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

High Pain-Tolerance in Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

It is not uncommon for ASD youngsters to experience great pain and discomfort that goes unreported, unnoticed by others, undiagnosed, and untreated. Enduring pain and allowing it to become chronic is extremely detrimental to your youngster's ability to function, grow, and learn. Untreated pain and discomfort will also seriously affect your child's behavior and ability to communicate with others.

Of all the “meltdown triggers” that drive behaviors, experiencing pain and discomfort is extremely significant. This is because pain affects behavior. Think of the last time your youngster was sick and feeling significant pain or discomfort (e.g., flu symptoms, migraine, menstrual cramps, pulled muscle, etc.). Now, think of how being in such pain manifested in his/her behavior. Perhaps he/she:
  • Felt especially vulnerable
  • Just wanted to be left alone
  • Just wanted to crawl under the covers and stay there
  • Lashed out or snapped at family members
  • Lashed out or snapped when anyone made a demand of him/her
  • Was especially hypersensitive to light or sound

What if the pain and discomfort is not treated and is allowed to persist due to a high pain tolerance?

Revisit the list above and consider how your child’s behavior might intensify the longer he had to endure the pain. Not only would he feel lousy, he would also feel disoriented and distracted. His attention would be focused on trying his best to cope and manage the pain that threatens to overwhelm him. Slowly but surely, any – or all – of the following could occur:
  • he might stop caring about his appearance
  • his ability to function, care for yourself, or interact with others would be greatly reduced
  • his mental health would be affected, eroded, and over time, seriously impaired
  • his self-esteem would suffer
  • the culmination of feeling physical pain would converge with mental anguish, leaving him weak and vulnerable

One prevalent form of pain in kids on the autism spectrum occurs with allergies. The challenge is that many moms and dads do not recognize this and see their youngster's symptoms in isolation, if at all (e.g., the youngster may frequently experience ear blockages and ear infections, sometimes from a very young age). 


Perhaps the youngster manifested outwardly visual symptoms (e.g., red, sore, pussy ears that drained spontaneously). The youngster may have been treated with antibiotics or had tubes in her ears to relieve pressure. More often than not, the ear problems were one symptom within a cluster of other symptoms, indicative of allergies.

In addition to ear blockages and infections, the Autistic youngster may also manifest symptoms of an allergy, such as:
  • Congestion and runny nose
  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Red, itchy, or runny eyes
  • Sinus pressure over or under eyes
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen glands

You might have discovered that several of these symptoms manifest together at the same times of the year. The allergens could be absolutely anything — from one indicator (e.g., seasonal pollen) to an exhaustive collection of many known indicators. While you may have been treating one or two symptoms, you may not have been addressing the bigger picture (i.e., chronic allergies).

Treatment is available to relieve many of the physical side effects of severe allergies, but testing is necessary to determine the allergen type and degree of severity. This may be problematic for many kids on the spectrum, especially if they have had unpleasant experiences with doctors who were not as patient or sensitive as they should have been.

Some of the testing and treatment may involve drawing blood or receiving steroid shots, which may be an overwhelming experience (and perhaps not worth the potential trauma). Another type of testing is non-intrusive and involves the child holding various physical examples of allergens to ascertain a reaction. It is also possible that standard, over-the-counter medications may work to contain some or all symptoms of the allergies — at least until the child or teen can determine if she wishes to pursue other forms of obtaining relief.

Another prevalent factor that drives pain and discomfort in ASD kids is the gastrointestinal issues (e.g., severe gas and cramping, bloating, constipation, impaction, diarrhea, etc.). A number of such kids have an inability to properly digest dairy and wheat-based food products (among others), such that the enzymes from these foods “leak” through the gut and into the bloodstream, potentially creating an adverse reaction described by some as an “opiate” effect. In clinical trials, the dairy products are referred to as “casein,” and the wheat-based foods are referred to as “gluten.”

Moms and dads may find themselves frustrated with a youngster who seems “inappropriately” or embarrassingly gassy or who seems to have bowel complaints. Again, the youngster is not being deliberately difficult; there is a legitimate issue that is driving pain and discomfort.

As with pursuing the treatment of allergies, there are options that range from restrictive to less intrusive forms of treatment. In some instances, bacteria of the lower gastrointestinal tract may be responsible for creating these issues. This can be an excruciatingly painful experience that may cause a youngster to double over in pain. 

If the youngster is unaware of the root of the problem or doesn't know how to describe the pain in the moment, his “behavior” may be misinterpreted instead of correctly identified as a communication. Consult with your pediatrician to determine the appropriate treatment to get rid of all traces of the bacteria.


