home at his new school. By next year, he will be that cool older student who's helping out the new student.  

Highly Acclaimed Parenting Programs Offered by Online Parent Support, LLC:

==> 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

==> Highly Effective Research-Based Parenting Strategies for Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism


Do you need the advice of a professional who specializes in parenting children and teens with Autism Spectrum Disorders?  Sign-up for Online Parent Coaching today.


No comments:

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.

Click here to read the full article…

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."

Click here to read the full article…

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.

Click here
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...

My Aspergers Child - Syndicated Content