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Showing posts sorted by relevance for query behavioral. Sort by date Show all posts

Calming Techniques for High-Functioning Autistic Children

"What are some things I can do as a parent of a 6-year-old autistic son (high-functioning) to help him calm down when he has a temper tantrum (which usually results in him hurting himself or destroying something in the house)? He just started the first grade, and his teacher is already having issues with his behavior as well."

In order to understand what calming techniques will work, you will first need to determine what things excite and upset your high-functioning autistic (HFA) son, and have some understanding of the context in which he is throwing a tantrum.

1. Make sure your child knows what the expectations are, and do not confuse the issue with trying to talk to him about things at a time when he is already upset.

2. Try to redirect him to an alternative activity -- something that he enjoys. 

3. If this does not stop the tantrum, tell him to stop. Don't add any extras, just STOP -- calmly and directly.

4. If he still doesn't stop, provide some physical redirection to an area where he can calm down. It can be very effective to call this his SAFE place. It may include a bean-bag chair, where he can sit. But, eliminate any extras in the area, such as toys, or other preferred items. If he doesn't voluntarily go to his SAFE place, physically escort him there.


5. Tell him he must be calm for 5 minutes before he can get up.

This may seem like a overly simple process in order to deal with what may be a challenging behavior. The key is to be consistent, so that he will always know what is coming. If the child is in school, try to provide this program across all environments.

It is amazing how many HFA children will actually learn to go to their SAFE place independently, as a way for them to control themselves. We want them to self-monitor their behavior and show them that we believe they have the ability to calm themselves down.
 

There are no easy and quick fixes to reduce or eliminate severe behavioral problems (e.g., self-injury, aggressiveness, severe tantrums and destructiveness). There may be, however, a few fixes that may not require an incredible amount of time and effort to implement:

1. One possible reason for behavioral problems may be difficulties in receptive language. HFA kids often have poor auditory processing skills. As a result, they often do not understand what people are saying to them (i.e., they hear the words but they do not understand what the words mean). The child’s lack of understanding can lead to confusion and frustration, which can escalate into behavior problems. Visual communication systems can be useful in teaching and in informing kids of what is planned and what is expected of them.

2. Behavioral problems may also be due to difficulties in expressive language. In fact, many researchers feel strongly that the majority of behavioral problems are simply due to poor expressive communication skills. There are numerous communication strategies, such as the Picture Exchange Communication System and Simultaneous Communication (i.e., using speech and sign language at the same time) which can be used to teach expressive communication skills.

3. Food allergies are an often overlooked cause of behavior problems. Some kids may have red ears, red cheeks, or dark circles under their eyes. These are often signs of food allergies. The most common allergens are dairy and wheat products, food preservatives, and food coloring. Some of the symptoms associated with food allergies are headaches, tantrums, feelings of nausea or spaciness, and stomach aches. As a result, the child is less tolerant of others and he/she may be more likely to strike out at others or have a tantrum.

Since many of these kids have poor communication skills, the parent and/or teacher may not be aware that the child is not feeling well. The child should be tested if food allergies are suspected. If the child tests positive for certain foods, then these products should be eliminated from his/her diet.

4. If the child’s behavior is worse at school but not at home, there are many possible reasons, such as a lack of consistency. There are, however, several physical causes that should be considered. Two possible causes, which are seldom considered, are cleaning solvents and florescent classroom lighting. Janitors often use powerful chemicals to clean the classroom. Although the smell may be gone by the next day, the chemical residue may still be in the air and on surfaces. Breathing these chemicals may affect sensitive people. During the day, students often place their hands and face on the tables and floors, and these chemicals can eventually wind up in the child’s mouth and alter brain functioning and behavior. Many parents and teachers wipe the students’ desks with water or a natural cleaning solution prior to class each morning, and they have reported rather remarkable improvements in the students’ behaviors.

Florescent lighting, which is the most common lighting used in classrooms, may also affect behavior. Many adults with autism report that florescent lights bothered them greatly during their school years. In addition, U.C.L.A. researchers observed more repetitive, self-stimulatory behaviors under florescent lighting compared to incandescent lighting. Teachers may want to turn off the florescent lighting in their classroom for a few days to see if there is a decrease in behavioral problems for some or all of the students. During this trial period, the teacher can use natural light from the windows and/or incandescent lights.
 

5. In many instances, a behavior problem is a reaction to a request or demand made by a caregiver/teacher. The child may have learned that he/she can escape or avoid such situations, such as working on a task, by ‘acting up.’ A functional assessment of the child’s behavior (i.e., antecedents, consequences, context of the behavior) may reveal certain relationships between the behavior and the function the behavior serves. If avoidance is the function the behavior serves, the caregiver/teacher should follow through with all requests and demands he/she makes to the child. If the child is able to escape or avoid such situations, even only some of the time, the behavior problem will likely continue.

6. It is also important to consider the child’s level of arousal when formulating a strategy to treat behavioral problems. Sometimes behavioral problems occur when the child is overly excited. This can occur when the child is anxious and/or when there is too much stimulation in the environment. In these cases, treatment should be aimed at calming the child.

Some popular calming techniques include: vigorous exercise (e.g., a stationary bicycle) which would act as a release of their high excitement level, vestibular stimulation (e.g., slow swinging), and deep pressure (e.g., Temple Grandin’s Hug Machine). In some cases, behavioral problems may be due to a low level of arousal such as when the child is passive or bored. Behaviors such as aggression and destructiveness may be exciting, and thus appealing, to some of these kids. If one suspects behavior problems are due to underarousal, the child should be kept busy or active. Vigorous exercise is another good way to increase arousal level.

7. Many families are giving their children safe nutritional supplements, such as Vitamin B6 with magnesium and Di-methyl-glycine (DMG). Nearly half have reported a reduction in behavioral problems as well as improvements in the child’s general well-being. Sometimes powerful drugs are prescribed to autistic kids to treat their behavior. Interestingly, the most commonly prescribed drug for autistic children is Ritalin. A survey conducted by the Autism Research Institute in San Diego revealed that 45% of 2,788 parents felt that Ritalin made their child’s behavior worse and only 20% reported improvement (27% of parents of autistic children felt that Ritalin made no difference).