The procedures to determine the cause of the gastrointestinal tract problems may be very physically intrusive. You may want to explore less invasive methods of intervention as an alternative if the youngster has not had a good history with medical practitioners. These may include:
  • Avoiding foods with dyes or preservatives
  • Considering soy and other substitute foods, perhaps for a select time frame, to note any cause and effect
  • Cutting back on red-meat proteins in favor of chicken, fish, or other food options
  • Increasing consumption of natural food fiber found in fruits and vegetables
  • Increasing fluid intake, especially water, which may prove helpful as well
  • Promoting massage and exercise
  • Pursuing a diet free of dairy and wheat, in partnership with the youngster and in consultation with a dietician or nutritionist
  • Using any over-the-counter products designed to aid gas relief or alleviate bowel distress, like fiber-based additives

Some gastrointestinal problems may be compounded by the youngster's fears and anxieties around toileting. Children on the spectrum tend to be careful observers. Most will attempt toileting — especially urinating — in their own way and in their own time, just at a time later than what might be considered developmentally appropriate. Still others may appear to deliberately wet or soil themselves. But understand that your youngster is not deliberately being insubordinate. He really is struggling and feeling just as frustrated as you.

Here are some tips that may help clarify your understanding of toileting issues in the youngster:
  • If the youngster is not feeling safe and comfortable and in control, withholding body waste is one way of independently attempting to gain control.
  • Your youngster may be frightened by the toilet, believing that he may fall in and get sucked down.
  • Your youngster may be in a “perfectionism” mode, unwilling to admit his need to use the toilet when asked, or embarrassed to confess the need.
  • Your youngster may be overwhelmed by the loud roar of a flushing toilet.
  • Your youngster may not be connected enough with his body to consistently receive the physical “signals” or pressure indicating the need to evacuate waste.
  • Your youngster may panic, believing that in making a bowel movement, he is shedding a vital, living piece of his body.

To counteract these and other issues, it will be important to deconstruct the whole toileting process for your youngster using very basic, visual information. Explain the process of how and why the body rids itself of waste. Use your own visuals (e.g., graphics) to explain the human digestive system and name the internal parts of the body. Reinforce with your youngster that the process of eliminating waste from the body is natural. Also reinforce that using the toilet is a private matter. It is not to be discussed freely in public. It should only be discussed with close, trusted individuals (list them in writing), usually if there is cause for concern like constipation, impaction, diarrhea, etc.

Some of these kids will want specific assurances about exactly what happens to their stool once it gets flushed away (e.g., “where does it go?” … “what becomes of it?”). You may need to research this yourself, or look it up on the Internet with your youngster. If you are uncertain if your youngster experiences the sensations indicating the need to use the bathroom, first ask him about it. Talk about the ways in which you know your body gives you the appropriate signals, and plan daily, gentle exercises designed to better connect your youngster with his body (e.g., yoga, breathing, stretching exercises, etc.).

There may be some adaptations you can make in giving your youngster control in toileting (e.g., adjusting the water pressure to avoid a rushing roar when the toilet is flushed, partnering with your youngster to select a new toilet seat that is more comfortable and makes the toilet opening less imposing).

Keeping a sticker or piece of tape handy when in public will empower your youngster's encounters with automatic flush toilets, which can create great anxiety for being so unpredictable. Simply have your youngster cover the toilet sensor with the adhesive, and remove it when ready. The toilet will be disabled until the sticker is removed.


As your youngster grows into an adult, she should be able to identify and advocate for her own relief from pain. As with toileting, it will be useful to visually explain how the brain and body usually work together to send signals indicating pain. Sometimes the signals are accompanied by visuals that help reinforce that something is wrong (e.g., bleeding, a cut or blister). Other times, the signals may be exclusively inside the body and unseen, just felt. The Internet or your local library should be a resource in accessing images, books, or videos that describe these physiological processes.

There are some kids with ASD who are inconsistent in reporting pain – if they report it at all. Here’s why:
  • As with toileting, your youngster may not have a nervous system he feels fully connected with, such that the pain is delayed or not “registering” properly.
  • Being inherently gentle and exquisitely sensitive, your youngster may have been severely traumatized by experiences with doctors and nurses so that he considers enduring the pain the better option.
  • Your youngster may not realize that what he's feeling in the moment is anything any different from what anyone else feels.
  • Your youngster may not understand that there exists an unwritten social expectation that all people report pain and discomfort in order to gain relief.

In addition to educating your youngster about how the body works when communicating pain, it will also be important to partner with your youngster in gaining self-awareness and control leading to lifelong self-advocacy. This means reinforcing that it is good and desirable to identify and report one's own pain. The message needs to be loud and clear: “It is not okay to live with chronic pain.” Also, it will help considerably in relieving your youngster’s anxiety if you endeavor to demystify the entire concept of going to the doctor in advance of an appointment. You may do this by partnering with your youngster to consider doing the following:
  1. Arrange to get as many specifics about the appointment as possible, including approximate wait time and details of any procedures, along with literature and other visuals.
  2. Assign your youngster the responsibility of reading you driving directions to and from the office location, noting street names and landmarks.
  3. Because of downtime while waiting, suggest your youngster bring something to read or work on, possibly to share with the doctor as well.
  4. Before making the trip, partner with your youngster to develop a list of questions to ask the doctor, nurse, or receptionist. If there's the opportunity to do this, allow your youngster to take the lead in gleaning the information desired.
  5. Discuss flexibility of time frames with your youngster, and empower him to keep track of the time during the actual appointment.
  6. Gain clear information about the tentative sequence of events in order to visually list these out with your youngster (he can bring this list with him on appointment day).
  7. If at all possible, arrange to meet the doctor, the nurse practitioner, and — at the least — the receptionist. Again, provide the opportunity for your youngster to take pictures.
  8. Once at the office, empower your youngster by allowing him to take photographs inside and out. Review these later at home (where your youngster feels most comfortable), eliciting details from him.
  9. Schedule a pleasurable activity for your youngster to follow the appointment. Ensure that the activity occurs regardless of how well you think your youngster does or if he “earned” it.
  10. Suggest that your youngster photograph a typical private room, being remindful that, next visit, you may not get that exact room but one very much like it.
  11. With your youngster, schedule a time to drive to the doctor's office before the appointment day.