8. Occasionally a child may exhibit a behavior problem at school but not at home, or vice versa. For example, the parent may have already developed a strategy to stop the behavior at home, but the teacher is unaware of this strategy. It is important that the parent and teacher discuss the child’s behavioral problems since one of them may have already discovered a solution to handle the behavior.

More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:

==> 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


==> Parenting System that Reduces Problematic Behavior in Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism


 COMMENTS:

•    Anonymous said... A weighted blanket. Or a calm room at school.
•    Anonymous said... At home, we started with a lycra style sensory swing. Then once he sort of brought it down a notch we started sending him to his room (most of our meltdowns were also correlated with bad behavior), in his room we have a heavy comforter, a bean bag, a DVD player with story DVDs and we recently added a lycra sheet on his bed. We set the timer based on his offense and willingness to go to his room, he usually first goes right under his bean bag then he will usually lay on the bean bag with the heavy comforter and watch a story, or read a book. At school, we had to change programs.
•    Anonymous said... change is very difficult for them,does he have a therapy aid at school?
•    Anonymous said... Failing that a tent in the corner of the classroom?
•    Anonymous said... For my son, "tantrums or meltdowns" were usually the result of some anxiety that he didn't know how to handle. Figuring out what the problem was and teaching him to deal with it was helpful but was a process. My son needed to be able to leave the classroom which was very stimulating. Sometimes the hallway or even the OT room. We found that a certain book that played music worked to calm him at home and as he got older he started using it in his own. Sometimes I would Just hold him tight. If you pay close attention you will be able to figure out what works for him. Listen to your gut and remember that no one knows and loves him like you. It was very hard for our family at that age. He is 13 now and things have gotten so much better. There is hope!
•    Anonymous said... Get the best professional help while he is a little boy.
•    Anonymous said... Most meltdowns are a result of anxiety/stress/upsets. Fix the cause (whatis upsetting the child) and the meltdowns will ease off. Significantly.
•    Anonymous said... My 7yr just finished a 10 session program with his OT called the Alert Program - How Does Your Engine Run. It was awesome and he is sooo much better now for it. It helps the kids to recognise how their body is feeling and what types of things help them to get their 'engine' running just right. I can't say enough about it - absolutely amazing!!! My son would yell, throw things, hurt kids, bang and slam furniture/doors etc. We get the occasional growl or stomping feet when he is REALLY worked up, but the majority of the time we can nip it in the bud with what we both learnt at these sessions
•    Anonymous said... My son's teachers allowed him to pick a place in the classroom that he could go to when he felt upset. It seemed like it helped a lot. One year it was under the row of "cubbies" and coat hooks. It was usually only for a few minutes, but seemed to help him. Now that he is a little older they have a resource room between the classrooms and he can sit in there until he calms himself.
•    Anonymous said... Needs a good routine at school, talk to teacher and tell her parts of your routine at home, All about routine and prompts. I always use the clock, when change occur, always a quick 10 minute reminder, AS children love knowing what's set out for them in the day, as you know they don't really like change. Sleep is another important issue. I hope this has helped you.
•    Anonymous said... Prevention.
•    Anonymous said... Rescue Remedy!!!!

Post your comment below…

Social Skills Training for Kids on the Autism Spectrum: Behavioral Rehearsal

 "What is 'behavioral rehearsal' [the social skills method used for kids on the autism spectrum] and how do you use it exactly?"

Behavioral rehearsal is used primarily to teach basic social skills to children with Asperger’s (AS) and High-Functioning Autism (HFA) in a way that allows for the “creative practice” of such skills. This technique involves acting-out situations and activities in a structured environment in order to repeat newly acquired skills (or previously learned skills) that the youngster is having difficulties performing.

Behavioral rehearsal can be either scripted or spontaneous. In the spontaneous approach, the youngster is provided with a scenario (e.g., asking a peer to play with him), but not with the specific script. Usually, it’s best to combine scripted and unscripted elements to each rehearsal (e.g., the youngster might be provided with an opening statement or question, but the rest of the interaction would be spontaneous). 



Behavioral rehearsal can be used to teach a variety of social skills, particularly those involving initiating, responding, and terminating interactions. For example, the youngster may be required to initiate a conversation with peers who are engaged in a separate task, thus he would have to ask to join in, or ask his peers to join him in an activity. The latter typically proves to be most difficult for kids with AS and HFA. 

During the first few rehearsals, it is not uncommon for the AS or HFA youngster to get “stuck” in conversations or interactions without knowing what to say or how to proceed. During the early sessions, the youngster should be given ample time to process and respond to the different scenarios. As the sessions progress, speed and proficiency should steadily increase. 

Examples of practice scenarios used in behavioral rehearsal:

1. Active Listening: Active listeners show speakers that they are paying attention. They do this through body language (e.g., offering appropriate eye contact, orienting the body in the direction of the speaker, remaining quiet, etc.) and verbal feedback (e.g., restating, in their own words, what the speaker is trying to communicate). One technique for teaching active listening to AS and HFA kids can go like this: Assign children to one of three roles (e.g., a speaker, a listener, and an observer). The speaker is instructed to talk for a few minutes about something important to her. The listener attends quietly, providing cues to the speaker that he is paying attention. When the speaker is finished talking, the listener also repeats back, in his own words, the speaker’s points. The observer’s job is to evaluate the speaker and listener (e.g., Did the speaker stay on topic? How did the listener indicate that he was paying attention?). After the observer shares the observations with the others, the players switch roles and try again.

2. Bullying: Bullying is popular theme in AS and HFA kids' rehearsal activities. One youngster can assume the role of a bully and pretend to hit or shove one of his peers. The bully will taunt the victim to fight back, at which point the victim should walk away, call for help, alert the nearest teacher, or some combination thereof.

3. Charades: Children engage in a variety of social skills activities during a game of charades. A player draws a slip of paper from a box and silently reads the word written on it. Then she tries to convey this word to her peers through pantomime. What gestures are most likely to communicate the important information? After each round, encourage the children to engage in analysis (e.g., Which gestures worked? Which ones didn’t? Why?).

4. Cooperative Group Construction Projects: Rehearsing group construction projects (e.g., collaboratively building a house using Legos) force an AS or HFA child to pay attention to his peers’ efforts, to communicate, to negotiate, and to cooperate. In one study of children with AS and HFA, students attended a one hour session of group construction play once a week for 18 weeks. Compared with students given special training in the social use of language, the students in the construction group showed greater improvement in their social interactions. Other research indicates that the benefits of these experiences last for years.

5. Saying “No” to Drugs: AS and HFA kids can learn about saying no to drugs through rehearsal exercises. When performing this type of exercise, one youngster takes on the role of a drug dealer who offers to give or sell drugs to one of his peers. When the peer refuses, the drug dealer will taunt her, calling her scared and chicken. But the taunts should have no effect on the peer, who will deliver a final firm "NO" and exit the scene.


6. Following the Leader: Standing in line and following a leader is another important skill for AS and HFA children. Have the children line up behind a leader and follow her through an obstacle course. All the children must stay in line and take turns as they pass through each section of the course.

7. Good Sportsmanship: Team sports can make very effective social skills activities for AS and HFA kids. Before a game, talk to the children about the goals of good sportsmanship (e.g., showing respect to other players and to the referee, showing encouragement and offering help to other players who may be less skilled, resolving conflicts without running to the teacher, being a good winner by not bragging and taunting the losers and by providing supportive feedback to the losers, being a good loser by congratulating the winner and not blaming others for the loss, and so on). During the game, give children the chance to put these principles into action “before” you intervene in conflicts. If they don’t sort things out themselves after a few minutes, you can jump in. And when the game is over, give the children feedback on their good sportsmanship.

8. Gossiping: Behavioral rehearsal can help deter AS and HFA kids from speaking ill of their peers. In this rehearsal, one youngster pretends to spread vicious rumors about a classmate to one of his friends. After running out of gossip, he will ask his friend if he has dirt on any of his classmates. The friend will insist that he doesn't and, when pressed, will declare that it is harmful to talk about others behind their backs and that he doesn't want to be part of it.

9. Make Me Laugh: Learning self-control is a crucial skill for AS and HFA kids. Here’s a classic game that encourages these children to practice self-control: The children freeze like statues, then one youngster (who is “it”) must try to get them to break character and laugh. The first one to laugh becomes “it” for the next round.

10. The Name Game: AS and HFA kids need to learn the importance of getting someone’s attention “before” they speak. For this rehearsal, have children sit in a circle and give one child a ball. Then ask her to name another youngster in the circle and roll the ball to that youngster. The recipient then takes his turn, naming a youngster and rolling the ball …and so on.





11. Avoiding Strangers: Behavioral rehearsal is a good way to teach AS and HFA kids about stranger danger. For this type of rehearsal, a parent or teacher can assume the role of a stranger (e.g., Mr. Clark) who pulls up in a car and requests the youngster's assistance in reaching a certain address. After the youngster offers directions, Mr. Clark should insist that the youngster get in the car and accompany him to his destination. The youngster should adamantly refuse and promptly distance herself from Mr. Clark. If Mr. Clark continues to pursue her, the youngster should run and scream for help.

12. Reading Facial Cues: Helping AS and HFA children learn to pay attention to facial expressions in others is also a great subject for behavioral rehearsal. Collect photographs of people making different facial expressions and paste them to index cards. Your collection should include expressions of: anger, disgust, fear, happy, sad and surprise. These are basic emotions, and the facial expressions people use to communicate them seem to be similar across cultures. Before using your new cards with children, test them out on grown-ups, asking them to guess what emotion each expression represents. Re-do and pictures that adults have difficulty identifying. Although you can use the index cards as flash cards (e.g., “What is this person feeling”), there are also several games you can play. For example:
  • Have the children match each facial expression card with a situation that might evoke the emotion (e.g., a foot being stepped on, a person being snubbed or ignored by others, a person receiving a gift, a tower created from toy blocks being kicked over, an ice cream cone that has fallen on the ground, someone running from a mean dog, and so on).
  • Players take turns picking a card from the deck and inventing a reason for the facial expression displayed (e.g., if the player picks a card with a man showing disgust, the player might say, “He just stepped in mud puddle”).
  • Shuffle the cards and put them face down. The first player picks a card, keeps it to herself, and then mimics the facial expression on the card. The other player(s) have to guess the correct emotion.

Other ideas for behavioral rehearsal could include:
  • attending a funeral
  • being a guest
  • being a host
  • going to a restaurant
  • going to church
  • meeting new people
  • offering sympathy
  • receiving gifts or compliments
  • sharing toys
  • shopping for groceries

Behavioral rehearsal is a way for AS and HFA children to practice basic social skills. It is particularly helpful for children who have difficulty getting along with others. When using behavioral rehearsal, be sure to stress the process and not the end result. Know that there will be times when the youngster will handle a situation beautifully, yet things will not work out the way you thought they “should” have. Also, be sure the youngster in a good mood before starting a practice session. 





More resources for parents of children and teens with High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's:

==> 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


==> Parenting System that Reduces Problematic Behavior in Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism



COMMENT:

Anonymous said.. I am not sure why you give so much in the form of information for free. I just want you to know that it has helped my parenting so much. Because of you, I have a great high-functioning autistic teen-ager, and a great relationship with him.

Resolving School Behavior Problems in Kids on the Autism Spectrum

Question

"Mark, I have a daughter age 6 who was diagnosed with an autism spectrum disorder at age two. She received intensive therapy, 40 hours plus, per week utilizing various techniques. She is now 6. She is extremely friendly to even strangers, her IQ is 133… she is great with the exception of some behavioral problems. She is in first grade and is getting in trouble and being punished regularly for things such a marking on things she should not mark on, refusing to write. I need help."

Answer

You need to have a functional behavior assessment performed. Consider the following scenarios: 
 
A child with ASD has a behavior meltdown, in the school hall way. He begins to scream and hit other child. A grown-up is able to redirect the child and thus eliminate the behavior. Afterward, the team meets to discuss behavioral approaches for the future and to try to find out what led to this behavioral incident. 
 