This is a lot of prep work and a significant investment of time, but in the long run, this investment of time up front will go a long way in supporting your youngster to feel safe and comfortable and in control. Empowering her to take the lead during this process promotes her ownership and sense of self-advocacy.



==> Videos for Parents of Children and Teens with ASD

ASD: Tantrums, Rage, and Meltdowns - What Parents Need to Know

Question

My eldest boy J___ who is now 5-years-old was diagnosed with ASD (level 1) last July. We did 6 months of intense therapy with a child psychologist and a speech therapist before we moved over to Ghana. J___ has settled in well. He has adjusted to school very well and the teachers who are also expats from England are also dealing with him extremely well.

My current issue is his anger. At the moment if the situations are not done exactly his way he has a meltdown. Symptoms are: Extreme ear piercing screaming, intense crying, to falling down on the floor saying he is going to die. I have tried to tell him to breathe but his meltdown is so intense that his body just can't listen to words. I then have asked him to go to his room to calm down. He sometimes (very rarely) throws things across the room, but does not physically hurt anyone. As I have two younger boys (ages 1 and 3) I still need to be aware of their safety. I then managed to put J___ in his room with the help of a nanny. He throws all blankets off the bed (which doesn't bother me) and then hides under them. Today I waited 10 minutes then went upstairs to talk to him, but he then started again with the extreme crying and screaming at me. It took him over an hour to calm down fully. The situation arose as the nanny and I were helping him to make muffins and the nanny put a spoonful of the mixture into the muffin tin.

I am requesting your help on ways to calm him down in a manner that is acceptable. He is getting too old to be put in the "thinking corner/naughty corner" and I am a petite person so I'm not going to physically put him there. I am finding his resistance at the moment is a lot with me and his father.

I have structures in place by visual laminated pictures of how the morning is run and the structure before bed. This works fine, but like I said when things aren't done exactly his way, he can have an outburst in a flash. Please give me some strategies on how I can better manage these meltdowns.

FYI - he was diagnosed on the border on the CARS model. I have found a qualified speech therapist who is from England which we go to once a week (but as it is summer break we don't go back to August) to assist with his pragmatic language.


Answer

Problems related to stress and anxiety are common in kids with ASD (high-functioning autism). In fact, this combination has been shown to be one of the most frequently observed comorbid symptoms in these children. They are often triggered by or result directly from environmental stressors, such as:
  • a sense of loss of control
  • an inherent emotional vulnerability
  • difficulty in predicting outcomes
  • having to face challenging social situations with inadequate social awareness
  • misperception of social events
  • rigidity in moral judgment that results from a concrete sense of social justice violations.
  • social problem-solving skills
  • social understanding

The stress experienced by kids with ASD may manifest as withdrawal, reliance on obsessions related to circumscribed interests or unhelpful rumination of thoughts, inattention, and hyperactivity, although it may also trigger aggressive or oppositional defiant behavior, often captured by therapists as tantrums, rage, and “meltdowns”.
 

Educators, therapists, and moms/dads often report that kids on the spectrum exhibit a sudden onset of aggressive or oppositional behavior. This escalating sequence is similar to what has been described in children on the spectrum, and seems to follow a three-stage cycle as described below. Although non-autistic kids may recognize and react to the potential for behavioral outbursts early in the cycle, many kids and teenagers with the disorder often endure the entire cycle, unaware that they are under stress (i.e., they do not perceive themselves as having problems of conduct, aggression, hyperactivity, withdrawal, etc.).

Because of the combination of innate stress and anxiety and the difficulty of kids with ASD to understand how they feel, it is important that those who work and live with them understand the cycle of tantrums, rage, and meltdowns, and the interventions that can be used to promote self-calming, self-management, and self-awareness as a means of preventing or decreasing the severity of behavior problems.

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The Cycle of Meltdowns

Meltdowns typically occur in three stages that can be of variable length. These stages are (1) the “acting-in” stage, (2) the “acting-out” stage, and (3) the recuperation stage.

The “Acting-In” Stage

The “acting-in” stage is the initial stage of a tantrum, rage, or meltdown. During this stage, kids and teenagers on the autism spectrum exhibit specific behavior changes that may not seem to be related directly to a meltdown. The behaviors may seem minor. That is, children with ASD may clear their throats, lower their voices, tense their muscles, tap their foot, grimace, or otherwise indicate general discontent. Furthermore, somatic complaints also may occur during the “acting-in” stage. Kids also may engage in behaviors that are more obvious, including emotionally or physically withdrawing, or verbally or physically affecting someone else. For example, the youngster may challenge the classroom structure or authority by attempting to engage in a power struggle.

During this stage, it is imperative that a mother/father or educator intervene without becoming part of a struggle. The following interventions can be effective in stopping the cycle of tantrums, rage, and meltdowns – and they are invaluable in that they can help the youngster regain control with minimal adult support:

1. Intervention #1 involves displaying a chart or visual schedule of expectations and events, which can provide security to kids and teenagers with ASD who typically need predictability. This technique also can be used as advance preparation for a change in routine. Informing kids of schedule changes can prevent anxiety and reduce the likelihood of tantrums, rage, and meltdowns (e.g., the youngster who is signaling frustration by tapping his foot may be directed to his schedule to make him aware that after he completes two more problems he gets to work on a topic of special interest with a peer). While running errands, moms and dads can use support from routine by alerting the youngster in the “acting-in” stage that their next stop will be at a store the youngster enjoys.

2. Intervention #2 involves helping the youngster to focus on something other than the task or activity that seems to be upsetting. One type of redirection that often works well when the source of the behavior is a lack of understanding is telling the youngster that he can “cartoon” the situation to figure out what to do. Sometimes cartooning can be postponed briefly. At other times, the youngster may need to cartoon immediately.

3. Intervention #3 involves making the autistic child’s school environment as stress-free as possible by providing him/her with a “home-base.”. A home-base is a place in the school where the child can “escape.” The home-base should be quiet with few visual or activity distractions, and activities should be selected carefully to ensure that they are calming rather than alerting. In school, resource rooms or counselors' offices can serve as a home-base. The structure of the room supersedes its location. At home, the home-base may be the youngster's room or an isolated area in the house. Regardless of its location, however, it is essential that the home-base is viewed as a positive environment. Home-base is not “timeout” or an escape from classroom tasks or chores. The youngster takes class work to home-base, and at home, chores are completed after a brief respite in the home-base. Home-base may be used at times other than during the “acting-in” stage (e.g., at the beginning of the day, a home base can serve to preview the day's schedule, introduce changes in the typical routine, and ensure that the youngster's materials are organized or prime for specific subjects). At other times, home-base can be used to help the youngster gain control after a meltdown.

4. Intervention #4 involves paying attention to cues from the child. When the youngster with begins to exhibit a precursor behavior (e.g., throat clearing, pacing), the educator uses a nonverbal signal to let the youngster know that she is aware of the situation (e.g., the educator can place herself in a position where eye contact with the youngster can be achieved, or an agreed-upon “secret” signal, such as tapping on a desk, may be used to alert the youngster that he is under stress). A “signal” may be followed by a stress relief strategy (e.g., squeezing a stress ball). In the home or community, moms and dads may develop a signal (i.e., a slight hand movement) that the mother/father uses with their youngster is in the “acting-in” stage. 
 

5. Intervention #5 involves removing a youngster, in a non-punitive fashion, from the environment in which he is experiencing difficulty. At school, the youngster may be sent on an errand. At home, the youngster may be asked to retrieve an object for a mother/father. During this time the youngster has an opportunity to regain a sense of calm. When he returns, the problem has typically diminished in magnitude and the grown-up is on hand for support, if needed.

6. Intervention #6 is a strategy where the educator moves near the youngster who is engaged in the target behavior. Moms/dads and teachers move near the autistic youngster. Often something as simple as standing next to the youngster is calming. This can easily be accomplished without interrupting an ongoing activity (e.g., the educator who circulates through the classroom during a lesson).

7. Intervention #7 is a technique in which the mother/father or educator merely walks with the youngster without talking. Silence on the part of the grown-up is important, because a youngster with ASD in the “acting-in” stage will likely react emotionally to any adult statement, misinterpreting it or rephrasing it beyond recognition. On this walk the youngster can say whatever he wishes without fear of discipline or reprimand. In the meantime, the grown-up should be calm, show as little reaction as possible, and never be confrontational.

8. Intervention #8 is a technique that is effective when the youngster is in the midst of the “acting-in” stage because of a difficult task, and the mother/father or educator thinks that the youngster can complete the activity with support. The mother/father or educator offers a brief acknowledgement that supports the verbalizations of the youngster and helps him complete his task. For instance, when working on a math problem the youngster begins to say, “This is too hard.” Knowing the youngster can complete the problem, the educator refocuses the youngster's attention by saying, “Yes, the problem is difficult. Let's start with number one.” This brief direction and support may prevent the youngster from moving past the “acting-in” stage.

When selecting an intervention during the “acting-in” stage, it is important to know the youngster, as the wrong technique can escalate rather than deescalate a behavior problem. Further, although interventions at this stage do not require extensive time, it is advisable that grown-ups understand the events that precipitate the target behaviors so that they can (1) be ready to intervene early, or (2) teach kids and teenagers strategies to maintain behavior control during these times. Interventions at this stage are merely calming. They do not teach kids to recognize their own frustration or provide a means of handling it. Techniques to accomplish these goals are discussed later.