As the team discusses potential reasons for the behavior, they discover that the child has been the victim of intense bullying and teasing. In response, the team questions what they can do in the future to eliminate behavioral difficulties. The issue of dealing with the bullies is never discussed.

Another child has a history of behavioral challenges that were minimal during elementary school, but have intensified in middle school. The team realizes that middle school presents special challenges because of changing classes and working with multiple staff. 
 

Accommodations are discussed that may assist the child in making numerous transitions throughout the school day. Despite these efforts, behavior incidents continue to occur. The behaviors are most likely to occur in the cafeteria or in hallways, which are incredibly noisy. It is suggested that in the future, in-school suspension be considered when there is a behavioral challenge. 
 
This is the approach used with other child, and the school has a strong zero-tolerance policy. The child is warned repeatedly. Despite these warnings, behaviors continue and actually escalate, resulting in removal from the educational setting.

Responding to Problematic Behavior—

When a youngster with ASD engages in problematic behavior, a typical response includes trying to identify what is going on within the youngster that leads to this behavior crisis. Questions are asked, such as, “Why is he exhibiting this behavior?” “Why is she hitting others?” or “What will stop this behavior?” 
 
All too often, this last question keeps us focused on consequence procedures that are child specific. However, simply focusing on the child as the sole source of the behavior provides limited insight into potential solutions and problems. In these situations, there are multiple issues to consider.

First, the federal law guiding special education services, the 2004 Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA), requires special procedures and safeguards to be used when considering discipline for child with disabilities. These IDEIA provisions regarding discipline were designed to ensure that kids with disabilities maintain their ability to receive an appropriate education, even though the symptoms of their disability may include behaviors that require interventions. 
 
These provisions consider the amount of time a child may be removed from class or school due to behavior, and require the school team to analyze whether the behavior is related to the child’s disability. This process is called manifestation determination. If the behavior is determined to be due to the disability, the law requires that a functional behavior assessment be conducted that results in an individually designed behavior support plan. This plan should use positive behavioral interventions, strategies and supports to address the behavior and teach alternative ways of responding.

When conducting a functional behavior assessment, professionals and family members examine setting events or triggers that may increase the probability of these behaviors. These setting events may not be readily apparent. For example, a child with ASD is ill, has had a difficult morning ride on the bus or has not slept. These conditions will increase the likelihood that a behavior incident will occur. For most of us, stresses in life, changes in morning routines or skipping our morning coffee may set us up to be moody and agitated. These are setting events. 
 
Setting events that we often do not consider are related to the culture of the school. Schools that struggle with bullying, high rates of suspension or expulsion, or even high staff turnover may be settings that promote problematic behaviors. If this is the case, then schools should take a systematic approach in creating a school culture that is responsive to child and staff.


Resources for parents of children and teens on the autism spectrum:
 
  
 
Best Comment:

Well, I guess it’s time for me to tell our school administration about my son. I initially wanted to wait on this as I was trying to grasp what ASD was, make sure he really has this and really understand it. I feel I have the tools to do this now, two diagnoses from two professionals, a neurologist and a psychologist and after the two incidents that happened at school, I must say something.

First incident: I received a call from the school that my son was doubled over in pain in the office because he said his stomach hurt. I arrived at the school to pick him up in the office. The secretary said that he was in the bathroom (I told her to encourage him to go over the phone as he has had this problem/ his 8 yrs of life) Well, I waited and waited and waited...I told her he was taking too long. I then decided to knock on the bathroom door. He was not there. I walked over to his classroom and looked into the window and there he was! I went back into the office and told them that he was in his classroom. 
 
The office called him back so I could assess the situation. He now felt fine and wanted to stay at school. He loves school and could have easily pretended he was sick or just come home but that is not how he is. The office had no clue their student went m.i.a on him and if they had looked him in the eye and told him to make sure he came back and check on him after 3 min he would have been back. In his mind, he was ok and went back or just forgot and had his mind on one idea.

Second incident: My son was called into the office (he never gets called to the office!) because he spelled out loud an inappropriate word at school. The note said that he said the F word for which he does NOT know nor ever heard. I was in shock, tears, you know it! They said he heard this from a kid at camp over the summer. I asked him what he said. He said "mom, I spelled Sucker" When he went to the office, the administrator asked him to spell what he spelled out on the playground and the admin said he spelled it with a F. My son told me that spelling that with an F is NOT a word and does NOT make sense. I know in my heart that the admin heard it wrong. An F and an F sound alike when said out loud. What really bothered me was that the admin thought my son was lying or changing his stories in the office. 
 
When he said to the admin, I did not spell that, I spelled sucker. the admin said "you know what you spelled!" that is just wrong and then after being questioned my son started to get confused and cry and told the admin...uuhh I forget, which he does! It was not the admins fault. I blame myself. They need to know my so does not lie. He is a truth teller! I told my son that he has a detention for spelling sucker and that is not a good word. I’m hurt and angry because now he has been exposed to the F word because the admin. Thought that is what he said. It’s so unfair! I did not bring up ASD etc when I was in the office crying and trying to make sense of all this. I did not want to use that as an excuse. I called for the impromptu meeting in the office, they did not.

My son is also going through testing for an auditory processing disorder (on Wed) and other language issues. His speech is unclear at times, slurs words (may have been why the admin thought he used an F) and had a hard time expressing himself at times. The school does not know this. The only teachers that know of his diagnosis are his current teacher, teacher from last year and the music teacher. I will now be setting up an appointment with the administration.

My son told me that he did hear the word sucker from a kid at camp and that the boy did not get into trouble for it but he somehow knew it was bad. He said "Mom, it is a bad word to say and that is why I SPELLED it!" From the mind of a child with ASD. Thank you, God that he did not say the F word even though the guy in admin thought so. I know what he said...they can believe what they want.

I wrote a letter stating that for the record, my son did not spell what they thought he spelled, but I stand by the school 100% and YES, he should have a 20 min. detention for spelling the word SUCKER.I do not allow that word in our home and as a matter of fact the word Stupid is a bad word in our home. Stating the facts and supporting the school at the same time, shows the school I’m not a crazy parent without a brain.

My son attends a private school that we love! The admin who heard him wrong, is an amazing individual. I respect him but I think his "hearing aid" needed to be turned up that day! Ahhhh, I need to laugh.