The “Acting-Out” Stage

If behavior is not diffused during the “acting-in” stage, the youngster or adolescent may move to the “acting-out” stage. At this point, the youngster is dis-inhibited and acts impulsively, emotionally, and sometimes explosively. These behaviors may be externalized (i.e., screaming, biting, hitting, kicking, destroying property, or self-injury) or internalized (i.e., withdrawal). Meltdowns are not purposeful, and once the “acting-out” stage begins, most often it must run its course.

During this stage, emphasis should be placed on youngster, peer, and adult safety, and protection of school, home, or personal property. The best way to cope with a tantrum, rage, or meltdown is to get the youngster to home base. As mentioned, this room is not viewed as a reward or disciplinary room, but is seen as a place where the youngster can regain self-control.

Of importance here is helping the individual with ASD regain control and preserve dignity. To that end, grown-ups should have developed plans for (1) obtaining assistance from educators, such as a crisis educator or principal, (2) removing other kids from the area, or (3) providing therapeutic restraint, if necessary. 

The Recuperation Stage

Following a meltdown, the youngster has contrite feelings and often cannot fully remember what occurred during the “acting-out” stage. Some may become sullen, withdraw, or deny that inappropriate behavior occurred; others are so physically exhausted that they need to sleep.

It is imperative that interventions are implemented at a time when the youngster can accept them and in a manner the youngster can understand and accept. Otherwise, the intervention may simply resume the cycle in a more accelerated pattern, leading more quickly to the “acting-out” stage. During the recuperation stage, kids often are not ready to learn. Thus, it is important that grown-ups work with them to help them once again become a part of the routine. This is often best accomplished by directing the youth to a highly motivating task that can be easily accomplished, such as activity related to a special interest.

Preventing Tantrums, Rage, and Meltdowns

Kids and teenagers with autism spectrum disorder generally do not want to engage in meltdowns. Rather, the “acting-out” cycle is the only way they know of expressing stress, coping with problems, and a host of other emotions to which they see no other solution. Most want to learn methods to manage their behavior, including calming themselves in the face of problems and increasing self-awareness of their emotions. The best intervention for tantrums, rage, and meltdowns is prevention. Prevention occurs best as a multifaceted approach consisting of instruction in (1) strategies that increase social understanding and problem solving, (2) techniques that facilitate self-understanding, and (3) methods of self-calming.
 

Increasing Social Understanding and Problem Solving

Enhancement of social understanding includes providing direct assistance. Although instructional strategies are beneficial, it is almost impossible to teach all the social skills that are needed in day-to-day life. Instead, these skills often are taught in an interpretive manner after the youngster has engaged in an unsuccessful or otherwise problematic encounter. Interpretation skills are used in recognition that, no matter how well developed the skills of a person with ASD, situations will arise that he or she does not understand. As a result, someone in the person's environment must serve as a social management interpreter.

The following interpretative strategies can help turn seemingly random actions into meaningful interactions for young people on the spectrum:

1. Analyzing a social skills problem is a good interpretative strategy. Following a social error, the youngster who committed the error works with an adult to (1) identify the error, (2) determine who was harmed by the error, (3) decide how to correct the error, and (4) develop a plan to prevent the error from occurring again. A social skills analysis is not “punishment.” Rather, it is a supportive and constructive problem-solving strategy. The analyzing process is particularly effective in enabling the youngster to see the cause/effect relationship between her social behavior and the reactions of others in her environment. The success of the strategy lies in its structure of practice, immediate feedback, and positive reinforcement. Every grown-up with whom the youngster with ASD has regular contact, such as moms and dads, educators, and therapists, should know how to do social skills analysis fostering skill acquisition and generalization. Originally designed to be verbally based, the strategy has been modified to include a visual format to enhance child learning.

2. Visual symbols such as “cartooning” have been found to enhance the processing abilities of persons in the autism spectrum, to enhance their understanding of the environment, and to reduce tantrums, rage, and meltdowns. One type of visual support is cartooning. Used as a generic term, this technique has been implemented by speech and language pathologists for many years to enhance understanding in their clients. Cartoon figures play an integral role in several intervention techniques: pragmaticism, mind-reading, and comic strip conversations. Cartooning techniques, such as comic strip conversations, allow the youngster to analyze and understand the range of messages and meanings that are a natural part of conversation and play. Many kids with ASD are confused and upset by teasing or sarcasm. The speech and thought bubble as well as choice of colors can illustrate the hidden messages.

Conclusion—

Although many kids and teenagers on the spectrum exhibit anxiety that may lead to challenging behaviors, stress and subsequent behaviors should be viewed as an integral part of the disorder. As such, it is important to understand the cycle of behaviors to prevent seemingly minor events from escalating. Although understanding the cycle of tantrums, rage, and meltdowns is important, behavior changes will not occur unless the function of the behavior is understood and the youngster is provided instruction and support in using (1) strategies that increase social understanding and problem solving, (2) techniques that facilitate self-understanding, and (3) methods of self-calming.