Thanks for listening, my eyes are swollen! ( :
 
 
More articles for parents of children and teens on the autism spectrum:
 
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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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.

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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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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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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...

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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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Is there a cure for Aspergers?

Unfortunately, there is no cure for Aspergers; however, there are a wide variety of helpful treatments that help those with Aspergers to learn better social skills and communication cues, and to help them be able to interact socially more naturally. By focusing on learning ways to cope with the symptoms and pick up on social cues, most people with Aspergers lead fairly typical lives, with close friends and loved ones.

The mainstay of management for Aspergers is behavioral therapy, focusing on specific deficits to address poor communication skills, obsessive or repetitive routines, and physical clumsiness. Most kids improve as they mature to adulthood, but social and communication difficulties may persist. Some researchers and individuals with Aspergers have advocated a shift in attitudes toward the view that it is a “difference” rather than a “disability” that must be treated or cured.

Treatment for Aspergers attempts to manage distressing symptoms and to teach age-appropriate social, communication and vocational skills that are not naturally acquired during development, with intervention tailored to the needs of the child based on multidisciplinary assessment. Although progress has been made, data supporting the efficacy of particular interventions are limited.

Therapies for Aspergers—

Therapy for Aspergers concentrates on three-core symptoms: physical clumsiness, obsessive or repetitive routines, and poor communication skills. There is no single treatment for children suffering from all three of these core symptoms, but professionals do agree that the disorder can be treated when the intervention is carried out at the earliest possible time.

The ideal treatment for Aspergers coordinates therapies that address core symptoms of the disorder, including poor communication skills and obsessive or repetitive routines. While most professionals agree that the earlier the intervention, the better, there is no single best treatment package. Treatment for Aspergers resembles that of other high-functioning ASDs, except that it takes into account the linguistic capabilities, verbal strengths, and nonverbal vulnerabilities of children with Aspergers.

A typical program generally includes:

• Cognitive behavioral therapy to improve stress management relating to anxiety or explosive emotions and to cut back on obsessive interests and repetitive routines

• Medication for coexisting conditions such as major depressive disorder and anxiety disorder 

• Occupational or physical therapy to assist with poor sensory integration and motor coordination

• Social communication intervention, which is specialized speech therapy, to help with the pragmatics of the give and take of normal conversation 

• Training and support of moms and dads, particularly in behavioral techniques to use in the home

• Training of social skills for more effective interpersonal interactions

Of the many studies on behavior-based early intervention programs, most are case studies of up to five participants, and typically examine a few problem behaviors such as self-injury, aggression, noncompliance, stereotypies, or spontaneous language.

Despite the popularity of social skills training, its effectiveness is not firmly established. A randomized controlled study of a model for training moms and dads in problem behaviors in their kids with Aspergers showed that moms and dads attending a one-day workshop or six individual lessons reported fewer behavioral problems, while moms and dads receiving the individual lessons reported less intense behavioral problems in their Aspergers kids.

Vocational training is important to teach job interview etiquette and workplace behavior to older kids and grown-ups with Aspergers, and organization software and personal data assistants can improve the work and life management of individuals with Aspergers.

Medications for Aspergers—

No medications directly treat the core symptoms of Aspergers. Although research into the efficacy of pharmaceutical intervention for Aspergers is limited, it is essential to diagnose and treat comorbid conditions. Deficits in self-identifying emotions or in observing effects of one's behavior on others can make it difficult for children with Aspergers to see why medication may be appropriate.

Medication can be effective in combination with behavioral interventions and environmental accommodations in treating comorbid symptoms such as anxiety disorder, major depressive disorder, inattention and aggression. The atypical antipsychotic medications risperidone and olanzapine have been shown to reduce the associated symptoms of Aspergers. Risperidone can reduce repetitive and self-injurious behaviors, aggressive outbursts and impulsivity, and improve stereotypical patterns of behavior and social relatedness. The selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) fluoxetine, fluvoxamine and sertraline have been effective in treating restricted and repetitive interests and behaviors.

Side Effects of Medications for Aspergers—

Care must be taken with medications, as side effects may be more common and harder to evaluate in children with Aspergers, and tests of drugs' effectiveness against comorbid conditions routinely exclude children from the autism spectrum.

• Weight gain and fatigue are commonly reported side effects of risperidone, which may also lead to increased risk for extrapyramidal symptoms such as restlessness and dystonia and increased serum prolactin levels.

• SSRIs can lead to manifestations of behavioral activation such as increased impulsivity, aggression and sleep disturbance.

• Sedation and weight gain are more common with olanzapine, which has also been linked with diabetes. Sedative side-effects in school-age kids have ramifications for classroom learning.

• Abnormalities in metabolism, cardiac conduction times, and an increased risk of type 2 diabetes have been raised as concerns with these medications, along with serious long-term neurological side effects.

Children with Aspergers may be unable to identify and communicate their internal moods and emotions or to tolerate side effects that, for most individuals, would not be problematic.

Studies are on the way to discover the best treatment for Aspergers, which includes the use of functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to identify the abnormalities in the brain that causes malfunction. Clinical trials are being conducted to identify the effectiveness of anti-depressants in people with Aspergers. Even the analysis of the DNA of the Aspergers sufferer and his/her family may cause a breakthrough in the treatment of the Aspergers.

With effective treatment, children with Aspergers can learn to cope with their disabilities, but they may still find social situations and personal relationships challenging. Many adults with Aspergers are able to work successfully in mainstream jobs, although they may continue to need encouragement and moral support to maintain an independent life.  

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==> 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

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Aspergers Children and Anger Problems

Question

My Aspergers son has anger problems. How can I help him understand what his real emotions are?

Answer

For kids with Aspergers (high functioning autism), anger can be a major challenge. Many people do not realize the strong connection between Aspergers and behavioral issues like anger, anxiety, and depression. The very characteristics of Aspergers lead to these behavioral issues. Some of these characteristics are:
  • Gross and fine motor problems
  • Inflexible thinking
  • Lack of language skills, especially social language, gestures and cues
  • Narrow interests
  • Sensory issues
  • Social skills weaknesses

Understanding anger in Aspergers children is quite simple. Nearly all of your son’s anger stems from frustration. The characteristics of Aspergers listed above (plus others) create a confusing and uncomfortable social environment. The natural reaction is frustration, and the natural escalation of frustration is anxiety, then anger. Helping an Aspergers child understand his anger and other emotions, however, can be quite difficult. You must help your son understand the cause of his emotions, and then develop a plan to avoid the negative emotions that stem from frustration. There are several options available for the mother/father searching for anger-management for their Aspergers children. Here are a couple of those options:

1. Home Solutions— Not everyone with Aspergers anger issues choose private therapy. For some people, these therapies are not covered by insurance or are simply not available. Others choose to handle therapy and learning situations at home, in their own way. This is perfectly acceptable, and in all honesty, quite helpful for the child even if you do choose private therapy. Support at home will increase progress. Some examples of home solutions are:
  • Five point scale assessments teach a youngster how to recognize his anger or anxiety and prepare to control their emotional responses.
  • Parenting discipline programs teach parents how to use proper discipline techniques, which in turn, may diffuse some of the youngster’s anxiety and anger.
  • Play therapy/activities make learning emotional control fun.
  • Social stories can be written for specific behavioral problems and situations. These stories can put your youngster’s feelings into words and offer him simple solutions.

2. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy— Many people with Aspergers anger choose to try cognitive-behavioral therapy. This therapy is highly recommended for kids with Aspergers. Cognitive-behavioral therapy is individual therapy designed around the idea that a child’s emotions and thought processes are what control that child’s outward feelings and behaviors. Most people tend to blame the situation or other people. This therapy places the focus on a child’s internal thoughts. In other words, if we think a certain way, even though the situation makes us feel the opposite, we can begin to feel better about that situation.

For your Aspergers child, anger can get in the way of learning, playing, and life. Perhaps you can use some of the above suggestions to help him handle his anger and better understand his emotions.

I cover a lot of ground on anger issues for children with Aspergers in my eBook entitled My Aspergers Child: Preventing Tantrums and Meltdowns.

Behavioral Strategies for Aspergers Children

"I love both of my children equally, however the younger 'typical' child has a much better temperament than his Aspergers brother? Their personalities are as different as night and day! Any suggestions about how I can help my Aspie to be a bit more calm and collected?"

Children with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism often struggle to make sense of their surroundings and sense of their world. They exist in a body that does not always allow for accurate interpretation of their world, and they are unable to respond in a typical manner. The result of this can be challenging behavior.

For parents and professionals alike, interpreting this behavior can be difficult. Developing a plan to deal with the behavior is often even more challenging as it requires consistency and routine throughout the day and life of the Aspergers child.

Behavioral issues are often the result of a deficit in communication and sensory integration. Overload of the sensory system can result in a shutdown or a meltdown for the child. In order to change the behavioral challenges of the child, it is first necessary to understand exactly what is causing those behaviors. This will require focusing on the routine of the child, or lack thereof, and determining what happens immediately prior to the behavior, and what the end result is. This can take a great deal of time and effort, but well worth the end result.

A “functional analytic approach” to developing effective behavioral modification in Aspergers children and teens utilizes a process known as “functional behavioral assessment.” Functional behavioral assessment involves employing a variety of strategies (e.g., child-centered planning, treatment team meetings, systematic interviews, direct observations, etc.) to formulate hypotheses about why a child behaves the way he does. 


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==> 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

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Popular Screening Tools for Aspergers and Autism

Question

What kind of assessment tools do clinicians use when they are trying to determine whether or not a child or teen has Aspergers or Autism?

Answer

There are many (with new ones coming along all the time) …so I have listed the “most used” screening tools to date. These include:

1. Aspergers/High Functioning Autism (HFA) Screening Tools
2. Autism Screening Tools
3. Developmental and Behavioral Screening Tools

Aspergers/HFA Screening Tools (4 years to adult) —

Most Aspergers/HFA screening tools are designed for use with older kids, and are used to differentiate these disorders from other ASDs and/or other developmental disorders (e.g., mental retardation and language delays). These tools concentrate on social and behavioral impairment in kids four years of age and older (up to adulthood), who usually develop without significant language delay. Qualitatively, these tools are quite different from the early childhood screening tools, highlighting more social-conversational and perseverative-behavioral concerns.
  • Australian Scale for Asperger Syndrome (ASAS) by Michelle Garnett, M. Clinical Psychology, Anthony Attwood, Ph.D. (for kids 5 and older)
  • Autism Spectrum Screening Questionnaire (ASSQ) by Stephen Ehlers, Ph.D., Christopher Gillberg, Ph.D., Lorna Wing, Ph.D. (Published in 1999 in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, 29,129-141) (for kids 7-16)
  • Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ) by Catherine Lord, Ph.D., Sir Michael Rutter, Ph.D., et al. (for kids 4 and older)

Autism Screening Tools (4 years to adult) —

Most autism screening tools are designed to detect ASDs specifically, concentrate on social and communication impairment in kids 18 months of age and older, and focus on all three DSM-IV criteria for autism. Their limitations lie in the lack of highly validated autism screening tools available for kids under 18 months of age. Since autism screening ideally would follow a developmental screening that has indicated concerns, the administering clinician should directly observe the youngster in addition to using an autism screening tool questionnaire.
  • Modified Checklist for Autism in Toddlers (M-CHAT) by Diana Robins, M.A., Deborah Fein, Ph.D., et al. (for kids 16-30 months)