Children experiencing stress may react by having a tantrum, rage, or meltdown. Behaviors do not occur in isolation or randomly; they are associated most often with a reason or cause. The youngster who engages in an inappropriate behavior is attempting to communicate. Before selecting an intervention to be used during the “acting-out” cycle or to prevent the cycle from occurring, it is important to understand the function or role the target behavior plays.

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


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• Gray, C. (1995). Social stories unlimited: Social stories and comic strip conversations. Jenison, MI: Jenison Public Schools.
• Hagiwara, T., & Myles, B.S. (1999). A multimedia social story intervention: Teaching skills to children with autism. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 14, 82-95.
• Henry Occupational Therapy Services, Inc. (1998). Tool chest: For teachers, parents, and students. Youngstown, AZ: Author.
• Howlin, P., Baron-Cohen, S., & Hadwin, J. (1999). Teaching children with autism to mind-read: A practical guide. London: Wiley.
• Kim, J.A., Szatmari, P., Bryson, S.E., Streiner, D.L., & Wilson, F.J. (2000). The prevalence of anxiety and mood problems among children with autism and Asperger Syndrome. Autism, 4, 117-32
• Klin, A., & Volkmar, F.R. (2000). Treatment and intervention guidelines for individuals with Asperger Syndrome. In A. Klin, F.R. Volkmar, & S.S. Sparrow (Eds.), Asperger Syndrome (pp. 240-366). New York: The Guilford Press.
• Kuttler, S., Myles, B.S., & Carlson, J.K. (1998). The use of social stories to reduce precursors of tantrum behavior in a student with autism. Focus on Autism and Other Developmental Disabilities, 13,176-182.
• Long, N.J., Morse, W.C., & Newman, R.G. (1976). Conflict in the classroom: Educating children with problems (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Wadsworth.
• McAfee, J. (2002). Navigating the social world: A curriculum for individuals with Asperger’s syndrome, high functioning autism and related disorders. Arlington, TX: Future Horizons.
• Myles B.S., & Southwick, J. (2005). Asperger Syndrome and difficult moments: Practical solutions for tantrums, rage, and meltdowns (2 nd ed.). Shawnee Mission, KS: Autism Asperger Publishing Company.
• Myles, B.S., & Simpson, R.L. (2001). Understanding the hidden curriculum: An essential social skill for children and youth with Asperger syndrome. Intervention in School and Clinic, 36, 279-286.
• Myles, B.S., & Simpson, R.L. (2002). Students with Asperger Syndrome: Implications for counselors. Counseling and Human Development, 34(7), 1-14.
• Myles, B.S., Cook, K.T., Miller, N.E., Rinner, L., & Robbins, L. (2000). Asperger Syndrome and sensory issues: Practical solutions for making sense of the world. Shawnee Mission, KS: Autism Asperger Publishing Company.
• Myles, B.S., Hagiwara, T., Dunn, W., Rinner, L., Reese, M., Huggins, A., & Becker, S. (2004). Sensory issues in children with Asperger Syndrome and autism. Education and Training in Developmental Disabilities, 3, 283-290.
• Myles, B.S., Trautman, M.L., & Schelvan, R.L. (2004). The hidden curriculum: Practical solutions for understanding unstated rules in social situations. Shawnee Mission, KS: Autism Asperger Publishing Company.
• Rogers, M.F., & Myles, B.S. (2001). Using social stories and comic strip conversations to interpret social situations for an adolescent with Asperger Syndrome. Intervention in School and Clinic, 36, 310-313.
• Roosa, J.B. (1995). Men on the move: Competence and cooperation: Conflict resolution and beyond. Kansas City, MO: Author.
• Williams, M.W., & Shellenberger, S. (1996). How does your engine run? A leader’s guide to the Alert Program for Self-Regulation. Albuquerque, NM: Therapy Works.

Kids with ASD and Their Problems with Perfectionism

“I'd like to ask you about a very big problem for our autistic (high functioning) son - his perfectionism! Can you give me some advice on what to do about this issue, because I believe it is a major contributing factor to his never-ending anxiety, especially when doing his homework?”

Although it may be hard to completely change a "special needs" youngster’s perfectionist nature, there are many things that parents can do to help their child find a better balance and not be so hard on himself.

Please consider these suggestions:

1. The pressure to be perfect may stem from school (or other areas where perfectionism is exhibited) being the only place from where your son derives self-worth. Try to expand your son’s notion of his identity by finding activities for him to participate in that do not involve scoring or competition (i.e., activities that simply exist to feel good and have fun).

2. Regularly remind your son to “keep it simple” and “make it fun.”



3. Make sure that you are not deriving your own sense of worth only from your son’s accomplishments.

4. Look for books and movies that provide role models of real people or characters who succeeded after a long line of failures.

5. Let your son make mistakes. Offer minor assistance and support if asked, but let him turn in work that is truly his own so he can get comfortable with constructive feedback. Allowing kids to do their own work and make mistakes not only can decrease a sense of pressure on them to always present a perfect front to the outside world, but also gives them the confidence that they can succeed on their own without the parent’s help.