Developmental and Behavioral Screening Tools (Birth to 36 Months) —

Most developmental and behavioral screening tools have a wide application with kids of varying ages, allow flexibility to capture “parent report’ with minimal assistance, ask less threatening and more universal questions of mothers and fathers, and coordinate with hallmark developmental milestones. Because of their broad use, developmental and behavioral tools often lack the sensitivity to screen specifically for autism and therefore require follow up with an autism screening tool when a developmental screening raises concerns.
  • Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ-3) by Jane Squires, Ph.D. & Diane Bricker, Ph.D. et al. (for kids 1-66 months)
  • Ages and Stages Questionnaire: Social-Emotional (ASQ:SE) by Jane Squires, Ph.D. & Diane Bricker, Ph.D. & Elizabeth Twombly, M.S. (for kids 6-60 months)
  • Brief-Infant-Toddler Social-Emotional Assessment (BITSEA) by Margaret Briggs-Gowan, Ph.D. and Alice Carter, Ph.D. (for kids 12-36 months)
  • Child Development Inventory by Harold Ireton, Ph.D. et al. (for kids 0-6 years)
  • CSBS DP Infant-Toddler Checklist by Amy Wetherby, Ph.D. & Barry Prizant, Ph.D. (for kids 6-24 months)
  • Parents Evaluation of Developmental Status (PEDS) by Frances Page Glascoe, Ph.D. (for kids 0-8 years)
  • Parents Evaluation of Developmental Status-Developmental Milestones (PEDS:DM) by Frances Page Glascoe, Ph.D. (for kids 0-8 years)
  • Social-Emotional Growth Chart by Stanley I. Greenspan, MD (for kids 0-42 months)
  • Temperament and Atypical Behavior Scale (TABS) by Stephen J. Bagnato, Ed.D., John T. Neisworth, Ph.D., et al. (for kids 11-71 months)
The Aspergers Comprehensive Handbook

Aspergers and Anxiety: What Parents and Teachers Need To Know


The following is a transcript of the question-and-answer portion of Mark Hutten's seminar on "Aspergers and Anxiety: What Parents and Teachers Need To Know":


Question: Both of my boys have Aspergers, but one exhibits a lot of anxiety, whereas the other does not seem anxious at all. Is there a good explanation for that?

It’s very normal for different children to have different temperaments. Some children are more outgoing and seem to be impervious to feelings of anxiety, whereas other children may always seem to be anxious. But it’s very possible for the more anxious child to learn skills to help manage his anxiety better so he can participate in activities, do well in school, and not be held back due to anxiety-related issues, and so on.

Question: How common is anxiety in children with this syndrome?

Anxiety is extremely common. It’s estimated that up to 80% of people with Aspergers experience intense anxiety symptoms. It can take the form of obsessive-compulsive disorder, specific fears and phobias, and generalized anxieties. Also, 1 in 15 children with Aspergers meet the diagnostic criteria for depression, which can be both a cause and a result of anxiety. We don’t know exactly what causes the depression, but it’s likely a combination of the child’s realization of his difference from peers and the ostracizing that occurs from these peers. Bullying is an extremely common problem among children with Aspergers, and this often leads to an increased rate of both anxiety and depression.

Question: How should I go about choosing a child therapist for my 12-year-old Aspergers son?

In the field of child anxiety as it specifically relates to Aspergers, there are some therapists who have been specifically trained in implementing what we call ‘cognitive-behavioral therapy’ – or CBT. Cognitive-behavioral methods are essentially a set of skills that Aspergers children can learn to help them change their fearful thoughts, anxious behaviors, and to reduce their physical feelings of tension.

Cognitive-behavioral approaches to treating child anxiety have been found to have high levels of success. For example, a child who is experiencing panic attacks might learn how to identify anxious thoughts that trigger panic attacks, learn how to change his anxious feelings, and learn how to change anxiety-triggering behavior. In any event, ideally you will want to seek a Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist who specializes in CBT specific to the Aspergers condition.

Question: How long will it take before I see a change in my Aspergers son once he has started this cognitive-behavioral therapy?

That’ll depend on his unique set of symptoms. At one of our facilities in Indianapolis, children are typically treated within 7-12 sessions for difficulties like specific fears, panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and obsessive compulsive disorder. In some cases, however, additional sessions are needed to help a child make the maximum progress. But even then, 15 sessions will usually be the max.

Question: I'm an anxious person also. Is it possible that I give this anxiety to my Aspergers daughter?

Although research has shown that anxiety may be heritable, there are many other ways that fears can be acquired. Your daughter may have a more anxious, inhibited temperament, which may make her more vulnerable to feeling anxious. Fears are often acquired through the media, through modeling from others, and so on. Fears might also occur after children have experienced some form of trauma. So, although you may feel you are anxious, it is not likely that you simply are ‘giving’ an anxiety disorder to your daughter. There are ways that you can interact with her, though, that may function to increase her anxiety, and it might be important to examine such factors with a therapist.

Question: What do anxiety symptoms look like in a child with Aspergers?

Not much is known about what anxiety symptoms actually look like in a child with Aspergers, but there are symptoms that overlap with Anxiety Disorders, for example: avoidance of new situations, irritability, somatic complaints, and withdrawal from social situations. Another set of anxiety symptoms may be unique to children with Aspergers, for example: becoming ‘silly’, becoming explosive, having anger outbursts or what we call ‘meltdowns’, increased insistence on routines and sameness, preference for rules and rigidity, repetitive behavior, and special interest.

Question: What is the difference between cognitive-behavioral treatment and other kinds of treatment for anxiety?

CBT is focused on teaching children and parents specific skills for changing their fearful thoughts, anxious and tense physical feelings, and avoidant behaviors. Other types of therapy are more focused on using play therapy and/or talk therapy to produce change. There’s a lot of evidence suggesting that cognitive-behavioral techniques are quite successful in reducing anxiety in Aspergers children. Other forms of therapy have less empirical support.

Question: Will my child’s anxiety go away naturally or does he need treatment?

This is an excellent question, and one that is commonly asked by parents. Many childhood fears are part of normal developmental. Fears tend to rise and dissipate at predictable ages in a kid’s life. A child might develop a fear of the dark at age 4, which dissipates by the time he’s 6. Also, it’s normal for children to feel fearful of loud noises when they are very young. However, no matter how old your son is, if he is experiencing a fear that is beginning to interfere with aspects of his functioning, such as academic, social or family functioning …then these fears may warrant treatment.

Very often, successful short-term therapy can help to alleviate an Aspergers child’s fears and help him return to healthy functioning. If you’re unsure whether your son’s fear is normal, or whether it is interfering in his life, it may be a good idea to consult with a psychologist to determine whether he could benefit from treatment.

Question: You say that cognitive-behavioral treatment is the best treatment for anxiety symptoms in children with Aspergers. What does it consist of exactly?