6. Address faulty or unhealthy logic in your son’s thinking. Perfectionists tend to think in terms of “all-or-nothing” (e.g., “If I don’t get 100% on this quiz, then I’m dumb!”).

7. Keep the focus on the importance of learning new material or a new skill, rather than being the best. When your son brings home a perfect test score, you can say something like, “You worked really hard to learn that tough material,” instead of, “Excellent work – another 100%!”




8. If your son is spending too much time on homework, set a time limit so that he has to stop working and relax a bit. Explain the situation to his teacher and ask for help with what you are trying to teach your son.

9. Have a mantra in your house, for example, “Everyone makes mistakes. The important thing is to have fun learning and enjoy the process.” You may also want to consider finding a different word to use instead of “mistake” (e.g., everyone has “challenges” …or, everyone has to make a “detour” now and then).

10. Find activities for your son where he will not be the best. Help him learn how to handle being in such a circumstance. Do not let him stop the activity because it is too difficult or uncomfortable.

11. Do not discount your son’s school anxiety with statements like, “There’s no need to worry, I know you’ll get 100% on that test – you always do!” Even though your intentions are of the best, your son may interpret statements like that as adding more pressure to maintain his status. Instead, tell him that what matters most is putting forth enough effort to learn the subject matter, regardless of what the grade is.

12. Be careful about over-scheduling, and make sure that your son has time “scheduled” to just relax.

13. Be a good role model yourself by not holding yourself to perfectionist standards and showing your son how you handle mistakes. Point out what you did and how you learned from it.

14. Even though the pressure to be perfect often seems to come from the youngster himself, evaluate the messages that you are giving to your son. Even if you tell him that high grades or first-place trophies do not matter to you, if he hears you bragging about such honors all the time, he may feel a lot of trepidation about continuing to bring them home. Your son needs to understand that your love is unconditional, and not based on how well he does in school. Point out other ways in which he makes you proud (e.g., when he helps you around the house, when he is kind to others, etc.).

15. Lastly, have plenty of patience with your son. Don’t pressure him to relax and be “less than perfect.” It takes a lot of practice to overcome perfectionism!


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… I have come to except that its a packaged deal and is part of the OCD that hangs them up, allow for more time so he can make the corrections he needs to feel good about his work remember he sees flaws where your eyes see nothing but perfection.

Anonymous said… I'm loving this group. It's so helpful! Thanks...

Anonymous said… In fact, it is such that he will avoid doing his homework as much as possible, then the following morning when it is due, he is having a fit "because he needs to get it done....NOW!"

Anonymous said… It may not be a bad thing. I believe I suffered with some of the attributes of asperger when young - still do, getting obsessed with things being one of them. But that allows me to study and learn most trades, I have several degrees including a PhD and I earn a good salary, the only hindrance is saying a development project is finished and ready to go to market which we manage with certain constraining rules. I would be happy if my boys managed a good education that could earn them a decent salary, I don't see why they shouldn't achieve this and I will do everything in my power to make that happen. So I don't feel Perfectionism and the Obsessive nature is a bad factor of Asperger, the tantrums when over whelmed are the nasty attributes. As for the anxiety, I look at what I've managed before and make sure the next time it's better, I make that my satisfaction, which controls the anxiety, Back to what we were told a few days ago, to engineer their lives to succeed even if it's in little steps so taking any failure out of the equation.

Anonymous said… my aspie just wants to get credit for it, but doesn't actually want to do the work on it.

Anonymous said… My daughter is that way, too. Homework we can manage because it's too easy for her (first grade), but at school, she will meltdown if the teacher wants to display the classes work and she sees hers as not perfect enough, even though it's miles better then her classmates.

Anonymous said… tell him everyone messes up and does things wrong everyday. Maybe give him examples in writing and pictures. Tell him its okay and it everything doesn't have to be perfect.

Anonymous said… What I find is that if one part came out wrong, then the whole thing is messed up and sometimes it will get destroyed. The CF/GF diet has helped immensely.

 Add your comment below…

Kids with Autism Spectrum Disorder and the Associated Relationship Problems

"Is it common for children with ASD to have a great deal of difficulty relating to their peers in a proper manner? My son tends to burn bridges (so to speak) rather quickly with his friends."
 
ASD level 1 (high-functioning autism) often leads to problems in social interaction with peers. These problems can be severe or mild depending on the individual. Kids with ASD are often the target of bullying at school due to their idiosyncratic behavior, precise language, unusual interests, and impaired ability to perceive and respond in socially expected ways to nonverbal cues, particularly in interpersonal conflict. 
 
Kids on the autism spectrum may be overly literal, and may have difficulty interpreting and responding to sarcasm, banter, or metaphorical speech. Difficulties with social interaction may also be manifest in a lack of play with other kids.

The above problems can even arise in the family. Given an unfavorable family environment, the youngster may be subject to emotional abuse. A youngster or teen with ASD is often puzzled by this mistreatment, unaware of what has been done incorrectly. Most kids on the spectrum want to be social, but fail to socialize successfully, which can lead to later withdrawal and asocial behavior, especially in adolescence. 
 