CBT is a time-limited approach designed to change thoughts, emotions, and behaviors and has been shown to be successful in treating Anxiety Disorders in Aspergers children. It should consist of both a child component and a parent component. In using CBT, children should be helped to identify what their own anxiety symptoms look like.

Activities like feeling dictionaries (which is a list of different words for anxiety) and emotional charades (which is guessing people's emotions depending on faces) are helpful in developing this self-awareness. Worksheets, written schedules of activities, and drawings can be added to increase structure during therapy sessions. Games and fun physical activities are important to include in group therapy because they promote social interactions. A reward and consequence system should be used to maintain structure and prevent anger outbursts. Also, to build on the attachment between child and parent, it is important to have parents learn the techniques and coach children to use them at home.

Other useful techniques may include body brushing and massage, chewing gum or sucking on a candy cane to relieve pressure in the jaw, deep pressure activity like lying under a heavy blanket or cushions, physical energy burn like running and jumping on a trampoline, redirection and distraction, and whole-body activities like tug-of-war or rolling on the floor.

As a side note, know that kids with Aspergers tend to have perfectionist attitudes in many areas of their lives. This can be witnessed through their obsessive-compulsive behaviors, repetitive patterns of behavior, and their difficulty coping with change. Now …this self-imposed perfectionism can contribute to their anxiety and pressure to perform. So, since Aspergers kids usually place extreme and unrealistic demands on themselves, it’s important to not push the child too far in therapy. Small steps and taking it ‘one therapy session’ at a time will go a long way in effecting permanent positive change in the child. Go slow, have realistic therapeutic expectations, and monitor progress – these are the big 3 in CBT as far as I’m concerned.  

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==> How To Prevent Meltdowns and Tantrums In Children With High-Functioning Autism and Asperger's

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==> 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

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Finding Which Behavior Problems to Target First: Tips for Parents of Kids on the Autism Spectrum

Your child with High-Functioning Autism (HFA) or Asperger’s (AS) seems to have a multitude of behavioral and emotional issues. Which ones should you attempt to address first? With so many problems, where do you start?

A careful analysis of the most problematic symptoms is crucial, because the choice of interventions is influenced by symptom traits. Moreover, the wide array of symptoms results in the tendency of those closest to the HFA or AS youngster to lose sight, over time, of the intervention targets.

When parents (and teachers) turn their attention to a new troubling cluster of symptoms, an intervention that has been effective may be reinterpreted as ineffective. Being attentive to symptom traits allows the parent to measure effects and introduce helpful responses. 
 
==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens High-Functioning Autism

The most important traits to consider include the following:
  1. Distribution of the behavior problems
  2. Intensity of the behavior problems
  3. Onset: Time and Location of the behavior problems
  4. Duration of the behavior problems
  5. Ameliorating Factors for the behaviors
  6. Aggravating Factors for the behaviors
  7. Trends of the behavior problems: upward or downward

1. Distribution—

The distribution of behaviors is a term for the frequency of symptoms over time. It may be obvious, but it’s worth underscoring that for most kids on the autism spectrum, the frequency of symptoms changes within days, weeks, and months. Thus, having a good awareness of the course of a symptom is important for monitoring the behavior problem.

The early, short-term effects of a particular behavioral intervention may not be the most reliable ones for predicting the overall effect that intervention delivers. Frequency also is related to settings and circumstances. Aggression or perseverative behaviors often increase or appear under certain circumstances (e.g., when there are many people talking, or when there are crowds). As a result, for behaviors that are periodic, it’s useful to rate the behavior at the time when it’s most frequent or likely to surface, rather than a general rating throughout the day, week, or month. 
 
==> Parenting System that Significantly Reduces Defiant Behavior in Teens High-Functioning Autism

2. Intensity—

Intensity is a measure of the energy the child uses when engaging in the behavior. It also can be helpful to base this rating on the ease with which the child may be redirected to another, different line of behavior.

3. Onset: Time and Location—

The onset of symptoms is often related to a time and a location. The parent’s ability to know when and where symptoms surface, or under what circumstances they surface, is helpful in rating progress. When symptoms are concentrated to specific times or places, parents should first consider behavioral or educational interventions carefully. It may be that greater direction for certain activities, a break from interaction, or modifying the expectations for the HFA or AS youngster in an activity, will go a long way toward reducing maladaptive behaviors.

If a symptom only occurs in one setting, then this may lead the parent to consider intensive behavioral interventions first. More generalized behaviors can lend themselves more to pharmacologic treatments, because it can be difficult to maintain uniform responses across many different settings for behavioral interventions.

4. Duration—

Duration is self-explanatory.

5. and 6. Ameliorating and aggravating and factors—

These can indicate what triggers a behavior or what sustains it.

==> Launching Adult Children with Asperger's and High-Functioning Autism: Guide for Parents Who Want to Promote Self-Reliance

7. Trends—

The reason to consider the trend of a behavior (i.e., whether it’s increasing or decreasing) is that an intervention that is introduced as a behavior is winding down may be wrongly considered as having helped. Often, parents seek treatment for their child when a behavior is peaking in severity. For periodic situations, by the time a therapist intervenes, the behavior may be cycling down by itself. Thus, it’s often helpful to wait before intervening in order to learn about the pattern of a behavior.

Obviously, this can’t be considered when the risks to safety or jeopardy to other aspects of the child’s wellbeing prevent the therapist from taking this time. If there is some doubt about whether symptoms may respond to behavioral treatment, or if one is unsure whether things have improved or remained the same, the therapist should wait.

Case in point—

A 10-year-old girl with autism (high-functioning) was brought to treatment for picking behaviors that had become a part of her bedtime routine. Each night, she would dig at her arms. After extensive efforts by the parents to learn about the pattern of her behavior, it appeared that it was influenced by the course of interactions at school during the day. 

Although the child herself didn’t make the connection between being teased or having arguments with peers and her self-picking, it was possible to use relaxation techniques to reduce the intensity and duration of this behavior. In addition, the child’s mother and father were able to talk with her in the early evening about specific events from throughout the day that created angst before she went to bed. Overtime, the behaviors were significantly reduced (although they didn’t disappear altogether).


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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.

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.

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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...

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