 
At this stage of life especially, they risk being drawn into unsuitable and inappropriate friendships and social groups. People with ASD often interact better with those considerably older or younger than themselves, rather than those within their own age group.

Young people with ASD often display advanced abilities for their age in language, reading, mathematics, spatial skills, and/or music—sometimes into the "gifted" range—but this may be counterbalanced by considerable delays in other developmental areas. This combination of traits can lead to problems with teachers and other authority figures. A youngster with ASD might be regarded by teachers as a "problem kid" or a "poor performer." 
 
The youngster’s extremely low tolerance for what they perceive to be ordinary and mediocre tasks, such as typical homework assignments, can easily become frustrating; a teacher may well consider the youngster arrogant, spiteful, and insubordinate. Lack of support and understanding, in combination with the youngster's anxieties, can result in problematic behavior (such as severe tantrums, violent and angry outbursts, and withdrawal).

Two traits sometimes found in individuals on the spectrum 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 oneself or others), which reduce the ability to be empathetically attuned to others. Alexithymia in ASD functions as an independent variable relying on different neural networks than those implicated in theory of mind. In fact, lack of Theory of Mind may be a result of a lack of information available to the mind due to the operation of the alexithymic deficit.

A second issue related to alexithymia involves the inability to identify and modulate strong emotions such as sadness or anger, which leaves the individual prone to “sudden affective outbursts such as crying or rage.” The inability to express feelings using words may also predispose the individual to use physical acts to articulate the mood and release the emotional energy.

People with ASD report a feeling of being unwillingly detached from the world around them. They may have difficulty finding a life partner or getting married due to poor social skills. The intense focus and tendency to work things out logically often grants people with ASD a high level of ability in their field of interest. When these special interests coincide with a materially or socially useful task, the person on the spectrum can lead a profitable career and a fulfilled life. The youngster obsessed with a specific area may succeed in employment related to that area. 
 

What is ASD like?
  • It affects individuals all of their lives, but as individuals get older they get better at social and coping skills.
  • Many great scientists, writers and artists are thought to have had Aspergers, including many Nobel Prize winners.
  • Individuals with ASD can do well when others understand the effects of the syndrome on their behavior and learning, and provide a supportive environment.
  • They find it hard to relate to other individuals.
  • Some individuals who are said to be eccentric loners may have ASD.
  • The effects of autism can vary from slightly unusual behavior to quite aggressive and anti-social behavior.
  • They have trouble understanding the feelings of other individuals and they do not seem able to read body language. For example, a person with ASD may not realize when they have hurt someone's feelings, or when someone doesn't want to listen to them.
  • They like everything to be the same, and everything to be in the right place. They can get very upset if something is done 'the wrong way'.
  • They may talk a lot about their own interests, but have problems getting the message across or giving others the chance to talk.

Secondary School—
  • It can seem as though they are really bright because they know a huge amount about something they are interested in, but they might have trouble keeping up with other subjects.
  • Other students get better at interpersonal relationships as they grow older, but it can become more difficult for a student with ASD to be involved in friendship groups. However, they may enjoy groups which follow their special interest (e.g., science clubs).
  • Secondary school can be very stressful for students with ASD because they have a different timetable each day, several different teachers, and have to move between classrooms. These changes can be really stressful for someone who likes everything to be the same.

Teenagers with ASD are usually able to manage stressors better than younger kids, and behavior problems at school may be less of an issue at secondary school. However a teenager on the spectrum  may be so worn out after 'holding it together' all day at school that he or she may 'fall apart' at home.
  • It may be possible to negotiate with teachers to reduce the amount of homework or extend tasks over a longer time.
  • Feeling tired after school is often a problem, and facing up to homework at the end of the day can be very stressful for someone who has already had a stressful day.
  • A school counselor can help to work out strategies for dealing with problems, which might include a place to work alone if things get too hard sometimes.

 
Adult Life—
  • If partners and kids are able to learn more about ASD, they are often more able to understand the behavior and live more comfortably with the person who has autism.
  • Individuals with ASD also need to understand relationships better and learn more about how their behavior and emotions can affect others.
  • Most individuals on the spectrum can form strong bonds with a few friends, marry and have kids.
  • Peer support groups can also be helpful for partners and kids. Check on the internet to see if there are support groups in your area.
  • Their anxieties and difficulties with the subtleties of relationships can be confusing and upsetting to partners and their kids.

Problems for Brothers and Sisters—

It can be difficult if you have a brother or sister with ASD.
  • Parents often have to spend a lot more time with the youngster who has autism, so that you can feel you are missing out.
  • Their behavior can be difficult to live with because they don't relate to others well.
  • They may have frequent tantrums when things don't go their way, and this can be embarrassing to you, especially if your friends are around.
  • You may have to watch out more for your brother or sister to protect them from others, such as protecting them from being bullied.

Understanding more about Autism Spectrum Disorder may help you interact more successfully with your brother or sister.

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.

Click here to read the full article…

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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.

Click here for the full article...

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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.

Click here to read the full article…

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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."

Click here to read the full article…

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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.

Click here for the full article...

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
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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